Sometimes it’s easier to be a lesbian in real life than it is to read a book about them. Real life is full of distractions that can dull the sharpness of what’s going on. If you’re at a party or a bar, there’s alcohol (there’s a reason for the long history of gay bars). There are other people; there are the daily demands of living your life. And we human beings are really good at ignoring stuff that makes us uncomfortable.

Reading, I think, is one of the most intimate forms of communication there is — even more than film or TV. A book’s words are in your head. While you’re reading that book, you become that book. It makes total sense to me that if you didn’t grow up seeing people like you everywhere, reading about someone like you can be an overwhelming experience. You’ve been conditioned to not see yourself. Seeing yourself turns your world upside down, and while it can be exciting and affirming, it can also be deeply disorienting and scary.

Malinda Lo
The Invisible Lesbian in Young Adult Fiction

“My wildest fantasy involves dominating a man and a woman at the same time in a cuckolding scenario. I love thinking about humiliating a man by making his wife orgasm over and over. My straight woman friends seem like they can never find a partner who does them right, especially in our age range. I always feel kind of bad because lesbian sex has always been so explosively satisfying for me and I get such an ego boost from eating a girl out until she’s shaking. I love it so much, I could do it all day. When a friend tells me that some guy just got his and didn’t return the favour or she faked it, I get competitive. I love women, I want to show them how good sex can be. I do think about tying the boys up and seducing their girlfriends. Throw in some edging, like a hand job/blow job where he doesn’t get to orgasm, and then go back to her and finger her and eat her out. Maybe she’s talking about how she’s never had it this good before. All the better if he’s also sickly enjoying this.”

— Ashley, 25

Carina Hsieh
Women on Their Hottest Sexual Fantasy

Recreation

December 27, 2019

Coming together
it is easier to work
after our bodies
meet
paper and pen
neither care nor profit
whether we write or not
but as your body moves
under my hands
charged and waiting
we cut the leash
you create me against your thighs
hilly with images
moving through our word countries
my body
writes into your flesh
the poem
you make of me.

Touching you I catch midnight
as moon fires set in my throat
I love you flesh into blossom
I made you
and take you made
into me.

Audre Lorde

Abstinence

December 21, 2019

 

While barefoot for the MRI, to establish the cold chance of pregnancy the doctor asks —
are you sexually active?

I say Yes. Then —
no.
Sorry, no,
not with a man.

She frowns, form dangling —
I don’t follow.

Breath —
not active with a man.

She touches pen to page,
lifts it.

I draw in all the air —
Same-sex partner.

She stares, nods.
Smiles —
I’m unclear what to put down.

Oh —
no.
Just write no.
Shaking my head to
clarify the negative.

We stand in wide silence
for a full minute.

She asks —
What if I just write abstaining,
is that appropriate?

My face pinches a smile,
molasses-veil embarrassment.
Backless paper gown gripped
almost shut
with one hand —
the other splayed on my face
like an octopus
constringitur in morte —
but I think abstinence suggests
self-imposed restraint?

She smiles,
Writes —
abstaining
in small, neat letters.

Dawn Watson

Playing the Husband

November 25, 2019

When you were the husband, you kissed up my back,
lips cresting each ridge of spine. When I was the husband,

I traced your name—the only poem I knew—
with pointer finger, then tongue, in the small frame

your shoulder blades made. When you were the husband,
I lay flat on my back and closed my eyes. When I closed

my eyes, the room didn’t smell like musty blankets, damp
weather, strawberry shampoo. When you were the husband,

I couldn’t be the husband. When you were the wife,
I wanted to be the wife. When you licked my wrist,

I imagined I was someplace I wasn’t supposed to be.
When I was the wife, I never asked how you learned to be

the husband; the wife doesn’t ask questions. When you
taught me how to be the husband, you instructed through

touch. The room always dark. Hold me like this. We didn’t
call it anything. When we stripped down to underwear,

I had this extra gene called inhibition. Once, when you
were the husband, I told you to stop. No one taught me

to be the wife. You never cried. You never wanted me
to stop. We slept like two spoons tossed in a drawer.

Emari DiGiorgio

Streetlights

November 25, 2019

The first night we spent together in the new town,
our bed faced three half-shut windows looking east.
She wanted the sun to be our alarm clock,
and I wanted to sleep through the darkness.
At 2 a.m. she ripped back the sheets, sitting up next to me
as my sobs furnished the corners of our room.
Where are the streetlights? I cried, through teeth
clenched like picket fences and eyes held shut.
This town is too midnight, too quiet, too unhome.
In the city, the only silence comes before a storm
when stray cats bunk down in dumpsters and pigeons
steal away to their rooftops alone.
Even then, in thunder, there is the ever-present glow
of streetlights, of headlights, of the lights in homes
too terrified to turn off, for fear they’ll never come back on.
This town is no city, I whispered into her neck,
shuffling with me from room to room,
flipping each switch so our house became home,
buzzing like the cheap fluorescent heat I always knew.
We’ll look at nightlights tomorrow, she whispered in my ear,
leading me by the hands back to bed.

Darcy Vines

Cowboy

November 17, 2019

An old cowboy sat down at the Starbucks and ordered a cup of coffee. As he sat sipping his coffee, a young woman sat down next to him. She turned to the cowboy and asked, Are you a real cowboy? He replied well, I’ve spent my whole life breaking colts, working cows, going to rodeos, fixing fences, pulling calves, bailing hay, doctoring calves, cleaning my barn, fixing flats, working on tractors, and feeding my dogs, so I guess I am a cowboy…She said, ‘I’m a lesbian.  I spend my whole day thinking about naked women.  As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about naked women. When I shower, I think about naked women. When I watch TV, I think about naked women. It seems everything makes me think of naked women. The two sat sipping in silence. A little while later, a man sat down on the other side of the old cowboy and asked, are you a real cowboy?’ He replied, I always thought I was, but I just found out I’m a lesbian.

I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap.  But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this — But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don’t really resent it.

Vita Sackville-West
The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf

bring them back to life

October 15, 2019

Don’t look too long at dead serpents. For dead serpents revive under the gaze of those who love them. The witching eyes of Lilith bring them back to life, just like moonlight animates stagnant waters. They love the moon, because she is as cruel as they are. They adore that insidious light.

Renée Vivien
A Woman Appeared To Me
trans. Jeanette H. Foster,

You are trapped in my web, an unsuspecting victim. Doomed now, are you, to melancholic servitude for life: I will force you to lick my most secret places; you will exist on the borderless threnodies of my darkest desires, feeding on my intimate secretions, more juicier than any papaya – and you will be like an animal skinning itself in reverse: you will swallow my juices – all my juices – your sex throbbing with its own crazy pulse, never to be satisfied. Lost in the carnal and divine of my pale body – my fleshy witch body.

As to writing. What I have to say, I must say: simply to get it out. After 4 hours trying, whether it’s failed or not, one is physically and mentally exhausted. I mean it. All I want to do is creep into bed, notably after failure. Also one cannot think coherently of anything else. It eats away in the brain, a ceaseless conversation with oneself. The smallest chore is horrendous to get through. People do not stimulate; they exhaust.

Martha Gellhorn,
letter to Betsy Drake featured in Martha Gellhorn Selected Letters