(OPRAH.com) -- What do you most want to know about your mom but would never ask?Read more
When psychoanalyst Joyce McFadden posed this question to hundreds of women in an online survey that began in 2006, she was surprised by their answers: Half of the respondents wanted to know more about their mothers' sexuality.
The queries ranged from the seemingly straightforward to the profound: "Did she date other men before my dad?" "Had she had an abortion?" "Why did she have an affair?"
In her new book, "Your Daughter's Bedroom," McFadden explores the great value in sharing these kinds of intimate secrets -- even when it's awkward to do so.
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Understanding our mothers, she says, is vital to understanding ourselves. We asked McFadden how to get the conversation started.
Q: Why are these discussions so hard?
It's not easy to blurt out the private details of your life to anyone. But moms often don't discuss their sexual pasts because they're embarrassed about things that happened, or worried they'll scare their daughters.
The daughters then withhold from their moms for fear of being judged. It's a cycle. We're not allowing ourselves to be real, whole women together.
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Q: What are we missing out on?
We lose our moms as advisers, for one. Intimate relationships are bafflingly complex, and when things go wrong, many women consider themselves failures.
But if they could talk about it, they might be able to move past that shame.
Women wonder about their mom's sexuality - CNN.com