When I was a child I used to think I would grow up to be a doctor. I imagined being a general practitioner and hearing the words ‘Dr Paul will see you now.’
As I grew older, I realised my talent for science was minimal, and my tender heart broke too often when baby birds fell from their nests or goldfish with glazed eyes lay upside down on the top of a pond. I was never designed to be a doctor of medicine.
In October this year, I will be applying to be accepted into a PhD program at UTS. If they let me in, I will emerge a few years later as a Doctor of Philosophy. My area of speciality will be the stories of women in history who were the champions of passion, divine love and sexual pleasure in a time when such things were considered lewd and immoral.
Here are my two favourite ladies — mother and daughter — Agnes and Rosamond Benham. Can you see a hint of something in their eyes?
Agnes wrote the following in her book called Love’s Way to Perfect Humanhood in Adelaide in 1904 :
The consequence of our interference with natural attractions is a dislocation of things that works untold mischief. We do not annihilate or diminish the power of sexual attraction when we forbid it open expression; we but drive it into underground and secret channels where is should never run. (p51)
I am so excited about researching and writing about the lives of the Benham women, who talked about the function of pleasurable sex in women’s lives, way before it was a polite topic of conversation.
Keep your fingers crossed that one day I will be Dr Paul.
What did you dream of being when you were a child?