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10 Things Not to Say to a Lesbian

Queer women are tired of answering stupid questions.

Like medieval German poetry, lesbians (and bisexuals, heteroflexibles, queers, pansexuals, and womyn-loving wimmin) are frequently misunderstood. Sure, you may have read about them in a Women’s Studies class, glimpsed them briefly on Grey’s Anatomy, or in the plaster aisle at Home Depot, but it’s a rare thing indeed to experience lesbians in the wild. Who are these mythical beings? What do they wear now that hipsters have appropriated flannel? Is it true that lesbians move in together after the second date? What does Rachel Maddow have that I don’t? These are some of the questions you may have. While we generally abide by the school rule that there are no stupid questions, when it comes to queer women, sometimes there are stupid questions we’re tired of answering. You should avoid uttering the following statements if you’d like to steer clear of arguments, severe eye rolls, physical confrontations, and being equated with a cave person.

1. Who’s the “man” in this relationship?

Neither. Both. Only when it comes to killing the spiders. In most cases, the relationship in question involves two women: that’s what makes them lesbians. Even in butch/femme pairings, it’s insulting to assume that a queer relationship is imitating a straight one, especially under the rigid and outdated gender roles that the “man” question usually implies.

Possible comeback: “I don’t know. Who’s the man in yours?”

2. So if you like girls, are you attracted to yourself?

This question dates back to the Victorian era, when Freud postulated that homosexuality may have roots in narcissism, and his so-called castration complex. If this theory actually held water, wouldn’t we all be fervently masturbating in a mirror while playing Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” instead of going on dates? Same-sex attraction does not equal self-sex attraction (not that that’s a thing).

3. How do you have sex?

Well, first we make an offering to the Goddess. Then we walk counter-clockwise in a circle around a bowl of flax seeds while reciting lines from the Indigo Girls canon. Somewhere around the seventh rotation, our vaginas fuse together in spiritual and ecstatic union. Afterward, we drink rooibos tea and discuss prison reform.

Lesbian sex has been confounding people since the dawn of cucumbers. We’re not sure why, but frankly, we’re tired of explaining to you how sexual acts might occur without the aid of a flesh dildo. But, okay, here goes again: Queer women engage in all manners of sexual acts, up to and including those involving hands, toys, mouths, feet, whips, clamps, mind-melds, food, and any number of objects that are vaguely penis-shaped and can be used in a pleasure-giving way. It’s not Parcheesi, okay? There’s not one right and true way lesbians get it on. There are, like, four, at least. (Kidding.)

4. How do you know you’re a lesbian if you’ve never had sex with a man?

How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never had a dick in your mouth? Or vice versa.

5. Wanna have a threesome?

There is a pervasive cultural assumption about queer women, particularly bisexual ones, that when we aren’t busily destroying the sanctity of nuclear families, we are champing at the bit to have a threeway with a dude. (See also: 9 Myths About Bisexuals That Will Make You Laugh.) Don’t get us wrong, we like threesomes (look ma, six hands!), but the threesome-as-holy-grail has led to a barrage of awkward online propositions and drunken come-ons. It’s grown tiresome. Please acquire a new hobby, such as furniture restoration or windsurfing. Unless the woman in question explicitly states that this is her desire, don’t make any assumptions, and especially don’t do that thing with your tongue.

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