I tried to be a butch dyke. I really did. I’ve talked about this before, but the way I saw things, being a butch trans dyke was a really transgressive and edgy thing to do. I told everybody I was butch, and I even started to believe it myself. Eventually The Mistress, always my trusty sidekick and spiritual advisor, made me deal with the fact that, if I have to fit somewhere on the spectrum of lesbian gender, it’s not gonna be at the end where they’re shaving their heads and smoking big fat cigars.
It’s been a while since I came to terms with my inherent femme-ness. This really is a much more natural state for me. I like to call myself a tomboy jock femme, but that’s probably just a goofy label that makes me feel good.
I’ve never fit squarely into the butch/femme relationship dynamic. I’m one of those 3rd wave femme-loving grrrlpower femme dykes; I want my Powerpuff Girl lunchbox and my fabulous black knee-high boots, and I want my partner to look hot instead of awkward in a summer dress.
For some reason I was never really attracted to butch dykes, but then I discovered soft butches, especially really smart, sexy soft butches. I love you all. And I’m seriously digging you boxer shorts.
I’ve always been a bottom, though. You’re probably familiar with the terms “butch” and “femme,” but maybe you don’t know the exact difference between a top and a bottom. Basically, a top does things to a bottom. Of course sexuality is much more complicated than that, and dynamics can change from moment to moment, but there’s an inherent power relationship, especially in SM, that almost always stays in place during any particular part of an encounter. A top is a top, a bottom is a bottom.
I tried very hard to be a consistent top when I was identifying as hetero. That’s what boys do, right? They’re in charge. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after I transitioned that I learned about SM, which is where I learned about top/bottom dynamics, so it never really occurred to me that I could be anything else.
The stereotypical dyke associations are that butches are tops and femmes are bottoms. In the stereotypical system of lesbian gender, butches are the “boys” and femmes are the “girls,” which means that butches are active and femmes are passive. You only need to hang out with a few lesbians to realize that this just isn’t true for a lot of people, but still, it was being a dyke that made me realize that I could do something other than take charge.
So, Who’s Really In Control?
This is old hat for most SMers, but I find power dynamics so fascinating. Some would say that a top was in charge because s/he was the one who was performing most of the actions. Some would say that the bottom was in charge, because the sex is about pleasuring the bottom. Or is it? It’s entirely possible that a top would order a bottom to do something for him/her. And what about pushy bottoms (like me) who ask for or demand what they want? Or passive tops who wait to be told what to do?
It’s experiencing all of this that has re-opened my mind to topping. Everything has changed now, because I no longer feel obligated to be in control. It’s now a choice that I can make, and especially within SM contexts I’m starting to find that having someone do exactly what you want can be pretty freaking hot. For the past couple of years I’ve been all about pleasing my partners or asking them nicely to do things for me. Now I have the option to have someone do exactly what I tell them, and the option to have someone put her complete and utter faith and trust in me to do what I want to her and to make her do what I want.
Power is an amazing erotic tool. It doesn’t really work for me unless the relationship is VERY close and personal, but once I know that I can trust somebody else and they feel like they can trust me, a world of possibilities is opened.
I’m opening up to all sorts of possibilities (no pun intended). The more I talk to people about sex, the more I’m realizing that we’re truly a cool, freaky and fascinating species.
I’m trying hard, but I just don’t seem to be able to be attracted to guys. Be patient, though. I’m working on it.