I am new to this community and pretty new to feminism. I am pretty young and so haven't really had a chance to sculpt my political views etc. I guess you could say I am rather ignorant when it comes to feminism. Now, I have faced a few problems with some of my female friends. I recently came out as a lesbian, which wasn't met with opposition in regard to my friends, but I am faced with general ignorance. Many do not understand feminism and feel it is pointless. I recently had a debate with one of my friends on the validity of lesbian sex.
The comment I received was:
'Lesbians can't really have sex, because it is not actually sex'
I wasn't too sure how to deal with this statement. I got rather heated and am not too sure if I gave the correct response. I remember asking this individual how she defines sex. I had a little inkling as to what she was trying to get at, but I wanted to hear it from her. She replied: 'Well there is no penetration'. Obviously this is not true because there is penetration in the form of fingers, dildos and whatnot, so I informed her of this. She then goes on to say that it still doesn't count as sex. I feel like I am getting onto something here, so I allow her to elaborate.
Friend: Well, you know what I mean. Like, there is not penal penetration therefore it doesn't really count. (Bingo! Exactly what I was expecting her to say)
Me: So, gay men have sex, heterosexual couples have sex, but lesbians just... (I wanted her to elaborate here)
Friend: Well it is oral sex. Perhaps foreplay. But not sex sex.
I wanted to completely extract what she thinks about sex simply because I thought it would be interesting. I was not surprised by what I heard... And so the discussion goes on.
Me: Okay. So, when does sex finish. I mean, we know when it starts, but what really makes sex sex?
Friend: I guess the guy comes, then that's the end of it isn't it.
This comment was a little saddening for me. It is not I who has to have sex with men, but the fact that she completely ignored the possibility that perhaps sex is also for her pleasure, rather than just her partner's.
Me: So what you have told me here, is that you measure sex upon the sexual gratification of men. For you, sex only really occurs when men are involved?
Friend: I guess so. I have never really thought of it like that.
Me: Well, your definition of sex is the patriarchal definition of sex which ignores the fact that women are sexual beings with a desire to be pleased. Sex, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is about the sexual gratification of two, or however many, individuals that are involved in the act of sex. This has always been and should always be the case. Unless people are having sex purely for procreation purposes, then the aim of sex should be for all participants to reach an orgasm or some level of pleasure. Therefore, sex between women is as valid as any other form of sex.
I may have also dropped in the fact that lesbian sex is one of the most empowering experiences, in my opinion, for a woman. However that is besides the point :)
I have colour coded the conversation to perhaps make it easier. I am in blue whereas my friend is in green. I am not too sure where I am going with this, but I guess I wanted some feedback on how I should have responded to this question. I felt it was a rather interesting topic, and so I though I'd discuss it with all of you here. I apologise in advance if this topic has already been covered but it would be really helpful to get some feedback.