In The Ladies' Room: Lady Sex – Yeah, We Definitely Have It
Last week, Zack wrote a piece about promiscuity in the gay community, and that got me thinking about the lesbian community’s relationship with slutiness.
When people think of lesbian culture, the idea of sluts tends not to enter their mind. In pop culture, lesbians are by-and-large portrayed as monogamous and definitely non-slutty. Sure, you get a Tila Tequila every once and a while; but in that case, most people realize that she’s not really your average bisexual, if she’s bisexual at all. Even though The L Word popularized the idea of “The Chart” and the fact that so many lesbians have hooked up with one another, it’s never really in a “slut” type way. It’s portrayed more as the fact that lesbians tend to be relationship-whores, which is pretty different than an actual whore.
But when it comes down to it, lesbians are just as slutty as anyone else, and I would know. I came out in college, and in my four years at my small college, I left very few stones unturned. Not only had I hooked up with almost all the lesbians at the school, I quickly moved onto straight girls, enjoying the victory of getting them to sleep with me (though, I must say, there were several that truly won the battle by breaking my heart a little bit). I definitely made my way around and I definitely wasn’t the only one. There was a lot of sleeping around, and little of it monogamous, and a lot of it drunken, one-time hook-ups.
Maybe our “sluttery” was a function of place, of functioning in a smaller pool of women. But I don’t believe that’s the case. Lesbians sleep around at small colleges, big colleges, in high school, in the real world. Yet this is something it seems like people haven’t picked up on. And I find that interesting as well. In a culture where straight women’s sexual promiscuity is seen as undesirable and wrong, gay women’s promiscuity is ignored. Where straight men are rarely classified as whores and their promiscuity is celebrated, gay men are stuck with a negative stereotype of being unsafe and promiscuous.
It’s a bizarre cultural phenomenon; for whatever reason, the label “slut” only seems to apply when you’re sleeping with men. Sleeping with women will get you no such tag–and if you’re a lesbian, promiscuity will generally be ignored. But is this a good thing? I don’t want to be labeled a slut more than anyone else, and I don’t think anyone should be labeled a slut.
But ignoring the fact that lesbians can be promiscuous, and aren’t necessarily monogamous is important. When lesbian relationships can so easily be desexualized due to the notions of “lesbian bed death” and stereotypes of women being less sexual than men in general, it seems like more awareness of the fact that lesbians are, in fact, sexual beings could be a good thing.
Maybe it’s time to do a closer examining of our own sexual practices. Recognizing that lesbians can be promiscuous would certainly bring visibility to the fact that lesbians are sexual. It could even be good to let young lesbians know that every hook-up doesn’t have to lead to a relationship. But then we’re putting ourselves at risk of openly buying into the culture of promiscuity, and welcoming all the problems inherent in that system.
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