From Issue 3.5 - June 1997
Where Have All The Hetgirls Gone?
I attended a tops and bottoms auction a couple of months back. A woman friend of mine was auctioning herself as a "heterosexual bottom." I hollered, "Can women bid?" Immediately, and with a slight look of surprise that I would ask such a silly a question, she responded, "Sure!" (I didn't get her, dammit.)
In thinking about this article, I ran down my mental Rolodex of female friends, and could not come up with a single one who never, ever plays with women (although a few choose to be sexual with men only). In contrast, I know quite a few dykes who play with women only, a lot of gay men who play with men only, and a whole lot of het men who play with women only.
I've also seen a few party-givers tearing out their hair in frustration while their carefully constructed gender balance falls to shreds as all the female attendees go off to play together, leaving the men to talk about whatever it is that men talk about over the onion dip.
So, what's going on? Why are so many ostensibly heterosexual women following the same path I did -- from "heterosexual" to "heterosexual-who-plays-with-women," and perhaps onward to "het-oriented bisexual" or even plain old "bisexual"?
One thing I've discovered, in asking around among men and women of all orientations, is that just about everybody seems to use pretty much the same words in talking about the difference in what it feels like to play with women and with men. Play with women, says just about everybody, feels more "nurturing" and "connected" -- even if that play is incredibly intense. Play with men feels "harsher," "edgier," more "forceful." Some people prefer one set of feelings over another, but just about everyone I talk to agrees that the difference exists and is almost universal. It seems as though a whole lot of het-identified women are finding that there's some turn-on for them in both "flavors" of play.
Perhaps more to the point, I see a lot of women using play as a means of reinforcing friendship and connection. In the same way that our mother cooked with her best friend, played gin rummy with her, or watched her kids, it seems that many of us play with our woman friend because we like her, because playing with her helps her feel good, or because physical connection reinforces emotional connection to create an even deeper and more intimate bond.
Of course, it's easier for us; we're freer than many. Our heterosexual brothers, who often grew up in environments where "queer" was the worst insult available, may struggle with terrible crises of identity and desire before they feel free to play with another man -- if indeed they ever do. Our gay and lesbian friends face pressure from their community and challenges to an identity that may have cost them dearly to attain if they decide to play with an opposite-sex partner. Maybe the reason het-identified women play with other women is because we can -- because we're lucky enough to be able to follow our desires and connections without any terribly negative consequences.
Lucky us. If I hadn't had the freedom to experiment with women, to follow my impulses and desires with no unwanted challenge to my identity, it's quite possible that I'd never have discovered my own bisexuality -- and that I'd have missed out on one glorious relationship and a lot of wonderful ones. I wonder how many other people, cooped up by politics or history or identity into a box built decades ago, are missing out on something equally important.
When I march this month, I'll be marching for a world in which
everybody has the freedom to play with the people they like and the
people they love, regardless of gender, and in which S/M and sex are a
mode of affection, connection, and growth, not politics or
identity. Let's all love the people we love...and let the whips fall
where they may.
Lady Green is the author of "The Sexually Dominant Woman: A
Workbook for Nervous Beginners" and "The Compleat Spanker," and (as
Catherine A. Liszt) the co-author of "The Bottoming Book," "The
Topping Book," and the newly published "The Ethical Slut: A Guide to
Infinite Sexual Possibilities." For information send a SASE to
Greenery Press at 3739 Balboa Ave. #195, San Francisco, CA 94121, or
visit the Grenery Press
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Last updated: 6 July 1997