Friday, March 20, 2015

Sex and Irish Girls


We were on the phone, an old Ontario friend and I, speaking of sex of all things. We're the same age.

I don't know how the topic came up. We meandered around the PIV (penis-in-vagina) kind, how overrated, how quick, how we've all been programmed into thinking that this is the epitome of heterosexual genital bliss, supposedly transporting one to paradise in the time it would take to softboil an egg.

I can only speak of heterosexual sex. Though I was approached by women a few times, once by a famous female singer backstage at an event where she was the star. I was merely helping out in her dressing room. I was 19-20 and thought homosexuality was restricted to males only. Her suggestion to me, or rather as to what she'd like to do to me, was baffling to my far-too-innocent ears. It involved the words "go" and "down". What did I do? I laughed, thinking she was making a joke about dancing. I still remember her rolling those heavily mascaraed false eyelashes and sighing deeply and then shrugging as she asked me to light her cigarette.

The RC church in Ireland then was pre-Victorian in thinking. PIV was the only way. Of course come to think of it, it's still the only way for the RCs. Unless you're an ordained male cleric, of course.

Girl people in my time were sent out into the world with absolutely no knowledge of sex. None. My sexual instructions boiled down to:
Never let a man touch you below the neck or above the knee.
and
If you let down your guard you can be violated and it's all your fault as you tempted him.
and:
Sitting on a toilet seat once occupied by a man could result in your accidently infecting yourself with his seeds and becoming pregnant.

And a girl who allowed or attempted or had such things befall her? Locked up for life, a slave in a laundry with nun-beatings 4 times a day.(And today we have the nerve to point at burqas and niqabs as regressive?)

I remember at the age of 14 binding my own breasts as I was so intimidated by the leers of men walking towards me on the street, knowing if anything happened such as violation - whatever that was - it would be all my fault.

I'm not joking.

To be continued......

11 comments:

  1. I began a comment, but it is more like a post, so I'll pick up from you on my own blog!

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  2. Dammit, you are SO not a name-dropper! :)

    The few times I've been hit on by a woman, I had no idea that's what was up. I just thought hey, this is a very friendly and open woman, as we all should be! What a rube.

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  3. Are men allowed on your blog? I think I saw a male comment or two on previous posts. Anyway, I found you thru Friko, and I like your stuff (no sexual innuendo intended!) But it doesn't sound to me that the Irish RC upbringing was an awful lot different from the New York RC upbringing, as I remember it from 50 years ago. Which, in turn (to hear my partner B tell it) wasn't an awful lot different from her uptight Protestant upbringing. We've come long way ... some good, some not do good, some just different.

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  4. Fifty years ago, girls in Catholic schools couldn't wear patent leather pumps, lest boys see their knickers.

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  5. Our book club was discussing Mary Karr's memoir last week. Some of the others assumed Karr hadn't told anyone about a molestation because of her family dynamics, but I kept insisting that so many girls in that era would have assumed that they'd somehow brought that violation on themselves. We were Protestant, but it was all our responsibility. Even as young girls. Five-year-olds shamed if we sat with our knees apart.

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  6. It's a good thing that attitudes to sex and sex education have become more enlightened and are no longer surrounded by a sense of shame and humiliation and female guilt. Unfortunately what we now have instead is a widespread rape culture where many men still feel entitled to use sex to intimidate women.

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  7. I believe you. It was as awful for me as it was for you.

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  8. Although I wasn't raised in a repressive religious environment, I still dealt with other issues that made sex a shameful issue. I'm thankful I got past that because it's one of my favorite things. (And I personally like PIV - there's something about the merging of bodies that is wonderful to me and there's no reason why it has to be quick.)

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  9. Although I wasn't raised in a repressive religious environment, I still dealt with other issues that made sex a shameful issue. I'm thankful I got past that because it's one of my favorite things. (And I personally like PIV - there's something about the merging of bodies that is wonderful to me and there's no reason why it has to be quick.)

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