Something very strange happened to me in the month of July. From being a woman confident in labelling myself a lesbian during the Pride Month of June, from being physically repulsed at the mere thought of dick – I found myself having flings with five different cisgender heterosexual men.
June me would be so disappointed with July me.
It wasn’t just the fact that every second post I found on Instagram was recognising Pride month and the sheer beauty of queer people, or that I was organising a Queer Arts Festival, that made me gravitate towards lesbianism. It was the pinnacle moment in my sexuality where years of self-inquiry and bawling my eyes out at every rare depiction of lesbian love on-screen cumulated into a profound declaration that I was queer as fuck.
As a vocal radical feminist, I wanted to strip myself of any association with men altogether. I deeply wanted to be a ‘full’ lesbian, to cut off all my ties, my attachment, my ingrained need for male affection and validation. After my entire 20s spent loving, fucking and attempting to coax the men I dated into embracing vulnerability – my interest in them had drastically reduced.
Did I turn to queerness because of terrible experiences with men? Absolutely not. But as my life progressed, I found the courage and confidence to love women more and more each year, slowly shedding the compulsory heterosexuality enforced upon me.
It was an unplanned encounter with a teenage crush that shook up my sexuality like a snow globe. I knew R from when we were five years old; his mum and mine were best friends. When I was 15, I had a disgustingly pathetic crush on him and could barely open my mouth in his presence. And it was 15 years later that we decided to catch up for a beer. One beer turned into seven, and at 2am I found myself in a dark restaurant kitchen with my tongue down his throat.
What surprised me was that it felt delicious, and I wanted more.
A relationship between us was impossible because of various complications (he was married and had a child, I did not), and so to satiate my reawakened appetite for masculine energy and intimacy, I turned to the only place I knew of – Tinder.
I went on two dates with two different men who seemed perfect, and I even had the very premature thought of “these men are husband material”. I refuse to believe that I was delusional, because the reality is that men are master shapeshifters. There is something that an aunty once said to me that I have not been able to get out of my head: “Everyone is amazing at the start; you only see their true nature over time.”
Husband material #1 attempted to manipulate me into attending a sex party for our second date, and when I saw through his words, tried to pass me on to his best friend, who urgently wanted someone to fuck because his wife was out of town.
Husband material #2 asked me excitedly if I wanted a photo of his penis, and when I reacted with shock and disappointment, told me that 90 percent of women loved it and to “not be like other girls” (contradictory statements).
The fourth dude prematurely jizzed in my hand in the backseat of a taxi and did not wipe it away. The fifth dude sat at the table on our first date and talked at me for 45 minutes, going into depth about his COVID fears, his unstable mental health and his girlfriend seven years ago, who gave him long-distance trauma.
That was the last straw for me. After careful observation of these five men, I simply had to point out their collective flaws.
“Do you realise you have not asked me a single question? What is it with all of you?! Do men literally not realise that you do this? I don’t care about anything you’ve told me. I am really annoyed and I kind of want to leave.”
“But I wanted to talk.”
A major realisation for me this month has been how utterly useless I find men for anything other than physical satisfaction, and even those are a rare few who have mastered the art of pleasure. I consider conversations with men dull, and nothing these five men have said to me has challenged my thinking or inspired me. I had to stoop down to their level to communicate, and all they did was demand emotional labour from me: a pair of precious female ears to listen to their moaning about their bullshit lives and feelings.
This month has been vital research for me as a writer, a quick investigative trip back into the heterosexual dating pool, and what I have sadly seen is that men have not evolved a single bit. A quick dip back into hanging out with and fucking them, and I immediately want to leave.
Identity labels and politics are complicated. There is a philosophy about queerness that I have adopted recently and believe wholeheartedly in: “Queerness is a spectrum.” I did not expect my position on the spectrum to change so drastically within one month, but shit happens. Do I regret anything? Absolutely not. Love is fluid and we are constantly surprising ourselves.
If I had to label myself, pansexual resonates the most with me right now, but we must realise that labels are useful and empowering for some queer people, and rigid and limiting for others. Anyone who makes us feel that we are not “queer enough” is a dickhead. The private choices we make about love, sex and intimacy should not be a public discussion and political debate, but sadly, this is the reality in our repressive patriarchal society.