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I’m a prude.

There, I’ve said it.

Sexuality, across the board, makes me uncomfortable. I’m actually feeling skeevy as I write. Can I say that I have acquaintances that are dying their pubic hair? Can I say that a friend put a picture of a naked, albeit gorgeous, guy wearing chaps on Facebook? Eeeee, I feel squirmy, am red of cheek and the hair is standing up on my arms.

In my defense, I must say that the era in which I was raised plays a large role in my distress. At 16, (year 1972) my mother would not allow me to see a then popular movie, Love Story (A young couple meet, fall in love and the woman is diagnosed with cancer). This film ‘alluded’ to the fact that they were having pre-marital sex and my mother would rather I be blinded than watch such, “atrocities.”

I lost my virginity at 18 and concurrently had my first panic attack. The guilt that I felt was without merit. Of course, my Catholic upbringing was a huge contributing factor to this self- reproach. A good Catholic has sex to procreate, does not use birth control and ABSOLUTELY does NOT enjoy it. Obviously, I was on a one way journey to hell.

Interestingly, I was not liberated with the passage of time. Society did a one-eighty, yet I was left behind. The media went from bodies covered to displaying most. Never donning short shorts, crop tops or hiphuggers, I found it difficult to be stylish. A bit heavy as a young adult, I looked masculine as I wore huge t shirts and guy’s Levi jeans.

Certainly uncomfortable with my body, I knew intellectually that I was being ridiculous. My engrained emotional message stuck tightly, however. That message was, “Your body is private, sex is dirty and lust is sinful.” I recall a cartoon in a magazine that seems to sum up my embarrassment; a couple is naked under the bed sheets. Hanging on the wall behind them is a picture of the woman’s parents. They are glaring down at the couple and each has a finger waggling at them.

When I was married, my guilt did dissipate – a bit. I still wrestled with nudity, sexual positions and terminology. Saying, “penis”, for example, is not a word that flows easily from my lips. When a man utters any type of sexual innuendo, I cringe. Here I am, on the verge of elderly, and I can’t allow myself pleasure in this realm.

Are you thinking poorly of me? Do you feel sorry that I am so inhibited? Perhaps you are a twenty or thirty or forty-something lady that can’t quite comprehend my angst.

It would be wonderful if I could nurture the following;

“So sweet and delicious do I become,
when I am in bed with a man
who, I sense, loves and enjoys me,
that the pleasure I bring excels all delight,
so the knot of love, however tight
it seemed before, is tied tighter still.”
― Veronica Franco

Ah, but I’m a prude.



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