Here’s a good chicken-and-egg question: which came first, society seeing moms as asexual, or moms putting themselves in that asexual role?
This conundrum struck me while reading the Maclean’s article, “Why These Shoes Matter More Than an M.B.A.” The article featured Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, , former Senior Research Fellow for the London School of Economics.
According to Hakim, “If women exploited their sex appeal when climbing the corporate ladder, they would be way ahead of men.” She is, of course, stirring the feminist pot and, yet, I believe a lot of what she espouses to be true.
To stir the pot even further, and add to her theory, I believe women lose a lot of their so called "Erotic Capital," once they become moms.
Esther Perel’s wonderful book, Mating in Captivity, talks about how North American men, generally, see pregnant women and mommies as asexual. It was only men from non-Anglo Saxon roots that would flirt with moms.
I thought it an interesting observation, that is, until I became pregnant with my first child. With the first bloom of baby-bump, men shifted their focus to seeing me as a “Madonna.” Then, once I sported said baby on my hip, I officially became asexual.
But the full effects of becoming asexual didn’t hit home until six months after giving birth. On a media tour (and childless), I was rushing through an airport wearing a fabulous clingy dress with smashing stiletto heels. (See me in the above photo with Fanny Keifer from Studio 4.) I was so preoccupied with not falling over as I teetered along—it had been at least a year since I wore high heels—that I almost didn’t notice men looking at me. At first, I thought it a lucky one-off. But no. One fellow even stopped mid-tracks and nudged his friend.
For just a moment, things went into slow motion and became surreal. I had gotten so used to being invisible to the opposite sex. Not that men didn’t find me attractive. It was more like I had a big imaginary mommy-off-limits “X” crossed out in front of me.
At first, I chastised myself for being so shallow and needing other people’s validation. But after a bit of navel gazing, I discovered it was much more than that. Somewhere, somehow, I allowed myself to be okay with being invisible; maybe even encouraged it by buying into the “well, I’m a mommy now, so I come second” mentality.
You see, ninety-five percent of the time, I’m in full-on mommy mode, which can only be described kindly as "frumpy." This, even when I’m making an effort to look nice for when I drop my child off at playschool.
I’ve been to airports with my kids in tow, and I’ve not garnered even a second glance. It’s my kids who get all of the attention.
When I compare those two people rushing through the airport, frump-mom has zero Erotic Capital. Clingy dress, stiletto-wearing woman has a lot of Erotic Capital.
Which makes me wonder: Is it simply the change in confidence, or the lack of kids that makes the difference?
It was then that I understood why so many moms no longer feel attractive/sexy/sexual. Even if they are. It is, in part, the acceptance of being invisible to the opposite sex when they are in full-on mommy mode.
And so, perhaps by genetic predisposition, once a woman bears another man’s child, she loses her Erotic Capital. But the bigger question remains: is this a part of the reason why women aren’t able to earn as much once they become moms?
The Today Show did a segment on the book Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James. The interview first showed a group of suburban moms reading, enjoying, and feeling more sexual because of this book; yet the interview’s focus was how this type of book is degrading to women. Watch video.
For those who haven’t heard of this book, it’s an erotica book cloaked in a ‘love story.’ Christian Grey wants to dominate young and innocent Anastasia, and he wants her to be his submissive.
How do you explain to people who don’t believe fantasy is a good thing, that a book about BDSM fantasy (bondage discipline sado masochism) is an okay read? Not easy. But this interview, in my opinion, is everything that is wrong with how our society acts and reacts to things that are outside the heterosexual-monogamous sex box.
They brought in some heavy hitters to discuss this book. A clip of Dr. Laura Berman came on first and she explained that women do want and like the bodice-ripping type of fantasy.
Back in The Today studio, host Savannah Gunthrie turned to her guest and wanted validation that the novel is, “Extremely disturbing,” and that it is, “Quite frankly, violence against women.”
First she asked Dr. Logan Levkoff, who disagreed with Savannah that the book was disturbing and went on to talk about how fantasy and erotica are healthy. Not getting the response that she wanted, Savannah then turned her attention to Dr. Drew Pinsky, who was also disturbed and felt this novel, “Went beyond fantasy and into actual violence against women.”
On the heels of this interview, Dr. Drew appeared on HLN with his wife—who loved the book—and brought out the fancy technical word, "pathology" to describe the sexual experience in this book. Pulease!
I just can't understand why after having a long-running radio program and many TV shows on the topic of sex, Dr. Drew is so completely sex-negative. The only thing I can surmise is that he is pandering to the media, because the average American still believes this type of thing is morally wrong. It's truly a shame the way he's selling out to make a buck. Watch Canada.com video.
Now don’t get me wrong, this type of read isn’t for everyone. From the Amazon.com reviews it’s clear that readers either love Fifty Shades of Grey or they hate it. And it probably has to do with the book being based in the world of BDSM.
What I think is interesting, is how the American press is vilifying this type of female fantasy, again. In 1973, Nancy Friday gathered women’s fantasies and published My Secret Garden. Many of these average gal’s fantasies were about being dominated, just like Anastasia.
Similar to Fifty Shades of Grey, there was a big outrage by the press saying it was "harmful" to women.
Over 250,000 (and counting) women have bought Fifty Shades of Grey, showing that some women really love this type of fantasy. It turns them on and makes them feel sexy and sexual.
Being titillated by erotica is as natural as breathing, and an incredibly easy way to get turned on.
If Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t appeal to you, please don’t give up on erotica. This book may not be your thing, but there are a lot of other story lines that will appeal to you. Click here to read a hot little something, by Richard K. Monroe. (Here's a second story if you like that!)
And for the sake of women's sexual emancipation world wide—sorry to be dramatic, but I feel that strongly—simply ignore the media and Dr. Drew when they tell you that it is harmful. It's not.
You reading erotica and being sexually titillated is good...VERY good.
Getting gifts during a holiday, like Valentine's Day, is always nice (and hopefully appreciated).
However, it's the non-holiday days of the year when we receive a little something that really can bring those magic, filled-with-intimacy moments. It takes you back to those nostalgic 'newbie days' when you wrote each other love notes, endless emails and texts, and bought cards and gifts to express your love.
Let's be clear: a gift does not automatically equal sex. Rather it's the thought you put into the gift that gets the ear-to-ear smile—that then creates the intimacy—that can get you a little something.
Buying presents doesn't have to be a big and expensive ordeal. Small gifts are just as good.
Here are some 'girly' ideas to get you started. Buy or make three small gifts:
one gift is to nourish the mind
another to nurture the body
the last one to warm the heart
Your gifts can include: her favorite magazine or book; a favorite chocolate; or a CD of their favorite music.
Wrap each one individually and present the gifts to them over dinner. Even better: surprise your lover.
More important than the gifts themselves: Tell her why you chose each gift as she unwraps each one.