Ask A Lesbian: 6

Originally posted on Thought Catalog October 6, 2012

I’ve been with my girl for three months, and so far she’s been very vocal that she’s not ready for me to go down on her. It’s a mixture of her dominant nature and her vulnerability: she’s nervous about becoming too committed too soon. What can I do? I just want the opportunity (and to be good at it!) Help!

Eeee! That was the sound I made when I received this email, because it was a lot longer and it was just cute-town, population one. Let me say that she started by saying that she first met her lady and thought she was just super intimidated by her and wanted to impress her constantly, but then realized that it was kind of an infatuation…hilarious! That was my story, too! Ahh. Piece of advice: if this is what you are feeling toward someone, take the time to work it out!

Anyway. This is a tough one. You mentioned that she’s dominant: let’s explain that to the masses. In the world of lesbians, tops and bottoms are…well, kind of a thing. Tops are the “dominant” ones, while bottoms are a little more submissive. Though these pre-existing roles don’t exist for me in my relationship, they very much can for other people. I’m assuming when you say dominant that she’s the one on top and in “control” of the situation (side note: “butch” and “femme” roles don’t always fit this stereotype. Get that out of your heads if you think it does. Thanks!).

There’s also this whole “pillow queen” thing that comes up – girls who are only on the receiving end and never give. And in some relationships, that’s a thing – there’s a person who may not want to be touched whatsoever because they get off by getting you off. These are HUGE discussions that need to happen when sex starts in relationships! It would be terrible to enter a relationship and find out that you can’t get off without going down on your special person but they’re not into it.

If you want to have the opportunity to get her off, tell her in a non-sexual moment, like when you’re cooking dinner together or on a walk. Take the sex out of it so your lady sees the importance of it, and you’re not all hot and bothered and in the moment; because if the conversation gets icky, at least you aren’t ruining sex! It’s important to communicate, communicate, communicate: tell her that you understand her sexual energy and are so appreciative of what you’ve been on the receiving end of, but that you’d like the chance to do the same for her. If she tells you that she’s into it but nervous, tell her you can turn it into a nice show-me-how lesson, because that’s incredibly sexy and who would say no? (PS, if she gives you the go-ahead, have her go first. Pay attention to what she’s doing: her body placement, the way she uses whatever she’s using to get you off…and try that on her!)  If she tells you that she’s a touch-me-not, then make the decision: does that work for you? Truly think about it, because if you’re not being sexually fulfilled, that’s not fair. Best of luck, and hurray for gay!

Is it ok to call lesbian women gay? Or is gay just for men?

I adore this question.

I am also going to answer this very much from my own personal opinion, so please prepare for that.

There are so many different types of terms used for the LGBTQ-peoples of the community. I would say that in my world, there are seemingly two types oflesbians: ones who could care less what you call them and ones who definitely care what you call them. I think there’s large merit for both.

Lesbians who don’t care are a thing. Lesbian, gay, queer, homo, dyke…they’ll take it. I’ve heard that they don’t take offense because they choose to take ownership, and they believe saying the word over and over will remove that nasty stigma that goes with it. I personally have two reasons why I identify in this category, and they’re the fuzzy-warm, give-me-the-feels reasons. One: my dearest male friend in college also came out recently (and it cracks me up that we were both gay and somehow found each other!) and we are notorious for expressing our love of the cinematic classic Mean Girls. Back in undergrad and even still today, he calls me “Janis Ian: dyke.” He always has, he always will. It’s funny – he’s someone who was gay-bashed before coming out and I think him saying that gives him that strength and ownership that he so deserves: he is gay, and he doesn’t care what you think about it. Plus, Lizzy Caplan is incredibly hot, and I kinda wish she were a dyke. Two: when I first started telling my girlfriend that I was ready to immerse myself into gay culture, she referred me to a blog titled Effing Dykes. I was astonished and asked her if that word bugged her at all. She said personally no, because she owns it. In nearly every post, Krista (blogger of Effing Dykes) calls other queer chicks dykes, queermos, homos, gayelles, lezzies…anything you can think of. She owns all of those words, and why not? Who says we can’t take those words and make them our own?

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who prefer to stick with what they identify as. I have a person near and dear to me that identifies as queer, and so does her partner. They’re not gigantic on using female pronouns, either. I have another friend that identifies as pansexual and sticks very firmly to gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and pansexual. She finds the other terms offensive and doesn’t fully believe in giving power to any other terms. There’s a study out there about giving power to words, written by George Lakoff, titled “Don’t Think of an Elephant.” When someone tells you that, you’re probably going to immediately think of an elephant. If our minds are framed in this way, if we say “dyke,” are we giving power to that negative or wiping out the impact of the word’s pain?

I think it’s all by an as-requested basis. I know that I have no problem with people asking me what I’d prefer to go by. Hilariously, when I brought my lady home with me last month for the epic meeting-of-all-peoples-important, she was awkwardly introduced by others as my “partner.” For me, partner means marriage, queer or not. And we’re definitely not married. But, there are couples who prefer that term for their S.O. of any form, so it’s worth asking. I would say you’re not going to kill anyone by saying “gay,” but if you’re not sure, ask them what they prefer. I promise you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Good luck navigating!

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