I grew up in a naked house. My Mum, Joyce, was happiest walking around our small flat with no clothes on – or, when my sisters and I would complain that she was ‘embarrassing us’ with her nakedness – a very thin, silk dressing gown that she would rarely bother to fasten. As I got a bit older, I realised that in fact, I too enjoyed that certain feeling of freedom that only seems to come from being completely naked. I used to sit naked with my mum on the seat by the bay window in our flat which looked out onto the street when the moon was high and the streets were quiet. We would listen to Eddie Reader, and my Mum would sometimes talk to me about how my body would change one day.
We talked a lot about puberty and relationships, I think more than most girls my age did with their mothers. At the time I couldn’t have told you why we spoke so often about such things, and I don’t think my mum could have either. I think I understand it now. My mum died when I was 13 years old.
To state the obvious, my life changed a lot after she died. I had to move into a new house with a new woman to look after me. The naked days were over, and I went through puberty and my teenage years without Joyce by my side, reminding me that everything I was experiencing was just what we had talked about when I was younger – nothing unexpected, nothing to be afraid of. I spent my teenage years full of angst about my body – it was fine, even beautiful by conventional standards at times, but I was obsessed with my appearance and terrified of judgement from others.
Today, I am much less concerned with how I look, but my body and i don’t have the same relationship that we once did. This disconnection between me and my body is manifested most strongly where sex and intimacy are concerned. I haven’t had very many sexual relationships, but those I have had have not been particularly pleasurable for me. I can’t help feeling that there’s something I’m missing in sex – when other people talk about the joy they have experienced through sexual experiences I feel jealous because for me, sex was always mostly about trying to enjoy myself with a man, failing, and then enduring sex for the sake of intimacy rather than it being something I really wanted (DON’T WORRY – I REALISE HOW MESSED UP THIS WAS!)
I have learned a lot about consent in the past couple of years, and realised that having sex when I didn’t feel like it for such a long time (most of a 3 year relationship) has left me feeling quite damaged, and definitely out of sync with my body and my desires. The first sexual experience I had with a man where we talked about what we wanted from sex together and maintained that communication the entire time we were being physically intimate was earlier this year, and it was incredible. We were only together for a brief period, but meeting him was really important because it has assured me that I can relate to sex in a positive way.
Somewhere in the past 10 years, I lost my body, but I’m determined to feel comfortable in my own skin again, and I really believe that I will.
Tonight, I sat by the window in my room, completely naked, watching the moon and listening to Eddie Reader.
by an anonymous woman