Masculine Not Manly, Vol 3: A Letter From a Recovering TouchMeNot Stud

queen latifah and girlfriend in set it off

Written by Bre Ukweli

Dear Lover,

I promise it isn’t your fault that you have yet to make me cum in bed. I also swear on my entire sexual life, that I’m honestly not punishing you with dryness because you’re incompetent. Sometimes I think that the pleasure gene skipped me entirely and my vagina is just there for show and unnecessary monthly messes.

Up until recently, my sexual needs  thrived off of my lovers’ wants. Their moans were like cheering sections that had me wearing my back scratches like medals. Pleasure was just a game that I played for the sake of my ego.

There comes a time in every TouchMeNot (TMN) stud’s life where our bodies inherently begins to grow jealous of watching orgasm after orgasm, from the outside. Suddenly, the feeling of someone else’s wetness isn’t enough to fuel the mental satisfaction and we begin to crave more. But, we’ve already established rules that require us to slap away your hands in the heat of the moment.

We’ve created sexual environments where it’s okay for you, as a partner, to walk away completely satisfied and leave your stud contemplating her life and sexual needs, feeling incomplete for reasons she doesn’t understand.

We’re sorry, even in silence. Trust me on this one.

Rewriting that environment is intense, but necessary, especially if you, I mean we (but mostly me), want to save our relationship; both sexually and emotionally.

You want to know the key to sex with a recovering TouchMeNot stud like me?

  1. Patience.
  2. Don’t pressure me into anything. Allow me to make the request. I know what I need and all you have to do is listen. I understand it can be difficult to wait, but I promise you that’s the best way to get me to be comfortable with you.
  3. Talk to me outside of the bedroom. Get to know me through intimate conversations. Find out not only what turns me off, but also why. The “why” is extremely important. Sometimes there’s a lot more than just a need for control that’s keeping me from enjoying sex.
  4. Lastly, be open-minded, supportive and understanding. There’s nothing worse than making me feel bad about going against your sexual (and heteronormative) expectations. What I mean is, if you get lucky enough to get me to ask to be strapped, you strap up. Simple.

Your pleasure should be my pleasure and my ecstasy should be your ecstasy. Let’s make love to each other, have fun and see how it goes.

Love,

Bre


Bre  is a 24-year-old gender-fluid person living in South Florida. She is a shade connoisseur hopelessly chasing skylines, sunsets and social justice.

Reflections of A Pillow Princess

Written by Ms. Boss Femme/Disrupting Dinner Parties

Could these really be the hands of "real lesbian"? Image courtesy of Expert of Beauty

Could these really be the hands of a “real lesbian”?    Image courtesy of Expert of Beauty

Every so often, maybe at a happy hour or a house party, someone will pick up my hand, examine my fingers, and exclaim “Oh wow, you have straight girl nails! How does that work?” I usually laugh awkwardly and change the subject. I also occasionally find myself part of a group conversation about, say, how to avoid lockjaw and  tongue tiredness during a long session of cunnilingus. In these situations I try to be inconspicuously quiet, sometimes nodding in agreement to pieces of advice that sound right.

The truth is, in my current relationship, which happens to be with a masculine-of-center woman, there’s no reason for my nails to be super short because I don’t stick my fingers anywhere particularly delicate. And I can’t contribute any lessons learned from going down on her because… I don’t. I am the one who gets the finger action. I am the one who tires tongues. I am the receptive partner, and according to some definitions, I am a “Pillow Princess”.

A Pillow Princess is a woman who, during sex with other women, enjoys being pleasured but never reciprocates, rarely reciprocates, or reciprocates in a limited manner. It is sometimes tricky for me to navigate queer spaces, because I find that the queer cultures I am a part of have packed a lot of meaning into the relationships between gender expression, gender roles, and the performance of dominance and submission. Each scene has attached something different to the meaning of lopsided sexual reciprocation, and as it almost always does, this has a lot to do with race, class, and exposure to Big F Feminism. It’s almost like folks are still figuring out how to work through the tensions described in the novel Stone Butch Blues, where stone butches (women with masculine gender expression who top their partners sexually and are averse to engagement of their own genitalia during sex) and their feminine partners were criticized by second-wave feminists who felt they were perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes.

The DC locals queer scene, which is heavily black and working/middle class, is a beautiful space but also a space that glorifies heteronormativity. There is extreme pressure to be either a stud or a femme. Studs date/have sex with femmes. Studs top and femmes bottom. And there is a sense that this is how the sexual dynamics between women always are, or should be. While the gender expression of my partner and I, and the sex in our relationship, fit into this system perfectly, it’s so constricting that I feel uncomfortable supporting it. I just see so many people for whom its not working- studs who change their entire gender expression and slide into a sexual role they don’t prefer because they feel that’s what they have to do to date the person they like.

Femmes who perhaps want to cut their nails short, but keep them super long because their stud girlfriend wants them that way as a symbol of who is dominant in the relationship. Receptive studs, topping femmes, folks who are neither stud nor femme, and a whole bunch of other people get left out or policed into changing who they are. But if I chime into a sex convo with something like “Hey! You know what’s cool. Sometimes the femme can be the one getting fucked but still be the dominant person in the situation because she’s calling the shots!”, more often than not I just get funny looks.

In my queer college alum/social justice worker (vanilla) circles, there are completely opposite sentiments. There’s a strong push for everyone to be free! Fuck gender roles! Down with heternormativity! Be in equal, reciprocal sexual relationships where everyone is getting all the pleasure! Which is great, but not to the point that it stigmatizes those whose preferences don’t match up. I’ve been told that a partner who doesn’t reciprocate any sex acts is selfish.

Dating Diaries: The Entitled Femme

“I like to be taken care of,” she said in response to my question asking her what her type was.

I was confused. Did she mean monetarily? Cause I was not the type who paid other people’s rent or for their weekly weave maintenance just for the pleasure of fucking them. Some Doms and men may consider this normal, but not this chica. This was the main reason I did not usually date femmes. But that night, when this particular femme walked by me looking cute, sweet and with a body that would not quit, my aggressive femme side came out to play. I’m a tits-and-ass kinda gal, but the catering expectation was generally a turn off. That night, for some reason or other, was different.

“I like to be catered to. I like what I want when I want it,” she responded in answer to my furrowed brow.

I grinned and said, “So do I! Maybe we can cater to each other.”

She gave me a very skeptical look. She didn’t seem interested in or willing to try on this alien concept for size. And who could blame her? We were both used to dating Doms, so taking a dip into the femme-femme wading pool was as fraught with as much danger as a non-swimmer jumping into the deep end of the pool. For about 10 years, I’ve been blinded to my sense of entitlement/privilege as a femme. No one, except for my recent ex, has ever really called me on it. She called me spoiled and she was probably right.

Catering, Pleasing & Spoiling
I’ve never really thought much about it. Eons ago when I dated men, I thought it only natural that he fall in line with societal dictates that said in many ways that men were supposed to pursue and submit to women’s desires. I’m speaking along the lines of the “happy wife, happy life” mantra, not the “women are property and have no desires/interests outside the home” myth. So, when I started dating and being attracted to more dominant women who presented as femmes, I naturally expected to be “catered to,” pleased and spoiled.

And I continued to date more dominant women who seem to get the unspoken message that part of the butch-femme dynamic involved pampering and pleasing her. For some femmes that means providing for her financially. For others it may mean taking on more traditional male roles in and outside of bed. For me that meant I expected to get my way pretty much all the time while my butch partner worked herself into a lather trying to please me. This often meant that she was the one who made attempts/plans to see me, brought me tokens of affection, drove us everywhere as I was nervous about driving in Washington, D.C., and she was always the one to come with flowers, chocolate and an apology after any fights. And I felt perfectly entitled to being treated like a princess of sorts. (Even so I was an egalitarian femme when it came to money. I never expected my butch to pay my way for anything. We were both adults with jobs and I was fine with us taking turns treating each other.)

I’ve come a long way and still have far to go. There’s a phrase floating around the web and it says, “We’re both the girl. That’s the point!” I love it as it is a reality check for us femmes. It reminds me that being in a relationship with a woman, or really any relationship at all, is not all about me.

We both have needs, feelings and desires and mine are no more important than hers simply because I sometimes wear heels and lipstick.

One of the things my butch ex rightfully accused me of was being uncommunicative at times. Femmes are supposed to be chatty and emotional, right? Just because my butch partner literally wore the pants did not mean she had no feelings. She actually cried more than I did. There were times when I told her that dating her was like dating a man because she could be so oblivious and she didn’t find it cute. Rather she found the words hurtful and did not appreciate the gender stereotype. I also learned from her that of there is something about your partner that is frustrating or confusing, instead of making noxious gender assumptions, it may be best to simply have a conversation.

As for the femme that helped bring my femme privilege into sharper focus, we still talk occasionally. We are not what each other are looking for, but she is a smart, kind, attractive, financially independent woman and we enjoy each other’s company from time to time.

 

Do you date femmes or identify as a femme? What do you love about us? Was this article way off base?  Tell me what you think by commenting below!