Privilege

I was recently told that my sexual adventurousness came from a position of privilege. The inference was, that on evidence gathered from my twitter persona and my writings only, I must be privileged since I was obviously sexually adventurous.  This stunned me as exploring my sexuality was actually something that has only recently been an active part of my life.  I was a really late developer and had my first orgasm in my late twenties after I had had two of my four children and was already divorced from my first husband.

Granted I had lost my virginity at the age of thirteen and was sexually active until 14 or so after which I got religion and stayed as far away from being a bad girl as I could until I married at nineteen.  My sexuality was not seen as a good thing by me or by the society I grew up in and I navigated the treacherous waters of desire with one eye shut and the other raised heavenwards in the hope of not getting pregnant or some other shameful outcome.

Somehow sex has always been a poisoned chalice, one that I am prompted to drink out of by my biology, my physiology and my psychology but that could and would ultimately destroy me.  Sex disrupted my second marriage, exposing the bullying, the uncomfortable unequality of gender roles and expectations that no proclamations of love could cover up. It powered through my life scattering all in front of it, razing my my home, my family, my business and my sense of myself in its path.

I have mostly come to terms with this but occasionally this sense of injustice, of unfairness at people’s response to a sexually active woman raises its head again.  I had no freedom to explore without judgement as I married young and then married again quickly afterwards. My choices it’s true, but they were formed from a sense of not wanting to be outside the charmed circle of a happy family and that seemed to be not possible if I was open about being a sexual person. Perhaps this is a self fulfilling prophesy that I need to root out like a particularly persistent weed, I need help with that I think.

Sometimes when I interact with people, mainly men I have to say, I am struck by how easy it is for them to have conversations with me whilst their partners are around, and family life goes on regardless.  They do not have to choose between a mild flirtation and their settled life.  They are able to meet in hotel rooms if they want to, to put expenses through businesses, have nights away without scrutiny and to pursue their own interests.  In the main it is expected that they have a separate part of themselves which is not harnessed to the joint project of family and home and there is no shame in this for them.

The irony is for me that I did not have that privilege in the past but the fact that I have stepped forward into this strange new land that is post long term relationship and mothering somehow is evidence of privilege for in someone else’s eyes.

Maybe privilege is always what the other person has?  Maybe the pronouncement of privilege in others is actually a covered up envy and desire for what we think they have?

I have no answers, I still don’t know how to navigate this part of my life.  I was asked to a sex party via twitter and the invitation was withdrawn when I told them I was outside the advertised age range of the group.  It wasn’t meant to be hurtful, mostly nothing is I find, but I smart at the losses and at the perceived unfairness and then I remember that I have a choice about finding the good and the positive in this moment in my darkening room with the sky tinged turquoise and orange-pink as the sun sets.

It is good to be alive even when it is uncomfortable.

3 thoughts on “Privilege

  1. Isn’t it amazing what one can learn (pronounce?) in 5-10 minutes of reading Twitter-tweets and/or 2 or 3 blog-posts about the person/writer… a complete stranger!? (extreme sarcasm)

    I do find interest, maybe intense intrigue, in the endless varieties of cultures, family demographics, cognitive psychology and evolutionary or transgenerational psychology simply within a small region or group of people. The individual human desire (need) to “fit in” with a group starts at birth with our mothers and only morphs over time and unique individual experiences, but never fully disappears. Not one single person on the planet can live in relative health without another caring loving human being and beings. Hence, where we are born, with whom we are raised, and how we interact with those family-community “values” dictate for at least a THIRD of our lives or more… how it will be lived or not lived. To me, that makes the word “privileged” about as descriptive as singing “All I need is the air that I breath“!

    I find that person’s assessment of you Eye to be crass, let alone precipitous. (rolls eyes)

    It is good to be alive even when it is uncomfortable.

    Indeed! Not all pain or discomfort need be avoided.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not much avoiding going on here but I do try not to wallow. This has been going around in my head for a while . I knew it was also linked to the rescinded invitation but I couldn’t make sense of it until it was out and written.
      Thanks for your comments. I do appreciate them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Privilege! The sneer of the envious in our acquisitive society. We have lived through a strange bubble in the last 150 years. A template for economic success, set by our Victorian forbears, which delineates your sensuality and mine even today. Patriarchal, naturally. Conservative mostly. An unhealthy undercurrent of self-loathing. All feeding into a world which consigned women the roles we have seen. Heavily proscribed. Moribund. Unfair. Promoted and expanded by those two most conservative of forces in the last century- arts and church.
    Only recently have I begun to see the stirrings of a new paradigm and- unsurprisingly- it is led by women. You have lived your life by one set of rules (let’s call it The Maidstone Avenue Playbook)- now you’re moving beyond it. For the correspondent who’s words prompted your thoughtful piece, this is clearly a revolution too far. (It’s no coincidence that, in a time that brought forth the digital age, we can all be guilty of binary thought. Yes/no. Man/woman. Good/bad. Conform/grow). He or she clearly remains stuck in the old duality, unable as yet to question the traditions of the last decades. In all likelihood they are themselves heirs to and enjoy the privileges of economic and cultural freedom but you have what they envy; the courage of self determination. You have felt the unconscious currents beginning to stir beneath the facade of tradition and set off into the new. And they wish you wouldn’t disturb their status quo, exposing all its inadequacies.
    Unhappily it seems you have already found that not all are equal in the brave, new world. In your case the prejudice was one of age. Sadly human nature, being what it is, will seemingly need to define itself by what it is not for many years to come. Even this most free, liberal, fresh milieu in which you now move will fall into this trap. Take consolation in this- you have already moved beyond them, as already they have clearly imposed boundaries on their thought and action that you have not. It is you who would have taught and enlightened them by your example and that is their loss, not yours.
    Regards,
    Kit

    Liked by 1 person

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