Why Do Straight Women Enjoy Watching Lesbian Porn?

This question has been buzzing like crazy in my brain all day, demanding an answer I was worried that I’d never be able to give it. My inner bisexual knew what I wanted the answer to be. “theyreallylikewomentheyreallylikewomentheyreallylikewomen.” It would be more evidence to me that we are, after all, existing on a sexual scale of preference, rather than fixed to a straight/gay binary.

But that felt like an easy answer. It doesn’t seem quite that straightforward. Straight men, for instance, do not watch gay porn. They just don’t. They need some girl-flesh to get off to and watching men do things to men generally makes them squirm, or die inside or something. I’ve been told by men of the world that “guy on guy sex is just “unnatural”, whereas girl on girl is part of the way of the world – because men like to watch it DUH! And so do straight women, apparently. So if the answer is simply that “we’re all a little bit bi, then girls are clearly a little bit more bi than boys; a conclusion that makes very little logical sense.

It’s fairly obvious that men are anxious about their masculinity, and that so much as daring to watch Brokeback Mountain can be perceived as a gay, anti-male threat in many circles. There’s simply no reason for a manly straight man to watch gay porn if he isn’t immediately aroused by it.  And if he is, then then the instant conclusion is, of course, that it’s because he’s a repressed gay(not bi). On the other hand, straight porn is a harder sell to women because representationally it’s … pretty horrible mostly. In terms of power dynamics it’s not only all male fantasy, it more often than not features male dominance and displays of power over women.  Women in porn are mostly fuck toys.  As a woman, it’s not easy to get into a space/frame of mind for being aroused when the person on-screen you identify with is being objectified and shown as dehumanised or subservient.  

If we consider lesbian porn, instead, it’s entirely different. Of course, lesbian porn isn’t actually made for either straight or gay women to enjoy, it’s still a male fantasy game, but no matter how tawdry the onscreen dynamic is still entirely different. Instead of watching a male figure dominating and subduing women, two (or more) women are meeting for sex and pleasuring one another on rather more equal power- terms. How much easier to switch off and feel arousal if there’s at least something onscreen that the woman can identify with  How much more enjoyable. The male in straight porn is so often a little bit threatening, but in lesbian porn that figure has gone.  It may not be that all women are fantasising about fucking the woman onscreen as men are when they watch straight porn.  They may be using the sexual scenario as a way to fuel their own, more abstract, fantasies.

If this is close to correct, does that make straight women free from the potential, horrific curse of being labelled bisexual – are they still being honest with themselves if they call themselves straight? Well, I guess this depends on how one views sex/arousal; I doubt that most women who say this are actually lying, but I think that their language of sexuality and our culture of anti bisexuality suggests to them that the straight box is the one they should fit into. Does saying “I like watching women onscreen, but I wouldn’t go out and have sex with one” mean that you are definitely straight? For me, whatever the reason you’re doing it, surely the fact is that if watching two women having sex arouses you, takes you to a place in which you have erotic thoughts and desires, then you’re aroused by the thought of your own sex.(Do you have to actually have sex with a woman to consider yourself a bisexual woman?) In my mind, that’s still a strong indication that sexuality exists on a continuum, and that what we call ourselves, straight, gay, bi, pan or whatever, we still have the possibility to break free from the constrictions of our language and the boxes it tries to put is in and consider that sex and desire is flexible and more than a little unpredictable. 

An Ill-advised Interview with Talentless Hack “Clara Brooks”

Since she’s now firmly on the road to superstardom, it seems somewhat criminal that the delightful and enigmatic Ms. Clara Brooks has not yet been approached by either Time Magazine, Playboy or Cosmo for that all revealing interview. Yet since her many adoring fans are simply gagging to know the truth behind the mystery that is Clara, I decided to take the mammoth task upon myself and created the equally unusual Mr.X to do the seemingly impossible task and interview the seemingly uninterviewable.

So, dear reader, love of all things erotic and forbidden — read on and see this incredible personality reveal all in this exclusive interview.

***

Clara Brooks sits before me alluring, impatient, weaving all manner of dizzying, spellbinding, erotic enchantments on this humble interviewer. Dressed in a tight revealing red dress, she crosses and recrosses her legs seductively. She smiles warmly and leans forward, hugging me intimately rather than the usual aloof shake of the hand. I catch a whiff of her Chanel No.5 and a slight touch of her breast against me makes me feel….

CB: Can we get on with this, this wasn’t quite what I hand in mind?

Mr.X: It’s an honour, Ms.Brooks, to be given such a great opportunity to interview someone so smart and interesting such as yourself. May I just say that as alluring and provocative as I find your fiction, in person you are ten times more intoxicating. I feel as if I have been graced with the presence of a Goddess.

CB: Really, Mr.X, you do exaggerate, I’m just this cheeky little London girl…

Mr.X: I know, but I have to set the scene correctly for the reader. In truth you’re really rather ordinary, it’s a bit of a disappointment really. And frankly, I find your fiction rather cliché…

CB: OK, OK can we get on with the questions please? This is supposed to be a fucking puff piece.

Mr.X: So, how did you get into writing erotica, Clara? Isn’t that a bit of a filthy and disgusting thing for a lady to be doing. Why don’t you stick to Fantasy, Vampires or YA like a good girl?

CB: I’ve tried writing those things — OK not YA – for many years it was my ambition to write poptastic, exciting genre fiction. But my muse really hated me for it and she ckept screaming rude words in my ear at night, like “cunnilingus” and “cocksucker”. I realised that the world didn’t need any more fucking heroes, or if it did, they needed to be literally fucking heroes. I read a wide range of fiction and it occurredd to me that for one reason or another I’ve always been let down by sex in novels, whether it’s a work of porn/erotica or a single sex scene in genre/literary fiction – it’s always boring, That doesn’t gel with real life. Sex is a fundamental – possible the most fundamental – part of our human experience and yet we’re always so coy, dismissive or just plain terrible at expressing it in fiction. So I decided I wanted to attempt to capture sexual experience in its many and interesting forms; arousing, comic, strange, beguiling, terrifying …

Mr X: So you’re not just trying to cash in on the whole 50 Shades thing then?

CB: Well, that too. No, honestly, romance erotica is not my thing and so marketing my work will be as difficult as if 50 Shades had never existed. I want to push boundaries in terms of idea, form and content. I want my readers to feel like they’ve experienced something.

Mr. X: But don’t erotica readers just want to “get off?”

CB: They have my blessing to do that. I’m willing them on. But there’s more than one way to be aroused, and something can excite you erotically and stimulate you intellectually at the same time. I’ve had people – especially guys, for obvious reasons – tell me that they get off on my stories, and I think that’s awesome. If nobody did I’d feel a little sad because I want my writing to arouse people.

Mr.X: So your work is more than just porn? Do you see a big difference between what you write as “erotica” and pornographic jerk-off material?

CB:  Honestly, people make such a big deal over that distinction and I’m not sure that I really care for it. I might think of my own writing as “artistic” but I don’t really need someone to invent a label to categorise it as such. “Pornography” for me is material that’s subversive because it pushes the tastes of decency and acceptability in society, that is, the idea of it heralds from a time when “sex” and representations of sex weren’t considered to be decent. Everything has changed now and “porn” just means hardcore sexual content. My writing has hardcore sexual content.

Mr.X: Now for the question that everyone wants the answer to. Do you base your stories on real life experiences, or do you just make them up.

CB: I’ve had so many people ask me this one already. I think that people want to bridge a gap between the concept of Clara on the page and with the Clara they might meet in real life. But I don’t actually answer it, not because I’m coy or care what people think about my sex life, but because my fiction is about blurring the boundaries between what we are, who we are, what society wants us to be, how it defines us and our fantasy-dream-erotic inner worlds.

It seems enough to me to say that writers can only write fiction if they have experience and understanding of the world and writing is a way of expressing their experiences and understanding.

Mr.X: OK that’s getting too deep for me. Before we end up getting personal again do you want to take a moment to plug your first published short fiction, currently languishing at the bottom of the Amazon Sales Ranks, “Proud and Prejudged?

CB: Buy it because it’s awesome. Basically it’s my cross between a fan fiction, erotica and comedy and I think that makes it unique. It’s a story about a girl – Clara, my alter ego – who has a hyperactive sexual imagination, and so when reading Pride and Prejudice she ends up fantasising about fucking Darcy ; that’s what good literature appreciation is, of course. The lines between fantasy and reality become blurred, so there’s a little weirdness, strange encounters and hardcore sex. Read it, it’s some good shit.

Mr,X: Sorry, I don’t have time, I’m reading Dostoyevsky.

CB: Motherfucker!

Mr.X: Any plans for future works you’d like to tell us about?

CB: Yep, loads of stuff.In the short-term I’ll be writing a sexy semi-sequel to Clara’s Dream, which ahs easily been my most popular flash fiction so far. It’s really going to be fucking hot, so watch out for it. I’m also writing another fabulous comic Clara fiction in which Clara meets Sherlock Holmes. I’m not gonna give anything away, including who fucks who, but there’s a lot of drama, comedy and hardcore threesomes.. I’m also planning a magical novel featuring Clara which is going to be insane and a little wonderful.

Mr.X OK, this is kinda boring. My readers are more interested ion dirty facts about you. Namely, do you masturbate while you write your stories. And is that even possible?

CB: Yes, I do. And I can promise you it’s perfectly possible. It’s not the quickest, most productive way of working, though.

Mr.X: You’re bisexual. So, you like girls? If you kissed one, would you like it?

CB: I’m very into girls. Girls smell of roses.

Mr.X: That’s your Chanel perfume actually, Clara.

CB: I’m a girl.

Mr.X: Good point. Can’t we discuss their breasts and the things you’d like to do to them, though?

CB: Try using your imagination huh? But seriously, LGBT issues are very important to me. That’s half of what my blog is about.

Mr.X: You also label yourself as a feminist. Isn’t that a bit PC for this day and age? Do you want people to see you as militant?

CB: I don’t see it as militant or too “PC” at all. I just happen to think that there’s a power imbalance in the world that’s developed over time and that we should all work together – men and women – to redress that imbalance. It’s just a way of saying that I think it’s important to see women as important as men, and that women have the right to express themselves and be the people they want to be.

Mr.X: What are your major literary influences. You claim to love books and movies. Which ones are your favourites?

CB:  I’ve had lots of influences over the years and I try not to be a slave to any particular style. I read a lot of classics and am into women’s writing, my favourites are Jane Austen, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf. I love Dickens, of course. I’m also a big sci-fi/fantasy fan and I love Lord of the Rings, Asimov’s Foundation, A Song of Ice and Fire, Robert E Howard’s Conan books, Gene Wolfe … the list goes on. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan, so Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love graphic novels too – Alan Moore’s Lost Girls was one of the workd that inspired me into thinking that Erotica could be pretty cool.

I could spend all night listing movie influences. David Lynch is probably my biggest. And Kieslowski’s Three Colours. But really I love anything from Classic to Modern Hollywood, to art house, to Hammer Horror. I love Star Wars, of course.

Mr.X : What’s your ideal fantasy threesome.

CB:  I could easily have said Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but this morning I realised that Kurt Cobain and Courtenay Love would have been damn hot. I fancy most celebrities, this won’t be a problem for me. Natalie Portman, Scarlet Johannson, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender… you get the idea, I could do this all day.

Mr.X: Finally, any tips for aspiring writers?

CB: Work harder than I do. Don’t masturbate while you are writing.

Mr.X: Clara, I’d love to say that this has been a pleasure, but honestly, apart from being able to stare at your overly exposed cleavage for extended periods of time, it’s frankly been a really dull interview with a talen less hack.

CB: I really can’t believe I created a fictional interviewer who insults me and my work. I must have a serious psychosis,

Mr.X : Don’t be so hard on yourself, most authors do. Especially the ones destined to fail.

CB: Ouch.

Bisexuality vs Pansexuality vs The World! Or why I Identify as Bisexual.

“Congratulations, it’s a boy” or “Congrats, it’s a girl” are probably the first words you’ll ever hear and as such they will come to define the very essence of your being. From the moment of their utterance your mother and father will be making plans and assumptions about your life and how you will live it based on the information they give. How you look and behave, what you like to do, your emotions, behaviours, career, educational ability and … your sexuality. Even the conscientious parent who determines not to bring up their child with gender bias will not be able to escape many of these assumptions and certainly, even if they could, the rest of whatever culture you live in, from school to media and advertising and friends will fill in those gaps.

Blue for boys, pink for girls...yeah, you know the drill.  Do girls innately like pink?

Blue for boys, pink for girls…yeah, you know the drill. Do girls innately like pink?

The boy/girl binary creates us and consumes us . One can easily imagine an alternate world in which the first words uttered are “Congratulations, it’s a blonde” or “Congratulations, a brunette” an how different would the world look? Instead of whether you have a penis or vagina, babies would be divided up on the basis of their hair colour, told what they like and how to behave and what they find attractive. Simply blonde’s fancy brunettes and brunettes are crazy about blondes. It doesn’t matter what’s down below (or out front) it’s their hair colour that’s important to attraction and who their best friends at school are. I can equally imagine someone telling me that this thought experiment is absolute garbage because the difference between boys and girls is innately obvious, whereas there’s no obvious difference in the way people behave according to hair colour (despite the fact that for so many years redheads were considered to be “temperamental, of course) but that just goes to show how much stock we place on the identification of our personalties with gender. “I was born like it – this is me, I can be no other way

What’s this got to do with why I like to use the term bisexual rather than pansexual, and with what I find attractive after dark? Well, these things have everything to do with binaries and gender and how we perform our gender roles, and if you look at my thought experiment, it’s also about how damn easy it could be to subvert gender norms should we, as a society wish to. How ridiculously arbitrary societies notions of gender are when you put it in black and white terms and how one can slip in and out of gender roles if one understands the simple (yet so complex) nature of their construction.

My understanding of gender and my sexual identity are staggeringly important to me. I’m no Academic expert but I didn’t just make them up overnight, I’ve actually been considering the issue for many years. Just recently, however I’ve come face to face with this issue of Bisexual vs Pansexual on internet forums and through articles and I’ve been repeatedly asked – or should I say, told – to challenge my assumptions. As someone who always thought of herself as bisexual I was suddenly faced with discussions with a tight knit group of people who very strongly believed that if I didn’t actually call myself Pansexual then I wasn’t appreciating that there are more than 2 genders (as if a gender is a real thing?) and that I would therefore be erasing transgendered people and I’d be a bit of a nasty person. As discussions evolved I also began to repeatedly bump into this “cisgender” word and I was also told to use that as an identity. I am no longer a woman, I am a “cis-woman” and talking about myself in any other way suddenly got some very disapproving responses. Not one to run away from a new ideology I considered the issue and ultimately decided that I didn’t agree with using the term cisgender and I politely (but assertively) told a transgendered person why.

“According to the way I understand gender,” I argued “You cannot actually be a different gender from the sex you are born,. I don’t need to state that I was born a woman and I also live my life as a woman. I just am a woman and society dictates to me what that means. It’s not such much as being a gender that exists “man or woman” but gender is a term one uses to explain how one’s identity is constructed from a group of assumptions that are made about a person based on their biological sex (phew!)” I was greeted with angry – and in my opinion ill-considered – responses to the likes of “obviously not because I am a different gender to what I was born and you are trying to erase trans-gendered identities.” And so on. I don’t think that I’m trying to erase anybody. I think of myself as someone that is quite sensitive to the fact that minority groups have a difficult time in terms of both understanding of their situation, and regarding the negative effects of violence and discrimination. (that is, they suck) I’ve always thought of myself as someone who would stand up and fight for the right for transsexuals to live the life that they wish to and not be discriminated against because they choose to change their body to suit their own sense of identity. I don’t claim, however, to understand everything, or even much, about their lives and the way they live them and the pain that they go through.

And yet I also felt angry because I’d presented a philosophical argument about gender and I was being told that if I thought that way I was being discriminatory. So I thought about it some more and I thought about my idol “Simone de Beauvoir” – “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. and I still drew the same conclusion. As a woman, or a man, as I grow up I grow into a role; a role that is out there in society waiting for me to happen. Women are this, women are that, women like pink, dresses, literature (not maths!) and babies. They are emoptional and caring where men are brutish but smart) Of course, it not that simple at all, but you get the idea, we are produced as people by the ideas, assumptions, actions and education of the society and culture that we live in, in a way that’s actually grown more and more complicated over time. My womanhood, like other aspects of my person hood (if one can think to separate them – probably not) are created within me as I grow older and I take on and process information about the world My understanding of who I am develops as I grow to understand concepts of masculinity and femininity and sexuality and how they relate to me and the people I identify with.

And yet, this notion of cisgender tells me the opposite. It says two things. As I am born I am innately something, a man or a woman. As a ciswoman I am a woman whose “gender-identity” matches her biology and that says these two separate things are fundamental to my identity as a person. Secondly, it tells me that there are concepts for masculinity and femininity that are somehow fixed and if the two don’t align then they need somehow to be realigned. And this is all a problem for me because fixing – locking down – gender roles is, in my opinion, dangerous to feminism and dangerous to our ability to existentially define ourselves outside of gender roles.

We are prone to think in binaries. At least, we think in this boy/girl binary. If I, as a girl, choose to wear trousers and play football I am called “a tomboy” I’m a girl gone wrong. I’m a girl who has adopted masculine traits. I’m a girl who isn’t a girl. If I choose to have sex with a woman I am a lesbian and not straight (and I take on a whole bunch of other traits, like butch). What if, I often wonder to myself, we erased this binary concept. What if I liked wearing trousers, had boobs, played football and also liked Barbie. Oh, and I’m good at maths and literature? Do I need to put a descriptor on that – can I? What if, in our thought experiment it wasn’t just blondes and brunettes, but also people with red hair, black hair, grey hair (all sorts of anime hair, blue, pink etc). Who would be attracted to whom? Would there be a compulsion to lock it down and say blondes and black hair like brunettes, red and grey and vice versa. Can you imagine a world in which these different traits could be split up and applied so simply and smoothly? You would probably break down and admit that everyone could be attracted to everyone else … then you’d go away and find another binary to make life a whole lot simpler because, as complex as gender binaries can be, saying “I’m like this because I was born like it is beautifully simple”

Where does Rainbow Hair fit in?  I dunno, but I think it looks gorgeous...

Where does Rainbow Hair fit in? I dunno, but I think it looks gorgeous…

I am loathe, ultimately, to define myself in terms of “I might be this, or I might be that” I am me. As far as that goes you’d possibly think that I’d embrace the pansexual label. Only the pansexual label was adopted by a community that has ideas about gender and sexuality that I actually don’t agree with and apparently wants to impose upon me. To reiterate, I support transgendered people with every inch of my body and soul, and I wish them all the best in every way, and I will vocally support their right to live their life as they choose, but I do not personally hold to the ideas that they do. I would not want to see anyone persecuted or harmed or “othered” because of their ideas or creed, whether that’s religious or sexual or otherwise political … but equally I think those people should have the respect to allow me to have my political and philosophical opinions without stating that I can categorically only support them if I agree with them and that my philosophies erase them. OK, I am not a Christian – or religious – and I will philosophically challenge a Christian on any point of doctrine, but I still support them as people. If not being a Christian is an affront, I sincerely cannot help it, and the same is true here since I cannot intellectually call myself a ciswoman.

I carved out my identity as a bisexual when I rejected societies binaries many years ago. For me “bisexual” didn’t ever mean “limited to two”, it referred to the ability to break away from the two options of heterosexuality or homosexuality that I’d been given all of my life (being gay was discussed at school, being bi was not). In a sense it meant “the third way” and it meant embracing everything that fell on the line in-between men and women on the sexual scale. Bisexuality and pan sexuality basically mean the same thing, though bisexuality has always meant ideological freedom to me, whereas pan sexuality has always been represented by people telling me I’m “doing queer/gender/gay wrong”.

And so I call myself bisexual because it remains liberating to me. If you like pansexual though, go for it. If you want to change your biological, sexual, or gender identity in any way, then go for it.

I’m not sure we really need labels for all of this anyway since I’m for a world of many colours; preferably all attracted to one another for their own unique qualities. If anything, I’m an existentialist.

Robin Thicke’s Clear Cut Lines.

I don’t know what lines Robin Thicke thought that he was blurring. The tragedy of the song is that his lines are so damn clear-cut. What’s more, this thing is so damn sexist that my jaw dropped to the floor a little when I first saw it. Then it dropped through the floor when I realised that this thing had been at no.1 in the pop charts for a decent length long time. Oh, it’s catchy alright, I’ve been humming it away to myself all day, and let’s face it, it’s another genius piece of marketing. You can imagine the “how can we create a little controversy to promote this song?” conversations. “Ok, tits alone aren’t enough to skyrocket sales, let’s make it really sexist and then say that it isn’t; that’ll grab some attention.”

It would have been helpful if rape hadn’t been brought into this. I fully respect that rape culture needs to be discussed as much as possible, but pinning a criticism on the lyric “I know you want it” as being rape-y is taking the focus away from arguments against the song that I believe to be more powerful. I have no doubt that a lot of rapists use this line, but it’s also a staple of the sexist “I know you wanna fuck me” brigade, which translates as “I’m a douche, pleeeeease fuck me”, not everyone of whom goes on to rape their would-be illustrious conquest.

Thicke’s defense of the song is worth quoting:

 Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?’ I’m like, ‘Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.’ So we just wanted to turn it over on its head and make people go, ‘Women and their bodies are beautiful. Men are always gonna want to follow them around.”

I’m no sure that anyone would believe for a second that this is either genuine or well argued, but what’s worrying is that it hardly matters, since the catchiness of the song trumps all. That and the fact that there are more than enough guys out there with low IQs who are going to identify with this video and see a popstars credibility as good enough reason to have the attitude that it champions.

So, what is that attitude exactly? The song is hardly saying “Go out and rape a woman,” but it categorically is not a song that liberates women from a repressed sexuality. Some of the songs subtler lyrics

So, hit me up when you pass through,
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two.

“What do we need steam for,
You the hottest bitch in this place .

The way you grab me, must wanna get nasty,
Go ahead, get at me .“

Did I say subtle? I meant sad and pathetic. Where Thicke would have you believe that there’s something liberating about this song, being about women given the opportunity to unleash their sexy side, notice that it’s the man doing all of the liberating, the man saying what goes and what does not, and most importantly notice that the man is controlling the sexual language and the encounter. “I know you want it.” “You’re a hot bitch” “I’m gonna tear your ass” (seriously?) Where’s the female voice here exactly? Is this the sexual encounter that all women have secretly been dreaming of? There must be some women out there really desperate for Thicke’s big dick, I suppose.

I’m thinking that it’s not down to Thicke’s big Dick to be liberating women in the manner that he chooses, a manner that’s completely controlled by a male’s lyrics and a male’s iconography. What’s doubly insulting is that these blurred lines that are supposed to make women so mysterious and complicated are simply the Madonna/Whore duality that has been used to keep women in their place in art and literature throughout the centuries. Women – as far as men are concerned – are either the meek, virginal, containable domestic goddess (tried to domesticate you, but you’re an animal) or they are the evil, difficult to control, lustful, wild whore. Think Snow white vs her evil Stepmother (and other similar fairytales) or Cordelia vs her Sisters in King Lear.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MadonnaWhoreComplex

What this song is actually doing, under the guise of liberation from domestication, is simply showing Thicke taming both sides of what he believes to be the nature of woman. Women, you can be liberated as long as there’s a reputable member of the patriarchy about to make sure that liberated nature doesn’t get under control.  We can do better than this now, can’t we?

I couldn’t care less about the tits in the video (I can’t stop thinking that girl totally looks like Anne Hathaway) Does that pass as controversial still? I do care that their presence and actions of the women is thoroughly dependant upon Thicke’s sexual gaze. I do care a lot about Thicke’s obnoxious patriarchal messages.  I’m not seeing a lot of feminine empowerment here.