Storytime: As a kid in mid-childhood in the late 90s, before I was aware of any other love or relationship structure outside of what my parents and the parents of my friends had (read: cisgender, monogamous, heteronormative, suburban marriage), I used to steal my mom’s Victoria’s Secret catalogs and lay them out, wide-eyed and full of innocent lust, flipping slowly through their pages, choosing on each page or spread the model whom I thought my dad would want to fuck the most.
The women were never chosen to replace my mom (it didn’t actually have anything to do with my mom), but instead were whom I thought he would be most physically attracted to and whom I thought he most desired to fuck.
I was reminded recently of this seasonal ritual I performed each time a new catalog came in the mail and my mom was finished with it, discarding it in a pile with all the others. It had been a long, long time since I had thought about it, if I even had at all since, and in hindsight I now recognize that baby Peekaboo was discovering her own bisexuality and actually choosing the models she would want to fuck. Without having the language or the space to talk about what I was doing or feeling, I kept this ritual to myself, like I did all other natural sexual urges I had growing up. How would I have ever put words to my actions? Who could I trust not to laugh? Why did I innately know this was something I wanted to keep to myself?
So many layers to unpack.
Not only was I lusting after my own gender, but I was role playing my dad into having lovers in addition to my mom. I saw no reason he couldn’t have both. The safety net of my play was that these were images in a magazine and not real, but the models in the photos could very well have been available to my dad, and in my mind they were. They were there to be consumed, and in my imagination, they were there to be consumed by my dad and in a way that had very little to do with lingerie.
At that tender age, it’s normal, and dare I say healthy, to sexualize our parents. We are learning what sexuality and gender mean to us, and our parents are typically the first people we know who have had sex. I clearly liked the idea of them having more sex, and with more people, and I didn’t consider there being anything abnormal about that. Why should people who have had sex not have all the sex?
I look back at little Peekaboo with such tenderness and want to sit with her and share with her which model I would want to fuck, too. We would talk about the way the lace cradled their skin and the satin hugged their curves (or lack of) and how the colors popped on different skin tones.
We would talk about how warm seeing these bodies made us, and how although we loved to look at them, how they portrayed an unrealistic beauty standard; I would make sure she understood that they are not an accurate representation of what womxn look like as a whole.
We would talk about how normal it was to have these fantasies and play these games and how we didn’t have to mask them under the guise of heterosexuality. I would explain all about consent and how even if daddy had similar urges to fuck these women, it wouldn’t be right to act on them if mommy didn’t know about it.
I would tell little Peekaboo how proud I was of her for exploring what made her happy and indulging in what turned her on. I would tell her how she will grow up to be even more beautiful than all of the models in all those catalogs combined. And I would tell her that she will one day be able to choose whomever she wanted to love and fuck, even if she wanted to love and fuck them all.
My little bisexual, polyamorous Peekaboo; I love you, you beautiful little freak.
Fast forward decades later, and as a grown woman buying my own lingerie, it is still rarely without another person, scene, or situation in mind. To scroll through a website or finger through a boutique, thinking about who will see your body adorned in the different fabrics, who might feel them against your skin or even take them off of you whether with their imagination or with their hands, is one of the most intimate experiences you can have with others without them ever knowing.
And what a beautiful and intimate experience it is, even if that person you are thinking about is you.