Jenny Block asks:
Why do straight couples wanna ‘join’ lesbians?
I don’t get it. It happens all of the time, but I still don’t get it. All too often when I tell a straight man, woman or couple that I’m lesbian, I get invited to “join them” or asked if he/she/they can “watch.” Ewww.
I try to seem flattered. It means they think I’m attractive or sexy or something, right? But it feels gross. It feels like my sexuality is a perversion. Or, at the very least, it feels like I’m a sideshow act or an exotic delicacy to be enjoyed by onlookers.
What it doesn’t feel like is that my sexuality is equal to and as “real” as, their own.
I want to think it’s about curiosity and openness. I want to think its about a straight man respecting his female partner’s interest in exploring her bisexuality or even lesbianism. I want to think that they’re wanting to explore their own boundaries, to expand their understanding of sex and sexuality and the many ways it can be expressed.
But I’m afraid it’s that lesbians are still considered “pretend,” like we’re dick-desirers in waiting or, at the very least, we are still on the planet for straight male pleasure, still under the thumb of the male gaze. If only we saw what “real sex” looks like! If only we were “hot enough” for men to want us! If only. If only. If only.
In other words, to be lesbian is to be broken or less-than. It makes me wince.
I am fearful of that because I still hear straight men say, “Why do they have to look like dudes?” and “How can she be gay — she’s so pretty.” It’s as if either they get to dictate the standard of beauty and/or if someone meets their standard, they should be granted sexual access to that person.
It’s an extension of rape culture, to put it honestly — woman-as-object. A woman is to be looked at, taken, used as sexual fantasy despite her sexual orientation, despite her choice.
Here’s the thing: Even if it’s “meant as a compliment” (which is often the explanation given for offering such an invitation just as it is given for catcalling or other harassment), It isn’t one. It just isn’t. It’s creepy and gross and no lesbian wants to be a straight couple’s third and no lesbian couple wants to “let you watch.”
And if you don’t believe me, allow me to turn the tables for you. A gay couple walks up to a straight man and says, “Can we watch you and your girlfriend/wife have sex? I think it’s so hot what y’all do in bed.” The gay couple would very likely be in danger of at least verbal (if not physical) abuse. If something doesn’t work when you flip it on its head, then it doesn’t work at all.
We have to stop treating sexuality that is different from our own as less than or as some sort of novelty. Sexuality is sexuality. All of it. All the vanilla and the kink. All the publicly approved of and doomed to the closet. All of the mixes and matches and permutations.
We don’t raise our own identity by putting down the identities of others and when straight people assume that lesbian woman want to hook up with or perform for them, they are devaluing us as people — sexually and otherwise.
Treat others as you would like to be treated. Don’t say something you wouldn’t want your momma to overhear. Would you want someone talking to your mom, wife, friend, sister, partner (fill-in-the-blank) like that? Think before you speak. Turn the tables. Pick your cliché. The message is all the same. It’s time we start respecting each other and one another’s choices. It might seem like a lark to the asker. But to those of us being asked, there is nothing fun about it.
Jenny Block is the author of the new book O Wow! Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm.
Have a question about sex you want Jenny to address? Email it to GirlOnGirlsJenny@gmail.com.
Photo courtesy StephGrantPhotography.com
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 25, 2015.