Change Your World-NOT your Body

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Word on the Sexual Dynamic of the Capital B Butch

After a conversation yesterday with Femme Avenger (her comments can be read in the last post) regarding some comments left on my last post (too Butch too fuck) I wanted clarify and specify the unique (sexual) difficulties of the capital B Butch, who is who I write about/for.

I'm sure if you arent a capital B Butch or a Femme you're wondering what the hell is a capital B Butch? When I write about Butch I use a capital B to differentiate from lesbians who are butch persuasioned. While there may be a multitude of similarities and shared experiences between the two, they are essentially quite different and distinct. The capital B Butch is the Butch original, she is a born butch Butch whose romantic and sexual attractions/connections are strictly with Femme lesbians. She is the woman the term Butch was explicitly written and specifically defined. Granted among the post-modern-gung-ho-queer-theory-genderqueer nations "butch" has sadly been co-opted by anyone from softball dykes to jeans and T-shirt wearing Mtf men. This doesn't change the capital B Butch, but it does promote the invisibility of Butch women by diluting the Butch pool with imposters and posers confusing Butch to those outside Femme/Butch spaces. I mentioned there are some shared experiences between Butch lesbians and butch persuasioned lesbians. I post this not to deny any lesbian's experiences, but to hone in on the capital B Butch (sexual or lack thereof as the case may be) experience.

The capital B Butch sexual experience is quite different from the butch persuasioned lesbian experience because our primary sexual relationships are with Femme lesbians. It is a critical difference. The small b butch lesbian may share some of the capital B Butch body dysphoria issues growing up but usually for the small b butch those issues do not get magnified when she reaches adulthood and enters the lesbian community, magnified to greater degrees now since we have females IDing as some form of "trans" while other "non-trans" females have allowed themselves to be shamed out of IDing as female period. Small b butch lesbians usually couple with other small b butch lesbians by and large. These are usually the butch lesbians we see/hear IDing their sexual proclivities as "butch on butch". Some of these butch women have dated/slept with Femmes, but thats usually only while both parties pass each other on the road to their true sexual destinations, not because either has an affinity towards each other.

The sexual dynamic between "butch on butch" is quite different and much less troubling than Femme/Butch partnerships. The internalized misogyny isnt as out loud and present within "butch on butch" relationshipsattractions. These relationships arent built on hetero-patriarchal hierarchy pressures to the extreme that Femme/Butch couplings are constantly fighting. There is more of an equal ground within "butch on butch" that sexually scares the hell out of most capital B Butches because we have been shamed out of it. While there may be a top/bottom to the small b butch on butch relationship, there still exist a freedom to sexually explore those spaces without the shame of one's femaleness blocking the way. There is a greater freedom to be sexually vulnerable within "butch on butch" and other lesbian couplings that only with a great deal of love, trust and work have the possibility to exist between Femme/Butch couplings.

If there are these similar shared experiences and early/teen body dysphoria both small b butch lesbians and capital B Butch lesbians share why the fork in the road when it comes to sex? In a word-Femmes. Not Femmes in and of themselves or anything they do or don't do so much, but the dynamic of the Femme/Butch relationship itself complicates Butch shame, fear, sexuality and vulnerability. How can the type of partner we seek, desire with all our hearts and souls and pussy's even affect/complicate capital B Butches sharing those hearts and souls and pussy's? Because of the complicatedness of the Butch life (Butch invisibility/lack of Butch role models) amid misogyny and hetero-patriarchy.

A subject you will find on many a Femme/Butch forum/website is something to do with Butches and "feminizing touch". What is "feminizing touch"? Besides nonsensical, something quite real to many Butch lesbians. It is a Femme partners sexual touch. Touch that rarely is allowed with the same kind of excitement and zeal Butches freely touch Femme bodies with. Due to the small numbers of Femmes and Butches it sometimes seems a miracle when we meet, given that miracle one would expect that first time to be a crazy sexual frenzy of mutual kissing, stripping off clothes, licking, caressing, sucking, fingering and fucking. It should be, but sadly it isnt. Butches are granted all that usually, but there are negotiations that must be made before a Femme touches a Butch. These issues rarely crop up let alone dominate the sexual relationships of other lesbians, like they do for Femme/Butch couples. There are pathologically fucked up insane pressures/expectations put on Butch women in Femme/Butch spaces that hinder and sometime halt Butch sexuality altogether. Pressures and expectations of shame, with little to no one questioning those pressures and shame so they continue being perpetuated.

Despite the fact that both Femmes and Butches are WOmen, hetero-patriarchal sexism and misogyny have been dragged in and bragged about within Femme/Butch communities. Butch have been allowed and some Femmes have allowed Butches to employ hetero-male sexist mimicry with Femmes in order to feel some sort of delusional Butch pride based on male sexism and Femme objectification. So what happens to Femme/Butch couple in the dark then, with no one to perform hetero sexist behaviour for? Far too often what happens is...nothing. Butches fear they cannot sustain their Butch identity with a mutually sexual relationship with a Femme lover. Because the Femme's "touch" is being regarded through hetero-patriarchy that views all women as less then. So when Butch women stop seeing themselves as women(through lack of Butch role models/queer theory influence), their value of Femmes disappears. Therefore the equality within the Femme/Butch sexual dynamic gets blatantly skewed whereby Butches being at the high end of that skew cannot allow someone of a less than status (the lower end of the skew) to make love to them without intense shame afterward which leave both parties unsatisfied and ashamed.

I am glad small b butches and other lesbians can related to some of what I write, you are all important to me as lesbians, but when I write about Butch, I am writing from a capital B Butch position. Hope this post clarifies that.







  1. I AM a Capital B Butch, always have been, always will be. My Butchness is NOT contingent on what type of Female partner I have, it is contingent on WHO I AM INSIDE! I have always been Butch, from the day I rejected dolls as age 7, to dresses at age 10, to never wanting to marry a man, or have a child at age 12, to being the first girl on the hockey team in the ENTIRE league at age 12 to getting into karate before many girls/women did at age 14....indeed a young Amazon who was unfeminine most of her whole young life...till coming out as a Butch Dyke at age 20!

    It is not contingent on whether I fuck a Femme or a Butch or am fucked by a Femme or a Butch. I like both, I've always liked both, it's ALWAYS depended on the woman!
    I prefer the company of women, especially strongly female centered Lesbian Dykey women, and yes, Sister Butches, and wild feral STRONG Femmes! Femmes who are obviously Dykey and don't pass for het in any way, whether they're punky, leathery, wear wild hair colors, or flowing Goddess robes or nothing at all!

    In every way as a capital B Butch, I HUNT the most positive way....and only womonflesh enlivens me. Sometimes I LOVE a Butch Dyke in a uniform...but I can also be just as easily turned on to a Femme womon with a big booty and high heeled leather boots or other leather garments...or a Femme with cleavage and a full breast to show...I HUNGER for Female flesh, and once stripped naked and up on the sling or in bed, it DOESN'T MATTER ANYMORE WHETHER SHE'S BUTCH OR FEMME, only that she's available to me, and in the throes of passion....that she HONORS her passion and doesn't hold back because of shamed coulda woulda shouldas....whether it comes from patriarchy, the lesbian community, the leather community, the hetero community, or her own deep shame, whether SHE'S BUTCH OR FEMME. All I wanna know then is that SHE'S ALL WOMAN, AND PROUD OF THAT...AND THAT FOR HER, HER SEX IS SPIRITUAL!

    And that's why I'm a Capital B Butch. I'm no softball Butch. I was kicking ass in karate class while the softball Butches were playing. We only hurt ourselves by continuing to label ourselves off of others, and to fracture our experiences, you're this, I'm that, we're ALL Dykes in this together, and attempting to overcome this shame. Just call me a Dyke Sexual Magician, my true Life's Work and Calling!

  2. I agree "butchness" isnt "contingent" upon who one fucks, BUT Butch is when being true to its meaning, which I am.


  3. What I find both interesting and disturbing as a Femme, is the constant put downs thrown at certain types of Femmes due to their ‘less than dykey’ appearance – implying they are less than lesbian, less than strong, less than political, less than powerful and less than committed to the feminist cause – they are just seen as ‘less than’ IF they are seen at all.

    MA, by stating you are drawn/attracted to "STRONG Femmes! Femmes who are obviously Dykey and don't pass for het in any way" this speaks volumes. If you were truly committed as a ‘Butch’ to a Butch/Femme dynamic (whether for 5 years or five minutes) you would be aware that Femmes have been subject to this type of derogatory treatment for decades in lesbian space by those dykes that just don’t understand them or their identity. Femmes have also been fighting for DECADES supporting Butches and helping to raise awareness about Butch and Femme identity and relationships. Yes, some may ‘break a nail’ but that’s because they were busy working hard trying to keep their communities together and support their Butch partners.

    The High Femmes I know the world over (and yes I have been around the scene for years, and DON’T live in San Fran or the USA for that matter) are just as strong, fit, intelligent, willful, vocal and political as ANY self confessed ‘just me’ dyke activist and certainly more so than the average Leather dyke. It takes a hell of a lot of courage, confidence and power to wear full make-up stocking, gloves, dress, heels & handbag and walk into a hostile dyke space and claim it – far more than it takes to waltz in wearing a pair of leather pants and vest.

    I am very proud to know and support Femme sisters of all descriptions. Femmes that are High to casual to leather to ‘whatever’- they are ALL STRONG WOMEN! Femmes in academia challenging Femme and Butch-phobia, High Femme’s that power lift in their spare time, Femmes into boxing, Femmes into cooking, Femmes into community building and activism, Femmes that are being true to themselves and giving a big FUCK YOU to all the dykes that accuse them of being ‘less than’ and especially those that ignorantly dismiss them for ‘passing as het’.

    FA x

  4. And true to it's meaning, I've been Butch since age 7 when I rejected dolls. I didn't know it fully till I came out as a Dyke, and was mentored by other Butches.

    Otherwise, like all the little genderqueer boi types, they're not REAL Butches cuz they don't do primarily Femmes then, or grown up enough to claim Butch, which makes them bois, which then they think they must be some version of male, and that Butch identity is verboten to them, and thusly genderqueer is an option or genderqueer boi....and on and on ad infinitum.

    There are Butches into Femmes, Butches into Butches, and Butches who appreciate all of the above. As long as they fuck only women, and their hearts are enlivend or dashed only by women in their lovelife, romantic life, sex play life, committed dyke 'married' life, ect....THEY ARE STILL BUTCHES in my book.

    I will never claim the term boi, as it does not apply to me. I am Butch through and through, just like you. I'm not into the Butch/Femme community as explained in my previous post, and I'm not gonna be decietful and claim that I am 'exclusively' into Femmes when my preference is primarily for other Butches(who are ALSO strongly Female Identified), and on occasion certain Femmes....

    As far as F.A. is concerned. There are Femmes who pass as het, get off on it, do it, and laud it over Butches, have easier access to jobs, to respect, to societal privileges that NO BUTCH WILL EVER HAVE. For the Femmes who whine how they get treated in the Dyke community, show your solidarity in every instance and you'll get full respect. I respect EVERY OUT FEMME who honors Butches and our contributions, walks by our sides, has good feminist and Dyke politics, whether as friends or lovers(doesn't mean I have to be primary lovers with a Femme to honor her)friends will do, and never shirks when us Butches take a hit for who we are, and NEVER compare us to men. I hate that shit.

    Those Femmes who are on the frontlines with us and defend us, I consider friends and allies and have full respect for. Those who 'pass' as straight for the convenience and privilege, and yet want to be downlow with a Butch to get the action, I don't. Period.

  5. What does it mean to pass as straight as a Femme other than to be invisible as a Lesbian to straight people because their conception of what a Lesbian is is so narrow? I know a lot of people just assume I'm straight, just as -- my whole life -- there are people who have known I was gay without me ever saying anything to them. Do I need a labrys tattoo? Should I wear freedom rings at all times? Does this mean I need to have a "lesbian haircut?" But I don't want a tattoo, freedom rings don't match my clothes & short hair looks TERRIBLE on me.

    Can a Femme just be who she is into the style of hair and clothing she's into and she enjoys for herself, without having this "You're not lesbian enough, you're not true to the community" stuff in her face? What should a woman like me to do NOT pass other than be a flaming dyke lesbian who loves Butch women? I mean, really, what does that even mean? Heterosexual people are going to see and assign us to the categories they want to assign us to. Do we really need to do it to each other? The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of gay men and women who pass out of necessity -- they need to for their jobs or personal safety. And it's not fair and it's painful for many people who pass and those who don't. But just as we didn't choose to be lesbians, I personally did not choose to just ... be this way. I am who I am and I can't dyke it up any more than I already do. If some Femmes lord it over Butches that they can blend in - well, you know, being an asshole isn't exclusive to Femme dykes... it's a pretty universal condition found in all sorts of people.

    And there are plenty of straight women who have wild, punky hair colors -- how does that identify us as lesbian or not-lesbian? I might look prim and proper and I may very well be wild and feral where I need to be (in the privacy of a bedroom -- or another room, whatever works).

  6. Until you own up to your het privilege, your no ally of mine! That's all I have to say on the matter of femmes passing as straight. Read "Dykes Loving Dykes" where there is a whole section on Butch oppression, ect. and lesbians who pass as het and highly Butch and two Femmes wrote this book.
    P.S. and yes, wear the rainbow rings even if small as an identifier if you must.
    This is the last I have to say on this.

  7. “For the Femmes, who whine how they get treated in the Dyke community, show your solidarity in every instance and you'll get full respect.”

    MA, This comment confirms that in your eyes, and by default, Femmes are expected to EARN respect in the dyke community while all other types of more palatable dykes are just given respect. Femmes are NOT respected full stop from you or anyone else harbouring the same views so just admit it.

    "Until you own up to your het privilege, you’re no ally of mine!"

    You've made your position regarding Femmes crystal clear MA; you don't need to spell it out any further. You refuse to acknowledge the history and struggles Femmes have endured for their Butches and Butches in general, we continue to love and support our Butch sisters in many realms of public and private life. You have NO respect for us, you clearly hate us and would love it if we would all just fuck off and leave the real Butches to you and your ilk but guess what? We’re NOT going anywhere.

    Dismiss us if you so wish MA, but we will come out fighting, we always do and have to because there will always be Femme lesbians and there will always be butch persuasion dykes like you.

    FA x


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