Gag Reflex at Battersea Arts Centre (a scratch performance by @mannionaise).

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My girl is doing something amazing on Saturday night.

Freshly Scratched is a work in progress night at Battersea Arts Centre. Over the past week new and exciting pieces have been showcased to a ‘pay what you can’ audience.

Tomorrow night hosts Philippa’s first performance of Gag Reflex; a one woman show about sexuality and vomiting.

Yes, vomiting.

Have you ever felt disgusted with yourself? That churning hot feeling in your gut when you consider what you look like, what you did last night or even what gender you’re attracted to?

Gag Reflex is an exploration of this nausea. It’s the exposure of the questioning process we all struggle with about ourselves and our sexuality.

This isn’t about the light at the end of the tunnel. This is about the tunnel itself.

Since the beginning thoughts, I’ve been so excited by this idea. I have eagerly read each of the Gag Reflex R&D blogs on Philippa’s website. This concept feels very fresh in the wider context of queer theatre. There are works which celebrate the relief of being out, and less optimistic stories of gay relationships ripped apart by doubt, denial or hate. They all go to encourage us to love ourselves for who we are. I admire this greatly, but exploring the idea of being in limbo, of questioning and attempting to accept oneself is fascinating.

I feel this speaks to an audience which has either experienced this sensation or is experiencing it right now.

I’ve been lucky enough to read some drafts and offer a clumsy opinion or two. I can’t wait to see it live. Philippa will be performing the work herself.

If you are in London this weekend, please come along to support Philippa’s performance at Battersea Arts Centre on Saturday. Tickets are at a pay what you can rate, and available online. The show starts at 7:30pm.

I will of course be there to see this debut performance. Join me to watch this tremendous first step.

The Etch-A-Sketch Theory.

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Just a quick one, something I’ve been thinking of when I should have been hard at work.

Being gay doesn’t erase your past hetero-fumbles.

I had a girlfriend who, like me, had dated men and women in the past. When we got together she was still questioning whether she was gay or bisexual. We dated and started getting more serious. She started telling her friends, she even told her parents. She told one friend in particular, a gay male friend, and his response was surprisingly narrow:

-So are you gay now?
-Maybe. I don’t really know.
-But you’re with L?
-Yes.
-And she is gay.
-Yes.
-And she’s ok with you not knowing what you are?

Hold on there buddy, what’s with the label anxiety? Dating isn’t an interview to see if you’re acceptable for a relationship. You’re not required to have all the answers ready for scrutiny. Sexuality cannot be recorded like a CV (forgive the analogy, I’ve been job hunting recently). What (or who) you have done in your past doesn’t have any bearing on your current relationship. It shapes who you are, sure, but it doesn’t affect the connection you have with someone right now. If someone loves me, treats me well and I feel and do the same in return [and the sex is good – because hey, that’s important] then I don’t mind if you’ve dated men before. I have.

And it does not make me any less of a lesbian. Believe me.

Also, just because I’m a lesbian, doesn’t mean that the men in my past are magically erased. They don’t stop ‘counting’ because I’m gay. I think I’ve always have been gay. It doesn’t mean that I’ve not had fulfilling relationships with men, just because I was unsure of my sexuality at the time.

I’ve had two or three significant relationships with men. Their presence in my life has shaped who I am. They have contributed to my personal understanding, my attitudes to relationships and fidelity and, to some extent, sex (of course the sex was good, you didn’t expect me to stick it out for nearly four years with one guy for mediocre did you?)

These men were important to me. And, against my intentions, bore the brunt of my coming out. They didn’t have an easy time of it with me sometimes. But I genuinely loved them. I wouldn’t have knowingly dared to put someone through that, unless I had felt that they were what I truly wanted, at the time. You hurt the ones you love. They might not be my preferred gender, but they are not mistakes. The word ‘mistake’ belittles the love I felt for them, or how I mourned them after we broke up.

They do not invalidate my “gayness” so I shan’t stoop to invalidate their places in my life.

Sexuality is who or what you want. It isn’t threatened by the things you have experienced. Even if you can’t put a word on who you are, it doesn’t mean you cannot love someone.

#SmallTales: Hiding.

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@LiterallyGeeked is running a weekly flash fiction competition on Twitter called #SmallTales. Submissions of 100 words, or artwork, on a given theme.

This week, #SmallTales is on the brief of ‘hiding’.

Below is my entry:

Today will not occur. Not in this room. I shall abstain from humanity. I do not want crowds. Or company. The duvet comforts. My sleeping heat still trapped within. I am wrapped in warmth and silence. I am calm. Solitary. Pleasantly nothing. No-one.

I’m staying put. No shrill ring or wooden knock will draw me out. I do not anticipate any. I am happily ignored. Left alone.

Life shall not intrude. Abrupt demands and expectations and so much effort are unwelcome. I shall ignore existence. And huddle in bed until sleep reclaims my sad frame.

Blue.

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Here’s my response to controversial queer film ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’, peppered with links from The Huffington Post – which are all worth a read if you’re looking for an LGBT/artistic headache.

It was my birthday last week. My girl arranged a lovely day out for us by researching lots of options and locations and writing them out on slips of paper. She took me to a coffee shop in Waterloo which was un-intimidatingly cool [no Starbucks for this 25 year old] and we planned our day out by arranging the slips in a timeline.

Our agenda included:
•A stroll by the Thames and the South Bank [my favourite place in all of London];
•Lunch at Borough Market;
•A drink with K in Kensington;
•A trip to the cinema to see ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’.

Of course. What lesbian’s birthday would be complete without a trip to the cinema to see this film with their girlfriend?

I’ve been very keen to see ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’. I love French cinema and lesbians and dyed hair – sign me UP! I got the original graphic novel for Christmas which is very lovely. So we were going to go watch the film and enjoy our gayness (and a bag of minstrels).

However, we would not enjoy subtitled dyke drama that evening.

Despite meeting K at the pub at 4pm for drinks, we missed our film at 8pm. That is because the ale at K’s local is strong. Also, the whiskey is lethal and I think someone else was paying (stuff got blurry after the fourth IPA). Despite failing on the cinema front it was a great end to the birthday outing. My girl bonded with a one of my best friends over what a ridiculous mess I am. We simply lost track of time, along with my motor skills and my basic human decency – shouting about dental dams in a nice pub is not acceptable, apparently. So we drunkenly skipped the film, stumbled home, got pizza and collapsed in a drunken heap around 11pm.

I can’t decide if I was disappointed to miss ‘Blue’. We had been looking forward to it for some time but when it came to the question “another drink or go catch the tube to Soho?” I suddenly felt very shy at the prospect of sitting in the cinema watching a queer film with my girlfriend. Or maybe I was just hopelessly drunk and couldn’t face getting on the tube.

We still haven’t found a time to go and see the film following the boozefest/bonding session/cinematic fail. I’m not gutted. I don’t think I want to watch this film in the cinema. The most significant piece of queer cinema in months and I don’t want to see it? What’s going on?

Before we proceed there are three things you should know about me (just in case you haven’t already grasped these facts from my internet shoutings):

•I am gay. So gay. I’m so out and proud that I’m sure my friends are subtly trying to coax me back in. I am out and outspoken. I love queer culture and queer art.

•I love sex. Not just having it, but discussing it. At length. I love talking about sex and sexual expression. Few things make me squeamish, if any. I will happily watch anything graphic with an objective eye.

•I’m a director with a penchant for bold, challenging and uncompromising performance. My dissertation on staging graphic sex and violence is the highlight of my academic career, followed shortly by chaining two women together for a physical performance I devised.

So gay.

Back to the task at hand; why, as a gay, sex-positive director, did I not want to go and see this film?

There has been much controversy regarding the sex scenes in ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’. Director Abdellatif Kechiche has been criticised on a selection of fronts; for being a man and assuming he had the audacity to direct lesbian sex, for including ‘non-official-lesbian-sex-acts’, for not consulting lesbians when making this movie. How very dare he! The nerve of that man, busting in there and assuming he could show women enjoying themselves without having adequate netherjunk. Julie Maroh, creator of the graphic novel has criticised Kechiche’s portrayal of lesbian sex and stated that he repeatedly refused to consult with ladygays on the matter. As a director I am happy to admit there are things I don’t know. But considering it, would I seek out a committee of gay men to help if I directed a play on a male gay romance? Or chat with straight men and women for help to direct a heterosexual sex scene? The argument follows that despite my experience with menfolk, I couldn’t possibly know how to depict a truly satisfying straight fuck because I haven’t personally had one.

Ouch. Sorry exes.

I’ve directed sex scenes. Several. In fact one friend, who saw a play of mine, couldn’t stop talking with his girlfriend about how good the sex scenes were. I know what I’m doing. And all on my own. As a director I need to take my own path with a show (blame my authority issues) and I can understand Kechiche’s need, however stubborn, to go his own way. And therefore he understands that he must be prepared to fall on his artistic sword. But would chatting with a lesbian help him realise his own vision or help him make a more honest film? Or would he just know how one woman likes to do other women?  Isn’t love and sex universally understood? Its the interplay between bodies – doesn’t matter what the bodies look like. We all fall in love, we all feel desire (for the most part). Are we encouraging a too precious approach to lesbianism – its not a specialist subject that one must qualify in to be truly gay. No. I like being naked with women; I am gay. That’s it. No examinations, no licences. Being a gay woman does not mean I am in any way more qualified to direct something about gay women. I am not an authority on gayness. Directors can imagine what they like, express themselves how they see fit through their work. Kechiche has made a choice – maybe not a widely respected or praised choice. But he’s made one.

Next, there’s the whole “lesbians don’t do that” argument that’s been flitting around, some like the way the sex was depicted, some do not, as shown in this lovely video of reactions by witty hipster lesbians. This, in itself is an issue of representation of lesbians – who gave these guys the authority to speak for the lesbian community? Or, or,  we could just make decisions based on personal preferences and not say we speak on behalf of all gays everywhere.  The question of ‘lesbian authenticity’ is insulting. What makes sex ‘lesbian’? Or ‘authentic’? Isn’t it two women making each other feel good? The rest is details. There has been discussion of rimming and reverse cowgirl scissoring and if this is ‘lesbian’. They’re both women aren’t they?  Therefore it is lesbian sex. They are fictitious women, true, and portrayed by two straight actresses, but these actresses derive their characterisation from what they understand as lesbian. More importantly they derive their characterisation from what they know as women enjoying sex.

I cannot understand what my opinion is amongst all these opinions. Admittedly I am yet to watch the film for myself. I’m still not googling show times at the local cinema. I remain utterly stuck – why am I not seeing this film?!

Time to bring in the philosopher.

My housemate and profound theatrewife E reminded me that as co-founders of our own theatre company, we tackle the question of representation and sex in all our work. For us, as individuals, sex is art. Art can, must, be as intellectually and physically satisfying as sex. And vice versa. We have the artistic sweet spot well and truly hit – seriously. Our dating lives revolve on the quest for the sexual equivalent of the high we get when making theatre. If you’re asking us what makes good sex or  good representation of sex, then it is this: it must be as satisfying as art. Artistic representation of sex, which satisfies both our aesthetic and sexual needs is really tough. It exists, but its rare. With regards to ‘Blue’, creating a piece of art, which features sex so explicitly, has to hit both of these sweet spots. It has to be beautiful, worthy and arousing. I’m not talking about pornography. Something that literally switches you on. This is very hard to achieve.

With queer cinema, there is a third sweet spot. Cinematic depictions of lesbian sex must be

a) beautiful

b) arousing

c) empowering.

As a gay audience we feel the need to be represented honestly and be portrayed with worth. We are still protesting for our sexuality – our right to be seen and therefore to be free to be ourselves.  Cinema, literature and art are hallmarks of the picket line, a way to communicate to a mass audience, a form of increasing our visibility. These expressions carry responsibility with them. Another artistic stipulation to consider when making queer art. Whether Kechiche has acknowledged or rejected this burden is up for debate.

I am nervous to see ‘Blue’ in the cinema in public. I don’t know how I’ll react, or how I should react. Should I feel outraged as a feminist and lesbian – or will I be turned on and subsequently feel guilty because I’m aroused by acts which have been slated by the gay community. Or worse, will I watch the sex scenes, realise that’s how I have sex and conclude that I have betrayed the sisterhood by just following my sexual urges? Or will the director in me claw at my companion’s thigh simply because the lighting is just not right? Maybe I won’t care. Maybe I’ll wish I spent the ticket price on a frozen yoghurt and a copy of Diva magazine. There are too many opinions and standpoints to choose from and I feel as a lesbian I am expected to have one. So many vocal women have preceded this dyke in their registering of ‘gay opinion’ that I am exhausted and cannot prepare myself for battle. I don’t understand why I’m fighting. Why I need to. All I’m actually doing is sitting down in a dark room with strangers and watching a film with my girlfriend. This is supposed to be something fun to celebrate my birthday. I am not a soapbox for the gay community (no, really).

I want to experience ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ as a consumer, not a sexual activist. I want my reaction to be private, personal and huddled under my duvet with a cup of tea.

I shan’t be going to the cinema.

I want to see the film but I’ll wait for the DVD to come out.

#SmallTales: Hungover

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@LiterallyGeeked is running a weekly flash fiction competition on Twitter called #SmallTales. Submissions of 100 words, or artwork, on a given theme.

This week, #SmallTales is on the brief of ‘hungover’.

Below is my entry:

Daylight invades. Clothes and other debris adorn the floor. The bed holds our remains. Last night flexes in our veins. It pounds in our heads and dries up our mouths. We are booze-wounded. Less than our best.

My formerly drunk girl stirs, drapes her limbs over me. I re-fit my body to hers. She is beautiful in her self-inflicted suffering. Wine-soaked and fragile. Gorgeous.

Shards of light offend her closed eyes. She shrinks into me, groaning against my back. The duvet is pulled overhead. A cocoon in which to heal. We sleep.

#SmallTales: Christmas.

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@LiterallyGeeked is running a weekly flash fiction competition on Twitter called #SmallTales. Submissions of 100 words, or artwork, on a given theme.

This week, the first #SmallTales is on the brief of ‘Christmas’.

Below is my entry:

The Pantomime.

The voyeurs settle onto splintered chairs bearing teeth marks from the last show. Glitter and gunpowder hang in the air. So thick, you can choke on it.

Darkness falls. The piano is abused. More glitter. Smoke. Sparks fly. The crowd begins to howl.

An almighty fanfare. The Dame swaggers, stiletto-ed, onstage. Catcalls ricochet off the walls. She tosses his wig of matted candyfloss. The punters are treated to a leer, her yellow teeth bared, a bulge in his spandex skirt. The crowd salivates, enticed by this sequinned ringleader.

A war cry issues from his painted lips. Let the pantomime commence.

Neurotica: Five Things I’ll Never Understand About Sexual Shaming.

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At R’s place drinking tea, flicking through the straight-lady magazines of my misspent adolescence. I came across an article which heartily enraged me – and R. A flippant piece at the end of Glamour Magazine (the Glamour List) entitled ’18 Things We’ll Never Understand About Sex’.

Viv Groskop has cobbled together a series of quips which assume the (depressingly sexually short-sighted) norm and paints a range of healthy sexual expression as outlandish. This article is offensive across the straight/gay/male/female board.

In [dubious] honour of this passive aggressive shaming of sexual exploration I’ve picked my five favourite points from the article:

2. How nipple clamps even got invented, let alone sold and marketed. “So I’ve had this idea. Its a bit like a clothes peg…”

Sex toys – all sex toys – are created for one common reason; pleasure. Nipples are sensitive, receptive to pleasure and pain. Some people only like gentle touching or licking, others don’t see the point in anything other than a good, hard bite. Each to their own. We all fall somewhere in the spectrum – men and women. Nipple clamps keep your hands free so you’re not constantly pinching the lucky person wearing them. You can put those digits to a range of other uses. And yes, I said lucky. The person wearing nipple clamps wants to feel that sensation. If it gets them off, let them feel the pain. Don’t tell your readers a specific piece of kit should never have been created.

It has probably taken someone long enough to come to terms with exactly what pushes their buttons (however sweet or filthy they perceive it) let alone requesting it from a partner. Reading this casual remark in a widely distributed magazine is harmful. No human is sexually incorrect. We’re all just finding our place in the spectrum. Find it, know it and tell whomever you please “this is me, this is what I like, will you share this with me?” Never ever feel ashamed for anything that turns you on. Never listen to anyone or anything who tries to replace that pleasure with guilt.

10. How anyone broaches the subject of doing something ‘a bit different’ without their partner threatening to break up with them or call the police.

Suggesting something in bed works. And saying “no, that’s not for me” also works. I’ve suggested/had suggested to me a delightful range of kinks and quirks. Some things I’ve been thrilled to explore, others intrigued to try. Some things just weren’t my idea of a good time. I said so. You know what? The relationship continued. You would be surprised what an open dialogue about sex will do for the sex you have.

Talking about sex is hot. Talking about sex is the very essence of good sex. Talk about what you’ve done before, what you’d like to do – you never know, your current squeeze might be longing to try that thing you’ve had on your sexual bucket list for years. Be open and honest about what you like and don’t like – its the only way you’ll get what you want. Never be afraid of discussing sex with your partner. As a nation we are shockingly bad at discussing sex in any capacity. Publications which encourage [or fail to challenge] such regressive approaches to sex aren’t worth paying attention to. We are squeamish enough without their input.

(Aside: What constitutes ‘a bit different’? And why are the police getting involved?)

11. Massage butters, paint-yourself-with-chocolate kits and other ‘fun sex play’ items. As a wise woman once said, “Sex is quite good. Just have sex.”

‘Quite good’ never really did it for me – when was the last time you had a spring in your step from ‘quite good’? Sex shops continue to thrive on the peddling of these products – somebody must be buying them. Playing with extra apparatus might be something you enjoy – or something you wouldn’t consider. It does not make sex better, dirtier or worse. It might make your experience of sex more satisfying – that’s your opinion. The people who use them are not to be frowned upon, just as those who are satisfied without them are not to be pitied.

That ‘wise woman’ sounds a bit world weary to me.

14. Why anyone ever thinks threesomes are a good idea. Other than for annihilating the self-esteem of at least one participant – probably all three.

If you’re self-esteem (sexual or otherwise) is wrapped up in your sexual performance – or others’ perception of your sexual performance – don’t sleep with anyone. Do yourself a favour. If you’re seeking validation from sex, don’t do it. Don’t even take your clothes off. Put that fragile ego in a cab and go home.

Group sex can be fun if you want it. It won’t damage your sense of self any more than anything else in the world. Painting group sex as emotionally damaging isn’t fair. Sex between three, four or five people can be as exciting or horrifying as sex between two people – depending on who is having the sex.

By saying nobody has ever enjoyed group sex because it ‘annihilated’ their self esteem (annihilated, really?!) what are you telling anyone who has ever had a positive experience? Let me tell you, they exist. It’s not a difficult concept.

17. How someone who you’ve just revealed your most intimate self to can turn around and say, “Have you got any toys or anything?” What do you think this is, a department store?

This point sounds like being asked that question is insulting. The last time I checked, ‘toys’ didn’t mean Lego bricks or Beanie Babies. If someone asks you about toys, they’re not looking for an alternative to your ‘most intimate self’ (you mean vagina here, right?! Say vagina) they’re asking if there’s something you have which they could use to give you pleasure. Using toys isn’t a cop out or an insult. Your partner is asking if there is anything you own, which you have selected for yourself, because you enjoy how it makes you feel. It’s considerate. If anyone you climb into bed with asks you that, consider yourself lucky. They want to get you off the way you want. They want to make sex good for you. Same applies for asking how you want to be touched – it’s not lazy, they want to know how your body works.

Showing someone your body is not a gauntlet to run through, they want to see your bare skin. And when you do expose yourself to a deserving individual, if they ask to borrow your apparatus, do not feel like you have failed as a human. Someone asking to engage with your body on any level is hot, because they find you hot. Embrace that feeling and let them into your bedside drawers! Using toys is not a rejection or a sign of failure. Toys are for fun. They give pleasure – isn’t that the point of sex? Giving/receiving pleasure [however you chose to give/receive it] is not shameful. Ever.

Whatever you want to do in bed is acceptable, healthy and downright sexy. This article assumes the “we” and picks out examples of kinks it suggests that these are rare, wrong or incomprehensible. They’re not. If Ms Groskop had entitled the piece “18 Things I Will Never Understand About Sex”, I would not take offence. She is entitled to her personal opinion and she’s entitled to share that opinion with anyone she pleases. But by claiming a collective opinion she alienates anyone who might enjoy anything she (not we) can’t understand.

That is a big portion of readers.

Articles like this perpetuate the guilt of sexual exploration, the shame of owning your sexuality and fear of communicating that sexuality to others. Sexual suppression under any circumstances – especially from a magazine with such a large readership – is truly despicable.

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The Truth About Lesbian Bed Death.

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Despite continuous pleas from decent society, a small portion of females insist on conducting sexual relations with each other. This sub-section of the population, commonly known as ‘lesbians’, are subject to very real danger in this life-style choice.

Lesbian Bed Death claims thousands of lives each year. Little is known about this phenomenon, which makes it hard to prevent. Reformed ‘lesbian’ Geneveive* shares her story:

“When I realised I was attracted to ladies, I thought having sex with them would be fun. These urges did scare me but I was still naïve and thought that these feelings were acceptable on some level. I met other ‘lesbians’ and felt accepted into their group. I did not know how dangerous things would get.”

While the socialising of women has become acceptable in modern society, sexual relations between women are widely regarded as immoral, pointless and even unsafe. This can be attributed to the practice involved. ‘Lesbians’ have developed a lethal method of taking turns during sex. This allows the receiver to fully concentrate on achieving the rare state of arousal known as orgasm, while the giver focuses all energy to making up for the distinct lack of cock.

However it is that stiff masculine element which makes a sex both safe and worth doing in the first place. The male ejaculation is natures way of halting sexual relations. Male libido diminishes moments after orgasm and cannot be reclaimed until a decent amount of time has elapsed. During this time, the male may become sleepy; therefore sex must finish with the male orgasm as it cannot continue after.

Scientists have concluded that without a man, it is impossible to tell when sex is complete. In the absence of semen, ‘lesbian sexual activity’ can continue indefinitely. ‘Lesbians’ can sex for hours, days, even months without hiatus. This can have grave consequences.

“When you start going out with another ‘lesbian’ nobody warns you of the dangers. One night my then-girlfriend asked me to have sex with her. Ignorant of the consequences, I was excited to try sex with another woman. We continued through the night, by morning we were still sexing without any signs of stopping. What followed were the most exhausting three days of my life, I thought it would never end. Thankfully my girlfriend was due to have her house rewired on the fourth day. The electrician came to our aid [literally] by ejaculating on our faces. It meant we could finally stop having sex. I was shaken by what had just happened. I broke up with my girlfriend before I even washed my face.”

Genevieve experienced a lucky escape. This episode was the wake up call she needed. She donated her dungarees to her local Oxfam and cancelled her subscription to Diva Magazine. She now lives with her boyfriend Paul*. She experiences regular ten minute sessions of heterosexual sex up to three times a week. “I finally feel normal,” she adds. Unfortunately not all ‘lesbians’ are granted such a happy ending.

“I knew a couple,” Genevieve explains, “they would go to the same carpentry class and visit kitten sanctuaries together. When they started holding hands, it seemed that they would soon progress to sexing. Sure enough, by the end of that month I noticed that they were missing from our local ukulele club meetings.”

The couple had disappeared from their daily lives. Trapped in an endless cycle of female sexual agency, the women had become slaves to their godless lusts. Once ‘lesbian sex’ begins, it can be very tough to stop due to the lack of male ejaculation, loss of libido or post-orgasm nap.

Once the couple’s loved ones realised what was happening, they tried to intervene, with little success. As the women continued to sex, their lives took a turn for the worse.

“They lost their jobs, a lot of people stopped talking to them. I visited weekly and attempted conversation from the other side of the door. It was hard, but I know they appreciated my efforts – I just wish I could have done more for them.”

They continued to sex each other, helped by weekly aid parcels of Duracell batteries and Lucozade from their friends and relatives. Sadly, after five months, the sex became too much for them and they died of starvation, dehydration and RSI.

“At times they didn’t even enjoy it. They longed for the moment a man would arrive and ejaculate on their faces and end their suffering. Sadly that moment, like the man they hoped for, never came.

“I still miss my friends. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of them. It is little consolation that they died experiencing some kind of pleasure, though I know by the end they had regretted ever starting the sex. It’s really all very sad.”

Genevieve has begun a charity for the rehabilitation of exhausted ‘lesbians’ like herself in the UK. Through proper education, Lesbian Bed Death can be dramatically reduced. All sexual contact between women is prohibited and safe practices between ‘lesbians’, such as holding hands and cuddling, are encouraged.

“I appreciate women might find other women attractive – its a symptom of our modern society. If they must act on these impulses, sexing is not the answer. It is always best to just have sex with men.”

Genevieve’s charity has received support from upstanding members of the ‘lesbian’ community. To her relief, this issue is slowly being recognised.

“I just want to make sure nobody has to endure what my friends went through. Exhaustion through having endless sex with a woman is no way to go.”

Genevieve’s book on Lesbian Bed Death, ‘The Lady Killer’ is available on Amazon.

*Names changed to protect identities.

Sex Without Gender.

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I saw this video of a lecture by Zoe Margolis (of Girl With A One Track Mind fame) the other day. Its a great piece on sexism in the publication of erotica. Basically the majority of cover art for erotic writing places the female as the object of desire – even when it is work aimed at heterosexual women. Its not something I would have considered beforehand as a consumer of erotic writing. Then again I am a massive gay so I quite like looking at ladies – but I don’t mind reading about men.

It got me thinking. Marketing erotica to appeal equally to men and women is one thing – but can the work itself be gender-neutral? If the work features characters whose gender is not specified this would create greater scope for the reader to imagine, and for the potential audience. The reader can envisage the scenario described, featuring a pairing which appeals to their sexual orientation.

I decided to give it a bash, the intrepid novice that I am.

The description of form is a large element of erotic writing (body parts, who’s doing what to where on whom etc). Certain, shall we say, attributes which are often a point of focus in erotic writing are a big giveaway of gender. In practice, placing the focus on one participant (either from their point of view or their objectification) can free up the reader’s view of the other participant. For example, if the view is of my/her/his body the person doing anything to that body can remain undefined. The focus is on the body.

I tend to gravitate to narratives featuring control and submission. Therefore the objectification [I use this word in favour of anything less demeaning] of one participant by the other is a significant feature. A neutral pseudonym can remove the gender of either partner as well as using they and them in place of him or her.

I wrote something and gave it to K – my favourite pervert and critic. I asked him to tell me whether it was a male/female pairing or a female/female pairing. He (being a horrible hetero boy – eew boy!) said he imagined male/female, though I wrote it with two women in mind.

Maybe this works, maybe it’s a possibility. I like the idea that your imagination goes further to create your preferred pairing, making the work appeal to a broader spectrum of readers. It is free for your own interpretation, regardless of sexual orientation. I mean this fiction caters to a BDSM audience, but that’s a different matter!

My attempt at gender neutral erotica, Blank, can be found here. Thoughts welcome.

L x

Kids.

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I would like kids one day. I feel there’s a part of my life that would be fulfilled by having children.

I don’t necessarily see being gay is an obstacle. In fact, I’m not obsessed with the idea of physically carrying a child within me. I’d be happy to adopt.

Not even a newborn, I would love to adopt an older child. There’s always a difficulty to find good homes for children. But that sounds great. A child, an actual person. One who already has a fledgling view of the world that I can help to develop into adulthood.

Actually, older still would work. Adopting a teenager would be such a rewarding challenge.

Maybe even someone my own age. We might have things in common. We could share interests.

Actually that would be perfect. I definitely would like to achieve having kids, one my own age would be fantastic.

Oh.

Hang on.

Sorry.

I don’t mean children do I?

Friends.

I would like friends.

#alone