Friday, November 16, 2012


Secondary Relationships, Tequila Fumes, and the Lesbian Internet

1. [Removed]

2. Hello Queer Chick, hope you’re well. I’m a bisexual girl who’s been in a relationship with an awesome guy for almost a year and a half now. He’s my first boyfriend, and the sum of my sexual experience has been with him. He knows and is comfortable with my sexuality, and would welcome the opportunity for me to have sexual encounters with women – so long as he’s in the room at the time. And I’d welcome it too; I’ve never been with a girl, and now that I feel I’ve got a handle on hetero-sex, I’m more interested in women than ever. 

I guess the first part of my question is, any idea how I can make this happen? As you might have guessed from my brief outline of my (very) brief sexual history, I’ve never really been the type to jump someone’s bones as soon as I look at them. So I’m not sure that a pursuit of a one-night stand at a gay bar or something (assuming the girl in question is okay with my bf being privy to things) would really work for me. Obviously now that I’m ‘sexually active’ (re: not a virgin, hooray!) things are different, but I know that I at least have to be interested in someone – on more than a physical level – to be that attracted. And I know you don’t run into that kind of person very often. Which brings me to my second question: Considering that I’m not the type to act on lust alone – though I’m sure it’d be easier with girls ‘cause they’re just so darn pretty – I’m worried that the process of getting to know a girl (however I meet her) to the point of having sex with her will mean that I’ve put myself in a danger zone of developing feelings for her, and in doing so, could jeopardize my current relationship. Especially since she’ll be the first girl, I know that she’d have to be at least a little bit special to me.  

Being with a girl would be thrilling for both me and my boyfriend – as well as a huuuuge sexual revelation for me – but I wonder if it’s worth taking the emotional risk of essentially dating someone else, however briefly, when I’m already in a relationship (assuming that she’s okay with my situation in the first place). So Queer Chick, considering my sentimental disposition, should I just let sleeping dogs lie and wistfully dream of a chance encounter one day where everything (including my boyfriend) falls into place? Knowing how slim that chance could be? Or should I get out there and try my luck, crossing my fingers that everything will work out for the best? Any advice would be welcome. 

I feel kind of weird about this hypothetical girl you're trying to hook up with. She's supposed to date you, develop an emotional connection with you, have sex with you while your boyfriend watches, and then, like ... fall off the face of the earth? I know you're expecting this to be a huge sexual revelation for you, but I can't help wondering what's in it for her.

For one thing, I feel like there's something a lot of bicurious ladies are confused about, regarding queer chicks: Having sex in front of your boyfriend is not something that comes standard. Like, emphatically not. For one thing, most women who don't want to fuck men also don't want to fuck in front of men, because voyeurism is a form of sexual interaction in itself. And even if you find a lady who is into you and also into dudes, being watched is really, really Not Everyone's Thing. I'm just letting you know this, so that when you meet a girl you dig and the two of you are clicking, you don't jump straight from “Do you like me?” to “Great, let's have sex in front of my boyfriend!”

So you're not just after a cute girl. You're after something extremely specific – someone who wants an emotional as well as a sexual relationship, is fine with being a secondary partner, likes being watched during sex, and doesn't mind that the watcher will be a dude. Refine your search further based on your location, age, and attractiveness parameters, and you're talking about a really fucking small set of women. Sitting back and waiting for the perfect person to fall into your vagina is unlikely to produce results. If this is going to happen, you're going to need to get out there (and by “out there,” I mean “on the Internet”) and look for it. Be honest about what you want, don't assume that your fantasy is everyone's fantasy, and be willing to cut your losses and move on if you and your prospective lady-friend aren't on the same page.

Also, if you can manage it, try to be really, really hot. Some chicks who wouldn't otherwise be into exhibitionism and polyamory might be persuadable if they are just ohmygod dying to get into your pants.

3. So, my sister and I are pretty close. We live separately (me in the country, her in the city) so when we get to hang out in her town, we generally go out to bars. And we have so much fun! Drinking, dancing, singing karaoke (yea we get that drunk sometimes), and, my sister's favorite, meeting all the amazing people in her city's thriving queer community. 

Now don't get me wrong, I like meeting queers just as much as I like meeting straights. It makes absolutely no difference to me at all, but not to my sister. It occurred to me one night, while out dancing and watching my sister drunkenly throw herself at this gay couple, that she was acting all a-fool. I mean, yes. They were obviously gay. And they were obviously out for a fun night together, and were also annoyed at my sister for butting in and being overly friendly with them. The fact is, she was only wanting to hang with them because they were gay. It was blatant, and I felt bad for them, and embarrassed for my sister.

So I guess my question is: How offensive is this? My sister is not shunning people for being gay, but she is passing a judgment on them all the same. She is being friendly to them for being gay. Is it just as offensive to be befriended for your sexual status as it is to be un-friended for it? I know that we all make mistakes after too many cocktails, but if she is being a repeat offender, the issue needs to be addressed.

On the one hand, nobody likes being treated as a tourist attraction. I'm still annoyed at the girl who crashed my wedding, though we had never met, because she had never been to a same-sex wedding and thought it would be, like, such an interesting experience. This isn't an anthropology class, it's my life; I don't need some random straight people hanging around going “How fascinating. There appears to be a complex social hierarchy organized around fauxhawk height and Doc Marten color.”

On the other hand, it pretty much sounds like your sister just gets drunk at bars and gloms onto people who look fun. If I wanted to make drunk friends, I'd probably gravitate toward the queers too, if only because they're way less likely to be Republicans. Plus, it sounds like you were at a gay bar, right? So the available options were already kind of skewed in that direction. If she's having fun and they're having fun, don't overthink it.

On the third hand (I'm just borrowing it, I'll give it back in a minute), oh my god, the drunk person in the bar who wants to be your best friend and tell you all her deepest secrets and breathe tequila fumes into your face and borrow your lipstick: so annoying. If your sister is behaving this way, it doesn't matter whether it's toward queers or straights; you, as the less-drunk and/or less-irritating party, should take steps to shut it down. Tell her to wave good-bye to the nice homos because we're going home now.

4. So, can we talk about nail polish? More specifically, nail polish on fingers that regularly go inside someone else's vagina? I've been banging ladies for years, and I've always been meticulous about keeping my nails short and filed, washing my hands before getting it on with anyone, and being careful about cuts and scrapes. But sometimes I worry about the long-term effects of having painted nails inside your vagina on a regular basis. I love to keep my nails pretty and polished, but I also love my girlfriend and want her to be alive for a long time and not, you know, getting cancer from the toxic paint on my nails (which, I don't even know if that's a possibility — I should mention that I am also the kind of person who stockpiles for the apocalypse, so I think maybe I just worry too much in general).

Should I just stick to buying only non-toxic nail polishes (I mean, yes, I totally should, for lots of reasons, right?) because I could probably do that. Should I just wear gloves all the time? Because I would do that, if I had to. Should I just quit worrying, because it's probably fine, and really it's not like the polish is like, peeling off inside her vagina?

The lesbian internet is surprisingly quiet on this subject, except for that horrible, terrible, soul-scarring post on Autostraddle that I remember reading a couple years ago and still think about when I see nail decals. There have got to be other femmes out there who worry as much I do. Right?

Oh, yikes. There are just so many things in the world that I completely forget to be nervous about, and then someone like you comes along and reminds me and I'm like “dammit, I should have been stressing about this weeks ago, there's no way I'll ever catch up now.” So, you know, thanks for that.

No, but really, let's figure this out. Although that traumatizing Autostraddle post was about the dangers of long pointy rhinestone-encrusted nails (which, I mean, obviously, THEY ARE POINTY, DON'T PUT POINTY THINGS IN YOUR OWN OR SOMEONE ELSE'S VAGINA), fingernail polish is full of weird things and deserves further investigation. Obviously, I am not a doctor, or a scientist, or someone who looks good in a lab coat, so it's extremely irresponsible of me to be giving this advice and of you to be taking it. But, as far as Google can tell me, no one has ever done a study on the health risks of getting finger-banged by a chick (or dude) wearing nail polish. DEAR SCIENCE: Please get your shit together. The public needs answers.

The most dangerous thing about nail polish, according to everything I've read, is the fumes. Salon workers who breathe it in all day are at risk for asthma and other chronic health issues, and pregnant women are advised to avoid salons, especially if they're poorly-ventilated, because the fumes can cause birth defects. Nail polish that's dried – the only kind you're likely to be wearing during sex – is much less harmful. So in all likelihood, your girlfriend's delicate bits will be fine.

The closest thing I could find to a study on how safe nail polish is for your nethers (it's not that close, don't get your hopes up) is this Scientific American article from May 2011, which mentions a study by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency on sex toys containing phthalates. Phthalates are among the nasty chemicals that make nail polish unsafe, along with formaldehyde and toluene. Even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic have been found to contain these toxins, just in case you weren't worried enough. But the good news is, the Danish study found that sex toys with phthalates in them pose no health risks if they're used an hour a day or less.

So long as you're not spending more than an hour a day inside your girlfriend – O, to have enough free time that this would be a concern! – neither of you should have anything to worry about. If, however, you have spent the last paragraph having a minor panic attack because omg formaldehyde in my vagina, it might be worth investing in some gloves, just for your own peace of mind.

Previously: Rejection, Bigotry, and Vanilla With Sprinkles.

Lindsay Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock

164 Comments / Post A Comment


We need a support group for people who have read that Autostraddle article. Jesus Christ.


@Interrobanged Purposely NOT reading that article, reflexively clenching thigh muscles together.


@Interrobanged We really do. And the comments.


@Interrobanged WHYY DID I READ IT WHY


@Verity (It will be fun explaining to my boyfriend in detail why CLEAN HANDS ARE IMPORTANT.)


@Interrobanged This is the second time I've read something on the 'Pin that's made me go AAAARRRROOOOOOGAAAAAHNOOOOONNNGGGGHHH reflexively.

fondue with cheddar

@Interrobanged I read that when it was first posted and it haunts me to this day. Now I feel ill every time I see nail art on anyone, ever.


@Interrobanged YES. REALLY! my girlfriend has occasionally expressed concerns about her frequently-polished nails (mostly along the lines of LW#4) to which I respond "oh no, it's okay" while ACTUALLY HAVING HORRIFYING FLASHBACKS


interesting and elegant. @n


Your advice is always so kind and measured. I always appreciate reading it!


I'm pretty sure unwashed hands are way worse than nail poilish flakes could possibly be, right?

The Lady of Shalott

@Megano! I think "untrimmed jagged nails" trumps both those things on the "most likely to kill you" list.


@The Lady of Shalott D:


@The Lady of Shalott My vagina just sealed itself closed in protest.

Briony Fields

@Megano! I think we already put lots of toxic things in our vaginas, like bleached tampons and as AQC mentioned, sex toys, and for some chicks, condoms...Okay, I'm not sure exactly which chemicals are contained in each of those things, but I imagine it's ok for them to hang out in vag town for small amounts of time.

Nicole Cliffe

"Your obstacles are extremely surmountable. People surmount them all the time. People leave their good, caring partners, who have done nothing wrong, to be with someone who truly makes them happy."

That is some deep stuff, right there.

Nicole Cliffe

Oh, wait, now I've read the Autostraddle piece and want to die.



Your lady of the cheating (O, Our Lady of The Cheating, we pray to thee)... is either enjoying the fact that she is cheating while getting whatever other sexing and emotional needs met why cheating. Or sabotaging herself to meet the cheating need by not meeting other needs.


She maybe isn't cut out for monogamy and should think that through.

EITHER WAY-- not your problem. And unless you are okay with forever having your romance contract broken, or helping her break hers, it's time to bail on this woman's train wreck of an emotional life.

ALSO-- Autostraddle. OMG.

And lady who wants to bang a lady in front of her BF. Those ladies exist. Just... you have to find them and ask nicely, because they aren't like automatic windows in a Dodge Caliber. Not standard with the package that comes in someone wanting to bang you.

Roaring Girl

@Nicole Cliffe
To shreds, you say.


@Nicole Cliffe
This advice is absolutely spot on. This will not end well for anybody--get out now. You will find somebody else to love.


For the second question, why not just try to find a straight (or bisexual) girl who's down for a threesome? I feel like that is really what it sounds like you want - a threesome (even if all your boyfriend does is watch, not touch), not an independent hookup with a girl.

The Lady of Shalott

@Ellie I concur. I think also that there may be more "girls who are into threesomes with couples" than "girls who are OK with being half-heartedly dated and then having the sex while a boyfriend lurks in the corner."


@The Lady of Shalott Yeah, exactly! It's something I've actually considered doing; I'm not into girls, but I'm kind of into exhibitionism, and I do NOT share, so the only way I'd do a threesome is if I were into the girl enough and happened to think the guy was pretty hot too.


@Ellie Agreed. It's going to be hard to find either way, but finding someone to hop in bed with the both of them might actually be easier.

Granted, I am kind of the same type of person - I am bi but only experienced with my boyfriend, and would like to have sex with a lady but he would prefer I didn't sleep with other people, and I can't imagine where I would find someone who would be into just being a strange in-person porno to my guy. Or a third member in a threesome. Although I would be ok with a casual thing. But it's not like I can help this girl out, because we both have boyfriends and that is one too many men (I mean, for them to be comfortable. I am an inexperienced hussy and wouldn't mind).


@Ellie Yeah, she's definitely going to have to cast the net a little wider. Maybe, since this dynamic is fairly common, they could find another couple with the same setup and go flipsies with them?

fondue with cheddar

@Ellie Yeah, having sex when a boyfriend lurks in the corner is So. Awkward. In college I had two bi girlfriends, and we all wanted to bang each other. But we all had boyfriends who didn't want us to be with a lady unless they could watch. So one night at a party the six of us went upstairs, and I had a pretty heavy mostly-naked makeout session with these two ladies while the three guys sat around us. It sounded great in theory, but it ended up being awkward all the way around and a massive tease for the guys because they couldn't join in.

Unless everyone is actually into exhibitionism/voyeurism, I agree that it's better to just have a threesome.


@Ellie I'm thinking this girl is like me, maybe, though? because I am bisexual, but not into the dude I'm dating fooling around with somebody else. Threesomes=cool, but not with anybody I actually love. I am jealous like that.

So I'm guessing the compromise is that her boyfriend gets a show while she gets to explore her bisexuality. A better compromise though, is her boyfriend letting her do that on her own, though? since he's cool with her doing it at all, clearly.

fondue with cheddar

@fabel It's a hard thing to navigate because everybody's got different comfort levels, and with three people in the mix there's a pretty good chance that not everyone's comfort levels will jibe with one another.

It's also important to realize that comfort levels may change. I agreed to have a threesome with my ex husband (while we were together) because he'd never done it (I had), but during our first makeout session I realized I was uncomfortable with him being with another woman so I called it off. He pretended to be okay with this but he wasn't. He resented me for saying yes to the threesome and then changing my mind, but if he were a good partner he would have sucked it up and respected my decision, because it's really important NOT to do it if you aren't completely okay with it. (As it turns out, he tried to get with her on the side at the time, and apparently he eventually had a threesome with two other girls while we were married.)


@fondue with cheddar that does not sound all that great in theory either, actually :<


@Ellie Totally. I've had about a zillion threesomes, totally something I'm into, but I think I'd feel weird about having sex with a lady while her guy just sat there and watched. That just seems creepy to me.

And while I agree she'd have better luck looking for a bi chick who's into threesomes - it's not like we're hanging on trees, either. Especially not ones who are looking for more than FWB with the couple, which it sounds like is what she wants.

fondue with cheddar

@Danzig! Yeah, I guess it doesn't. But we were drunk, and when you're drunk it does sound great in theory.


Lady No. 2, it doesn't sound to me like your boyfriend is really all that OK with you being bi after all. You can only have sex with girls if he can watch? That's not really respecting your agency as a bisexual woman, that's YES LIVE PORNO IN MY BEDROOM HIGH FIVE ME BRO.


@Clare I *think* she meant that this was the only way he was OK with her doing this

while in the relationship

. To me it kind of sounds like he's not really OK with an open relationship or polyamory, but if she really wants to, then he wants to be there? Dunno, though.


@Ophelia (also, I have no idea why there are so many hard returns in that post. HTML italics fail).


@Clare I mean. . .in most relationships he would not be OK with her having sex with anyone other than him in any context. I think wanting to be involved in your partner's extracurricular activities is pretty reasonable.

Lily Rowan

@Ophelia Yeah, being bi and being poly (or whatever else you want to call it when you are in a relationship and banging other people) are really not the same thing.

Quinn A@twitter

@paddlepickle There's a difference between "involved" and "sitting there watching", I think. Meeting the girl and discussing boundaries with her is involvement.


@Clare When I read that sentence, I imagined a boyfriend acting all empathetic, saying, "Of course you can explore your feelings. I respect your need to have sex with a woman. For me to be comfortable, though, you know, I'll have to be present."

And inwardly going YESSSSS.


@Quinn A@twitter So what if he thinks it's hot? It's hot to watch other people have sex. If he's not comfortable with her being with someone without him, and not interested in a threesome for whatever reason, this is a reasonable solution. I would share your point of view if the girl had said that her boyfriend's reaction was 'oh, I just want to watch, since sex with a girl doesn't COUNT as real cheating', which a lot of douchey guys would. But it doesn't sound that way to me at all.

Lily Rowan

@cmonster Oh, also that for sure -- I definitely got the creepy vibe from the letter!


@Clare yeah, there really can be something exploitative about dudes who take this stance. he lets her do all the work, and then gets wank fodder and bragging rights to two girls "doing it" in his bedroom. the whole thing make my lip curl. as much as it's impossible to have the WHOLE story from one letter, the chances of this falling outside the hi-five, bro-manupmanship game it sounds like are slim.

Quinn A@twitter

@paddlepickle I was just addressing your statement that it's reasonable to want to be involved by saying that there's more than one way to be involved.

He can think it's hot all he likes; that won't necessarily make it a comfortable experience for either his girlfriend or the other woman. If his girlfriend is comfortable with his reasons for wanting to watch, then fine, more power to them. But I think his reasons are worth examining. Is he trying to exert some control? Is he trying to make this difficult while appearing reasonable? Is this about his fantasies, and is his girlfriend comfortable with her own desires coming second to his fantasies? And so on.

This isn't necessarily super creepy, but the potential is there.


@paddlepickle Yeah, I'm not totally sure what this guy's bag is. I mean, maybe he's into cuckholding, too, but that hasn't come up because LW wants to have sex with a girl (for the first time) rather than another guy.


@paddlepickle Yeah, I tend to agree with this. I think it's a reasonable solution. His girlfriend likes the solution too and if they find a third person to do that, she'll be into it too, unless they sexually assault her or something. As it is, it's not really exploitative in and of itself.

I remember a girl once wrote or called Dan Savage with, "I feel like my boyfriend is a little homophobic/biphobic because he doesn't care if I cheat with a girl but would care if I cheated with a guy." On some levels I agree because it's like he doesn't take homosexuality seriously but takes heterosexuality seriously. But on another hand, I can see it being more benign, because I can imagine a boyfriend being jealous of/threatened by another guy in a way he wouldn't be by a girl, because he has totally different stuff to offer than a girl would.


@Quinn A@twitter Yeah. Frankly, it sounds like this couple needs to have A Different Conversation about what they want, what they're comfortable with, and why.

@Clare Seriously, I immediately thought "oh so you're bicurious and your boyfriend wants live porn? Oh have fun with that. Hint: the sex with the girl probably will not be very good if these are the parameters."


@S. Elizabeth
"Hint: the sex with the girl probably will not be very good if these are the parameters."

@teenie I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thought that.

Quinn A@twitter

LW2: Join fetlife, and go to munches. That's the best way to find women who are open to exhibitionism/voyeurism and polyamory/casual sex, while still getting to know people in a not-explicitly-sexual context.

Either that, or convince your boyfriend that he does not need to watch (why does he need to watch? Have you talked about why he set that as a requirement, and are you comfortable with his reasons?). You might have better luck finding some great poly lady with whom to have sex. There's something about the idea of having some dude sit there and watch every time you fuck that puts a lady off. When I was single I had and enjoyed threesomes with a couple, and even I find the idea of a silently staring dude in the room to be pretty creepy.


@Quinn A@twitter I am not queer, and even I think it's gross that her boyfriend has to watch.


@Megano! ditto. also, I imagine maybe this bicurious lady might want some privacy herself? what if she wants her first experience with a lady to not be public viewing for the bf? but then, maybe she should just dump the bf? idk...


@Quinn A@twitter So, I can see situations where a silent boyfriend would be hot. But probably only with a couple that I already know. I am envisioning one right now, and it would actually be super hot, but we are all friends and I would not be a random Queer Girl, and I also have a very unconventional social circle... and it just altogether not the situation described in this letter.


@liverwortlaura This is EXACTLY how I feel about the situation. I would NEVER want anyone to watch my first time with any partner, much less if it was my very first homosexual encounter.


@Quinn A@twitter So there's this episode of Lip Service (Scottish lesbian drama/sitcom) where Tess is brokenhearted after being dumped by her girlfriend, tries internet dating for the first time, and meets this girl at a bar. They get on great and go home together, and just as stuff is getting all sexy on the couch, the internet date girl's husband walks in, plants a chair on the floor, and starts watching. Tess is horrified, and then gives them some marital advice. It's hilarious and awkward and awful and all I could think about when reading this question. I don't know if there's a YouTube clip, but it's minute 17 on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/watch/364764


@thatgirl @Quinn A
Yes to meeting people at munches! And while I've enjoyed and agreed with lots of the "creepy bro-ness"/"not creepy, respectable" sentiments above (both sides have points, it really comes down to *this dude's* attitudes/energy around this thing, which we will never really know unless we meet him), I've also been mulling how adding kink dimensions could also make a lot of this less-creepy. Most of these ideas involve various degress of forcible restraints for the boyfriend.


@ThatWench Oh, yeah, if it was less "dude watching and jerking off" and more "dude cuffed to a chair at ankles and wrists, gagged, and possibly blindfolded so he can only hear what is going on," I would be so much more on board.

In other news, I really need to invest in some nice ankle cuffs.


All of your advice is fantastic, but I am stuck on the fact that a stranger crashed your wedding because she wanted to see a same-sex wedding?!


@SarahP Right?! WHAT? The unmitigated gall.


@frigwiggin I want to know if she also filched snacks and raided the bar, too. Because really.

femme cassidy

@SarahP She was a distant cousin's half-sister (the half that is not related to me), if that makes it better? (It doesn't really!)

Quinn A@twitter

@femme cassidy It does not! Be annoyed forever, secure in the knowledge that you are entirely justified in your irritation.

(Or, y'know, don't, because that sounds exhausting, but seriously, entirely justified)


@femme cassidy BUT IT REALLY DOESN'T that is appalling.


@femme cassidy get rid of your distant cousin's half-sister, seriously, she is revolting


@PistolPackinMama Just in case the food is same-sex, too. It's best to sample EVERYTHING to learn as much as possible.


LW2, you are unicorn hunting. A Queer Chick speaks the truth about the rarity of the type of girl you are looking for. I would not take that deal-- and I am usually a pretty low-maintenance fuck buddy.

So, either you need to be okay with sexing up a lady you do not have Feelings for, or you need to be okay with maintaining those Feelings beyond a single encounter, or you need to take your boyfriend out of the picture. Any of those will probably increase your chances of finding someone to do this with.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@thatgirl That whole question irked me. I really should have more patience for those figuring out their FEELINGS but protip, girlfriend: gay and bi ladies are not objects waiting in the wings for bicurious women to experiment with. We have, like, real feelings and stuff.

Springtime for Voldemort

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose You speak the truth. Queer ladies are not accessories for bi-curious women's sexual exploration. It is not fair to basically ask someone to make you their primary when you are, at best, going to make them your secondary.

Mohawk Chick

@thatgirl I agree with what you guys are all saying and the sentiments, I'm just going to nitpick for a minute and point out that that LW 2 identifies as bisexual, not bicurious. And one can be bisexual without having had sex with all of their desired genders. *nitpicking over*


I'm worried I might spontaneously slap someone random today because the odds that I find the girl who crashed your wedding are pretty slim, but I feel like because of her idiocy, someone must be slapped. (Also, you give wonderful advice, AQC).

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@katiemcgillicuddy This is sort of off topic (but involves slapping!), but your comment reminded me of Kristen Schaal on "30 Rock" last night, when she told Liz Lemon: "I'd slap you if I didn't think it would lead to a kiss." Ha.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose HA, yes. Did you see her latest thing on the Daily Show? Oh god, I love her so, so much.



“How fascinating. There appears to be a complex social hierarchy organized around fauxhawk height and Doc Marten color.” Queer Chick, I love you more with every instalment.

The voyeurism thing is so horribly prevalent! Also, just because you are in a relationship with someone does not mean everyone else finds them attractive too- that is, you cannot be attractive as a unit unless you are both attractive as individuals. And lesbians are, generally, not into having men involved in their sexual situations. You'd think these things would be obvious, but apparently not.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Apocalypstick My pal and I were actually just discussing this, about how we were both recently propositioned by different hetero-couples for threesomes. We agreed we liked the ladies involved, but the dude? Yeah, he's OK, but, you know...a dude.

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Why do hetero couples seem to think this is ok? Note to heterocouples: unless you know the chick REALLLLY well, let's assume this isn't ok to ask your gold-star lesbian friends, mmmkay. Because I've been propositioned way too many times for my liking.


@S. Elizabeth I need better married friends.

You'll be sorry Jo March

@S. Elizabeth I'm not gold star, but I think that makes me even less likely to want to be in this situation? NEVER AGAIN

@You'll be sorry Jo March Jesus Christ, why are people horrible?


The advice you gave LW1 is some of the best advice on extramarital/extra-relationship affairs I've ever read, and applies just as well to straight couples. Thank you.


Advice to letter #1 = BEST ADVICE EVER


I can't tell if LW3 is just oddly written or something really odd is going on. Because she's not just saying her sister drunkenly accosts gay people sometimes, but that she specifically goes to to "meet all the amazing people in her city's thriving queer community". So is she a straight girl who specifically goes out to only gay bars because she loves to meet gay people? If so, that is definitely odd and probably a little offensive, which Queer Chick doesn't totally address here.

femme cassidy

@paddlepickle I don't think it's that weird for straight people to go to gay bars, for reasons that range from "that's where my favorite DJ plays" to "I'll be less likely to get skeeved on by some weird dude" to "hot shirtless male bartenders" to I don't even know. I kind of can't find it in my heart to be offended by that. Just don't be obnoxious!


@femme cassidy I don't necessarily think so either. I DO think that some weird sort of like, platonic-fetishization? can happen that this girl might be worried about her sister partaking in. Yknow, like "OH I JUST LOVE GAYS THEY CAN HELP ME SHOP!" sort of stuff. I think that's what she's getting at that didn't get addressed. Like her sister might spend a lot of time trying to befriend gay people because of positive stereotypes about them, and a positive stereotype is still a stereotype.


@paddlepickle "Every girl needs a gay best friend! They're the latest accessory!"
These tend to be the same type of people who compare their lives to episodes of Sex and the City.


@gobblegirl Yes! This is what I'm trying to say. Her sister may be attempting to find a Gay to match her bag.

@paddlepickle "Trying to find a Gay to match her bag." YES SERIOUSLY.


@S. Elizabeth The first time my (female) best friend met her girlfriend, she kept calling one of her (male) friends "my gay" and it took me a looooong time to get over it enough to, like, have a conversation with her at all. Helped by the fact that she never did it again in either of our presences.

@tales "Oh, so you own human beings? Kinda like white people thought they owned some other folks about 150 years ago, huh? It must be so awesome to own other human beings and keep them like your property..." <-- exactly what I would say



@tales years and years ago I had a best friend who was gay and I never referred to him by anything other than his name, but he always called me his 'fag hag' and it always made me uncomfortable. Is that term offensive? It does sort of imply that Sex and the City mentality as well, right (keep in mind, we were young -through years 19-21)? Or is it normal? I am no longer friends with him in any case but I've always wondered...

@bwakark I think it's tricky. First of all, did you think this was okay? Were you offended? Was it okay for you?

I'm a little less concerned about "fag hag," not because it is or isn't offensive, but because the person being "named" isn't the gay man. "Fag hag" tends to be the word used for women participating in the SATC culture bullshit -- usually white, straight, wealthy or upper-middle class, educated women. There isn't a cultural history of gay men "owning" wealthy straight ladies. I don't want to play Oppression Olympics, as women and gay men are both groups of people who experience oppression, but I think there's something to be said about wealthy white women having a lot of social power, especially in a relationship in which the gay man is being treated as an accessory.

But there's also a linguistic difference -- to call someone "my gay" is saying "my [fill in actual identity here]." It's why it's different than "my friend" or "my gay friend," as the identity is used as the noun, the replacement of that person's relationship to you. "My gay" reduces that entire person down to an identity, which screams of oppression and fetishization, and implies ownership of that person by virtue of this identity.

I also think "fag hag" is a tongue-in-cheek way of calling someone on their shit. It's dishing it right back. It's making that person who wanted to use a gay man as a fashion accessory into the accessory herself.

I feel a lot of sympathy toward gay men in this situation. We've used what I once heard called "Baby Seal Politics" to make gay men okay -- soooo cute, adorable, infantile, almost asexual, like a cute baby seal. It worked, for a bit. There was a cultural shift that accompanied Will & Grace and its ilk, that gay men were fancy and fabulous, not social pariahs carrying AIDS. But the impact of that is this idea that our culture wants a fancy gay man to take it shopping. That's awful. We are talking about grown men with full lives, ambitions, and desires.

I'm not saying it's okay, or giving someone a pass for being a juicebox, or saying that what this person called you should be universally accepted as okay. But I'm saying that it's culturally and linguistically different, and so I have a hard time having the same knee-jerk reaction to it as I did "my gay."


@S. Elizabeth But the term 'hag' does carry all sorts of baggage. Besides the fact that from the 15th to 18th century tens of thousands of (mostly) women were killed for practicing witchcraft [not to mention countless dunking and other humiliations], it has ageist implications (hags being usually older women or less conventionally attractive women). I'd be pissed as hell if one of my friends called me a fag hag because a) I'm not a hag and b) really? ugh.

@adorable-eggplant From a social justice perspective, I find it different than "my gay."

Marquise de Morville

As a chemist: using gloves might not help you if you are worried about exposure to small amounts of chemicals. Not all gloves keep out formaldehyde or other solvents - they are small enough to fit through the pores. Not that they are present in large quantities in dried nail polish. Gloves themselves made out of polymers that may leak ingredients. But then the same as for the sex toys would apply - limited exposure is different than long-term contact.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Marquise de Morville Would this be a problem with condoms as well, assuming they are also made out of polymers that may leak ingredients?

Marquise de Morville

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I am not an expert on condom manufacture, but I just assume that they are of medical grade/undergo different tests that gloves for food service? I am trying to find more info.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Marquise de Morville You are cool and informative.

Marquise de Morville

@Marquise de Morville So, I found a single paper addressing the issue. They tested cytotoxicity (beyond latex allergens) in vitro, using cervical cancer cell lines (HeLa) similar to what the FDA uses for medical devices. They conclude that some ingredients ended up having a toxic effect on the cells after 3h exposure to diluted condom washings - worse for flavored and spermicided version - and recommend that condoms should be tested similar to Latex gloves - which means they apparently are not? No-one cited the paper or followed up on it.

@ I'm Right in Top of that Rose Thanks! I felt I was not really that well informed. The more you know... sadly this does not really answer all my questions - but skipping flavored/colored/spermicide condoms seems like a good idea in any case.

(Motsoane et al, An in vitro study of biological safety of condoms and their additivesHuman & Experimental Toxicology (2003) 22: 659/664)

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Marquise de Morville Oh man, I can't even see HeLa without cringing now. Thanks, Henrietta. You saved so many.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

"She seems to feel as I do, that she belongs with me, but feels so guilty about disappointing and hurting her current partner and other people that she does not feel able to leave."

ALL THE RED FLAGS. ALL OF THEM. The store is out of red flags, sorry.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose RIght? Clearly, concern about hurting people is not this lady's primary motivation.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose This just in: stock markets are in turmoil today as companies work to deal with the unexpected worldwide shortage of red flags.

"I'm just not really sure what to do tonight," said That Guy. "I mean, usually on Fridays I like to lurk in a corner until I find a group of girls to force my attentions on, but without my usual supply of red flags, I might have to actually have a conversation with a human being."

The nation's top scientists are working on a process to remove the blue dye from purple flags, though the results are not expected to be available for some time. Meanwhile, President Obama condemned statements from GOP leadership that China is hoarding red flags in an attempt to raise worldwide red flag prices.

FEMA is advising that anyone affected by the shortage remain indoors as much as possible, and reminds everyone that creeper behavior may not be possible until the shortage is resolved.

Stay tuned here for updates as the story develops.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@SarcasticFringehead This is perfect.

@SarcasticFringehead you just won the internet.


A Queer Chick is so consistently ON POINT, damn. Amazing advice all around.

@yeah-elle If someone had asked me what #2 or #3 asked Queer Chick, I would have lost my shit. YOU WANT TO DO WHAT? YOUR SISTER IS TREATING GAY PEOPLE LIKE ZOO ANIMALS? WTF?

Queer Chick: has better control of her temper than I do.


@S. Elizabeth Yep. If confronted with these questions, I'd probably get caught in a whirlpool of "This is why this is wrong wrong wrong wrong," rather than offering actual advice. AQC always manages to lay it out clearly and helpfully. She's greatttttt.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@S. Elizabeth and @yeah-elle I have the same problem with impulse control. My immediate reaction is to chastise these silly women for treating the LGBT community with less humanity and plan manners than the straight community. Everyone is a fully formed human being here, with brains and feelings and opinions.

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Well, I don't have impulse-control problems, it's that when I read an interview of Tina Fey describing her as incredibly rule-oriented and fastidious about order, something resonated deeply with me. And that thing was "No, you don't get to do that. That's not how this shit works. And I feel as though you should be chastised for the Very Bad Thing you did, which was treating me and my people like walking talking vibrators and/or therapists, and I will Shame You For It."

I know it's harsh. But really, seriously, the world seems to have cards that are stacked against me, and I don't put up with patriarchal bullshit from naive straight women looking for sexy gratification while I'm trying to establish that I am a human being deserving of equal rights. I'm not your fucking vibrator.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@S. Elizabeth OK, yes, I agree with this to a point. My perspective is to start out a little less aggressively, because their actions may stem from true ignorance than something more menacing. If I can simply state the reasons they are wrong, hopefully they can take it a "The More You Know *star swoosh*" moment and feel appropriately embarrassed.

If the behavior persists, then yes, by all means, I get more aggressive. But, as always, to each her own.

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I could be that nice/patient/pleasant. But I'm just not. I have a bullshit tolerance of zero.

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I like you, too.

Springtime for Voldemort

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I know that it probably stems from ignorance (as so much bigotry does), but this kind of stuff is like half the ads on CL W4W. It gets old real fast, and I just don't have the patience any more to deal with it. When are people going to get the queers are actual humans?


Yeah, re LW#1, I read that post and said to self, hey, those commitment issues, she still haz them, and bang -- there's the answer. AQC always rocks.


I take issue with LW#2 being labeled "bicurious" by all and sundry. She says she's bisexual? Well then, she's bisexual. We don't call people "straight-curious" or "gay-curious." Do her the courtesy of not undercutting her own stated sexual orientation.

That said, the rest of the advice to her is spot-on. Don't assume another queer lady's going to be into that (kind of annoying) setup! And, echoing advice above, Fetlife and kinky/poly munches and all that jazz are definitely helpful places to look.

@kimkrypto Yes to the point about Fetlife/munches/etc. Pulling that bullshit in a standard dyke night situation will not work out well. Put it all out there on Fetlife, where there's more wiggleroom regarding what comes standard.


@kimkrypto Thank you! I was just about to say that. I actually scrolled up twice to make sure the LW didn't write "bicurious" anywhere. There's good advice happening in the comments, but please stop getting her sexual orientation wrong!


@kimkrypto This this this.

(I, like LW2, are bisexual with my first-and-only partner, who is also male. STILL BI.)

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Springtime for Voldemort JINX

Springtime for Voldemort

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose ::hands IROTOTR a Coke::

the ninth tailor

@kimkrypto Yeah, I take issue with this entire tired, played-out attitude that bisexual women are all going around "sexually exploiting" real queers by default. Sorry I don't have a gold star, but maybe we want to sleep with women because we're, you know, into them, jesus christ.

Springtime for Voldemort

@the ninth tailor And while the idea that all bisexual women aren't really queer and are exploiting queer women is a horrible trope, when you are asking someone to date you but have less input into when they have sex with you, their girlfriend, than a guy who's not even part of the relationship, that is the point at which you are a bisexual woman who is exploiting other queer women. I don't doubt that LW2 finds women hot, I doubt that she treats them with respect and dignity.

@Springtime for Voldemort Yes, this.

Sgt. Exposition

So, I'll out myself as LW #1 in this column (http://thehairpin.com/2012/08/filed-nails-when-to-move-and-the-coded-mixtape/).

I just wanted to provide an update. Your advice was 100 percent right, and worked out perfectly! Of course, there was a month of being 1000% oblivious to the actual interest in fucking. Like seriously, it was embarrassing. Other people had bets. Objective, outside analysts were brought in.

And because I mentioned I wrote to QC, she was (due to the mysterious ways of the universe) of course mere hours post first sexytimes linked to another QC column on Facebook and read my letter.

Apparently, all roads will inevitably lead back to the Hairpin.


@Sgt. Exposition Yayyy I love LW updates! I wish there were a big post filled with them.


@Sgt. Exposition Hurray! GET IN THERE LAD.

You'll be sorry Jo March

@Sgt. Exposition I love this!


Ask a queer/-friendly/-aware audience ...

have you seen the (college humor?) video going around that's like "if you're a straight dude and don't support gay marriage, watch out because we'll marry your girlfriend!"

and if so, what do you think of it? It has been in heavy play on my fb feed.


@redheaded&crazie that's gotten a lot of play from people on various parts of the sexuality spectrum on my feed as well. and, I don't know... I watched it with my dude and we both were a little bit put off by it. So full of stereotypes. I mean, I feel like the message is sort of in the right place, but it's playing off of base stereotypes and creepy fears.


@entangled yes! thank you for articulating my feelings better I was like "SOMEBODY TELL ME HOW TO FEEL ABOUT THIS CUZ I'M NOT SUUUUURE"

it's frustrating when something like that has a good heart but it just ... doesn't ... really ... work. (at least for me, it seems to work for lots of people on my facebook of all stripes of sexuality)

@redheaded&crazie I'm torn because it really plays off of awful stereotypes of gay men as commodities and not actually having autonomy in their desire... but at the same time, I'm a fan of analyzing jokes by who the bunt of it is. The joke is making fun of straight republican men who opposed marriage equality, and specifically makes fun of how they might not be all that awesome at that sacred marriage thing anyway.

So yeah, I had a knee-jerk reaction of "oh shit, not cool guys, not cool." But it was funny because... it just so wonderfully addresses so many shortcomings of The Dudebro Anto-Equality Husband.


@S. Elizabeth This is a good point too! I would like to be married to somebody who could bake a motherfucking quiche.

@S. Elizabeth Wow I cannot type with my laptop on my lap. Sorry guys, my Ladyfriend is getting a chemo infusion and I'm distracted. Brunt of the joke, Anti-Equality, etc.


@S. Elizabeth Yeah, it didn't offend or anything because I could tell the joke was supposed to be on the straight guy dude bros and their fears. What they were trying to do wasn't unfunny, it just didn't hit the right notes for me.

and I'm pretty sure the only people I know who can make quiches are straight guys. which is probably just more evidence for not ever making guesses about the world at large based on the people I know.

Springtime for Voldemort

@redheaded&crazie I think that as long as I don't think about it at ALL, it's hilarious. The second I start to think about it, shit gets problematic and unfunny real fast.


@entangled STRAIGHT guys who can make quiche?! the dream can become a reality oh lordy my heart!

(all my straight guy friends are better cooks than me as well but often in the vein of ... meatloaf cupcakes and bacon wrapped sausage)


@entangled Completely irrelevant but "Base Stereotype and the Creepy Fears" would be an excellent socially-conscious rockabilly band name.

@martinipie It could be a band that sings ironic dirges. It could be awesome.


@redheaded&crazie This is why I date a lady who is also studying to be a pastry chef. PROBLEM SOLVED.

@Lis You win the life game.

Oh god if I dated a pastry chef JESUS CHRIST my life would be so full of weight gain and butter and amazing shit it would be so awesome.

Two Words for LW2: Sexytime Chaperone.

femme cassidy

@S. Elizabeth Well, when you put it like THAT, it sounds EXTRA hot.

@femme cassidy Right?


I am definitely echoing the "why does he need to watch" question. It's possible that he wants to chaperone and make sure Feelings don't get involved or something, but it seems more likely he wants the live porn aspect.
Also, you need to be very clear about what you want and then clear about that with potential partners from the get-go. Do you want a relationship, or do you just want to experience sex with a woman? I think a friends-with-benefits situation with someone who is into exhibitionism is your best bet. (I mean, honestly, if it were a friend of mine and she just wanted to try sex with another woman and I knew her boyfriend was a cool dude, I'd probably be down for it, no strings attached).
You also need to be clear about what it means that your boyfriend is present. Is he in the kitchen, making post-coital snacks? Is he in the bedroom with a bottle of lube and some tissues? Is he watching in a voyeuristic way, or in a supervisory way? Is he allowed to offer commentary/suggestions? It would be wise to negotiate this carefully so everyone involved knows what they are getting into and what to expect.

@Blushingflwr And seriously, talk to the boyfriend. Bring up the fact that his demand is going to come across as sketchy to a lot of people. Remind him that there are a lot of social and cultural aspects of this to contend with and that even if he's a Cool Dude, that is some patriarchal bullshit right there.


@Blushingflwr I read it as more of a jealous thing rather than 'patriarchal bullshit'. Or it's a more pornographic motivation as you suggest, but either way I'd question whether he is actually ok with her having sex with other people in the real world…


Wait. Lesbian internet? I've found a corner of tumblr and autostraddle which I will not read because some of the writers make me wanna throw things (of course, my primary exposure is another friend going "damselfish! There was a horrible comment on AS!" and I will come riding in to be all WHARGARBLE YOU'RE WRONG AND YOU SHOULD STAND THERE IN YOUR WRONGNESS AND BE WRONG and then promptly forget about it until my regular reader friend mentions wanting to throttle somebody, again). I'm curious about other lands in this lesbian internet empire that I've apparently never seen!


There appears to be a complex social hierarchy organized around fauxhawk height and Doc Marten color.
Important follow-up question:
Where do these place one in said hierarchy?


This is the most fucking hilarious AQC column of all time. 'Also, if you can manage it, try to be really, really hot.' 'Tell her to wave good-bye to the nice homos because we're going home now.' 'So long as you're not spending more than an hour a day inside your girlfriend'. Comedy gold.

Unflattering Hat

I dated a bisexual woman for awhile, and we kind of had a similar conversation. When I asked if I could be "involved", she explained to me that she was trying to be open and honest about wanting to explore a part of her sexuality, but was not happy that I took that as an opportunity to make it about me. And she was right: she was saying that she wanted to have sex with a woman, not have a three-way, and it was not cool at all for me to immediately go there.

I don't know all the particulars, LW#2, but maybe your boyfriend sounds a little greedy?


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Oh my god, I have been in the lite version of LW1's situation for the past few months and I could really have done with that advice two months ago. Probably wouldn't have believed it, mind. I do now, though. Ugh. Get rid of your supposedly-monogamous-but-actually-cheating-on-their-primary-relationship-partners, they are disgusting.


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