I am 71 years old and still waiting for the sex talk with my mom… who is deceased so that has become a much more unlikely event.
When I “became a woman” – that’s what we called starting menstruation back in the day when we all pretended it didn’t exist and if it did, it wasn’t messy or smelly – anyhow, when that momentous occasion arose, my mother sat me down, handed me a booklet from the Kotex company explaining how to use the belt with pins that were state of the art protection back in the day. And they had very useful diagrams of Fallopian tubes and wombs.
That was it. The pamphlet. I don’t remember her saying a single word to me then or ever on the topic of dating or love or sex. I got all my ideas about how dating occurred through Archie comics or Happy Days. Neither really offered a lot of realistic advice which probably explains the disaster my dating/love life became as I aged into a young woman.
The only other female role models I had in life at that time were the Sisters of St. John Bosco who taught at St. Michael’s grade school. They clearly had limited dating experience themselves, probably no sexual experience at all and mostly wanted to convince me to become a nun and never deal with all that messy stuff.
I know my mother had sex and I know she loved my father. So why did she not share that with me? Why was it so hard to talk to me about the basics of life, fertility, etc. Quite honestly, I was in nursing school before it all fell into place for me. That I didn’t become pregnant before that was simply a miracle.
So in honor of Women’s History Month, let me congratulate today’s mothers who seem so much more willing and able to have this discussion even if they still wish it would never happen to their baby girls.
When I turned 40, I looked back at my life and decided that I did a lot of things really well but dating and making good choices in men was not one of them. So for my birthday I officially swore off dating, men and any love life that included more than my bedside table friend. It was the best decision I ever made. I’m not saying for sure I would have been better at it with some guidance from my mom but who knows for sure.
Oh yeah, and here’s a piece of historical data that needs to be finally put down publicly. When I was in college… that would be the Chestnut Hill College for Catholic Virgins (helluva entrance exam), I needed to make some spending money beyond my summer job because – well, because my parents didn’t have much money. So I signed up for a Kotex study. That’s right – a Kotex study. I was at the forefront of all these new pads in their various shapes and sizes. I used them and then collected them from everyone in the study and measured the after weight to see how much was absorbed. I bled for science.