Or the non-Mother’s Day poem my mother must never read
My father asks – what the hell is the point of getting married if you don’t want children? I do not look in his direction when I say – so you’re okay with sex before marriage ah. He does not respond.
My mother says you can only have sex after marriage so they can’t run off. She likes to spill these kinds of runny pearls of wisdom which slip through your fingers the more you try to grasp meaning.
My mother says, like my visits to the therapist, I must not tell my father about the gynecologist. My mother says I cannot write about sensitive topics in my university papers. Like religion. Or politics. Or gender. I don’t have the heart to tell her that I minor in gender and religious studies and I am studying sexuality in a comparative perspective that semester.
Sex education in secondary school was – if you have sex outside of marriage, you will get pregnant. Immediately. With twins. And you will have aids. And herpes. Sex education in secondary school was the counseller gluing two pieces of paper together and ripping them apart, saying – you see, if a girl has sex she is always hurt. Sex education was only ever about the dangers of sex but no one mentions the foreplay or the afterplay. The cuddling. The pillow talk. The “I love you too”s and the descent into nail biting and phone checking after the texts die.
Sex education was Google. Especially after my schoolmates called me a dominatrix and I thought it just meant a strong woman. After my mother saw the pimple I had next to my mouth and said I had herpes and demanded to know whose boy’s cock I had sucked. When I was eighteen and said that male rapes weren’t possible because the guy has to want it when he’s hard which led to one of the most awkward conversations about the mechanics of male anatomy. When I learnt about the prostrate from yaoi fanfiction but not the clitoris and I still haven’t met a boy who would let me use a strap-on on them but they still have no problems trying to finger my back hole after I shout no. Sex education was a boy coming into my room with snacks and small talk and asking me what was it like for a girl to lose her virginity. To hear a younger girl panic about a late period after her first time.
When my mother realises that I’ve had sex at the gynecologists over an STD scare, she asks – how can you do this to yourself? She asks – who was it? And because I am tired and irritated at having my vagina poked and prodded at with glass and steel instruments that no woman would invent, I say – which one?
My mother says all men only want one thing. She says – if you give a man what he wants he will leave you. I don’t have the heart to tell her that doesn’t change with marriage – so you do the dishes and cooking and ironing and cleaning and you hope that this is enough for him to want.
Sex education was my mother telling me that no man wants a used thing. That my standards are too high. I tell my mother – then I will be a woman that no man wants. And eventually, I will learn to be happy with that.