Sunday, May 14, 2006

“Mother, May I” and How Male-Tree Sex and Masturbation Month Affect Your Health

It’s Mother’s Day, a well intended tribute to our moms, and in many ways, all of womankind, for the essence of healthy feminine spirit, love and nurturance in our lives. (Ladies, should we include the “all-out” bitches, in our midst, as well?)

My own mother, who taught me early-on to stand up for what is just and for those who need help, is always there when I fall from my many travails. (I’ve given her more cause to distress in my adult years than in my quieter adolescence.) My ninety-four year old maternal Granny did grandmotherly things with me, like sharing a pizza “with the works” when I was a teen— we understood together with the first bite why anchovies got that reputation. I met my paternal Oma, only once, with distance and language a barrier, the shy-loving way she placed her gift of a dainty crucifix necklace in my hand, when I was eight. In photos from that visit, I see her adoring gaze on my father and my brother and me. How her heart must have ached to see these two grandchildren for the first time, knowing it might be never again. And her youngest child, my father, that this, too, was fated to be the last time they saw each other. My womanhood has been influenced, by so many of my female relatives, special moments with my aunts, ex-mother-in-law, and more recently, conversations with my ex-boyfriend’s aunt. Male family members in my life have affected me, of course, but that’s for another day’s writing. Except, acknowledging that my mothering of my son was shaped (and sometimes mis-shaped) with him, as all children intuitively dance that dance of co-parenting of, and with, their parents. Thank you, my son.

Much of my sexual writing stems from my own life-long desire for male partnership and union (anyone who meets me or reads my blogs knows that I love the virility of men, even platonically). But I haven’t written enough about the love I’ve gotten and given with my female friends. I’ve long wanted to thank in writing all of my girlfriends, some of whom are mothers, others with whom they and I have mothered each other during crisis, small and large. Thanks to Becky, Helen, Nora, Cory, Leah, Annemarie and Flora for reaching out to me, for housing me, for making me go out and circulate again, for understanding my distress during the past year of difficult personal and career transition. And about 50 others of you girlfriends over the decades, who have understood sister-sister what it means to feel, listen, give advice, share tales, cry with each other and giggle like school girls. Even women I’ve met for a short time, or once, have often left a touching memory with a shared thought, in ways men can’t.

The truth in my life, and many women’s lives, is that most men, especially lovers, have disappointed, emotionally, in their lack of even momentary protection when we are in need. I think American men aren’t sure where to place themselves in the role of protector, so they over-control or abandon us. And maybe we women are unclear of our roles in that regard, of supporting and protecting our men, as well. There’s been an unnatural division in our grasp of defining equality.

Robert Bly’s mesopoetic movement, caricatured in the media with men bonding by roaring and running naked in the woods, was actually on the right track, as is feminism, when defined in its attempt to humanize for all of us, not in its extreme to make woman anti-male. Robert Bly names “shame” as the reason for male emotional impotence. Riane Eisler’s classic The Chalice and the Blade names the “dominator” society (be it male or female) which needs to give way to a “partnership” society, to value our differences and compliment the integration of them for our mutual benefit. It’s about respect and value and appreciation and giving each other support.

Our natural world mimics our society and visa-versa. The estrogenization of nature due to chemicals in our water and food supply (xenoestrogens) has been documented in everything from male frogs developing eggs in their testes to young girls starting menstruation at ten. A faux feminine bath regulates us by food and drink. Paradoxically, there is artificial masculine influence from tree pollen in the air we breathe. Urban and suburban planners decided in the 1950s that since female trees were messy— bearing fruits and seeds— that male trees would be more economical for municipalities to maintain. ( In some human societies, men also decree that menstruating women should be isolated away from the village , and girl babies are killed because they are not as valuable as boys). Scientists now say that the 33% increase in allergies and asthma over those many years are somewhat related to the over-abundance of pollen (male seed).

Metaphorically, like the preponderance of male trees, more men seem to flounder out of fear, or ego, or who knows what (as we women estrogen-flagellate you for your inability to give or commit) and end up “spraying their seed”(emotional and physical) in the wind (or tissue).
On the bright side, if you’re gay – man or boy-tree— all this musky tree pheromone talk must be heaven-scented.

Which all leads in a circuitous way to another holdiday in May —Masturbation Month.
Good Vibrations designated this month in 1996, and seems to have not commented much on it for 2006. But Dr. Susan Block added it to a blog comment to a Gay Talese interview in Truthdig.
Our own International Threesome Observance Day celebrates March 3 for the sexual and scientific combo of “threes”, and Valentines Day, of course, and most of February, is devoted to couples ( Big Love aside, and not against polyamory, traditionally couples of “two”, not four, for our example of “two”).

So, Bravo and Salute, to an entire month dedicated to the solo-sexual adventure. Makes sense that the sexually explorative Greeks in Delphi “knew” that the biblical “to Know” was best demonstrated by “know thyself” first. Applause to Betty Dobson and Jocelyn Elders for courageously guiding us to American self-touch acceptance (and, no, it doesn't make you blind or hairy- palmed unless that's your fetish. The animated Comedy-central cartoon, Drawn Together, even shows the healing and commercial wealth potential of masturbating-created clum babies)

As Susie Bright says, “Clits up! ( and a celebratory wish for penises, too; They can both be up – and co-ejaculating together, at the same time, how about?)
And for this one, on Mother’s Day, the month of May or any of the remaining 334 days, you need not ask mom-- “Mother, May I”.

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