Friday, January 11, 2008

Bad Scripts

For years I have been trying to coax my wife into a more enlightened perspective on sexuality. Though she has long since abandoned her catholic upbringing, she clearly was influenced by years of being told about all of the things that good girls do not do and being told that all things that relate to sex are nasty and sinful. Don’t get me wrong she is very open minded, a good sport and even adventurous. So we have had some nice exciting escapades over the years. Many times she has even showed definite signs of enjoying herself. But she always feels compelled to discount her pleasure. A lot of this has to do with the scripting that we are given such as good catholic girl.

Unfortunately, a lot of it also comes from the negative examples of jerks. Recently, my wife, who teaches elementary school, had just such an experience. One of her students went from being a well behaved good student to being a royal pain in the ass almost over night. She called the parents and, as she suspected, things had not been so great at the boy’s home. The parents had split up and were fighting. She had a conference with the boy’s mother and they came up with some strategies for making the best of the situation. Not much was said about the father but my wife had the sense that maybe he was a good deal of the problem even though the mother did not say much about him; or maybe because the mother did not say much about him. About three weeks went by and things, while not perfect, had improved. Then the father called and said that he was very worried about his son. My wife scheduled a conference to meet with him and suggested that he ask the mother to come along as well. He said that he would ask her. But when he showed up she was not with him and my wife felt that he had not asked her.
As the man talked about the problems with his son, he talked also about the problems between he and his wife. The man seemed to be distraught over the break up of his marriage. My wife felt bad for him.

And then out of the blue he started saying that he needed to be disciplined. My wife was confused and thought that maybe he was feeling guilty about something that he had done to his wife or son. But it quickly became apparent that he wanted my wife to discipline him for sexual pleasure. He said things like “I have been very bad. I need you to spank my naked bottom.” I have a hard time imagining my wife in that situation but she convinced him to leave. She came home very shaken up - literally in tears. Her emotions were a mix of disgust, sadness and anger.

I can well imagine that the man mistook my wife’s natural compassion as something different. Also, she tends to be rather clueless about men coming on to her. In all likelihood, the man was sending signals and when she did not pick up on them he took it as tacit approval of what he wanted.

I ended up being somewhat of a jerk myself, because in my wife’s emotional state I tried to help her make sense of it by stating these speculations about her missing clues. She was angry at the man for insinuating his sexuality on her and for being so inconsiderate of his son and now she was also mad at me for not understanding.

In the end she calmed down and even agreed that it was possible that she may have missed signs. But her perspective is that there should not have been signs, what he did was totally inappropriate. I cannot disagree with that. Nonetheless, I cannot help but also view this as somewhat of a misunderstanding of value systems. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the man was a selfish bastard. But I don’t think that he had a clue that what he was feeling would be perceived as such a violation.

Unfortunately, in my wife’s mind, like that of most of our society, that sort of selfish disregard for others in pursuit of ones own sexual gratification is the big brush with which all sexual liberty gets painted. This event just happened last week. It is a big step back in the effort to get my wife to open up sexually. I can’t blame her. But at the same time I can’t help but feel that the same mixed up sense of sexuality our society has that helped make this man the jerk that he is has also helped shape her sex negative attitudes.


robert said...

This is indeed a setback in your quest. It's amazing that this happened, and completely inappropriate. Do you believe she sent this guy signals that it was OK? I'm sure it wasn't on purpose, but with these wackos, you never know... Good luck....

JP - fokiesd said...

As someone who works at elementary schools I am not surprise her antennae was down about this. It's just not something you think about in that setting.

Even though I enjoy looking at the beautiful women that are common at a school, I doubt I would interpret anything anyone said as sexual - especially if I didn't know the person.

But to conflate that situation with her general feelings of sexuality is not warranted either. I'm sure she's been made to feel bad for non-sexual reasons too. The fact is that some people are nice and others not so much.