Tag Archives: Sexuality

Sorry, no lesbians allowed here…

So at age twenty, after never having had experienced any personal homophobic attack in my life thus far, I always though ‘phew, I’ve passed the high school stage with no problems, what’s the worst that can happen now?!’… I held that thought until this morning. Never would I have thought that the first person ever to be homophobic towards me was a professional.

I recently reached that beautiful stage that I received a letter from my doctors and had all my male friends giggle and say ‘ahhh I bet it’s for a smear test!!’ So firstly that’s not very reassuring, in fact it’s terrifying. Do I really want a random woman sticking something up my vajayjay on first meeting, before noon on a weekday…not really, is the answer. However, I persevered and made an appointment as it’s my own health that’s in question after all. After days of thinking about how traumatic the experience was going to be (can you tell, I’m a bit of a drama queen), my male best friend said “don’t worry, she will have seen it all before”. Yeah thanks, I feel so much better after that. Really, I do.

As I walked into the room I was hit with so many questions I thought I was in a quick fire round of a game show:

“How old are you?” “Are you sexually active?” “Are you on the pill?!” “Have you had this test before?”

We certainly weren’t off to a good start on the ‘try not to freak out’ front. So after telling her I’m not on the pill, and watching her confused reaction when I told her I haven’t used contraception, I told her I don’t sleep with men. You’d have thought at this point that I’d told her I was sleeping with turtles as she looked so baffled. It could just be me, but it is normal to be a lesbian, yes?

I'm sorry, it's not you, it's me! Photo by: Phil's 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

I’m sorry, it’s not you, it’s me!

Photo by: Phil’s 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

 

Anyway, she let out a slight “ha!” and said that I wouldn’t need a test then as I hadn’t had sex with a man before….however, now comes the interesting part: she said that should the situation change within the next few years, that I should come back and get tested. Hold on a second…so she’s basically just told me that if soon enough I see the light, she’ll be happy to perform. I don’t think so, lady!

How does she think lesbians have sex, by kissing?! Surely she should have started with “Have you ever had penetrative sex before” then things would have been so much simpler.

So I left the surgery absolutely baffled, and also rather upset/frustrated. Why was I singled out as different? Why was I not entitled to this? All that working myself up for nothing. Although I have decided to go back and get a test, but not from that nurse again. I think I’d make a point of asking for a non-homophobic nurse to do the test on me this time, and see how they respond.

So a word of advice, if you’re going for a test, don’t let the nurse tell you you’re not eligible just because of your sexuality. Do try to tell them otherwise, and if that doesn’t work then I suggest putting in a complaint. It’s 2013, should a professional really be judging you on your sexuality?

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What’s love s’got to do, s’got to do with it?

Last weekend an article on my facebook feed caught my eye. ‘Happy in your own skin’ sounded like something I wanted to read: I love a bit of body positivity!  However this article wasn’t quite what I was expecting…

‘Happy in your own skin’ compares same-sex and mixed-sex relationships, and claims,

Personally, I think that the reason for success in many same-sex relationships is that we are a lot more comfortable with breaking certain barriers than those in heterosexual relationships.

And personally, I disagree on many levels. The writer comes across as struggling to justify how special women’s relationships are with other women. Now, I don’t know who she is trying to justify herself too, but I think that the Diva audience is probably already convinced. That aside…

Companionship

When my girlfriend came out to her mum, her mum replied:

We all need companionship.

And I feel like this is the territory that the writer has accidentally slipped into. It seems, although I’m sure unwittingly, to reduce the ‘special-ness’ of women’s relationships to our ability to squeeze one another’s spots, shave each other’s legs and use the toilet in front of our partners. Now, if that’s what makes you happy, that’s fine, but that does not represent my relationships and after doing similar ‘I asked my friends’ research, it doesn’t represent the queer women in my life’s relationships. This representation of women’s companionship harks back to the quaint image of village ‘sisters’: loyal companions who would never really know love, romance, or passionate lust.

Now my rainbow sisters, who hasn’t indulged in a bit of shower chat? Who hasn’t been caught short and nipped in for a quick wee? And who hasn’t let a partner pop their spot every once in a while… (I actually haven’t but you catch my drift). The thing is this simply isn’t what make your relationship special. It is not their reason for success.

Relationships are special because of the people involved in them. They’re special because those people enjoy spending time together doing the things that they love. They enjoy developing and growing as individuals within the parameters of that relationship. And sometimes they’re special because you have really good sex. Love, lust and anything in between is unique to the person feeling it. And if I’m honest, at the tiny age of 23, I have no idea what keeps people together in the long-term, but I’m on a mission to find out. For now I can almost definitely say it’s not spot popping. I can tell you about my personal experience as a self-confessed serial relationshiper and what I think that this writer should have focussed on.

Happy in your own skin

The older I get the more comfortable I am in my own skin. Aged eighteen I would have felt self-conscious to change in a public changing room, meticulously shaved my legs, and wouldn’t leave the house without make-up. These things have all changed.

I mean I still love make up, but just to Tesco? Too far. Photo by Miss Mareck: http://tinyurl.com/mjfmwrv

I mean I still love make up, but just to Tesco? Too far.

Photo by Miss Mareck: http://tinyurl.com/mjfmwrv

 

Not only this, but I’ve stopped valuing myself against my personal appearance. As a young(er) woman I am acutely aware that I was in relationships which did quite publically value me for what I looked like. Getting older (and only by five years, life is a sharp learning curve) I realised that my looks would only last so long and I was going to have to learn to love the person I was, no matter what it’s packaging was like. Learning to lose some of my insecurities, learning to love (or at least like) myself as an individual and learning that some people will never be pleased with you, taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. And with this comfort and confidence I learned to be comfortable in my relationships and I suspect that is far more key to a long-lasting relationship.

For the original article please see: http://www.divamag.co.uk/category/comment/opinion-happy-in-your-own-skin.aspx

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Making our cake and eating it too!

Cake has feature heavily in the history of LGBT+ communities.

Firstly you have the idea that being bisexual is having your cake and eating it (with the implications sometimes being that bisexuals are indiscriminate, greedy or lazy) which while some bisexuals have embraced the cake idea, some, other have wanted to get the hell away from it.

The other group which has totally jumped on the cake wagon (nom…cake wagon…) is the online asexual community. AVEN welcomes new members with cake, even though no one is quite sure where it comes from it has become one of the symbols of asexuality.

well it does look a really good cake.

Also cake is just generally awesome. I don’t think I could love someone who didn’t love cake. So I pleaded to be allowed to post about baking on this blog, because it really should be part of our agenda if it is not already. And I have some recipes and ideas that may make it  more likely.

Numbero UNO: RAINBOW CAKE!!

Why hello ladies...I am a tasty cake.

Why hello ladies…I am a tasty cake.

Yes. A cake which is a rainbow. This has also been called “pride cake” or “mystery cake” (when covered in plain icing.) It is super simple and super tasty. It could also be really easily adapted for whatever pride flag or colours you like.

You will need:

  • 2 x 20cm cake pans (or different sizes but you may need to adjust timings)
  • Food colourings (paste or liquid) red, yellow, blue, purple (hard to mix), green and orange if you like but they come out ok when mixed.
  • Plain icing (packet or be fancy and do a frosting)
  • 200g each of: self raising flour, caster sugar, soft butter,
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
  • 4 eggs beaten

Make it:

  1. Turn oven to 190/gas mark 5 (slightly less for fan ovens)
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and eggs in a large bowl. Beat until it is soft and smooth.
  3. Divide the mixture into 6 smaller bowls and add food colourings. The colours will be stronger when it is cooked but don’t make them too weak, unless you really like your pastels.
  4. Go wild! Splodge the mixture into pre-greased tins or silicone pans. Don’t worry about prettiness here.
  5. Pop in the oven on the middle shelf for 20 mins (check the first time you make it as it may take a little more or less time. Check by using a clean skewer, if it comes out clean it is done.)
  6. Turn off the oven and leave the cake to cool on a cooking rack. Don’t eat it yet.
  7. If you are doing a double layer cake when it is cool, sandwich the two together with jam/buttercream/nutella/whatever you like.
  8. Otherwise, once it is cool cover it in your plain icing as a disguise and decorate as you wish.
  9. Serve it to your friends and allow your cake to “come out” and show its true colours!
  10. EAT.

I will be back again if people want be to be exploring my adventures making macarons in different flavours (more pictures next time!)

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Let’s talk about sex… wait, what are we talking about?

Let’s talk about sex, baby, let’s talk about you and me…

Sex and sexuality are an important part of many people’s lives, and sexual politics often play an even more prominent role in queer encounters . So of course we are going to write about it! Bring on the sexy times!

… But what exactly are we talking about?

The majority of people when asked about sex will tell you something along the lines of putting a penis into a vagina in order to have fun and potentially make babies. Some particularly enlightened folk might even mention foreplay. Hooray! In my experience that largely reflects the general (rather heteronormative) public’s opinion. The Oxford Dictionary has an only slightly broader definition of sex:

“sexual activity, including specifically sexual intercourse”

Well if that doesn’t sound… fun. But as we all know,  dictionary definitions are often a bit too short for complex concepts.

Many of you will have realised at this point that the traditional penis-in-vagina definition is a bit lacking, not very inclusive, and often not applicable to queer relationships. Though to be fair, many people seem to have at least some understanding when it comes to men getting it on. If you are not one of these people, please be inspired by this iconic video. (Skip to 0:42 if you’re impatient.)

But when it comes to queer women? Dear lady-loving ladies, raise your hand if you have ever heard the question “But, so… how do you guys, you know… do it?” Sex involving penises seems practically self-explanatory (“insert dick here”), to the point where people are totally lost when it comes to understanding how we could possibly do it without one!

(I realise this bit is rather cisnormative. Gender politics is a topic for a later post.)

So for the intents and purposes of this blog:

How could we possibly define sex as something more than “put the p in the v”?

For starters, you have things like cunnilingus, fellatio/blowjobs, etc, or to summarise: Oral *sex*. It seems to be a popular way of getting off, both among queers and non-queers. But of course you can stimulate someone using not just your mouth, but also your fingers, or vibrators, or strap ons… So is sex “stimulating genitals to achieve orgasm?

Potentially, but then again, is orgasm a necessary criterion for an act to count as sex? Personally I have had sex (even “traditional” p.i.v. sex) several times where I did not orgasm, but still really enjoyed myself. Different people require different techniques/stimulation/time frames to orgasm, it’s personal. Some people can only orgasm by themselves, some absolutely need a partner, some only cum from being fisted a certain way… So is it “stimulating someone’s genitals to potentially achieve orgasm”? (Did I say “orgasm” often enough yet?)

Working with this definition, whose genitals are we talking about anyway? Sex is usually seen as involving two people (or more if it’s group sex) where you do stuff to each other. But what about sex with just one person involved? What about just having sex with yourself? Or are masturbation and sex two distinct categories?

When you remove all the question about who, how many, and which specific techniques are involved, sex and sexual acts always seem to come down to one thing: Genitals. Apparently their involvement is of paramount importance when it comes to achieving orgasm or simply considering an act to be “sexual”.

But of course it can be more complicated than that. Let us throw BDSM into the mix. BDSM is the abbreviation for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism, and is sometimes also simply referred to as “kink”. The kink spectrum includes a whole other variety of acts, like tying someone up or spanking them or verbal humiliation (after enthusiastic consent has been given, of course!). And guess what? For some people, this is  all they need to get off.. Without any genital stimulation they can still orgasm if the right stimulation or circumstances for them are provided. So if an orgasm was had, does that mean you had sex?

My conclusion?  Sex is not just this one specific thing, it’s not universal, it’s not general, and it’s not necessarily something that translates between sexual partners. Techniques and toys and levels of nudity and number of orgasms and level of intimacy and types of stimulation involved… Everyone has their own sexy criteria, and that’s just great! So we are not even going to attempt to nail it down. Instead, we’re going to talk what we tried, what was fun and what was not-so-fun. The main message is if you did something with someone or yourself consensually and you feel that you have had sex… Then you had sex! Congratulations! Whether it’s with yourself, a total stranger or your long-term partner, in whichever combination of people, body parts and implements imaginable, it’s up to you.

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts on sex? What is sex to you? What definitions have you heard and do they clash with your own?

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