Secondary Relationships, Tequila Fumes, and the Lesbian Internet

by Lindsay Miller

1. [Removed]

2. Hello Queer Chick, hope you’re well. I’m a bisexual girl who’s been in a relationship with an awesome guy for almost a year and a half now. He’s my first boyfriend, and the sum of my sexual experience has been with him. He knows and is comfortable with my sexuality, and would welcome the opportunity for me to have sexual encounters with women — so long as he’s in the room at the time. And I’d welcome it too; I’ve never been with a girl, and now that I feel I’ve got a handle on hetero-sex, I’m more interested in women than ever.

I guess the first part of my question is, any idea how I can make this happen? As you might have guessed from my brief outline of my (very) brief sexual history, I’ve never really been the type to jump someone’s bones as soon as I look at them. So I’m not sure that a pursuit of a one-night stand at a gay bar or something (assuming the girl in question is okay with my bf being privy to things) would really work for me. Obviously now that I’m ‘sexually active’ (re: not a virgin, hooray!) things are different, but I know that I at least have to be interested in someone — on more than a physical level — to be that attracted. And I know you don’t run into that kind of person very often. Which brings me to my second question: Considering that I’m not the type to act on lust alone — though I’m sure it’d be easier with girls ’cause they’re just so darn pretty — I’m worried that the process of getting to know a girl (however I meet her) to the point of having sex with her will mean that I’ve put myself in a danger zone of developing feelings for her, and in doing so, could jeopardize my current relationship. Especially since she’ll be the first girl, I know that she’d have to be at least a little bit special to me.

Being with a girl would be thrilling for both me and my boyfriend — as well as a huuuuge sexual revelation for me — but I wonder if it’s worth taking the emotional risk of essentially dating someone else, however briefly, when I’m already in a relationship (assuming that she’s okay with my situation in the first place). So Queer Chick, considering my sentimental disposition, should I just let sleeping dogs lie and wistfully dream of a chance encounter one day where everything (including my boyfriend) falls into place? Knowing how slim that chance could be? Or should I get out there and try my luck, crossing my fingers that everything will work out for the best? Any advice would be welcome.

I feel kind of weird about this hypothetical girl you’re trying to hook up with. She’s supposed to date you, develop an emotional connection with you, have sex with you while your boyfriend watches, and then, like … fall off the face of the earth? I know you’re expecting this to be a huge sexual revelation for you, but I can’t help wondering what’s in it for her.

For one thing, I feel like there’s something a lot of bicurious ladies are confused about, regarding queer chicks: Having sex in front of your boyfriend is not something that comes standard. Like, emphatically not. For one thing, most women who don’t want to fuck men also don’t want to fuck in front of men, because voyeurism is a form of sexual interaction in itself. And even if you find a lady who is into you and also into dudes, being watched is really, really Not Everyone’s Thing. I’m just letting you know this, so that when you meet a girl you dig and the two of you are clicking, you don’t jump straight from “Do you like me?” to “Great, let’s have sex in front of my boyfriend!”

So you’re not just after a cute girl. You’re after something extremely specific — someone who wants an emotional as well as a sexual relationship, is fine with being a secondary partner, likes being watched during sex, and doesn’t mind that the watcher will be a dude. Refine your search further based on your location, age, and attractiveness parameters, and you’re talking about a really fucking small set of women. Sitting back and waiting for the perfect person to fall into your vagina is unlikely to produce results. If this is going to happen, you’re going to need to get out there (and by “out there,” I mean “on the Internet”) and look for it. Be honest about what you want, don’t assume that your fantasy is everyone’s fantasy, and be willing to cut your losses and move on if you and your prospective lady-friend aren’t on the same page.

Also, if you can manage it, try to be really, really hot. Some chicks who wouldn’t otherwise be into exhibitionism and polyamory might be persuadable if they are just ohmygod dying to get into your pants.

3. So, my sister and I are pretty close. We live separately (me in the country, her in the city) so when we get to hang out in her town, we generally go out to bars. And we have so much fun! Drinking, dancing, singing karaoke (yea we get that drunk sometimes), and, my sister’s favorite, meeting all the amazing people in her city’s thriving queer community.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like meeting queers just as much as I like meeting straights. It makes absolutely no difference to me at all, but not to my sister. It occurred to me one night, while out dancing and watching my sister drunkenly throw herself at this gay couple, that she was acting all a-fool. I mean, yes. They were obviously gay. And they were obviously out for a fun night together, and were also annoyed at my sister for butting in and being overly friendly with them. The fact is, she was only wanting to hang with them because they were gay. It was blatant, and I felt bad for them, and embarrassed for my sister.

So I guess my question is: How offensive is this? My sister is not shunning people for being gay, but she is passing a judgment on them all the same. She is being friendly to them for being gay. Is it just as offensive to be befriended for your sexual status as it is to be un-friended for it? I know that we all make mistakes after too many cocktails, but if she is being a repeat offender, the issue needs to be addressed.

On the one hand, nobody likes being treated as a tourist attraction. I’m still annoyed at the girl who crashed my wedding, though we had never met, because she had never been to a same-sex wedding and thought it would be, like, such an interesting experience. This isn’t an anthropology class, it’s my life; I don’t need some random straight people hanging around going “How fascinating. There appears to be a complex social hierarchy organized around fauxhawk height and Doc Marten color.”

On the other hand, it pretty much sounds like your sister just gets drunk at bars and gloms onto people who look fun. If I wanted to make drunk friends, I’d probably gravitate toward the queers too, if only because they’re way less likely to be Republicans. Plus, it sounds like you were at a gay bar, right? So the available options were already kind of skewed in that direction. If she’s having fun and they’re having fun, don’t overthink it.

On the third hand (I’m just borrowing it, I’ll give it back in a minute), oh my god, the drunk person in the bar who wants to be your best friend and tell you all her deepest secrets and breathe tequila fumes into your face and borrow your lipstick: so annoying. If your sister is behaving this way, it doesn’t matter whether it’s toward queers or straights; you, as the less-drunk and/or less-irritating party, should take steps to shut it down. Tell her to wave good-bye to the nice homos because we’re going home now.

4. So, can we talk about nail polish? More specifically, nail polish on fingers that regularly go inside someone else’s vagina? I’ve been banging ladies for years, and I’ve always been meticulous about keeping my nails short and filed, washing my hands before getting it on with anyone, and being careful about cuts and scrapes. But sometimes I worry about the long-term effects of having painted nails inside your vagina on a regular basis. I love to keep my nails pretty and polished, but I also love my girlfriend and want her to be alive for a long time and not, you know, getting cancer from the toxic paint on my nails (which, I don’t even know if that’s a possibility — I should mention that I am also the kind of person who stockpiles for the apocalypse, so I think maybe I just worry too much in general).

Should I just stick to buying only non-toxic nail polishes (I mean, yes, I totally should, for lots of reasons, right?) because I could probably do that. Should I just wear gloves all the time? Because I would do that, if I had to. Should I just quit worrying, because it’s probably fine, and really it’s not like the polish is like, peeling off inside her vagina?

The lesbian internet is surprisingly quiet on this subject, except for that horrible, terrible, soul-scarring post on Autostraddle that I remember reading a couple years ago and still think about when I see nail decals. There have got to be other femmes out there who worry as much I do. Right?

Oh, yikes. There are just so many things in the world that I completely forget to be nervous about, and then someone like you comes along and reminds me and I’m like “dammit, I should have been stressing about this weeks ago, there’s no way I’ll ever catch up now.” So, you know, thanks for that.

No, but really, let’s figure this out. Although that traumatizing Autostraddle post was about the dangers of long pointy rhinestone-encrusted nails (which, I mean, obviously, THEY ARE POINTY, DON’T PUT POINTY THINGS IN YOUR OWN OR SOMEONE ELSE’S VAGINA), fingernail polish is full of weird things and deserves further investigation. Obviously, I am not a doctor, or a scientist, or someone who looks good in a lab coat, so it’s extremely irresponsible of me to be giving this advice and of you to be taking it. But, as far as Google can tell me, no one has ever done a study on the health risks of getting finger-banged by a chick (or dude) wearing nail polish. DEAR SCIENCE: Please get your shit together. The public needs answers.

The most dangerous thing about nail polish, according to everything I’ve read, is the fumes. Salon workers who breathe it in all day are at risk for asthma and other chronic health issues, and pregnant women are advised to avoid salons, especially if they’re poorly-ventilated, because the fumes can cause birth defects. Nail polish that’s dried — the only kind you’re likely to be wearing during sex — is much less harmful. So in all likelihood, your girlfriend’s delicate bits will be fine.

The closest thing I could find to a study on how safe nail polish is for your nethers (it’s not that close, don’t get your hopes up) is this Scientific American article from May 2011, which mentions a study by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency on sex toys containing phthalates. Phthalates are among the nasty chemicals that make nail polish unsafe, along with formaldehyde and toluene. Even nail polishes marketed as non-toxic have been found to contain these toxins, just in case you weren’t worried enough. But the good news is, the Danish study found that sex toys with phthalates in them pose no health risks if they’re used an hour a day or less.

So long as you’re not spending more than an hour a day inside your girlfriend — O, to have enough free time that this would be a concern! — neither of you should have anything to worry about. If, however, you have spent the last paragraph having a minor panic attack because omg formaldehyde in my vagina, it might be worth investing in some gloves, just for your own peace of mind.

Previously: Rejection, Bigotry, and Vanilla With Sprinkles.

Lindsay Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her?

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock