Lifestyle & Travel

Published on January 20th, 2014 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Sex, love and the vilification of single mums

When we saw this fab piece in the Irish Independent last week by writer and single mum Suzanne Harrington, we were keen to probe her further (ahem) on the subject.

Basically, Suzanne had argued that even (gasp! shock!) single mums were entitled to have an amazing and fulfilling sex life, but acknowledged that ‘the rules for single fathers are, like the rules for men in general, different and more advantageous’.  Suzanne questioned where single mum’s stood on the ‘socio-sexual spectrum’, asking  ‘perhaps somewhere between nun, eunuch and self-pollinating flower?’

Suzanne also wrote about the ‘vilification’ of single mums, and how the blame for so many of society’s wrongs (‘because everything from male crime figures to the recession is your fault’) is laid at the door of lone mothers.

We wanted to know what had prompted Suzanne’s very honest and compelling piece – and how she saw the single mum/dad divide.

This is what she told us:

“I became a single parent when my 2 children were toddlers. Since then I have reared them completely alone. I am really lucky in that I work from home – I have no idea how I would have done it otherwise. The vilification of single mothers – but not single fathers – is astonishing in its misogyny and scapegoating, as is the complete lack of comprehension about what being a single mother actually entails. We are heroic, frankly.

“Having said that, I love the autonomy and independence. No pointless rows about anything child-related – just harmony and consistency, albeit without a weekend off. Also, a romantic life with someone who is not the father of your children is, from a purely personal and adult perspective, better for the relationship (I am NOT speaking from a child’s perspective here, not even slightly). Your relationship with your children remains pure and direct, as they are separate from your adult intimate life – there is no cross over. Your erotic life remains just that – erotic, untroubled by discussions relating to packed lunches or parents evening.

“Sex for single parents is the same as sex for any other parent – you make the time, you safeguard it. If you can fall in love with another single parent, even better. That’s what happened to me, and I have never been happier. We totally get each other.”

What do you think? Is it important to have a ‘personal and adult relationship’ which is separate from your relationship with your children? Can you relate to Suzanne? 

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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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