DARE TO ASK: For lesbians, is it only all about sex?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
My wife is in her 40s and until recently was never approached by lesbians in
her workplace. They know she is married with a family, but now they are
relentless in pursuing her sexually (she thinks it is rather exciting to be
noticed). Not only are extramarital affairs wrong, but breaking up a family for
your own ends is even worse. Is the lesbian community all about sex only?
Jack, 41, Lubbock, Texas
As a rule, no. Yeah, we like sex, but usually it's about the emotional
aspect. This is one of the reasons homosexuality makes more sense to me than
straight sex. Women know what women like, and men know what men like.
Dwanny, 51, lesbian, Springtown, Texas
You cannot judge a whole group of people by what some in that group do. My
husband has been hit on by black women, white women, younger women and older
women. But I still can't conclude that all women are that way. However, sexual
harassment by anyone (lesbian or otherwise) at work is against the law, and your
wife needs to report it. Work is no place to be sexually pursued relentlessly.
M.G., 30, female, Jacksonville
Lesbians as a group are just like any other group: full of many different
people with very different attitudes. If your wife is encountering a lesbian who
seems overly interested in sex, I would attribute her behavior only to her as a
person, not to all lesbians in general.
Amy, 20, bisexual, College Park, Md.
Catch the "she thinks it is rather exciting to be noticed" part of Jack's
So did Suzanne Westenhoefer, a self-described "femmy lezzie" comedian
(whether she could pass for a hot soccer mom in the school parent pickup line is
entirely up to you - visit www.suzannew.com).
"I think his wife's encouraging this to get attention from hubby," said
Westenhoefer, the first out lesbian comic to appear on David Letterman's show
and to have her own HBO special.
Beyond that, she thinks Jack is kind of a jerk, although she used a different
"He's taking a giant leap from 'a woman is coming on to my wife' to 'all
lezzies are evil.' I mean, Pat Robertson doesn't make leaps that quickly."
Jack should be more concerned with making sure his wife's harassers are
reported than making generalizations about lesbian carnal preoccupation,
Why some people make these kinds of broad assumptions may be driven by the
fact that sexual orientation is the main thing differentiating gay people from
straight people, she said. "So if that's the only thing you know about a gay
person, you might hyper-focus on it."
Sure, some gay women pursue straight women, but to Westenhoefer, they are
often "tragic lesbians" who aren't consciously going after straights but instead
are engaging in self-punishment. "It's the
lesbian-who-can-never-fall-in-love-with-a-woman-who's-available thing. Yeah,
I've seen that."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.