For years, my best women friends and I have bemoaned our inability to bang like our gay male peers, who seemed to practice an ideal of free love we longed for, full of equal opportunity objectification, elective nonmonogamy, and communal acceptance.
Photo via Flickr user Marcus Hansson
Here's a revelation that's also a brag: as dusk was settling over a music festival I attended recently, I was coming in the middle of a crowd. Coming from being fingered by a man in public, outdoors, at the hand—literally—of a man who was the lover of my friend Alexander. He kissed me afterwards and then gestured for me to kiss another man, who then kissed another man, who then kissed me.
I was at the center of a queer Dionysian cabal, and in my post-orgasm rush, I saw God. High in the sky, she rose up: a hologram above the rainbow stage lasers and the sea of bodies. One of my boys started feeling me up, and I fell back down into my body, into my breasts, into my T-shirt. Here I was, surrounded by queens and twinks, none of us bashful. I was a straight (ish) woman grinding against a gaggle of gay boys. And this is the bragging part: I was finally having sex like a gay man.
For years, my best women friends and I have bemoaned our inability to bang like our gay male peers, who seemed to practice an ideal of free love we longed for, full of equal opportunity objectification, elective nonmonogamy, unashamed sluttiness, and a communal acceptance of all of the above. Gay sex land was, to us, a magical place where traditional monogamy was possible, maybe, but usually questioned; where jealousy wasn’t nonexistent but it could either be ignored or made hot. Although some of our gay friends were in long-term relationships and some of them were single, all these boys were allowed to be attached to others—or at least express desire for attachments with others.
Not all gay men want to have sex one way, but my female friends and I envied the kind of fucking we often saw in our gay friends’ lives, because we too were hungry for other bodies. Our experience told us (and science has started to back this up) that women desire sex just as much as men and can desire multiple partners just like (some) men.
The epiphany that I could fuck like a gay boy came thanks to some practiced hands, the natural high of the concert, and, OK, also a bag of psilocybin mushrooms, but the seed was planted (so to speak, not actually, because safety first kids) the night before when I took home a man I’d wanted for years who I'll call Jake.
I had never made my desire for Jake explicit, which is something we talked about the night we ended up sleeping together. I’m bad at coming on to dudes, I realized, and I wait for them to make the first move. Jake coached me to be more like our friend Marlon, a gorgeous little gay who persistently tries to corner Jake at dance parties despite Jake’s obvious heterosexuality. Jake told me he wasn’t put off by Marlon’s come-ons but he would be turned on if someone like me hit on him. “Jump the boys,” Jake advised me. So I started with him.
In the past, I hadn't approached men not because I didn’t want to or men didn’t want me to, but because of the power dynamics of traditional heterosexual relations. The scripts of courtship are well rehearsed: singledom as a path to coupledom and coupledom as defined by a property-oriented monogamy. The woman is the beloved, the man is the lover, pursuer and pursued, blah blah blah. None of this ever fit me. I envied my gay male peers, because they got to start fresh and write dynamics to suit their desires, rather than forcing their desires to fit some predetermined model.
The simplest means I’ve found to rewrite the heteronormative script is to come right out and say that’s what I’m doing. I like telling people I’m trying to fuck like my favorite gay boys, because it’s specific and funnier than saying, “I’m trying to practice gender neutral open liaisons, not necessarily nonmonogamy but openness, you know, like, as in, whatever comes, and hopefully I will many times.”
Since my finger-banging revelation, I’ve been telling all of the boys and girls I’m intimate with about my project to have sex like a gay man. The conversations that have followed have been as incredible as the sex we’re having.
Yesterday, the boy I’m crushing on the hardest texted me that he’d found a passage in Chris Kraus’s I Love Dick, my favorite book, which I’d lent to him after his first visit to my bedroom, “where ck says she wants the sex life of a gay man!!” I asked him to send me the quotation.
This is the question that the book asks, a question that I've thought a lot about lately:
"My entire state of being’s changed because I’ve become by sexuality: female, straight, wanting to love men, be fucked. Is there a way of living with this like a gay person, proudly?"
In I Love Dick, the answer answer lies not in sex acts but in what I'll clunkily call "word acts." “Reading delivers on the promise that sex raises but hardly ever can fulfill,” Kraus writes, “getting larger because you’re entering another person’s language, cadence, heart and mind.” Similarly, often taking hold of what we desire, becoming what we want to be, can be as simple as saying what we want—we enter new realms of ourselves by declaring our needs and our wants, and find that we were surrounded by the solution to our problems all along.
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