Diana Cage

Category: sexuality

Eros the Bittersweet

I asked my gf to talk to me about the erotic and she handed me Anne Carson’s Eros the Bittersweet. It was perfect, actually, and allowed me to think about the erotic as a combination of love and frustration, something I wouldn’t have gotten to on my own because I hate to be frustrated.

The title is a reference to Sappho, who called eros bitter sweet. Despite a long career in lesbian letters, I’d neglected to read Sappho or even learn anything about her at all until Em first read her aloud to me during one of our early dates at the Brooklyn library. As luck (or the Dewey Decimal System) would have it, the Russians (my fave) and Greeks (hers) were in the same aisle on opposing shelves. It was perfect, we spent the afternoon trying to seduce the other through our favorite authors. Continue reading

Is it Sex?

I like when lovers write to me. Not love letters, those are usually terrible. I like to look at four-letter-words and know that someone was thinking about me as they were writing them. Reading is a sex act. Think about it: it’s an exchange of arousal, of fluids (ink) between writer and reader. Because of the impossibility of representing physical sensation in language, a writer creates a new type of sensation. And the reader gets off on it, is immersed in it actually. It’s no less a sex act than covering naked girls in cake batter at Splosh parties. Continue reading

Beyond Vajazzling

Vajazzling, which is just bedazzling your vag with stick-on Swarovski crystals, is a suddenly popular addition to the lexicon thanks to Jennifer Love Hewitt’s recent overshare.

Vajazzling, sure, fine, whatever. I can’t think of anything terrible about wanting your “special lady” (Jennifer Love Hewitt’s words, not mine) to shine like a disco ball. The only weird part is her anthropomorphizing a body part with the “special lady” label. It’s not a lady. It’s part of a lady.

There’s something vaguely disturbing about disconnecting yourself from your female parts in that way; like when women name their tits or refer to them as “The Girls.”

Limbs don’t get that sort of treatment. You’d sound insane if you went around suggesting your leg or elbow or spleen was an autonomous creature. I get the same shiver when I hear someone refer to themselves in the third person. It’s as if that person isn’t occupying their body. First you’re pretending your body parts have their own personalities, next you are getting commands from the toaster. It’s a slippery slope, people. Continue reading

Is Poly Dead?

Last week there was a missed connection ad posted on Craigslist that was clearly meant for my girlfriend. Something about “you were the hott butch (sic) and I was the femme in the white tank top, we shared a smoke.” It goes on to suggest that they might run into each other again, and it lists a few places that my special lady friend frequents, which gives it a nice stalkerish touch. There’s no mention of passionate snogging outside the club, which is probably why my darling didn’t mention this friendly little tete a tete. And regardless, there’s really no reason for me to get my panties in a bunch. Extra curricular activity is totally sanctioned within the tenets of our relationship. We are, as they say, a polyamorous couple. Sorta kinda.

“I’m only interested in dating other people because you say I should,” explains my rather put-upon girlfriend. “We have enough trouble just dealing with all of our ex girlfriends, I can’t imagine adding another current one,” Anne says adds as she rolls her eyes.

The thing is, it’s not that I actually want to have multiple partners, it’s that I really hate rules. If I see a rule, I want to break it. And if you forbid me to sleep with someone, that person becomes irresistible. And the more I think about it in this manner, the more I start to wonder; is poly just another word for slutty?

“You have no boundaries,” I was recently told by my friend M. This is coming from a woman who lives in an ongoing triad relationship and runs pansexual sex clubs.

I do have some; they are just different than other peoples. For instance, I think much like Aloha, French kissing is a perfect way to say hello or good-bye. Or as my ex put it, “Making out is just like hugging, but with tongue.”

“Can Danielle come home with us and watch us have sex?” I asked my lady one night when we’d just started dating. Danielle is one of my closest friends, and it seemed like a nice way to get her and my girlfriend to be comfortable around each other. It’s so much cozier than brunch. “Are you serious?” stammered Anne, which I assumed meant no.

It used to be that everyone around me agreed making out was good sport. All my friend’s relationships were fluid and filled with casual hook ups. But gradually everyone around me paired up and settled down. No one ever wants to go to the sex club with me these days. They all want to stay home and experiment with new recipes. “I’m too tired to be poly anymore,“ said D when I asked about her relationship recently.

I just read an article about these trendy high school kids in New York that are into getting together in big groups and rolling around on each other affectionately, kind of like giant pandas. They hook up into little groups of two or three and fool around with no worry about couple loyalty or sexual orientation. “I totally relate to that!” I said as I showed the article to my roommate. “Except those kids are too young to drink and you’re in your thirties,” he replied.”

“Getting it on with everyone is only ok if you are totally single, it doesn’t work when you have a partner,” says Adian, a former boy toy turned serious boyfriend.

“But I thought you wanted to be in an open relationship?” I said to him.

“Not anymore. That was just the first few weeks. I don’t want to watch Steven make out with lots of guys. If for no other reason than it’s unhygienic.”

“Doing it with more than one person is way too hard,” says Melissa, one of my oldest friends. Melissa and I fooled around a few times about a million years ago, back in the day when we were both just bi-curious, or “bi now, gay later” as I’ve heard it called. In fact, we didn’t just fool around with each other; we fooled around with each other, and each other’s friends, girlfriends. Sometimes all at once. But now she’s happily partnered up and living in the suburbs with her girlfriend, their dog, and cat. “Just thinking about having an open relationship exhausts me. I’m definitely too old to be polyamorous,” she says.

“It does seem like a perfect way to live, you know, everyone just trusts everyone and learns to work on their jealousy and possessive shit, “ says Jennie, a formerly poly friend of mine with a graphic design business. “But I work so much I don’t really have time for it now.” And then she adds the final blow, “Maybe what you need is a real job.”

 

Sex and Money

Dating someone who makes radically more than me screws up my sense of equilibrium. I’m afraid the balance of power swings in their favor. Or I’ll feel like I need to keep up, and I’m not sure what’s worse.

My friend Lisa is seeing a woman who makes tons of money. Her girlfriend has very expensive taste and I’ve noticed that suddenly Lisa does too. I don’t know where she is getting the cash to go out every night. But I know the highly paid girlfriend isn’t doing all the paying. I think Lisa would rather charge up her credit cards than admit that she can’t afford the things her lady wants to do.

I was talking about the money thing with my friend Dave the other night and we decided to invite our homo friends over for a round table discussion about the income parity thing. We got a pretty mixed bag of responses as you can read below.

Dana, a 30ish financial analyst in a land of dykes with coffee shop jobs said, “I am not used to hanging out with people who make a lot of money, so I basically just pay for everything. I like treating.”

But there’s a fine line between picking up the check because you like treating, and paying because you want to be the one in charge. So if someone does all the paying, does that mean they have expectations?

“My ex girlfriend really resented the fact that I had more. She was so broke all the time. If we did anything I had to pay. And when we broke up, I felt very used.” Said Val, who routinely dates girls with less money than her.

“I’ve definitely dated girls who expected me to pay for everything because I make more,” agreed Dana. “On first dates I’ll choose somewhere cheap so my date can split the check with me. I don’t want to set up expectations. Also, I think it’s important to not pay for things until you have had sex.” I yelled at her for saying that. In fact, I’m not even sure I get why she thinks that. But she stood by it.

“Most of the time I think the income gap works out for both parties. If you are the poorer one, you get a sugar momma. And if you have the money, your partner is eating out of the palm of your hand,” says Val.

“You worry too much about this stuff,” said Laura, who is usually broke. A couple of weeks ago she went on a date with a model. “I thought she was just some tall, skinny girl when she asked me out. I didn’t realize she was loaded till she picked me up in a limo.”

“But you slept with her at the end of your date, didn’t you?” I reminded her.

“Well yeah, I thought she was going to drop me off, but at the end of the night she asked if she could use my bathroom. And when she came out she was naked.”

“So you slept with her because she spent so much money on you, right?”

“No, says Laura, “I just wanted to do it with a model,”

Women and Recession

March is Women’s History Month, a time when we’re encouraged to look back and acknowledge the important contributions women have made to society throughout history. Which is a fine activity and all, but it doesn’t do much in terms of alleviating the burden that systematic discrimination has put on us over the years.

This recession is impacting women especially. There’s a lot of conflicting information to dig through–the first reports claimed that men were losing jobs at higher rates than women, due to the high rates of job losses in construction and manufacturing, two fields that are largely male dominated. As job losses in those sectors continue some researchers have even speculated that women may eventually make up a greater percentage of the overall workforce. That sounds like positive thing until you take into account that even if more women remain employed they are still earning far less than men overall.

Consider for a moment that in California 68 percent of minimum wage workers are female, there are more female than male borrowers holding sub-prime mortgages, and women and children in developing countries are being hit harder by higher food prices and the slowdown in markets for exports. This recession is killing women. We’re poised to make up a larger percentage of the workforce but only in lower paying occupations.

The path to true economic equality is radical change that starts with the way we view gender and how we raise our children. For years studies have shown that boys and girls are encouraged differently in elementary school. Boys are encouraged to be more aggressive in class, are called upon more often and are challenged by teachers in ways that girls are not. Boys are praised for speaking up; girls are praised for having nice penmanship and manners. This disparity in earning potential is something we start setting up our kids for from day one.

Read the rest here

Recession Sex

There’s so much going on with anger over the AIG bailout–Suze Orman just said Bush should give every cent he owns to the American People—Go Suze! The news is all money, money, money. I will admit to enjoying an issue of The Economist with the same fervor I used to have for Vogue and that I’d rather write about political news and money woes than anything else. But now I’m starting to feel like everyone has forgotten about sex. It’s like they’ve forgotten it even exists. They’ve certainly forgotten to have any. Studies show that recessions hurt marriages because couples argue too much about money to have sex. The recession hit and all straight people became sex-negative. Have you seen Café Flesh, the cult porn flick from the eighties? It’s about a post-apocalyptic society where people are either sex negative or sex positive and the sex negatives can’t even think about sex without suffering horrible psychological torment. There’s an allegory in there for straight vs. queer America.

According to a poll in The Daily Beast, 35% of Americans are less likely to go on dates this year and 39% plan to spend less when they do go on dates. Obviously dating is arena where lesbians have a thing or two to teach straight couples. These poor dateless people would be so much happier if they dated like we do; invite your girl over to split a bottle of pinot grigio and watch a CSI marathon and then spend all night banging on the couch. Hello? That’s a perfectly fantastic 15-dollar date; maybe 30 bucks if you order a pizza.

As far as I can tell nothing stops lesbians from having sex.  We’re still getting it on because we’re all unemployed and sex is free. We love to do free things. We love pay-what-you-can night at the museums, standing room opera tickets, potlucks and all sorts of other cheap things. And sex is the cheapest of all cheap things to do.

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