Sunday, December 28, 2008

HQ1426 (Part 2)

Part of the reason I decided to write this post was because of something I read on the remarkable blog Femmeismygender.blogspot.com. If you haven't read her blog, you should. Femme, who is of a similar age, mentioned some of her recollections as a young lesbian feminist about the then popular concept of penetration during sex as an embrace of a male heterosexist orthodoxy. All good lesbian feminists rejected any sex that, it was believed, mimicked male-female fucking. As I recollect, we didn't even use the word "fucking", it was always "making love" at best, or "having sex" at worst.

I have always seen myself as willing to question my own beliefs and assumptions. Perhaps that has been true to some extent, but clearly I have failed in a critical area of my life, and that is around my own path to intimacy - sexual and emotional intimacy.

So for years, I had none, bad, okay, good, and great sex with women, none of it consciously penetrative. None of it consciously exploring the nature of power-sharing, none of it consciously examining how in this most intimate act, we physically manifest trust. None of it falling outside the orthodox lesbian feminist bounds of feminist sex, feminist relationships. I never realized or even considered that I might be missing out on something that might be a more intense and more profound path to intimacy than what I knew and had repeated time and time again.

Until I was in my late 30s, I had only slept with one woman who could be considered a butch top. And what a butch top she was. Her dress (jeans, leather jacket, boots, short hair) and an intense swagger and attitude would have gay men in Newtown rush to cruise her for sex, assuming that she was some hot boy. She enjoyed this kind of gender fuck and was quick to laugh at these poor horny guys when they realized they had just solicited a smirky butch dyke. I liked sex with her, she was very direct about telling me she wanted me, wanted to fuck me (though I insisted on the silly pretense that she use the word "make love" even though she clearly wanted just to fuck me), and she was very good at it. She was the first lover who tried to physically restrain me, and she clearly wanted me to bottom to her top. She liked the fact that I enthusiastically ate pussy. We had sex in all kinds of places, and she liked to push the envelope on discovery. She also had a long-term girlfriend and I was her fling, and this added to the intensity. I loved the sex with her, we had sex often, she had a way of initiating sex and "taking" me that resonated with me, almost against my lesbian feminist sensibilities but we never explored much farther, I dumped her in a public restaurant (much to the amusement of the gay men around us) because she was a bit too cruel, insensitive, extremely narcissistic and I was tired of being the "other woman". This relationship, unfortunately, led me to believe the stereotype of all top/bottom relationships as inherently unequal, selfish, and unhealthy. The concept of trust and willing surrender was never part of that relationship, and thus never part of my understanding of the butch/femme top/bottom dynamic.

In retrospect, I realized I never applied the same blanket stereotype of inequity, selfishness and unhealthiness to all those androgynous "lesbian feminist" relationships which were as equally disastrous to me as my failed relationship with W. but in those relationships I simply blamed myself and the other woman, never the strict 50/50 mirroring lesbian feminist model of relationship.

Let me be clear, it is not my interest to call the traditional lesbian feminist sexual dynamic a fraud or a failure, some seem to find it works quite well. But I seek to understand how my game hewing to a particular one-size-fits-all sexual orthodoxy stunted my ability to find the kind of intimacy that I seek. I am interested in rethinking my earlier feminist interpretation, based on my now 35+ years as a lesbian feminist, of the butch/femme top/bottom dynamic as inherently anti-lesbian feminist, inherently unhealthy, unequal, or as simply a poor rote mimic of oppressive heterosex.

It seems a lot of younger quite brilliant lesbians have already been exploring this ground, and exploring it thoughtfully and well, but I, as a contemporary, was struck by reading FIMG's comment, and I realized how interested I am in reading and hearing the reflections and experiences of other lesbians in mid-life who are now rethinking their path to intimacy, trust, and our relationship to power.

I'm going to stop this post here, I would love to hear any of your comments, all views, whatever your age, or gender identification. I intend to pursue this topic further, but I don't want these entries to be so long as to be unreadable. And they are almost that.

5 comments:

femmeismygender said...

Fantastic post! check my blog :-) fimg xx

QueerRose said...

Great post - found you through f.im.g. and have have commented over there - look forward to reading more. QRx

Running away with the Spoon said...

fimg,

Thanks for the h/p on your blog, and for your ever honest and thoughtful writing. You remain my inspiration.

best,
RS

Running away with the Spoon said...

Welcome QR!

I was happy to find your blog and look forward to more of your thoughts on power and freedom in submission. I hope you do write that post!

And best wishes for your recovery from surgery.

Running away with the Spoon said...

fimg,

"h/p" is a mystery, a (mis)spell of the internet, I meant "hat tip", of course.

best,
RS