Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Being a childfree Catholic

This has been heavy on my mind lately. I don’t talk much about why I don’t want kids because there is already a plethora of blogs, forums and websites that address “childfreedom.” My childfreedom and sexuality are connected though, so it isn’t completely outside the scope of this blog.

It would be inaccurate to say I never ever wanted kids. In high school, I told Mom I would have up to four kids. I even had names picked out for my “future” children. I remember talking about what kinds of toys I would buy, what kind of house I would live in, what I would do with the kids when I got sick of them: “Go outside and don’t come back in until dark!”

Looking back, though, I realize that there is a difference between “planning” for something and “wanting” something. Even though I had some Hallmark images of what being a parent would be like, pregnancy frightened and disgusted me. I also knew there was always the possibility that my kids could grow up to be psychopaths. It rubbed me the wrong way whenever someone said, “The most womanly thing you can do is have a baby,” though at the time, I did not understand why it bothered me…

Growing up, parenthood was never presented as optional, especially not in a Catholic context. If you got married, you had kids, unless something was wrong with your body.

In my mind, sex, marriage and children were all intertwined. The Catholic Church teaches that sex has two functions: building the bond of a married (heterosexual) couple and reproduction. Essentially, sex isn’t fully “sex” unless it is fun for the couple and open to procreation, hence why it should only be done in marriage. Children are supposed to be the physical manifestation/representation of a married couple’s love for each other. So my previous goal was not to marry until I was ready to have kids. Therefore, I did not want to start dating seriously until I was ready to get married. So I really couldn’t start dating until I was ready for kids.

After some extensive soul-searching in my mid-twenties, I realized I will never be “ready” for kids. My life decisions were not leading me to parenthood, and I really wasn’t keen on the idea of being a mom after all. I had become a “fencesitter” in my early twenties. In my mid-twenties, I gladly placed myself on the “childfree” side of the fence.

Right after I came to this realization, I went to a friend’s wedding. During the reception, the priest started talking about the couple’s future family. I thought, “That will never be me up there. I will never get married, because I am never having kids.”

A couple months later, though, I read an article in a local newspaper about married couples who chose not to have kids. I thought, “You can do that?” That idea captured my imagination.

The thought of being married to a man and raising kids with him was weird, uncomfortable, scary, strange, even nauseating. But to just be married to a man, to have all the years of marriage be like everyone else’s “early years of marriage, before the kids were born,” that sounded exciting! Soon after I read that article, I made online dating profiles.

So my childfreedom is actually what motivated me to date. I no longer saw kids as necessary to marriage. Of course, this does not fly in the Catholic (or perhaps any) Church. Human sterilization is actually a “mortal sin” (though you can actually still get married despite being sterilized) and a Catholic marriage has to be open to children. So how do I survive in this Church?

As pro-natal as the Church is, the Church also recognizes the many gifts of single people. Many Catholic saints neither married nor had kids, and the Church points to them as examples of how we should live. Also, because I live in a major Catholic city, I have choices for parishes. I previously attended a parish that mainly held events for families with children and senior citizens. They had nothing for single young adults (without kids). I now attend a parish with a high young adult population. It hosts events for young adults weekly. There is actually a middle-aged married couple who joins in the activities too, and they have no kids. I never asked them why they had no kids, but it inspires me. They found a place. I can too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How does it feel to never have been kissed?

Awful. Crappy. Awfully crappy.

It is easy to say, “I will not have sex until marriage,” when you have never been in the throngs of passion. Am I untouched because I pull my hand away when guys reach for it, or turn my head away when guys lean in for a kiss?


Guys do not reach for my hand, do not lean in for a kiss. Perhaps my virginity has created a “hands-off,” aura around me. This is fine when dirty old men on the corner yell, “Hey! Can I tap that?” This is a problem when I'm with guys I like.

Sometimes, I do want a guy to play with my blouse. But they don't. The only time guys have ever touched me in the bathing suit area was strangers grabbing my butt at a nightclub. Eww.

So when I liked a guy, I have tried to give hints that physical contact was welcome on date number two. While walking together down the street, I made sure that nothing was in my hands, got a hand within a centimeter of his, and kept it open. When riding with the guy in a car, I leaned in, laughed, smiled and held eye contact. I sat next to the guy on the train and got close enough that our thighs touched and arms kept brushing, with all those smiles and eye contact and leaning in. Once on a movie date, I put my arm on the arm rest next to him.


The guy at the movie didn't even do that cliché move of stretching and putting his arm around my shoulders! I just don't know what to do. Either I'm too subtle or the guys are too disinterested. I don't know. I guess I have to sit on the guy's lap, wrap my arms around his neck, stick my face right in his and part my lips.

I don't know if I want to be with a guy who needs such a not-so-subtle hint…

It is difficult to keep being assertive, to initiate contact, when even after you initiate contact, they still do not ask you out. Or when you go out with them, they do not make a move. I try to persist, but it is hard.

So I think, “Let the guys come to me.” I need proof. I have seen what my guy-friends do when they like a girl. They chase, even the shy ones chase. The girls just have to sit and exist. The guys run to them.

Guys are not running after me. I try to watch for a guy who is checking me out, but usually, no one's looking. Once a month, MAYBE one attractive guy will check me out. If I get any male attention, it is from horndogs on the corner.

So whenever my non-virgin friends complain about not feeling sexy, I think, “Well at least someone screwed you!” Some days I think some good guys out there will not just see me as a sweet, nice, intelligent FRIEND who they respect. Yes, guys have told me they “respected me,” and therefore just wanted to stay friends. What? You cannot simultaneously desire and respect the same woman?

Yet sometimes I think, “Stop kidding yourself. You're average-looking at best. You don't have a ‘milkshake,’ no matter how many bellydance classes you take. You are a prude nerd in bellydance clothing. You're holding back a ‘cookie’ that probably isn't even good. What man in his late twenties or early thirties wants to work for bad, virgin sex? You're hopeless. Go play with your cats.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Good Girl’s Guide to Bad Girl Sex: Good and Bad Girl totems

In The Good Girl's Guide…, Keesling talks about good and bad girl totems. Bad girl totems are tangible symbols, objects one has in her home that help reconnect her to her sensual core. At Keesling's home, for example, is a statue of a woman who is posed sensually. According to her, a concrete object placed prominently in your home can help remind you that it is okay to be sexual. It helps set free the bad girl within.

However, in addition to “bad girl” sexual totems, there are also “good girl” totems. Good girl totems are objects from your girlhood that actually reconnect you to your chaste, childish self. These, therefore, can hinder your blooming sexuality. So in addition to placing a conspicuous sexual totem in your home, you also need to get rid of or hide those things that tie you to your inner little girl.

Like most humans, I like the concrete. I do believe external objects can connect us to internal experiences. So I heeded this advice. Looking around my apartment, I realized that I had displayed girlhood objects in my living room and, even worse, my bedroom.

Of course, I am not going to dispose of old keepsake dolls. However, I decided to store most of them out of sight. Only my Scarlett O’Hara doll remains. Even though I received her when I was as a super-chaste teenager, I think it does help reconnect me to my sensuality. Scarlett is definitely a fiery, spirited woman, so I like having her near. I can't say that putting away the toys has completely unleashed my inner vixen, but my apartment does feel different.

I still haven't found a sexual totem though. I mean, Scarlett is okay for now. But she's still a little too safe. She is on display on my living room's “Gone with the Wind” shelf. I need something for my bedroom.

And I have an idea of what I want.

My favorite pin-up girl is Bettie Page. Now I know she posed for some scandalous bondage photos, of which I am not a huge fan (though some are cool). But I love her mischievous smile and “sexy girl next door” attitude. Her little “peep show” dance routines are too funny. She just shakes and prances and teases. I try to channel her spirit whenever I'm on stage. Burlesque in general interests me, though I still haven't gone to a Burlesque show. I want something Burlesque-y or Bettie Page-y. Maybe a poster of her on my wall. Maybe a Burlesque book on displayed on my shelf. Those seem to awaken my dormant “bad girl.”

So here is a taste of my favorite "bad" girl, Bettie.

Follow me on twitter @flamencokitty

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Am I Too Picky?

To celebrate my hundredth post, I'm honoring pickiness!

In our young adult meeting last night, we slipped into talking about dating. After sharing a few of my dating woes, I told the moderator/minister that some of my friends have accused me of being too picky. After a quizzical look, she said, "But it's for the rest of your life. You're looking for someone you want to sit up with when you're seventy." A single mom in the group added, "When you let go of your standards, then you end up with a baby."

It's nice to talk to people who "get" it.

The moderator added, "Now if you're looking for just a little summer love, you shouldn't be picky, but if you're looking for the rest of your life, that's different."

So I googled "picky date," "picky dating,"etc, and found the following pictures. Enjoy!