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Did your parents have weird ideas about sex (and has it affected you?)?

(44 Posts)
ChipOffTheOld Sat 27-Jul-13 23:40:10

Have NCed for embarrassing question!

My mother thought that sex was an unpleasant, dirty kind of act which women had to perform frequently (to the desired standard) if they wanted to keep their man. She thought men were slightly stupid, easily fooled and only interested in one thing.

I was quite proud of myself for not having inherited this line of thought, but as I grow older I keep discovering ways that her warped views have, in fact, affected me. sad I was wondering if anyone else feels like me - that your parents' odd hang ups have come back to bite you on the bum? And has anyone managed to overcome them?

Andro Sun 28-Jul-13 00:06:53

The only (in today's society) vaguely unusual idea was that sex outside of marriage was inappropriate and would not be tolerated in their house - not a surprise with 2 fairly strict Catholics. There have been no long term effects.

PosyNarker Sun 28-Jul-13 00:15:37

Yes - similar to your mother and although it wasn't malignant (they were / are happy) a female with her own desires was not rec

QueenofWhispers Sun 28-Jul-13 00:31:52


my grandmother made sex sound like rape; she equated the feeling to having her skin peeled off.

the idea of sex would give me anxiety to the extent that I would scratch my forearms raw when someone flirted with me in highschool/university.

and then one day I fell in love with a very patient and gentle man whose family had also scared him from sex (religious reasons).

when we finally did dtd (after we were married) it was amazing and we both wish we had started the day we met.

RhondaJean Sun 28-Jul-13 00:53:25

Yes to the point the only two bits if advice my mother gave me about sex were " I'd rather have a cup of tea" and " men get selfish make him wear something".

I didn't - still don't - know how to reconcile that I like to fuck with my religious upbringing. I do t know how to talk to dds about it eurher.

LegoCaltrops Sun 28-Jul-13 00:54:37

I didn't realise how you got pregnant until I was 17. I'd missed some school due to illness, so I don't know if I missed 'the lesson' or if there was even one, but no-one ever told me properly. This made it quite difficult to explain on one occasion, why I thought I might be pregnant (I had let a boy kiss me & we were alone in his bedroom) & when I fearfully told my mum more or less that sentence, instead of asking me what had actually happened, she assumed the worst & appeared with a MAP. I spent the next 24 hours vomiting & she spent them saying it was my own fault for behaving like a slut. I was only 14 & had no idea what I'd done.

I suspect this probably had some bearing on my anxiety around sex, I'm in my 30's now. I also never really opened up to my mum much after that. I never told her why though as it was just too hurtful.

cooeeyonlyme Sun 28-Jul-13 01:01:12

My mum was sexual abused as a child so growing up we were told that sex was wrong.
Horrible really.

FlatsInDagenham Sun 28-Jul-13 01:07:48

My parents had a very good sex life and were quite open about it. I can remember a book hanging around the house in full view of all of us (I must have been about 13 or so and I was the youngest child) called something like "How to make love to the same person for the rest of your life and still love it." At the time I felt quite embarrased about it when my friends came round and it was just sitting there on the coffee table, so I asked my mum to put it away! She seemed really surprised!

But the long term effects have been positive. I now have fulfilling enjoyable sex with my partner of 21 years - indeed it gets better the longer we're together I'd say.

oracleselfservice Sun 28-Jul-13 06:06:29

My mother PRETENDED for whatever reason known only to herself to be extremely prissy and victorian. Her favourite line was "I'm not your friend I'm your mother". Example - when I told her my friend had lost her virginity to her boyfriend when we were 16 she said "no other men will want her now because she will get a reputation". As a result I told her nothing, asked her nothing and ended up pregnant at 16 (has v early miscarriage thank god). When I told her she revealed she herself had got pregnant at 16 and had a backstreet abortion and I should think myself lucky I didn't have to go through that. She also tried to get me to have a D and C (against my wishes) and after I miscarried (without needing that invasive procedure btw!) Never ever spoke of it to me again. Never offered me counselling, nothing. No talk, nothing.

I found out as an adult she and my Dad were into wife swapping, porn, all sorts of very un-victorian sexual experiences.

I'm not saying she should have been giving me blow by blow details of their swinging parties when I was a teenager but by pretending to be a buttoned up old prune about anything sexual I felt incapable of talking to her as I thought she would judge me for having sexual feelings. Ha! I went on to be a rather promiscuous teenager and have very poor boundaries when it came to sex and allowed myself to be used and disposed of talling myself I was "free", "independent" and in touch with my sexual side.

I still bitterly resent how she was and will certainly not make the same mistakes with my own daughters. I want them to be able to discuss things openly with me and not feel like they will be judged and condemned (hypocritically). I also want them to know their parents are human beings with human weaknesses and not set myself up like some paragon / martyr.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 28-Jul-13 09:44:23

Yes. My mum suffered sexual abuse from several men sad so I can't really blame her for her views, she did her best, but I internalised the whole "men need sex or they don't feel loved" thing and ended up feeling incredibly guilty at times when I didn't want sex as much as my partners. Thankfully with a kind and patient man now who makes it very clear he isn't interested unless I am!

She was quite happy for me to have sex but never wanted to know details, she told me never to come asking for sex tips because she can't be doing with all that. She's been single almost 20 years now and told me in a shocked voice that her neighbour once recommended she buy a vibrator, she thought that it was weird to "care about sex that much". (I couldn't tell her I have several!) It was always cringey if anything we were watching had sex scenes in.
I still find it hard to talk about sex, excruciating to ask for something I want especially if it's not totally vanilla.

DP's family is the total opposite, to the point that I think DP doesn't realise how weirdly open about sex they are. He's managed to attract swingers before and other, single, people assume he is flirting because he can be so forthright. He just thinks it's normal to discuss position or technique or some kind of toy in the pub or with your friends from work confused His sisters bought their mum a "clit kit" from Ann summers when his parents stopped sleeping together as people of that generation often seem to do. I would and could never do anything like that. I wouldn't even talk to my sister about sex I don't think - she's never had a partner though so perhaps it will come in time.

missbopeep Sun 28-Jul-13 10:10:39

Not so much sex per se, but sex outside of marriage.

My parents - I think- have had no other partners except each other and waited until they were married.

When I married DH almost 30 years ago, my parents made him sleep in the spare room at their house 2 months before our wedding. We did live together for a couple of months pre wedding and my parents were embarrassed about this in front of their friends.

During my teenage years my parents were very protective and strict and warned me that boys would always ' get carried away' and that it was my role to stop them!

I think the overall message was that boys had urges, women didn't and it was our role to fight them off until they put a ring on our finger.

My dad used to talk along the lines of 'why [should men] buy into marriage if they can get what they want ( sex) without the commitment.'

CVSFootPowder Sun 28-Jul-13 10:27:05

My mum was very open about the processes involved in sex, and bought me a helpful book when I was quite young and had started to ask questions.
But the technical details, the 'how-to', all came shrouded in the message that sex was saved for someone you love, preferably only after marriage. In fact the sex / love thing was so ingrained in me that I mistakenly spent a couple of years in my mid teens thinking that if a guy wanted to have sex with me, it meant that he loved me. shock.
Obviously this skewed vision of sexual desire caused a lot of heartache when I was first sexually active.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 28-Jul-13 12:21:20

A bloke writes: my dad summoned up the courage after six pints to tell me this

"Three for her, one for you. Outside the family, inside the species, no new holes. Right, put the cricket back on".

Yup, works for us.

MargeSimpsonzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 13:34:52

Yeh, I think I inherited a view that succumbing to any sort of unnecessary (sexual) relationship was a bit silly, a self-destructive needless weakness. I never brought boyfriends home. I would have been too embarrassed. I only ever brought home my children's father,and that was sort of embarrassing too. When we split up, I knew my mother thought that there would be 'no point' to having a new partner ever again, now that I had kids.

To admit to her that I would like to meet somebody else one day would feel like admitting to a very self-indulgent weakness. and she is married, so she has companionship. But for me to admit to needing or wanting that too would make me feel so embarrassed.

MargeSimpsonzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 13:43:37

......... and so I'm not pro-active about looking for a man. I never try. I never flirt. And men certainly don't come to me as I'm in my early forties with two children and I only meet married women on a day to day basis really. So I probably will be alone for ever. My mum would approve though!

Diagonally Sun 28-Jul-13 13:50:10

Yes - sex was never discussed in our house at all. Worse though, I think, was that my parents never displayed any physical affection towards each other (or, for some years, any affection at all).

They are more affectionate now but by most peoples standards I would say still far from 'normal'.

The other damaging aspect was that I was taught that men, and men's needs, are more important than a woman's.

That has been hardest of all to deal with. Intellectually I reject it but emotionally it gets me every single time.

I have experienced rape, sexual abuse, emotional and financial abuse over a number of relationships and have problems with intimacy and boundaries.

Trying hard to change the scripts.

ChipOffTheOld Tue 30-Jul-13 16:34:21

I'm sorry I didn't come back before now - I forgot I'd name-changed! blush

There are some really sad stories here. sad It has been very helpful though to see that I'm not the only one affected like this. For many people it seems that you were given the idea that sex outside marriage is wrong, which I see must have been really tough when you were first experimenting and so on, but am I right in thinking this is much easier for you to deal with after you are married yourself?

For me the problem seems to be the other way round. When I first left home I congratulated myself on being all liberated and enjoying sex a lot, including what I thought were some quite adventurous goings-on. I was very proud of myself in terms of my sexual confidence. But as I've married and got older I have started becoming like my (not very D)M. I catch myself saying things I've heard her say, and the whole idea of sex now seems like a chore that women have to do to appease their husbands (ugh!). I vowed I'd never be this way but I somehow feel that sex is dirty - and not in an exciting sense! I don't know what has happened to me.

ChipOffTheOld Tue 30-Jul-13 16:37:05

Diagonally my parents seem much like yours and I have had similar experiences. It sucks, doesn't it?

I start to think that sexually confident young woman I was was just a sham, a way of gaining men's approval and not based on anything real in me. And now I'm married I don't want to put up a sham persona. Which has left me with...nothing. sad

badguider Tue 30-Jul-13 16:37:10

Mine just didn't talk about it at all... I still find talking about it hard (even though I have no problems with the doing of it at all).

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 30-Jul-13 16:40:49

That doesn't sound good sad How come you feel like sex is a chore now, do you think? Is it because your husband treats it as something which is expected or your responsibility?

I know how it can take the shine and enjoyment right off to see it as a chore. It got that way with my ex, but it isn't that way with my DP at all.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 16:45:32

My mum was very victorian and sex was a dirty word in our house - I couldn't ask her anything, when I started my period you would think I had committed a crime, her reaction was weird, almost like oh my god, now you can actually get pregnant. Nothing changed, I learnt the hard way. I worry about my friend who is middle aged and sleeps with every man she meets on the first night, she tells me she's horny and is having a great time, but I think she feels lonely and is looking for love so even a shag is giving her some intimacy, I was shocked at the wknd when she said she had a sore bottom, I was like, why? and she said, well I brought this guy back and....I had to put my hand up and say TMI lol!

I have myself no hang ups whatsoever with regards to sex and have always and still do enjoy it.

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 30-Jul-13 16:47:10

Ah I see - yes I have had that too. I sort of enjoyed it for the attention, for the effect it had on men and the sense of power I got from it. Then once I was in a long term relationship it became boring very quickly - not helped by the fact my ex was selfish in bed and interested in his own orgasm (and mine only if it was flashy/made him feel good somehow). His sex drive far outswamped mine and he started expecting "maintenance" shags/favours/whatever in between. It did become a chore and the little interest and enjoyment I had had in it died.

I can't explain why it is different with DP, it just is. It's never felt like a chore, and the enjoyment of it is different even. More of a connection rather than a power play sort of thing.

Jan45 Tue 30-Jul-13 16:52:45

It's weird that from time long ago men were to have their needs met and women were to provide the pleasure - thank god we've now realised that sex is enjoyable for us too, why else do we have a bloody clitoris?

welshharpy Tue 30-Jul-13 17:10:40

Same as you Jan45, sex and anything at all to do with it was NEVER mentioned at all when I was growing up. I didn't even tell my mum when my periods started as I found it excruciatingly embarassing! (Think she twigged eventually when half of her tampax was disappearing every month, although even then she didn't mention it and never has to this day.)
That experience growing up has made me very open with our dc and I am happy to answer any questions at all, she is not afraid to ask and I am very glad we have a much more open and close relationship where anything can be discussed.

venusandmars Tue 30-Jul-13 17:34:15

Like several others, I was given a very strong message that sex was only for within a married relationship. I remember getting a very stern lecture when I questioned my parents about a holiday they had taken (with friends) before they had married and they made it clear that they were hurt and shocked that I had even considered that they might have had sex before they were married.

I managed to put my own values above theirs though, and I have had very happy sex before marriage, and after marriage.

The longest lasting effect is that I was always told "no boys allowed upstairs" In my Mum's mind: upstairs = bedroom = sex The problem is that I now live in an upside-down house with the bedrooms on the ground floor, and every time I invite a guest to 'come upstairs' I blush as though I'd given them an open invitation to have sex with me blush

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