Men, MILFs, and the Madonna-Whore Complex

Eira and I are home from our trip to Israel (I’ll try to write something about that soon). We’re off to Montana on Sunday, so the summer travels aren’t entirely concluded.

I do have a quick piece up at Good Men Project today: The Real Meaning of MILFs. Excerpt:

Though we had planned to have a home birth, in the end my wife needed a Cesearean in the hospital. (Our daughter was wedged into a breach position, and few obstetricians will support a vaginal breach birth these days.) I was at my wife’s side during the procedure, holding her hand and whispering encouragement, while watching with great interest as the surgeons did their work—blood and viscera galore.

I got to see the amazing moment Heloise was pulled (butt first, of course) from my wife’s body. I was there when our daughter latched on for the first time to Eira’s breast. I was awed and humbled by what I saw. And though I wasn’t turned on by watching the birth and the 15 months of subsequent breastfeeding, witnessing my wife’s transition into motherhood did nothing to reduce my attraction to her. That doesn’t make me unusual or heroic.

Read the whole thing. For an older piece on a similar subject, here’s my 2005 blog post Men, Childbirth, Lust.

5 thoughts on “Men, MILFs, and the Madonna-Whore Complex

  1. I think Furry Girl got it seriously wrong when she talked about “pedophilia”. If she had called it “exploiting your child as a prop in pornographic pictures” it would have been better. But the baby itself wasn’t sexualized.

    However, it’s an intriguing argument. There are women out there calling themselves “lactivists” who are insisting that women should have the right to breast-feed babies in public–even up to toddler age–without it being considered a sexual display. And if that right isn’t given to them, they say it demeans women by forcing them into hiding. I know there’s a fight going on between some of these women and Facebook in particular, about whether pictures of women nursing babies should be allowed there. So if that’s innocent, is it still innocent when a porn star does it, given that she’s got a history of displaying her breasts for sexual reasons? Or maybe we should regard the images of the porn star with her baby as non-sexual, and the rest of the time she can be as sexual as she (and we) want. But then, does the presence of a suckling baby change the entire mood? It’s a challenge, that’s for sure.

    I’m having trouble with the new setup here. I wish there could be a clear indication of yes, your response went through (or is being held for moderation) or no, it didn’t. About to hit “submit” again. Sigh.

  2. I am not proud to say that while I am happily the lover of a MILF, there are certain effects of childbirth that can really mess with a woman’s MILFitude.

    The transformations of a woman’s body can include excessive weight gain beyond what is prescribe or needs to persist afterwards.

    Breastfeeding has been known to transform ample and firm breasts into pendulous loose sacks.

    A loving partner may /should accommodate to these changes with appreciation that what is demanded of them is support and validation for the person who has experienced these changes and continues to pay a price for being the agent of an incredibly courageous, life-giving process.

    Now, I love me some mommy-tummy, but I can’t deny that my socialization has, in a previous marriage, driven me to view these changes as a cost in terms of physical attractiveness.

    Though I struggled to rise above my impulses, I doubt I was fully successful in concealing the effect on my desire.

    I hope if I had it to do again, I wouuld do better.

  3. Randomizer, age eventually takes its toll on “ample and firm breasts” whether or not they’re attached to a pregnant (or nursing) woman.

  4. Yes, Mythago, and I believe that whatever issues we had with body changes were the least of the life changes we were failing to negotiate.

    The physical changes would have been surmountable if we had a better basis for honest communication. I, to this day, don’t know from her own words, how these aspects of the experience effected her.

    That lack of intimacy, more than the physical ravages of birth etc. Were what ultimately undid us.

    I think her sense of desirability and also her desire and more broadly her grasp of her sense of self vanished in a haze of future shock and exhaustion at the same time.

    It’s practically cliche, but the beginning of parenthood, for various reasons, spelled the end of our connection, our sex life and ultimately our marriage. Fifteen years later she still defines herself in relation to the kids and I fear that when the nest is empty, she will be truly lost. Sad story.

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