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Serious Business

Name: Lola
Gender: Female
Age: 37
Location: Tennessee
I have been married for 13 years. We have had a pretty healthy, fulfilling sex life. My husband does not like to admit to his insecurities but i think he has some insecurity about his penis size and lately, his problem with not lasting very long. He has developed an obsession with stretching my vagina and pulling my labia. He knows i don’t like it. The other night, he introduces a dildo he has secretly purchased. I have enjoyed dildos, even larger ones, in the past, but this one was ridiculously too big. It was over 12″ long and the circumference was as big as a baseball bat. I told him that it was hurting and that it was impossible. He forced it in me. I was crying in pain and he tells me later that he hasn’t been that aroused in years. I am hurt. It hurt me physically, i bled a little, but it hurts more emotionally. What do you think is wrong with him? He has never hit me or been abusive with me, in the past.

Jeez darlin’, that’s fucked…big time.womanlooksdown.jpgHere’s the thing about men who have sexual insecurities. They can, and often do, project their perceived inadequacies outside of themselves and then act out. And almost always this projection and acting out is aggressive and abusive. (Unless he’s just spending his money on a pimped out Hummer to compensate for his little dick.) Either way, it’s not pretty.

I suppose you know what we’re talkin’ about here, right Lola? It’s sexual assault. I mean let’s not mince words. Your husband assaulted you. It was premeditated and worst of all he took pleasure in it. This is extremely disturbing, because, despite his non-aggressive past, he has just upped the ante exponentially. You know what they say about domesticated animals that inexplicably develop an aggressive steak. Once they get a taste for blood there’s no turning back.

I think your old man has severe anger issues. Issues that if left untreated will…not maybe, but absolutely will…escalate into more aggressive and abusive behavior. Your guy needs help. He needs to know that he stands on a precipice. He is developing a cognitive and affective connection between violence and pleasure and this is very dangerous for all involved, especially you, Lolaabuse_1.jpg.

You don’t mention any remorse he may have had about this assault. This too is disturbing. Since you can’t precisely pinpoint the cause of his acting out, you’ll never really know when you’re safe and when you’re not. I encourage you not to treat this lightly. Confront him about this. Make it clear to him that he has violated the bond of trust between the two of you. He may try and shift the blame for this incident to you. But remember, you’re not at fault. Insist that he seek professional help immediately. Anything short of him doing that will nullify your relationship.

No waffling on this, Lola! You do not want him to get the message that this incident can be winked at or overlooked. Your wellbeing hangs in the balance.All unwanted, forced, manipulated, or coerced sexual contact or activity is sexual assault. Sexual assault is not about sex, eroticism or desire; it is about power, control and abuse.

Name: JIM
Gender:
Age: 30
Location: WASHINGTON,USA
I’m uncircumcised with about 1 inch of foreskin overhang. I have never seen another man with any longer hood. I get a lot of smegma build up after a day of sweating and pissing and by the end of the day I can smell my ripe hooded cock, is this normal to get so much build up?

Everybody’s body is different. The length of your foreskin may not be the only thing that distinguishes you from everybody else. Some people, and you may be one of them, have overactive glands that can contribute to distinctive body odors. This is a holdover from our pre-human ancestors. In the animal kingdom, strong odors signify virility and definitely contribute mating success. Things are quite different nowadays. Strong body odor suggests poor hygiene rather than virility and it will absolutely sabotage mating success.

Problem odor is most often associated with the musky areas of the human body —phimot4.jpg underarms, crotch and feet. But some people have problem odors in their mouth, sinuses and scalp. Sometimes these problem odors are associated with an infection or another health concern. But generally speaking, strong body odor is associated with inadequate hygiene.

Uncut men need to pay particular attention to cleaning their cock. If you’re not careful to completely retract your heavy hood when you shower or bathe everyday you will have a problem with odor. Poor hygiene can also contribute to something more serious like phimosis. The popular wisdom about cleaning under your foreskin is that soap is unnecessary. A full rinsing with warm water should be sufficient. If you need soap, use a very mild, hypoallergenic soap for this delicate area. Ether way, fully retracting your foreskin is essential. I’d also encourage you to retract your foreskin when you take a leak. That way you won’t have that pissy smell.

Finally, there is an awful lot of evidence that shows a direct connection between one’s diet and one’s personal odor. If you continue to have a problem avoid refined sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oils and other processed foods. Cut back on red meat consumption, alcohol and caffeine. A diet high in fiber, one that has lots of whole grains, leafy vegetables, sprouts, fresh fruits, soy products, raw nuts is your best bet for regaining a more acceptable smell.

Name: Karen
Gender: Female
Age: 36
Location: Portland
I have a really big problem. I can’t keep a girlfriend because once I’m in a committed relationship I lose my desire for sex. I don’t mean it slacks off; it just totally stops. I’ve always been this way. I can have casual sex with women, but when things get serious sex goes out the window. This has been the demise of every relationship I’ve ever had. I’m currently dating this really great woman, but I’m afraid my problem will drive her away too. Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?

Whoops, looks like another case of dreaded LBD…Lesbian Bed Death.

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Ya know it’s pretty common for lovers in long-term relationships to gradually lose interest in sex with each other. But lesbiterians are particularly susceptible to this malady. Some couples, but lesbians in particular, end all sexual expression between them; yet stay very committed and loving toward each other. Thus the somewhat humorous term, “lesbian bed death.”You Karen, apparently suffer from a particularly nasty case of LBD.

May I ask, is this an issue for you because, and only because, it kills off all your relationships way too soon? Or are you concerned about this because you, yourself, are uneasy about the complete cessation of sex once you nest? The reason I ask is, if the only reason for changing is to please someone else, even someone you like a lot, the likelihood that you will actually change is considerably less than if you, yourself, desire the change.

lesbians0.jpgLet’s say you really want to change for yourself, but you just don’t know how. I’d advise working with a sex positive therapist. If you and I were working together, for example, I’d want to get to the bottom of what triggers your attitude shift toward sex when you nest. Is there some disconnect for you between sex and intimacy? If there is a disconnect for you, you’re not alone. People with self-esteem issues, or body issues, people with extreme scruples about sex, the kind that translates into guilt and shame often have a similar disconnect. And gay and lesbian people who have not resolved their internalized homophobia will frequently have a sex and intimacy rift.

Sound familiar? I would guess so. Reversing this unhappy trend is not an insurmountable task. But it will take a concerted effort to heal the divide that you may have between your sexual expression and intimacy needs.

You say you’re met this really great woman and you want this relationship to last. FANTASTIC! Is it safe to assume that she has a healthier appreciation of sex then you? If she does, I suggest you engage her in your healing process. However, you gotta be totally up front with her about your past pattern of disconnect. Marshal her sex-positive energy to help you resolve your issues. She will need a heads-up on the impending sex shut down though, so she can help you resist it. With her help, the two of you could move through this together.

Name: Wayne
Gender:
Age: 26
Location: Philadelphia
Hey Dr. Dick I have a little issue that has stumped me, my doctor, and numerous urologists. I figure there’s no harm in asking one more person. I have never, not once, been able to cum normally. (I suppose there is a normal way, considering every other guy I’ve ever met has been able to do it that way.) The only way I have ever achieved orgasm is by laying on my stomach, putting pressure with a slightly closed fist on the spot where my dick meets the rest of my body, and sliding back and forth. Weird aside — this was a way to lift myself up off the floor and “fly” as a young kid, then one day I found out that it was pleasurable. I know- weird little boy. But this is anonymous, right. Anyway, fast forward to my twenties and becoming sexually active and now I have a concern. I want to be able to cum by having intercourse or just jacking off. But I’ve never been able to. I can come very close, but the deal just doesn’t happen. (Never have a problem getting hard.) Any thoughts? Thanks for your time. Wayne

Interesting masturbation technique you got there, my friend. While it is indeed unique, it is not the most distinctive style I’ve even encountered in my career. Someday I oughta write a book.36.bmpWhat’s most amazing to me about what you write here is that this predicament of yours has stumped all the physicians you’ve consulted. I suppose that says volumes about how informed most medical doctors are about human sexuality.

Simply put, Wayne, over the years you’ve habituated your body to respond pleasurably to a particular stimulus. Ever hear of Pavlov’s dogs? Right! What we have here is exactly the same thing, only completely different. 😉 You apply the stimulus — laying on your stomach, putting pressure with a slightly closed fist on the spot where your dick meets the rest of your body, and sliding back and forth. And your body responds with an orgasm.

Most all of us, both female and male, discover the joy of self-pleasuring accidentally. Your first encounter with masturbation, although you probably didn’t know that’s what it was called at the time, was through your boyhood attempts to fly. And fly you did! As you suggest, most other people discover self-pleasuring in a more conventional way, through touch. Thus the more “normal” — and I use that word in quotes — means of getting one’s self off is manually.33.bmp

Your unique style of self-pleasuring is completely benign, but it doesn’t really lend itself to partnered sex, as you say. I mean, how awkward would fucking be if you had to get off your partner and on to the floor to cum? So is there a solution? Sure there is. And it’s not a particularly difficult nut to crack…so to speak.

Let me tell you about a former client of mine. He was about your age when we met several years ago. He presented a similar concern to yours. He learned to masturbate in the same position as you, lying on your stomach, but he got off by humping a pillow in that position. Try as he might, he never was able to get off any other way. This was driving him crazy. He couldn’t date anyone, because he was too embarrassed about the whole pillow thing.

Over the next 4 or 5 weeks I helped my client learn a new way of self-pleasuring that would lend itself to happy partnered sex. The object was to rid himself of the need for the pillow altogether and we did this in incremental steps. Luckily, my client was a horny little bugger. He masturbated at least twice a day, sometimes even more frequently. I decided to use his natural horniness as part of the intervention.

My client had to promise me that he wouldn’t masturbate in his traditional way for one full week, absolutely no pillow sex for an entire 7-day period. If he failed to keep his promise, he would have to start all over from day one. At first he couldn’t see the purpose in this moratorium, but I insisted. By the time I saw him next, the poor boy had blue balls for days. So he was primed and ready to go. His next exercise was to change position for his first masturbation after the weeklong moratorium. He could masturbate with his pillow, but he had to lie on his back. He was not permitted to roll over on to his stomach. This wasn’t immediately successful, but his pent-up sexual energy finally carried the day and he got off in the first new position — on his back — since he learned to masturbate.

I gave him a new exercise the following week. While on his back, he could use the pillow35.bmp to rub himself, but only to the point where he was about to cum. At that point, he was to put the pillow aside and finish himself off with his hand. This was only slightly more difficult than the previous exercise. And within two attempts he finally got himself off with his hand for the first time in his life. The rest of his therapeutic intervention was simply following this behavior modification course of action till he didn’t need the pillow at all.

I assume you see where I’m going with this, Wayne, right? You could do this same sort of intervention on your own to learn a new and more traditional way of masturbating, but you’d probably have more success working with a qualified sex therapist.

The firm desire to change a behavior or habit is the most important aspect of the process of change. Second is denying yourself the convenient and habitual stimulus — in your case, your flying masturbation style. This will drive you to find a replacement means of getting off — a more traditional manual style. Weaning yourself off one style of masturbation incrementally till you are successful in replacing that style with another is the most efficient means of behavior change. I encourage you to give it a try.

Good luck ya’ll

He Knows Me; He knows Me Not

SEX! — We have a finite number of erogenous zones, but an infinite number of ways and means of stimulating them. INTIMACY! — We have a finite number of needs, but an infinite number of ways and means of satisfying them.

Sex is one a way of expressing intimacy and intimacy can give meaning to sex. Simple, right? As if! When sex and intimacy collide, confusion, disappointment and frustration abound.

Doc,I really have a serious problem. I can have sex all day long — women, men, whatever ya got — not a problem. And I think I’m really good at it too. That is until there’s hugging and kissing. Again, — women, men, whatever ya got — big problem. I don’t mind a quick hug or embrace, or a fleeting kiss, but anything more than that and I just freeze up. I can’t seem to relax inside myself while in another’s embrace. I am 39 and worry about dying alone and forgotten, because I can’t let myself get close to someone long enough to fall in love. I know this sounds foolish, but I have never even slept with another person, like after sex, in my whole life. What’s wrong with me?   — Frozen

Wanna know what’s wrong with you, Frozen? Easy! You’re a human, that’s what’sbrutos4235.jpg wrong with you! You are exhibiting a very human characteristic, a fear of intimacy, albeit a rather severe case of it indeed.

Many people are able to perform sexually, while having difficulty with intimacy. When I see such a person in my therapy practice, I help my client overcome this rift by encouraging him to gradually increase the amount of intimacy he is comfortable with every sexual encounter. It’s a simple behavior modification thing.

So, I suggest that you hold an embrace a minute or two longer each time you are embraced, taking the intimacy a bit deeper than you did the time before. The same goes for kissing — hold a kiss for a few moments longer, or kiss a little deeper each time a kiss is offered. You’ll have to concentrate and make a concerted effort, because this is unfamiliar territory for you. But you have a really strong motivation; you don’t want to be sad and alone. I think you’ll find that you will be rewarded handsomely with everything you invest in this exercise.

A good potion of any fear is what we talk ourselves into about the feared thing. Sure, there may be a traumatic event at the source of some of our fears. But even if there is, we have the capacity to move through the remembrance, let go of the trauma and move on with life.You’ve been living with this phobia for a long time, Frozen. It’s become second nature for you. As you apply yourself to overcoming your dread of intimacy, have some compassion for yourself. Know this will take time. In fact, it’ll be the work of a lifetime.

My advice to you is to set a goal for yourself. Try to turn some of this aversion to intimacy around. Give yourself say 6 or 8 weeks to make this happen. Start out with baby steps, but don’t hesitate to stretch and challenge yourself. Let your partner(s) know that you are working on something important. Ask for his (their) help and patience. You’ll be able to overcome your hesitancy even sooner with the help and encouragement of others. Ask for feedback on your progress.

Keep at it till you are comfortable cuddling in someone’s arms for an hour or till you can kiss someone passionately without wanting to pull away. Celebrate the fullness of your personhood; don’t just settle for bumping parts.

Good luck

Dear Dr. Dick,I could sure use you some advice on how to find Mr. Right! Can you help? Here’s the thing, I only meet guys that want sex….they objectify me and just think about their own needs. I’m sick of it. I’m including a link to my online profile and photos of myself so you can judge for yourself.Where can I go to meet someone that believes sex is mutual?    — Why Not Take All of Me

Are you trying to tell me that someone as delicious as you is having trouble connecting with quality people? If so, what chance is there for us mere mortals?

Listen, I don’t mean to be flippant. It’s just that looking at your photos and reading your profile, you sound like a dream. Of course, maybe that’s the problem.brutos3046.jpgI’m not sure asking me, or anyone else for that matter, how YOU should go about finding Mr Right is the correct way to go. The reason being, there’s a different Mr Right for everyone. For some, Mr Right is no more than a pretty face, stiff dick and a supple ass.

Your needs appear more complex. One thing for sure, if you are looking for the perfect match for YOU, integrity and authenticity are preeminent. Don’t settle for less than what you want.That being said, you might begin by reassessing how you present yourself online. If the images you post suggest sex, that’s what you will attract. I mean come on — all those eye-popping nude full body shots of yourself; the close-up of your dripping hardon; your ass backed up to the camera lens like that, so that everyone and his mother can see where the sun don’t shine. And your profile, it proudly proclaims, “power bottom extraordinaire.” — Trust me, darlin’, none of this invites anyone to take you seriously for the dignified, well-rounded person you claim to be.

Finding Mr Right, is difficult at any stage of life. While you sound like a decent enough guy, you are no longer a youth. This time of life presents it’s own unique challenges. Are you carrying lots of personal baggage that may be off-putting to potential partners? I see that a lot in my more mature clients. They are too set in their ways to really enjoy the spontaneity of a new relationship.Lots to consider, huh?

Good luck

Dear Dr. Dick,  I have recently been going out with this great guy. He’s had three long-term relationships in the last 10 years or so. He says that with each one, when they met, he felt a “spark.” (I guess he means the spark of attraction, or passion.) But each of his relationships came to a crashing end.Anyway, this guy and I have been chatting on the internet for hours every day for weeks, but have only had two dates in person. And both times we got down to sex rather quickly. Now he says he wants things casual between us, because he didn’t feel any spark upon meeting me. He says I’m not his soul mate.I think this “spark” is passion. But fiery as it is, it always burns out, as it did with his first three partners.I’m different, I fall for a guy by getting to know him, finding mutual interests, and developing intimacy over time. (Although this method hasn’t worked for me, any better than his method has worked for him.)Is the approach through friendship better or worse than the approach through passion? Is there a future for a couple like us?  — In Way Too Deep

My gut feeling is that there isn’t enough common ground here for anything more than asensitif.jpg garden-variety casual internet connection. And I suspect you both are looking for something more permanent than that. That is what you are talking about, right?

While you may have enough in common to consume hours of internet time each week, (no big challenge there, you can train a chimp to do the same) the sex thing, or passion thing, or whatever else one calls it these days, simply isn’t there. And there’s no making it suddenly appear at this point in your association. Your internet “date” is not about to be dazzled by anything that isn’t highly combustible, regardless of how poorly this has served him in the past. Your method, on the other hand, ain’t getting you married either.

Alas, we’re such creatures of habit.I am of the mind that passion is the stuff that keeps us thrilled while we slog through the less appetizing “getting-to-know-him” and “getting-adjusted-to-his shit” phase. In fact, I believe the “fireworks” thing is designed to distract our attention — or more precisely — blind us to the more unsavory aspects of the guy we’re bumping.

If there are no fireworks we’d immediately see the guy’s an overweight psychopath, with anger management issues, bad teeth, a little dick, shameful personal hygiene, a ridiculously low IQ, dwarfed only by his bank account, who picks his nose and lets his mother run his life.Time to move on, darlin’!

Good luck

How to cope with a sexless marriage

Be honest, listen to each other properly and be patient – plus expert tips for bringing back intimacy

by Joan McFadden

Sexual-frustration

Pick your moment to talk. There are all sorts of reasons people stop having sex – stress, illness, worry about performing, low libido, age, menopause and lack of body confidence. It’s easy to let your sex life drift, but bringing up the subject is difficult so try to pick the right moment when you’re both relaxed and unlikely to be interrupted. But not in bed and especially not while trying to persuade your partner to have sex or feeling angry or frustrated because they’re not interested.

Pick your moment to listen. Do your best not to take it personally. Don’t assume they no longer fancy you or put words in their mouth. It can be hard enough to talk about without extra needless emotional layers being added so listen to what is being said and how the situation makes your partner feel. It really isn’t about you being a bit plump or growing older or not taking pride in your appearance.

Be honest with yourself and each other. Have you both stopped making an effort, do you take each other for granted and think nothing of rolling into bed in a grubby T-shirt without even brushing your teeth? No one’s suggesting you should aim for supermodel or totally buffed body status, but if you don’t love yourself enough to have a little pride in your appearance, it’s not going to be that easy for other people to love you too. You might feel rather shallow admitting that the extra two stone or constant farting in bed isn’t exactly what you signed up for, but you can do that tactfully, especially if admitting areas where you are also no longer quite the person they fell for.

Decide whether sex is a deal-breaker for either of you. Would you be willing to sacrifice sex for the “other stuff”? Some people are perfectly happy having no sex in their marriage and Relate’s research shows that the importance people place on sex decreases with age. Often intimacy is what’s most important, but if it’s not enough, say so.

Be patient. If sex is a deal-breaker, it’s important for the “keen” partner to be patient while the two of you unpack what is causing the block. This is also not the best time to suggest an open relationship as a possible solution.

Seek help together. Sex therapy can help you with working out what the underlying problem is and can also give you a sense that you’re sorting this out together. At the beginning of a relationship, sex can feel so easy, natural and exciting that it can feel a little sad that you might have to work at it, but the results can be well worth it.

Kindness is sexy. Go out together, have fun, make time for each other. When both parties feel truly heard and understood, often intimacy increases along with the desire to have sex.

Ban sex. Many therapists often suggest that couples in sexless relationships start by taking the pressure off sex entirely. This may sound counterintuitive but creating a temporary ban can stop feelings of anxiety about needing to perform, making relaxation more likely.

Small steps. Reintroduce intimacy slowly – start with something as small as holding hands or giving your partner a peck on the cheek before you head off to work. You can then build up to massages, cuddling, lingering kissing and intimate touching and oral sex, but keeping full sexual intercourse off the table until you both feel like you want to do it. The idea behind this is that it allows you to rediscover one another’s sensual sides and increase desire in a pressure-free environment. It’s important that you regularly discuss how you’re both feeling and don’t push your partner to go further than they are comfortable with.

Drink is not the answer. True, but a relaxing dinner and an easy chat over a couple of glasses has led to other things since time began.

Complete Article HERE!

Let’s Talk About Sex (for Trans Men)

By Buck Angel

buckangel1-s

Here is a simple fact that not a lot of people realize: Many trans men choose not to have what we call “bottom surgery.” That is to say they chose not to have any surgery on the genitals they were born with. This means that the world has a significant number of men with vaginas. I have spoken with a lot of trans men through my life and work, and I would estimate that around 90 percent of trans men around the world — I have interviewed men from Sweden, the U.K., Brazil, Mexico, and other countries — have not opted for bottom surgery.

For some this decision comes for financial reasons, for some a fear of complications, and for some it’s more of a “one step at a time” kind of vibe: “Let’s see how this first stage (chest surgery, hormones) feels, and I will take it from there.” Regardless of the reason, the newly transitioned trans man’s body is a new landscape for him, and perhaps one that isn’t very well understood or accommodated, even by the man himself.

When I first transitioned, I was worried that I might not be able to find a partner or even love. I was worried that people would simply be turned off by the idea of a man with a vagina. I’ve since interviewed and spoken with hundreds of trans guys who echo the same anxieties. Kevin, 30, who lives in Brooklyn, said, “Deciding not to go with bottom surgery was something I went back and forth on for many years. It wasn’t until I saw videos online of your work (a docu-series that I make called Sexing the Transman) that I realized I didn’t need a penis to become a man. I was worried about sex, but surprisingly, most of my sexual partners have been very open to me and my body, even if it’s unfamiliar territory for them.”

I personally will always remember the exact moment I realized that my genitals were OK — that my vagina was a part of me and that is was OK to be a man without a penis — and it was through masturbation and orgasm. It was one of the first times that I penetrated myself, and I felt a bit guilty that I actually climaxed. It was a weird feeling to enjoy my vagina for the first time — it had always been something that I was not connected to and even hated. But that orgasm changed everything for me. It was really a turning point in my identity and my self-love.

Masturbation became a daily ritual for me, which is true for many other trans men I have spoken with. Because of this we are always looking for new ways to get off. There was nothing in the sex toy world that was designed for our bodies. What makes trans male vaginas and vulvas unusual is that they become enlarged, specifically the clitoris, because of the testosterone usage, and with that our vaginas also become a little bit more sensitive. Guys talk about a newly heightened sexual awareness and desire for sex. When that is combined with a detachment from your body or a lack of information or resources, trans men are at risk of not experiencing their best sex lives.

Because there was nothing made for trans men in the sex toy (or “pleasure product”) world, I had to be very inventive!  I would cut up products made for the cisgender man and women to fit my anatomy, like dildos that had a suction cup backing, rip that out, and use the hole in the end to masturbate with. I would find things like snakebite kits, which are used to suck out the poison from the bite of a snake, or toys like nipple play suction cups, and adapt them to fit me. Some trans guys showed me how they used the ends of water bottles filled with water to create suction. One guy would even use a small hand towel filled with lube to rub on. Its pretty amazing how you can engineer things just to masturbate.

Jim, a 23-year-old trans man from Philadelphia told me, “Masturbation is something I do daily. It was not easy at first for me to find the space to feel comfortable touching myself; it felt weird because I never did it before I transitioned. Though through that I realized that I love sex and that I needed to feel myself and let that be a good thing.”

Buck-OFF - Buck Angel FTM Stroker

Buck-OFF – Buck Angel FTM Stroker

When I was finally able to love my body and be comfortable with it, I was more comfortable on so many levels that went far beyond sexuality. For this reason I’ve been on a mission to teach trans guys to love their bodies and through that to love themselves. These conversations are so important to our well-being, and it’s why it’s been a years-long dream to actually create a toy that is just for us. It’s validating; it says, “Your body is real, it deserves to have pleasure, and you are not alone.” I’m really hoping to use the Buck-Off to start conversations outside of the trans male community as well to create larger awareness of trans male bodies and their specific needs. This is important not only for us, but for our potential partners, teachers, health care providers, and legislators.

Complete Article HERE!

Dismantling the myths of rape culture

By Matthew Wade

slutwalk

It’s a double edged sword: as a queer woman, your sex life is objectified if you’re too femme, or dismissed if you’re too masc. In light of the recent SlutWalk rally in Melbourne to protest slut-shaming and victim-blaming, Matthew Wade spoke to queer women about how their sexual identities are policed in Australia.

Men often fetishise the sex lives of queer women or erase them completely, with little elbow room in between.

When she first came out and started dating women, Natasha Smith was femme-presenting, and her sex life was a point of objectification.

“A common question at the time was around what I did in bed, but not in a way that made me feel empowered,” she told the Star Observer.

“People would ask if what I did was really sex, and who the ‘man’ was in the bedroom.

“When there’s no man involved other men have to try and figure out what this tantalising thing is… when a woman’s sexuality isn’t defined by them they turn it into a form of entertainment.”

On the flip side, Smith believes the sexualities of queer women that are more masc-presenting are often invisible, as they’re not seen by men as ‘real’ women.

“Queer women live in this weird dehumanising space where they’re stigmatised as sex objects for the straight male gaze or they’re denied,” she said.

For her Master’s thesis Smith focused on the impact homophobia and sexism had on same-sex attracted women.

She interviewed women aged 18 to 60 and many told her they had experienced street harassment and ogling, with men yelling at them for holding another woman’s hand.

“There’s this idea that you’re an object but if you fight back and resist that, it comes with the threat of escalating violence,” she said.

For many of her interviewees, revealing their sexuality to a male who may be flirting with them in a nightclub would have damaging repercussions.

“As soon as they said they were a lesbian, they’d be called a slut, a dyke, and would be subject to public humiliation,” she said.

While shame and stigma are commonly heaped on the sex lives of queer women, this becomes much more apparent when a queer woman has a more grievous encounter with sexual assault or rape.

According to the United Nations, Australia has one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world, more than double the global average.

However, because men often try to delegitimise the sexualities of queer women, their voices and experiences are left off the table.

Smith believes rape culture affects society at large, but that for queer women it can be particularly damaging.

“If you’re a queer woman and you happen to be more masc-presenting there’s a weird sort of erasure of your sexuality,” she said.

“And because people misunderstand rape as something connected to sexuality, many think queer women aren’t likely to be raped.”

When it comes to survivors of sexual assault and rape, Smith wants to debunk a common misconception: that rape is about sex.

“There’s an assumption when it comes to sexual assault and rape that they’re inherently sexual acts – but they’re not,” she said.

“They’re violent acts of power that use sex as the weapon.

“The myth that rape is somehow related to the sexual attractiveness of women is what leads to the dismissal of the experiences of queer women.”

Beyond the masculine and feminine gender binary that subjects queer women who present either way to sexual fetishisation or erasure, queer women who sit somewhere along the spectrum also face stigma around their sexual identity.

Where Smith recalls being asked intrusive questions about her sex life as a femme-presenting woman, Melbourne resident Luca Vanags-Smith is at times assumed to not have one.

As someone who now identifies as gender queer, Vanags-Smith has seen a noticeable shift in the way her sexual identity has been perceived.

“I think if you’re femme you’re hyper sexualised, and if you don’t fit the stereotypical model of femininity you’re invisible,” she said.

“I’ve had the lived experience of being gender queer for about two years and I’m viewed by many men as being sexless, or as being an asexual creature.

“I think there’s also this idea that two people that have vulvas can’t really have sex because there’s no penetration involved, so men see women sleeping with each other as entertainment for them.”

The desexualisation and dismissal of masc-presenting or gender queer women can also lead to homophobic views around Vanags-Smith’s sexual identity and her relationships with other women.

“I think when I was more femme-presenting people didn’t take it as seriously, but now my relationships often get pushed into a more heterosexual lens, which isn’t the case at all – after three or four months at a job I had, I had to break it to my boss that I wasn’t in fact a man,” she said.

“It can definitely erase the queerness of my relationships.

“People just assume I must be the one that uses the strap on, when one: that’s none of their business and two: that isn’t the case at all.”

Vanags-Smith has also found that heterosexual men will treat her as ‘one of the guys’ and attempt to engage her in a sexist conversation.

“Men will come up to me, point out a particular woman and say, ‘she’s got a great ass mate,’” she said.

“I know how awful that can make someone feel, especially a same-sex attracted woman.

“I’ve also had guys calling me love and telling me I just haven’t had a good fuck, and asking me how I have sex.”

As a means to combat this, Vanags-Smith believes sex education in schools needs to become increasingly sex positive.

She also added that sexist attitudes and misogyny are the bedrock of homophobia, transphobia, and whorephobia.

“With same-sex intimate relationships between women, men don’t really fit into that equation,” she said.

“And some see that as affronting.”

Melbourne recently played host to the annual SlutWalk rally, a march developed as a means to protest the slut-shaming and victim-blaming of women around the world, irrespective of gender or sexual identity.

It was created in Canada in 2011 after a police officer said “women should avoid dressing like sluts” if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted.

In Melbourne the rally sees speakers with a diverse range of experiences speaking out against misogyny and rape culture, and how it affects women.

Smith believes SlutWalk does well at being as inclusive as it can be, particularly now that the conversation around trans and queer identities has become more prominent.

“When I started going to SlutWalk I wasn’t as out as I am now, and it was through being emerged in the march that I found a community of feminists that understood me,” she said.

“They enabled me to grow into someone I’m very proud of and to be comfortable in my sexuality.”

Vanags-Smith said she loves SlutWalk because it changes people’s opinions of what a sexual assault survivor might look like, to include women of different ages, cultural backgrounds, and sex ual and gender identities.

“It acknowledges that there may be people who are femme and attractive, but there may be women who don’t fit these archetypes who may also experience sexual assault,” she said.

“The idea that some women are more at risk than others is a massive myth in rape culture that SlutWalk seeks to dismantle.”

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