Lesbians stereotypes: you use them, lesbians use them, we all use them. Stereotypes simplify our thinking about lots of things, including lesbianism, but sometimes create huge misunderstandings about our little lesbian world. I'd like to help you get smart about lesbians because we are currently very cool, and we are also here to stay. It's my goal to blow up some lesbian stereotypes while at the same time affirming others.
Let's start by talking about what lesbian stereotypes actually are. A lesbian stereotype is an pre-formed idea about lesbians and how we live our lives that is generally accepted as truth... but isn't always true.
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As lesbians, we use stereotypes all the time to figure out how to fit in with our little lesbian nation. For example, the "late-to-life" lesbian is moving from the culture of the straight world into lesbian life and culture. We can use stereotypes initially to learn how to fit in, but then we need to move past that and evolve into being our authentic and individual lesbian selves.
Ellen DeGeneres brought the lesbian nation out of the closet with her when she came out on national TV in 1997 during the fourth season of her show Ellen. Her very public coming out pushed lesbian stereotypes to the forefront in a new way, and her celebrity lifestyle still remains pertinent to this discussion today. Ellen has helped elevate our "cool" factor, but not all lesbians are celebrities. We won't all be invited to star on shows like The L Word or Orange Is The New Black. We want to be invited — even if its just to sit on the set — but we won't be, and that's OK.
We also won't get to host the Oscars, or marry someone like Portia. That is really OK as well, because most of us don't actually want to live "celesbian" lifestyles which represent one of our newer lesbian stereotypes. Most of us just want a normal lifestyle that allows us to marry, work, raise children, take care of the people we love, enjoy our lives — and not in fear.
So when it comes to lesbian stereotypes, what would Ellen say? She might start by saying that the word lesbian, unlike the word woman, does not have "man" in it. Therefore, it is simple to see that lesbians don't feel a big need to have a man in our lives.
With that in mind, let's start with lesbian stereotypes that are perpetuated and driven by men:
- Men molested us as children and that turned us into lesbians.
- Lesbians hate men.
- In every lesbian couple, one has to be the man.
- Lesbians just haven't been with the right guy yet.
Wow. First off, statistically we know that a high percentage of women in the United States have been molested. This is terrible news, but it isn't what "created" lesbians — and not all lesbians hate men. If we follow the logic of this to its conclusion, we would have many more lesbians in this country than straight women. Lesbians would, of course, love this but life doesn't work that way.
Most lesbians adore many men, and in particular our dads, brothers, straight male friends and gay brothers. We don't need to be men-haters to love women. Truthfully, the idea that the right guy and his penis will make us want to be with a guy is part of the "men in lesbian fantasyland" phenomenon, and it just isn't happening. Sure, once in a while we lose one of our sisters to a guy, but that's rare.
What stereotypes are next? Well, lesbian sex, of course!
- Every lesbian uses strap-ons and dildos to take the place of men.
- No lesbians ever use strap-ons.
- It's not real sex if there's no penis.
- Every lesbian relationship has a butch and a femme, because someone has to be the man and someone has to be the woman.
- Lesbian bed death happens to all lesbian couples.
- Lesbians want to have a threesome with your bi-girlfriend/boyfriend because we'll have sex with any woman around. (Holy cow; people really believe this stuff?).
All right, are you ready? Here we go. Sex does not require intercourse or penetration by any means — whether you are straight or lesbian. Sex also doesn't require an orgasm. Sex includes kissing, stroking, licking, touching and everything in between, and it can all be extremely enjoyable. I've experienced really wonderful sex with a woman that didn't include an orgasm. I've also had my lesbian world rocked by amazing orgasms that went on and on. That never happened when I was with a man. Never. Not once. Not even close. Oh, did I mention that I used to be married and have had my share of sex with men? It doesn't begin to compare to sex with a woman.
So what's real and what's a myth? Well, lesbians do all of the "sex things" and lots more associated with lesbian stereotypes. Some lesbian couples are very butch/femme and love strap-ons and dildo play, but that's not for all lesbian couples. It also isn't required to be butch to enjoy sex toys. Lesbians of all kinds of persuasions enjoy them, and so do many straight women.
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Now, let me blow your mind with some data from the National Health and Social Life Survey comparing lesbian and heterosexual women's sexual experiences. Hold on boys, it's bad news for you! Keep reading...
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