I had a fling with an Ithaca College student throughout my freshman year. I relished in all of his special quirks and kinks … until I didn’t know how to handle being called mommy.
He caught me off guard by texting, “Come over mommy,” in the middle of the night. I thought he was being funny, but he was as serious as a heart attack. “Come over mommy,” he reiterated, “I’ll do anything for mommy.” Not sure how to react, I awkwardly went to sleep and we both tried to repress the situation. Or at least so I assume, because we never spoke again.
Let’s not focus on our communication failures. Let’s focus on how “mommy” left a weird taste in my mouth like a toothpaste jelly bean.
“Daddy” enjoys an abundance in mainstream culture. It’s not astounding for someone to call their partner “daddy” like a 70s porno in the boom boom room. We may find it odd, but we can’t deny that anyone saying “daddy” over the age of twelve has a tinge of something else. I’ve known men who are turned on by such a pet name. Its utterance can instill them with a feeling of authority and trust when names like “Sir” or “Master” are too hardcore. I encourage lovers to yell out the names that make them feel sexiest, but I see an obvious disparity — seldom are we calling our partners “mommy.”
“Mommy” lacks the erotic overtones of “daddy” in our lexicon. I am not trying to ruin a perfectly good word, but since “daddy” was ruined by pop culture, “mommy” should also be stripped of its innocence in the interest of equality. We have sugar mamas and sugar daddies, MILFs and DILFs, but we lack a form of mommies to go with our daddies. It is a compliment to call the people we think are hot “daddy,” but a little obscure to call them “mommy.”
There is also a difference between calling someone “mommy” and “mamacita.” Though the literal translation in Spanish is “little mother,” “mamacita” is not something you call your actual mother. It has immense sexual connotations and makes the subject an object of desire. You call someone “mamacita” because you want her to father your children.. “Mommy” is something you would call your real mother and puts the subject in a position of power.
I would’ve been less confused by someone earnestly calling me daddy because it’s a word I’ve seen sexualized in media from memes to movies. When Biggie Smalls says, “I like it when you call me big poppa,” it makes sense to us. A female rapper asking to be called “big mamma” would be more avant-garde. The lewd use of “daddy” seems to be born from the gendered roles of motherhood and fatherhood, and we perpetuate them until it’s part of how we dirty talk. Calling someone “daddy” shows that you are submissive to their masculinity, so calling someone “mommy” should be normalized for submission to femininity.
The way we dirty talk matters. If we use one gendered word over another, it continues to equate fatherhood with discipline, support and protection. These are no longer the sole role of the father, so our bedroom words should reflect that. Being afraid to expand our language reveals our discomforts. We are still uncomfortable with femmes in power. We are still uncomfortable with men relinquishing their typically masculine roles. Even if we consider ourselves progressive, we still squirm with the thought of calling a fuck buddy “mommy” to show our submission mainly because our media doesn’t use it.
In a world where we claim to strive toward egalitarian parenthood, we should see mommy as equally powerful and dominant as daddy. Femmes should revel in it like the feeling of a man loudly sucking her tit. People of any gender should be able to explore the possibilities “mommy” has to offer. I didn’t even give myself the chance to try it, and it has eaten away at me since.
Anya Neeze is a student at Cornell University. Boink! runs periodically this summer. Sex on Thursday appears every other Thursday.