Magazine article Herizons

Sex and Motherhood Come Together at Conference [Mothering, Sex and Sexuality]

Magazine article Herizons

Sex and Motherhood Come Together at Conference [Mothering, Sex and Sexuality]

Article excerpt

[Graph Not Transcribed]

(TORONTO) Mothers need a sex book of their own, say Anne Semans and Cathy Winks, keynote speakers at the Association for Research on Mothering's conference on Mothering Sex and Sexuality.

Semans and Winks are the California based co-authors of The Mother's Guide to Sex: Enjoying Your Sexuality Through All Stages of Motherhood, a new book on maternal sexuality.

The women opened the conference with a frank and entertaining talk based on their interviews with over 700 women. Although there is a lot written on mothering and also on sex, the fields run on "parallel tracks that don't really intersect."

Semans and Winks believe that mothers need to face down shame and fear. "Mothers receive precious little support around sex" from the medical system and elsewhere, so "we need to get it from each other."

This opening keynote address set the stage for much of what was to follow, namely the exploration of maternal sexuality by 100 plus people in attendance.

One of the more lively and contentious panels focused on breastfeeding and the maternal/sexual breast. Penny Van Esterik, an Anthropology professor at York University, argued that "breastfeeding is one aspect of female sexuality which is suppressed by patriarchy." She described the way in which breastfeeding may be sensual in its "blurring of body boundaries" in spite of the maternal breast being seen socially as specifically and only a non-sexual breast. Her T-shirt illustrated her point - the front read "Breastfeeding: Everybody's doing it" and the back listed a series of innuendo laden quotes along the lines of "I do it standing up" and "We like to do it at the movies. …

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