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Queer Purity and Gold Stars

gold star sticker on ruled paper with a handwritten note "well done!"Today’s post originates from an idea I wrote down literally five years ago, so it seems about time to draft the damn thing. I started thinking about it at an academic conference called Lavender Languages that I attended in 2012. The conference was on queer linguistics, but the papers presented covered a pretty broad range of subjects. One was about gold star lesbians, and another was about barebacking and intentional exposure to HIV risk in gay male communities–from what I remember of the latter presentation, there was a lot of talk about sexual transgression and what communities consider abject–how we view sex, “dirtiness,” and disease.

Those two papers kind of coalesced in my mind and I started thinking about community narratives of purity vs. transgression. Of course, most queers are up on the purity myth and don’t focus on the construct of virginity, or shame other queers for sexual transgressions. But I do think there are subtler messages at work within the community, and they come up especially in how we think about trans lesbian sexuality. Read the rest of this entry

No really, I'm gay.

My new favourite dykeblogger, Card Carrying Lesbian, posted this the other day about people constantly challenging her gayness, and it really resonated with me.  I haven’t had a lot of outside challenge to my lesbianism, but I have had some internal struggles, and I hope that I eventually reach her level of confidence.  Now it’s time for a long personal sexual history rant.  Ready?  Let’s go!

When I was, oh, about ten or so, I wanted to be a boy.  This decision was very vehemently attacked by both the boys and girls in my fifth grade class, and my best friend physically fought me on the playground.  Shortly thereafter, I gave up on the idea.  When I was about twelve, and my body hair started growing in, I was briefly excited about shaving and then decided that shaving is stupid and stopped.  A little boy in the neighbourhood made the highly intelligent comment, “what’ve you got trees growing under there?” when I lifted my arms one day, and I started shaving again.  I was not by any means a popular child.  I didn’t dress attractively and I didn’t hang out with the popular kids.  I wanted to be popular though, and so I latched on quickly to boys, shopping, and makeup.

I was definitely boy crazy.  I know hindsight is 20-20, and maybe I’m seeing things differently now because of my “enlightenment” about adult me, but I’ve noticed some things looking back about my boy craziness.  One is that I liked really pretty boys.  It was almost entirely about aesthetics, as it probably is to most girls that age.  I was into the Backstreet Boys and NSync.  I realise now that when I masturbated I thought about straight couples and particularly focused on elements of the woman’s body (funny that I can still remember some of those teenage fantasies).  Anyway, I didn’t have any actual experience besides one exploitative five-second “relationship” that I blocked out so much that I forgot about it for a while.  

When I was sixteen, I came out as bisexual.  I couldn’t not like boys, I mean come on!  They were so pretty.  My mom was sceptical about the liking girls part, if only because I had so adamantly liked boys, and talked about how cute boys were for so long.  But at seventeen, I started my first relationship, which lasted six months, and it was with a girl, so she believed me.  In college, I ended up in another relationship, this time with a man, and it lasted a year in a half.  I won’t tell the entire story, but the basic idea is that I was looking for love, he was looking for love, and I believed that a relationship could work on that alone.  And it did, and we got along pretty well for a while, and we decided that we loved each other.  We had very little in common, but it worked.  He was very sweet, and sensitive, and I still think he’s a great guy.  We ended up losing our virginity to each other, and had sex together for about a year.  I’ll come clean.  I kind of enjoyed parts of it.  I even kind of enjoyed intercourse.  But I became a closed off person, ridiculously meek, and lots of other things I’m not proud of.  It’s not like I was having orgasms, or anything like that. 

After we broke up, I had sex with two other guys, and fooled around with a few girls.  I matured a lot in a couple of years, and I started thinking about it.  I realised that my interest in men really was mainly aesthetic.  They look kind of nice.  I kind of like sex with them.  But at that point, I didn’t want sex with them.  If I had a choice, I’d never have sex with them again.  And over martinis in a foreign country, my dear friend Kat broke it to me.  Yeah, I think you’re a lesbian.

It all kind of started to make sense.  

In another post soon, I’m going to start talking about my views on choice in this arena, but for now I want to quote something from the post linked above.

I’m not saying boys are yucky. I’m just saying I prefer women so much so that I’ve excluded men from the realm of my dating possibilities.

Yet for some reason many people will never believe that I’m a lesbian because I can admit that sex with certain men didn’t suck. 

Wow.  I’ve never heard another lesbian put it that way, but YES!  Exactly.  I prefer women.  I prefer how they look, how we relate, how friendship and sex can intertwine, and so many other things.  I’ve made a choice, and that’s that I don’t ever want to be in a relationship with or have sex with a man again.  And lately I’ve been feeling a great defensive need, and been putting that one long-term relationship with a man in a box, talking about how bad the sex was and laughingly thinking that he “turned” me, but that isn’t true.  Yeah, the sex wasn’t great.  We weren’t open with each other, we weren’t sexually compatible with each other, I was generous in bed but he wouldn’t kiss me below the neck… et caetera, et caetera.  But that doesn’t mean I never liked being with him, and I think I should stop lying about it.  

The funny thing, too, is that my sexual history is so unlike my sexual preferences.  I’ve never had good sex.  I’ve never had sex with a woman.  You’d think that I’m sexually immature, but no, not really.  It just so happens that when I broke up with him, I got way pickier.  I got pickier about the gender I have sex with, and also about the people I have sex with.  I have a new rule that I have to really like a person, and I have to trust them, to have sex with them.  So far, that’s worked brilliantly for me!  I love being single, and I know that when I meet women with whom I really connect, I have the option to have sex, and the option to pursue a relationship.  But I’m in no hurry.  A relationship really is about more than love.  It’s also about someone you connect with, and enjoying being around.  So the fact that my sexual history is skewed in a very masculine direction means nothing about my sexuality.  The ending of the linked post, I think, is perfect for this one as well.

Dude. I kiss girls!  ONLY.  😀