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Femme Problems 105: Labels and Libidos

We naturally rely on labels to guide us through a myriad of daily decisions and calculations. From calorie counting to using the public restroom, we operate under a series of labels in order to classify and process the world around us. But what happens when we don’t fall under the confines of those precise descriptions? Unfortunately labels can often be degrading, misleading, and in the case of femme sexuality, flat out wrong.

There’s a huge rumor floating around about us femmes that our skills often fall short in the bedroom. I resent the phrase “butch in the streets, femme in the sheets,” which not only leaves a bitter taste in my mouth but also perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes about the intimate relationship between self-expression and sexuality.

What does that even mean…femme in the sheets? Just because we’re femmes doesn’t mean we can’t roll up our sleeves, pour on some elbow grease, and put in some hard work under the hood. After all, why should butches get all the fun? Rosie the Riveter is surely riveting in her grave.

And it’s not just us femmes who fall victim of an erroneous sexual classification system. The entire gay world has been labeled with a slew of inaccurate and even condescending sexual stereotypes: top, bottom, hard butch, chapstick, power top, pillow princess—the list goes on and on. But what really alarms me is that we unknowingly play into them, embracing and even encouraging the very stereotypes we should be fighting against.

I don’t know about you, but I learned at a very early age that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Now in my adult life, I’ve come to realize that you can’t judge a woman’s bedroom behavior at night based upon the type of shoes she wears during the day. I simply refuse to accept femme bottom branding.

It’s not just us femmes who get mislabeled. Even butch women face unfair expectations to deliver once the bedroom door is closed. Well ladies, it’s time we set the record straight and alleviate some of their pressure to perform as well.

After all, there’s nothing more empowering than a role reversal, whether it’s at the dinner table or what happens afterward. If we always expect butch women to bring home the bacon and femmes to provide the dessert, then what makes our relationships any different than that of the mainstream straight world?

We have to overcome the pillow princess stereotype and there is no better time than now. May the spirit of giving and the holidays guide us as we begin to hibernate for the winter with our loved ones.

Sometimes I think good sex is like a football game. One minute, you’re on offense, and after executing a few solid plays, you’ve switched to defense. The occasional tackle adds excitement and there’s no better feeling than scoring a touchdown. Well guess what: we femmes can strap on our equipment and quarterback too.

After all, making love takes teamwork. Having a thriving sex life takes equal effort on everyone’s account. While I’m sure there are many successful couples out there that operate under hetero-normative expectations of sexual relationships, I believe there are many more women like me out there too, who stand up and proudly proclaim that no one can label my libido.


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