Worst. Intro. Ever. Ok, so the first three things are true. I am straight, I’m white, I’m 25-years-old and I’m a woman. I’m also a minimally notorious sex & relationships blogger from Alberta (although being a ‘notorious’ sex blogger is hardly an achievement in Alberta; it just means I use words like “pussy” instead of “va-jay-jay”. I am also self-aware enough to never write ANYTHING claiming to help anyone unlock their inner anything. And yes, I do know some gay people, but I don’t KNOW queer people or culture or isms. You may be asking yourself “why is a straight girl writing a gay sex/relationship column”. Good question. So let’s start this off right.
Recently, Erika – a dear queer friend (is there any dearer?) – asked me to get involved with a writing project for The Gaily. Specifically as a writer who writes about sex and relationships. As much as I’m excited to be involved in this project, and as much as the egalitarian part of my brain wants to believe that “Yes, I can write about gay sex because, after all, we are all the same!”, the rest of me is quite convinced that the egalitarian part is naive and full of shit. Are we all human beings with complex needs and wants, including the need and want for fulfilling relationship and sex? Of course. Are we all the same in our pursuit and fulfillment and denial of those needs and wants? Hell no. Straight, queer, etc, we are all bound by cultural norms and values, expectations and taboos. And while queer individuals are somewhat ignored by traditionalist expectations (beyond “stop being gay you fag”) they face a completely different, perhaps more rigid set of behavioural norms as queer persons. And frankly, what the hell can a straight person understand about lesbian bed death or bug-chasing or the relationship insecurities of being a queer lady dating a gold-star bi girl?
How much can I, a straight, white, aged 20-45 woman really say about queer sex and relationships? I’ve never had a relationship with a woman or gender-queer individual; all of my partners have been men who were born with the “right” genitals and comfortable with the gender roles they were socialized with. And I don’t think the “I have lots of gay friends!” is particularly useful piece of supporting evidence either. I’ve had sex with a single woman (hetero herself), but in the vastly heterosexual context of the pre-marital threesome.
But what about Dan Savage? He’s a great gay advice columnist who gives advice to straight couples all the time, so why can’t you be a straight girl writing about gay couples? Well, first of all, Mr. Savage is straddling cultures. He is part of the gay community because he is gay, and he’s part of the straight community because, like the rest of us, he’s forced to as a citizen of a world that maintains a desperately (and largely symbolic) straight identity. Therefore, he has clear insight into both worlds (as unfortunate as it is to say that the queer and straight worlds are separate, if not parallel). So what can I, a queer-friendly but probably Kinsey 1 straight girl, say about queer sex?
My other problem is the history behind the way the straights talk about the queers. Because let’s face it, straight people have been talking and writing about gay people for a long time, and rarely in a flattering light. You know, the whole demonizing and then abnormalizing, and non-apologetic way we have historically treated gay people; always based on the negative connotations and assumptions that fit with our attitude du jour of dealing with things that just don’t fit (Witches! Heathens! Sinners! Imbeciles! Sickos! Non-conformists!). Can I avoid making assumptions about people living lives and experiences that I have no direct experience with myself? No. But, I do have a lot of relevant experiences with relationships and sex. I’ve been in a nine-year relationship, married, divorced, sexually slutty and promiscuous, kinky, vanilla, cheated on emotionally and physically, pregnant, gone through childbirth, a miscarriage, dating, breakups, sexual peaks, sexual slumps, online dating, multiple orgasms, medically-caused anorgasmia, depression, anxiety. Experiences universal to the human condition that I approach with a level of honesty so disturbing my own parents refuse to ever read anything I’ve written online. Ever.
I’ll consider this my chance to take on a new perspective, without the bridle of assumptions, and consider sex and relationships through a queer lens. It might be rocky, but I’m confident that I can give it the good college try. As long as you all promise lots of feedback to tell me when I’m being full of shit. But lets all try to keep in mind; straight or queer, sometimes we all need to be reminded to DTMFA, and I think that’s a piece of advice that can be universally given and applied.
If you have a great idea for a topic or a question about relationships, sex, the opposite or same sex, please send the contents of your brain to firstname.lastname@example.org.