Halloween, Gender and Sexuality

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My grandparents, who now rest in peace, loved Halloween. They loved the fun. They delighted in children. They enjoyed the opportunity to play, as children do, even in their eighties and nineties. They enjoyed dressing up in costume and going trick-or-treating in their neighborhood.

My grandfather, who was only 5 foot 6 inches, would dress as an old woman. And my grandmother, who was 5 foot 11 inches, would dress as an old man. This cross-dressing couple then delighted their neighbors and friends with a friendly Halloween visit—and then shared whatever sweet “treats” they received with the children of their church and with their grandchildren.

What a delight! How refreshing to see a couple who are able to play together for almost 60 years. And how refreshing that as a thoroughly heterosexual couple, they seemed energized by the gender play at Halloween!

I learned many things from my grandparents. Those learnings included the value of play and the freedom to explore gender roles just for the fun of it. I do not know whether or not they extended that gender play into their sexual relationship. I hope they did, for it certainly seemed to energize other parts of their healthy intimate relationship.

Sometimes we identify Halloween as a time to explore the dark side of life. I rather like to think of Halloween as a time when we have permission to seek out and explore hidden treasures in relationships. Explore new forms of play, explore different roles, explore your fantasies (even if only at a verbal fantasy level). What kinds of “treats” can you offer the one you love this Halloween? (Avoid the “tricks” that may disrespect or hurt in any way; any Halloween “tricks” within your sexual relationship must be mutually agreed upon in advance.)

Just remember a few basic rules. (1) Safety first. Everyone must feel safe or the play can be neither intimate nor fun. (2) Mutual respect and communication can foster intimate encounters both fresh and fulfilling. Use that communication as a way to excite the mind of the one you love and an excited body will soon follow. (3) Have fun together. Make Halloween a special treat for your relationship!

by: Kaye Wray, Ph.D.

About The Author
Kaye Wray, Ph.D. Over 35 years of research and a passion for helping women improve their sexual experiences motivates Dr. Wray to share intimacy skills with women, men and couples. If you are not yet a subscriber to one of Intimacy Educator Kaye Wray’s free information-filled newsletters, don’t wait any longer. Women can subscribe at http://www.thepassionyoudeserve.com/. Men can subscribe at http://www.thepassionyoucrave.com/. Copyright, 2006. Kaye Wray, Ph.D. Permission to copy if article remains in tact and includes full bio information.


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