The inability to talk about sex with friends and family can foster the toxic idea that it's something to be ashamed of. Louise Cunningham shares the wonderful story of her relationship with her mum, their closeness, and her exposure to the idea of 'mum getting some.'
It was never an awkward conversation topic in my home to discuss sex, contraception, or that rash that had appeared after prom. Being raised by a mother who had devoted her life to working in women’s health, I grew up never being ashamed of my functioning body or sexuality.
While my friends grouped together at lunch to debate in hushed whispers the pros and cons of tampons, I always felt at ease speaking to my mum. She soon became a guide for my friends and me, on the brink of our sexual awakenings. I would regularly be sent home to ask her questions about the implant, and if the ‘pull-out’ method really worked. She continues these discussions today; our chats regularly regard my own sexual health as well as the emotional and carnal side of sex. However, just before Christmas last year the conversation was suddenly flipped around. For the first time, I was exposed to my mum getting some.
The bond between a mother and daughter is perhaps the strongest in the world. Raising my sister and me on her own, she sacrificed her own hobbies and friends to work extra days so that we could afford student halls. She instilled pride, confidence and a work ethic in us that mirrors her own. So, after my sister and I had left the nest she was able to rebuild her social circles, and for the last year has been tagged in more prosecco laden pictures on Facebook than any other 54-year-old you’ve ever encountered. She became my best friend.
Phoning me on a Sunday morning we would laugh over our hangovers, hers induced by cocktails with the girls, mine by Aldi vodka and a night at the union. She would always reiterate stories of the awkward dates that she went on around Glasgow with men from the internet, never imagining that she would stumble upon her future partner in a bar. Nevertheless, as I stood in the kitchen a month later after returning home from uni for Christmas, my mum told me she’d met someone.
I stopped dead. “Have you shagged him?”. For a moment, she looked appalled at her youngest daughter’s crude question. She stared at me obviously plagued with an inner turmoil: should she talk to me as her daughter, or as another sexually active adult? She smiled, “Twice”.
This was a new chapter of our relationship. In the last few months my mum has transcended her title and become my best friend, one where no topic is off limits. It is a liberating experience to comfortably discuss sex with my mum, and have her do so in return. While initially jarring to imagine the woman who birthed you on the sultry saddle, I’ve found that our relationship has never been closer.