My first sex talk was not with my mother. It was with a priest.
I arrived at the century old rectory with my anxiety and spiritual struggle in hand. Despite my years of Catholic education, confession, and communion, I had difficulty with the notion that sex outside of marriage was a sin. I simply couldn’t see the harm. The fact that I was far too young to be having sex with anyone didn’t stop me from wanting to lose my virginity to Duane.
I explained. Father listened attentively, without judgment.
Talking about sex is scary. No doubt that is why my mom opted to substitute the uncomfortable conversation with the paperback from the Catholic book store which gave mysterious advice about keeping your hands on top of your blankets rather than underneath them—advice I would not understand for many years.
After more than three years of blogging, this is the first time I remember sex being the topic. Not consciously, but I see I’ve avoided it. Speaking of sexual intimacy can make us so nervous that people often don’t want to discuss it with their sexual partners, let alone legal counsel.
Despite the discomfort in speaking of sexual intimacy with an attorney, there isn’t much that the experienced divorce lawyer hasn’t heard when it comes to the private lives of ordinary people. The affair with the best friend. The threesomes or moresomes. The closeted father of five. Sex addiction. And plenty about pornography.
What we also hear a lot is how much sex people are not having—sexless marriages are more common that most realize. “I’ve been staying in the basement” and “We’re more like roommates” are phrases signaling the lack of lovemaking in marriages.
The weight of worrying that the intimate details of sexual relations will become a part of a courtroom drama can prevent people from getting much needed legal advice about a possible divorce. Shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. Depending on your beliefs and your circumstances, you may have a special dread about revealing your story to a lawyer.
When we summon the courage to talk about this private and perhaps painful part of our life, we are able to shine a light on what can feel like a very dark place. When we are able to be vulnerable in a safe place, both our healing and our new possibilities can begin as we tell the truth about our past, our pain, or our passion.
The reality is that there’s a good chance that facts surrounding sexual activity will be irrelevant in your divorce; your lawyer can answer that for you. It can be scary to talk about sex with your lawyer. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find one who listens like that parish priest: Attentively, without judgment.