I was one of those super pervy kids that was completely obsessed with sex. I would sneak into my older brother’s room when he was off doing ’90s teen boy things (smoking pot, skateboarding, piercing his ears with safety pins) and search under his bed for his hidden stash of Playboy and Hustler magazines. I would feverishly flip through the glossy pages feeling equal parts deranged, confused, grossed out and turned on.
After a couple of hours of rabidly consuming pornographic content, I would creep back into my pink little bedroom and slut-shame myself.
“What’s wrong with you! Little girls should be reading ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ not ‘Penthouse!'” I would wail to myself hiding under my daisy-adorned sheets, clutching my blonde barbie doll, tears of shame rolling down puffy cheeks.
I also was obsessed with that movie “Showgirls.”
When my parents would go out for dinner I would pop it into the VCR and rewatch the sex scenes ten million times over again. I watched them so many times they were burned into my memory. I would be sitting in class dutifully practicing my cursive when BAM. The famous lapdance scene would splash across my pre-pubescent brain. I could feel my pale little face turn blood red.
And then I discovered “Skinamax” (Cinemax after dark). It was soft-core porn, with soap opera lighting and terrible dialogue. The girls looked like they were made of wax and all the men had plush brunette ponytails.
All of the silicone enhanced boobs, all the “over the top” moaning released from all of those collagen-injected lips, and all the spray-tanned, hyper-airbrushed models my impressionable eyeballs devoured right in the very bloom of my youth, didn’t give me even a slightly realistic idea of what sex actually was. In my mind sex was theatre, darling. You had to use your “stage voice.” Project from your “diaphragm.” And orgasms? Well clearly orgasms happened multiple times in a row and were so powerful they sent women flying through the roof.
Tits were as round as donuts and as perky as a millennial hopped up on Adderall!
When I had sex with a dude (gag) for the first time (gag) I was like “What the fuck is this?” I was shocked by the weird smells, repulsed by the itchy beards, and confused by the lack of foreplay. It wasn’t anything like the sex-scenes in “Showgirls.”
As clueless as I was about boy sex, I was even more of an idiot about lesbian sex. I was pretty sure I was a lesbian (I had feelings for the singer Pink that I had a hunch went beyond the realm of normal “fandom”) and hoped it would be as smoother than boy sex. I mean it had to be right?
And while my first time with a woman was mind-blowing, it came with an array of very specific struggles no one had ever prepared me for. Not Hollywood. Not the porn industry. Not the lesbian erotica I purchased at age sixteen when visiting my best friend in Provincetown (“Faster Pussycats” it was called. I still own it).
So through trial and error, mishaps, endless bouts of crawl-under-a-rock-and-die humiliation, and a decade of boozy one-nighters, I discovered the issues us lesbians (or any self-identified girl who sleep with other girls) deals with when it comes to sex.
Here are 15:
1. The long fingernail issue.
“OUCH!” An ex of mine we’ll politely call Sarah* screeched at the top of her lungs during a heated sex session. We were rolling around her twin bed, our girl bodies twisted up in the sweaty sheets when I decided to do something I had never done before (I was a teenager!). Stick my finger inside of her.
So why was Sarah screaming bloody murder? It most definitely wasn’t a scream of pleasure, that’s was for sure. It was because I, Zara Barrie (former Senior Sex Writer) not only had acrylic long nails, I had filed them into sharp fashion claws.
“Babe you need to cut those things before you do that!” She shrieked as I shamefully removed my finger and shriveled up and died inside.
I mean yes, I get it. One would think that it’s common sense to refrain from savagely sticking one’s long-nailed finger into a woman’s ever-delicate vagina, but alas common sense never has never really been my thing, babe. I learn lessons the hard way.
And my girlfriend learned a lesson the hard way that night too: take a look at a girl’s nails before you have sex with her.
2. When you’re awkwardly waiting for the strap-on to get strapped on.
I never know what do with my time when I’m waiting for a girl to strap on, the strap-on. No one ever explained to me that it’s a complicated contraption with buckles and straps, that needs to be expertly adjusted and secured into place. I thought you just slipped it on and started having sex. If only! You have to wait several minutes staring into blank space, not knowing what to say or do, as your partner awkwardly adheres a harness (with a dildo hanging out of it, none the less) onto their nether regions.
3. When you’re awkwardly trying to figure out the strap-on as you’re strapping it on.
You know when you get a brand new strap-on and it’s really sexy and you can’t wait to try it out on your new bae? And right as you’re putting it on, you realize you can’t figure out how to adjust it to fit you and you spend ten minutes fumbling in the dark, while still trying to act cool and like you know what the fuck you’re actually doing?
4. Nightmare lipstick massacres.
Oh god, when I was a baby dyke I wish I had known about Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipstick. Would’ve saved me loads of embarrassment and stained sheets (for those of you not well-versed in the lipstick underworld, it’s a lipstick that basically shellacks to your lips and doesn’t transfer).
Because. Damn. I used to have sex with girls and get lipstick all over her face, all over my legs and all over well, uh everywhere if you know what I mean. And if god forbid she was wearing lipstick too, the end result would look like a horror movie crime scene. Both of us slathered in bright red lipstick from head to toe, bright red lipstick stained sheets that looked like someone was brutally stabbed to death, not like two lezzies just getting it on.
*Managing Editor Corinne, just informed me that “a quick swab of coconut oil on a paper towel will get lipstick off and give you a yummy flavor, next time you’re wanting to get down.” Will have to try that next time!
5. When your periods are NOT synced up.
There is nothing worse, in this cruel, cold world than dating someone who is on a different menstrual cycle than you are. That means the for about two weeks out of the month (half the month) you either you have to put towels down and have period sex, or if you’re like me and period sex is not your thing, have no sex. At all.
And nothing makes a lesbian bitchier than being in a sexless relationship.
6. When your periods ARE synced up.
It’s just too much PMS in one condensed area. Though it does lead to some pretty steamy hate sex…
7. When someone saunters boldly out in a strap-on during a one night stand.
PSA: Do not whip a strap-on out on the first date, ladies! This happened to a friend of mine a few years back. Without even mentioning it, the girl came sauntering out of the bathroom flapping around her strap-on. Look, the strap-on is earned. You can’t just toss it on your body without discussing it first and assume the girl is into it. I mean who knows where that thing has been? At least boil it in hot water first.
8. When you realize you’re both power tops.
Not every lesbian subscribes to the whole top/bottom rhetoric, but some, staunchly do (FYI, not me). And nothing is more awkward than getting down and dirty only to find out that you’re both fighting each other to get on top.
Or both trying to be pillow princesses (which makes for a very “zzzzzz” boring romp).
9. When you come down with a brutal case of “lockjaw.”
It’s hard to give a woman an orgasm. Point blank. I actually want that to be the name of my memoir.
Sometimes you can go down on her for what feels like hours, and because either she’s too in her head to cum, on antidepressants (like yours truly) or is just hard to please (a common trait in most women) she’s just not orgasming, baby. But alas, we’re lesbians! We don’t just give up! We didn’t dutifully march in all those endless protests to NOT give our ladies an orgasm. We’ll keep going and going until she erupts into the largest, most dramatic orgasm she’s ever experienced in her lifetime.
But sometimes you get a “locked jaw” in the process. It’s been stretched wide open for so long, that it’s going to stay that way for several hours. Even after you stop going down on her. It’s like when your mom used to tell you “Don’t make that face because if the wind changes, it will stay that way.” Only it’s “Don’t keep that jaw locked because, if your tongue changes a teeny tiny bit and you’re no longer on her ~trigger~ spot, you’ll be going down on her for so long your jaw will stay that way.”
And trust me it never quite closes the same again. Have ever noticed that my jaw is always slightly ajar? It’s all the oral, babe.
10. When your hand cramps up.
Has anyone else experienced carpal tunnel from fingering in awkward, painful sex positions?
11. The hard fact that you can never, ever get away with faking it.
You can fake an orgasm with a man (trust me, I’ve done it and I’ve written about it endlessly). All you have to do is release a few melodramatic moans and bam, he thinks he’s made you ~cum~ honey.
But you can never, ever fake an orgasm with a woman. You can’t fool your own kind, sadly (hence why we spend hours trying to give each other orgasms, suffer from lockjaw, carpel tunnel and rapid heartbeat due to our nine-hundred-hour sex sessions).
12. When there IS just so much hair everywhere.
The amount of shedding that happens when two girls with long hair have sex is remarkable. You’ll be finding stray hairs in your bedsheets for the rest of your life!
This is why some girls prefer to keep their hair short. Contrary to popular belief, lesbians don’t cut their hair to look like men, they cut their hair so it doesn’t shed all over those expensive sheets.
13. When you (accidentally) shout out the wrong name in bed.
Some of us have names that are uh, a little similar to each other. Like for instance, say you hook up with a girl named Julia. And the NEXT week you hook up with a Julie. Except you accidentally scream Julia in bed, instead of Julie and Julie knows all about Julia because our world is small and there are no secrets and freaks out on you and blacklists you from lesbian-land for the rest of time and you have to switch cities.
14. When you hook-up with someone who has the name as you.
Shouting out your own name in bed will send any well-meaning lesbian into a dark existential crisis.
15. Because the definition of “Lesbian Sex” is damn elusive, you’re not even sure if she thinks you’ve had sex….
“We’ve already had sex!” Screams the baby dyke. “That wasn’t sex” Screams the seasoned lez.
Well, then what the fuck is sex? Ask ten different lesbians to define lesbian sex and you’ll get ten different answers. So what you thought was full blast sex might just be “hooking up” to someone else. And that’s a mindfuck in of itself.