The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Two weeks ago, just I was walking home from the metro station I happened to see a cab driver parked on the side of the road, one hand somewhere under the steering wheel, face contorted and the other holding his phone, on which two women were kissing. I walked away immediately, but the unsettled feeling I had didn’t leave quite as quick.
The fetishization of wlw- a term used to describe a relationship between two people presenting as women- by heterosexual men isn’t anything new. And while I continue to stand against kink-shaming and believe to each their own, there is a marked difference between someone having a penchant for toes and someone turning a regular relationship into something sexual for their own gratification.
Data released by porn sites like PornHub and YouPorn reveals that both heterosexual men and women watch wlw porn, but for very different reasons. The popularity of wlw porn with straight women is because it is centred around female pleasure as opposed to male power and release, and because they get to see acts they enjoy on themselves. Its popularity with men however, stems from something called selective homophobia, a term used for guys who are intolerant to mlm relationships and representation but still watch lesbian porn.
In fact, most ‘lesbian’ porn is made with heterosexual men in mind, and is often unrealistic and baffling to actual wlw. Further, these men believe that its ‘gay’ to want to see a penis on screen, and often find themselves comparing their bodies to male actors. In essence, the porn industry is able to capitalize on the insecurity of these selectively homophobic men regarding their penis size.
Wherever it stems from, the fact still remains that representation like this leads to regular wlw relationships being overtly sexualized and fetishized by strangers. Several of the male partners I’ve had have asked to be allowed to ‘watch’ after I’ve mentioned that I was attracted to women as well, or tell me that’s alright if I kiss other girls because it doesn’t count as cheating. What this does, is invalidate my sexuality, and those of all the other queer women who happen to be in heterosexual relationships at the moment. Being immediately asked if we want to have a threesome, or if they can watch us kiss girls if something I’ve personally been through and something I know almost every single queer woman has been asked, even by their generally ‘homophobic’ partners.
What comes down to is how we as a society still treat non-heterosexual relationships as ‘other’ and something that needs to be treated on a different plane from heterosexual relationships. What I ask is that the way you don’t approach a straight couple and ask if you can see them kiss, or inquire about their bedroom dynamics, don’t approach queer couples and ask them extremely personal and highly absurd questions like, ‘who tops?’. Don’t treat queer relationships as a learning tool for yourself to ‘study’ something foreign to you or as something to further your own sexual gratification.