News Flash: Moms Can Be Sexy Too
It seems like every time a celebrity mom posts a racy photo, films a nude scene, or admits that she enjoys sex, people are quick to judge her. Not necessarily for doing sexy things, but for doing sexy things as a mom. Look at any online comment section or Twitter feed, and you'll likely find declarations like, "You can't do that, you're someone's mother!" and, "Have some respect. Cover up." Honestly, I am so over it. I'm a sexy mom and IDGAF what anyone thinks. I don't care if you think I'm inappropriate. I don't care if you think I'm "scarring my children." I don't care if you think I'm unfit to parent. I'm sexy for myself, and not for anyone else, and successfully procreating hasn't change that part of my identity.
I think our culture has some pretty backwards ideas about female sexuality. Women, and even girls, are expected to look and be sexy for men, right up until the moment they become mothers. Then we're suddenly expected to become these maternal martyrs, selflessly breastfeeding our precious babies but always covering up when they do, lest someone see any skin. We must project modesty, purity, and an inhuman amount of self-control, lest we taint our children and their innate goodness. This outdated yet somehow still popular stereotype that women can only be one version of Madonna at a time — the virgin Mary or the one singing Like A Virgin — is bullsh*t. It further marginalizes and objectifies women, and totally neglects the fact that many moms have sex, like sex, and don't stop being sexual beings once we have babies. It positions sex as an inherently "bad thing," and mothers "bad parents" if they engage in sexual activity or unapologetically express their sexuality.
What kind of message do we send women and girls (and men and boys) when we tell a woman that she can't be sexy or isn't sexy because she is a mom? In my opinion, a sh*tty one, and it needs to stop.
Dr. Amy Tuteur, an OB-GYN and author of the book, Push Back: Guilt In The Age of Natural Parenting, recently suggested that this "Madonna-whore dichotomy" is a symptom of a larger problem. Tuteur writes on her website, The Skeptical OB:
Women’s bodies exist to be consumed by others, either as sexualized for the pleasure of men or as 'designed' for the nurture of children. Women have no right to make choices about their own bodies since their bodies exist for others’ enjoyment.
If you are a mom, and you dare to be sexy, to wear a bikini, pose for boudoir shoots, talk openly about how much you enjoy sex, or admit that you wish you were done breastfeeding or co-sleeping because you want your damn body and bedroom back, people treat you like you are selfish, or worse, like a bad mom. Having a baby shouldn't mean that you lose your bodily autonomy, and that includes using your body (and your breasts) for your pleasure, alone, if that's what you choose.
It positions sex as an inherently "bad thing," and mothers "bad parents" if they engage in sexual activity or unapologetically express their sexuality.
I think also it's time we, as a society, stop perpetuating the myth that once we have babies, women stop being sexy, stop needing not feel good about ourselves, and should not show as much skin as we want to. As for what our children might think of sexy pictures? I hope to raise my kids to understand that the female body, even a "not exactly society's standard of perfect" female body, is a beautiful, amazing thing, and that nudity and sexuality are not bad or wrong.
It's kind of ironic that the act of conceiving a child often starts with sex, but after that child is born, people expect you to become asexual. People making jokes about how "you're never going to have sex again," or about how your vagina and breasts are now broken become commonplace reactions to procreation, undermining a new mother's sexuality. In my opinion, being a mom is inherently sexy. Even if your body doesn't measure up to society's arbitrary standards, the act of growing a human in your body or agreeing to parent a tiny human requires skills, confidence, commitment, patience, humility, and strength. All of which are undeniably sexy.
Having a baby shouldn't mean that you lose your bodily autonomy, and that includes using your body (and your breasts) for your pleasure, alone, if that's what you choose.
My body doesn't have a switch that someone could use to shut off my desire for sex. And if it does, my OB-GYN must have forgotten to flip it off in the delivery room. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a mom who loves sex, and I shouldn't be shamed for saying so. Honestly, sex has only got better since I had my last baby. Yes, sex is totally different now, less frequent than it used to be, and my postpartum orgasms are totally different (not necessarily in a bad way, though). But the fact is, I know I am not alone. Other moms have great sex, enjoy sex, are open and honest about sex, and are sexy AF, too. Whether they flaunt their sexuality is entirely up to them, but their sexuality hasn't disappeared. They didn't expel it from their bodies, along with the placenta, when they gave birth. It hasn't evaporated out of thin air. It's still a part of them, and one that's worth celebrating.
It took some time to get to this place in my life, where I feel comfortable in my own skin and confident in myself, but I can now happily say that I am a sexy mom, and I honesty don't care what you think about it. It's totally not about you. I'm sexy, just for me.
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