Psychoanalyst and Huffington Post columnist McFadden offers insight and honesty in a discussion of the healthy ways mothers can help their daughters grow comfortable and knowledgeable about their sexuality.
In August 2005, the author launched the Women’s Realities Study, a research project that aimed to take the pulse of modern women by asking open-ended questions about relationships, motherhood and mental health, among others. Her intended goal was to create a companion piece to the classic Our Bodies, Ourselves. Mission accomplished. The author clears away the heavy clouds that overshadow topics many daughters do not learn about from their mothers (and which mothers often dread sharing with their daughters): menstruation, masturbation and sex. For generations, embarrassment, shame and even fear have kept this crucial information from being handed down to daughters. McFadden stresses that mothers must learn to value their own sexuality and to lead by example. This position is one many women may strain to achieve, however, as historically society has pigeonholed women into neatly gift-wrapped boxes with nothing “dirty” showing through the seams. “No matter how sexually alive [a woman] was before, as soon as she becomes a mother, we act as though her erotic life is over,” writes the author. McFadden provides examples of mothers willing to take on and embrace these changes, and how they do so with trust, warmth and often space. There are hurdles to cross and backs to be straightened when it comes to this topic, but daughters need their mothers, and it’s time they heard their voices.
An empowering resource for mothers and daughters everywhere.