The Madonna-Whore Complex and Me

There’s this line in Usher’s hit “Yeah” where Ludacris says, “Want a lady on the street but a freak in the bed.” You know the line I’m talking about right? Well, Ludacris, in his infinite wisdom is rapping about a psychoanalytic phenomenon called, “The Madonna-Whore Complex.” This is a complex that refers to men who cannot see one woman as both maternal (Madonna is in reference to a saint, not the pop star) and also as sexual. In its true form, men see women as either saintly or slutty. Ludacris does NOT have this complex because he’s saying he wants a woman who can be both. So, I guess he’s sort of an example of health in that way. Nicely done Luda.

Well, I’m starting to struggle with feeling like I can’t be both a Mama and sexy. Not quite as extreme as the complex, but still, it’s frustrating. Think back to when you were in high school… There was something gross about your parents having sex right? Maybe you still get an “eek” reaction. Well guess what? Now, WE are the parents. It’s like your sex life is supposed to disappear once you have kids (which is ironic, because obviously the kids are coming from somewhere). Why is it in our culture that parenthood isn’t sexy?

One of my favorite movies is, “The Family Man.” I adore that movie and I think it’s because the marriage of Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni is so spirited and refreshing. Watching them vie for a piece of chocolate cake as they chase each other around their living room only to wind-up making-out with frosting all over their faces, it just gets me every time. Tea Leoni’s character “Kate,” is the perfect example, in my opinion, of a

"Kate & Jack" in The Family Man
“Kate & Jack” in The Family Man

mom who has embraced motherhood without losing her sexual identity. No one wants to be that mom who doesn’t embrace motherhood and instead is clinging tightly to her sexual identity as her source of self-worth. A good example of that woman would be “Stifler’s Mom” from “American Pie.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a hot mom by default, but when you’re trying to get the attention of high school boys, you’re bordering on pathological behavior. Then there’s the mom who’s all about being a mom and not much else. I’m more than a milk machine people.

So how do us moms find that delicate balance? I’ll admit, being a mom now, I feel kind of weird shopping at stores like Forever 21 but I’m not really an Anne Taylor girl either. I want to be seen as both youthful and maternal, sexy and nurturing… these are all parts of who I am. Really, that’s what this whole blog is about, finding balance. So, it seems this will just be another part of the whole, “Reclaiming Jaclyn” thing. Maybe it will just get worked-out with intentionality and time…

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20 thoughts on “The Madonna-Whore Complex and Me

  1. I love this post. I am already finding that a challenge in pregnancy, and I know it will continue when little man makes his debut. In pregnancy, I haven’t had much luck, but one thing that did help was buying pretty (i.e. sexy) nursing bras. If I’m wearing something sexy underneath my clothes, I feel sexier. I’m hoping to find a balance once I’m a mom, too, but I know this will be easier said than done.

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  2. Spooky, I have already drafted a valentines post for my husband in which I touch on this. You seem younger than me, and my advice to you would be don’t sweat it. I used to think there came a clear time when you had to start dressing. looking, and acting your age. Well, those rules have changed. The lines are so blurry now they don’t exist. My daughter (Miss 13) and I can shop at a lot of the same stores, and my husband and I cant believe that we want to make out more than ever. Our kids keep telling us to “get a room”. Which is far better for them to see than two parents who show NO affection towards each other.

    Thanks for a great post.

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  3. Moms are sexy, you kidding? I’ve always been a family man, at heart, so seeing a nice-looking woman who has embraced her role of motherhood, makes her so much more appealing to me than a gal who is more concerned with her tan or keeping a tight, fit body, or whatever else. Of course those elements are attractive, but when it comes down to it, an “average” woman who plays with her kids and has a cheery disposition is a much bigger draw. I may appreciate the hot mom, but I swoon over the good ones 🙂

    As you mentioned, Tea Leoni in that movie is a great representation of my ideal.. sure, she looks wonderful, but she’s usually seen wearing “mom” clothes and embraces her life. She makes time for dressing up, too, but that’s not the priority. I think a big part is having a husband who appreciates the same things in his life, too, so that with these same lifestyle values, the spark of love and attraction never dies. If one partner still somewhat idealizes the “pre-kids” existence, it can become a tricky situation of needing to satisfy that idea.

    I work in a mall in south Orange County (in a Lego store, no less), so I see all types of moms on a regular basis. There are plenty of “whores” and some “Madonnas”, and all variances in-between, but I know where my own, personal sweet-spot lies (much closer to Madonna), and those are the women I naturally just fall over myself with. If I am lucky enough to find a gal of my own, in everything I do I’ll hope to make her feel appreciated as a wonderful mom, sexy as a heck of a good-lookin’ woman, and the best partner I could have. I figure, I’ve chosen her for life.. those should be things I feel about her, no? 🙂

    Do your best to worry not, though. You’ll be grossing out and embarrassing your kid in no time… 😉

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  4. […] Serves 4 Caleb definitely loved that the Sunbutter Sauce had a little kick to it! This recipe is definitely going to be repeated in the Snyder home! To check-out more of their delicious recipes see their website. A huge thank you to Dana and Erin for donating their cook book to my reclamation project!! If you liked this post, you may also like: – Reclaiming Jaclyn – Reclaiming Jaclyn: Part 3, Sort-Of – The Madonna-Whore Complex and Me […]

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