I look in my daughters eyes and I don’t want to think about it. There is innocence in them. Her worst nightmares are still that someone stole her cookie. She doesn’t know real horror, and I will have to prepare her for it while hoping it never happens.
I want her to find sex pleasurable. It’s a strange thing to think about when she is five. Her future sex life. I don’t want her to have the questions I had though. I don’t want her to wonder if she enjoys things because they are fun or because something broke her. I want it to be simple.
This is not to say, I don’t want it to be simple for my son. I do. I just worry about him differently. Some things are inherently simpler. His enjoyment of sex won’t be judged as harshly as hers. His clothing choice won’t be scrutinized for potential rape blaming. His flirtation won’t be the reason his assaulter goes free. It’s just different.
With my daughter, on the other hand, I have to walk a fine line of sex positivity. I want her to enjoy sex. I want her to feel confident in her choice of style. I want her conversation to be open, relaxed. But I have to prepare her for when sex goes wrong. I not only have to tell her that sometimes sex isn’t always good, but that often people will line up to tell her exactly what she did wrong when sex is bad. I have to look in those not yet corrupted eyes and tell her that her cleavage, her laughter, he sexual history are all on the table when someone rapes her.
But that’s not all.
I am also going to have to look in those eyes and tell her “no” when she wants to wear the high cut skirt to a party. I am going to have to look in those eyes and tell her to keep a close eye on her drinks. I am going to have to look in those eyes and tell her be wary of flirting, be wary of boys you just met who offer to walk you home just like you are wary of walking home alone.
I have to look in her eyes and tell her the the things that may make her fear sex. I have to walk the line between mitigating risk and maintaining the attitude that there is nothing wrong with fucking for pleasure, with dressing slutty, with flirting.
And I am not sure how to walk that line.
I can only hope being honest with her, explaining my fears, not pretending like I know everything will strike the necessary balance. Because that is my plan. When she is old enough, I will tell her about my good experiences and my bad. I will tell her about blaming myself and how I learned it wasn’t my fault.
And I won’t blame her if someone steals that innocence from her eyes. I won’t question her clothing. I won’t shame her for the drinks she had. I won’t for one second let her believe she was asking for it.