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Lately Lesbian

April 5, 2001

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In a recent column you mentioned that three lesbian friends had run off with men. "One... is married to a man," you wrote, "one is living with a man, and the third is a man." You observed that none of your gay male friends had run off with women, and asked, "What is it about being a dyke that's so easily shrugged off?"

Simply put, Dan, females first turn to lesbian sex and then to straight sex because it is evolutionarily advantageous. When a young adult female leaves her primary social group--her family and friends--to enter a new social group, it's a very stressful time. A sexual bond with an established female helps to integrate and assimilate an incoming female into her new social group. Of course, I'm not talking about humans. I'm talking about bonobos, also known as pygmy chimpanzees. Female bonobos are constantly having sex with one another. In addition to facilitating the introduction of new females, lesbian sex among bonobos seems to strengthen existing friendships among the females.

I think the same phenomena is at work among female human primates. When a young woman leaves her home for college or military service, developing a solid friendship with another woman can facilitate that move, and sex cements new friendships. Exclusively lesbian behavior, however, reduces breeding opportunities, so women will eventually turn to the kind of sex that results in babies. So women have lesbian sex first because of the social advantages, and then turn straight because of the breeding advantages. And evolution demands every advantage.

Darwin Is as Darwin Does

If evolution demands every advantage, then why am I still spilling my seed in my boyfriend's ass crack? I mean, I've been doing this a long time. Shouldn't I be itching for those breeding advantages by now, too?

I'm sorry, but dykes aren't chimps, and dykes don't have to run off with men in order to breed. The dyke bonobo who wants kids is stuck; she has to mate with a boy bonobo. Where else is she going to get a load of that hot bonobo spunk? But the dyke human female? There are sperm banks all over the country, and for the dyke who can't afford artificial insemination, well, there's no shortage of drunken guys in bars anxious to give the stuff away.


Women who find themselves attracted to other women usually end up rejecting everything "traditionally" feminine. When we first come out, we practically have to shave our heads in order to be "good" dykes. You certainly can't find men attractive, or think that lipstick is fun. My theory about why lesbians run off with men is that, once you've passed through that self-conscious period after coming out, you say to yourself, "Shit! I've been rejecting men and femininity all these years, but I don't really know what those things are!" So then, if you're like me, you grow your hair out, shave your legs, and become fascinated with men. And, if you're like most lesbians I know who aren't in long-term relationships with women, you start dating men.

Liza

If your theory were correct, Liza, lesbians would date men, satisfy their morbid curiosity (which shouldn't take long; men aren't that complicated), and quickly return to women. Indeed, one would expect het-curious lesbians to rush back to their girlfriends once they realized that most men (1) don't know where the clit is, and (2) don't think that's a problem. But the women I know who've shrugged off their lesbian identities date men, keep dating men, and some marry men.


Some--certainly not all--lesbians become gay because their experience with straight men is often unpleasant. I've had more than one lesbian tell me this. Once they actually do get to know a man who is not such a turd, they sometimes see things differently.

Not Like Other Men

If homosexuality is something a straight person retreats to after a few bad experiences with the opposite sex, then where are all the friggin' homos? I mean, men fuck over straight women every day. If your theory was sound, NLOM, most women would be lesbians by the time they were 30. Likewise, women fuck over straight men constantly. So why aren't most men gay? You know, not once has a straight guy sent me a letter that read, "Gee, I keep having unpleasant experiences with women. So tell me, Dan, where can I suck me some cock?"


To answer your riddle, "What is it about being a lesbian that's so easily shrugged off?" I had to consult Feminism for Dummies. Lesson one says that girls are taught their whole lives to put the good of the Group ahead of their own desires, while boys are taught that their desires are the Roots of Progress. And whether the Group is your family or co-workers, the Group is much happier and more comfortable with girls who are helping to fulfill boys' desires. Girls who do are rewarded for keeping the Group happy and comfortable, while girls who pursue their true, carpet-munching desires are punished by the Group, in big and small ways, for having the gall to do what they want to do even though it has nothing to do with boy desires or progress. Face it, Dan, there really aren't many incentive programs out there for us carpet-munchers. That is, besides the sheer joy of it.

Still Munching in Baltimore

From my personal experience with ex-lesbians, they weren't the kind of girls who cared what the Group thought. And while the Group tells boys to go for it and girls to look on adoringly, the Group also teaches little boys that we're supposed to wanna fuck girls. If we don't wanna fuck girls, the Group tells us to fake it. So tell me, SMIB, why is it the Group's juju works so well on out lesbians, who run off with men to please the Group, and yet has no impact on out gay men, who don't run off with women to please the Group?


I'm an ex-lesbian, so I thought I might as well share my experiences and theories with you. I'm pretty sure I had no sexuality at all before my mid-to-late teens. Then I identified as bi for a few years. At some point, I found that I was much more attracted to women and began identifying as a lesbian. For a few years, I really was uninterested in men. Then I rather suddenly fell completely in love with a guy. So I identify as bi again. Now for my wild theorizing: I think a lot of women are bisexual. Personally, my decision to identify as a lesbian was influenced by the sense that "lesbian" was a stronger political label than "bisexual." Yet I still had the potential to fall in love with a man, and that's what happened. Maybe this happens to other women, too.

Finally Settled on Bi

I think you're right, FSOB. And there's more I'd like to say, but... hey, we're out of space. Next week, we'll hear from one of my lesbian pals who ran off with a man and was... uh... a little surprised to see her private life being discussed in my column.

letters@savagelove.net

 

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Comments (16) RSS

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1
i am a bi male with a new guy friend. we are going to make love this weekend and he loves oral and loves to give anal. I asked him if he shaved and he told me i could do it if i wanted to. i have had mine bald for two years and it is so HOT. He is totally willing and I cant wait, any other guys or gals feel that way
Posted by joe on October 8, 2008 at 9:01 AM · Report this
2
Lesbian chimps? How do they 'do it'. I have a hard time imagining two monkeys eating each other out (and I'm pretty good about things like that).
Posted by chimchim_chercher on July 21, 2009 at 12:29 PM · Report this
3
@2
Then you clearly have never seen any documentary bout Bonobos. They have oral sex all the time in all possible variations.
And they engage in mutual masturbation too if my memory serves me correctly.
Posted by incubi on September 11, 2009 at 1:11 PM · Report this
4
As someone who is currently dating a "het-curious lesbian", I have to raise a question for the gay/les community at large. Why does it matter? I notice the gay community, her female gay friends specificly, seeming almost enraged by it at times and often offended at least. Even the direction of Savage's views on the subject seem judgemental and hostile. Your friends are happy, shouldn't that be enough without having to be upset they cast off one label for another? In the end aren't labels really just words anyway?

For a community so adamant on social openmindedness, this seems to me an extremely close minded attitude to have. Why the great hypocracy? When two people find love for one another it should be applauded, not judged.
Posted by Loadstone on September 20, 2009 at 10:34 PM · Report this
5
As someone who is currently dating a "het-curious lesbian", I have to raise a question for the gay/les community at large. Why does it matter? I notice the gay community, her female gay friends specificly, seeming almost enraged by it at times and often offended at least. Even the direction of Savage's views on the subject seem judgemental and hostile. Your friends are happy, shouldn't that be enough without having to be upset they cast off one label for another? In the end aren't labels really just words anyway?

For a community so adamant on social openmindedness, this seems to me an extremely close minded attitude to have. Why the great hypocracy? When two people find love for one another it should be applauded, not judged.
Posted by Loadstone on September 20, 2009 at 10:39 PM · Report this
6
@ 4 (&5): Can you please point out where D Savage is "judging" lesbians who switch to guys? Saying that being a dyke is "easily shrugged off" relative to being a gay man is only a judgmental thing to say if the speaker believes that it is a virtue to stay sexually consistent throughout one's life. I'm pretty sure D Savage doesn't feel this way. He's just making an observation and wondering aloud about it, so don't lump him in with your ladies' dyke friends/ex-friends.

Speaking of those women, even assuming that the anger some lesbians feel towards "ex"-lesbians (and probably their men, as well)is unjustified, is it really that hard for you to understand its basis? Ever ask any of them about it?

As to labels; they may be "just words" when others place them on us, but when we place them on ourselves (as in: "I am a lesbian"), they can be more than just words, they can be important parts of our identities. When a person decides to "cast off" an identity, that's not going to go unnoticed, Loadstone, even if it might be more convenient for you if it did.

You ask: "why does it matter?" This question implies that you think it doesn't matter if a dyke switches to guys, but "doesn't matter" can mean different things. It can mean "I accept this and wish others did as well" (which is how I think you probably feel), but it can also mean "this has absolutely no significance whatsoever" (which is how you are probably just pretending to feel). You can accept the fact that your woman has gone through an identity change while also recognizing that this change matters.



Posted by kungfujew on September 22, 2009 at 4:41 PM · Report this
7
The reason, in my observations, that lesbians get angry about "ex"-lesbians is that they give ammunition to all of the "homosexuals can change! It's a choice!" people.
Posted by GR on October 11, 2009 at 5:14 PM · Report this
8
Well, that seems to be true for gay women but not true for gay men.
Posted by kungfujew on December 23, 2009 at 11:45 PM · Report this
9
Well, that seems to be true for gay women but not true for gay men.
Posted by kungfujew on December 23, 2009 at 11:46 PM · Report this
Milbury 10
@kungfujew

There are plenty of gay men who scorn and shun "out" bisexual men. Likewise, when asked they'll admit that they feel that bisexual men are trying to have their cake and eat it to, or that bisexual men are adding fuel to the "Pray the Gay Away" faction of their religio-political enemies, and that's without going into the fact that there are plenty of marriage/life partnership-minded homosexuals of both sexes who believe that bisexuals aren't marriage material due to their desire to enjoy the attentions of both sexes. For a potentially monogamous gay man, a man who likes to eat pussy on weekends is just as abhorrent as a woman who needs bio-cock during her period would be to a lesbian, and that's why you're able to find such fervent anti-"ex-gay/lesbian" detractors on both sides of the gender divide.
Posted by Milbury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLkEsoO6t0 on December 24, 2009 at 4:54 PM · Report this
11
They aren't lesbians, dude. They are bisexuals- sliding somewhere along the kinsey scale! A girl who dates a girl, then dates a guy is as bisexual as a man who does the same!

Stop calling them lesbians. And lesbians, please stop vilifying bisexuality. I secretly suspect it's the average for most folks anyways.

My girlfriends all experimented in college. Heck, I dated a girl for several years. We are all moved on to guys at this point... all except my ex girlfriend, who moved on to other girls after dumping me.

My boyfriend has had encounters with other guys, btw- but he will never tell you about it. However, he assures me it's a lot more common among supposedly straight guys than you'd think.

I think bisexuality is the norm. And that that's why a lot of heterosexual people have 'experimented'- and why a lot of lesbians end up dating guys.
Posted by Nina on December 26, 2009 at 7:36 PM · Report this
12
Who thinks this is exclusive to women? There are plenty of guys that queer out and end up marrying women. It's just kept way more secret because it's less socially acceptable for guys to be bisexual.

This is more a cultural aberration than an actual social phenomenon.

It would be fun to throw a party where gay people could complain about bisexuals, black girls bitch about blondes, jewish girls whine about shiksas, and the "nice" guys could complain about the "jerks."

Then a whole party full of available people could bitch about having no one to date.

Posted by FlippyMcFallsALot on December 29, 2009 at 3:51 PM · Report this
lyllyth 13
I personally think that 5-10% of people are heterosexual, and 5-10% of people are homosexual, and that leaves me some wiggle room with the other 80-90%.

Now if only I could find the right grrrrl. I like them mentally butch, but physically femme. I find the opposite, much more often, here in the NW.

As a postscript, I am quite sure that my father was bisexual until he married my mother. 20 years of that will make ANY man gay. And it did.
Posted by lyllyth on December 30, 2009 at 12:16 PM · Report this
14
I saw a special on bonobos. They don't have nearly as much fun as you might think. Each instance of sex only lasts 8 seconds. (No foreplay, no nothing but an 8-second hump.) Sure they might do it several times throughout the day but 8 seconds? Nah, I'd rather be a human. Oh, look...I got my wish!
Posted by Diagoras on December 31, 2009 at 9:20 PM · Report this
BradS 15
In the old days sex was simple, you have a guy, a gal, they fuck, and nobody ever ever talks about it.

In the last 100 years we have learned that sex and gender identity are far more complex than this simple model. What we don't know about sex and gender is probably still much larger than what we do.

I believe men and women are wired differently for sex, attraction, curiosity, arousal, etc. The neurological differences probably explain why many (most) gay identified men will never become curious about het sex, whereas lesbians sometimes do.

Who cares? Well if you are battling assholes who try to tell us that gay is a choice and we can change if we only beg Jesus, then we want to be very clear that at least for some gay people, gay is not a choice and there is no question of 'changing' .
Posted by BradS on January 1, 2010 at 4:56 PM · Report this
16
@ 10:

"There are plenty of gay men who scorn and shun 'out' bisexual men."

OK. I wrote out of ignorance. However, I think an unspoken sub-text of what Dan S is saying here is that these "ex lesbians" are actually sexually attracted to their current men, whereas "formerly gay" guys who have long-term monogamous relationships with women (a better equivalent here than out bi guys) are just repressing their gayness.

If this is correct, then while the shunning of "formerly gay" men and women may appear similar, the legitimacy of the skepticism involved may vary between the men and women targeted.

Posted by kungfujew on January 6, 2010 at 4:00 PM · Report this

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