We Are All Quite Queer

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Betty Dodson

I just ran over to Fifth Avenue to see if I could catch my old, old friend Gretchen who helped me type up the first orders that came in from Ms. Magazine requesting my booklet, Liberating Masturbation. She has been the grand martial for Gay Pride many years now. Although I missed her again, I did catch the NYPD queer cops marching behind the NYPD Marching Band. Wow! That took guts, NYC finest and gay?

People standing on my corner broke out in loud applause as we hollered our approval. Of course it made me think of gays in the military. What is it about a uniform and being queer that freaks people out? The Gay cops contingent stopped right on my corner to space the parade. A young woman ran up to a guy who turned out to be a gal and kissed her. Talk about androgynous, my absolute favorite thing. There it was in all its glory, a tall thin lesbian cop who was beyond handsome being openly kissed by her lovely lesbian lover. Gives an old masturbating feminist like me hope!

As we celebrate Gay Pride this year, think about this for a moment: If you have ever masturbated, you've had gay sex. Come on, it's a same-sex activity no matter what you are fantasizing. So get a grip on your clit or your cock and enjoy being as queer as a three dollar bill.

Whether you're straight, bi, gay, trans, or undecided, rejoice in your queerness because diversity is what sexual freedom is all about and masturbation is the one sexual activity the unites us all.

As a woman who's been advocating masturbation for over forty years, I've often wondered why parents, clergy and politicians are so terrified that someone somewhere might be touching their genitals for sexual gratification. Originally I thought the masturbation taboo was primarily created by organized religions. They put this basic form of sexual expression on their hit list to make us all guilt-ridden sinners in need of forgiveness. That way a few could control many. Of course those of us who were smart figured that if God didn't want us to play with ourselves, "She" would have made our arms shorter.

Eventually I realized there were other social factors besides religion that gave the masturbation taboo its long shelf life. Take homophobia for instance. Many manly men feel that doing their own dicks will make them less of a man. They have to get a woman to "do them." Or what if a guy likes jerking off so much he stays home instead of going out to "score." Maybe some guys are afraid that the pleasure they get from wanking will actually turn them queer. Even worse, what if our homophobic dude ends up in a gay bath house one night and gets a hand-job from another man? There goes his hard-earned masculinity down the drain along with his jism.

Homophobia affects men and women differently. Women are far less threatened by the labels "lesbian" or "bisexual" than men. In many ways the image of two women having sex enhances a woman's feminine image while being gay devastates a man's masculine image. One of the worst things a boy can be called is a "sissy." But we think a girl acting like a boy is cute. We smile benignly and say, "She's a tomboy." The truth is that anything female is to be avoided because we are the second sex, you know, we're made out of Adam's rib and that makes us inferior.

I suspect another social fear surrounding masturbating women is that once a woman learns how to give herself a fabulous orgasm, she will stop putting out for two-minute men, guys who ignore the clitoris and are threatened by vibrators. There are many manly men who don't want women to become sexually knowledgeable because down deep they know it would call for a major change in their own sexual behavior. They would no longer be able to fuck for a couple of minutes, blow a load, then roll over and go to sleep. Of course the exception is all the smart men who welcome a woman that knows what she wants and is able to ask for it, including her vibrator.

In 1970, I came out of the masturbation closet to became the first recognized feminist to publicly re-introduce electric vibrators to women solely for their orgasmic benefits. Instantly, women became concerned that they would become addicted to vibrators or even worse, actually turn into lesbians. While that was definitely true for some, a better term for "vibrator addiction" would be "sexual preference."

And instead of all of us becoming lesbians, a more accurate label would be "bisexual" because many of us still liked to fuck men. We just decided to have sex on our own terms like some form of direct clitoral stimulation during intercourse. For those of us who wanted to bring vibrators to bed, we needed to find vibrator friendly lovers. Of course we could always find smart women and men eager to play with us.

This next fact belongs in Ripley's "Believe It or Not"- it wasn't until 1972 that the American Medical Association declared masturbation a normal sexual activity. Two years later In 1974, I came out as a masturbating heterosexual-bisexual-lesbian in my book Liberating Masturbation that later became Sex for One. Stringing all those sex labels together was so confusing that no one questioned my sexual preference to my face. I later learned that most lesbian-feminists rejected me, many straight women avoided me and the bisexual community didn't exist at the time. In those days a bisexual was a person who couldn't make up his or her mind so we upset both sides of the opposing gay and straight camps.

Today, whenever I see the letters GLBT, I think it's very smart of the Gay Pride movement to include bisexual and transgendered people. Our community is an example of open-minded acceptance. Maybe someday GLBT will have an "S" for Self-sexuals. That way Gay Pride will include all of my postmenopausal girlfriends who prefer masturbation to partnersex and all the older men who prefer masturbating with porn to taking a med to get a hardon. We could build an even more inclusive movement with Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgendered-Self-sexual activists. Come to think of it, why not add Intersexuals and Heterosexuals too? With all of us standing together on the barricades against sexual ignorance we become the SEX Pride movement. Until all of our sexualities are acceptable, none of us are free.

This year let's celebrate Gay Pride and sexual diversity with all we've got. Now more than ever we need an abundance of sexual pleasure to counter the massive greed, ignorance and violence in the world. Join me in dedicating an orgasm to world peace and a return to America's original constitution that upholds individual rights to pursue sexual happiness on our own terms.

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