ONTD Political

Where's the Politics in Sex?

3:27 pm - 06/13/2012

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.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-bindel/where-is-the-politics-in-_b_1589435.html?utm_hp_ref=two
lizzy_someone 15th-Jun-2012 06:01 am (UTC)
Parts of the argument are the homophobes' argument verbatim. Again, I am not saying they are exactly the same argument, I am just saying that the way it's worded is disturbingly familiar.

I don't at all disagree that there are social and political implications of sleeping with men, and that they are very different from the implications of sleeping with women. I personally do not know any bi/pan women who aren't aware of the implications and don't think about them (to my knowledge), but I am not denying that such people exist.

or even that that's a better choice than sleeping with men

That's certainly not how I understood the arguments -- it seems to me that even if it may not have been stated explicitly, there's quite a strong implication -- but I acknowledge that they may be open to various interpretations. (Just for the record, I am not currently involved with any men and never have been, so this is not a defensive "but I like my male sex partner so I don't want to engage in any critical thinking" thing.) For the bi/pan women I know -- and I realize that this may not be true of all such women in the world, but this is what I have seen and experienced -- the problem is not that we don't think critically about or realize the implications of our sex lives, it's that we think way too critically about our sex lives (which is probably at least somewhat true for a whole lot of women of all sexual orientations, given how many conflicting and fucked up messages about female sexuality we receive). "I can't sleep with that guy no matter how much we mutually want to sleep together, I'll be letting down the queer community, and what if the guy fetishizes my sexual orientation, and the straight people I came out to will be like, 'I knew it, you were straight all along, you just had to meet the right man, gay people can be straight if they want to,' and the queer people I came out to will be like, 'I knew it, bi girls always choose men in the end, they perpetuate misconceptions about being gay, they make us look like liars, you can't trust them, they're faking, they're not really one of us, keep away from them,' so I guess I should just keep my head down and try to forget about liking guys the way I once tried to forget about liking girls, even though god knows the gay dating/fucking pool is small enough." Speaking of which, I think the practical realities of bisexuality just don't occur to a lot of monosexual people (including, in my experience, some gay people). If you're a woman, eligible women are nowhere near as abundant as eligible men, so even if involvement with women is your preference (which, believe me, my personal ideal world is pretty much nothing but queer women, but sadly that is not real life), there just aren't as many opportunities.

And then after all that baggage, one of our own people comes along and is like, "HEY BUT DID YOU KNOW FUCKING MEN IS DIFFERENT FROM FUCKING WOMEN THOUGH, YOU SHOULD REALLY CONSIDER THE IMPLICATIONS!"

I don't know, maybe I don't have a representative sample. But if there are bi/pan women who really see no different political implications whatsoever in involvement with men versus involvement with women, they're probably not ONTDP-ers. Which means the hyper-aware bi/pan women here (and if you're a well-adjusted bisexual woman with no internalized biphobia, I'm truly happy for you and could you maybe tell me your secret, because I'd really like to get there myself someday) are hearing arguments that they're not really the intended audience for, but which feel like are being aimed at them. You know, I think if we were all given a list of ideas and asked to check off which ones we agree with, we'd probably agree on a whole lot more than it currently feels like we do, but we just express those ideas in ways that happen to push each other's buttons, so we end up unintentionally taking out our hurt on each other. (Not you necessarily, but probably me, and probably a lot of people here.)
tamerterra 15th-Jun-2012 10:32 am (UTC)
This is a good comment and you should feel good for making it.
lizzy_someone 16th-Jun-2012 12:02 am (UTC)
Credit to poetic_pixie_13 for calming my indignant ass down. :)
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