I, Lena’s mother, grew up without the vision for a better and more joyous world the term “sex-positive” is now poised to spread. Nonetheless, decades after an adolescence parched from the arid presence of sexual taboo, I see the value and beauty of her dream. I get that it is in theory as wholesome, as worthy of my pride in her, as any other. Would the world not be happier if people were not ashamed of their sexuality, as Lena envisions for them?
Yet, I also find myself wishing she had been gifted with this vision at a more convenient time—say, after she had finished college magnificently free of its siren pull. After we are beyond the reach of the cliques that have solidified at this age among girls, and among their mothers. After she can no longer be touched by the judgments that bind those cliques together.
That would have been the best time to pursue a dream of being a sexologist, the warring faction of mother instinct screams–not during high school, with all the cliques and judgmental parents! Or, better yet, they scream some more: it’s a great and worthy vision, and someone else should see to it, not my kid! My child should become a normal child, with a self based on well-established norms, and should calm my worries by doing something obviously wholesome–like teach art to kindergarten children, or become a nurse for a bit more money.
As you can see, the nimby in me is alive and well, no matter if my daughter has to tie herself into a knot.