Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lesbian Social Stigma

Lesbians are known for so many stereotypes. I even poke fun at some of them myself. Things like, bringing u-hauls on the second date, lesbians are obsessed with cats, lesbians are all drama queens and the best yet, lesbians are all manhaters. Of course I’ve come across all of the above, however if you really think about it, most women in general, gay or straight are ‘fast movers’ in relationships, tend to like cats better than dogs and bitch and moan about men periodically. As I’ve stated in a previous post, lesbians are also known to hold the award for LBD: Lesbian Bed Death. To some degree, you can scientifically look at the genetic data and technically say that testosterone and estrogen can play certain roles in this area. But how many heterosexuals are kissing one another goodnight and then turning over to go to sleep?

I love meeting new people. Over the past 6 months or so, I’ve met quite a few people-- most being men actually. When they find out that I’m gay, the response varies and they’re always interesting. Here are some of the questions that I’ve been asked:

“What made you ‘decide’ to be gay?”
“Have you ever dated men before?”
“So do you ‘still’ sleep with men?”
“Do you and your partner ever bring a guy into the bedroom?”
“Do you miss men?”
“Can I watch?” (I got one of those recently!)
"Can I join?"

Some of the straight women I have met recently have asked me quite a few questions themselves:

“Did a guy hurt you in the past?”
“How does the sex part work? What do you do?”
“Do you use toys?”
“Who plays the man and who plays the woman?” (Love that one!)

The unknown tends to draw more questions. I totally understand why people ask the questions they do. They’re curious. The one thing that frustrates me, which I see a lot of in the lesbian community is how many of them seem to disrespect each other’s relationships. For instance, it’s ok to hit on your friend’s girlfriend, or it’s ok to go after someone who’s already taken. It’s as though they don’t take lesbian relationships seriously and the sad part is – they’re gay themselves! Is it an insecurity issue that drives them to test other people’s admiration for them? Do they want to play the game of, ‘let’s see if she’ll go for me while she’s with another girl’? It’s another thing if the person who is taken states that they’re single. That’s a whole other different ballgame. But, I will say this: a lot of lesbians I’ve come across will try to steal someone else’s lover. It’s like they just don’t care. “Oh we fell in love.”


I’m not saying that this type of stuff doesn’t happen to heterosexuals, however it runs rampant in the lesbian community. In the past, I’ve been on both sides: the pursuer and pursued. I’ve been the one to witness my girlfriend getting hit on as well. Back when I was the “pursuer”, I was 20 yrs old and didn’t know better. I met an older woman who was 33 years old and she already lived with her partner. I was out for my ‘experience’ with a woman. My bad. I admit that. But you can also say, her bad too, because she cheated on her girlfriend with me. Lessons learned.

Whether you’re at a potluck function, knitting party, a political activist event, a social lesbian 'dance' held in an Episcopalian church or at Pride, throw all the stigmas out the window, have fun and live in the moment. Who cares what they say. Just don’t hit on my girl and keep your nose out of my bedroom business!


Grax said...

I do wonder; did somebody at some point in history create the 'idea' that its the norm for homosexuals to sleep around, and therefore homosexuals just accept this idea? What do you think?

~Deb said...

Welp, I can't speak for "all of us", however, I think it goes back to the Roman days when women got bored with men, vise/versa, leaving them to have sex with one another, which wasn't at all considered "homosexuality", however it definitely goes under the category of promiscuity. Big difference. There are straight people who have sex with the same gender just for fun. Call it what you will: bi-curious, bi-sexual or whatever.

But how many heterosexuals are promiscuous too? It goes both ways.

I will say this: there's a huge part of the gay community (men) who do love the thought of sleeping around. The theory of "spreading their seed" goes hand-in-hand with their testosterone and male instincts. So I guess you can say it's different for men and women, individuals with higher sex drives, as well as people who just don't have any morals whatsoever.

It totally depends.

Thanks for your input!

X. Dell said...

A lot of what you're describing is a phenomenon I call the Scapegoat Effect (SE). When people say there is truth in stereotypes, they'll give you copious examples of people of a certan "type" that fit the stereotype. What they usually fail to acknowledge is that the description applies equally to other ethnicities/genders/gender orientations, etc.. Yet, one group is identified with that trait.

The questions that you quote here unfortuantely made me break out laughing. Sorry about that. I've heard friends complain about each and every one of them constantly. And I can understand. After awhile it's gotta get on your nerves, and nobody's really paying you to be the sole educator of all things gay.

The male questions, however, still intrigue me, for they seem to reflect the erotization of lesbians in popular culture--almost makes it seem as though all women could swing either way, and are just biding their time until their prince comes. Odd that at a time people talk about "lesbian chic" that lesbians themselves have become increasingly invisible.

~Deb said...

X. Dell: I have to admit, they are all comical stereotypes. The questions are even funnier, because the answers are so awkward. And you’re absolutely right – anybody can have the same descriptions as far as the way they live and what they like – some men love cats, some guys rent a whole lotta’ u-hauls and some men bitch about other men. Who knows…?

”…for they seem to reflect the erotization of lesbians in popular culture--almost makes it seem as though all women could swing either way, and are just biding their time until their prince comes.”

I have to comment on that, because the one thing that irritates me the most (not you) but the *statement* that some people make, “Oh she’s a lesbian right now ‘cause she can’t find ‘Mr. Right’”, or “She’s a lesbian because she can’t find a man”---those types of statements, in my opinion are hysterical.

I do agree that there are plenty of those “lesbian chic” gals running out there who seem to simulate the image of your typical “porn star lesbian”---very feminine, long nails, long hair, make up and glitter, etc. And some of them go for women not only for experimental purposes, however to attract other men. They may have absolutely no interest in women whatsoever, other than to draw men’s attention only.

Thanks for your thought provoking comment!

kathi said...

Lol, well...I have no problem with either of your conditions so...we're cool. :)

~Deb said...

Haha! Love ya Kath! And my girlfriend does too!

SJ said...

Next time a nose pokes into your bedroom ...CUT IT OFF! :)

Anonymous said...

“I will say this: there's a huge part of the gay community (men) who do love the thought of sleeping around. The theory of "spreading their seed" goes hand-in-hand with their testosterone and male instincts.”

Your comment brings to my mind the way people tend to abuse generalizations. To generalize can be misleading and even dangerous. I almost find funny when people say that “Americans are…”, or “men are…”, or “Jews are…”. Come on!! There are almost 300 million people in the USA; how can people refer to all of them as if they were the same thing??!! There are 15 million Jews in the world, do they mean by that that we are exactly all the same? Do they also mean when they say that “men are…” that the 3 billion guys in the world are all also all the same?

I have no desire to “spread” my seed and I am a man. In fact, I could tell you that women’s maternal instinct is much stronger than the male’s paternal instinct and you are living proof of it because I read in one of your posts that you want to have a child and have even found a “donor”. Needless to say, there has to be plenty of exceptions to this rule, otherwise, I would find myself falling in the so common “generalization” trap.

Personally I have never been able to understand lesbianism and homosexuality. I simply can’t understand how it is possible for a person to feel physically attracted to another person of the same gender. Yet, considering the amount of lesbians and homosexuals there are in the world, I have no alternative but to recognize that it looks as if my understanding is more limited than I wish it was!
Bear in mind that not being able to understand homosexuality does not mean that I am against it. As a matter of fact, if tomorrow there was a guy parade in Rosario, perhaps I would find myself marching side by side with these people in order to claim for their rights. As an anarchist, I believe in complete and total freedom as long as you don’t bother others.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say “a gay parade”.

~Deb said...

SJ: Gruesome, but effective!

Anonymous: You’re right about my generalization on the theory of “men needing to spread their seed”, however, testosterone makes a strong argument for the levels of sexual desire. Keep in mind that the fluctuation of women’s hormones during her ovulation, menstrual as well as pregnancy tends to vary and may even surpass the male’s desire for sex.

You stated, ”…In fact, I could tell you that women’s maternal instinct is much stronger than the male’s paternal instinct and you are living proof of it because I read in one of your posts that you want to have a child and have even found a “donor”.”

My exact words were these: ”And if wasn’t for my ‘future donor’ who I’ve already claimed and he has accepted, then I wouldn’t have the option of deciding whether or not to bear a child of ‘my own’.”

I put quotes on “future donor” because I do not want a child right now. I’ve also said in that statement that it was an “option” for me. I never said that I was definitely going to have a kid, nor did I say I had the need to have one. I claimed him, just in case I did want a child. It’s a beautiful thing to have options.

There are many people who don’t understand how people of the same gender can be attracted to one another. It’s an unknown territory for them. I don’t understand many lifestyles myself, but like you, I would definitely welcome them anyway. I admire you for at least being open-minded and stating that you would march side by side with homosexuals in a gay parade, if one should happen to be in Rosario.

Thank you so much for your input! It’s nice to hear other people’s outlook on my opinion and sometimes, “generalization”. Hope you weren’t offended.


Matt-Man said...

Ha. Well done and well written, Deb. But seriously, can I join and/or watch? ; ) Cheers!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it all came the wrong way. Sorry about that, my English is far from being perfect.
When saying that “I don’t want to spread my seed” I didn’t mean that I don’t want to have sex!!!!! I meant to say that I have no children and no paternal instinct at all. When you use in Spanish the words “spread your seed” that expression necessarily refers to have offspring. Perhaps the combination of those words does not mean the same in English.

To have offend me? No way!! I love your blog!! And thanks for telling me that “I have an open mind”. Most people believe I don’t!

By the way, I don’t feel like being an invisible ghost in your blog (no face, no name, no nationality, no age, etc.).
By going to you will be able to read the most complete profile I’ve ever written in my life. This time, it is me the one who has to warn you: you may not like at all what you are about to read. If by any chance you don’t want me to keep posting some comments in your blog, let me know it and I won’t do it again.

Jess said...

I enjoyed that post very much and can also relate very much! Just last night I was asked a serious of these very questions you posted...except there was a fair bit of alcohol factored in, therefore the questions were even more direct! Oh, those heterosexual men and their silly brains! Gotta love em!

~Deb said...

Matt: I was thinking about putting a clip up on Youtube for ya!
You’re too funny!

Anonymous: I think it has a double meaning really. See, back in the day, “spreading your seed” meant exactly just that, because having sex was more for reproduction. Nowadays, “spreading your seed” basically means spreading it regardless of reproduction, hence birth control, etc., etc., etc… I won’t get into that though.

I’m glad I haven’t offended you and very happy that I can see who this “anonymous” is---I’m definitely going to check out your website! I don’t necessarily read blogs that I agree with. (I think that’s the fun of reading other people’s blogs to tell you the truth.) I love reading or hearing what other people think – mostly opposing views. It gives me another perspective on things.

Please keep commenting because you keep making me think. It takes a lot for me to think! (heh)

Jess: Well, you gotta keep in mind that 99.9% of men’s fantasies include a harem of women. It’s normal really. Redundant? Yes. But I get a kick out of it. If they weren’t interested in that part of it, then I’d have to wonder about them. Alcohol induced thoughts are dangerous Jess! (Believe me, I know all too well!) Thanks for commenting!

Ricardo said...

LOL! Those are such typical guy questions that I'm kind of ashamed of my fellow men right now. I can understand the watching thing but really I wouldn't ask. Nor would I ask about joining. Chances are, if they are a lesbian then they don't want me and it's fine.

If they were switch hitters, well that's a whole new ballgame. But still I would not be throwing things like that out there. However I am available :-P

You know, this may seem strange but I have a pattern of the man hating lesbians liking me. Not in the romantic sense but just digging me. People were stunned at this at a job I had way back when at a theater. There were some there that liked me but hated everyone else. They thought I was cute and funny. People asked how I did it. I told them I was just being myself. I really don't know.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I echo Ricardo. I wish more men would ask heterosexual women about what turns them on, then sex with them wouldn't be such a bore.

The nerve.

~Deb said...

Ricardo: You know why those manhaters love ya----I told you that you were a rare breed! You're very easy to talk to, intelligent, and not afraid to show his 'soft side'. I don't think anyone could not like you! :)

Enemy: I think the fear is that they'll get slapped. (ha) It is fair game, right?

kathi said...

Awwww, and you know I love y'all too. :)

jennifer said...

Well come out come out where ever you are! (bad play on words, sorry)

Interesting new fact about you Deb.
I can just hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the guys who saw your gorgeous thumb nail pic and had to check you out. HAH!

I have seriously thought about posting my opinions about homosexuality on my blog, but I haven't found the voice for it yet. My Cousin, who is as dear to me as a sister, is a Lesbian. Her sexuality, and the way my family has worked it into our lives, has been a major part of my history. Your insight to the community and the 'see if I can get her' mentality shed some light. There have been LOTS of live in relationships for her.

And a thought... as to the questions asked of you... do you think that some of the guys see you as a bit deviant in you sexuality so they ask things of you that they wouldn't ask a heterosexual couple? Like they think you are a swinger instead of just a normal, sexual human being? I for one have never been asked if someone could watch my husband and I in the bedroom. Of course I am old and fat so...

Enjoyed the post and I hope that you have a lovely weekend.

Be blessed.


~Deb said...

Kathi: {hugs}

Jen: Thumbnail pictures are great, aren’t they? They hide a lot of “flaws”—ha!
If you thought about posting your opinions on your blog about homosexuality, you should do it! Everyone has a “voice” – and even if they’re not knowledgeable as far as “experience”—opinions are always interesting. I would definitely love to read your views on it. Plus, you do have ’experience’ by having your cousin life that lifestyle. So, my question to you is: how has her lifestyle affected your life as well as your family’s life? Has she gone through adversity, discrimination or any negative encounters because of her orientation? That would be a good topic to bring up, plus, I bet your cousin would appreciate reading it.

”…do you think that some of the guys see you as a bit deviant in you sexuality so they ask things of you that they wouldn't ask a heterosexual couple?”

To tell you the truth, more women see me as a “swinger”, as opposed to a lifetime partner to my girlfriend. I have and had straight women giving me the green light to pursue them or giving me sexual innuendos. It’s as though I’m their guinea pig for lesbian experimentation. Although I find this flattering, it’s a double-edged sword because they view my lifestyle as promiscuous. One of my male friends who I spend a lot of time with, we met in a bar. (You know who you are if you’re reading baby!) I LOVE HIM. At the time, I was going through very stressful relationship circumstances and enjoyed his company, however, we were never “intimate”. But, I will tell you this, if I were to go back to the other side---it would be him! His tactful way of handling my lifestyle without being a pig about it really impressed me. He never asked me personal questions to make me think he was trying to see if I was promiscuous, if anything, I’ve asked him personal questions to get his male point of view on women and sex. He’s a rare breed. But, to fully answer your question: yes, I have encountered men viewing my lifestyle as “swinger mode” – but let’s not forget about the women who think that way too.

Thanks, Jen!

jennifer said...

The short answer HAH! to your return question is...

Kim was an only child to a controlling-through-love mother. She did major battle over her sexuality. It hurt both of them so much.

I was the first one in our family, a close knit family, to know. I saw first hand the touching that would be "normal" at that age between a guy and a girl, between she and a girlfriend. She swore me to secrecy, and I kept her secret for a while. I finally told my mother, and it is what was needed. My Aunt NEEDED my Mom to help her through this transition, but she couldn't talk about it yet. So my big mouth was a good thing for once.

We have spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases with friends of Kim's (besides her 'current' lady). My Aunt opened her home to anyone who was not welcome in their own family for the holidays. I've seen lot's of girls who felt shunned by people who were supposed to love them, sitting across from me eating turkey.

I did a post about Kim not this past Thursday, but the one before that. There are photos of she and I together. There is no way that I can picture her in a hetero relationship. If anything, she would be A-sexual before being hetero. And she tried at one time, for her mother.

Incidentally, her mom died of cancer a few years ago. That has been quite traumatic for all of us, and her especially. She carries alot of guilt. Not fair, huh.

I could go on but I am getting the "Look" from my family. I have enjoyed our dialogue and I hope to continue later on, when things settle down around here!

Be blessed Sis!


JC said...

Deb, Thanks so much for this post. I'm one of those women who are clueless. I didn't know or was not aware of homosexuals growing up and into adulthood I never gave it a thought. Maybe it was because I was raise in the country, I doubt that.

Anyway, a few years back my next door neighbors were lesbian. They told me they were sisters but that just didn't add up to me. They were both divorced with children (four). At one time there were three women, four children and to many animals to count. I was shocked at the drama!!!! Screaming, cussing, door slamming (house and vehicles) that I could hear inside my house. One rode a Harley that I honestly couldn't figure out how she could be strong enough to handle it but she could.
One moved out then there were two, more drama. One more moved out taking two kids with her. However, she only move residents, she stayed with her friend a lot. The drama continued. Now I sound like a very noisy neighbor which I am not. But much of the drama went on in the yard so it was open for all the neighbors to see and hear. I don't know any happy lesbians but those two are my only point of reference.

I'm not called to judge anyone or their lifestyle so I don't. I may not understand the sexual attraction to someone of your same gender but my lack of understanding in my problem not yours. I believe my Christian walk is to love, regardless. Thanks again for the post. Have a joyful weekend. JC

~Deb said...

Jen: Wow. That must have been challenging for you all. There are definitely some women who would go a-sexual if they couldn’t be who they really are. I hope that she rids of her guilt and comes to a peaceful term within herself regarding her mom and all. I have to visit your blog to read the post you’ve written. Thank you so much for sharing all that you did with me.

JC: ”… I don't know any happy lesbians but those two are my only point of reference.” Are there any “completely happy” couples, gay or straight out there? But I will say this: think about how many women are highly emotional. Put that together, with a buncha’ estrogen & menstrual weeks and you got yourself a recipe for a dramatic relationship. I do believe that’s one of the reasons why a lot of people call lesbians “drama-filled”. We’re more emotional, we’re complex and we know how to manipulate more than your average “man”. We’re quick & witty with our responses, complicated and downright conniving sometimes. That’s why men can’t figure us out. Luckily, I’ve met a woman who can withstand me. She’s more like a man in a lot of ways. She’s extremely patient and understanding and puts up with a helluva’ lot from yours truly. ;)
I am very fortunate. If you can get a combination like that, where one woman has a bit more testosterone than their significant other, then you can possibly live in peace. (ha) POSSIBLY! I like your outtake and experience you’ve had – even if it was only 2 lesbian couples that you’ve witnessed. It’s interesting!

Advizor said...

I know this post came out a while ago, but I just got around to reading it and wanted to share my take on the clueless and intrusive questions that straight guys ask of gay women.

I think that men see lesbians as sexual rule-breakers, and as such, we hope, that they will continue to "break the rules", by being promiscuous, hopefully with us.

We assume that once you cross one line, you will cross them all. I believe that is why most straight porn involves lesbian sex. We think, "Wow, these girls are so horny that they'll have sex with another girl, and maybe even me!"

I know this sounds like a typical teenage boy, but most of us are attracted to the rebellious ones in our groups. That's why so many straight women want to experiment with their lesbian friends. It's not so much that they want you to cheat on your partners, it's that they assume the rules don't apply, so it's not really cheating.

It goes back to Deb's point that people don't respect the relationships itself. I'm sure that is part of it, but many people assume that the relationship is based on this rebellious sexuality, and that promiscuity is not only the norm, but is expected.

We just want to be included.

~Deb said...

Advizor: Well that was another way of looking at it - I never saw it that way! Thank you for being so honest and open about that. It does make a lot of sense though, why they think that it's "rule breaking".

I learned something new today! :) I appreciate your input!