Friday, April 13, 2012

Feeling tied down...

Okay, so this is not a post about food. Although I endeavor to have most of my posts food centric, on occasion I go off the rails. Join me or not.

Recently, I read a trilogy of books, erotica to be exact; currently being referred to as “mommy porn” in the media… The first book in the trilogy is titled Fifty Shades of Grey. Apparently, women that have an interest in something sexual must be participating in some illicit activity, i.e. reading porn. And to be honest, thanks to Kindle we can keep this activity under the sheets, so to speak.

This little trilogy has created quite the firestorm. The humble U.K. based publishing house could not keep up with the demand. The majority of copies were sold electronically; downloaded on Kindles, smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktops…utter mayhem. Let’s just say that the purchase of men’s silk neckties has greatly increased. Yes, a little BDSM takes place. Okay, a lot of BDSM. Anyway, the paperback was released in the U.S. last week and it too has been selling out; everywhere. Even Hollywood is not immune and had a huge battle over the rights to the story.  Although, other than outlets like HBO or Showtime, I don’t see how a movie studio can do the story justice without participating in some major x-rated activity. NC-17 ratings usually don’t sell movie tickets…

Despite all the frenzy, I am more surprised at how surprised everyone seems to be that women are interested in sex, reading about sex and experimenting with sex. After all, it’s 2012, not 1962. Then again, I was raised in a Catholic household and it came with all the appropriate trappings and expectations of sexual shame. Although my father had Playboy delivered to our home and left laying about, sexuality was open and allowable for him, not for anyone else.  And if that wasn't understood, my mother made sure that I got that message; loud and clear.  I remember a very uncomfortable and frank discussion I had with my mother about the immorality of oral sex. Yes, my mother went there ... (Insert Edvard Munch visual here) Although I blocked most of the content of that discussion out of my mind and memory, I remember one statement; all good girls stick to the missionary position. Shit mom! I had no idea I was being raised to be a Victorian. This statement coming from the woman who had been married not once, not twice, but three times; the woman who lived with two different men that were not her husband and would never find their way to the altar… To say that I was confused would be an understatement. Do you mean to tell me that my mother held the interest of three husbands, two living partners and a smattering of boyfriends by sticking to the fucking missionary position? Holy hell… Or, was she telling me what was expected for mothers to tell their daughters: sex is dirty, sex is shameful, sex is a duty, sex is an exchange of commodities, sex is for procreation. Only loose women enjoy sex; even with their husbands. 

It made me wonder if we are still, inadvertently perhaps, teaching today’s young women to be shameful.  It doesn’t help that during this shocked frenzy over women’s proclivity towards sexual literature, the conservative movement in this country is validating this viewpoint by shaming us in our use of contraception and attempting control of our abortion rights through some very aggressive legislation. It’s the same story; sexual women are shameful women, or they should be and if they don’t have the decency to be ashamed, we will put laws in place to make sure their wicked ways are held up for public scrutiny. Promiscuous women use contraception and have abortions. Madonna or whore…not really a choice, huh?  Either way, you lose. God, sometimes it must be fucking awesome to be a man. 

So I ask you… I am a divorced 43 year old woman. I am not married. I am not attempting to procreate. I enjoy reading erotica (porn). I am sexual active. I use contraception. I have been perusing the necktie displays at Macy’s. So, am I a whore?