I know not what to do, my mind is divided. – Sappho
As I’ve said several times already, I am bisexual. I suspect many more women are (to one degree or another) than let on even in these comparatively liberal times; we do, after all, tend to be creatures of the mean rather than of the extremes as men are. When talking about women of my own personal acquaintance, it’s easier for me to name the women who are in no way bisexual than to list the many who are! But most of these are more “bi-curious” than anything else; they enjoy looking at pictures of other women or fantasizing about them, and they may even have occasional lesbian encounters, but they’ve never been in love with another woman and probably never will be. I, on the other hand, am about as bisexual as it’s possible to be; I’ve been attracted to both sexes since childhood and have had more relationships with women than I have with men (though my number of actual sexual experiences with men is far higher for reasons which should be obvious).
As I’ve already described in my column of July 16th, I respond differently to the two sexes:
I’m attracted to men below the waist and women above the waist. In other words, my reaction to men is primal and visceral, but my reaction to women is aesthetic. I feel the attraction to a man in my guts, and I can’t tell from a picture whether I will be attracted to him or not; I have to see and talk to him. Women, on the other hand, appeal to my appreciation for beauty; I feel the attraction in my mind and heart rather than my guts.
Because of this, it was inevitable that I would eventually settle into a long-term committed relationship with a man rather than a woman; though I feel differently today, back then I didn’t think aesthetics were as sound a basis for a relationship as what I considered biological and neurological complementarity. But that view certainly didn’t evolve overnight; I had my first girlfriend in my senior year of high school, less than a year after losing my virginity, and since it illustrates a few points I think it’s worth a paragraph.
I’m going to call her Mae, because she was curvy and sultry like her idol Mae West. She had black hair and her skin was even fairer than mine; some girls called her “Snow White” for that reason. We had very similar eyes and were almost the same height, so when we went places together people often took us for sisters. But there was nothing sisterly about our feelings for one another; we had been friends for two years and often joked about lesbian love in front of our schoolmates, but nothing had ever come of it until one day in September of 1982 when we were sitting on her couch after school. We had been talking about the 1920s and the conversation had ranged from F. Scott Fitzgerald to John Dillinger’s legendary penis, and at some point the conversation just lapsed and we sat staring into each other’s eyes. And then I kissed her, and she responded with great passion; a few days later I stayed overnight (in those days nobody thought anything of two teenage girls sharing a bed) and we went much farther. The secret relationship continued until May, when she sensibly broke it off on the grounds that we were both going to different schools and her boyfriend just would not understand any more than anybody else would. I don’t think she was ever in love with me, though I certainly was with her; consequently, I felt hurt and upset and depressed and all the other things one feels when a lover breaks up with one. We talked a great deal that summer and even fell back into bed together once, but it was over; Jeff did his best to distract me and with the resilience of the very young I was largely OK by a month into my first semester at UNO.
Now, I’ve never been sexually aggressive; I have never consciously “come on” to a man in my life, and the very idea of actually suggesting sex to someone I’m not already involved with fills me with horror. Honestly, I have no idea how men manage it! But with other women the aversion to starting things isn’t quite so pronounced, so with Mae (and a few other girls over the years whose body language absolutely assured me of their interest) I was able to suppress my natural tendency toward receptivity enough to allow nature to take its course. My first lesbian relationship also set another pattern which was never broken: Every such encounter I’ve ever had was with a bisexual woman, and either she or I or both always had a separate relationship with a man. To my knowledge, I’ve never been with an exclusive lesbian; I suspect the very fact of their exclusivity (not to mention the odd grooming habits so common among them) turned me off to the idea.
The one characteristic of my first lesbian relationship which did not continue in my others was its secretiveness. I decided it was too stressful, and since I was now a young adult interacting with other young adults in a sexually tolerant environment I made no secret of my bisexuality. I was delighted to find that not only was this generally accepted in the circles in which I moved, but also that it tended to inspire invitations to participate in threesomes. Now that I think of it, my several years in that lifestyle may have helped to become more comfortable with the reality of prostitution, not only because people were calling me specifically for sex (without the trappings of dating), but also because I was the “other woman” many times over, even if the wife did know about it.
All that of course changed when I became involved with Jack; when we first started out I told him my philosophy of acceptable dalliances: Fooling around with girls is cheating for neither, but fooling around with guys is cheating for either. He claimed to be fine with that at first, but soon became so jealous of my then-current girlfriend that I stopped seeing her. For the rest of our relationship my only lesbian encounters happened during our frequent breakups, and even those were rare because of the emotional turmoil inherent in the on-again off-again situation; when he finally left me in January of 1995 I was in no state to become involved with anybody, male or female. Aside from one encounter with an old girlfriend in November of 1996, I had not been with another woman in the better part of a decade when I started doing two-girl shows while working as a stripper in 1998.
By that time I was living with Grace, who is absolutely heterosexual: As she used to say to me when I tried to talk about two-girl calls, “Maggie, if you wanna rub muffins with somebody that’s your business, but I don’t wanna hear about it!” This of course did not stop neighbors from making stupid modern assumptions; once when I one my way to a multi-hour dinner call one of them asked where I was going all dressed up.
When I told her I was going on a date (which was true; she didn’t need to know it was a professional one) she seemed surprised and said, “But I thought you and Grace were…”
“Lesbians?” I finished after she trailed off. “No, not at all! I’m bi, but she isn’t my type, and besides she’s only interested in men.” She of course apologized profusely, but I was far more amused than offended.
For the next seven years I had plenty of lesbian activity; since many of the wives in couple calls were attractive I usually enjoyed them, and since I hand-picked my partners for two-girl calls I made sure they were desirable to me whenever possible. I’ve already mentioned Cynthia and Dawn, both of whom were pretty, bisexual, as attracted to me as I was to them and great kissers beside. But between and after them there were a number of other girls I found attractive, and though I could never bring myself to make advances on any of them I didn’t have to; I would simply offer the “Flavor of the Month” a two-girl call with me and observe her reaction. Some were uninterested in such calls, and others accepted but were clearly just putting on a show. But a few were themselves bisexual, and in such cases the client got more than his money’s worth! “Flavor of the Month” was my husband’s term for such girls; many of them were just passing through town, or decided the business didn’t really agree with them, so they rarely lasted very long. The title was therefore appropriate if not precise. Unlike Jack he was not jealous of such girls; he knew I wasn’t going to become emotionally involved, and beside that he knew he was in for a really good time whenever I arranged a three-way for him with one!
In all that time, I only went on two calls in which a lone woman (unencumbered by a man) was interested in paying for sex with another woman. The first such case was otherwise unremarkable; except for her gender it was really a lot like the typical call with a male client. But the second was completely different; she was a few years younger than I was and very attractive, and she spoke frankly to me about how much she missed having a girlfriend. It turned out she and I were in much the same space mentally; though we were uninterested in being unfaithful to our husbands with men, both of us liked having a girlfriend as well. Unlike my husband, though, hers was too conventional to be turned on by such an arrangement. I truly enjoyed the sex with her, and she called me several times that weekend; she was actually quite sexually aggressive and got both very vocal and excitingly rough when she was nearing orgasm (for example, she’s the only woman I was ever with who slapped me on the rump as men do). It turned out that she was from a city not very far from my country place, so I suggested she try to sell her husband on the idea of a three-way, timed during one of my visits to the country. She promised to consider it, but alas nothing ever came of that. It would’ve been nice to have a regular girlfriend again, and think of the benefits to both of our husbands!