Femme Shame

I have written a lot about Butch Shame and have mentioned it even more, but I have yet to solely devote a single post to Femme Shame. I preface this post by stating as I am not a Femme, I can write only about Femme Shame from the point of view of the bystander on one hand and an adumbrate on the other.

What is Femme Shame? The short answer is the shame a Femme feels when her Butch lover recoils from her physical desires, her needs and wants for some kind of intimate touch or taste which open the doors to a greater emotional intimacy.

Lesbians date and fall in love with each other because they are attracted physically and emotionally to each other. No matter the dyke, like any human we all have a natural desire and sexual need to want to make love to our partner. Due to Butch Shame, very often out of love and respect for Butches, Femmes hold back or outright forfeit their sexual desires, needs and wants. It is perfectly acceptable for a Butch to stare at her Femmes cleavage or breast and equally acceptable in a sexual situation for that Butch to reach for her Femmes breast, not so for Femmes. Butch bodies are often mine fields that Femmes have to learn to navigate with each Butch lover.

None of this is exactly news in Butch/Femme circles, but what we do not hear about is how Butch Shame issues create Femme Shame and how that dual shame disastrously affects Butch/Femme relationships. When Butches constantly push away their Femme lovers hand or mouth, that constant rejection will eventually take a toll on Femme self esteem. Femmes deal with Femme Shame in different ways, some give up on Butches and choose instead to date/couple with non-Butches in hopes of having a fuller physical and emotional relationship, others serial date/couple with a variety of Butches hoping to find that one Butch who isnt drowning in Butch Shame and others still who just give up on relationships altogether.

Many Butches rather than admit they are rejecting their Femme, try and smooth that rejection over by citing the "this is just the way I am" mantra that Butches everywhere are famous for. But make no bones about it, pushing your lovers touch away IS rejection and it DOES create a deep sense of shame, and pain in that Femme. But until we can admit that there is a problem, that Femme Shame is real as well as prevalent in our community, the Femmes we claim to love and admire will continue suffering in shame and silence.


Femme Shame Video


  1. My girlfriend and I actually recently had a fight about exactly this...It's very painful for both of us, because neither of us want to hurt the other person. She is a fierce and sweet Femme and is patient with my 'needs.' Even so, I know it pains her when I just don't want her to touch me some night or another, and I think all we can do is work together and above all else, love each other.

  2. Wow. I'm in awe of not only how accurate this is but of how much sense this makes. I also hate it because you're right, this is not a topic that is talked about much. You know what angers me more? Every relationship I have started is passionate to some degree and I always get back to this "point" and each time I would break up for one reason or another. Or so that's what it looked like on the surface. The real reason was because I would push them so far away so they wouldn't want to be in a relationship. My current gal picked up on this quickly. Damn I thought...she has stuck with me for a long time and I'm grateful for it. We have agreed to put that "area" on hold for now but from time to time I worry about what if I can't ever go back to that area? When it becomes to much for me I just stop thinking about it. I really hate the thought that I am hurting her more with all this. Would love to hear more from others on this especially from those who have found ways to work through this.


  3. One of your best, most important posts ever.

  4. This is probably one of the very few posts you have written I like.

    Also the anon that said it always starts out passionate and than comes to a holt. I can relate. I once had a GF who told me she felt betrayed because it went from passionate to nothing abruptly.

    I now tell people who are interested I want a relationship to start where the sex stops. Amazingly enough there are women out there who are on the same page.
    This works much better. I know in my heart this is not going to change and to keep getting into relationships who need sexual intimacy is hurting them deeply.

  5. Really amazing post Dirt! I had not considered this dynamic before, as I have not really experienced it, even as a more butch dyke . What I mean is I am very open in my body and enjoy the expression of my lover's desires as much as I enjoy showing mine.

    Still truly powerful to read and take in. What from your experience or any one else's' do you think is the barrier that can come up that allows that to happen. I know "shame" is at it's heart but what is the fear and shame of exactly? Is it about letting down one's guard and allowing a femme lover to see the pleasure and vulnerability of her butch being made love to? Does the openness and softness that seems to go with receiving such passionate touch feel mutually exclusive to most butches?


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