daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • FEBRUARY 01, 2023

Ring in the New Year with our 2023 New Year's Special Issue!

To be queer or not to be

article image

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

JULY 12, 2022

The first time I had sex with a woman, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

It wasn’t that she was doing anything wrong. Quite the opposite — she knew I was inexperienced in this realm, and did her best to make me feel comfortable. And I did feel comfortable with her. I just didn’t want to fuck her.

Even though she was the first woman I had slept with, this feeling — this lack of desire — was nothing new. Before I had met her, I had repeated the same pattern for the past couple of years: I would go out on a handful of dates with a woman, but then bail before we could make it to the bedroom.

I could never figure out why, because the initial dates would be great, filled with cute moments and hours spent cuddling and making out. But as soon as the possibility of sex came up, I felt hesitant, and always gave an excuse as to why we shouldn’t continue to see each other.

I wondered if my lack of experience was the reason why I didn’t want to sleep with any of these women. After all, I had already spent years having sex with cisgender men — what if I was simply nervous about sleeping with a woman? Perhaps what I was feeling was not an actual lack of chemistry, but instead just performance anxiety.

I decided the only way to find out was to actually have sex with a woman, and get that nerve-wracking first time over with.

As it turned out, I was happy when we finished having sex that first time — not because I had gained any confidence, but because I was relieved that we could finally put our clothes on and go back to cuddling.

We kept sleeping together, and I hoped that my feelings would change. They didn’t. We eventually broke up, and I tried sleeping with other women, but nothing changed. No matter how attractive I thought they were, my problem remained — I wanted to kiss them, but I had no desire to rip their clothes off.

Oh god, I thought. What if I’m actually straight? This thought — that I might have been wrong in claiming “queer” as an identity — haunted me.

My luck finally changed when I ducked into a queer bar during a solo road trip. I wasn’t looking for anything more than light flirtation; I was only passing through for a night, and I’ve never been a fan of one-night stands.

I spent the night flirting without commitment, but there was one woman who kept pursuing me. She didn’t seem like my usual type, but I was recently off of a painful break-up, and the attention felt good. When she asked if she could kiss me, I said yes.

The first few kisses were gentle — and then they weren’t. She pushed me against the wall, fingers entwined in my hair, pulling hard. When she kissed her way down my neck, little bites were interspersed. This is what I’ve been missing, I thought. I actually want to fuck this woman.

In that moment, it suddenly clicked. I had long ago realized that I needed kink when it came to having sex with men, and that I wasn’t interested in solely vanilla experiences. I may have been romantically attracted to most women — wanting to go out on dates, to kiss and hold hands — but when it came to sex, regardless of gender, I wanted someone who would be in control. 

When I woke up the next morning, I felt reassured, secure in the knowledge that I was definitely not straight. I had finally solved the mystery that had plagued me for years. Now, the only challenge was finding femme folks that I was compatible with.

My knowledge of what I wanted didn’t translate into an abundance of dates; instead, the opposite occurred. By adding “kinky” to the mix of what I was already looking for — queer, non-hierarchal polyamorous women — my potential pool of partners dwindled even further.

I had temporarily given up when Pride Month rolled around; and with it, an opportunity for a one-time fling with a gorgeous woman I had been crushing on. The circumstances — she had mentioned that she was switchy, and we would see each other on my birthday — were enough to override my usual aversion to one-time encounters.

What the hell, I thought. This should set a queer, kinky vibe for the year.

My birthday came, and so did I — with one of her hands lightly wrapped around my throat, and the other leaving fingernail marks I would find for days after.

It wasn’t perfect. I was still clumsy in bed, still unsure when confronted with a body that was not that of a cisgender man. But as awkward as I was, it far surpassed all of my previous queer experiences. I was fully immersed in the moment, letting her take control.

I didn’t look forward to the moment we’d have to put our clothes back on, and go our separate ways; I would have been content to stay in that bed forever. Instead of waiting for it to be over, I wished — her fingers inside of me, unprintable things whispered in my ear — that it would never end.

Rachel Musselwhite writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter
LAST UPDATED

JULY 12, 2022


Related Articles

featured article
He was close with a lot of his neighbors — the skin on skin type of close — as were many of us, both recipients and givers of the “welcome to the neighborhood” gift of fucking.
He was close with a lot of his neighbors — the skin on skin type of close — as were many of us, both recipients and givers of the “welcome to the neighborhood” gift of fucking.
featured article
featured article
When people tell me that they think Halloween is a peculiar date for an anniversary, I think I’ll start responding by saying: “Is it really?”
When people tell me that they think Halloween is a peculiar date for an anniversary, I think I’ll start responding by saying: “Is it really?”
featured article
featured article
She said to me, “You are my home,” and we cried until we couldn’t tell the chlorinated water apart from the tears streaming down our faces.
She said to me, “You are my home,” and we cried until we couldn’t tell the chlorinated water apart from the tears streaming down our faces.
featured article