A Meditation On The State Of The Lesbian Hookup

hooked-up blog

I’ve been pondering the idea of the lesbian hookup for some time.

Mostly because I cannot find a steady stream of lesbians interested in hookups (vs. monogamous relationships). And not for lack of trying. I do not flatter myself that I am someone every lesbian in NYC (and beyond) wants to be with in any capacity, but there is in fact a certain steady interest in me on other fronts, namely the monogamous dating relationship.

I do know there are pockets of the lesbian community where being poly is a way of life, often even while having a primary partner: The fat dyke/trans community, the BDSM community, the sex-positive activist/erotica writer/advice columnist/blogger crowd and the like. But, for plain (though not vanilla) single lesbians who are neither followers nor joiners, there is a vast void in the dyke community, such as it is, in the arena of casual sex/casual relationships.

I was (luckily!) with another lesbian with the same causal sexual leanings as mine the other night and she said she had been searching for and researching casual lesbian sex for many years and found a similar void. She told me it seems in her experience most lesbians don’t actually enjoy sex with women. And, although I’ve never pinpointed it myself or stated the issue in those exact terms that is also my experience. It’s also my experience that most lesbians don’t even understand the technical aspects of lesbian sex, which is very disappointing. There seems to be, in the general pool of available lesbians, a real difficulty with the idea of sex in general, making the jump to actually having sex next to impossible.

For as much as we’ve come a long way, baby, there still remains the cobwebs of the idea that sex is yucky or taboo or sacred or… something other than an intentional, productive connection with another woman, whether a one-time fuck or an ongoing NSA deal. This is quite disturbing to me on many levels. It goes back to my core belief that mainstreaming queerness (same-sex marriage, queer families, and lesbians having children at light-speed) and the attendant constantly-tired-lesbians-with-no-time-for-sex and/or lesbian bed death running rampant is a by-product of ceasing to identify as a radical (and passionate) community. All of which creates an atmosphere where the lesbian hookup is viewed not only with suspicion, but is cast as the weak alternative to the almighty monogamous relationship.

The recreational quest for the casual lesbian hookup vs. the desperate hunt for a monogamous lifetime mate, life partner, co-parent or other long-term, fulltime (read: legitimate) relationship seems to contradict, contraindicate and very unfortunately turn back the clock on both the feminist/hippie-waged sexual revolution and our own lesbian community’s strive for a sex positive lifestyle. And therein lies the rub: As as much as we lament mainstream—and other—outlets (media, family, friends, religion, colleagues, etc.) pigeonholing lesbianism into the “lifestyle” box, the lesbian community in fact has lain down almost dead and taken on the mantle of the “lifestyle” default position as opposed to creating, nurturing and maintaining interesting and different satisfying positions both sexual and intellectual!

Yes, the community has its sex positive activists, but they are mostly speaking to the converted, preaching to the choir. For example, I receive Carol Queen’s media alerts on a regular basis, NYC’s Lesbian Sex Mafia’s announcements, various local sex arty invites, converse and debate with my friend Joan Nestle, read (and interview and write about) Tristan Taormino, etc. I wonder how many of these women and their crews are having casual sex with the choir being ecstatic and sexually satisfied revelers rather than bored and lonely followers of these sexual pioneers and gurus. Practicing what one preaches is not always easy, but does anyone really walk the talk these days?

In any case, my recent hookup comrade also indicated that one of her past hookup partners hit upon a potential solution, if you will, for the fear and loathing of lesbian hookups: THE MAKE OUT DATE. This is a euphemism that seems to make the hookup more palatable. This idea involves the scenario where one woman meets another with the intention, if there is chemistry, to make out with no pressure to “take it below the waist” though that is a “plus” in the equation. As much as making hooking up more “palatable” to more lesbians makes me extremely queasy because it smells of more mainstream bullshit, begging and pleading, I am all for it if it gets dykes off their couches and into the arms (and pussies) of other lesbians. And in particular if it improves and builds on sexual curiosity, improvement in both sexual knowledge and technique along with a shift in worldview about the place of casual sex in the lesbian community.

Additional thoughts from a sister in a recent mutual hookup:

There are a lot of clubs/groups/organizations (such as the Lesbian Sex Mafia, BDSM crowd, etc.) and I am not a member of any of them, but I have gone to a fair handful of events and none have ever ended with or even come close to leading to casual sex.  Plus, do I have to belong to a club to have casual sex? Gay men have unaffiliated casual sex all the time. (I do realize that these are more than “clubs”—they are also communities of people who come together to educate and support each other and have friendships as well as sex.)  But still, as an independent person, I want to have casual sex!

And, I wonder if women think that casual sex, or make out dates seem (and I hate this word) slutty? And I wonder if women who want a monogamous relationship fear they won’t end up in one if they are having casual sex?  But I think these are two separate things.  Having a (healthy!) long-term committed/monogamous relationship is what many women want, (and gosh, that sounds ideal to me, too). BUT, WHO WANTS TO BE CELIBATE WHILE THEY ARE LOOKING FOR ONE?! So many factors are involved in having a successful relationship and it can take a long time to find a match and/or develop something longer term with one person. So I think in this new blossoming era of the MAKE OUT DATE women should know it’s ok to have fun while you are out there dating—whether you intend to ultimately be monogamous—or not!

AND – this lesbian bed death thing? I think some of that is about women who don’t really like having sex period. If I had a girlfriend or life partner, I’d want to be having lots of sex—because the rest of my relationships with women are NOT about having sex. There’s no point in having a girlfriend unless sex is involved. (Not to say you don’t have a deeper relationship with your loved one on other levels.) But really, I have so many, and such good friends that are there for me on many deep levels.