Updated: Dec 27, 2022
WHAT EVEN *IS* SEX ANYWAY?
So, dating women is fascinating.
I’ve been pursuing my queer side lately, and there have been many moments of realization and insight that challenge old beliefs and old conditioning– especially when it comes to sex.
For example, straight sex tends to follow a certain kind of script. I mean great straight sex goes off script, but in general there is a similarly patterned path of kissing, followed by escalating “foreplay” including oral and hand stuff, and typically culminating in penetration and finishing when the man climaxes.
No such script exists in queer sex.
There’s no need for it to, because (among two women) there are endless iterations of pleasure that can be given and received, and there is no “end point” that the whole experience is heading toward.
There is also no hard stop (pun intended) when one partner climaxes, like there is in straight sex. I actually realized even calling an orgasm “finishing” is kinda messed up, because it’s based on the concept that sex is based around men!
But there’s no need for an orgasm to finish anything when a man isn’t involved. If both participants can have multiple orgasms, then one person’s orgasm wouldn’t just be stop along the way in a sex session.
Admittedly, at first I was slightly concerned by this. I mean, without that built-in “ending” boundary, how do you know when to stop? Time constraints? Physical constraints?? What if one person wants to keep playing and the other is overstimulated?
(Don’t worry though, my friends. Like everything else, the answer is that we each get to decide for ourselves and then talk about it with each other.)
Anyway, queer sex is showing me clearly all of the things about straight sex that I’ve always found boring. Unfortunately, a lot of hetero sex is done on autopilot, because there’s kind of this forgone conclusion about where it’s going, and everyone knows the role they’re expected to play. (Thanks, porn.)
But when I think back on a lifetime of being touched by men in ways that weren’t super-pleasurable for me, I remember feeling unable to speak up, uncomfortable slowing things down, and struggling to give instructions.
Plenty of male partners would ask me to tell them what I like and I’d be like… oy that’s a big question. I mean… how much time do you have?
One big reason is that there was a massive “language barrier” between us.
Men seem generally to assume that the answer to “what I like” is a stroke, an act, a position, or a technique. But it’s not. It’s more like a vibe, a feel, an environment, an experience. And that can be really damn difficult to put into words in the moment, especially when he’s just trying to give me a few minutes of “me-time” before we get to the “real sex” part.
There’s too much to explain, like how I’ve been socialized to put his needs first, so by knowing that he wants something different than what I want, it actually scrambles my understanding of what I wanted, and unless the context is just right, trying to answer that question makes me feel confused and anxious.
It’s often just too big of a chasm to cross.
But that’s the thing about queer sex. There is no “language barrier,” and everything just feels easier. Giving instructions doesn’t seem so daunting, and without a script to follow, the space and permission to explore and play is the default.
Of course with men there’s something very peaceful about knowing they’re doing exactly what they want, because they’ve been conditioned to do so. With women I do find myself worrying that they’re doing things they don’t want to do because they too have been conditioned to make someone else happy and struggle with boundaries and self-advocacy.
Honestly the whole thing is a fascinating social experiment.
Another shift I find curious is that I don’t know how to define the word “sex” anymore!
With men, I always know which ones I’ve “had sex with,” using the archaic and nonsensical definition of penis-in-vagina penetration. Oral sex doesn’t count as “sex,” only vaginal sex, and vaginal sex is… important.
It’s silly to me, but I still have some lingering resistance to crossing that arbitrary “threshold” with a man unless it’s gonna be really worth it. I suppose this is some kind of ghost of the message that virginity is a gift, and that penetration has a magical transformative ability to “ruin” a woman somehow.
Anyway, if I’m hooking up with a dude and we use hands and mouths and sex toys, even if we both orgasm, I leave the experience thinking we “didn’t have sex.” Sometimes I’m even weirdly really proud of that fact, like, hell yeah, I succeeded at resisting!
(Heteronormative programming teaches us that men are the enemy, and that our job as women is to keep them from getting what they want. Ugh what a dark lesson for so many reasons.)
But in queer sex all we have is hands and mouths and sex toys. So how the hell do I know if or when we’ve “had sex?”
For example, if I hook up with a woman and we play around but don’t orgasm, was that sex? Maybe not! (I really like the idea of orgasm being the defining factor for something to be officially “sex,” because defining sex by pleasure is a huge improvement over defining it by where a penis goes.)
BUT. If that’s the case, then what do we call it when a woman orgasms without genital touch?? Because that’s an actual thing. So… is that still sex?
I love these questions.
We could of course still use “penetration” as the definition, either digitally or with a toy. But then where does that leave oral sex? And why is penetration so significant anyway? Lots of women don’t even enjoy that!
And what about the BDSM community who engage in acts which feel sexual to them but don’t include genital touch, like spanking, whipping, submissive and dominant roleplay, bondage, and sensation play?
I was talking to a friend about this who suggest that maybe it’s all sex from the time we get naked. To which I asked about all the times I’ve had sex with clothes on??
Maybe it starts from the first stirrings of arousal while kissing, then. Which I suppose would mean I’ve been having sex with people on public sidewalks for my entire adult life without realizing it.
This has me cracking up right now.
The truth is that it really doesn’t matter. Why do we even need to know when sex has officially started and ended? What’s the point of having such clearly defined end points?
That said, I’m so into the reshaping of old beliefs and narratives, and the breaking down of patriarchal and heteronormative socialization, so this kind of thought experiment absolutely delights me.
I’m here for it all, and frankly I’m stoked to have this platform to share what I’m learning with you, and to open up the floor for these kinds of fascination conversations.
Love, light, and taking down the patriarchy,
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