Debate is alive and thriving in the lesbian community about the place of sexual behaviour that mimics sex with a male. There are a whole series of sex toys that focus on the penis, or maybe, the lack of a penis. These are dildos, which are basically objects made to do the job that a penis does in sex – penetration into the vagina or anus.
Some women who have rejected the heterosexual lifestyle default believe that women don’t need penetration and that we have all the facilities and capabilities to enjoy a completely satisfying sex life without it. They have turned “foreplay” into the main event, providing an experience that many straight women can only dream of enjoying with their partners.
But ideology aside, and with all due respects to the clitoral hegemony, the capacity for vaginal pleasure is alive and well in most women’s bodies, even if they are unable to experience vaginal orgasm and even if they don’t have a partner who owns a real, live penis.
Enter the dildo. Enter the harness. Don’t throw your rotten tomatoes at me, this is something that needs to be said out loud. If a couple choose to use a dildo and possibly a harness – to hold it in place – during sex, this does not make them wannabe straights, just like having anal sex does not make a man gay. It means that you are finding another way to enjoy your bodies and share erotic experiences with the partner of your choice. There’s a whole lot of pride in that.
The positions you choose may be about ideology for some women, but you can also choose to understand them through basic anatomy. The vaginal entrance and the outer third of the vagina is filled with nerve endings. Granted, it is not as intensely packed as the clitoris, but it is nevertheless built to provide pleasure and it is a bona fida way of sharing an erotic experience. Some of our vaginal potential is accessible by oral sex or touch, but were also given the capacity to enjoy the type of stimulation provided by the thrusting of a phallic shape as it massages this area.
Some of the more radical feminists, like Andrea Dworkin, believed that any form of penetration is offensive and aggressive behaviour, and this line of thinking has formed the basis of the case against lesbians and straight women using toys that represent the penis. It is good to have some cerebral input into the way you use your own body, but such extremity is the kind of thought process that limits the scope of our sensual experience. Consider the fact that orgasm is a process of trust and relinquishing control, and orgasm is one of the ultimate feminist experiences.
If penis sensitivities are high, you can always find toys that don’t imitate actual anatomic penises, but are shafts in attractive colours and textures, that provide the basic width and length that feels comfortable for your body. Instead of perceiving a dildo as being the shape of a penis, look at it as having the shape of your vagina.