I was sexually active for ten years before I donned a dick. It wasn’t that I was adversely opposed to doing so, and more that I was never given the opportunity to explore this aspect of my sexual identity.
I spent the first five of those ten years engaging with cis men, all of whom did nothing but stifle my development as a sexual being. My roles in these interactions were that of a passive recipient. I didn’t even know that I was entitled to enjoy sex, much less direct it.
Once I started dating women, sex immediately became much more autonomous and enjoyable, because I was no longer restricted from assuming an active role. But, I was still processing and healing from my straight years, and every aspect of my sense of self was very much still emerging. On top of this, pun definitely intended, I am femme, and I thought that it was my role in queer relationships to submit. I was not aware that I could dominate, much less get off on it.
This shifted one Spring when I met Jesse, a butch even funnier than she was handsome. Jesse and I were a few dates in when we began discussing our sexual needs and desires over cheese-less pizza and non-alcoholic ginger beer. During our conversation, Jesse, a self-professed bottom leaning switch, expressed some frustration with her inability to meet a femme with a desire to strap one on and pin her down.
I sat with Jesse’s pre-dick-ament in my mind for a few days, and tried to come up with a theory as to why her search for a harness wearing, dildo yielding femme continuously came up dry, leaving her longing.
I wondered if other femmes, like myself, had been subject to misogynist and femmephobic stereotyping, resulting in them also believing that they were limited only to receiving? Or, was it just a coincidence that Jesse was yet to meet a femme with a penchant for putting it in?
There are still many existing misconceptions about femmes, in particularly regarding the roles which we assume in the different kinds of relationships that we engage in. While I am aware that not everyone subscribes to these outdated ideas, I have realised that the stereotypes of femmes as submissive, weak, and only willing to be bottoms, are still very much in circulation. Of course, some femmes love taking it, but some also love giving.
Perhaps the most confronting part of this realisation for me was that I was harboring my very own internalised femmephobia. I decided to change my mindset by accessing my inner Dana Fairbanks and trying a dick on for size, both literally and figuratively.
The idea of quite literally fucking off normative gender roles and femme misconceptions from the comfort of my bed was a wet dream I was ready to wake up to.
Jesse invited me over for dinner one night, and afterwards we made our way to her room. We made out a bunch, and eventually she brought out her harness. Her eyes met mine, eyebrows raised. With some awkward readjusting and a lot of laughter, Jesse and I managed to strap me into the harness, complete with an impressively flexible 8” silicone dildo. Then, she left me alone for a few minutes so that I could become acquainted with this new accessory.
I edged my way over to the mirror, and through the cracks in my shielded eyes, I met my reflection. Any apprehension I felt about wearing the strap-on fell away when I saw myself. I looked powerful, strong and hot as fuck, and seeing myself this way made me feel the same.
At 25 years old, for the first time in my life, I felt genuinely sexy and no longer like I was trying to perform sexiness to appease the person on top of me. Jesse and I had sex, and knowing it was my first time wearing a strap-on, she was fantastic at talking me through it. We kept an open-dialogue for the entirety and even though my pelvic thrust timing was a bit off, and the dildo slipped out more times than could be counted, it felt oddly natural. I felt sexy and empowered and in control. Afterwards, we did what queers do best and we debriefed. I declared that I loved wearing a strap-on and I felt years of sexual oppression and suppression beginning to shift.
As time progressed and I continued fucking Jesse with the strap-on, this change in how I viewed myself went even deeper. Navigating this new role acted as a catalyst for me to reclaim so much of my stripped power and confidence.
It helped me to begin viewing myself as an autonomous woman who could and should be in control of her own sexual desires and experiences. In addition to being trusted and respected by my partners, arriving at a place where I can authentically name my sexual needs and desires tells me that I trust and respect myself.
This new found feeling of empowerment led me to identify that my history of mistreatment at the hands of men, and some women, was not a reflection of my worth and place in the world. How others view my femininity no longer dictates or limits my experiences, instead, it ameliorates it.
Jami Rose Hughes is a Melbourne-based queer femme. She is an early childhood educator, who is passionate about equitable education, writing, and the vegan menu at Cornish Arms.
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