the truth about boys

In the last few months I’ve found myself in some situations that have made me think a lot about my own sexuality. Sexual orientation, gender, identity in general. What do I like? And what does that make me?

First off, a bit of history. I identify as a lesbian. I came out when I was 15, went right back in, came out again, dated a few girls–and since have been with quite a few more. Girls are where my mind goes. My body. My love. I cannot imagine being romantically involved with a man for any length of time, at this point.

I did date a boy for nearly a year, though, some time ago. He was a good person, and a kind person, and I loved him intensely. This caused me a great deal of consternation at the time–how could I be with him, when thus far I’d only loved women? But that’s a reductionist way of thinking. Nobody is one thing all the time, there are no solid rules in life, there are always exceptions. And that’s okay.

And I do occasionally have sex/do kink with male-bodied persons. It’s not an emotional thing. Sometimes I’m not sure why I do it– I find it strange, the way their bodies are arranged, and the desire I have for them is entirely different than what I feel for the women in my life. But when I have an opportunity to get nekkid with someone that I find attractive, I don’t usually pass it up, and I’m not going to avoid doing something because it doesn’t fit into a certain specific category. So I do sometimes have sex with men (if that’s still what you call it when someone ties you up, pulls out a flogger, and fingers you til you beg), and I try not to feel weird about it.

In my mind, none of this makes me bi, because I’m not attracted to men in general (I am the last person to notice a “hot guy,” and frequently don’t get it even when explained), and the way in which I am attracted to them is fickle and very specific. I think of it kind of like this: I am “oriented”—like a compass, that always swings around–mostly towards girls, but even more so towards dominance. Meaning: I always look at a pretty girl, but give me a pretty girl who’s sexually dominant and I’ll make a beeline for her. Now, give me a boy who’s dominant in the right way and I might possibly pay him some attention too. As Pat Califia once wrote:

I identify more strongly as a sadomasochist than as a lesbian. I hang out in the gay community because that’s where the sexual fringe starts to unravel. Most of my partners are women, but gender is not my boundary. I am limited by my own imagination, cruelty, and compassion, and by the greed and stamina of my partner’s body. If I had a choice between being shipwrecked on a desert island with a vanilla lesbian and a hot male masochist, I’d pick the boy.(“A Secret Side of Lesbian Sexuality,” The Advocate, Dec. 1979)

That’s fairly similar to how I think about myself. My emotional connections have mostly to do with women, and in that way I consider myself a lesbian, but when it comes to sexual attraction I’m primarily submissive. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but it works pretty well for me.

2 Responses to the truth about boys

  1. that’s a fantastic quote. i think it says so much about the myriad ways one can (but most don’t) view sexuality. but often people are so caught up in propper labelling that it makes this sort of thing really complicated to explain or accept (either for yourself or others).

  2. linaria says:

    the first time i read that essay, i had a *oh! hey!* lightbulb moment, it spoke so strongly to me. if you’re not familiar with califia’s writings, i would definitely recommend them–i don’t always agree, but it always gives me something to think about. this one is anthologized in a book called Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex (ISBN 1573 44 0965).

    and it’s really true, human sexuality is an infinitely complex thing. it took me a long, long time to figure out how to write this post–thank you for commenting.

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