I was thinking the other day about my emotional development, and why it’s not as far along as I’d like it to be. My emotional maturity is pee-sized, when I’d really like it to be at least as big as a salad beet, or a medium-length tuber.
I thought that maybe I was making some progress in this area, but then I get all worked up about whether or not people will come to my 40th birthday party and last night, I told my husband “not to pee,” because the sound of his urine against the toilet water was splashy and voluminous.
In so many ways, I’m still a child, and I wonder how I got stuck in this developmental stage of jumping up and down when I want something and bursting into tears when I don’t get my way.
Then it struck me: it’s my parents’ fault.
It’s all coming back to me now. Like most importantly, how no one ever told me about sex. The memory that appears most vividly is how I walked into my parent’s bedroom one night to find my mom naked and laying on her stomach while my dad “rubbed” her back with the “massager.” I was 8 and confused by the sight, but I knew that it must have to do with some kind of parental “private time.” No one ever spoke of that incident again, but about a year later, when I heard the word “sex” from some schoolyard kid, I put two and two together. A-ha! My naked parents must have been having sex! So i asked my mom. My Catholic, dressed-up-for-church-sat-in-the-front-pew mom.
This is how it went:
Me: Mom? Were you and dad having sex last year?
My Mom (probably thinking back to whether her rhythm birth control method allowed her to have had sex last year): Why do you ask?
Me: Because you were naked and dad was rubbing your back.
My Mom: Oh. Um, let’s see. Uh, well honey, sex is very private.
Me: Why? What do you do during sex?
My Mom: You make babies.
Me: Do you lay on top of each other naked?
My Mom: Um.
Me: Do you have your clothes on then?
My Mom: Yes, you can have your clothes on.
I absolutely swear that she said the last sentence. For YEARS, I thought you had sex by laying on top of each other with your clothes on. Then, when I learned that a penis was involved, I imagined two people laying on top of each other until whenever the penis decided to inject its sperm. I did remember wondering how the penis got inside the woman, because I knew they were kind of soft and floppy, but I let those questions go unanswered in my small little Catholicized mind.
It wasn’t until the end of my eighth grade year that I found out the truth. I was babysitting and turned on Pay TV, hoping for E.T. or Tron, and somehow got a porno instead. Oh good Lord. Up until then, I had NO idea that people actually MOVED during sex. And they moved fast! Also, there were other positions than just laying on top of each other? And, they were NAKED! Plus, the penis wasn’t soft and floppy! Why, it wasn’t soft and floppy at all!
I watched for a few minutes, stunned and curious. After a bit, I guiltily turned it off.
Then, I turned it back on.
These people were still moving up and down quickly! And they weren’t even in bed anymore. Wow! She was going to have a lot of babies, because from what I could tell, they’d been having tons of sex.
After this eye-opening experience, I never looked at my mom and dad the same way again. Also, what was that crap about having clothes on? In my vast Pay TV experience, I never once saw any of these fast-moving, happy people wearing clothes, and lycra didn’t count.
So, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for me now. If I’d learned about sex earlier, I’d have better things to do than complain about my husband’s pee.
I’m glad we had this little talk.