This Is My Body

3/13/2018

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An open letter to all the women who somehow did not realize: This is My Body.

You know who you are; this is not a work of fiction.

Tourist Partying in My Town:

This is my body. If I tell you that your advances are desired, but only if you are not toying with me; if I tell you not to play with me, because I will take you seriously; don’t tell me I am too uptight, or too sexual, or too repressed, or too much not like you. I am not here to be your, “safe place to explore sensuality with another woman.”

Don’t lay your distorted trip on me about how my inability to handle a woman’s sexual overtures, unless they are meant with sincerity, makes me an “A boy-dog,” (whatever that means) who “objectifies women.” Really? Just because I won’t let women like you objectify my body? This is my body.

Please imagine how it feels to be subjected to your cowardly games. When I hesitate to push you away for the third time, perhaps when I relax and let myself enjoy for a moment, when I don’t tell you for the sixth time to stop, you think it’s okay. Perhaps you are not considering how badly I want this intimacy with a woman, how much I want you to see me as someone who you might grow to love, instead of as a means to an end that ends when your friends drag you back home, to where all that you initiated with me becomes your little indiscretion, and my sense of violation and frustration.

New Friend:

Really? Your overtures of friendship were merely to solicit me for a sexual fling with you and your husband? Not that you are actually into women; no, no, you’re not that type. It’s just that men — and you have thoroughly researched this — need to see two women together.

This is my body! Why would I want to have sex with someone who is not sexually attracted to me?

This is my body. How dare you think that because I write about bi issues, it’s reasonable to expect me to fulfill your marriage’s sexual fantasies! Is it possible that you forgot I was a thinking, feeling, human being, just like you? Bi is not a synonym for sex-toy.

Seriously? When I say no, you say, “I guess you’re not as adventuresome as I thought?”

Young Stranger:

I am looking for love, romance, and sexual intimacy, and all in one. So, surprise, I don’t appreciate you forcing your tongue in my mouth just because you heard me say, “I’m bisexual.” Do you realize that if you were a man, and did that to any woman, you would likely be kicked out of the cafe, possibly arrested?

Nope, I’m not interested in your excuses of alcohol consumption to explain your delusions about my body being available for your emotional, psychosocial, sexual issues. If you have a drinking problem, it’s your responsibility to get treatment. It’s not my responsibility to forgive, or laugh off, how your drinking has imposed itself on my body. If you know that when you drink you fail to respect other people’s bodies, and you still drink, then you are choosing to act in ways that harm me, and all I owe you is a demand for an apology, or walking away, or pushing you away.

Once Very Dear Friend:

I have asked you repeatedly to stop flirting with me because clearly, it’s not about your desire for me, but rather just another manifestation of your insatiable need to feel desired. You say it’s not your intent to be reckless with my emotions, but regardless of your intent, your behavior towards me, is in fact, messing with my head. The minute I’ve told you this, and you decide to continue anyway, your intent has now become to disrespect who I tell you I am, to disregard what and where I tell you my boundaries for my body, and my heart, and my sanity, are. This is my body.

When you show up at my house late at night with a bottle of wine, and a lame excuse to sleep over, and endless complaints (again) about how your boyfriend doesn’t please you, please don’t offer me a full body massage by candle light. And when you do, and I accept — because I want to believe that surely you, dear friend, are not going to so seriously cross lines without meaning it — and when you then cuddle against me naked, please don’t tell me the next morning that I am the one who “pushed the envelope,” and explain how you can do these things with your straight, married, women friends without them taking it the “wrong way.” I am not straight; I am not married. This is my body. This is my life.

New Friend:

Just because you are aware of my sexual orientation, don’t think that means you can squeeze up to me, try to kiss me, then jeer, “maybe you’re not really bi” when I push you away, and push you away, and push you away. Maybe I reject you because of your personality, not your gender? This is my body.

I’m sorry that we live in a messed up world that hasn’t let you be true to your sexuality. If you are a lesbian and can’t own it, I’m sorry for that. If you are bi, and can’t own it, I’m especially sorry for that. I am sorry that my tireless actions and those of my fellow bi advocates have not made their way into your world and saved you, and saved me from you.

This is my body, and even though I understand that your issues come from the heteronormative, monosexist world we both inherited, there is still no excuse for you to think that my body is at your disposal. This is my body.

Longtime Friend:

This is my body, my sexuality, and how I have fun with it, and how I love with it, is something I take damned seriously, and I expect you to take that fact about me damned seriously. This is my body and it doesn’t come detached from my heart and my hurts.

Yes, it’s problematic if I tell you that your behavior with my body is unwelcome, and instead of apologizing and backing off, you insist that it’s all “just fun” and “don’t make such a big deal out of it,” and “don’t make it about sex. No, don’t go and distort it into something sick. Don’t say the words, gay, lesbian, or bisexual! What’s wrong with you? Oh here, I’m rubbing my crotch against your knee, let me just… oh you are so beautiful…”

NO! STOP! This is my body!

Acquaintance On The Dance Floor:

This is my body, and regardless of how inviting you may deem my dancing to be, you may not do as you please with it. Do you not see how it harms me when you — without any attempt to gain consent —  press your breasts against mine, grab my ass?

If your perception of my attraction to women is seen as not to be taken as seriously as, or could not possibly be as intense as, a heterosexual man’s attraction to a woman, then you are disrespecting not only me, but also my sexual orientation.

My sexuality is not a joke, it’s not a hobby, it’s not a side show, or a side dish, or a parlor trick; it’s a valid truth about who I am, how I am, and deserves respectful acknowledgement — deserves your respectful acknowledgement.

Random Woman:

When you say, “I’m not gay; it’s just that your legs are so smooth,” don’t be so shocked when I respond, “Too bad you’re not gay,” and suggest, “maybe you’re bi.”

When you rub your hand along my thigh, I want you to mean what you’re doing. I want you to acknowledge it and love it, but you don’t, and you won’t, and are instead horrified or just scared silly.

If you melt into near tears when I whisper, “It’s okay if you are attracted to women as well as men,” because no one has ever told you that before, please, for both our sakes, find and embrace bi community. Join spaces where your desires and attractions will be acknowledged as valid and beautiful, where you will learn and be encouraged to gain self-respect and self-love for who you are, so you will no longer think you need the likes of me to act out your dysfunctional relationships with yourself and our world.

This is my body, and my hope is that you too will learn to enjoy your body with pride and respect.

Harrie Farrow
Harrie Farrow is the author of the bisexual themed literary novel, “Love, Sex and Understanding the Universe.” She’s written articles, blogs, and columns about bisexuality in various publications such as Unicorn Booty and The Gayly. Harrie fights biphobia on Twitter as @BisexualBatman, and has also worked as an investigative reporter. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from San Francisco State with a BA in psychology and a minor in Human Sexual Studies, and is currently finishing her second novel, “The Man with the Camera.”