Sex + Love

Getting It Straight

Myths and misconceptions about queer sex lives.

Illustration by Allegra

Last month Arabelle sent us this pitch: “I’ve been thinking about queer sex a lot, and I kind of want to talk about ‘gay sex myths’ and debunk them or have a convo with a couple of the queer Rookie staffers about heteronormativity and queer sex and some of the stuff we deal with. I think it’d be a helpful post.” We agreed, and Arabelle and Tyler and Krista proceeded to have the following conversation over email. If you have any myths to add, please do so in the comments. Also: the comments section on this post is probably one of very few places in the world where it’s appropriate to ask REAL nosy questions, so go ahead and do that too!

ARABELLE: Hi, friends! I want to talk about myths about queer sex lives, and the lack of education in general when it comes to sex for queer and trans* people. To begin, a big vague question for both of you: what are some ridiculous assumptions you’ve been confronted with about non-hetero sex?

TYLER: There are so many! People have made me feel like I had to choose between transitioning and having a sex life, because clearly no one would want to have sex with a trans* person. I know that isn’t true, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a few seconds of “Who’s going to love me?” self-pity every now and then. People assume that trans* bodies are inherently weird and strange—but they’re really just bodies. I personally love mine and wouldn’t trade it for anything, even if I had the option to start my life all over again as a cisgender person.

KRISTA: One that I hear a lot: Sex for lesbians means oral sex, and that’s all they like. Where did this myth come from? Who started it? I can only think it must have been invented by people who had never seen nor heard about actual lesbian sex, and they just couldn’t get their minds around what we must do in bed.

ARABELLE: I think for a lot of people, once you stray from that idea of penis into vagina, male + female bodies, it gets complicated.

KRISTA: Yeah, it’s like, whoa, there’s no dick—what do we do for sex?! Ohhhh, we must go down on each other. That must be what lesbians call “sex.” Hahaha isn’t that cute, the lesbians think they’re having sex. That’s bullshit, of course—lesbians have sex in lots of different ways. We use our fingers and mouths and bodies and sometimes toys, but we are definitely having sex during all of it. I promise. I think oral sex is super intimate—I would NEVER do it with a girl I’d just met, but I sometimes have sex with girls I’ve just met. But if we didn’t have oral sex, the Official Sex of Lesbians (and the only lesbian sex visible in 99.9% of pornography), did we actually have sex?

TYLER: The definition of what “counts” and doesn’t count as sex in the queer world is super blurry, and that makes the meaning of virginity ambiguous, too. I didn’t have a sex life before transitioning, because my gender issues led to intimacy issues. As I transitioned, I realized that “virginity” didn’t mean anything to me anymore—it just felt like a very heteronormative concept. I got into my first romantic relationship very early on in my transition, and I realized that having sex with my girlfriend for the first time wasn’t going to be about “losing” or “giving up” any part of myself, as I’d been taught my whole life, but about connecting with her on a different level and having fun. I also didn’t know what was even supposed to count as “losing my virginity” in a realm that did not include a straight cis male and a straight cis female. What’s the final straw that differentiates hooking up from having sex? What’s “third base” on a field in which a “home run” is different for everyone? I finally just threw out the entire concept of virginity and stopped trying to label my sex life.

KRISTA: Another question I get is “Which one of you is the GUY?” People (usually straight people my own age) ask me this all the time. Then they meet my girlfriend, CJ—she’s skinny and has a buzzed head and wears boy’s clothes—and they smirk, because DUH, obviously CJ is the guy in our relationship.

…Except she’s not. There is no guy. That’s the point. This is two women in a relationship; there are no dudes here. I know they’re not being that literal, and that what they’re really asking is “Which one of you takes on more of a masculine role in your relationship?” But that’s the thing about queer relationships—you’ve already left the world of traditional gender roles, so you can kind of do whatever you want. You don’t have to try to re-create a heteronormative dynamic (this is actually true of all relationships, including straight ones).

And anyway, what does “masculine role” mean? What is “masculine behavior”? Are you asking me, like, “Who mows the lawn and kills the spiders, and who cooks and cleans?” Or are you asking me a personal question about my sex life, like “Who’s in charge in bed?” Because either way, WTF. Why does anyone need to know ANY of that? Would you ask a straight couple any of those questions? And once it’s decided who is “the guy” in the relationship, does that make that person more valuable? More in charge? Or what?

ARABELLE: I was literally justtttt in the shower complaining to myself about the idea of “who’s the dude” in sex…what does that mean? I mean, you can be super femme out of bed, but in bed it could be totally different…

KRISTA: Also, hi, it’s 2013, not 1951. Everyone on this planet can play more than one “traditional gender role.” Or none at all. In my relationship, I am a helluva lot bossier than CJ, but I do all the cleaning and I wear dresses. She does all the cooking (like I literally do not have to cook, ever) but she wears boy’s clothes. WHO’S THE GUY OMG I CAN’T TELL. And what will we do if we do not know who’s the most valuable person in this relationship??

Now, when a well-meaning new straight friend asks me this question, I smile sweetly and say, “Who’s the guy in your relationship?” (P.S. Men do not like it when I do this.) But the truth is that you can never tell who plays what roles in any relationship, nor should it really matter to anyone who’s not involved in that particular relationship.

TYLER: Friends, acquaintances, strangers—they all ask extremely invasive questions, like “How do you have sex?” and “Are you considered a lesbian, since you like women?” In response to the first question I usually just deadpan, “Get creative.” With the second one, I just sort of stand there and stare into their soul until they feel how uncomfortable their question is. Now, if I’m having a conversation with someone who is actually interested and curious for the sake of broadening their knowledge of trans* people and sexuality (or just general human nature), I’m happy to explain many things to them. But most people who ask these kinds of questions don’t seem to want real information; they just want to pry into my life for personal amusement or gossip.

ARABELLE: It’s like, people have this weird need to be able to label and categorize you, to remove any mystery. It can make them ask questions that they don’t even realize are rude. My lesbian friends sometimes ask me what “kind of people” I’m into, since I am not only into strictly cis female lesbian bodies. I find that kind of ridiculous.

TYLER: I wish people were more open to/accepting of the “I’m interested in people” response. If people want to use labels, that’s fine, but if you’re like me—I’m interested in anyone so long as we have a connection and I’m attracted to them—you probably don’t want to be like “Well, I’m interested in dudes and girls and neither and both and trans* people and genderqueer people and people who identify as x and y and lesbians and gay men and pan people and bi people and queer people,” because the list is just endless. It’s so much easier to say “I like people and I don’t care about labels and genitals as much as I care about hearts and brains.” If people ask me what kind of people I’m interested in, I tend to list traits (passionate, interested, intelligent, curious, etc.) as opposed to genders and sexualities. People usually respond to that well—they do the Hmm, that’s interesting nod and then move on to another subject. I think because I’m trans, people find that response easier to take from me than from my cis friends. Maybe they don’t want to ask too many questions, maybe they don’t really want to know the details because it weirds them out, or maybe they are just so out of their realm of understanding already that they give up.

ARABELLE: I think people view things from their own experiences, and they tend to project those experiences onto others. I mean, I do it too—we all have “types” of people we are into, personality-wise or otherwise, and it’s so obvious to us how hot these people are, and when other people don’t agree it’s sometimes weird to me, and I don’t understand it! But I give our generation a lot of credit for being much more accepting than past generations when it comes to sexuality and gender identity.

Another thing that I wondered about is, do people ever talk about your queerness being “a phase,” or assume they can “talk you out of” your orientation? I feel like there’s a myth that you can “convince” or “sway” someone out of their sexuality, which is insulting, because it assumes that sexuality isn’t fluid anyway, and it takes away your agency—like it wasn’t my choice to do something with someone; they got me to do it.

TYLER: You know what, no one ever tries to convince me or sway me in any aspect of my sexuality, and I think it’s because I’m a dude. When I first came out as a lesbian at 17, a fair amount of guys (friends, acquaintances, and people I didn’t know) tried to persuade me to hook up with them. When I was 19, a guy I’d never met before tried to get me to go out with him by making comments all night, saying, “Damn, if you weren’t a lesbian, I’d [insert sexual comment here].” I felt extremely pressured and uncomfortable, and then even guilty for not giving him a shot! It was messed up. After I transitioned, I stopped attracting a lot of male attention, so I typically don’t find people who try to “sway” me. Plus, I’m open to being with anyone now, as long as there’s a connection, so there’s no “swaying” necessary. And the people who “disagreed” with my transition, who told me I was going to hell for my queerness, etc., are now out of my life—so I don’t have anyone around me who tries to convince me that my existence is “wrong.”

I think people need to be more educated on the lives of queer people in general. I’d have been much less confused and isolated as a teenager if I knew any queer or trans* people—even if I only knew them via the internet. ♦

111 Comments

  • landlockedblues January 24th, 2013 7:16 PM

    This was such a good, informative post! Sometimes I struggle and panic when trying to decide my sexuality – things like, ‘oh, if I have a boyfriend, then why am I so attracted to certain girls?’ – but I always feel very reassured whenever I read posts like these on Rookie, because I know that even if I do like girls or not or whatever, I’m going to be okay. So thank you, awesome writers of Rookie. :)

    • HearMeRoar January 24th, 2013 9:49 PM

      I totally agree. I don’t really have anybody to tell me that it is okay to be anything but straight. Then I found Rookie, which is like that cool, hip aunt that everyone wants. I realized I had been repressing my feelings, if that makes any sense, because I always thought, I have to be straight I have to be straight. After reading articles on here, I figured out that I’m probably bisexual or bicurious (is that a thing?) because I feel attraction to not just males. And I stopped repressing them internally (but I would never tell anyone externally; people would call me a freak) because Rookie was like, “Everything you feel is right because it’s just natural.”
      But I have a question for anyone that can answer: Is being bisexual just being attracted to males and females? What is bicurious? Are you bicurious until you have sex with a girl? Basically I’m confused on all of that bisexual stuff. SO MANY QUESTIONS

      • purrr January 24th, 2013 11:22 PM

        i think bicurious is a term for people who haven’t tried out bisexual sex, but are interested in it while not being so sure it’s their thing. or people who are mainly heterosexual but sometimes do homosexual things. it isn’t really a term that’s set in stone, i think every person sees it differently, and that’s how i see it.

        http://sanctifiedyouth.blogspot.com/

      • creaturefeature January 24th, 2013 11:55 PM

        To try and help with your questions:
        Yes, bisexual generally means attracted to both males and females.
        Bicurious is very similar to “exploring”; one may be unsure or interested but not sure quite yet.
        I personally think that you DO NOT need to have sex with a girl/boy to self-identify as bisexual, because, lets face it, attraction (physical and emotional) comes into play so much sooner than actually getting into bed with someone…you don’t have to “prove” you’re attracted to guys and gals to identify as bisexual. (Think about it: When was the last time a straight person had to have sex before identifying as such?)
        Pretty much, the main difference between bisexual and bicurious is certainty, which means different things to different people, and may require some soul searching. There’s nothing wrong with this.
        What I’d like to point out as NOT true, is the stereotype that bisexuals are attracted to “everyone”, more likely to cheat, or generally more promiscuous than straight people.

      • Astrid M. May 6th, 2013 5:38 AM

        I think maybe it would be helpful for you to distinguish between sexual and romantic attraction. For instance: At the moment I identify as bi/pansexual, but heteroromantic, meaning I feel sexually attracted to both genders, but generally only emotionally attracted to males. Maybe it’ll be different in 5 years, who knows
        I never knew the two could be seperated and when I found out it was like everything made sense. If you want to read more on this, try going to asexuality.org. Even though you’re not asexual there’s a lot of information on there that may be useful since this distinction is a very important point to asexuals :)

  • katrina January 24th, 2013 7:33 PM

    Perhaps I misunderstood the intention of this article, but the contributors seemed more focused upon describing all the rude behavior they have to endure, rather than de-bunking any myths. As a straight woman who has never experienced queer sex personally, I can only assume that I’m the target audience for this article, yet I’m confused as ever. My only response to this article is to apologize on behalf of all straight people who have ever been rude to you because of their ignorance, and yet I remain ignorant as ever. I think Rookie is a wonderful resource and I applaud your work. I look forward to more articles on this subject, and hopefully there will be more discussion about the lives of queer people, beyond their frustrations and anger.

    • queenofgeeks January 25th, 2013 4:41 PM

      I agree, I don’t feel like I got a lot of information out of this post that I was genuinely interested in learning. I am so sorry that people are rude to the authors, but I don’t think I learned a lot about queer sex in this article.

    • Jay January 27th, 2013 12:57 PM

      Yeah, if you read the original pitch I think they ended up going more towards the “have a convo with a couple of the queer Rookie staffers about heteronormativity and queer sex and some of the stuff we deal with”, so the target audience became queer people venting frustrations, which is more important than educating straight cis people, at least in my opinion. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand what’s so confusing about queer sex for straight cis people — but I guess that’s just because I’ve been thinking about queer sex since early high school, so I’ve just had more practice imagining it and then actually doing it and I’ve forgotten ever being confused about it. But if you have any questions about lesbian sex, I’m happy to answer — Since I have gay and trans friends, I can also try to answer questions about gay male or trans sex if I know the answers. The main thing to keep in mind is that a lot of times these questions are hard to answer and we get them so often that we get tired of it. The main reason they’re hard to answer is because there’s sooo much diversity in the queer community and lots of different ways to have sex. I think the best answer to any question about queer sex was Tyler’s answer, “Get creative.” As for lesbian sex, I’ve found, at least anecdotally, that the most common ways to have sex are: oral sex, finger fucking, and using toys (dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, whatever). Scissoring happens but it’s not as common as people think, because it’s really awkward and usually not even that enjoyable.

  • dessertdesert January 24th, 2013 7:50 PM

    Everything you’ve all said is soo true, or at least in the part of north america I’m from…
    When I say that I am a mostly gay trans-female, some people misinterpret this as “I am primarily sexually attracted to men”! The problem with their thinking is that they see transgender people as their birth sex, and not the gender they identify as. A trans-male is male, a trans-female is female! easy stuff once you think about it :)

  • kirsten January 24th, 2013 7:57 PM

    rookie is my best friend. sorry, former best friends.

  • ClickClaire January 24th, 2013 8:07 PM

    “There is no guy. That’s the point.” Exactly! I guess it all boils down to the problem of heterosexism and heteronormativity. Anyway, awesome discussion! :)

  • MaggieMagpie January 24th, 2013 8:07 PM

    This is such a good discussion! Some of my friends and I were just talking about this stuff today, like wow, I’m so tired of people asking “who’s the guy”! The labels thing is so true too, I clung to queer for a while because it was so ambiguous, but now it just feels right to say “I like people.”

    Thank you and I’m interested to see anymore discussion that sparks from this!

  • Tangerine January 24th, 2013 8:30 PM

    Here’s maybe a dumb question: what does the asterisk after trans mean?
    At first I assumed there was a note at the bottom of the article about the word, but now I’m wondering if it means something else?

    • Roxxxanne January 24th, 2013 10:48 PM

      Tangerine, that question isn’t dumb at all. The asterisk after trans stands in for any suffix that describes a different kind of trans person. TRANSexual TRANSgender TRANSvestite. There are lots of different kinds of trans people and its a lot easier (at least for those who are in on it) to just shorten it up a bit. Hope this helps!

    • rivahgirl January 24th, 2013 10:50 PM

      I’m fairly certain its there because trans could be transgender or transsexual. I know a lot of people prefer using the word transgender now, but some still ike like to use transsexual.

    • anonymouse January 26th, 2013 3:51 AM

      Trans* is sort of used as the umbrella term for transexual, transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, twospirit, basically anyone who doesn’t identify as cis.

  • jenaimarley January 24th, 2013 8:37 PM

    Thank you so much for this.
    My mum is lesbian and I’ve gotten just outrageously unacceptable questions like “does that mean you’re gay?” or “does that mean she’s attracted to you?” and I am kind of just too offended to answer but I also feel like I need to debunk some of the horrible misconceptions.

    Also I have a question for Tyler (or anyone). It was a question discussed in an intro to Queer Studies class I sat in on at Tufts University and I was curious what you thought. If one transitions fully from one physical-sex to another (to a point where it isn’t obvious that s/he is transgender) do you think that person is obligated to tell a sex partner that they transitioned?

    • equinox January 25th, 2013 1:30 AM

      I feel like if you have intimacy with someone and are having sex with them then you should be able to feel comfortable enough with them, and yourself, that sharing about your past and answering any questions they have for you shouldn’t be a problem. It just builds on the intimacy that you’ve established.

      • jenaimarley January 25th, 2013 12:00 PM

        I definitely agree with the idea of feeling comfortable and building intimacy. However, I think we should distiguish between hook-ups and sex in the context of a more committed relationship. Because in the latter case I TOTALLY agree with you but in the former case I guess it could put the trans* person in an awkard or even dangerous position that s/he shouldn’t necessarily have to deal with. Like should I feel the need to stop a hook-up partner midway to make sure they know I am a cis-gendered straight female?

        Regardless, it is a really interesting question and thanks so much for your input! :)

    • Isabelle97 January 25th, 2013 6:50 AM

      The next time someone asks if your mum is attracted to you should ask them if their dad is attracted to them. What an appalling question!

      • jenaimarley January 25th, 2013 12:02 PM

        I will!
        I know, it kind of just left me speechless.
        But thanks for the support! <3

  • Hannah January 24th, 2013 8:53 PM

    This is so relevant to my life! Even in my own mind, I try to figure out like who is the man or whatever, but then I realize, that I have no idea how to define a “man in a relationship” or who wears the pants or whatever bullshit. Bonus, the first question my mom asked me when I came out to her was how I was going to know when I lost my virginity. I knew it was bullshit then, but I couldn’t just say that, so I tried to explain how ladies get it on, and she didn’t listen, and I don’t think she’ll ever like get that losing your virginity is different for everyone.

  • Galiflore January 24th, 2013 8:56 PM

    Personally, I don’t agree with you on the fact that men and women don’t have special caracteristics and don’t play any “role”. I mean, come on, it is not because our society is evolving that these “natural laws” don’t exist. They do. Our whole society is built on it. And eventhough men change laws and improve science and technology, men are still men. Genetically, women are conceived to be able to give birth and men are usually stronger and more resistant than women. That’s why, ages ago, men used to go hunting to feed their family and women, weaker and pragnant used to stay at home and take care of their children or cook. I know these examples sound cliché, it’s because indeed they are stereotypes, but who can deny it isn’t basically how it works? Who can say men and women are exactly the same?
    Obviously people like you shouldn’t, if you may are, be treated as inferior or strange, because it may be part of your nature, and it is important you feel equal too, but it shouldn’t be taken as a reference or a perfect normality. What if it provoked a contrary effect on straight people? That a girl think she is lesbian because she is being shy with boys and that she is very close to a girl, because it’s always easier to talk to someone of you’re own sexe; or because she had a bad experience with her last boyfriend. According to me, this phenomena already exists. And I don’t think it is positive, first because, as you said, it can be hush to be rejected by society or friends who are not very tolerant and because it makes a mess in these adolescents’ head.
    Personally, I have no problem with people like that, on the contrary, I fancy originality and open mindedness, and I hate when people are narrowminded, I just think keeping basics codes and references are essential to maintain our society.

    • alisatimi January 24th, 2013 10:33 PM

      No one is saying men and women are the same. Obviously, there are differences, but in today’s world they shouldn’t have to define the kinds of roles that men and women take on. The problem with your model isn’t that it’s cliche – it’s just out-dated, and clinging on to traditional values for tradition’s sake isn’t going to get us anywhere.
      As to your example of the girl – the acceptance of different sexual orientations isn’t a political agenda that turns poor shy little girls lesbian. Girls can think for themselves, and if they do find themselves attracted to a girl friend it might be because they, you know, actually are, and it doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment to liking only girls. Even if this wasn’t the case, though, what’s the harm in questioning your sexuality? You mention society’s judgment – yeah, sure, some people will judge them but society has got to get used to this and there’s just no other way.

    • farawayfaerie January 25th, 2013 10:10 AM

      It’s not that men and women are the same, it’s that EVERYONE is different. We don’t live in caves anymore, and this means that we have a lot more freedom in expression. Not all men are what you described as how they’re genetically coded to be (strong) and not all women are “weak” and looking after children. Women are much more than child bearing chefs, and we have the potential to be fit and strong, it’s just slightly harder most women because of lung capacity , etc. What you’re alluding to is that women shouldn’t be wrestlers or weight lifters or athletes, because it’s not what we did a couple of hundred years ago. Whole societies change, as do mindsets.

      Also, I have a big problem with this: “but who can deny it isn’t basically how it works?” I definitely can. I know so many family relationships where the woman makes the most money (kind of the same as hunting?) and the husband works from home and looks after the kids. Does that mean that the woman is ‘the man in the relationship’? What does that even mean? For me it’s a very backward way of thinking. It basically says that women can’t be powerful. It kind of goes back on any feminist theory that men and women are equal. That’s also something that I think you misunderstand. I don’t think men and women are the same, but I do think we are equal, and that’s what counts.

      I don’t mean to attack you, but I understand where your mindset comes from (I have a similar discussion with my dad all the time) and I think there are definite problems within it.

    • ShockHorror January 25th, 2013 2:09 PM

      “What if it provoked a contrary effect on straight people?”

      …Pardon?
      Is there something wrong with not being straight or have I missed something?

      Does it matter if people who previously thought they were straight, because they were told that’s ‘natural’, actually realise they’re gay or bi or something?

  • purrr January 24th, 2013 9:05 PM

    “Last month Arabelle sent us this pitch: “I’ve been thinking about queer sex a lot..”

    -BURST OUT LAUGHING AND NOW MY LAPTOP IS COVERED WITH MILK.

    I may just be paying too much attention to her tumblr though :))

    I think most of the myths are caused by this need to KNOW everything (after all, it’s usually super privileged ppl who are asking the questions and they often feel like they’re entitled to all the information in the world) but at the same time to not think about it. Like “please load knowledge about queer sex into my brain. Sorry it doesn’t fit around the hetero sex knowledge that’s blocking it the fuck out. YOU HAVE TO GIVE ME THE QUEER SEX INFORMATION. ugh

    a few months ago a friend (!) of mine was drinking with me and a few of my lesbian friends and asked ‘omg, how do you DOOO ITTT?’ my friends got offended at his question, i just told him that penises aren’t always needed to acheive an orgasm, and he should know that.

    some people say that they ‘need to know’ about your EXACT gender and EXACT preferences because it should be obvious who we are able/willing to shag. “you know, like in nature, where they frill their feathers as a ‘i’m ready to have sex with X Y and Z’

    except decent humans don’t do that! of course knowing about others is needed to some extent, like the ‘gaydar’ is something really useful to avoid unreciprocated feelings, but still, not everyone needs to know EXACTLY how turned on I am by this gender from a scale of 1 to 10, and what my level of romantic attraction to this gender is etc etc etc.

    omg i used up the space i have a lot of feels

    • purrr January 24th, 2013 9:14 PM

      that’s the first time i used up all 1600 characters wow!

      continued:

      I used to feel as if I HAVE TO BE SURE WHETHER I’M ACTUALLY A LESBIAN OR MAYBE LIKE A LITTLE BISEXUAL OR WHAT IS GOING ON, i got stuck in the gray area between the letters L,G, B, T, and hadn’t noticed the lovely little Q. But even if there was no Q, labels don’t really matter – i STILL don’t know how i feel about each gender/identity/person from a scale of 1 to 10, and i don’t really care, because my feelings don’t change from my label.

      I think sex ed in schools should include little pamphlets on queers. not just ‘sometimes girls want to have sex with girls’ but ‘these are trans*people. they can do this this and this. these are asexual people. sometimes they masturbate, and that’s completely normal. these are aromantic people. here is a venn diagram of gender identities’ etc etc etc

      eh.

      http://sanctifiedyouth.blogspot.com/

    • Arabelle January 25th, 2013 12:11 AM

      im sorry my intense single life made you spit milk all over your computer but i love this comment and thank you for sharing :)

    • Isabelle97 January 25th, 2013 6:55 AM

      I love your whole comment but your point about super priveledged people often feeling they are entitled to other people’s personal information jumped out at me. I go to a school where most of the students are super-priveled and this one guy was harrasing me for an hour and a half to find out why I took a year out of school :L Eventually I just told him my edited life story to get him off my back…

  • carolineyall January 24th, 2013 9:06 PM

    This was an awesome, informative, thought provoking article – thank you, writers. I especially loved Tyler’s quote, “I realized that having sex with my girlfriend for the first time wasn’t going to be about “losing” or “giving up” any part of myself, as I’d been taught my whole life, but about connecting with her on a different level and having fun.” I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of virginity and I think it’s totally bullshit. People define sex in so many different ways, and the general definition of sex (male + female bodies, penis + vagina) is so heteronormative. I also thought about the virginity of rape victims – if someone is raped and they’ve never had sex before, society/doctors/whoever will say they are no longer a “virgin,” even though they were forced into non-consensual sex. But what a horrible “first time” experience…basically, what I’m saying is, sex/virginity is whatever you want it to be and however you want to define it. Again, thanks y’all for the article! I’m gonna go read up on some queer theory!

  • silvermist January 24th, 2013 9:17 PM

    Thank you for this. I swear as I was opening google reader before going to sleep I thought: “I hope to find a sign that this is actually all ok.” (sometimes I have this weird thinking)…and this was the only new post there. <3

  • andycoopz312 January 24th, 2013 9:21 PM

    Although I love Rookie and read it all the time, I finally feel like I need to comment on how great and informative this post is. I’m not very sexual and the few people I have been with have all been guys. I know in my mind I like all sorts of people, girls included, and eventually I’m going to try new things and date new people. I don’t feel the need to label myself as a specific orientation yet (and maybe I won’t ever want to label myself), so when asked about my preferences in a partner I simply say, “I like people that I think are cool”, because really that’s what attracts us to others.

  • Abby January 24th, 2013 9:25 PM

    I’m cisgender and straight, and I really liked this. It was interesting to hear about, since it’s a topic I don’t know much about. I try to be open to everything and not ask stupid (read: rude) questions like the ones you guys mentioned!!

  • thedoctordonna January 24th, 2013 9:37 PM

    Firstly, thankyousomuch for this! It’s the same thing that I think about almost constantly.

    I think I’m in this weird place where I have finally admitted to myself that I am attracted to other girls, but not really knowing exactly what that entails. And I don’t really know any other queer/questioning people that I could ask these kind of questions to.

    And I’m trying to make sense of all the things that people have told me aren’t moral or natural and a lot of things that I’ve been feeling. I’ve been feeling very alone, and very misunderstood and I think you helped me understand a lot of things today.

    • Zoe with two dots January 24th, 2013 11:06 PM

      From one same-sex attracted Doctor Who fan to an other (I’m presuming you’re a fan from the username?): I know how you feel, I’ve been there. I had the huge moment of realisation, “gasp! I like girls! …what do I do?”
      I’m not in your exact situation, so I can’t tell you how you’ll feel, but I have days of “there’s something wrong with me for feeling this way, this can’t be right” where I feel quite alone and like no one can understand. And then I have days where I feel so proud of who I am, and I just want to wear glitter and stomp around celebrating the fact that I’m a fabulous queer girl. And you know, as you get more confident in your identity and love who you are, the more days you have of stomping around feeling fabulous :)
      Hope all goes well for you xox

      • karastarr32 January 25th, 2013 2:39 AM

        Can we please start, like, a club for non-heteronormative Doctor Who fans? Thank you ok good bye think about it ok xx

        • Zoe with two dots January 25th, 2013 5:37 AM

          YES!
          Adventures in (non-hetero) time and (non-hetero) space.

          Speaking of DW and queerness, I’m loving that Madam Vastra and Jenny look to be getting a larger role on the show.

          (To anyone reading this who doesn’t watch DW – Madam Vastra is an alien lizard who works as a detective in Victorian London, and Jenny is her human wife. It’s amazing.)

        • karastarr32 January 25th, 2013 1:49 PM

          I know! Jenny and Madame Vastra are both brilliant. Genuinely though, if I started this group on FB or something would you join? I WANT THIS TO HAPPEN.

        • I.ila January 25th, 2013 2:17 PM

          YESYESYESYES I LOVE THE WORLD. Okay. Anyone else wonder what salurian sex would be like? Also, this week I met a bunch of queer whovians, and it was lovely. I think a club would be wonderful. My name is Susan and I want you to respect my life choices.

        • SincerelyWrong January 26th, 2013 1:34 AM

          Someone please start this Facebook group, I’d join in heartbeat. @w@

          I’m sort of utterly confused with whatever I am, but I’m quite happy nonetheless.
          I always just assumed I was straight, but I’m sort of in love with my best friend. She has made claims against being a “lesbian” but… I dunno,. X) We cuddle, and like… Ahh, it’s silly, but it’s also lovely.
          I’m keeping myself as contained as I can around her, because she’s sort of three years younger than myself,
          and I’m going to be an adult soon, and I don’t want to hurt her or disturb people, so we’re just friends. Who cuddle. And I kissed her nose once (weirdest friendship I’ve ever been in).

          But whatever the hell I am, I fall in love with souls, with a person’s passion, the way their eyes light up, or how they laugh at stupid jokes, how they express themselves, how they connect with me. I’m not going to try and label myself anymore, I’m just me: “Potentially lovely, perpetually human” (to quote Regina Spektor).

      • agentsculder January 25th, 2013 1:41 PM

        YES. I’m all for a fan club made of Doctor Who non-heteronormative fans! Zoe with two dots, I just wanted to tell you that I’m also a Zoe with two dots, and I completely sympathize with your experience with queerness. I feel the same way, and some days it can be frustrating as heck. This article made me feel better, though, and I’m glad there are other non-heteronormative DW fans in this world. x

        • karastarr32 January 26th, 2013 6:10 AM

          I am actually trying to make this group on Facebook as I speak, but it’s asking me to add friends, and I don’t have any FB friends who would be interested, could someone ping me an email at pelzsharpe@gmail.com to help with this sitch? (ie either show me a way to get around this or become my friend so I can do this stuff) xx

    • karastarr32 January 27th, 2013 4:16 PM

      Guys, I made the facebook group!!! Come and join and let’s all be fabulous together, ok? http://www.facebook.com/groups/335425113228416/ Come come come, it’ll be loads of fun :)

      • Zoe with two dots January 28th, 2013 12:11 AM

        Ok I just joined. This is amazing. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

  • SFclaire January 24th, 2013 9:58 PM

    This post was so great for me to read. I’m attracted to people, not gender, and it’s awesome to hear what others have to say. I do this thing where I try to label my sexuality because it seems to matter so much to other people. You have to be either gay or straight, right? There’s no in between. SO WRONG. I’ve never had a boyfriend, but I have definitely been attracted to people who identify as male. That doesn’t mean I’m straight. I have had two girlfriends, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a lesbian. I get the “are you a lesbian?” question all the time, and I never know how to respond.

    Well now that I’m done ranting, I have a question that anyone can answer or not.

    How do YOU have sex? Either with someone who identifies as the same gender as you, different, or both?

  • Rae0320 January 24th, 2013 10:02 PM

    Just read this (Daily Mail = trash, I know) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2267910/And-Actor-goes–Gender-equality-takes-center-stage-Hollywood-amidst-awards-season.html

    the link between your article and this one is tenuous but thought it might start an interesting side debate…

    GO

    • Isabelle97 January 25th, 2013 7:02 AM

      I think the idea of best actor/best female actor IS outdated and excluding for gender-non-comformatives. On a side note, if this did happen they’d have to change it to “Best five actors ” or something because otherwise there would be so much competition for one award (even more than there is for two).

    • farawayfaerie January 25th, 2013 10:28 AM

      http://bechdeltest.com/ One of my favorite things, the bechdel movie check list consists of having at least two (named) female characters in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man. It’s so simple, yet terrifying how many films fail the test. This website kind of proves why non-gender based awards wouldn’t work in the near future. There really aren’t enough good female lead roles being written at the moment, to compete with the great lead roles written for men. This is definitely changing, but who knows how soon.

      • Pashupati January 26th, 2013 5:48 AM

        “There really aren’t enough good female lead roles being written at the moment, to compete with the great lead roles written for men.”
        A best actor award rewards the ACTING, not the CHARACTER. Even if the character played isn’t well-written, it’s the *acting* that counts.

        • farawayfaerie February 3rd, 2013 11:48 AM

          but if you’re acting as a two dimensional character it’s not going to be very realistic. The script affects an actors authenticity a lot. But interesting point.

  • Reid January 24th, 2013 10:23 PM

    Love this article, it’s very informative and open. As a lesbian I get a lot of questions about queer sex from my peers. However, I don’t find it rude or offensive at all. I know that these people weren’t raised hearing about queer sex like they were with hetero sex, and their curiosity is normal. If it were visa-versa, I’d want to know too! I get that sometimes questions can pry too much and be too personal, but when people ask me questions about how things work or who does what, it’s my pleasure to help educate them.
    I just think that we have to be more patient with each other, living in a society that puts a taboo on talking about queer sex. You have to talk about it with everyone, even if it offends you sometimes, to get the information out there. By educating others and opening up this whole new world of information, we can help spread tolerance and understanding.

  • Zoe with two dots January 24th, 2013 10:45 PM

    Thank you for this article!
    For ages I have struggled with how to identify myself. Eventually I settled on queer, though sometimes I just say bisexual.
    I love girls, and get attracted to girls, and I look forward to one day dating and having sex with girls. I currently have a boyfriend, who I love… But we don’t have (the heteronormative definition of) sex.
    We do pretty much everything else, and tried having p-in-v a couple of times, but each time I felt anxious and weird because GUY BITS near/in my LADY BITS made me feel not ok. And each time I just ended up crying because I felt like a failure, like I couldn’t be a “proper” girlfriend. Took me a while to realise that’s bullshit, and that I am who I am: someone who likes boys but doesn’t feel comfortable having p-in-v, and someone who also likes girls.
    I have a fantastic relationship with my boyfriend, and just because we don’t have “proper” (aka the heteronormative idea of) sex, it doesn’t feel like our relationship is lacking anything.

    • sneakybacon January 25th, 2013 8:25 AM

      zoe, we’re in the saaaame place buddy. i love my boyfriend to pieces and our relationship is wonderful, we do have sex, but only after a fair struggle and i think i now realise why. but reading this has clarified in my head that that doesnt matter, that i dont have to define myself as either straight or gay just because i have a boyfriend, and that i can continue to be with him and love him despite the fact i may not be with another man ever again! if im happy right now then thats all that matters, i dont need to break it off with him just to prove to myself that i am actually gay

      • Zoe with two dots January 28th, 2013 12:16 AM

        Yes, I had a horrible time for a while going, “ugh, should I break up with him because I’m not into hetero-sex??” And then I realised it doesn’t matter, it’s about how much we love each other.

    • nibbler January 28th, 2013 7:46 PM

      As an adult (female) who’s had sex with a variety of types of partners, I’d like to say that Male/Female couples often have non-heteronormative sex lives. Not every couple is interested in P-in-V every time they want an orgasm. The same kind of hands/mouths/genitals usage tends to work for all kinds of couples. I think society has made us really hung up on what “sex” is “supposed” to be (P-in-V). It should be more about exploring enjoyment alone and with another person!

  • azultardis January 24th, 2013 10:46 PM

    this is great, I can relate to this so much,when I was 16 I started dating a girl 2 years older than me,my mom found out and she kept saying that my girlfriend was forcing me,that I was no supposed to like girls,that I was sick,she stoped talking to me and didn’t let me out,until my girlfriend broke up with me,and my mom made me promise that I would “change”…it was awful cause I don’t identify as a lesbian or bi,I just like people…

    I have a boyfriend now,but I like him not because is the “normal or righ” thing,I like him cause he’s kind,smart,and I just like him as a whole person,and that’s it…

    but people can’t understeand it,my gay friends say that I’m lying to myself,that I need to stop pretending,and it makes me feel bad,but then I remember that I like him,and I like people based on their hearts and brain,and not their genitals,and I wish we could stop labeling everything and everyone

    • Isabelle97 January 25th, 2013 7:04 AM

      I need “Like People for their Hearts and Brains, and not for their Genitals” on a tshirt

  • CombatOwl January 24th, 2013 10:51 PM

    This discussion is incredibly informative and actually makes me so much more confident about my sexuality. I’m so glad Rookie did this and I hope you do more like this soon!!

  • Janelle January 24th, 2013 11:16 PM

    This conversation about queerness totally rocks my world. Creating a safe place to talk about IMPORTANT stuff like sexuality on the internet is pretty amazing when you are constantly bombarded with feelings of confusion about your own identity. I’m 18 and I’ve never had sex, and I don’t think I really believe in virginity so that’s not a huge problem… And in all honesty I haven’t been very interested in sex until I started realizing recently that I could have sex with girls (Like, this is an actual REAL possibility), and I really like the idea of it. So for a while I got to thinking, hey I guess I’m I lesbian. And I have days where I feel like a big huge lesbian with all the girl related feelings in the world. But then I ran across the word “queer” and that just sits a lot better with me than anything else in this crazy world of labels and identities. These are feelings that I REALLY WANT AND NEED TO TALK ABOUT. But feelings that I am also kind of uncomfortable with at times. I guess I really have to love Arabelle for “thinking about queer sex a lot”.

  • caro nation January 24th, 2013 11:18 PM

    I adored this article but I’m commenting here angrily because it is ELEVEN TWENTY AND THE NEW ARTICLE STILL ISN’T HERE I NEED TO GET BACK TO HOMEWORK BUT BJORK IS TEASING ME love caroline

  • marylin January 24th, 2013 11:21 PM

    I am a straight woman, and I know very few queer people, and not closely. So this article was very interesting – it was great how you were so open. One thing I have noticed, growing up in a very heterosexual community, is that many straight people have this idea that queer people must be crazy hormone driven machines, copulating whenever they can with whomever they can – it’s ridiculous. The idea that a person can simply not know “what they are”/ who they are attracted to is also new to me, but this article helped me understand more that gender, sex, and attraction sometimes cannot be defined in the clear cut labels we have made.

  • hanalady January 25th, 2013 1:21 AM

    Ok, I loved this article and everything, but I think it might be good to ACTUALLY have an article about the mechanics of queer sex… I understand the frustration of being “the different one” that everybody wants to bring their questions to, and how annoying it is when you are just trying to DO WHAT YOU DO and everyone comes to you for information like you are the internet or something and suddenly your personal behaviors/beliefs become public knowledge for the sake of “educating people.” but like, for me personally, i am cis female but not entirely straight, and all my sexual experiences have been with guys, and i’m a little freaked about pursuing anything with a girl until i know WHAT THE HELL I WOULD BE DOING. and i know i could google it and there are a ton of sites, but like, Rookie, help me out ok? y’all give the most personal, nuanced, ACTUALLY HELPFUL sex articles i have seen anywhere. they don’t teach this stuff in school.

    • Arabelle January 25th, 2013 2:43 AM

      i mean…. i feel like once you’re in the situation is kind of comes naturally? you have fingers, a tongue, sex toys, etc. sex is different for different people and different contexts, people like different things. an article about how to have sex o the MECHANICS of queer sex would just inevitably lead to people feeling erased — queerness is more than same sex relationships, queerness involves all kinds of bodies and sometimes it’s not very different at all physically from ”straight sex”.

      i feel like once you’re in bed and making out and getting into it, the whole step by step mechanical process or whatever goes out the window cuz you’re just like “MMMMM SKIN COOL” anyway. ~experimentation~ ya’ll. i think as long as you experiment, talk it out, sex has a wild amount of possibilities, across genders and orientations.

      • Arabelle January 25th, 2013 2:44 AM

        HOWEVER i would TOTALLY enjoy ”exploring” this topic and i would ”research” it thoroughly to provide the best possible coverage and background knowledge, because READERS COME FIRST and CERTAINLY not my libido

        i’m a dedicated writer with a serious mission

        • ashtheley January 25th, 2013 5:00 AM

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA O MY GOD i nearly died from laughter haalp

    • goodgodlemon January 25th, 2013 12:29 PM

      The first time I had sex it was with a girl, and a few days before it happened, I was like, “UGH what do we even DO? This seems like it would be so much easier if there was just a penis and a vagina!”

      That being said, it was perfectly lovely when it happened and I have some thoughts about your question since I was kind of feeling the same thing. Something that helped me a lot was that I had sex with a girl I trusted and felt comfortable with, so I knew she wouldn’t be judging my performance or something weird like that. She also knew about my inexperience and was happy to kind of guide me along.

      If you’ve already had sexy experiences with guys, you probably know that communication and consent are really important. It’s okay to ask what feels good and if certain things are okay, and on the flip side, it’s okay to tell your partner what you like and don’t like. You probably also already know that sex isn’t always like a perfect romantic comedy, and sometimes you giggle or are like, “oops let me try that again.” It should be fun, not stressful!

      Okay, stepping off my soapbox, hope that was helpful! :)

      • Aurora January 26th, 2013 8:43 AM

        I like your comment on sex being fun, not stressful. I feel if someone’s all over the place freaking out about it, they’re not quite there yet. PS I read your username in Alec Baldwin’s voice.

    • amaeve January 27th, 2013 5:28 PM

      I registered just to give you this link, hope you like it!
      http://www.autostraddle.com/how-to-have-lesbian-sex-for-the-first-time-nsfw-sunday-special-120445/

      (Warning: There are naked pictures and stuff.)

  • nicolemgaudet January 25th, 2013 2:21 AM

    I love this so so much

  • Sorcha M January 25th, 2013 4:22 AM

    I’ve realised how sad it is that as a queer girl, I’ve had no sex education that would help me, and therefore all my miseducation has come from porn. And of course porn is entertainment, not education. And I feel confused and angry and stupid.

  • @strictmachine86 January 25th, 2013 5:16 AM

    Very informative post. Thanks.
    On the subject of “…do people ever talk about your queerness being “a phase,” or assume they can “talk you out of” your orientation?” it made me think of a very specific argument i had with a friend of mine many years ago (i’m a UK gay male, 26).

    He very seriously approached me on the subject of my sexuality and stated that i should go and have sex with a woman before i made such public statement of my sexuality, i responded with the same to him: that he should go have sex with a man before he makes such public pronouncements of his heterosexuality (and if he did this then i would take his advice), and of course he was disgusted by the mere suggestion of this.

    I was just interested if anyone else has had a similar experience of someone close to them encouraging/pushing them to actively try heterosexual sex before they identify themselves with being LGBTI?

    • Aoife January 25th, 2013 7:16 AM

      Just posted a comment about that actually :) I find this happens a lot more to my male gay friends, usually from other men as well. They also give your response and are met with similar reactions.
      There definitely exists this notion of unnaturalness in some people’s minds, and that surely if you just tried you could be normal??

  • ashtheley January 25th, 2013 5:23 AM

    Another myth: sometimes folks ask me if I ever have to deal with “the female gaze”

    (“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FEMALE GAZE?? y u keep talking about the male gaze when u lik girls u hypocrit!!!!!!!!!”)

    Umm… no. I don’t have the powers to deter the male gaze, sry.

  • Aoife January 25th, 2013 7:13 AM

    1000x YES to this article.

    I find the worst question is “but have you ever *tried* being with the opposite gender?”
    Or, “you’re so pretty though, I’m sure you’d have no trouble finding a guy”

    URGH.

  • gloomyflamingo January 25th, 2013 8:13 AM

    if people don’t like being labeled, why are there so many words for sexual identity and orientation?

    i have nothing against queer people, but why should we know all the terms and their exact meanings? (pan, bi, trans, simply gay or whatever else)

    i think i shouldn’t be considered an uneducated fool by queer people for not knowing the exact names, just like i don’t know all the hollywood stars or obscure vegetables – and just like there isn’t a name for conditions when straight people are attracted to i.e. skinny people, blond people, people with glasses etc.

    i just think it should be simpler

    • anonymouse January 26th, 2013 4:53 AM

      Some people don’t like being labeled and they don’t have to choose one, if they don’t want to. I do, it makes me feel like I belong somewhere. It makes me feel like I’m not alone because there are people like me in this world.

      People should know what these mean because people like me and many other people in this very comments section have or will be silenced in our lives, we’ll be mocked, taunted, threatened just for being us, and have violence enacted upon us, because we’re ‘different’, or ‘not normal’, because we’re not straight and/or cis.

      You are asking people to give up part of their identity, because it would be simpler for you. We need these terms because of heteronormativity, and because of cissexism. Erasure isn’t cool. Whether it’s sexual preference(pan, bi, a..), romantic preference(homo, hetero, bi, a), sex(transsexual, intersexed), or gender(genderfluid, genderqueer, twospirit). It’s okay not to know everything, it’s okay to be confused! It’s a lot, and that is only a fraction!

      Honestly, I don’t think a queer person will think your a fool, they don’t expect you to know much more than the difference between gay and straight, show them you care, and are willing to learn(perhaps by looking up the terms you’re not familiar with, even the ones above in my post!) and you’ll already be a step ahead of the game.
      -A

  • Obstinate January 25th, 2013 9:32 AM

    I really, really dislike labels. I am mainly into girls, but every now and then, a guy I like turns up. However, like, 95% of the time, I am completely oblivious to cute boys. It would be really easy to simply explain this disinterest with “nah, I’m gay”, because that’s the way I feel when I see pictures of male celebrities, or when my friends point out the guys they like. Which I suppose means that I’m bi, but waaay pickier when it comes to guys than girls. But, well, I kind of don’t like “bi” either, because if you’re a girl who says she’s bi, no one takes your queerness seriously. Half of the time, people just assume you’re a straight girl who makes out with her friends at parties, and that’s just insulting.

  • goodgodlemon January 25th, 2013 12:16 PM

    Rookie, you’re the best. I have a question, because I’ve actually been encountering some of this stuff lately: My friend’s boyfriend has been harassing me about being a lesbian–asking me how lesbians have sex, saying I’m “still a virgin” because I’ve never had sex with a guy, and saying sex doesn’t “count” unless there’s penetration. He’s not purposely being homophobic, he just thinks he’s being funny.

    My problem is that I totally understand that he’s a jerk and nothing that he’s saying is legitimate, but when he says things like this, I completely freeze up and don’t know what to say. I think I’m mostly just so flabbergasted that I’m kind of speechless. Any tips? I feel disappointed in myself because I’d like to tell him off, but somehow I just can’t.

    ALSO, a little unrelated, but I really like this “Is it sex?” chart from autostraddle: http://autostraddle.tumblr.com/image/13292944920. If you think/feel like you’re having sex, you probably are!

  • Lorf96 January 25th, 2013 1:36 PM

    Love this article and really enjoyed the comments too, I’m struggling with my sexuality right now and also feel “queer” sits best with me after reading this:)x

  • ShockHorror January 25th, 2013 2:04 PM

    I don’t if anyone’s heard Mae Martin’s response to ‘which one’s the man?’ question?

    “That’s like asking a vegetarian ‘which vegetable is the meat?”

    • SparklyVulcan January 25th, 2013 8:13 PM

      HAHAHAHAAA, people ask me that because they expect one thing to be the “meat” of the meal… It’s really strange, actually.

  • TropicanaLuxx January 25th, 2013 3:36 PM

    So great. I really admire how well you guys seem to respond to such fucked up questions. I would just want to punch people.
    Really love the idea of sexuality being fluid and when you stop trying to define EVERYTHING it becomes a lot less complicated.

  • casper January 25th, 2013 4:33 PM

    I thought the comments were supposed to mostly be questions? I have a few, at least.

    I’ve always wondered about single trans* people. Based on what I’ve seen on BBC specials and my imagination, nobody really tells everyone around them in every setting that they are transsexual, so how does one engage in a sexual relationship? What does one do so as not to surprise the other person when they get to the bedroom/back of the minivan/bathroom stall? How is it possible for someone to have a one-night-only hookup? Is there often a disappointment because the person is not open to a relationship with a transsexual, or are people who are more likely to be open-minded enough sought out exclusively?

    Also, this may sound like a stupid horrifying ridiculous question, but what is it really like for a post-op transsexual? Meaning, what procedures are performed and what works and has what functions?

    (Sorrysorrysorry if I misused any terminology. And sorry if I sound like an ass. Which I know I do.)

    • MissusTufnel January 26th, 2013 2:54 AM

      Good questions! Some trans people come out and transition alone, some with a partner. Many trans people choose to be out instead of “passing” to acquaintances, and some choose to go under the radar, as it were. Many trans people continue to spend time in queer dating circles where coming out as trans holds less of a stigma or a shock. Many trans people are loud and proud with their trans-ness and just as many want to keep it private until they have a deeper connection with someone. It’s all personal, but no trans person seeks to be unethical or “dupe” potential partners. Sometimes people might experience rejection, but so do we all. The trans people I know are almost all happy and stoked and having great sex.

      There are different options available for trans people who want to change their bodies, though some trans people do nothing and some do it all. Hormone therapy is often used, for female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF.) Hormones can lower the voices and create hair and change metabolism and muscle growth in FTMs (like teenage puberty in cis males!) and change muscles and grow breasts and slow (sometimes stop) hair growth in MTFs. MTFs can get breast augmentations and laser hair removal and “bottom surgery” which in some cases can provide an almost fully functional vagina (though no uterus.) FTMs commonly get full mastectomies but there is yet to be a 100 percent “functional” penis so many FTMs don’t get that altered and enjoy a great sex life anyway.

      Hope this helps! Anyone with contrary or additional speak up!

    • MissusTufnel January 26th, 2013 3:00 AM

      Most important thing to know is that every trans persons experience is different and that no matter how they choose to present and manifest their gender, trans people have regular normal sex lives, without a ton of drama and hoopla (unless they’re into that!) JUST LIKE EVERYONE IN THIS RADICAL CRAZY WORLD.

      • casper January 26th, 2013 10:52 PM

        Thanks for answering my question! That’s really interesting that they can make an almost fully functional vagina for a MtF.

  • Crow January 25th, 2013 7:46 PM

    Omg love this! So glad the world (or some of it) seems to be changing for the better re gender, sex, sexuality.

    Don’t really get the comments about still being left in ignorance re queer sex. Did you read the article? What were you expecting? Intimate details? Like the kind you might share with a really intimate friend?

    Rock on rookie.

    – an old person (at least a lot older than a teen)

  • SparklyVulcan January 25th, 2013 8:12 PM

    “I’m interested in people.” DEARGOSHNESS THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL. I don’t think of myself as ‘bi’ because I’ve never really been sexually attracted to a girl, but I’ve never been sexually attracted to a guy except for my boyfriend either, since he’s my first. I feel that if I got to know anyone that I felt strongly towards intimately enough, I would feel that kind of attraction towards them. (before people jump to the conclusion that I’m 10 because I’ve only had one boyfriend– I’m 16, going on 17)

  • Domenic January 25th, 2013 11:25 PM

    Oh my god, I seriously feel like I need to get some lesbian friends as a gay guy because honestly- they seem like awesome people to be around.

    I wonder what the differences are between gay men and gay women.

    UGH I think the worst thing I have had to endure in the last month has been like when my brother started having a friend from my grade in high school over to get stoned and he’s all like “thank god you aren’t like a massive queen like ***”

    And it’s like, what? Is that a compliment? That I don’t say I am into other guys on facebook?

    I also don’t really know if girls are all like “I’m straight acting and discreet.” Because a lot of guys seem to be doing that..

    UGGGGGH.

    xx

  • syntex 8 January 26th, 2013 2:40 AM

    I was thinking the other day about something and I want to share something with you guys.

    I don’t know how to say this. IT’s just weird. Alright.

    The whole world has evil people and good people as well as people all over the map (somenear the middle sometimes you know what I mean). Just like it has gay people, straight people, and bisexual ones.

    This is the weird part. If the entire world was all evil people the world would not exist. It would be too corrupt. It would be awful chaos. No good people to keep order and peace and help with hope.

    Now what if the whole world was people all over the map. Well actually thats where we are.
    This is how the world is now kinda. Some are evil- piure evil. Some are beautiful saints. Some are whatever good/bad/ you get what Im saying right?

    This parts easy. All good people and the world would be great. No problems.

    Ok. Now I’m confused. Whatif the whole world was all straight people. That wouldn’t cause any problems like if the world was all evil. I mean I can’t think of any problems that the world would have if everyone was straight. Bisexual is kind of like the where the world is now thing. Humanity could still go on. Guys and girls would get with guys and girls. But if the whole world was gay, humanity would cease.

    Nobody ever said this before I thought it. I just thought of this the other day. What are your thoughts?

    • Domenic January 26th, 2013 10:32 AM

      Yeah so your saying that what we have now is going to exist forever? Like gay people will always exist? Which will be the case.. Most things will always exist the way they are unless something replaces it.

      It makes me think, what happens when gay marriage is allowed? What are people going to really fight against for equality then?

    • anonymouse January 26th, 2013 2:00 PM

      Really? Where do you think gay people come from? Well, my parents are straight. They didn’t make me an alternative(to hetero) sexuality. They didn’t indoctrinate me with their straightness.

      You can’t have all straights because it just wouldn’t be that way. It hasn’t ever been the case, and it will never be the case. Just because you may not see them, or hear about them, or know their stories, that should tell you something. Their stories aren’t around for a reason, because they were(and for the most part still are) silenced.

      You’re trying to make a very weird, uncomfortable, analogy between being good(saintly as you describe it)/straight, and bad(pure evil as you describe it)/gay…:(

    • Sorcha M January 26th, 2013 2:59 PM

      In a postmodern world where human beings have moved far past the point of needing sex only for reproduction and population growth, I don’t think this is a needed discussion and to be honest your analogy makes me uncomfortable

  • Pen Elope January 26th, 2013 8:02 AM

    I have one question: I had a friend in university who was bi and started exploring our city’s queer party scene. She was quite disappointed that she couldn’t seem to find someone who would be her girlfriend/sexy times partner exclusively. She made it sound as if a large part of our queer community was more or less polyamorous. Is that so, what would you say?

    I would LOVE if there was a rookie article about polyamory, mostly the emotional aspect.

    • Pashupati January 26th, 2013 3:43 PM

      I agree on the polyamory article! Pretty please?

    • silvermist January 26th, 2013 9:35 PM

      This. I think the queer community is super fun and loving and there’s this sense of unity to fight for equality, but I sort of don’t identify with lots of things that seem to be very common – polyamory being one of them, it’s just not what I’m looking in a relationship. (I would too love to see an article on this.)

  • barbroxursox January 26th, 2013 4:43 PM

    “I’m interested in people” is perfect. Most of the time I’m interested in guys, but every so often, I’m attracted to a woman. I’ve identified as straight in my life, but I don’t know if that label suits me anymore. I don’t know if I should be called straight or bi, because I’m not constantly feeling the same way. So from now on, I’m just gonna tell everyone, “I’m interested in people.” :)

  • celestial object January 26th, 2013 7:16 PM

    Ok hopefully I won’t sound like a complete asshole. My disclaimer is: I truly believe everyone should be able to behave and dress however they want and date and have sex with anyone they want regardless of their genitalia.
    So here we go: I see myself as gender critical. To me the whole concept of gender is oppressive. What is female and what is male? I think we all agree here that our genitalia does not dictate our behavior and it’s all social construction.
    Ok. So I see, for example, “queer pansexual” females (as in people with vaginas and socialized as girls in their childhood) on tumblr experimenting with being a “boy”, which apparently translates into dressing like Justin Bieber and shaving their hair.
    And then there’s the trans* label which I also fail to understand. I.e. males (biologically) who say they’ve always felt like one of the girls/women. What does that mean? that they were sensitive and played with dolls? And when they transition, does wearing dresses/makeup/etc make them a woman?
    My point is: doesn’t all of this ‘gender experimenting’ within this paradigm only reinforce the paradigm? Everyone’s personality is chopped to fit the woman/man box, everywhere. Is everyone queer?
    There’s also the cotton ceiling issue. Some trans* women (male assigned at birth) say it’s transphobic of lesbians (the female assigned at birth ones) when they don’t date them because of their penis, and that there isn’t anything inherently male about the penis. Wha?
    I hope I didn’t offend anyone but these are my honest questions that I have to one to ask. Good luck to you all! <3

    • Alexandra89 January 27th, 2013 7:03 PM

      I have a few responses from the point of view of one white, queer, transsexual woman.

      A lot of what you’re expressing as “gender critical” seems to come from some pretty simplistic stereotypes about trans* people. Many of us didn’t grow up playing with dolls (I didn’t, nor did I want to), and few would seriously argue that their childhood toy choices legitimize their gender identities.

      Also, I find it hard to imagine that any trans woman hasn’t considered altering her gender expression and retaining a male identity. I thought about it, but it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I had no idea how feminine/masculine I might express myself once I changed my body and started asserting a female identity in the world. It happened to be kind of hard femme-y ultimately, but I tried to be more butch for the first year or so because I was frightened of shoring up the same stereotypes you were banging on in your comment.

      As for the thing about whether dresses/makeup make one a woman, I direct you to the existence of butch trans women, and hopefully we move on. If not, I don’t know what I can do for you.

      Most (if any) of us don’t transition so we’ll fit better in a dress. I hated my lower parts with a passion (still do), and I saw myself turn into a monster during puberty and I’m trying to make that monster disappear.

      I think it’s important to not read your own interpretations into other people’s experiences. I didn’t always “feel like a woman.” To the contrary, the fact that I had a different body and was treated differently by the world almost killed me.

  • silvermist January 26th, 2013 10:16 PM

    Some questions/personal thoughts:

    - do you ever feel guilty when being with (or thinking with being with) someone of the same sex? what if the religious thing about it being a sin is actual true in the end? how to overcome this fear even if you are not religious anymore?
    - do you ever think that maybe one day all this progress towards equal rights will regress? maybe it’s just me but I think each day I see more and more people who say they are against gay marriage and have these arguments that seem kind of ‘reasonable’ even to me.
    - does anyone actually use those things for the teeth? I’m curious about if it is weird/uncomfortable to use?
    - how do you feel about gay rights being so linked to politics? it’s sad for me having friends who decide they identify with the right-wing and suddenly have this solid opinion against gay rights.
    - am I the only one who feels a bit misplaced with queer friends? most of them agree that being queer is like an ‘irreversible process’, so for me as a girl, from the moment I am part of the club it’s like I cannot ever be in love with a guy without being accused of lying to myself. I notice this in the smallest things, like when I avoid to say “oh, that guy is cute” when I’m with them.

    so many questions and feelings

    • MissusTufnel January 28th, 2013 7:30 PM

      - No.
      - No. Much like the backlash against Jim Crow being revoked, desegregation, equal housing opportunities for gays, and most other civil rights victories, things get a little worse in the face of progress before bigots go into hiding.
      - Things for the teeth?! What!!!? …dental dams? No, I’ve never known anybody who has ever used one.
      - I look forward to one day actually assessing a political candidate past gay rights and abortion rights.
      - Being bi is hard. You have to explain your shit and apologize for it all the time. It sucks. Real friends won’t have a problem with you though, so ditch anyone who makes you feel bad about it.

  • Morris January 27th, 2013 9:58 AM

    Hmmm idknow guys. Its very easy as a queer to fall into the trap of not comparing your relationship to other ones and passing it off as ok or excusing bad situations beacuse its hard to find or its fine beacuse its ment to be diferent beacuse its queer etc etc. Everyone should keep a eye out for how they are being treated. Just beacuse your sure that no one els around you has your exact sexuality doesn,t mean you should ignore looking at every other human relationship thats going on at the same time. You should think about every ones advice they give you on how your relationship is going as well. As the effect of any relationship is really clear mostly clearly to your friends and workmates it might seem super personal but its effecting your whole life if you really admit it to your self and thats why its special. Ignoring this can lead to some pretty tragic situations and standards that could go on for a life time.

    Love life isnt lord of the rings. its not like your Holding closed some gate to the evil forces of hetrosexuals. Their advice is valuable to any type of queer realtionship (if you look past the often simplistic language used when talking about this stuff)

    Loving hurts.

  • littlenashrambler January 27th, 2013 5:27 PM

    That was amazing! I was talking to my friend and trying to explain how I am going to lose my lesbian virginity (as I am bisexual) and I was hoping to God that Rookie would have something to say, and there it is! The world is conspiring to please me today!

  • katie January 27th, 2013 7:57 PM

    At my school a few years ago there was a boy (he’s since graduated) and he worked at planned parenthood and he was known for sitting down with any queer/trans*/questioning people whenever they felt comfortable and he would explain the logistics of things and teach them about safe sex in queer/trans* relationships and he was just all around great

  • lishbish January 28th, 2013 8:59 PM

    This was such an awesome post. Seriously, I was on the (city) bus this weekend and I overheard these girls sitting behind me saying all this stuff (which can also be classified as BULLSHITE) about how ALL lesbians must CLEARLY want to be hermaphrodites or have penises or just be male. I really wanted to throw this article at them and tell them to stop. But that would have involved throwing my computer at them. Er…

  • beckytamara February 5th, 2013 7:19 AM

    I recently stumbled upon Rookie mag and I really appreciate what you guys do here. There is so much good stuff and this article was especially helpful for me (and the comments).

    I’ve been involved with a transitioning FTM for the past few months and he has taught me so much about sex and totally changed how i think about attraction. I’ve always assumed i was straight, and therefore attracted to penis (because the heteronormative world is obsessed with genitals). But here he is, without a penis, and i find myself lusting like crazy,unexplicably attracted to him. So then i realized that its not about genitals. Its about who he is. This was such an epiphany for me because I’m so used to the penis in vagina definition of what sex should be.

    I thought that i was a virgin because i haven’t had penis in vagina sex, but that’s not necessarily true. I have had sex, just not with a penis inside of me. That doesn’t make it less real (or less AWESOME).

    I’m feeling more and more restricted by cis definitions of sex, because it all centers around penis. Reducing sexuality to genitals is bad bad bad, and I’m glad to know that its okay for me to love people regardless of their parts.

  • Lozlozwf4l February 10th, 2013 4:48 PM

    It really annoys me that everything is so black and white. Like when I’m with my friends and someone makes a joke and then they’re like “are you gay or straight though.” And I tell them I’m straight because I’m coming to grips with the fact that I’m not so sure (and have a huge crush on my best friend). I’m not quite ready to come out so I just tell then I’m straight. But it would be easier if they didn’t voice the question like their are only two options. I think that there is a horrible lack of education about sexuality and stuff so everyone just presumes you are either straight or not. It certainly makes it a lot harder for me to tell my friends that I am bi.

  • Kayla Tester March 7th, 2013 10:36 PM

    I agree entirely! Definitely when people ask “who’s the dude in the relationship’?. OMG ITS A LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP GUUIZZ.

    Very very good blog indeed Krista, Tyler and Arabelle!

  • lunaticbeings March 9th, 2013 2:02 PM

    this was really helpful, thanks. i usually don’t know what to say when people ask me why i decided to be bisexual. i didn’t DECIDE anything, i just stopped lying to myself, ya know. i like the fact that tyler is into ‘people’, i have the feeling that that, in the end, is what lies beneath all the sex and sexuality and gender stuff. for me, the appearance and sexuality of a person would matter if i was going to be in a relationship with them, though. physically, i’m into feminine girls and masculine boys and i think that’s completely okay because that’s just part of my sexuality. i don’t mean to say that nobody should be in love with less feminine girls, i’m just saying that i’m not physically attracted to them. i just wish that one day, heterosexuality will not be assumed. there would be no need for the big ‘coming out’ scenes. i find it a bit degrading as a bisexual girl that people see it as a great surprise when it turns out i’m not what people expect. or when people say i can’t be bisexual because i’ve never been in a relationship. or when they deny that i’m bisexual and i just can’t be even after i tell them i’ve been battling with the decision for 5 years. ugh.

  • xopaulxoxx March 17th, 2013 12:50 AM

    Respect!!