Pride: A Complicated Experience

Stock photo of glitter laid out in stripes to form a rainbow. Glitter is present at a lot of Pride events, in case you didn't know ;)

I haven’t been to a tonne of Pride events.

I came out to myself as bi when I was about 13, and as nonbinary when I was about 17. Unusually, I think, I didn’t feel any internalised shame about my queer identity in the traditional sense. When I realised I was bisexual, I was excited about it: excited about my newfound connection to the LGBTQ+ community, excited about the possibility of kissing girls and excited that I’d found a label that fit me, after a year or two of worrying that I was simply a lesbian who was very bad at lesbianing.

When I came out to myself as nonbinary, I felt a degree of anxiety that I wasn’t not-cis enough (I didn’t experience all the dysphoria that mainstream media promised me, and I’d only put the pieces together as a young adult), but mostly I was, again, excited to find a word that fit my experience of gender. I understood, in theory, that a lot of people needed the Pride movement to allay their feelings of internalised shame, fear and grossness about being anything other than cishet, but whether it was the autism or my mum’s accepting and loving influence, I never felt bad about being queer.

This didn’t mean that I was uninterested in Pride events, but I didn’t feel any desperate pull towards them. I could experience the joy of being part of the LGBTQ+ community online, in the comfort of my own home, and that felt like enough for me. The first time I went to Pride, it was for an unconventional reason: I was deeply, deeply depressed, and it was a reason to leave the house.

My hometown’s Pride event was, and still is, mercifully grassroots in nature, held in a spacious park and never too crowded. But this didn’t stop me from feeling overwhelmed, especially when I found that there was nowhere for me to sit down and rest my disabled little legs, and nothing was signposted, leading to me getting turned around and confused at least twice an hour. I loved spotting other people’s flags, starting conversations with people about their dogs or their outfits, and talking to the people who ran stalls relevant to my interests, but I left the event exhausted and overstimulated and had to spend at least a couple of days in bed or otherwise in my pajamas, recharging my limited energy.

Bigger Pride events, as you can imagine, intimidate me. I went to one in my university city and found it so challenging that I slipped away on more than one occasion to the outskirts of the event, taking deep breaths and chewing on free sweets obtained from various stalls and booths. I know lots of other people find Pride inaccessible, and this year, I stuck to my hometown’s event – but still needed to be babysat by my girlfriends and metamour, reminded to eat, and encouraged to leave earlier than most people might because I was ready to lie down on the grass and give up.

This is why I feel conflicted about Pride. I already felt like it might not be for me, since I didn’t experience the internalised shame that so many LGBTQ+ people talked about, and after having found so many Pride events to be lacking in the accessibility department, I felt that even more strongly. Couple that with a police presence which makes my autistic nerves run higher than the volume on the main stage’s speakers and the ongoing online discussions about who “belongs” at Pride, I’ve often wondered what Pride does have to offer me.

The thing is, Pride as a concept is great. I enjoy rainbow paraphernalia and I even enjoy watching corporations desperately try to cater to me (only to drop the facade on the 1st of July) and then watching other LGBTQ+ people mock them for it. Pride month is fun, it reminds me of the importance of community and visibility, and it gives me an excuse to respond melodramatically to every minor inconvenience (“It’s raining? During this, Pride Month?”). But I’m starting to acknowledge that I pressure myself into attending events that I don’t really need to be at. I already know my community exists, I have created safe spaces of my own to be queer in, and I don’t feel gross or ashamed or anything other than pleased about my queer identity.

I know Pride does a lot for a lot of people. I love seeing people at Pride events blossoming with confidence they might not feel anywhere else, and I appreciate that there exists a space where everyone can just… be their authentic selves, without fear of repercussion. But with gatekeeping, corporate involvement, inaccessibility and the rest of it, it’s a movement and a series of events that I feel somewhat disconnected from.

I will continue to defend my LGBTQ+ siblings’ right to attend Pride events, obviously. I want to speak up in defense of asexual and aromantic people’s place at Pride and about the ways that a police presence can make POC and neurodivergent people feel deeply uncomfortable, but I might not need to push myself into events to achieve that. I suppose it’s a result of internalised ableism, something I do experience a lot of, that I feel like I need to do what my abled friends are doing whether I actually want to or not. And I suppose it’s important for me as an activist to confront my internalised ableism, and that might mean staying home from crowded, noisy, police-infested Pride events when I need to.

I’m still going to buy shit with rainbows on it, though. I’m always going to buy shit with rainbows on.

A (Conditional) Defense of One Penis Policies

Stock image of a single banana on a square white plate, with a knife and fork to the plate's left and an empty drinking glass to its right. The table on which the plate lies is a warm brown colour and the banana itself is ripe, but not speckled. It is supposed to represent a penis.

The One Penis Policy is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a rule within a non-monogamous relationship that (usually) dictates that the vagina-owning party can only be sexually and/or romantically involved with one penis-owner. Usually, this happens in relationships with cis people, where the vagina-owning lady partner is bi, and usually it’s brutally criticised by other non-monogamous people for being phallocentric (that is, for putting the penis on a pedestal) and for diminishing the validity of vagina-on-vagina or otherwise sapphic relationships by virtue of deeming them less threatening, less jealousy-inducing and/or less “real” than penis-on-vagina or otherwise heterosexual relationships.

And I totally understand those criticisms. I do. “It doesn’t count if it’s with a girl” is an icky sentiment which manages to be misogynistic (in that it positions women and their relationships as less important than men) and manages to dismiss female sexuality (in that it suggests non-phallocentric sex acts are less important than phallocentric ones) in one fell swoop. Your penis-owning partner deeming your relationship(s) with women less important than your relationships with him (because he’s usually cis, let’s be real) can really hurt, so a lot of people avoid One Penis Policies in their relationships. And that’s their boundary and their right, and I respect that.

But.

We can’t wash societal bullshit out of our brains. (This is why I still have an eating disorder, Impostor Syndrome about my depression, and freshly-shaven armpits.) Even if we know it’s societal bullshit, even if we’ve read all the books and blog posts and hot takes and we’re logically aware that our feelings are being influenced by external structures, we still have the emotional responses that society has wired our brains to have. So even if a dude desperately wants to discard society’s phallocentric bullshit, he’ll still feel hurt and threatened and the rest of it when his partner interacts with another penis. It would take a lifetime to undo that societal programming.

Phallocentrism also means that an alarming amount of a dude’s identity is connected to his dick. In much the same way as my identity is tied to being a blue-haired autistic sex nerd with big boobs and lots of facial piercings, a lot of dudes’ identity is tied to their dicks – so in the same way I’d be hurt and insecure if my partner started seeing another person with blue hair and big boobs and so on, dudes are hurt and insecure about other penises entering your life. It’s much easier to draw comparison when there are similar traits to compare, and living in a phallocentric patriarchy means that the first place a guy is going to look to draw comparison is genitally. Again, he might be fully aware of how bullshit that is, but that won’t stop him from feeling anxious about you replacing his penis (the part of him that society deems most important) with another, “better” penis.

As for the diminishing of female or sapphic sexuality, that depends on the person. It can be hard to untangle phallocentric bullshit and the bullshit that suggests vagina-related sexuality is less valid, but frankly, if you’re dating someone homophobic enough to state or suggest that “it doesn’t count if it’s with a girl”, the absence or presence of a One Penis Policy is not going to save your relationship and you should run for the hills. If your partner, phallocentric bullshit aside, respects and values your relationships with women, it should show, regardless of whether or not he feels threatened by them. His behaviour as a metamour, the things he says to you in private and how readily he objectifies you, your girl partner(s) and your sapphic experiences are all things to take into account, but that’s a conversation for another day. Simply put, if your partner is homophobic, you’ll know, regardless of penis policies.

So do you have to instate and abide by a One Penis Policy because your partner can’t shake off society’s phallocentrism and misogyny? Of course not. I personally weighed up the hurt and insecurity my partner might feel about other penises against the desire I had to interact with other penises and decided, in the kindest way possible, that my encountering new dicks wouldn’t be worth the emotional labour for either of us. My partner didn’t explicitly veto other penises; he told me that he’d have a lot of difficult feelings about them, and I decided I’d rather spare him those feelings and leave other penises alone. That might change in the future, but it might not, and I’m truly happy with that: I feel like I can ask my partner for contact with his dick, or for penetration, or for any other unique experience that penises offer, and he’ll provide it at my earliest convenience, so there’s very little I’m missing out on in abiding by an unofficial One Penis Policy. And that’s the ideal setup.

All 800-odd words of this was to say: if multiple penises are important to you, you have every right to only enter/maintain relationships that are absent of a One Penis Policy. But if you have a partner whose feelings might be shielded by a One Penis Policy and multiple penises aren’t that important to you, there’s no shame in sticking to an OPP. There’s no right way to do non-monogamy, you and your dude needn’t feel bad for being susceptible to millennia of patriarchal brainwashing, and your boundaries are always, always allowed. Regardless of what they are, I hope you enjoy the genitals you interact with, or that you enjoy non-genital-related activities, to the fullest extent possible, and I hope to see y’all next week for another blog post.

Smut Saturdays #12 – Girls Are Just Different

Stock image of a light purple orchid which looks vaguely similar to a vulva in sharp focus, with a blurry greenish background

I should write more about fucking girls. I should also write more about fucking cunts. (Not everyone with a cunt is a girl; not every girl has a cunt.) And at the moment, I have been thinking a lot about fucking girls who have cunts (usually, these are cis girls) and how much I enjoy it.
If I had to choose one gender, or one genital configuration, to fuck for the rest of my life, I sincerely don’t know if I could do it. (Being autistic and indecisive, I’d probably become overwhelmed, cry a bit and never fuck anybody again.) I am nigh-on obsessed with my Daddy’s cock, and foreskin, and the taste of cum; but I’m equally fond of slick, swollen cunts, tits bouncing in the same rhythm as whichever dildo I’m wielding, soft inner thighs I can bite and pinch…
The thing is, it’s easier to write about fucking dudes. I’ve done more of it, and I have a sort of script that I’m happy to stick to: rough making out, a bit of dick sucking, maybe getting choked a little bit, and then PIV til I come and so does he. Sometimes I deviate from this, but not often. I have a lot of data on how being penetrated by a cock feels, on how the weight of an erection in my hand makes me sigh with impatient wanting, on how I respond to getting pounded by someone who’s capable of pinning me to the bed one-handed.
I’ve fucked girls before, including girls with cunts and girls without ‘em, but not nearly as frequently. This is largely due to my own fear of “doing it wrong” and my complicated relationship to topping clashing with my intense desire to beat the life out of consenting women. I rarely, if ever, want to bottom to girls (partly because the kinds of girls I’m attracted to are usually natural bottoms/subs anyhow), and I’m still having to work hard on topping anybody without getting the nervous giggles and/or the irrepressible urge to curl up and sob. Even disregarding that, it’s a lot harder, statistically speaking, to find girls who want to play with my vagina than it is to find boys who want the same thing. My nervousness around topping and my nervousness around writing things I’m not convinced are well-researched enough have created a relative dearth of non-cock-centric content on my blog, which in turn has created a sense of guilt and queer Impostor Syndrome in me that I cannot shake.
All of this is to say that today, I will write in detail about fucking girls.
I just love cunts. (I love girl dicks too, but that’s a discussion for another day.) I love the sensation of a hardened clit under my tongue and the process of turning a girl on so her labia majora puff up with arousal. I love slipping my hand into a girl’s pants and feeling slick, hot desire. I love the way that girls’ knees drift apart when they want you to put a finger in them. I love the word “cyprine” and I love licking it off my fingers. I love the give, the squish in a girl’s G-spot when it’s as swollen as her clit is, and I love pressing, massaging, fucking it with my fingers until I feel and hear her cum.
And that’s just the cunt!
I also love how soft girls are. It doesn’t matter how much they weigh or what their skincare routine is; they’re just indescribably soft in a way that boys never are. I love the way that girls kiss, their lips as hesitant as butterflies, their tongues as gentle as their hands. I love the way girls’ tits look when I tie their wrists above their heads, rounded and lifted, and I also love the way tits look when their owner is slouching on my bed, spilling down their torsos, as relaxed and warm as can be. I love the amount of lovebite real estate bigger tits provide and I love the extra pain I can cause by pinching smaller ones. I love touching, kissing, biting or squeezing every inch of a girl other than the square six or so that constitute her vulva, perineum and anus, sucking on the shelf of flesh at the top of her thigh until she’s all but thumping her mons pubis into my head with desperation. I love teasing the anus first, providing we’ve talked about that, and moving lube-soaked fingers up and down the perineum while keeping my eyes focused on my partner’s face. I love girls’ faces, their widening eyes and their trembling lips and the colour rising in their cheeks, the way they sometimes shyly cover them up with their hands when they’re close to coming (like I do when I’m bottoming) and the way their mouths stretch open when I’ve tied up their wrists and covering up just isn’t an option. And I love the way girls’ lips look stretched around a dildo, whether it’s strapped on to me or in my worn-out hand after fucking them with it, and I love the way that they look covered in my own cum, when they look up from between my legs and smile proudly at the sight of me recovering from an orgasm.
I love the fact that every girl I fuck is different, but they all have things in common. I love the fact that our genitals match so I know my way around the neighbourhood, but our experiences differ so I still have to stop and ask for directions now and again. I love that girls giggle at my stupid jokes even when I’m telling them from between their legs. I love the camaraderie of fucking someone whose gender is near to mine and the affirmation of it not being exactly the same. I love cuddling with girls and commiserating about periods and the patriarchy and feeling like best friends and beyond.
And I love writing smut about them, so I’ll endeavour to do that more often.