What makes some of us uncomfortable with bisexual women? It is because we think they're either lesbians having straight sex or straight women testing out their fantasies on us before returning to men?
In today's post-modern, queer-focused world, bisexuality is being promoted to lesbians as the latest fashionable trend. This has resulted in lesbian politics, namely feminism, being passed over for sexual hedonism, where the only thing that matters is sexual pleasure and desire. Similarly, bisexuality is sold to heterosexual women as some type of recreational activity far from their "natural home" of straight sex. It is seen as "temporary lesbianism."
It is more à la mode to have sex with a man if you are a lesbian than if you're a straight woman, who is merely doing what she is expected to do "naturally." Lesbians having heterosexual sex are seen as transgressive, when in fact they are simply reverting to a traditional way of being a woman. For a straight woman, having a girlfriend on the side is almost like having the latest Prada handbag.
Camille Paglia, the most famous "anti-lesbian lesbian," has written reams about how she worships the penis and cannot understand those of us who do not. In fact Paglia, like many lesbian tourists who sleep with women on the weekend and go back to hubby on Monday morning, thinks lesbian sex needs to be "spiced up" by the odd "het" shag:
Women, I think, are naturally bisexual. You know I'm not telling lesbians to stop sleeping only with women, but to leave open a part of the brain toward men and accept male lust and find men extremely attractive and get horny in relation to men and ogle their bodies and do something with them, then sex with women will be hotter.
Has Paglia internalized so much anti-lesbian oppression that she, too, thinks that all lesbians need is a good bit of heterosexual-style shagging?
But many lesbians, and even bisexual women themselves, mistrust the concept of swinging both ways. One U.S. study of bisexuality, which draws on interviews with 400 self-identified lesbians and bisexual women, found that a substantial number of bisexuals prefer to hang out with lesbians instead of other bisexual women in social situations, and have greater political trust in lesbians than they do in other bisexual women. It was also found that "[s]ome bisexual women actually doubt whether bisexual women exist at all."
Whatever our views and politics about lesbianism may be, we cannot deny that women face compulsory heterosexuality from birth. Despite huge progress since I came out in 1977, it is still not really acceptable to reject men and choose not to live under their guardianship, whether you are in Saudi Arabia or the U.K.
When I write about making a positive choice to be a lesbian, and that I believe there is no gay (or for that matter bisexual) "gene," I am accused of being an ideological robot and therefore not genuinely sexually attracted to women. That is nonsense. I personally feel that straight women are missing out on the best sex on the planet, but that is their choice.
If we put aside lesbian feminism, the way most people approach sexuality is that they think we are straight, gay, or attracted to both sexes. For bisexual women living under the tyranny of sexism, choosing to be lesbian is a liberatory act.
Those of us who grew up in a time and context where there was a political analysis of sexuality were able to make a positive choice to be a lesbian. I believed then, and I believe now, that if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men.