Who decides what it means to have no morals? How do we decide how to be in the world? This is just the way I am. That is what my parents taught me growing up. No one is "just the way they are". Change & growth are always possible. It always makes me giggle a little inside when I hear people say: this is just the way I am. Mostly because I recently became aware of a habit I have only because my mother told me to do it as a youngster. It is about that time when I need to start using deodorant. My mother hands me a roller deodorant. She gives me the directive, “Put deodorant on every time after you bathe”. Sometime recently, it dawned on me that I took this literally. I am still putting deodorant on even if my shower is at night & I am about to go straight to bed.
It gets me to wondering what else I’m doing on autopilot just because it is something that I'm taught as a child. In terms of sexuality, I am taught that sex is something we just don’t talk about. Sex is something that is done by bad, bad women. The sum total of my sex talk is: having my period means I should "stay away from boys" (somehow, Mom never said I had to stay away from girls ;-P). Thankfully, I checked out how I feel about sex & sexuality for myself. I feel about sexuality very differently than what I'm taught as a child. I feel great about it. I REFUSE to be shamed by other people's opinions around how I should navigate sexually in the world as a woman.
Let’s think about the terms moral & promiscuous, for example. Who defines what is moral? Am I crazy for thinking that this is yet another area for individual definition? The church I grew up in certainly has other things to say about these terms than what I have come to decide for myself. How many people are following behaviors that they were taught growing up without ever doing a candid self exploration around the topic? I once was told on a date (who I met on an online dating site that shall remain nameless) that since I don’t believe in the Bible, there would be no agreed upon foundation from which the relationship should be governed. Hmm, I’ve dated plenty of people who believe in the Bible & somehow, SOMEHOW, we are able to have a relationship & relations (*ba-dum bum, PSHHH!*) & governed just fine.
Perhaps the issue is the desire to fit our individual (or organized collectives’) definition neatly onto others as if this is a ‘one size fits all’ existence we are all having?
Merriam-Webster.com defines promiscuous as not restricted to one sexual partner. That sounds neutral enough. However, most of the definitions of promiscuous slant towards the negative. Is it negative to have more than one sexual partner if all involved are consenting adults? What about having sex with more than one partner when one is single & honest about it? Does this person not have morals? The first definition of moral on Merriam-Webster.com is: of or relating to principles of right & wrong in behavior. Interestingly enough, the 2nd definition is: probable though not proved : virtual <a moral certainty>. A probable but not proved certainty. How bout that?
I have had people candidly tell me that they secretly have wanted to dance sexy or be a stripper or try burlesque. However, they talk themselves out of it because of things they learned growing up. They feel wrong about trying on anything related to sexy as independent, strong women. I've had SO MANY WOMEN tell me they are scared to come to my sensual dance class. WHAT. Do. They. Think. Is. Going. On in there??? I've had burlesque dancers whisper to me that they too have been strippers as if it should be a secret. I can't help but think that they've probably been taught a thing or two about themselves as sexual beings when growing up that have them hemmed up around sexuality.
So, from the simple putting on of deodorant after every shower to the much more intricate way in which I navigate as a sexual being, I am always checking in with myself. What is authentically what I have come to believe for myself as a grown woman? What has been taught to me that I accepted blindly as a child? Am I still in agreement with the lesson? Sometimes I am, often I'm not.
Am I the only one still putting on the proverbial deodorant after every bathing session or do you have hard to die lessons from family of origin/childhood too? Is it just me?