Staying in your adult sexual self while visiting family

My mother-in law's sex? Are you kidding?

My first Christmas, I fell in love with my husband on the upstairs bathroom floor of his mother while everyone waited downstairs for lunch. They didn't believe us if they heard us. I didn't know anything better back then, not about the properness of having sex on the bathroom floor or making people wait but about the unacceptableness of unbridled sexual desire in the Watson family home. This California girl knew what was and wasn’t acceptable in my New England family by the second Christmas. It was no longer acceptable to have sex on tile. My Santa underwear jingle was too loud for silent nights. His family of origin had long since lost his exuberance. I was bubbly, happy to have sisters, excited about the beauty of the east coast and seeking to "really get" my mother in-law. However, I was soundly turned down. I was unaware that I had broken all the rules.

In an accident, I summoned the ghost of his failed marriage in many conversations trying desperately to find out what strange country was my husband's homeland. I was not brash if they thought me to be. I was just learning about family systems theory through schoolwork. It is how we tend to repeat the same patterns in our families. This made me want to get rid of my divorced parents' past. I believed that if I understood them, I would be able to control what I created in my new love nest. I was wrong. We could understand what we understood, but it was not easy to understand ourselves.

I was not the only one who alienated. I was unable to use the self-editing or tact that I had later in life. This led me to ask bald questions of a family that wasn't open about many things. I wanted to find out if sex has helped, hurt, or exists. I wanted to know if sex was used as a weapon. Poor sister-in law heard me and only in porn videos, as she entered the kitchen, turned her back and walked out. (My advice for newlyweds: Keep your mouth shut for ten years. Just smile and nod.

We didn't want to travel with our baby while we were pregnant, despite obvious results of our sexual relationship. Christmas 4, though, was my last. I wanted to be proud of baby and not feel repressed by the physical love that accompanied our holidays. Many of us find that home is the most difficult place in which to live as adults. We are often teased or teasing about childhood sensitivities. Sibblng rivalry is a common occurrence with people we may not like if they weren't our brothers and sisters. We understand what the sighs of our parents mean. Perhaps mom makes comments about our weight, making us feel unacceptably thin. Dad might comment on how successful our ex-boyfriend is and that our spouse is ugly and unacceptable. Even with all the romance of Christmas music, it can be difficult to be home for Christmas. As if we have some sort of silencing mechanism, then we are mute when it comes to issues that are difficult or dysfunctional.

Remembered injunctions against masturbation suppress our adult sexual self, which is alive and well in real life. Teenage sexual trysts can lead to arguments and learning about affection and chemistry. While we can be as awkward with our spouse as a 13-year-old, it is possible to feel uncomfortable while sharing a room that contains childhood memorabilia. The family home is guided by the parents' sexual expressions or imagined expressions of love. Perhaps they are able to touch and we can snuggle together easily if we feel comfortable with them. If there's a lot of iciness or stanchness between them, then our warm love may feel out of place.

Similar to when our parents visit us for holidays, sex can disappear from view. We don't want our parents to hear. Is the vibrator too loud for you? He's a light sleeper, and we are sorry if he believes his little girl isn't pure as the driven snow. (Those grandchildren were born by magic). Now, we see mom as a crone - asexual. We fear for our mothers' futures as we approach ours and wonder if it is possible to be attractive. We are only able to see some of these thoughts in our heads. We aren't old enough to see our parents as sexual beings. Old people don't have sex, we think. Maybe our parents' bedroom wasn't as boring as we think. The sexuality of parents can threaten the egocentricity, dependence and love of the child. We as children suppress the fact that our parents are central to us. My children are able to wiggle their tongues and utter blehk! However, their college friends can still laugh at my blog.

It is not easy to find the desire you want while being surrounded by your parents. It takes maturity, acceptance, and willingness to change. It is not easy to find strength. Recognizing the challenges of being an adult sexual selves can help us to not take it personally. We don't want to be regressive in our family home. Our spouse should love us and reflect our adult growth. It is important to understand and show sympathy for the fact that vacation time wasn't always downtime or sextime.

Sometimes, the spouse of an in-law can make insightful observations about our family. They aren't blinded by our crazyness. Be non-defensive. It may feel at first that they don't really understand our family or us. If we allow it, their alienness to the traditional ways our family interacts with one another can be a blessing.

I recommend getting out of the house and going on a planned trip with your spouse. A quick trip to Starbucks for a coffee and a chat with your spouse can make it worth the effort. Volunteer to walk your family dog during all the chaos and sex-killing holiday festivities. You can also run to the grocery shop so you have some alone time every day. Ask your siblings how they deal with it if they are close friends. If you have the money, consider asking grandma to take care of your siblings. She can then rent a room in a local hotel and you can spend the evening together, eating dinner, and making love. It can be your Christmas gift. It can be a booster shot for your adult sexual self. The ultimate goal is to combine the adult sexual self with the child/son-sibling (and eventually the parent) self.

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