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PrettyQueer.com | January 27, 2015

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Not That into Sex

Katie Liederman

In the opening scene of Bridesmaids, Kristin Wiig is getting pounded by a Beauty and the Beast, Gaston caricature of a man. He’s bad at sex for being brutish and outrageously unskilled, and she’s bad at sex for not telling him that he’s sexually incompetent. Either way, the scene is funny and reminds some of us of the sex we had before we were queer, or before were able to physically actualize our queerness with another person. Why is it okay for heterosexual cis people to be bad in bed, but the same doesn’t apply to queers? If a straight guy lasts for twelve seconds, it’s cute. It’s cute to joke about, at least. If a straight girl lays stiff as a board or mimics a woman in a bad porn, it’s like, “What else is new?” This is also fun to joke about.

Perhaps this is because some would argue that the sole criterion for being queer is the type of sex you do or don’t have; others believe that queerness is equal parts sexual practice and politics.

The thing is, most of the time, I’m not that into sex. It’s exhausting, it’s claustrophobic, and it’s less fun than eating. It’s so taxing, I don’t understand how anyone with a job has the energy for it. Not that I have a job, but I imagine that if I had one it would it would render me lifeless by the end of the day. It would be one thing if sex was just something you could just do for five to ten minutes as a fellow queer gyrated on top of you like a bona fide hysteric. But no. We’re encouraged to be present, creative, and actually engage. Sex must be long, complicated, and involve either a paring knive or incest “play” to be deemed legitimately queer. Guess what? No.

The thing is, most of the time, I’m not that into sex. It’s exhausting, it’s claustrophobic, and it’s less fun than eating.

For years, I’ve been told that I’m sexually “repressed,” “withholding,” and “lazy.” Once, a bold young genderqueer who I refused to piss on even went so far as to accuse me of being “sex-negative.” That all may be true, but maybe that’s all part of my radical queer femme identity.

Okay, so it’s not. I’m in no way radical. I only say I’m queer to steer clear of sex acts with cisgender men whilst simultaneously accommodating my devout lesbianism and propensity towards dating trans men when the butch pool feels too shallow. I’m femme exclusively in relation to the length of my hair and staunch refusal to reciprocate many sex acts. In other words, I’m not actually a radical queer femme, nor do I even know what it means to be one. But who are you, fellow queer, to challenge anyone’s indulgent and nonsensical interpretation of an established identity?

One time, a few years back, an ex of mine handed me a glow in the dark strap on and requested that I fuck her with it. There was never a moment in my entire life when I’ve been less turned on, but I was living with her rent-free and she plowed me with low-calorie snacks and soft drinks at all hours of the day and night, so I felt I owed it to her. I wrestled into her beet-colored harness and started awkwardly pumping away. She seemed to like it, or at least pretended she did so that I’d start doing it more often. It was then that I realized that she was one of those lesbians who got approximately zero play in her young gayhood, and then realized that if she cut off all her hair, stopped wearing underwire bras and pretended to be more masculine than she actually was that she’d get laid on a regular basis. I fell for it. And I realized this, mid-pump.

The few people I dated screamed at me whenever I tried to stop having sex after ten minutes. Generally speaking, it’s around the ten-minute mark that I start to feel like I’m owed some frozen yogurt, BBQ Soy Crisps, or at least an intense shoulder massage that incorporates a nice, scent-free oil. We would engage in heated debates that seemed to last forever about the merits of long sex versus short sex. My argument: short sex takes less time. Their argument: sex is a good thing, why would you want it to take less time? They totally didn’t get it.

Granted, there have been exceptions to my perhaps incendiary anti-sex practice and philosophy, but the exceptions are few and far between. Obviously, it’s more than mere laziness that impedes my ability to have sex with the same enthusiasm, inventiveness and frequency as most queers– insecurities about my body and fear of intimacy and rejection also come into play. If I’m committed to not caring, then it won’t faze me if someone opts to stop wanting to fuck me.

Currently, though, I’m trying to reconsider things. I’m trying to remind myself that sex doesn’t have to be contrived or laborious. But re-assessing it all is something I’m doing so hesitantly, grudgingly, and with walls up so thick that even if they could talk, it would take a powerful hearing aid to decipher their mostly-unintelligible dialect. That was a reference to 2000’s made-for-TV movie If These Walls Could Talk 2, because it is a film about lesbians. And that’s all I have to say about all that.

Comments

  1. The final paragraph of this piece really makes it. I wasn’t 100% sure which direction to read all the (sarcastic? straightforward? both?) statements throughout, until I got to this reflection upon defensiveness at the end. Then I realized that the form of the piece reflected the content. Very interesting!

    • m

      I feel like I don’t get this (beyond it clearly being non-literal). You obviously do get it. Break it down for those of us who don’t?

      • I read this piece as basically two things: [1] a criticism of a queer sexual culture in which the elaborate technology/theory/creativity/etc. of sex is more highly valued than genuine interpersonal relationships [2] Katie’s (or, if it’s not Katie, the speaker’s) reflection on the defensiveness she’s built up, partially (entirely?) as a result of this culture, and how difficult it is to start to tear down that defensiveness now that she’s entered into a relationship that has the potential to be more sincere.

        I saw the tone of the piece up until the final paragraph as very walled/defensive as I was reading it, so when I got to the final paragraph, which was all about the difficulty of tearing down walls (and ends with a refusal to go into more details about something intimate), I concluded that the form of the essay was mirroring the content.

  2. Jay

    Chloe sevigny made a really hot butch.

  3. Jen

    haha! sex doesn’t need to be long to be good, some of the best orgasms i’ve had came quickly

  4. Miss Liederman is a genius.

    The problem with homosexual sex is not that it is dangerous, but that it is contrived.

    • glas

      Mr Black, the non-contrived (non queer) sex is productive. It leads to not-sex, which should be a relief to those so engaged. But because they are not queerly inclined, hets take baby-making and its dampening of sex as the tragedy it is not. Rather, sex for the sake of sex is the rubber-cocked night without end of the queer.

      Ms Liederman’s wise observations on what a drag queer sex is lead to an unspoken cure: romanticism. The true perversity of romantic desire is more queer than the hardworking political sex Ms. Liederman rightly derides. Sex is better felt over your entire body, but for those small areas, the genitals. — Glas

      • bonk

        Glas,

        What makes you assume Taylor has written a confessional and is in need of advice, encouragement, or whatever mashup of those well-oiled genres of faint condescension you’ve got pumping here? What are you, Taylor’s own personal Dr. Feelgood, or something? Please work on your Reading Skills (not your ostensibly superior osculation).

        ;)

  5. Julian Morrison

    I’m not about to tell you to like sex. Still your objections sound to me like they’re about rubbish quality, rather than just plain being asexual by nature. (Stop me if I’m wrong.) So, thoughts. Firstly, sex only exists while all participants are enthusiastically consenting. That means the thing with the glowy strap on? Not sex. Some other icky thing, verging on the R-word. Second, no wonder you’re exhausted if you’re trying to have sex for all the time you’re having sex. Confusing? Well to me way of thinking, “sex” doesn’t start at the obvious fucking and doesn’t end there either. An hour of fucking is just a gruelling exercise-marathon and not good for anything but a world-record attempt. An hour of flirts, touches, closeness and intermittent orgasms, however, is quite nice.

    • glas

      Julian Morrison,

      What makes you assume Ms Liederman has written a confessional and is in need of advice, encouragement, or whatever mashup of those well-oiled genres of faint condescension you’ve got pumping here? What are you, her own personal Dr. Feelgood, or something? Please work on your Reading Skills (not your ostensibly superior osculation). This is an intellectual article about the problem of sex, right now, for queers who cannot return to the dream of reciprocity, romance, or even pleasure for its own sake. Good writing deserves serious, thoughtful response, not self-serving observation. Dr. Glas

      ps — “intermittent orgasms” = exactly the problem!

      • Katie Liederman

        I can now die of joy.

      • While he is always right on in his responses to the wider world around him, Dr. Glas really takes the cake with this latest prescription. He is accurate, he is right, he is the good doctor and the last of his breed. Glad homosexuals still know how to read and write, even against the horrible arrow of queer time that always seems to direct itself toward banal nothingness.

        Not all writing has to be writing on the wall, and Dr. Glas and Miss Liederman have both displayed for us a method of writing as provocation. Thank the Lurd!

      • bonk

        not sure how “intellectual” it is. and the recurrent “food is better than sex” cliche does not help things. but i like the general points made.

  6. What sex acts do you staunchly refuse to reciprocate! At Hussy HQ, we’re interested in the tawdry details.

    • Miss Hussy: you are nothing but a cheap, tawdry slut. Glad I can still count on somethings never changing…

  7. I staunchly believe that everyone deserves to get as laid as they want to. There is a ten minute queer of your dreams waiting out there with a bag of soy crisps who won’t make you stop watching the Real Houswives while they do it to you.

  8. ftm

    “I only say I’m queer to steer clear of sex acts with cisgender men whilst simultaneously accommodating my devout lesbianism and propensity towards dating trans men when the butch pool feels too shallow.”

    This is a fucked-up joke, right? ’cause trans men =/= butch women

    • bonk

      i don’t see her making that comparisson…
      she steers clear of cisgender men.
      she usually dates butch women.
      when there are no butch women around, she opts for trans men.
      in any case, it sounds like they’re in for an amazing night!

      • ftm

        Yeah, and when there aren’t any cisgender gay men around, I opt for a trans woman!

        How fucked up is that statement?

        Not all trans men are “butch” or even masculine. Not all trans men have vaginas. To treat trans men as part of a continuum with, or an option related to, butch women is confused and inappropriate. Trans men are men. If the author wants to be a lesbian who only dates women, she should stick with dating women, whether cis or trans. Trans men are neither of those things.

        • bonk

          i think you are just a person who has a hard time imagining people’s sexual choices not always being about “continuum”. but in my experience, the leap from lesbian to trans men is not always such a big one, since many trans men remain a part of lesbian communities, keep coming to the same bars, etc… at least in early stages of transitioning. as for the statement being “fucked up” or generalizing, like i said above to someone else who described this article as “intellectual”, i did not find it intellectual writing. and, in the end, it seems her real desire is food. i mean, i wouldn’t let myself get too offended…

          • wtf

            You haven’t really thought it through, have you? She explicitly said she sees trans* guys simply as more masculine women. Even if she wouldn’t write it down, the fact itself is there.
            http://feministing.com/2012/06/28/enough-with-i-date-women-and-trans-men/

            People’s sexual choices (or ~*preferences*~) aren’t a sanctosanct thing that doesn’t have to be reflected upon. Saying that she fucks cis women AND trans* guys is downright creepy because she assumes what trans* guys have in their pants and completely ignores the fact that (despite trans* men acting like huge douchebags and claiming space for women which should be actively discouraged) trans* men are not a fucking monolith. As if we don’t have enough problems with stereotypes, having out identity invalidated and this kind of stuff as it is. This is not fun. Our bodies are not a last resort for confused cis people. If *queer* means being fucking obsessed with our body parts that you bring into your disgustingly cissexist context, excuse me while I vomit.

            ps. nice way of erasing trans* women and therefore showing your misogyny.

            • nosy trans fag

              *applause*

              • nosy trans fag

                “Our bodies are not a last resort for confused cis people”. EXACTLY!!!!!

                I couldn’t have said it better myself. WTF, you nailed every point I would have made (including the transmisogynist erasing of trans women), and I want this quote on my tombstone.

        • nosy trans fag

          more applause.

          Any woman who is primarily attracted to butch lesbians would hate my trans faggy ass. I am not, nor have I ever been, on any “butch lesbian” continuum. Lesbians, please stop thinking of all of us as an extension of “butch women”. I couldn’t think of an identity that has less relevance to my gender expression or identification.

          And stop treating trans* women like shit while deifying us (Michigan, anyone?).

          “lesbian”=exclusively attracted to WOMEN. Trans* women are WOMEN. Trans* men are MEN. If you exclusively date trans* women and cis women, you are a lesbian. If you exclusively date trans* men and women (trans or cis), you may be queer, but you are not a LESBIAN. Imagine a cis man who says “I only date men and trans* women, I’m a Kinsey six total gay man.” Wouldn’t you find this offensive to trans* women? I would. But you probably wouldn’t find a cis man who’d say this. One good thing you can say about most cis men is that they seem to actually follow their sexual attractions based on true desire. I find that cis women, including the author of this article, often do not–whether that be engaging in sexual activities that they don’t like or dating someone based on the politics of their gender identity and/or sexuality rather than actual desire for them.

    • Esoteric

      No, actually I found it quite funny. Possibly because I never got the same equation as you from it.

      Likewise I find it funny that in reading the whole post (or maybe, most likely, you didn’t) that is all that you got from it…

  9. Firstly I love + adore you, now and forever. Second, I just found this post and I totally feel this way about sex all the time too! I mean it’s complicated because I’m a sexual person and have a lot of fun with the flirtation/seduction/tension building parts of sex, but I’m so neutral on the rest it’s insane, and I really just want to get it done and move on. I get so bored.

  10. Megan

    “It was then that I realized that she was one of those lesbians who got approximately zero play in her young gayhood, and then realized that if she cut off all her hair, stopped wearing underwire bras and pretended to be more masculine than she actually was that she’d get laid on a regular basis.”

    Could someone please explain this bit for me? Since when does masculine equal never being a bottom?

  11. Heinrich

    Oh you teaste, you like to deny sexy from your cockless man whores, it turns you on to see those bird-hole mechanics squirm with rough desire as they contemplate your tightly shut clam.

  12. "Jeff"

    Did you not realize that witholding sex is a form of sexual violence? You routinely, it seems, commit sex denial as a form of torture to your lovers. It’s clear you are a sadist, just look at how you delight in humiliating your lovers by referring to their sexual proclivities as a kind of joke, as if you were threatening to reveal them.

    When you go to bed with a woman, especially a transwomen like myself, there is an understanding, and understanding that we are sexually accepted, and therefore your stark (or perhaps clothed) refusual to satisfy them sexually is a kind of torture. I therefore conclude that you do not have the mind of a women but of a man, and you are not so much as a lesbian as a heartless predatory male in the body of the women that has no sex drive.

  13. nosy trans fag

    Oh my. This piece fascinated me and brought up all sorts of issues, some of which completely fucked with my own plentiful baggage on the subject. Some of this baggage may appear in my queries about your article. Firstly, I’m curious as to what makes you a “lesbian” when it seems that you are not really turned on by any gender (PLEASE do not defer to the ‘political lesbian’ argument; lack of desire for cis men does not necessarily lead to desire for other genders. Ever heard of a ‘political gay man’? Nope, me neither. Seems kind of unfair that cis men get to usually unilaterally experience sexual enjoyment while other genders have more problems). I’m not trying to identity police (HONEST!); pieces like this are refreshingly honest but yet make me sad that this “not into sex” thing seems exclusive to cis females (if you are not a cis female, I stand corrected). I’m a faggy trans boy who would LOVE sex had I been born with the body I wish I’d been born in, so maybe I’m projecting some of my own issues here. However, being raised female, I was taught to think of sex as something that men wanted and women acquiesced to without really enjoying, while having to fake absolute ecstasy. Your take on fucking your partner with the strap-on is a slightly queered version of this (and without the faking). I’m curious if anything at all turns you on, and if not, why have sex at all? It seems kind of unfair to your partners and probably would bring up all kind of self-esteem issues about them feeling ‘undesirable’ when in reality you are the one who lacks desire for them and perhaps anyone else. When you desire companionship (again, you may not, but given your talk of ‘ex’-es, I’m assuming you aren’t aromantic; if you are, my bad) do you pretend to like sex? Or are you honest with your prospective romantic partners about it? Do you primarily date other asexual people? I’m being really nosy here, but one of my friends (cis female, into all genders, very sexual) said that, barring submerged trans* issues, guilt about being queer, and body hate, most sexual apathy in cis females can be traced to a lack of having orgasms. Do you think this is true? I know that if I didn’t have orgasms, I would have no interest in sex EVEN IF I enjoyed the gender presentation of the body in which I was born. Why do you think that faking enjoyment of sex is so endemic among cis women, queer or not? Do you believe your cis female friends (particularly the queer ones) when they say they enjoy sex, or do you think they are faking it? Lastly, why do you think lack of sexual desire is so present among cis women and so lacking among cis men, EVEN cis women who are queer and have not fully internalized heterocentric “sex is for men’s pleasure”-type narratives? (PLEASE don’t resort to evolutionary biology here or the typical one-word answer “testosterone”). Sorry to ask so many questions, but like I said, this piece REALLY hit me hard. I don’t know you and probably never will, but I will be thinking about your article every time I bring someone home who isn’t male assigned at birth, particularly queer cis females.

    • Katie Liederman

      My favorite sex act: tongue-in-cheek.

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