Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Sex Uncovered" Takes a Look at Lesbianism

"For three glorious days, I handed my lover plump strawberries and smoked duck meat..."

This weekend, The Observer, as part of their massive "Sex Uncovered" feature that is all about Britain and sex in the year 2008, published several sex diaries written by people from all walks of life. I had to read the one by Patricia, a 46-year-old lesbian, several times in order to wrap my brain around it. It's presented in a somewhat choppy style, but I think it's worth sharing. How often do lesbians get to write about their sex lives in The Observer?

My favorite parts:
My partner and I haven't used a strap-on, certainly not since we moved from the other flat last year.
I keep going back to this sentence. What does it mean? It's the "certainly not since we moved" part that really draws you in. It's so intriguing. What's so certain about it? Did they leave the strap-on back at the old flat? Did they toss it in with some odds and ends they donated to charity before moving? Did they get mixed up with one of those shady movers that holds your possessions for ransom and now they'll have to fight in court to regain custody of the strap-on? Are the movers sending them notes with pictures of the strap-on next to a current newspaper so they know it's still alive? Maybe the strap-on made the move with the couple but they had some kind of falling out with it because it wasn't paying its share of the rent, or it kept taking their food out of the refrigerator without replacing it. I need to know the answers to these questions.
We have some vibrators but being a lesbian is not only about sex, obviously. It's two per cent.
How do you calculate the breakdown of somebody's lesbianism? Say, for example, that this particular couple's brand of lesbianism is 2% sex, 5% learning to play the guitar, 7% gardening, 8% checking Samantha Fox's website to see if she has any upcoming gigs nearby, 12% having potluck dinners with their friends, 14% keeping in touch with the gang from Xena conventions, 18% supporting their favorite football team, 24% having lengthy conversations with their cats, and the remaining 10% of their lesbianism gets tithed to the church. Those numbers aren't going to be steady across the board. I know women who might refer to being a lesbian as 40% about sex and 60% about drama. Others might consider it 5% sex, 20% shopping at Home Depot, 35% emotionally connecting to other women, and 40% related to having seen Bugsy Malone or Candleshoe at an impressionable age.
It's attention-seeking to pipe up about a double-ended dildo on the steps of a village hall. It's not just a generation thing. I never talk about sex when I'm not actually doing it.
Did someone pipe up about a double-headed dildo on the steps of a village hall?! My thoughts immediately went to Jodie Marsh, but on second reading it seems more likely that Patricia is referring to a theoretical attention-whoring blabbermouth. I really like that she brought up the generation gap possibility, because it makes me imagine a kind-faced octogenarian lesbian being interviewed for a documentary about the progress the gay rights movement has made over the past several decades. I picture her tearing up as she tells the camera, "Back in my day, we were invisible. We had to hide from the police, who used to raid our bars. We had to hide from our families. It's not like today, when you see young gay people on the steps of a village hall piping up about double-headed dildos."
Getting together with my partner through the internet was interesting, because she could have been a man type - although I've never met a man like her, ever.
Was meeting her partner through the Internet really only interesting because she could have been a "man type"? What's interesting about the Internet is that the person you're talking to could be just about anyone, so I'd have preferred something like, "Getting together with my partner through the Internet was interesting, because she could have been Gordon Brown or Patricia Routledge."
In February, we'll have been living together for five years. I don't know why she puts up with me sometimes. She never wanted cats ...
Ah, the concessions we make for love! It's inspiring, but on a selfish note it also makes me nervous about my own future. If I'm ever in a relationship that's still going strong after five years, my reflections would be more like, "I don't know why she puts up with me sometimes. She never wanted a fallout shelter in the backyard." I'm not sure that many women would go for that.
I like her eyes and her back. Her nose is more sensitive than mine and that's why she likes wearing my clothes.
That, I felt, was very Rosie O'Donnell-esque, so I heartily approve of it. Though I wish she'd done it in haiku form, and found a way to work in something about her "yellow."
Our garden is completely secluded and we made love for hours out there in the summer, with sandwiches and a trifle to keep us going. Then a squirrel leapt over us. But before that it was something special.
That was my second favorite part of the article, after the strap-on bit, because it reminded me of the SNL "Lovers" sketches with Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch as hippie-ish college professors who would alienate people by reminiscing about their bizarre sexcapades, which were often set in the great outdoors. (The "Patio Lovers" skit, in which they fondly recall feasting on goat meat in the Greek islands, is a work of demented genius.) Dratch would say things like, "Yes, we had pulled over after a long Sunday drive. Roger led me to a clearing, laid me down upon a bed of fresh meadow grasses. He then rubbed my nubile body with fruit liniments and Noxzema. Then he artfully covered my back with melted butter and cloves. And until the flies and ants came, methinks it was the finest lovemaking the world has ever known." Not sure they ever mentioned squirrels, though.

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