Learn About Sexuality

Lesbianism focuses on longer-term relationships

Only 2% of the female population is exclusively homosexual (half as common as male homosexuality). The average age to come out is 17 years old for gay men but 40 years old for gay women. A woman’s sexual fantasies might cause her to suspect she is lesbian earlier than this. But a lesbian woman can marry and have children just as a heterosexual woman does because female orgasm is not required for her either to participate in a sexual relationship or for reproduction.

Lesbians are likely to be older before using stimulation techniques aimed at causing orgasm because young women’s minds and bodies do not respond easily with a lover. A woman can have sex for years without arousal or orgasm. Women who fantasise may be able to deduce their orientation from the nature of their fantasies. Alternatively, we could define a heterosexual woman by her desire to attract male sexual attention. Bisexuality may indicate an ambivalence to a lover’s gender rather than a person’s orientation.

Lesbian and bisexual women don’t talk about what turns them on or what they enjoy about sex any more than other women do. They talk about their concerns for gaining political and social acceptance of their sexuality. Lesbianism may simply indicate a preference for female companionship.

Lesbians have the advantage of being women themselves who are aroused by women’s bodies. They have a well above average knowledge of the female sexual anatomy. Lesbians stimulate the clitoris, the labia and the outer portion (the entrance) of the vagina. Anyone who is aroused by a lover’s body stimulates the anatomy that turns them on because it assists with their own orgasm. Lesbians may stimulate the breasts and the vagina. Such sensations act as an erotic turn-on so that the stimulation assists with arousal but if women are aiming for orgasm they stimulate the clitoris.

Women’s orgasm techniques are much less consistent than men’s tend to be. Notably behaviours differ significantly between gay and straight women. Sexual orientation determines erotic turn-ons (whether we are aroused by the same sex or opposite sex). It should not logically change the anatomy that is involved in how women achieve orgasm.

Lesbians have the same anatomy as their lovers so they know what anatomy works and what does not. Lesbians have the advantage (as women) of having a similar responsiveness as their lovers. Also being women, they are not so intent on genital stimulation, penetration and orgasm. Lesbians can be more relaxed about exploring sexual pleasuring without any pressure to achieve orgasm. Many women (regardless of orientation) prefer other pleasures over sex.

We have the same responsiveness as other members of the same sex regardless of orientation. Lesbians tend to focus lovemaking explicitly on the female genitalia. But this does not mean that lesbians are more successful in achieving orgasm than heterosexual women who typically only respond to men’s desire for intercourse.

Women in general have little familiarity with explicit sexual phenomena such as arousal and orgasm. This basic biological characteristic is true for all women regardless of whether they are lesbian or heterosexual. Kinsey found lesbian women claimed to have more orgasms with a lover than heterosexual women. But this is probably simply because lesbian women engage in activity that is focused on the clitoris. It does not mean that they experience orgasm but that they enjoy the sensations of clitoral stimulation. Lesbians do not discuss turn-ons or fantasy any more than other women.

Gay men tend to get on well with women. They may share a similar emotional sensitivity and social inclination. Women also appreciate platonic relationships and the fact that a man is not lusting after them. Women are not offended or insulted that gay men are not attracted to them. So why do men assume that lesbians hate men? The issue is men’s sex drive but also men’s tendency to view women as bodies rather than people. Men assume that all women want intercourse just as much as men do. So any woman who doesn’t must be a ‘man hater’ or a lesbian.

We tend to define sexual activity and sexual responses in terms of genitals and orgasm. Kinsey noted that lesbians often live together but do not have ‘sexual’ relationships. This is because they do not engage in ‘sexual’ activity. Yet women’s responses are emotional and their behaviours include caring and demonstrating affection. We may call these ‘sexual’ in the sense that the emotions cause women to be amenable to engaging in sexual activity with a lover who desires genital stimulation.

The physical contacts between females in the homosexual relations had often depended on little more than simple lip kissing and generalised body contacts. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)

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