When you’re trying to be “chill” about exploring your sexual fluidity, but you realize you’ve never been chill about anything ever. By Misha Scott.
Main image by Tim Barber.
I’ve always assumed that I was a bisexual person who’d just never gotten around to actually having sex with a woman. Partly because heteronormativity feels very early 2000s, partly because when I close my eyes during sex I think about boobs a lot. When I finally switched my Tinder prefs over to “Men And Women,” I figured it would be cool and whatever and just generally NBD. Unfortunately, I have never been cool and whatever about anything, ever.
I started talking to a cute girl and we met up at a whiskey bar where the economic liquid courage of their two-for-one Old Fashioneds felt appropriate for the occasion. I was wearing jeans and moccasins; she had a messy bun; we talked about periods at one point. It was so comfortable that it made me uncomfortable. I couldn’t gauge whether the date was going well, or turning into a casual drink with a friend.
Then, about halfway through drink number two, a guy sat down next to us. I treat men I don’t want to talk to basically like bears: just play dead until it gets bored and leaves me alone. But my date was a lioness. This dude, after paradoxically assuring us that he never came up to girls in bars, asked if we liked his beard. I giggled nervously and pretended to be very interested in finding something at the bottom of my drink. She cocked an eyebrow, preparing to pounce. I found it very hot.
“No, can’t say that I do. But then, I’m a lesbian so that might have something to do with it.”
I loved watching him figure it out.
“Wait, is this – are you two…?”
Whatever his plan was, it had not included an exit strategy.
“Uh, I know you girls aren’t into men or whatever but… maybe I can get your numbers and we can all just…you know, hang out… sometime.”
She watched him inch closer to the edge of the cliff with the polite indifference of a cat that’s grown bored of playing with its food. Under the table, her fingers traced circles on my inner thigh.
He finally left and she took my hand and led me through the bar into the one stall bathroom. Around the time I had her nipple in my mouth, I realized that I’m pretty sure I’m not straight.
“I’m going to go home with you now, and we are going to have incredible sex,” she decided.
I called the Uber.
In the car, my head swam with the very real reality of the situation. Was I gay enough not to be straight? What if I was just trying to fulfill a taboo manufactured by the porn industry? What if I thought I was being a sexually liberated woman but was actually participating in a historically sexist pattern of lesbian eroticism as performance for the male gaze? (The pertinence of this last one was highlighted by the barely concealed glances our Uber driver kept throwing in the rearview as she kissed my neck.)
Once we got back to my room, I became increasingly aware of how out of my depth I was. She asked me what I wanted her to do to me. I genuinely had no idea. All the normal things? Just the regular, please? I settled on a neutral moan that I hoped she would interpret as general encouragement.
And her vagina. I think some foolish part of me thought, well, I have one of these – how hard can it be? Very fucking hard, as it turns out. I felt like I needed to grab a headlamp and use my ask-an-expert lifeline.
But if she noticed my nervous fumbling she was polite or drunk enough not to mention it, and by the time we collapsed an hour later in a tangle of quivering limbs, I felt like I could add “limited, but working proficiency with other people’s vaginas” to my resumé. I had also set a personal record for number of orgasms with a first time lover.
Her breath slowly deepened into soft little snores, but in lieu of the usual sense of sticky post-coital security, I tossed and turned on the postage stamp sized area of sheets she had left for me, nursing a deep, growing anxiety that I had not expected from myself.
I get that it’s 2016 and sexuality is a beautiful spectrum of poly-nonbinary rainbows and bi-questioning ponies and if nothing else at least we’re united in social media enlightenment about this. But I’m from a small town and the memory of that girl who was ostracized for six years for accidentally staring at one of the popular girls a second too long in the middle school locker room had evidently been waiting for this moment to crawl up through my repressed subconscious.
“Stop,” I told myself sternly. “It’s not like this changes anything.”
“Yeah, yeah,” said a bizarrely heteronormative version of me. “Sure. But what if it does? What if no one says it, but in the back of their minds all your best friends are always wondering if you secretly want to sleep with them now? Will you still be able to sit around in your underwear with them eating ice cream and talking about boys? Will you be able to sit around in your underwear talking about girls? Are you sure?”
I don’t know if I was more freaked out by my newfound sexuality or my remarkably 1950s reaction to it.
I reached for my phone to text this half-articulated 4 a.m. anxiety attack to my best friend. But all I could really think to say was, “So, I think I’m sleeping with girls now. Just to avoid confusion when you get back” (she’s living in France where, thankfully, it was a reasonable time to be awake). I lived anxiously in the silent dance of those three bubbles, imagining what friendship-altering thing she might be typing.
“Well, that’s probably the best way to celebrate International Women’s Day that I’ve ever heard.”
I laughed out loud, causing my sleeping lover to stir and roll over, mercifully giving me several more inches of mattress. I could actually feel the progressiveness returning to my extremities. Maybe this was NBD in some ways and A Very Fucking Big Deal in others. Maybe I would date this girl, maybe I’d never see her again. Tonight, maybe it was OK to be uncertain and horny.
She kissed me sleepily. For a second I started to wonder whether I should call myself bisexual on voting forms now, but then she slipped her hand between my legs and I figured I could probably worry about that in the morning.
Misha is a 25-year-old filmmaker in LA. She loves feminism, avocados, and reading one-star reviews. She hates war and polyester, in that order. Read her previous article for Slutever, “When You’re Not Chill Enough to Netflix and Chill,” HERE :)