No more ‘normal,’ please

'Is this normal?' 'Am I normal?' When asking these kinds of questions in regards to sex and sexuality the answer is almost always 'yes!'  (And it's probably the answer in most non-sexual circumstances as well.) Maybe our egos prevent us from thinking our desires, fantasies, fears, deficiencies, habits, and vices are in fact quite commonplace? I personally take comfort in knowing that when it comes to carnal proclivities and aversions most people are more alike than wildly different.

The shame and fear of self-perceived abnormality is a roadblock to personal fulfillment: it’s isolating, it suffocates spontaneity, blocks creativity, and contaminates pleasure. Yes, it’s normal to fantasize about clown gang-bangs and bandaged puffy nipples. Yes, it’s normal to masturbate while your napping toddler happens to be in the room—even on the same bed. And hell yes, it’s normal to imagine you are having sex with someone else while you are having sex with the person to whom you’ve made the problematic vow of lifelong monogamy. 

We may all know this intellectually, but deep down when confronting the really tricky dark stuff we all carry around, it’s easy to imagine, wrongly, that we are among the scant outliers who fall far from the bell curve. I dare you to type your most fucked up fantasy into Google. Chances are there’s a porn for that! Or if there’s not, you’ve likely instead just discovered a porn depicting something far more disturbing than your own fantasy. It’s a humbling experience.

This insidious and banal fear of sexual abnormality extends to motherhood. It’s a patriarchal form of oppression that women have been made to question their instincts, fear their choices, and doubt the capabilities of their own bodies. Take the age-old stretched out vagina myth for example. Whether it’s a forearm-sized dildo, a monster cock, or a nine-pound baby, the vagina was built to stretch and contract. Let’s collectively agree that vaginas are of a higher quality than a pair of Old Navy skinny jeans, and stop wondering if they may become abnormal simply from doing all of the things a vagina was designed to do.

I’m birthing my third baby in 2018. Statistically speaking, this is actually something that is not normal in the United States, though I have no fears or doubts about it. When I recall my lived experience, having my first kid was probably the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me, even though there was absolutely nothing strange or remarkable about it. Completely normal!

I love sex, I love birth—they’re related you know? I’m proud of my body and all of the incredible things I’m discovering it can do, and that it has already done. My resolution for 2018 is to not ask if what I’m thinking, feeling, or doing is ‘normal’ but to ask myself what, specifically, is making me doubt myself, and is it a legitimate reason or some capitalist patriarchal horseshit? Chances are it’s horseshit.

Chelsea Beck