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So. Yesterday I talked at great length about the place of masculinity in my head. Today, I think I'll talk about its place in my bed. ;)

Femme performativity can be hugely hot for me, no denying. In fact, I tend to be sexually compatible with a much broader spectrum of women than men. But it's often somewhat foreign to me, too. Beautiful and hot more for its difference from me than its commonality. Worth noting that although I talked a lot about cultural structures of power around gender yesterday, especially the internal misogyny of my youth, sorting that out in my head has allowed me a lot clearer view and recognition of powerful take-no-shit femmes, appreciation for the subversiveness of intentional and unapologetic femininity (and I do love me some subversion). I love it, I react to it, but it's not my personal path most days (when it is, I tend to go "earth mother femme". High femme, even very dominant high femme, is drag for me. Sometimes fun, but I'm just being a tourist). I have a lot to thank the lesbian community for, in the ways I learned there to appreciate femininity as a conscious and radical choice, not just an awkward societal default I kept getting unwillingly shoved into. Sexually, feminine women can be hugely affirming for me. Many recognize and react to my masculine side, and our tendency to compare-and-contrast pushes me into comfortable space where I am the more masculine one.

Folks who wander the middle ground, under a variety of labels or none, are my people. Huge sense of connection there, which may or may not be sexual, depending. I struggle least inside my own head within those connections. Rather than contrast, commonality is the core of our dynamic.

Masculine-of-center -- that's the meat of what I really want to talk about today. Tomboys and butches, trans and cis men. If you want to see my neck snap around fast enough to risk whiplash while I simultaneously trip over my own feet, throw some hot queered masculinity in front of me, especially in a female body. Goddamn.

I am hesitant to pursue, though, in a way that's different from my usual nervousness about impinging on boundaries. This is old defensiveness and uncertainty. Fears that being less masculine than them in contrast will push me back into the girl box, get me read and reacted to in ways that are rarely comfortable to me. Stupid old assumptions that if they're the boy I'll have to be the girl.

In actuality, my energy with masculine people is often more masculine, not less (more on that in a minute) When it connects the other way, my feminine side is a gift of profound trust. To enjoy it with someone, especially sexually, I have to get over the fear that them seeing that side, seeing that it is _also_ true for me, will erase my hard-fought-for masculine side. It feels very similar to struggles around having my queerness erased when I'm seen dating guys. I am only truly comfortable being feminine with those people I most trust to see and honor my masculinity.

Because of all that crap in my head, interacting with masculinity sexually can be very tricky for me. It draws me but threatens me. It can bring out some of my worst old defensive traits if I'm not careful.

As a note: It's rare for me to connect sexually with men or women who are entirely straight. I'm to much of a girl for straight women, to much of a guy for straight men. The men are actually generally fine with pursuing me, but we can't connect in the ways I need, and I end up feeling invisible or deceptive. And defensive internalized homophobia and machismo is a huge turn-off, both in general and because it pushes the sense that I am deceiving and violating them, that if they truly understood me they would not be ok with it. Also, those are the men most likely to insist on treating me "like a girl". No thanks.

Queered masculinity, though, especially masculine-masculine connections... There's a reason a huge percentage of my porn is gay leatherdaddies or lesbian butch-butch dynamics. *Melt* I love that energy. Carol Queen's Leatherdaddy and the Femme, Patrick Califia's Boy in the Middle... That's the home of my most potent fantasies (and their writing has reassured me many times over the years when I felt alone and incomprehensible).

The world has gotten a lot easier for me in recent years. Boundaries breaking down, increased inclusivity and space for wanderers like me. Just the recognition of our existence is a huge step, honestly. But for better or worse, my formative years happened in a much more rigid time, and old insecurities die hard. "Am I welcome here" is always a critical question for me, and one I often have to ask multiple times to truly assuage those fears. And my body still prevents me from fitting seamlessly into many of the dynamics I crave. I've said for decades that if I got a male body for a day I'd spend every minute of that day in gay leather bars and bathhouses. As is, I'm sensitive about issues of appropriation and invasion. I'm not always even comfortable talking about my attractions to gay cis men and to trans men of all orientations. I've been fetishized for my traits enough I don't want to do that to others or be perceived as someone who would.

It's not fetishization, though, I don't think. It's a desire to participate in some way (even as a voyeur) in a type of masculine energy interplay that I generally can't directly without my body throwing off the dynamic. I sure as hell have no interest in "turning" gay men. When I have played that way we ignore my girlbits almost entirely, and I'm good with that. I don't want to create heterosexuality with them, I want to revel in their masculine queerness. I want to find ways to play in that world without breaking what is special and magnificent about it. And with trans guys, it's nothing to do with their equipment and everything to do with their experience. I am not trans, as far as I can tell, but I generally feel safer with trans men than anyone else, because I trust their empathy with my reality. I trust them to believe me.

Cis guys who are most attracted to women are the trickiest territory for me. There's so much potential, but I'm easily overwhelmed by conflicting impulses. I want to be "one of the guys", except sometimes when I don't. My ten-year-old posturing competitive tomboy comes out, and she can be a pain in the ass. Queer/gay men tend to elicit my more masculine energy sexually. Guys on the straighter end of the spectrum tend to elicit my feminine side sexually, which can be very much at odds with my preferred social dynamics outside the bedroom, and can bring up a lot of old crap in my head.

Kink dynamics can make everything even trickier. At present I'd describe myself as mostly dominant, and also mostly a bottom. That confuses enough people all on its own, let alone the complicated ways gender plays into things. The most common and pervasive images of kink, both femdom and feminine submission, are poor fits for me, and fem sub to masculine dominant is perhaps the trickiest of all. Scares the shit out of me (which unsurprisingly also makes me deeply curious to poke at it; I don't exactly run at my fears, but it is my tendency to hesitantly sidle toward them and prod at them). If I were to submit, I'm pretty certain it would be easiest for me to do from queer masculine headspace, or to a queer woman, or both. It pulls far enough from the common cultural detritus of gender dynamics to alleviate some of the psychological stressors for me. As is, I generally bottom from a pretty dominant headspace, although it may be feminine.

Honestly, I always expected that if I got over my fears enough, I'd be more likely to explore submission than dominance sexually. I got surprised on that one, in ways that seem glaringly obvious in retrospect. So far, in the one relationship where it's been a serious element, I found a profound resonance that I'm still both processing and grieving. I don't know if I can do dominance casually. The experience shifted my life (I found a whole new way of falling in love), but right now my feelings about it are too deeply tied to an aching hole in my heart to go anywhere near those dynamics with someone else, even casually, if that's even possible for me (I'm a slut, so I expect someday it will be).

The experience, though, in opening me up to D/s dynamics (I was all S/M previously), created another avenue of possible exploration. I don't like being limited by my fears. I don't think that deep down I'm primarily submissive (the opposite, actually), but I don't want to fear whatever tendencies I have in that regard, and I have gotten progressively more curious recently, largely as a result of trying to wrap my brain around my sub partner's headspace. I don't think I'll end up living there, but I want to know and understand the territory to the extent I'm able. I suspect that's pretty directly related to how I'm reacting to some of the people around, especially in the community, in ways that are rather surprising and atypical for me. No idea when/if I'll actually be ready to explore that, but I'm certainly finding the inside of my head an odd place these days. We'll see.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2015 08:23 pm (UTC)
I'd be curious as to where I fall in your perceptions, because on one hand I have never considered myself especially "girly", but I do naturally and pretty consistently identify as straight... although no part of my brain objects to the idea of sex with women, I have trouble thinking of myself in a long-term relationship with another woman, just because of me being me. And you know me... although for almost ten years now I have been living the basically stereotypical life of husband, daughter, and cats.
May. 21st, 2015 04:51 am (UTC)
I've definitely always thought you had something of a butch vibe; it's one of the things I love about you, and connect with. Butch and genderqueer can be hard to differentiate, but I'd say you're clearly a woman with those traits, whereas I identify genderwise somewhere outside that. Not sure of that makes any sense or not. (and I've known a lot of butch women of all orientations, so I don't find that part weird at all).
May. 21st, 2015 10:48 am (UTC)
And somehow I met a man who, although being raised in a very traditional (though very accepting) family and not really having any conscious understanding of the varieties of gender and such, has always been more than willing to accept the parts of me I do not feel like being feminine about... he is perfectly content with my complete disregard for body hair; he cheerfully shaves my head for me and then rubs my buzz-cut because he likes it. When I wanted to learn to target-shoot he thought it was great, and there's never been a time he wouldn't take me out in the woods with him to stomp through the mud and get filthy and look at dead animals and beaver dams and such.

I think that's why me wearing dresses is actually sort of kink for us, as normal as it might be for most people... I feel strange in a dress, but not in a bad way. It brings out the feminine in me, behavior-wise and in my head, and for him it's clearly a turn-on, but he's never in any way seemed turned OFF by me the rest of the time... and part of that might be that I am very definitely a woman both physically and mentally, and so I'm happy for him to appreciate my body and appreciate me as a woman without expecting me to do "womanly" things like shave my legs regularly. I like being pretty, but I like being pretty without being "cute". I hate the word "cute" and I like being pretty in what feels like... well, not an aggressive way, but maybe more of a "this is how I do pretty" and wearing makeup always feels weirdly subversive for me, even though it's the opposite of subversive for a straight cis female to wear makeup.
Jun. 1st, 2015 04:18 pm (UTC)
I think that's why me wearing dresses is actually sort of kink for us

That makes total sense to me.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )