Erika Moen has given some legitimately bad sex advice recently, and there is Drama on Tumblr about it, which means I now have to see dumb criticisms of Erika Moen in addition to the legitimate criticism of “please do not provide inaccurate and dangerous information in your sex education comic.”
So this comic includes a woman who is described as follows: “enjoys romantic and sexual relationships with women, loves to suck and be fucked by cocks.” This has been described on Tumblr as “Erika Moen characterizing bisexual women as people who enjoy romantic and sexual relationships with women but love to suck and be fucked by cocks.”
Except that Erika Moen never said that that woman was bisexual. Not once! All she said is that the woman in question has romantic and sexual relationships with women, and also likes sucking cock.
First of all, there is nothing in that description that implies the woman is having sex with men at all. Some women have cocks. A woman who likes cocks that belong to women but does not like cocks that belong to men is, in fact, a lesbian. To call her bisexual is being unnecessarily confusing for everyone, such as the men who might think she’s interested in sucking their cocks.
Second, you might protest, “I am a bisexual, and my sexual orientation isn’t remotely reducible to liking women and cocks. I have romantic and sexual relationships with men, women, and nonbinary people!” That’s great for you. I am absolutely certain that, in the event you were a character in an Erika Moen comic, the little arrow pointing to you would say “likes romantic and sexual relationships with women, men, and nonbinary people.” But that arrow didn’t say that, and it certainly didn’t say “all bisexuals are interested in romantic relationships with women and also giving blowjobs.” It said that there exists at least one woman who is (by implication, only) interested in romantic-sexual relationships with women, and also likes giving blowjobs (by implication, to men).
This does exist! There are, in fact, people in this world who don’t want to date men, who could really take or leave the male form, but who for whatever reason are really turned on by penises (and of course the converse for women). I’ve, like, met them. Now, they are of course a tiny minority, but so are the other groups she’s talking about: there aren’t actually a whole ton of bisexual enbies who like pegging and are dating cis men either, myself aside. The idea of that part of the comic is “human sexuality is wonderfully diverse and as long as you aren’t being mean whatever you do is fine!”
Now, you may think, in defiance of all logic, that every other polymorphously perverse variant of human sexuality exists, but by God there are no women who are turned on by male penises but who aren’t attracted to men. That may be where you draw the line of implausibility. That may be where you say “no, your fetish is fake and you are lying.” To that, I respond that “some people turned on by multiple kinds of genitals, not turned on by multiple genders” is far more plausible than, say, latex fetishism, without even getting to the more outré areas of human sexuality.
Or you might think that while those women may exist, the general point of Erika Moen’s comic doesn’t apply to them– being turned on by men’s penises without being attracted to men in general is bad and wrong and they should stop. I think this is a silly argument. Of course it is wrong to lead someone on about whether you’re attracted to them; instead, you should clearly communicate that you are turned on by penises, but not really attracted to men in general. But there are, in fact, quite a lot of men who would be perfectly okay with this situation and even aroused by it.
You might argue that only being aroused by someone’s genitals is “objectifying”, which I take to mean that it is wrong to have sex with someone and treat them like just a body without a mind attached, to not pay attention to their subjectivity and agency and autonomy and so on. But I also feel that if not being attracted to someone causes you to ignore their subjectivity and agency, then that is a personal problem that not everyone else has. The penis is the only part some people might be aroused by, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only part they’re going to pay attention to; of course a good sexual partner will care about whether everyone involved enjoys themselves and is making a free and informed choice.
Or you may think that while those women may exist, and their sexuality is fine, but we shouldn’t talk about their existence, even in a context that makes it perfectly clear that they’re a tiny minority. That I consider to be appalling.
I mean, some straight people might read Erika Moen’s comic and get confused and think that female bisexuality is the condition of wanting to fall in love with women and suck men’s cocks. (That would be a refreshing change from straight people thinking that female bisexuality is the condition of wanting to fall in love with men and eat women’s pussies.) However, an earnest and well-meaning straight person would look at the overwhelming amount of evidence that bisexual women do, in fact, fall in love with men, and get themselves straightened out. The real issue we need to be concerned about here is people who think that it is any of their business whether other people are ‘fake’ or not, that they are allowed to mistreat people whose consensual sex lives don’t fit their standards, and generally that they get a say in other people’s sexualities. Those people are going to wander around causing trouble regardless of what they do or do not believe. The fundamental problem is not that they think some women want to marry women and fuck men. The fundamental problem is that they think they think other people’s consensual sex lives are any of their business.
I am sick and fucking tired of people who want to throw people under the bus in the hopes of appeasing assholes. My line here is “if you personally are happy with your sex life, and it contributes to your growth and fulfillment as a human being, it is okay”; my line is “you don’t have to justify your sexual choices to me or to anyone.” My enemy is people who do not believe this. My goal is to get them to agree with me about the fundamental issue here, not to get them to grudgingly admit that this or that group is maybe okay.
Furthermore, representation actually matters. It matters, for those of us who are completely invisible, to see that people like us exist. Imagine the tremendous struggle it would be for any lesbian to come to terms with being turned on by men’s penises. Compulsory heterosexuality is still alive and well. There are more than enough people who are happy to say “if you think you might want to give a blowjob, it means you have to be willing to get married to men and have children”; there is more than enough pressure on lesbians to become attracted to men; it is difficult enough for a woman to articulate a lesbian identity. It helps for someone to say “look, if you want to give a dude a blowjob, all that means is that you want to give a dude a blowjob. It doesn’t mean you need to date men, or fall in love with them, or marry them. It doesn’t even mean that you’re sexually attracted to them in general, as opposed to having a fetish for a particular body part. And if you think your experiences, taken as a whole, are best expressed by the term ‘lesbian’, you have a perfect right to it.” And frankly I care more about the happiness and self-acceptance of actual queer women than I do about whatever nonsense straight people might think up.