So…Threesome?

In January of 2012, I was coming to terms with my sexual orientation. The process was more difficult than I had thought it would be. In truth, I didn’t even take my attraction to women seriously. I always brushed it off. It didn’t mean anything.

But the thoughts didn’t go away just because I brushed them off. It was becoming almost an obsession, to the point where if I was dating a man and things were going well, I’d have sinking thoughts like, “but what if it could be better with a woman?”

With the support of a friend, I explored my feelings, and they took me to a party hosted by one of their gay friends. I was entranced by the wide variety of women present. Butches, lipstick lesbians, and chicks who styled in the middle; a casual mix of feminine and masculine. I had an instant crush on one woman in particular, and in my heart, I knew.

But I had doubts. I didn’t trust myself. I thought, how do I know I’m actually attracted to women, if I’ve never been with a woman? The refrain echoed by many outside the community when someone comes out before they have any “experience.” I worried that I would come out, date my first woman, and be horribly embarrassed when I realized that I was only into boobs aesthetically, and not sexually. I had to know. I needed to reassure myself that my attraction to women was not just a phase.

I had talked about my concerns with a male poly friend of mine, whom I had dated briefly for a while (but polyamory had been a huge stumbling block for me). He offered himself and his main partner for an experiment. He pitched it as a service to me: I could explore his lady as I desired to either confirm or rule out my attraction to women, with the safety of a nearby penis if it proved to be the latter. A threesome.

Continue reading “So…Threesome?”

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A Bisexual’s Secret: I Am Intimidated By Women.

(Originally posted on March 27, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’m bisexual, and the prospect of dating a woman terrifies me. It’s probably the main reason I took ten years to finally accept myself and come out. I knew I wasn’t just straight-but-not-narrow when I was fourteen. But the few times I hesitantly reached out beyond the fear of rejection in high school, I was shut down – and painfully. It was easier to just focus my attention on boys and pretend I didn’t notice girls.

I also have the worst gaydar ever.

Honestly, I even have trouble sussing out whether straight men are hitting on me or not, so the idea of trying to read signals from a lady gives me serious anxiety. The awkward, hurtful experience of confessing a crush to a straight girl is something I don’t want to repeat at this point in my life.

Getting involved in LGBTQ events in Edmonton has been helpful, since I have met women I can say with certainty are attracted to other women, but not all crushes pop up at lesbian events. Sometimes they show up inconveniently at work, or at school, or at church. Men confuse me as it is. Continue reading “A Bisexual’s Secret: I Am Intimidated By Women.”

Independent Woman is Dating a Woman

(Originally posted on January 9, 2014 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

Several weeks ago, I went to my first appointment with my therapist. I’ve done therapy before, but I had a new, pressing topic to discuss. Since coming out, I’ve been feeling guilty about my outward expression; how I dress, how I wear my hair, whether or not I choose to wear make up.

Growing up, I idolized my older brother. I wanted to be as good as he was at everything, wanted to eat my cereal as fast as he did, wanted to grow to be as tall as he was. After we both grew to our close-to adult sizes, I started wearing a lot of his hand-me-downs. I continue to favour baggier clothes than many women do, and continue to purchase men’s pants to this day. When I was fourteen, I stopped dance classes after almost ten years. I was tired of having my hair styled tightly into buns cemented in place with gel and hairspray, and I was tired of the thick stage make up. I withdrew from make up and had no terrible interest in putting great effort into my hair.

When I was about fifteen, a year after I stopped dancing, I started Taekwon-do and archery classes. I wore more men’s clothing, and I enjoyed being good at things that were predominantly ‘guy’ things, like martial arts and science. I actively avoided anything pink, as I didn’t want to be associated with anything that girly. It got more and more intense as I got older. I only wore men’s pants and refused to carry a purse, opting for a man wallet. I took a bow-hunting course and was one of only three or four women in a class of around twenty. I was proud just to be there as a woman, and when I turned out to have more natural talent at certain things, you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for days. I learned to drive a stick shift. I took welding classes. I was running my life under the motto of anything you can do, I can do better.

My dad has influenced me in this regard, as well. He has always been adamant that I should never need a man for anything – not to pay my bills, not to fix my car. I have done a lot of my own car maintenance, with my dad and brother showing me how to do it for next time. I’ve replaced my own brakes, done all my own oil changes, and I’ve changed a flat tire in a rainstorm. I see my financial and personal independence as a huge part of who I am, and will frequently deny help from others, especially men, with the phrase, ‘I’m an independent woman!’

Continue reading “Independent Woman is Dating a Woman”

Terms and Conditions Apply: Dating as an Asexual

Our first Anonymous post.

I don’t think my parents ever gave me “the talk.” You know, the one where you’re kind of squirmy, they’re kind of sweaty, and neither of you want to be there? The talk about… sex. This meant my knowledge and understanding of sex came from what I read in books, saw in movies, and heard from older kids in school.

In the seventh grade, I borrowed the book Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist from the school library. As any good Christian 12-year-old would be, I was slightly taken aback by all the swearing and sex talk. But as much as my rebellious spirit found it exciting to read the “F” word over and over, I was a little disappointed by the fact that I couldn’t actually relate to the horniness of either of the characters. I thought to myself, “I must just be too young.”

Fast forward a few years to the tenth grade. The “F” word, in its stout and aggressive beauty, had become an essential part of my casual vocabulary. At some point in the summer between junior high and high school, the desire to be cool seeps its way into every kid’s mind. Regardless of what “cool” meant to you, you wanted to be cool. To me, that meant going to parties. I didn’t really get invited to any, but I heard stories of sex in tents and making out in closets and I thought to myself, “I must just be too ugly.”

Fast forward to my graduating year, where I finally realized that even if I had been invited to parties, I probably would not have wanted to “F” word in a tent or make out in a closet with a different classmate each week. It occurred to me that the horniness I couldn’t relate to at age 12 was still foreign to me at age 18. Someone then showed me a definition of asexuality and I thought to myself, “Oh. That’s what it is.”

I will not include a definition of asexuality with this article because it is different for everyone. For me, asexuality means I don’t have any desire for sexual intercourse. I have never masturbated nor have I ever felt the need or desire to. I get no pleasure thinking about sexual acts, and I have difficulty picturing myself engaging in them. In a world where sex is becoming less and less taboo, I am finding it incredibly necessary to be open about my asexuality, especially with my partner.

For privacy’s sake, I will call him Steve. I met Steve on OkCupid in my last year of high school. I had received my diploma early on and had no classes left and no job during the second semester, leaving my social and romantic life wide open. I talked to a dozen other guys on various apps before meeting Steve, none of which seemed to be interested in anything other than taking my virginity. At that point in my life, I was only open about my asexuality with one other person, and the topic of sex made me very uncomfortable.

The first few dates with Steve went really well, and I knew that if I wanted to continue my relationship with him, I would need to discuss my asexuality with him. A few weeks into getting to know him, I sat him down and explained to him what asexuality meant to me and how it would impact our relationship. I remember saying something along the lines of, “I probably will never have sex with you. I have no interest in having sex with you, the thought of it kind of makes me sick.” I probably said it in a much nicer way, though, because he took it really well. So well, in fact, that he asked me permission to hug me the first time we hugged because he didn’t want to make me uncomfortable.

My experience with Steve has been nothing but fantastic, and I feel extremely fortunate to have someone who cares so deeply about me that they are willing to sacrifice an extremely pleasant physical and human experience in order to be with me, but I would be lying to you if I said that two years in, we still haven’t had sex. While I still identify as being asexual, the way it presents itself has seriously changed over the course of my relationship. I still find no pleasure in sexual acts themselves, but I find pleasure in the pleasure they bring my partner.

On a good day, sex in all shapes and forms doesn’t disgust me, and I can set aside my disinterest in the act itself and focus on what I’m bringing to Steve. On a regular day, intercourse is out of the question, but I am indifferent when discussing it. On a bad day, I don’t want to be seen naked. I don’t want to talk about sex, and I absolutely don’t want to feel his boner when we’re cuddling. This unpredictability can be disappointing and frustrating but we have been able to handle it very well simply by communicating.

Steve will never instigate anything without asking permission. This is important regardless of my asexuality because it’s an exercise in consent. He respects my decision no matter his mood, and if it’s a “no,” he doesn’t bring it up again. He always reminds me that I don’t owe him anything, and his favourite line is “Even if we never had sex ever again I would still be happy just because I’m with you.” The wonderful thing is that I believe him.

Throughout our relationship and from its very beginning, we established a high standard of communication, both emotionally and sexually. If I had not told him from the start that I was asexual, I’m not sure we would be as committed and comfortable as we are now. I would probably always be a little bit scared that he would want sex on a bad day and that I would have to give it to him because I never told him it terrified me. If I hadn’t made my verbal consent mandatory regardless of the signals I was sending him, I would probably feel taken advantage of on regular days. And on good days, I would feel guilty for showing him that I sometimes enjoy it, because he would see that and think it’s always okay.

I don’t want to make it seem like I’m encouraging optional consent. Consent is not optional. What I’m saying is that it is important to not feel ashamed by your lack of sex drive, or your disgust towards intercourse, or your sudden hyper-sexuality. It is important to bring these things up so that everyone involved knows exactly what they are getting into. Most of all, don’t settle. If you feel you’re getting into a relationship where the other(s) involved are not understanding of your asexuality, get out. There are people who get it, and there are people who will love you no matter how you feel that day. You should not feel limited to dating only other asexuals because you think they are the only ones who will understand you.

To the Steves out there who are patient and kind and willing to masturbate quietly on their own because their partner just isn’t feeling it that day, thank you. Your understanding means everything to us. Keep listening, and keep asking. You’re doing it right.

To the aces out there who are still looking for a Steve, you’ll find one. You are not weird, there’s nothing wrong with you, and you have every right to feel the way you do on any given day.

The conversation about sex needs to continue. My asexuality is different than yours, guaranteed. So don’t be afraid to talk about it.


Author

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Bad Lesbian Advice

I was a late bloomer in the romance department. For that, we can blame my introverted nature, or my low self-esteem, or maybe just my lack of prospects. When I was 22, I left my rural homeland and moved to a big city full of strangers. I moved because, deep down, I had a sneaking suspicion that I might not be the only lesbian in the world.

Incredibly, the hordes of queer ladies I had hoped to be welcomed by failed to materialize. Day after day I would walk out my door to go to work, and I would fail to find the perfect woman waiting for me on my doorstep, or at my bus stop, or draped across my desk.

I didn’t get it. I was here, I was queer, and my city was like “so what?”

I spent my twenties in a sort of passive denial. I kept hoping that I would meet my soulmate organically, while living my ordinary life. Years passed, and friends kept insisting that I had to be proactive if I wanted to meet women. But taking good advice wasn’t exactly my “thing” back then. Instead, I opted for falling in love with straight friends, over and over again, repeatedly breaking my own heart. This proved super effective and healthy.

I finally gave in and joined a queer social group at the age of 31, in the hopes of making queer friends and finding women to date. This very straightforward approach proved incredibly successful (hi, Kate!) but the process wasn’t without its hiccups. As I immersed myself in the metaphorical hot tub of the gay lady community, I was given several pieces of advice from fellow lesbians that made me raise a roughly hewn eyebrow (or two):


SUGGESTION 1: STEER CLEAR OF BISEXUAL WOMEN

On the surface, the queer community is all about inclusiveness. Just look at our acronym! My goal was to meet gay ladies, but as I got to know the people in my women’s group, I quickly realized that calling everyone a “lesbian” was inaccurate. We had bisexuals, and trans women, and gender non-conforming folks. There was even a cis straight woman!

We met twice a month. Sometimes the room was bursting at the seams with women, and other nights there were only a handful of us. I noticed that, when the group was small enough, when it was lesbian enough, people were less careful with their words.

This group was meant to be a safe space for women to speak openly. That’s harder than it sounds. You can let people speak their minds without judgment, or you can allow everyone a space to feel safe and respected. But doing both can be tricky. And so I was warned away from dating bisexual women.

I heard all the old, tired stereotypes. Bisexual women aren’t trustworthy. They won’t commit. They’re just experimenting. You’ll only get hurt. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

The lesbians spouting this garbage assured me that they knew what they were talking about because they had experience with bisexual women. As if that allowed them to speak about an entire group of people. If that’s any different from saying “don’t date black chicks,” I fail to see the distinction.

Verdict: I ignored Suggestion 1.


SUGGESTION 2: HIT IT AND QUIT IT

Throughout the course of several meetings, I opened up about the fact that I was still a virgin at age 31. Since literally everyone else in the group had more experience with women than I did, I deferred to their knowledge base. I quickly became their “project,” which made me slightly uneasy. But I knew I would have to stretch out of my comfort zone if I wanted to achieve my goal of lady-loving, so I kept my peace and told myself humility was a good thing.

I had made a new friend during the Pride Parade. She was smart, and sensitive, and a good listener. We hung out a lot, and over time I came to realize that she had feelings for me. How simple things would have been if I’d felt the same way back! But the attraction just wasn’t there.

Some of my group mates believed that my only obstacle to getting some action was the fact that no one was expressing interest. They were delighted to discover that there was someone out there who wanted me. On two separate occasions, I was advised to “hit it and quit it” with this chick.

I had no desire to have sex with someone I wasn’t attracted to, especially someone who had feelings for me. It seemed mean, and I was pretty sure it would make me feel worse instead of better.

Verdict: I ignored Suggestion 2.


SUGGESTION 3: BE MORE MASCULINE

Once I told the group that I was interested in women that were somewhat girly/feminine, I was told that I had to dress and behave a certain way in order to get anyone to date me.  This included changing my wardrobe to more masculine clothing, being more assertive, paying for everything, and learning how to drive.  (Oh, and also buying a car to drive.)

I didn’t feel butch; at least, not the idea of butch I had grown up with. But maybe I was wrong. I’ve always been quick to assume others know better than me in situations just like this. I was the novice lesbian, after all. What did I know?

So I listened as they told me I was meant to dress dapper, and pick my date up, and pay for dinner. Essentially, I was expected to “be the man.” This sounded very weird to me. Weren’t we a bunch of feminists raging against the patriarchy? Why were we including men in our lesbian activities?

Verdict: I dressed butch for a friend’s wedding, and I looked amazing. My behaviour, however, remained neutral.


SUGGESTION 4: BE MORE FEMININE

While half the group was telling me to embrace the butch aesthetic, the other half was insisting that I would never attract anyone unless I showed more skin.  Low-cut blouses and/or tank tops were suggested as a way to draw attention to my woman-curves.  Emphasize the goods, they said. Make sure people know they’re up for grabs (so to speak).  And would it kill you to put on a little make-up?  Can you at least look like you’re making an effort?

Obviously, I wanted date prospects to know that I cared about looking good for them. But I struggled with having the first idea how to do that.

I was accustomed to wearing unisex t-shirts, sweaters and hoodies. I shied away from anything hinting at cleavage, which left my top options (toptions!) pretty limited. The ladies assured me that showing a little bit of cleave would be flattering, and wouldn’t always be terrifying; it was something I would get used to and would help me gain confidence about my body.

I wanted to be seen as attractive. But it was starting to feel like the only way I could achieve that sort of support was through doing exactly as I was told. Would I have to follow someone else’s directions to the tee if I ever wanted to attract a lady? Wouldn’t that require an impossible level of upkeep?

I would have felt much more comfortable having someone interested in me based on the clothes I would wear everyday, or more to the point, based on things that had nothing to do with what I was wearing. I didn’t want to have to try so hard; not at this. I was willing to put infinite effort in when it came to sensitivity, and understanding, and making my woman laugh. But I was never going to be that girl who spent two hours “putting my look together.” Just, no.

Verdict: I bought a few tank tops that I rarely wear outside of the house.


SUGGESTION 5: SURPRISE THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT!

I eventually started dating a woman (hi, Kate!) but this didn’t stop the all-knowing lesbians from offering tips. Now, instead of “how to get a woman” advice, I was getting “how to satisfy a woman” advice. I figured the ladies probably knew their shit in this regard, so I was all ears. At first.

Some of it was common sense. Some of it was logistics. Most of it I already knew. Still, I listened intently as the ladies described their sexual experiences and suggested fun things I might like to try with a partner.

Then one day, in a conspiratorial whisper, one of them suggested I wake my girlfriend up in the morning by inserting a finger into her.  Because she can’t say no if she’s not awake, amirite, ladies?

Verdict: *disgusted shudder*


The lesson I took away from all of this was that, in many ways, this group of lesbians was clinging to outdated stereotypes harder than the traditional-minded straight folk they were meant to be a haven from.  The importance of filling certain roles, of dismissing certain groups outright, of refusing to be myself, felt completely counter to what I expected from a queer safe space. I also found it decidedly un-feminist to suggest rape as a way of being “playful” in bed.

I had walked into that women’s group expecting to learn a few things, and I did. I learned that opinions can vary widely, even among lesbians. I learned that having romantic experience with women doesn’t make you an expert on them. I learned that even virgins know a few things.

People love to give advice. More often than not, they give it with the best of intentions, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it. Your inner voice matters, and you shouldn’t do anything that doesn’t feel right to you. Go with your instincts. You’ll do ok.

Trust me. I’m a lesbian.


Author

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My Differently-Sexed Choice

Guest post by PhebeAnn.

In her post “The Same-Sex Choice,” Kate posted this quotation from Robyn Ochs:

Many lesbians and gay men believe that bisexuals have less commitment to ‘the community’, and that whatever a lesbian or gay man might have to offer to their bisexual partner will not be enough to outweigh the external benefits offered to those who are in heterosexual relationships. […] What gets lost in the fear is the fact that same-sex relationships also offer benefits not available in heterosexual relationships: the absence of scripted gender roles, freedom from unwanted pregnancy, the ease of being with someone with more similar social conditioning, and so on.”

I can relate to Ochs’ and Kate’s appreciation of the benefits offered by a same-gender relationship.

I am a bisexual woman who is primarily attracted to other women. From the age of 17 to the age of 21, I identified as a lesbian. I’ve never been particularly interested in dating men. This lack of interest is less because I’m more physically attracted to women of all gender presentations than because of the things Ochs talks about above, and that Kate talked about in her piece. Women tend to be socialized to be more communicative, empathetic and emotionally open. Women tend to be less easily offended when their femininity is threatened than men do when their masculinity is threatened. Two women by default must negotiate relationship roles apart from how these would arbitrarily be designated by gender.

Because of all these appealing elements of a same-gender relationship, paired with my strong sexual attraction to women, I always thought I’d end up in a monogamous or monogamish relationship with a woman. When my first long term relationship of six years ended – a polyamourous relationship with a woman – I had no plans to date men. When I felt ready to date again, I put up profiles on dating sites where I sought to date only women. But before long I was in a monogamish relationship with my best friend/neighbour Jon, a straight cisgender man. Continue reading “My Differently-Sexed Choice”

Boxed In

When I ended my last relationship, I decided that from then on, I was only going to date people who identified as women. Although I’d been emotionally attached to plenty of my female peers over the years, the closest I had ever come to actually dating a girl was when I was thirteen. Knowing that preteen relationships are hardly a paragon of stability and understanding, I was determined to try again.

Unfortunately, this decision also coincided with a return to the dating apps which had led me to the not-so-great relationship I had recently left. Some of you may find this shocking (none of you will find this shocking), but people tend to make really big assumptions about who you are as a person when they look at your online dating profile, and they tend not to change those opinions once they’re formed. Continue reading “Boxed In”

For The Love of Straight Women

(Originally posted on November 29, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I am a Scorpio.

Aside from being darkly charismatic and smoldering with sexual magnetism (ha!), we Scorpios are known for being secretive. I’ve been secretive for as long as I can remember, even when it came to small, inconsequential details. I always felt like my thoughts and feelings were things I needed to protect from the world. I preferred to keep them safe in my head and heart, where I knew they would be understood instead of questioned or judged.

I am also a lesbian, and no stranger to the closet. As of this writing, I’m still not out to the majority of my coworkers. It’s not that I wouldn’t admit the truth if asked. It’s just that I have always felt more at ease when my innermost thoughts were under wraps. Continue reading “For The Love of Straight Women”

The Same-Sex Choice

“Many lesbians and gay men believe that bisexuals have less commitment to “the community”, and that whatever a lesbian or gay man might have to offer to their bisexual partner will not be enough to outweigh the external benefits offered to those who are in heterosexual relationships. […] What gets lost in the fear is the fact that same-sex relationships also offer benefits not available in heterosexual relationships: the absence of scripted gender roles, freedom from unwanted pregnancy, the ease of being with someone with more similar social conditioning, and so on.”

Robyn Ochs, “Biphobia”

From Getting Bi, Second Edition.

I’m sure part of me will always be suspicious of my queerness. Since my wife has been the only woman I’ve been in a relationship with, when I think of dating women vs. men, something makes me pause and wonder if it’s women, or just Mo. But then I remind myself that gender is a huge part of someone’s identity, so it’s impossible to look at it as women or Mo.

Either way, the selection above from Robyn Ochs’ piece really hit me.

While not really an activist in my feminism, I am nonetheless staunchly feminist with regards to my life. In all my dealings with men – family, friends, lovers – I have always felt the need to prove myself as equal. I had to be just as tough, just as strong, just as handy. My father frequently told me as I grew up that he wanted me to be able to get through life not needing a man for anything; not to house me, not to pay my bills, not to fix my car. This became my mantra for life: not needing a man. Anything a man could do, I could do just as well, if not better. My older brother fueled my competitive drive. Dressing more and more masculine as I entered high school, I veered towards sports like Taekwon-do, archery, and cycling. I refused anything pink, wore mostly men’s clothing, and started an almost annual tradition of chopping my long hair off. Continue reading “The Same-Sex Choice”

Virgin Territory

I was a virgin for the entirety of my twenties. Now that I’m not one, I keep stumbling upon articles and stories on the ‘late in life virginity’ theme. (Did you guys know that Lisa Kudrow lost her virginity at 32?) It makes me wonder if the phenomenon is perhaps more common than I thought. It certainly never felt common when I was living it. Continue reading “Virgin Territory”