Matron vs Maternal

My mother’s family is mostly women. As in, biologically, for several generations baby girls out number the baby boys something like 2 to 1. Some math to prove it: my maternal grandmother and her siblings: 5 girls, 1 boy. My mother’s generation: 9 girls, 3 boys. My generation: 11 girls, 5 boys. My children’s generation (and they are the eldest) 4 girls, 3 boys and that is just so far. We produce a new generation on average every 20 years. That is a lot of pink. That is a lot of pregnant women. That is a lot of sex. In fact, when I think of my mother’s large family I often think of hot pink leopard print and liquid eye-liner. The women in my family are sexy. The women in my family are mothers. As a little girl, I internalized that being a mother is sexy.

My sex ed came from listening to the women in my family talk to each other.  There is a funny story of me as a 3 year old putting a maxi-pad in my Wonder Woman Underoos because my grandmother was on her way over to visit and I wanted to show her that I was a big-girl too. I was really good at pretending to not pay attention to the grown ups when really I was riveted to the conversations between my mom and her aunts, and my aunts and their mother.

I did not have strong male role models. I was not raised in a church of any kind.  I did not participate in any organized sports. My father and step father deferred the parenting to my mother and grandmother. So, ya, though we live in a patriarchal culture, my immediate upbringing was organically matriarchal. And you know what that means? Whatever those women thought was important was all that mattered in my little world. And sex was important to them. Sex is an important part of being a mother. Being a biological mother means my body and I have gone on a journey together. I have an intimate relationship with my reproductive organs that has nothing to do with a partner.

I do not have a matron vs maternal dichotomy. I have never thought of sex as something to grow up from. I have no aspirations to graduate into a respectable sexless being. My grandmother is in her 70’s and can easily be described as hot. Maternity is hot. Responsibility is hot. Taking care of your loved ones is hot. Knowing how to satisfy your needs is hot.  I trust my body, I value my body and I want to please my body, and THAT is hot. Being sexually active while fulfilling the needs of my children is me being a whole person, and whole is incredibly hot. Why does that sound so radical? One does not have to take away from the other. It is a balance. It is a blend. And it is sexy.

Airial Clark

As of May 2012, I will have completed my Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. Prior to attending graduate school, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2007 with a double major BA in English Literature and Anthropology while raising two young sons as a single parent. At Cal, I was President of the Student Parent Association. I am a regular contributor to the Sex Positive Photo Project of the SF Bay Area and Shades Magazine. I have presented my original research at multiple academic conferences and symposiums. I will be presenting my Master’s Thesis Study at the OpenSF Conference this June. I have trained with Community at Work to be a group facilitator and am fully committed to the participatory process of decision making.

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