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The Myth of Perfect Lesbian Sex

There's a pervasive myth that lesbian sex is better than hetero sex because women have the "same parts". Newsflash: all women are different.

I've gotten to thinking about a very pervasive myth about sexuality, one that I held myself for many years. (I hate those, don't you? I always get more cranky about misconceptions that I once believed.)

The myth is this:

Lesbian sex is better than straight sex ... because who knows better how to make love to a woman than another woman? Who knows a woman's body better than another woman? Who knows what sex and arousal and orgasm feel like to a woman, better than another woman?

Okay. So. Can anybody tell me the flaw in this myth? You, there. Making out at the back of the class. What's the flaw?

That's right. Gold star for you. The flaw in this myth is:

Women are not identical.

Oddly enough, different women are, you know -- different. We have different sexual responses, and we like different things in bed.

So being a woman does absolutely nothing to provide us with a magical golden key to the heart of female sexuality. There is no heart of female sexuality. There are only female sexualities. And they're all really different.

Example. Back in my younger days, I occasionally had sex with guys who prided themselves on knowing women's bodies ... and in particular, on knowing how gently women liked to be touched. And I had to practically smack these guys across the nose with a rolled- up newspaper and scream, "Will you please just pinch my fucking nipples already? Harder. No, harder. No, really. Harder. Thank you. Sheesh."

And this -- incompetence? Cluelessness? No, that's too harsh. Let's call it temporary inexperience -- doesn't just apply to men. My own early fumbling sexual experiences with women were more than enough to demolish the myth of lesbian infallibility. The story of my first one- on- one sexual encounter with another woman would be depressing and pathetic if it weren't so funny.

And it'd be depressing and pathetic if it didn't have a happy ending: namely, the rest of my life, in which I've figured out a lot more about sex with women (and men, for that matter) than I knew in my early 20s. And in which I've gotten a lot more comfortable just asking my partners, "So, what do you like?"

Which is really the point here.

We aren't born knowing how to have sex. Or at any rate, we aren't born knowing how to have good sex. And we double certainly aren't born knowing how to have good sex with this particular person, the one we're having sex with right this minute.

Now, there is actually some evidence that lesbian and gay male couples may, on average, have more satisfying sex lives than opposite- sex couples. The Masters and Johnson study on sexual satisfaction in lesbian, gay, and straight couples (cited in the book "Bonk: •The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex") is Exhibit A.

But if you look at that research, you'll see that the reason for this pattern isn't that lesbians have some sort of psychic insight into what other women like. (Or ditto for gay men.) In fact, it's the exact opposite. The research showed that same-sex couples -- of both genders -- were more likely to take their time. They were more likely to pay close attention to their partner's pleasure and sexual responses, and in fact to get their own arousal from it. They were more likely to lavish attention on their partner's whole bodies, not just their genitals. And they were much more likely to talk easily, openly, and more often about what kinds of sexual activities they did and didn't enjoy.

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