photo by Nell Mednick

About Survivor Mom

I am the surviving, 75 year-old mother of Peter Weisman who died of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in 1980. I wrote a book called Intensive Care: A Family Love Story about the experience. The book is about how a family struggles and often thrives, even under the constant threat of death. This blog is my cyber-sequel. From a survivor's vantage point, I'm going to blog, in honest detail, about how life was then, and how it is now. Expect to feel better.

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Sex?

Oct 26, 2012

By the time Peter died at the age of 15 and ½ he was sexually mature. I remember the morning I turned town his bed sheets and noticed sperm on his upper thighs and in his scant pubic hair. This is not an experience that mothers and their adolescent sons should be sharing, but, to choose less outrageous examples, I shouldn’t be brushing his teeth or shaving his cheeks either.

      “What is that?” Peter asked me as I sponged him off with a warm, soapy washcloth.

      “That’s sperm. It means you had a wet dream,” I answered.

      I went on to explain, keeping my voice as level as possible, that lots of sexually mature boys and men have dreams about making love to women. Pete knew about sex. He was no innocent, and besides he had an older brother.

“And when they have these dreams, I went on, they often ejaculate sperm.

      “Well that’s not fair,” Pete said. “I just had the wet. I didn’t have the dream.” Somehow, as was often the case in our whacky family, Peter helped us to find something to laugh about. But inside I was crying.

      My husband Larry and I had spoken reluctantly about Peter’s sexuality. We projected our thoughts into the future; when he was 18, or 20, or 25 what would we do? We thought about hiring a sexual surrogate. It seemed too cold-blooded, too weird. How would we introduce her into his life? In my naïveté I imagined we would try to find someone his age who would start out pretending to be a girl friend. After a few dates, she would introduce sex into the relationship.

      We never had to face that eventuality. Peter died before most physically well young men have sex. He was never deprived of that particular one of life’s great pleasures.

      And now, over 30 years later, comes a movie called “The Sessions.” The relationship between the therapist and her physically disabled, but sexually able client is not the dishonest, pretend love story I had imagined. It is a contract between two consenting adults – kind, honest, gentle, sensitive, loving and mutually rewarding.

      If Peter were alive today, I hope he would seek such a relationship.