Mother's Bill of Rights: Desire
The Mother's Bill of Rights is a reclaiming of the rights that the current culture of sacrificial motherhood would strip from us. It is a commitment to ourselves and to our families that we will not diminish ourselves or them by placing these parts of us on the altar of motherhood. We will be whole human beings. This is the gift we give to ourselves, our children, and our world.
ARTICLE NINE: DESIRES
Yes, we’re going there. Let’s talk about sex.
You don't need to 'get your body back' in order to be worthy of desire. The ideas that you grew up with about what is sexy may not have included motherhood. Patriarchy loves a binary and Madonna/Whore is a classic. But you need to know that your level of sexual desire is not wrong, or bad, or selfish, or dirty. You are not a prude or a whore and you are not dried up or washed out. You're just you. Still you. Always you.
You are still sexy. Yes, with drooping breasts and cellulite and c-section scars and stretch marks, and grey hair, and spit up on your shirt and whatever that is on your pants that you haven’t changed in three days. You are still hot. YOU ARE.
Your body has been through a massive hormonal shift.
Possibly more than once.
Maybe also involving trauma.
Wherever you land after all of that is simply where you land.
Your body, your sex drive, your desires, is nothing to feel guilty about. There is no one that you need to fix them for, except yourself. And this must be understood: You do not ever, ever have to engage in any sexual activity because you 'owe it' to your partner. Sex is not the rent you pay for a relationship.
Desire is a part of our humanity - what we want and when, how much and what kind of touch or connection we need is part of what defines us.
If you want to be having more sex I say YES, go for it mama! How can your partner better entice you? What can you do to care for your body so that you’re ready? What support do you need to get there? Let’s start having these conversations.
If you want to be having less sex I say YES, listen to your whole self! How can you and your partner communicate around this so that you both feel loved and cared for? Is this because of a physical condition that you need support with? Are you at a stage of your life where you simply aren’t as interested and you’re comfortable with that? Let’s start having these conversations.
Has the type of sex that you’re interested in changed?
Have your desires changed?
Is it harder to make time now because there are other humans living in your house who don’t really care what you think a closed door means?
Are you trying to figure out your sex life while co-sleeping with a baby or child?
Do you want to feel sexy and interested again, but you’re having trouble getting there?
Are you less attracted to your partner now because their body has changed, as well?
Wherever you are – however you’re feeling – please know that you aren’t alone. It isn’t just you. Human sexuality is complicated. Parenthood is complicated. Mixing the two can get to quantum physics levels of complication.
And that’s mostly because we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about it inside our relationships, we don’t talk about it in our groups with other mothers, and we don’t talk about it in our friendships. We’re all so scared of the judgment we’ll face if we tell the truth.
What is it that you want? Do you know?
This isn't only about sex, but about how you want to be touched, what sparks you?
What support do you need to get what you want? How much physical or emotional desire can you access when you're exhausted and stressed? Some of us find touch and sexual activity to be an escape from stress and crave it during emotionally fraught times. But some of us are the opposite and we shut down. And then there's everyone in the middle. There is no one right way to do this. There is no one right way to be a sexual being, but the vast majority of us are.
On one hand, there are more options than ever before – there are therapists and books, toys and websites, groups and medications. On the other hand, there is silence. What do you want to know? Who would you like to ask? Let's start conversations and break the taboos around sex, sexuality, and desire as mothers.
Being a mother does not have to mean giving up desire. Your interests, wants, and needs may have changed. The logistics may have gotten more complicated, but this is not a part of your life that you must lose.
What is it that you desire?