I am 55 and now when I watch a xxx movie all I want to look at is the guy…never had this feeling before I dream about [oral sex with a guy.] Why do I have this feeling?

Gosh, I wish I could answer that question, but it’s just not that easy.

I’m a big gay, homosexual lesbian.  For real.  But I used to love to watch the show Queer as Folk.  Loved it.  I dug the story lines, and the characters…and the sex.  Which was interesting to me, because it was 99% hardcore guy-on-guy sex.  It wasn’t about the guy parts for me.  I really don’t like watching straight sex scenes in movies.  But I liked watching guys go at it on Queer as Folk.

I mentioned it to a couple of lesbian friends, and found that a lot of lesbians felt the same way.  After talking about it, we settled on the fact that we all really liked the freedom with which gay male sex was depicted.  There were no hang-ups.  No need for emotion or connection or anything, other than raw attraction.  And that was something different than our experience – certainly different than the way lesbians are depcited.  So we watched the show each week, eagerly anticipating the sex scenes.  Not because we wanted to be with men, but because we liked the idea of raw sex without attachment.  Which was the depiction, even if it wasn’t the reality.

Sexuality is a funny thing.  I heard at one point that gay male porn was more popular than straight porn for women in cultures where women aren’t treated as sexual equals.  The fact that both partners were treated as equals – strong partners – in the gay films was the fantasy that the women were wanting a part of.  Not the gay sex.

So I don’t know what it means that you find yourself aroused by the thought of gay sex.  It might mean that you’re gay.  It might mean that you’re bisexual, or bicurious.  Or it could mean that you are into the idea of pleasuring someone who you see as an equal.  Or sex without attachment.  Or even that you would enjoy being dominated.  I’m not a sex therapist, so I really can’t even hazard a guess here.

I don’t know your situation.  Don’t know if you’re married or if you have kids.  Don’t know if you’ve had sexual experiences with men or women in the past.  I do know that having new sexual feelings can be confusing and even frightening.  So let me be clear:  I’m not suggesting that you do anything like hire a prostitute or cheat on your wife or girlfriend to figure this out.  What I am saying is that it’s good that you’re recognizing attractions that you’re having.  Exploring them might bring up emotion, but that’s part of being human.

It might be worth talking with a therapist to see if you can understand why you’re having new feelings, or joining a group that addresses issues of sexuality.  I know I’m always amazed that other people share my experiences and questions.  Even if it doesn’t answer the question for me, it always makes me feel much less alone.

October 15, 2010   No Comments

What’s the difference between transsexual, transgender, transvestite and cross-dresser?

I am pleased to introduce our guest contributor, elzie.  Please welcome her and submit any questions regarding Trans issues that you would like her to answer.

This is a wonderful question and like all questions about labels, it can have various answers all depending on the individual and the circumstances. I personally am not a big fan of labels, since they tend to pigeon hole people into a group without a care for their individualism. On the other hand, labels help get conversation started and that is always a good thing.  So here goes my take on the definitions.

As our society grows and matures, so do our definitions.  Transsexual (also can be spelled transexual) is the medical term for a person who has changed their physical gender to their desired target gender. So in my case, I changed my gender from male to a female (MtF). This is also true of a female to male (FtM) as well. A transsexual lives fulltime in their new gender and usually has had some sort of reassignment surgery changing their physical appearance and/or hormone replacement.  In the strictest sense, a transsexual is a person who has had surgery to change their physical appearance to match their target gender and live fulltime as this gender.  Some transsexuals move into society and live solely as their target gender and identify as only male or only female.

Now, transgender is a more general term and has been widely accepted as politically correct; only really because transsexual has had such a negative stigma associated with it from the 70’s (and beyond).  Maybe this is why I tend to call myself a transgendered woman, or for short a transwoman. Though transgender can refer to any person that dabbles in the binary male/female roles opposite to their birth gender.  This is the more common definition of transgender and the umbrella it covers.

I’m going to put both transvestite and cross-dresser together for simplicity. Transvestites and cross-dressers are typically heterosexual males who wear traditionally feminine clothing. Transvestite has been labeled in the past to associate cross-dressing with sexual arousal, but that term has changed to transvestic fetishism.

Cross-dressers don’t associate with the LGBTQ community and don’t see themselves as anything but straight/heterosexual.  Drag queens and drag kings are not usually labeled as cross-dressers/transvestites. Why? Good question, actually.  People that dress in drag tend to be gay and cross-dressers tend to be straight.

As with all labels, nothing is black and white and there is plenty of gray area.  One person might identify as transgender but not as transsexual; another as cross-dresser and not transvestite.  There are also people who don’t identify as any gender.  They are genderqueer and don’t feel part of the society norm of binary gender (male or female) and the stereotypes associated with each gender.  I like to think of genderqueer as “gender free”; free of all gender labels and gender stereotypes, including clothes, roles and any society gender conformity.

I hope I helped answer the challenging definitions of labels.  As always, keep those questions coming!

October 14, 2010   1 Comment

Do you ever find yourself attracted to someone of the straight variety? Like, with genuine interest? I can only imagine you would be physically attracted to the person, but do you ever meet someone that you click with who is straight and secretly wish they were not? Do you pursue it, or see if there is interest? Even though you are pretty certain they are straight? How does that work out for you ladies? Especially in our society where there are many bi-sexual females.

This is one of those questions I can really only answer for myself.  Gay friends, please comment.

Attraction is a funny thing.  I can find a man attractive, and not want to do the dirty with him.  Likewise, I can find a woman attractive – identify that she is indeed, smokin’ hot, or beautiful, or what-have-you – and not be “attracted to” her.  For me, there is something beyond a person’s physical beauty that attracts me to them, “with genuine interest.”  One of those things is their ability to emotionally and physically commit to me.  If a woman isn’t able to do that, gay or straight, it’s not going to work.  My attraction to them won’t last.

Now, that’s not to say that, if a woman is smokin’ hot, and attracted to me, but unavailable for long-term, emotional commitment, that I won’t have genuine interest in her.  I might, but it’s a cruel trick played by pheromones.  However, if a woman really likes me as a person, but isn’t physically attracted to me, it’s not going to work for me, whether she’s gay or straight.  I need to know that my partner wants to be with me sexually.  And if a woman wants to be with me sexually, she’s not straight.

So, do I pursue a woman if I really connect with her, but I think she’s straight?  Only until I find out that she is.  Pursuing a relationship with a woman who is not attracted to me isn’t interesting to me.  Personally, I think it borders on emotional self-abuse.

I will add that this doesn’t happen very often at all for me.  I’ve found myself attracted to a few “straight” women who turn out to be not-so-straight when it comes down to it.  But I think there’s some built in mechanism by which lady-lovin’-ladies can sniff each other out.  It’s in the eyes.  Or the swagger, or the shoving of her tongue down my throat.  I don’t know.  Something subtle like that.

September 4, 2010   2 Comments

I was married to a woman for a long time (over 26 years) and she left me because she fell in love with another woman. I never had a clue that she was gay during the entire time we were together – in fact I was pretty sure she was having an affair – but assumed it was with a guy. Anyway – is it common for lesbians to build long term relationships with straight men? Do they do it to have kids and then leave? I know I should ask her – but there is still tension about the split. Thanks for your site.

Thank you for asking this question.  Truly.

First off, I want to say that there is no singular answer for why someone has an affair, whether they’re gay, straight, or something else.  I think you’re right that talking with your ex-wife would probably answer your specific questions more completely, and I encourage you to do that as soon as you feel comfortable.

That said, here’s what I have experienced:

The short answer:

It’s not as though there’s a chapter in the lesbian play-book about how to snare yourself a straight man for the purposes of procreating.  It would be much easier and cheaper to go to the sperm bank.

The long answer:

Some women aren’t aware that they are, in fact, lesbians until they meet a woman who rocks their world and their understanding of what attraction is.  Some women think that it’s normal to not want to kiss their partner, or to be neutral about or even “grossed-out” by sex with a man.  I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve heard it described by my “straight” friends.

Some women are bi-sexual, and don’t think of themselves that way until they meet a woman to whom they are attracted.  It can be a total surprise to them, as well as to their partner.

Some women are willing to ignore the fact that they are, in fact, gay in order to try to live the white-picket fence dream of having a family and a husband and a home.   It’s the dream we are all taught to aspire to, and the default we start with.  I mean, most of our parents are straight, right?

As I’ve said before, there are certainly generational things going on that inform how it is that lesbian relationships look.  Without role models, or positive portrayals of lesbian relationships, we’ve had to figure out what it looks like to live our lives.

Based on the fact that you were married for more than 26 years, I’m going to make an assumption about your ages.  Generally speaking, my generation of lesbians (30ish) grew up in a shifting society, where the idea of being in a committed relationship with another woman wasn’t an impossible one.  It is something that’s presented as, “not what I’d want for my daughter, but at least it’s love.”

And still, I remember being in high school and deciding that I wouldn’t be gay.  Looking at my best guy friends and making a list of who I could most stand to spend my life with, knowing that I’d never be attracted to them.  I wasn’t thinking about building a strategic long-term relationship with them.  I was thinking that I liked them.  That I loved them even.  And that I’d be able to make it work.  They weren’t some suckers that I thought I could dupe.  They were loving, beautiful men whose friendship was so strong that I thought it could be enough to have a life-long emotional relationship with them.  Even while I was in a long-term relationship with a woman.

The generation older than mine (to which I’m assuming you and your ex belong) grew up in a very different world.  That world was one where the idea of two women living together was a near impossibility.  That only happened for spinster sisters or widows.  Relationships between women were hidden, deviant, and never aspired to.  In fact, gay sex was illegal in a number of states.

Nearly everything around us still screams that it would be much easier to be accepted; so much easier to fit in.  Books, movies, tv shows, magazines, cocktail parties, co-workers, and on and on, all point to the “normal” straight relationships that are the generally assumed goal.  And sometimes, the idea of trying to live that dream with a man can be enough to convince women who would otherwise live as lesbians to push down the essence of who they are in order to try to be “normal”.  Having a shot at a patently accepted life with someone you love – especially someone who is your best friend – can be tempting, even if you know you’re not attracted to him.

But society is changing.  And that means that lesbians who have, in the past, chosen to try to live a straight life are now living in a more accepting society.  And that can allow all of us the beautiful freedom to live our lives fully and honestly.  Something that wasn’t always the case.  For the women who find themselves in inauthentic relationships with men, however, the transition can be painful for them and for their partners.  I’m grateful that the current generation will have less of these painful transitions as they are able to be themselves more fully from the beginning.

It’s an incredibly hard thing to be yourself when you’re gay.  But it’s even harder to not be yourself.

In the end, who we are will always come to the surface.  I don’t know your wife, or the relationship that you have.  But when you are able to talk about the whats and whys, you may find that she wishes that she hadn’t hurt her best friend.  Just the fact that you want to understand why this happened instead of blindly blaming says a lot.  Thank you for taking the time to ask.  I hope that you will find the peace and great, authentic love that we all deserve.

August 18, 2010   No Comments

Boobed

There have been a few occasions when at a bar I have been talking to a woman and after the conversation she brushes by me with her breasts as she is walking away. As in full breast contact with me while there is plenty of room to maneuver. Since my cup size does not allow me this type of contact with another woman easily I am left wondering: is this common or intentional, like a ‘wink’? Am I missing an opportunity? Or is my imagination making a ‘boob’ of me?

It can be hard to know if a woman likes you.  My imagination can get me into serious trouble, so I’m a big fan of using your words to find out if she’s interested.  However, there are times when just aksing, “are you into me?” might kill the mood a bit.  In those instances, I’d use context clues.  Things to consider:

1.  Where are you when the alleged boobing occurs?  If you’re at a straight cowboy bar, it’s possible she’s just drunk and sloppy.  If you’re at a lesbian-only matchmaking dance party, she just might be coming on to you.

2.  Did you feel that “spark?”  Chances are, if you felt something, so did she.  This isn’t fool-proof, so be careful you don’t become the cocky, creep stalker at the bar, but if you’ve got a spark combined with unnecessary boobing, there’s a good chance she’s interested in you.

3.  As an athletically-built lady, I understand that you might not be able to reciprocate the maneuver without pressing your entire body against hers.  But is there some other body part you could use?  Long, flowing hair?  A little ba-dunky-dunk?  You might be able to determine her interest level with an equally unnecessary physical display.  Just be careful not to whip her in the eyes, or hip-check her.  You might want to practice at home or with friends.

Or, you could just use your words.  I mean, either way, really.

http://www.365awesome.com/2010/06/the-dogs-of-pompeii/

June 30, 2010   No Comments

Switch-hitting

Once upon a time, I was dating a girl and she asked me, “do you switch?” And I replied, “no, I’m a righty.”  Thinking I don’t switch hit, or throw with my left hand. I don’t think that was the answer she was looking for. What exactly did she mean by “switch”?

Kunfoosed

Dear Kunfoosed,

What you are likely suffering from iss an over-used sports metaphor.  Lesbians are big fans of softball.  Many will use softball terminology when talking about sex.  For instance, tops can be referred to as “pitchers” while bottoms can be referred to as “catchers.”  Women who do both are considered “versatile.”  This is equally true for gay men.

What your girlfriend was probably asking was whether you consider yourself a bisexual.  Depending on the context, “switch-hitting” or “playing for the other team” are terms often used by lesbians for women who sleep with men, either in addition to sleeping with women (switch) or exclusively (other team).  Women playing for “our team” are lesbians.

Be careful, though.  If you are hitting on your softball coach, or any softball coach, and you tell her you’re a pitcher, you just might find yourself out on the mound – probably not the mound you were hoping for – getting line drives pounded at your head.

June 20, 2010   1 Comment

Pride Candy

Kristin discusses the how-tos of throwing candy at a Pride parade.

June 16, 2010   No Comments

Pride

It’s about Gay Pride parades.  I find them (okay, the three I’ve seen) rather…distasteful.  Now, I know a lot of gay people, and I like most of them, and I think they’re normal people and whatnot.  But I have to admit, when I see what’s on display in the Gay Pride parade, my visceral reaction is “what freaks.  If I had children, I wouldn’t want those people near them.”

I am a rational person so I grasp that the sorts of people who choose to put everything out there (I don’t mean the fact that they are gay, I mean really inappropriate costumes and vulgar pantomimes) in the middle of 4th Avenue in broad daylight don’t represent all homosexuals any more than, say, Joe Francis and his ilk represent heteros, but still.  It seems to me that if the goal of the gay community is to be accepted as mainstream, those parades are a really bad strategy.

What are your thoughts about this?

June is Pride month.  Happy Pride, everybody!

Right on cue, I received two frequently asked questions about Pride.

Here’s the short answer:

Every day is straight pride day.  Once a year we want to celebrate our entire community and its splendid history.  Well, some of us do.  Others of us want to hide away the people in assless chaps.

And here’s the long answer:

It seems to me that there are at least two things going on here.  First, the overtly sexual nature of the celebration, and second, the perceived agenda of the community.  Let’s take them one at a time.

Agenda

I know we seem pretty powerful, but there’s really no master plan here.  The community is incredibly diverse.  We have some national organizations, and some pretty great state ones, too.  None of them speaks for the entire community.   Not even for the majority, I’d say.  We have vastly differing views on what the desired end result is, and how we should get there.

Some people and organizations think we should “mainstream.”  That we should make sure that everyone knows we’re just like everyone else.  That our sexuality doesn’t define us, and that we’re more than who we love.

Others believe that sexuality is such a definitional piece of who we are as people that it makes us fundamentally different, and that the differences in our lives should be celebrated and made visible in every possible way.

Pretty much everybody else believes it’s a combination of these things.

Some people think we should use legislation, some think law suits.  Others think protests and picketing and direct action.  Still others think we should do nothing other than live our lives.

So when it comes to the strategy behind Pride celebrations, I’m not sure there is one.  They’re now commercial enterprises, run by for-profit companies.  But there is a history to them.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

Sexuality

When you have the reaction that you wouldn’t want your kids near the people in the parade, what is it that you’re reacting to?  I hear you saying that it’s not, necessarily the gayness.  So, how would you react if it was a parade of straight people wearing really inappropriate costumes and performing vulgar pantomimes in the middle of 4th Ave?  In broad daylight or not.  Would you have the same reaction?  I have a sense that you would.

I think that’s important to note.  It’s not the gayness that’s troubling to you, it’s the behavior that you wouldn’t want your kids around.  It’s the overt sexual behavior (maybe its “deviant” nature?) that is uncomfortable.  Once we’re there, we can talk about that, and not about the fact that it’s gay.

Because for the people who object to the fact that it’s gay people in the streets, there’s not a lot I can say.  Here’s the thing.  I’ve said it before.  It’s not the leather daddies that make people most uncomfortable with the gay community.  It’s the gayness.  It’s the gender-bending, the girls wearing ties and the man-on-man kissing.  I don’t think that’s what you’re objecting to here, though.

I’ll tell you, I’ve been to some pride celebrations where I was shocked at the overt sexuality.  The assless chaps and banana-hammocks.  Usually it’s the SM or leather communities that have made me most uneasy.  The GLBT community is already considered abnormal, so why flaunt our most “fringe” elements?  I’ll get to that in a moment, too.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Italy over the last year, and it’s been funny to have my friends there tell me how uptight and puritanical I am.  Sexuality is something that is bubbling right at the surface here.  It can be unnerving just walking down the street to have people look at me in an overtly sexual way.  I come from a culture where that’s not something you do on 4th Avenue in the middle of the day.  Maybe in a club at night, but not all the time.

So I can understand being uncomfortable with the over-the-top sexuality on display at Pride.  Out of context it’s a little alarming.  But there’s a history here.

History of Pride

For those who aren’t up on their gay history, here’s the story of where Pride celebrations came from.  I really think the background on this is helpful.

So, in the 50s and 60s, the gay community had it rough.  There were groups dedicated to proving that homosexuals could be assimilated into the rest of society, as “normal” people.  This was a challenge, as gay men, afraid of being outed, were being entrapped by police officers in city parks (one of the few places they could go to meet each other), and lesbians and drag queens were being strip searched at bars (one of the few places THEY could go to meet each other).

In many places, it was illegal for a woman to be found wearing fewer than three feminine articles of clothing.  But, the only way to prove whether someone was wearing men’s underwear , even to prove if she was a woman, was to have her undress.  Publically – or not.  Just going to a bar, or expressing gender in a way that was comfortable was dangerous for a queer person.  There was no real, safe way to meet other queers, and no, real, safe way to express homosexuality.

The early “homophile” groups engaged in pickets.  Quiet ones.  In suits and dresses, and white gloves.  Finding it important to “fit in,” they adhered to strict rules, removing anything that could be seen as offensive or abnormal.  Not everyone in the community agreed with this strategy (we never do), but the pickets went on for a while.  There’s a great documentary, “Gay Pioneers” about the movement at that time.  I really recommend it if you can find it.

Something changed radically the night of June 28, 1969, in the middle of a raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.  The bar was known as a gay bar, the only one in town where men could dance together, and was frequented by the most marginalized parts of the community:  queens, hustlers, homeless youth.  The parts that nobody wanted visible.  Raids had been happening more frequently.  Tension was building.  When men were asked for their identification, and women were escorted inside for gender checks.  Somebody said, “no.” Then someone else did the same.  For the first time.  A police officer pushed a drag queen.  She hit him with her purse.

The bitch hit him with her bag.

And that was it.  It erupted into a riot.  Things thrown, police attacked, fires lit.  The riot continued the next day, growing from 100 people to 1000.  It continued a week later.   Wikipedia has a great post on this, detailing the whole thing.  It even has a map of the bar.

Stonewall was immediately something important to the community.  A rallying cry that told us we could stand up for what was important to us.  That the most marginalized would fight for all of us.

An early homophile organization, the Mattachine Society, published this in its newsletter about the Stonewall, and  those who fought there.

It catered largely to a group of people who are not welcome in, or cannot afford, other places of homosexual social gathering…. The Stonewall became home to these kids. When it was raided, they fought for it. That, and the fact that they had nothing to lose other than the most tolerant and broadminded gay place in town, explains why.

I’m not a fan of violent protest.  I am a fan of standing up for what is right.  And I love that queen for swinging her bag (though I wish she’d kissed the cop instead).  When I read this on Wikipedia, I teared- up:

Beat poet and longtime Greenwich Village resident Allen Ginsberg lived on Christopher Street, and happened upon the jubilant chaos. After he learned of the riot that had occurred the previous evening, he stated, “Gay power! Isn’t that great!… It’s about time we did something to assert ourselves”, and visited the open Stonewall Inn for the first time. While walking home, he declared to Lucian Truscott, “You know, the guys there were so beautiful—they’ve lost that wounded look that fags all had 10 years ago”

So Pride is important.  Beyond the commercialism and the binge-drinking, it’s a declaration of individuality.  It’s a nod to the street kids and the hustlers that said, “no.”  It’s a thank you to the queen with the purse.

Does everyone in the parade know that?  Hell no.  Are they looking for a good time?  Yes.  A chance to be their most outlandish self?  Maybe.  The first time I marched I was scared.  Would my family see me on tv?  Would this ruin my political career?  I made sure I wasn’t in a position to be photographed with a partially-naked, or body-painted person, just in case.

I was also exhilarated.  I’ll tell you I get a thrill every time I march, every time I watch, every time I hear the rumble of the dykes on bikes.  And I tear up every time I see PFLAG marching with their kids; church congregations marching in rainbow colors.  Our communities are all diverse.  We all have marginalized segments that are told to be quiet.  Once a year, the gay community embraces itself.  Fully.  And publically.

I often get the question, “Why does the gay community have to march?  The straight community doesn’t have a ‘Straight Pride parade.’”

No, the straight community doesn’t have a parade once a year to declare its sexual independence.  The straight community has the mainstream media to do that every day of the year.

Here’s a challenge for everyone:  take one day and notice every sexual thing that you see.  Look at the ads in magazines, the billboards, the tv commercials.  Look at the books and the movies, and the sitcoms you watch.  Consider what’s on the news, and how many people you hear talking about the date they went on last night.  And consider how many of those things are presented in a heterosexual way, whether overtly or not.

It’s enough to make just about anyone want to put on assless chaps and dance in the street.

Thanks for the questions, my dears.

June 11, 2010   2 Comments

Butch dikes…please explain. I’ve known and worked with a few, and I view them as another man. But, when it comes to the lesbians that love them….what’s the difference between a very masculine woman and a slightly effeminate man? Other than the obvious plumbing?

Thanks for the question, Carl.  Before I start, this is a good time for me to remind everyone that I’m not an expert, per se.  I am a lesbian, but I don’t have a degree in gender studies, and I’m not a doctor of psychology.  What I have to say comes from my own experience, or the experience of friends, when noted.

Let’s take a minute and flip the script.  Is there a difference, for you, between being married to a woman or a flamingly effeminate man?  Even someone who dresses in women’s clothes?  Someone with long hair and a soft body?

The plumbing is pretty important to me, and I’d wager it’s pretty important to you.  What we’re talking about here, though, more than sexuality, is gender norms.

I’ve said for a long time that it’s not the sleeping with people of the same sex that gets the gays into trouble, it’s the messing with gender norms.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “which one of you is the boy?”

For me, the answer has always been, “neither,” but the fact that I keep getting the question shows that there’s an expectation that a relationship will have a male-acting partner, and a female-acting partner.  Even if both partners are the same sex.

Let’s break down your question:

I’ve known and worked with a few [butch dykes], and I view them as another man.

Do you really?  Or do you view them as capable workers, equal to doing the same job a man would.  Do you work in a field that is traditionally dominated by male workers?  Women in those types of jobs, whether gay or straight often act in a manner similar to their male equivalents, either out of physical necessity, or out of social necessity.  Women doing construction work will develop the same muscles as men, and it wouldn’t make sense for a female construction worker to show up to a job site in a skirt.  Even long hair can be a safety concern.  Equally, it’s a heck of a lot easier for her to relate as “one of the guys” than to be seen as the wife or girlfriend or secretary, or anything secondary to her male counterparts.

Even in law school, women were generally and directly instructed to emulate men when interviewing for jobs, inasmuch as we should lower the pitch of our voices – but not too much – to appear stronger, more masculine.  (The lesbians, however, were instructed to become a bit more feminine.)

But, when it comes to the lesbians that love them….what’s the difference between a very masculine woman and a slightly effeminate man? Other than the obvious plumbing?

I think that you actually hit the nail on the head.  The obvious plumbing is the difference.  It makes all the difference.

You see, I want to be with a woman, physically.  Even if that’s with a strap-on and a pair of motorcycle boots.  When it gets down to brass tacks, it’s the plumbing that matters in the sexual part of the homosexual relationship.  In the emotional part of the relationship, it matters, too.  But even if the gentle, tender emotional side of a woman is something I might be able to find in a man, it wouldn’t be enough for me.  I would still want to be with a woman.  And a woman who sees herself as a woman.

Gender expression can get a little sticky, because there are so many variations that can occur.  What does it mean, exactly to be a woman?  What does it mean to act like a woman?   Does it mean having long hair?  Wearing dresses?  Cooking and cleaning?  Having children?  Does it mean tending a garden, and liking to knit.  Does it mean having large breasts and a big collection of shoes?

Some women like wearing suits, and some like wearing skirts.  Some like ties and some like scarves.  We are as different as any group of people o this planet.  Some women identify as “butch” because they feel most comfortable in their skin when they’re wearing work boots.  That makes them no less a woman than those who prefer the term “femme” and a case of lipstick.  It doesn’t change their gender – just their gender expression.

For example, I have short hair.  Sometimes extremely so.  I also play softball, wear fairly androgynous clothing, love a good pair of motorcycle boots, and enjoy knitting as well as gardening and cooking.  Most of my friends would say that my expression tends to the butch side, though I think I’m darn close to the middle.  My head is turned far more often by girls with short hair and jeans hanging on athletic builds, than women in skirts and heels.   But that’s not the case for everyone.  We all have different tastes – for ourselves and for the women we’re attracted to.

I think there’s something generational going on, as well.  The butch/femme dynamic seems much more common in older generations – that is to say older than me.  For a long time, there have been no real visible role models for gay people.  Books and movies and popular culture have been devoid of our presence, except in specific, formulaic ways.  So we had to figure out what it meant to be in homosexual relationships outside of any real community.  It makes sense that we would emulate our parents, our grandparents, and everyone we saw portrayed around us.  It makes sense that it would be more accepted for two women to be together in a familiar-looking situation.   If most relationships consist of one male partner and one female partner, it’s not a far leap to say that there are two definitions of a lesbian:  one male-acting, one female-acting.

It’s clear, however, that things have changed from a binary definition of what it is to be a lesbian to a nearly completely open definition.

I had it easy, really.  Yes, I grew up in Idaho, which was not the hotbed of lesbian community that you might expect, but I still had people like Martina Navratilova, and Ellen, and a few other women to look to.  And gay-straight alliances started popping up when I was in college.  In a safe environment, I was able to explore what a lesbian relationship might look like for me.  And I quickly discovered that it wasn’t a butch/femme dynamic that interested me most.  My definition was softer, more fluid, as were the definitions of many of the women around me.

And now, the youngest generation of queer kids not only explores what it is to be gay or lesbian, they also explore what it is to identify as a man or woman, or as both or neither.  Each day.

Again, this is my experience.  The butch/femme dynamic is so cliché, and such a part of the psyche of the lesbian community that some people have careers based on it.  It’s a handy shorthand, and a punchline, but in the end, a woman gets to define herself in whatever way she likes.  And no matter what she wears or how she acts, the expression of her gender makes her no less a woman.  At least, in my eyes.

June 9, 2010   2 Comments

If lesbians use and like toys such as dildos and vibrators, why don’t they like a real live penis? I’ve experienced both and a real penis is better. Usually.

Curious George,

This is a frequently asked question, for sure.  And the answer may require some people to go look at kittens instead.

My general rule in answering these questions is to ask the person asking the question to flip the script.  That is to say, reverse the question and ask it of yourself.  So, let’s try that here.  I’m assuming that you’re a straight woman, or that you prefer sex with a man.  That said:

If straight women like penetration with a penis, why don’t they like penetration by a dildo – from a woman?

As you’ve identified, there is a difference between the two.  Your preference is for a penis.  My preference is for a dildo.  And for a woman.  That’s all.  It’s not that I don’t like penetration.  It’s that I like sex with a  woman, and everything that comes with it.

June 9, 2010   3 Comments