My son will turn twelve next week. Last Saturday he held a girl’s hand as he escorted her to the center of the gym in a Stockton Stake Center to learn the Waltz. “Were you nervous?” I asked. He wasn’t.
“But she was. I could tell.” And then I remembered being a twelve-year-old girl, wearing pink Chapstick and mascara, and using Avon Self-Tanning Lotion that made orange streaks on my legs. I remembered Robbie, the freckled boy up the street that I had a crush on. He liked me back. One night I snuck out of the window with almost all the girls at my slumber party and we ran up the street in our pajamas to meet him. He and I snuck away for a few moments to the secluded corner of his carport where he asked me the long awaited question, “Will you go with me?” I was delighted to say no, almost as delighted as I was to have him ask. The satisfaction that he had asked, that somehow I had wiled him into liking me, was enormous. I was desirable. I was in control.
In Kathryn Soper’s brilliant article Why Standard Nights are Substandard, and subsequent essay Emergence she begins by exploring the way chastity is almost always addressed within LDS culture. Continue reading
Today’s Up Close post comes from Nan, a cheery and clever woman who delights in her expedition. In her words: “I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house and ward in Northern Utah. In the decade and a half since, I’ve had 30 different addresses in places as remote as Orange, Australia to the cosmopolitan Houston, Texas. In my professional life I’ve mostly been a teacher; in my private life I’m most comfortable being a wife and a mother. I post under the name scienceteachermommy on a blog titled Nomad. I’m grateful for each lesson taught and each friend encountered on the journey.”
[Picture is her tenth anniversary trip; hiking the Navajo Trail in Bryce Canyon just after sunrise.]
The first year of marriage was hard for me. I thought it was because my independent streak and need for alone-time were too powerful to make living with another something that came naturally; hadn’t I had the same difficulty on my mission? I certainly wasn’t conflicted about marriage, but I was fairly ambivalent toward the whole having-kids-thing and was motivated by career dreams.
I didn’t know whom to talk to about my difficulties. I’d never met anyone who suggested the first year of marriage was anything but bliss: a never-ending honeymoon. More than one friend told me with a wink and a smile that if you put a jellybean in a jar every time you had sex the first year, you could eat one of those jellybeans every time you were intimate in the years after and never run out. I hate jellybeans. I was also told that women give sex to get love, and that men show love to get sex. Continue reading
It’s getting warmer here in Australia, Spring slowly rolling into Summer. The rosellas are flirty, all coy glances and side shimmies towards each other, working out who they’re going to fly away with. More skin is being bared in town as bikinis and boardies reappear after winter’s chill. Sand sugars calves, bellies and shoulders, enticing me to the beach, the sea, the sun.
I wake in the middle of the night, too warm in the flannelette sheets, an ache low in my belly, skin throbbing from a disappearing dream. There’s a bird calling from somewhere nearby, pausing to listen for an answer that – as yet – hasn’t come. The cadence of the call soothes my impatient twitching as I consider the ceiling and lie there, waiting. Waiting for my pulse to slow, the burn to ease, for sleep to drag me back to senselessness. Continue reading
I started my lecture that Thursday morning by polling the students in the upper division family science course I was teaching at BYU.
“How many of you had ‘the talk’ with your parents?”
25% of my students in my raised their hands.
“How many had homes where sexuality was discussed openly and on repeated occasions?”
Again 25% of my class raised their hands.
“How many of you never had any discussions with your parents about intimacy and sexuality?” 50% of my class raised their hands.