Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reciprocity and Straight Girls

Grown up lesbians dealing with grown up lesbian problems.

I'm going to field a couple of questions directed at me through Twitter and hopefully answer some general, all-purpose lesbian questions in the process. Then I might finish it up by talking about threesomes a bit just for the heck of it.

The first question from Twitter involves a young lady who has been dating her girlfriend for awhile now and things have cooled off significantly in the bedroom over the past few months (to the tune of once a month for several months in a row--ouch!). She tries to instigate sex and is rejected while the girlfriend (once a month) apparently is the only one who can instigate sex without rejection. It looks like this has been going on for about six months now and the pent up asker of the question is getting a little sick of being rejected. The reason given by her partner for the low sex drive is that sex makes her feel vulnerable, which is kind of a "duh" comment deserving of a "Yeah, and...?" response.

First things first, rejection, sexual rejection especially, sucks giant squid balls, and I encourage people to say yes to their partner as often as humanly possible. The only time you should reject your partner's sexual advances (especially in a lesbian relationship) is if you're bleeding out of your eyes and feel like all that eye blood might ruin the mood. Part of being in a relationship is tending your partner's sexual garden, which means you might need to do a little water if you don't want to end up with a dry dusty plot (pun intended). Don't get me wrong though, sexual permissiveness doesn't extend to ham-fisted approaches like "wanna fuck?" Part of the instigating partner's job in this sexual give and take is to do their damn best to get the other party in the mood. Wine them, dine them, dress up for them if they're into that sort of thing, keep yourself clean/sexy/lickable in just the ways they like, and tend to their emotional state as well or you're not very deserving of that 'yes' now are you?

Foreplay is I finish my cigarette first.

To the asker of the question, if you're doing all these things. If you're fit as hell, dressed in exactly that thing she loves seeing you dressed in, pitching crazy woo at her with compliments, flirty comments, and have turned your bedroom into a potential fire hazard with candles around satin sheets, AND she's still rejecting you, this is on her. If you're showing up after a long day, whipping off your stinky work shoes, pulling your hair back in a ratty ponytail, and saying, "How about a little head?" You're not all that deserving of any sexual attention and rejection should be the only thing you can and should expect. Let's just assume you're putting the effort in, staying fit, staying sexy, tending her emotional state, and putting forth a real seduction effort...

At this point, you need to lay it all on the table with her. Tell her you feel unappreciated when she rejects your well-thought-0ut advances, that you need more sexual tending, that you don't feel she is open to having sex instigated, and that you need her to say "yes" more often and give you the chance to get her into the mood even if she's not starting off that way. That last bit is key. She doesn't have to be in the mood to say yes, in fact, as women, we usually won't be to start out, but it's crucial that we are in an agreement with our partner that we will be open to them making the effort to get us into the mood, and I think she'll find that going into this with the right mindset, she'll end up being in the mood in short order.

This conversation can obviously go one of two ways. She's either willing to work with you on being in a true sexual partnership where both people's needs are given equal value and importance, or she's not. If she is willing to work with you, then you'll have to keep very open lines of communication through the process to make sure neither one of you is feeling taken advantage of and that you're both getting something out of your sexual trysts. If she's NOT willing to work with you, then you have to decide whether or not her company is worth 12 sexual encounters a year, all instigated by her. I can't make that choice for you, but, speaking only for myself, there's no such thing as someone that would be worth that for me.

Quick summary: be worth saying yes to, everyone needs to be open to the possibility of being gotten into the mood, and if you're in a relationship with a huge discrepancy in sex drives it might not be the relationship for you.

The second question I got was from a bi-curious but straight identifying girl who was wanting to know how she could tell if a girl in her office was a lesbian. This question and a lot the answers to my follow up questions to her, really kind of bugged the shit out of me. First and foremost, bi-curious looking for lesbian is one of my pet peeves. Lesbians don't exist solely for straight identifying girls to run science experiments on. Secondly, after a loooooooong stretch of trying to get at the heart of all this, I found out the asker of the question didn't really have any plans of hitting on the girl because she thought the possible lesbian was out of her league, and she probably was. Anyway, I'll address this lack of gaydar to the best of my ability with the caveat of "no, you shouldn't pester her with your bi-curiosity" and "yes, she probably is out of your league."

Portia is a perfect example of why it is hard to play "spot the lesbian"

Gaydar rule #1 -- does she show the slightest bit of interest in men of any kind? Seriously, most lesbians have as much regard for men as most people have for floor lamps. They clearly serve some mundane purpose (like lighting a room or decorating a corner) but beyond that we don't really have much use for them. If she's chatting with men, open body language, and seems really interested in what he has to say about sports/movies/drywall/cars you've got yourself a straight girl. If her longest conversation with a co-worker male consists of: "Is that coffee fresh?" "Yep" "Cool" you're far more likely to have a lesbian (not proof positive, but it's a good sign).

Gaydar rule #2 -- does she dress the part? This is kind of related to rule #1 in that straight girls dress to impress guys and lesbians don't do that as often since women aren't as visual when it comes to most things (smell and sound count for a lot with ladies and guys can get past both if something looks good enough; when we're working on what we're attracting, this factors in). Does she wear 4" heels with tight jeans? Classic straight girl move. Does she wear contacts or glasses? Lesbians tend to go for comfort and glasses over poking ourselves in the eyes. Are there any hint pieces of jewelry or clothing that would indicate gay pride, equality, or that she is a fan of Tegan and Sara? Rainbows, little yellow equal signs in the middle of blue squares, and Lilith Faire memorabilia are used to signal other lesbians that we're in that club. Check her makeup, is it subdued, natural tones, or is it applied with a spray can? Lesbians are usually minimalists in the makeup department. WARNING! Don't rely on this solely! I am sitting here as a contradiction to at least two of these (makeup and contacts and maybe the clothes). There are lesbians out there who are visibly indiscernible from straight girls, and they're not as rare as you might think. Some real red flags should be icon neck-wear: a huge ass crucifix/Mormon pendant screams straight and rainbow rings/interlaced female symbols are pretty much only worn by lesbians.

Gaydar rule #3 -- what does she do with her free time? Again, this one can be tricky. Softball, walking dogs, golfing, and riding motorcycles used to be dead give-aways. Not so much anymore. Still, if she tends to have a lot of hobbies that most men would view as kind of threatening to their masculinity, you might be on the right track. Strangely enough, I think this rule's increasing ineffectiveness is owed to modern men not being so easily threatened by modern women usurping their roles, which has given straight girls far more latitude in what they can be interested in without scaring off men.

The Mona Lisa's look during college.

Gaydar rule #4 -- what is she doing with her hair? Again, I'm a walking contradiction here as I do the hell out of my hair. But lesbians in general do tend to go with shorter, less hassle, cute but not hot type of looks. Probably because we don't want to be bonked on the head by a caveman and dragged back to the cave; if that's not your thing, low handle length and easy breakage are good things.

These are obviously all across the room type observations. The real key would be to go up to the lady, have a conversation with her, and find out by listening to her answers to obvious questions that will hold lesbian indicators, but, since the asker had no intention of actually speaking to this woman, I have to assume this would be out of the question.

My real concern here, and I have been yelled at before my lack of concern for bisexuals, is that bi-curious girls do tend to views lesbians as fun experiments and breaks from men without real concern for the women they're hurting. My opinion, and this might just be the gold star in me talking, is that bi-curious girls should go fuck other bi-curious or bisexual girls, and leave us lesbians alone. I can just hear the bi girls now, "But Cassandra, lesbians are so experienced and exotic, and you know all about the wily woman on woman ways..." TRUTH! Okay, not always true, but in my case it sure is. Trust me, there are plenty of bisexual girls out there who know all about pleasing women. But, and more importantly, maybe you should have to build up lesbian cred before you can come to us with your head empty of knowledge when it comes to pleasing women. Which leads me to the rules for bi girls...

Rule #1 for bi-curious girls: YOU HAVE TO FUCKING EAT PUSSY! In fact, I'll put a sidebar on this one and say you should eat her pussy before she's allowed to go near yours. Being eaten out by a girl does not make you bisexual or lesbian, it means you have the ability to be licked while staring at the ceiling and thinking about whatever you feel like thinking about. To be blunt, ANYONE CAN FUCKING DO THAT. In Latin-American cultures, it was long thought (and still is sometimes) that a man who gets a blowjob from another man is not gay, but the man who gives the blowjob is. Same rules apply to us ladies, until you reciprocate by going down on her, all you are is a selfish straight girl. Bisexual/bi-curious tag denied!

Rule #2 for bi-curious girls: BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR GOALS! There are lesbians out there who are into one night stands, fooling around, and then sending you back to the forest of penises you came from with stories to tell that'll turn on frat boys. The problem is, most of us aren't like that. Find out if the girl you're hitting on even wants to touch bi-tail. Find out how freaking hurt and pissed she'll be if you go running around telling people you slept with her. News flash! You can do far more damage to our reputations than we can to yours. If you're honest and clear about your intentions and she still wants you, proceed to rule 3.

ZOMG I hope the guys are watching us so we can feel relevant!

Rule #3 for bi-curious girls: DON'T INVOLVE MEN IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM! If you want male attention for making out with girls, go find yourself another drunk straight girl and you can both be swimming in jizz before the night is over. If you want another woman to come back and fool around with you and your boyfriend, find a bisexual girl or hire a hooker. Lesbian does not mean, "hasn't met the right penis yet." You may thrive on male attention, we couldn't care less.

Fantasy land has a fight club.

This kind of loops around to the threesome thing (see how I did that?), which is something of a question brought up by one of my stories oddly enough. In Astral Liaisons, I have a story about a lesbian couple who has occasionally seduced lesbians girls for threesomes, but never in a way that threatened their primary relationship, and then they end up in an odd situation where they have to seduce someone who may be bi-curious or just plain straight. It's called "Flesh Menagerie" and you should probably read it to get the full effect. Anyway, one of my friends and readers asked if I thought this was something realistic to do. Honestly, I think so, but it's not something I've done in my own relationship. I absolutely do think there are open and poly relationships out there that work just fine. I am a little curious about what my readers think about this topic though. Any thoughts, concerns, experiences, or opinions on the validity of threesomes in committed relationships should go in the comments below.

So I answered a couple questions, established some rules, and invited comments about threesomes...that's a full blog's work in my book.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lestopian Future

I've made no secret about the fact that I'm a girl gamer. Ever since I was a little girl and my sister and I got a Super Nintendo for Christmas, I've loved video games. I'm also not going to deny that I spent far more time than any sane person should playing World of Warcraft when I was in high school; I didn't have many friends and school work came easy to me, so escapism seemed like a good use of my time. One thing I've noticed over the past fifteen years or so of being a girl gamer (way back to when I was 6) is that the world of gaming is slowly evolving to start including more and more populations who formerly went ignored in favor of appealing to the straight, white male demographic. Being a lesbian, I've been thrilled that some games, even though they're still a small minority, have decided I'm worth appealing to. It's time to take a look at the gay-gamer-girl options I'm happy exist.

Bioware (a Canadian based game developer--go figure they're into equality) is a shining beacon of hope for stories and diversity in a world of video game studios who are still hurling themselves at the straight white males of the world. Their two primary series that have gone above and beyond in appealing to gay girls are Dragon Age and Mass Effect. More than just gay girls, these series appeal to women, gay men, bisexuals, and other ethnicities as well. They recent came under fire for some of the choices made in Dragon Age II, specifically the many gay options in the game, and dealt with said criticism from the straight white male population with remarkable flare and eloquence. This isn't to say they have a perfect track record in diversity options, as they seem to want to flee from or put an Astrix next to the gay and lesbian options in games. Mass Effect 1 had a "mono gendered" romance option, which was to say all members of this society were "female" but then immediately removed this character as an option in Mass Effect 2 really only offering hetero options again.

If you have to have just one gender, isn't this a good argument for women only?

The Mass Effect series really has brought a lot of new, interesting, and diverse options to the table when it comes to the audience appealed to. They represent handicapped people well with a pilot who has Osteogenesis ably voiced by Seth Green, African Americans are nicely represented by Captain Anderson voiced by Keith David, and the aforementioned lesbian romance option Liara T'soni. I think in general Bioware has gone the direction of diversifying their appeal to women by including romance options in their role playing games. I may not know much about men, but it would seem loving romance wasn't necessarily intended for them. I'm going to be 100% honest here, even if it ruins some of my cool cred, but I have the dopiest girl-crush on Liara knowing full well she's a fictional character in a video game. I applaud Bioware's boldness in including her, even though she's technically "mono gendered" and all but vanishes in Mass Effect 2 without purchasing a downloadable content pack. I felt like her inclusion, along with the ability to create a female protagonist who can romance her within the game, was a wonderful step forward in appealing to lesbian gamers.

Sure she's a religious zealot, but with red hair like that, I'll get past it.

Bioware really doubled down on their appeal to gay gamers of both genders in the Dragon Age series. Romance options within the first game included one female/female and one male/male in addition to the other hetero choices. Considering the homophobia within the gamer community and the fetishizing of lesbians by straight males, I thought the inclusion of Zevran as a male/male romance option was downright revolutionary of Bioware in a mainstream, highly distributed game. To quote Morgan Webb, "If you don't like gay elf sex, don't have gay elf sex." I love that they did it and defended it tooth and nail when the inevitable attacks came rolling in from the straight male gaming population who felt threatened by a gay male option. The lesbian option, who I again have an enormous girl crush on, is Leliana. The reason she comes in second, despite having the fucking sexiest French accent, is that she's entirely fanatical about the religion within the game, which is a barely veiled commentary on Christianity (specifically Catholicism of the Renaissance era). Not getting along with Christianity in general, the whole "good Christian...er Chantry" girl Leliana had a religious overtone I just couldn't ignore, even with the red hair and blue eyes.

In the age old question of pirates vs ninjas, I always pick pirates because of her.

In Dragon Age 2 (I won't be talking about the Awakening expansion pack because it was both awful and included nothing gay or straight, which was a HUGE mistake in my mind) Bioware really took things one step further and basically made every romance option available to both genders. This has to be the singularly best option they could have taken. Rather than telling the gamer that their options would be limited by artificial constructs within the game, the developers let the players decide who they wanted regardless of gender. Of course, this blew up the homophobic/sexist gamer world, but Bioware stuck by their guns, and said it was the right move, and they were right. In ironies of all ironies, my favored relationship in this game was with Isabella. It's ironic because I'm pretty vocal about my disinterest in bisexual women (and she's extremely overt in her bisexuality) mostly because I feel promiscuity with males leads to STDs which I'm terrified of (and there's little to no doubt Isabella likely had tons) yet something about the saucy, sarcastic, sexually-charged pirate captain really drew me to her despite all the flaws that would repulse me in real life. I guess I figured my character's herpes would only be a lifelong problem for the 40 hours of play time during the game. This isn't to discount Merrill, the other lesbian option, who has large green eyes and a soothing Irish accent. Surprise, surprise, most of the male gamers who played Dragon Age 2 didn't like Merrill's lack of enormous breasts and her facial tattoos or Isabelle's aggressive sexual posturing and liberated feminist views of female sexuality, which leads me to believe, these two characters were at least partially designed for gay-girl-gamers.

Jade Empire makes every little lesbian girl's dream come true: marrying a Ninja Princess.

When I first started passing around this idea of lesbians in games and how much I appreciated Bioware for Mass Effect and Dragon Age, I was told there were protean version of these things in their earlier games. Under advisement, I checked out Knights of the Old Republic, which apparently contained the holy grail of nerdery with lesbian Jedi. The game was fantastic on its own and held up well despite being 8 years old. The relationship was far more about feelings, involved nothing even implied sex-wise, and did indeed include two lesbian Jedi. Apparently Jade Empire, another Bioware game only slightly newer, continued along this path of open options, and included the staple for the Dragon Age series of having a female character open to both genders. The gameplay itself was on the monotonous and irritating side and leaned heavily on the idea that all American gamers aren't into Asian culture, but the romance of Silk Fox aka Princess Sun Lian was remarkably forward thinking and deep considering the game came out in 2005. Seeing the evolution of the lesbian storyline option in Bioware's games really made me appreciate exactly how far they've come.

There is of course The Sims series, which allows for gay, straight, lesbian, and bisexuality at every level with the utmost customization (I also played far too much Sims 2 in high school). But this is less remarkable as the design of the game is an electronic version of "playing house" that we all did as little girls and thus the target audience really feels like it was supposed to be for women. There's no winning, no losing, and no competition in the game, which gives it an entirely casual game feeling and the largest audience for casual games are the ladies. This feels less remarkable than Mass Effect (hybrid shooter) and Dragon Age (fantasy RPG) as those two genres of gaming are dominated by games for straight men. Still, the Sims series of games should be applauded for including equality when they were striving to make the most customizable game possible.

With how many Blood Elf men are gay, lesbianism seems almost like a necessity.

I did mention World of Warcraft earlier, and, as with the Sims, so much of the content is user created/alterable since it is an MMORPG with players from all over the world interacting, so gay and lesbian are two things that can and do exist in the game; however, this isn't something the developers really intended, nor is it something Blizzard has been all that tolerant of. In the early days of the game (released in November 2004) several gay themed guilds (male/male) were deleted by Blizzard simply for being gay themed. Considering I was probably one of a tiny handful of lesbians who played the game, lesbian themed guilds tended to be actually populated by straight men and they too suffered from deletion. In general, Blizzard's history with the gay community isn't very friendly, so while there are gay gamers who play and try to include gay content in World of Warcraft, it's generally not encouraged or supported by either Blizzard or the gaming populace within WOW. I've heard, but never actually experienced, that City of Heroes (a super hero themed MMORPG) is far more welcoming and tolerant of their gay community, but I can't say for certain that's true. Online gaming in general tends to be people by the immature, homophobic, and sexist young men of the world; this is a demographic shifting away from the stereotype of what a gamer is, but it's also the slowest to do so. I won't even talk about what goes on with Xbox Live, but let's just say, being a gay or woman there is not recommended.

The charge for equality in gaming is really slow and kind of has all its hope right now resting on Bioware. Gay and lesbian gamers are an audience worth having though, and I think Bioware is wise to appeal to us as we have little else pointed in our direction. We're a little more than 10% of the population and we tend to have more disposable income per-capita than our straight counterparts; the gaming industry as a whole would be wise to put this together and start making a concerted effort in the direction of gaming equality.
In Sim-land there is no homophobia.