I’ll Be Your Mirror
Yes, I know – inappropriate much?! And yet it feels like it’s been a common occurrence since we came out and have been together…an avalanche of inappropriate questions and comments which reveal more about the person saying them than the answers they’d get from us! Questions like…
“I’ve always wondered how you have sex” ? “Why didn’t you fancy me?” ? “So what’s the sex like with a woman?” ?
We have one friend in particular who – whenever we meet her – literally devours us with her eyes. Whenever we’re around her, there’s an intensity to the interaction and dynamic that feels uncomfortable. We both feel a sense of intense curiosity from her – that she wants to watch us, find out more about us, almost be a part of us, or that she’s imagining what it’d be like to be with us – with each of us individually, all together, and maybe even which one of us she could be with. Yes, sexually ?
I know I’ve written briefly about our sex lives previously – and I know it’s something you were curious about too! – but it often feels overly voyeuristic, like we’re some kind of fascinating spectacle for others to ogle and speculate about.
I think this touches on identity too – to define oneself as gay automatically brings sex into the equation since you’re essentially talking about the defining, identifying factor being about who you want to have sex with, if that makes sense? So it instantly puts sex at the forefront of peoples’ minds and very clearly on the table, so to speak!
I’m sure this is a common occurrence for gay folk since, fundamentally, we provide a mirror to others. And while I don’t believe everyone is gay (!!), I’m pretty sure there’s a little bit of gay curiosity in everyone. Having skimmed through the book, Sex & The Psyche, it is fascinating to see how many people’s fantasies involve people of the same sex, even typically ‘heterosexual’ folk.
I do believe that sexuality is indeed on a spectrum and that we can each move up and down that spectrum, at different points in our lives (maybe even on an hour by hour basis!). The reactions we’ve had feel like proof of this pudding!
But it’s the mirror thing that’s particularly interesting… I’ve mentioned before that our own midlife awakening has worked as a mirror to many others in our acquaintance – possibly forcing them to look at their own lives, where they are and what it is that they want, even if they’d rather not look in the mirror and crack it instead, in many cases!!
But it feels like a particular button is being pressed – ahem!! – when it comes to intimacy and sex; a nudge to look at what they have, what they really want and perhaps consider whether their fantasies are just fantasies or perhaps they’re dreams waiting to be realised…
I should probably go, before I head off on a rant about how important I think sex is, how I don’t think we – as a society – normalise it, talk about it, or see it as a natural interaction between humans. I know Becky’s got more specifics to share on this – will see what she has to say and report back…
I know you were shocked by my revelation that we’ve been asked some very dubious questions since coming out so, as you’ve asked, I’ll fill you in!
Yes it really is true that when I outed myself to one of my female friends (straight and recently married), she responded that she was a bit disappointed I didn’t fancy her!!! This has been just one of many odd comments in a sea of odd and inappropriate behaviour that Lea and I have been on the receiving end of since getting together.
Now I don’t want you to think that I don’t take any responsibility for my part in this comment being emitted in the first place…
I’ve become aware that being in relationships with men while being gay has meant that I have sought some level of closeness and intimacy from my female friends. I have been told I am quite skilled at shining a light on people and making them feel special, and this has certainly been true in this friendship. So the indignation in her voice that she hadn’t been first on my list becomes more understandable in that context.
However, this in itself raises other deeper questions about other people’s desires and fantasies, don’t you think?!
We’ve talked before about how it seems that most women fantasise at some point, if not frequently (!), about what it would be like to be with another woman sexually. My coming out to people who I already have a degree of intimacy with, who already feel a ‘special connection’ with me, must have thrown up all sorts of mirrors and confused thoughts for them.
Another very close female friend responded similarly by being very jealous of Lea. Passive aggressive, throw-away comments – on Facebook and to Lea herself – revealed how difficult she found it to lose her best friend to another woman. Again, the intimacy we had shared as friends – her a single parent, me unhappy in my relationship, and thus spending lots of time together in a kind of sexless, pseudo intimate relationship – made it a difficult loss for her. What’s sad is that instead of trying to renegotiate our friendship with different boundaries and for her to gain another friend in Lea, we have effectively lost our friendship, at least for now.
I think for many women there is a two-fold curiosity with lesbian fantasy…
Obviously there is the sex side and the ‘otherness’ of it. This often seems to play out in apparently straight women becoming voyeurs. We have a number of friends who, since we have come out, almost devour us with their eyes, trying to consume every juicy detail of our togetherness, wanting to be around us but finding it painful too as it raises so many of their own frustrations, longings, desires and curiosities.
Sometimes this seems to go a step further, where they seem to want to engage with their voyeurism. At the recent Pride event we went to, there were two straight women with their husbands and – late in the evening and somewhat inebriated – they got up onto the stage and danced provocatively with each other. This felt grossly uncomfortable to those watching. Far from being titillating for the gay women in the crowd, as seemed to be their intention, there was an awkward embarrassment that their pissed writhing was how lesbians are usually portrayed in porn – staged purely for the male gaze. (Or what men think women want, based on whether it arouses them).
What feels frustrating about this, is that women trying to titillate other women have no clue about what other women actually find sexy!!!! When images of women engaging in sex with one another only ever involve prepubescent, hairless pussies, long finger nails (like really??!!), giant dildos and a preoccupation with penetration, no wonder straight women have no clue how to ‘play at being gay’.
The second part of lesbian fantasy involves intimacy…
I can still remember one of the things that put me off outing myself or having a relationship with a woman was the fear of intimacy. I’ve always had deeper, richer and stronger relationships and connections with women but always from the relative safety of friendship. For me, and I suspect many other women, while I was repulsed by the idea of loving intimacy in a relationship it was really what I craved the most. Fear always got in the way. So it was easier to keep my lesbianism as purely sexual fantasy and keep having relationships with men (where I wouldn’t be challenged to go to any kind of intimate depth), than to dare to seek out intimacy with a woman because I knew I’d find it and then have to deal with my fears!
I think many women feel this pull too, for those strong connections and sense of real understanding that they often only get from other women. I also think a lot of women do what I did and get small amounts of it from their female friendships where it is safe and non-threatening (although it never fully fills the void so to speak) – until said friend outs herself in which case your void is left exposed!!
So Lea and I become a mirror for all those parts that some of the people around us are massively intrigued by but don’t want to look at too closely.
We are, in effect, a playground that they want to come into, mess around in for a bit and see what’s there but then run off home when it starts to get too dark (close).
Fortunately, as you know, Lea is fucking boundaried and doesn’t let anyone get on her roundabout. That’s all for now, I’ve got several people I’ve promised to push on the swings…?