Sunday, February 4, 2018

95,000 Page Views Guest Post: from Our Bodies, Ourselves

As is my custom when this blog passess a significant number of page views (in this case the arbitrary figure of 95,000, but it's my blog and can only be expected to be odd), I have a guest post. This one is by a group of socialist lesbians in London and was written in the 1970s.
'Gays were once moderately content to restrict their expression of homosexuality to their leisure time, perhaps because they assumed that heterosexuals expressed their sexuality only in their 'own' time. But we have come to realise that heterosexuals express their sexuality at every moment, and that their dismissal of our openness about declaring our lesbianism at work and in public as 'ramming it down their throats' is quite unjust, for their sexuality confronts us at every turn, whether or not their are acting in a specifically sexual way. The endless assumptions by heterosexuals that they are the 'normal' people has [sic] constantly to be challenged. This is why gay people are beginning to organise themselves in their places of work, understanding that the issue of sexuality must be raised in and through their unions. Otherwise aggression and victimisation of gays will continue explicitly and implicitly in every working situation. Lesbianism is not a spare-time private activity that waits until the lights are low.'
Sex: A Political Statement
'As a group we do not see personal relationships as cordoned off from our political struggle, nor as private sanctuary from an otherwise hostile world. We feel that the struggle in personal relationships is completely interrelated with the class struggle and the struggle against male dominance. Sexual relationships can reproduce class and sex divisions, and notions such as 'property' and 'dominance' have to be combated in our day-to-day contact with others, and in ourselves.
'As women and as lesbians we have had our sexuality defined and distorted and have internalised false definitions of ourselves. Thus the first step is to re-define our sexuality and to destroy the idea of lesbianism as an inferior form of heterosexuality. We are disclaiming the need for male substitution in any form, whether by imitating oppressive heterosexual roles, or directly in our sexual activity by seeing lesbian sex as a form of deprivation, or of envy of the penis. We do not see penetration as the ultimate and inevitable climax to sexual activity, nor do we see sexual activity as being a gradual progression towards orgasm.
'We are exploring ways of relating sexually which are uncompetitive and which do not adhere to qualitative notions of performance, and trying to explore forms of reciprocity which we create together instead of having preconceived standards of something which amounts to 'satisfaction' and 'being good in bed'. We want to release our sexual responses and activities from the over-concern with orgasms as the test for the viability of a sexual experience.
'We are rejecting the competitive basis of meeting each other with ideas of success and failure, and we are looking for alternatives in which mutual freedom and communication are the basis, so that each sexual encounter can be experienced as a fresh recreation, rather than a habit or a ritual.'
Lesbian Perspectives, by a group of socialist lesbians in London, in Boston Women's Health Book Collective (British edition by Angela Phillips and Jill Rakusen): Our Bodies Ourselves. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1978. Pp. 98, 105-6.


  1. What are you saying? That you're a . . . LESBIAN?!?


    Really, though: Thank the gods for these 70s socialist lesbians (and others like them) who have ensured that anything but heterosexuality can be accepted and made less unusual.
    Congratulations on 95,000,000!

    1. Thank you dear boy.
      Actually I don't know what we'd do without them!
      If it wasn't for concerns of colonialism and ownership of the word I would probably declare myself a male lesbian.


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