Queer Sex Is Great! But What About Our Friendships?
Growing up queer and going out on a big ol’ queer night out, I always felt such a pressure to get laid. If I didn’t bring someone home, there was this attitude that I was a failure and people were disappointed. In addition to this, I have read (and continue to read) lots on queer theory, lots of queer stories and watched lots of queer themed shows and there is one thing that they all seem to have in common…sex…a lot of it, and a serious lack of representation of friendship.
As a baby queer, the underlying message I kept getting from all these sources and my peers was if you were a celibate queer, then you were not really queer. It seemed the only way to be queer was to be having lots of queer sex. If I were friends with another queer person, there was this expectation that we would eventually sleep together and if we did not, eyebrows were raised. Unfortunately, because of this, a lot of the sexual experiences I had when I was younger happened because I thought I had to do it, it was expected of me, rather than me wanting to actually do it.
Being an older queer now (and hopefully wiser), I now oppose such toxic ideals and when going out to party, I put no pressure on myself, I relax, I enjoy myself and if something were to happen….well, I am open to it. However, I do see that unfortunately this pressure ‘to pull’ and to ‘get laid’ still seem to be fairly prominent in queer culture, and with such a focus on sex, it is no wonder asexual people can feel left out of the community. It has to be understood from both within and out of our community that not all queers are and/or desire to be sexually active and we should not shame one another for however sexually active or inactive we are.
As a demisexual, sex for me with the right person can be great. Though I love sex in the right circumstances, I would not say it is of high importance to me when it comes to my queer relationships. When reading queer fiction or watching queer shows, although I enjoy steamy, erotic sex scenes, part of me also has this craving to see queers in completely platonic relationships.
That being said, I have witnessed a few great portrayals of queer friendship on TV; one of which being the friendship between Shane and Alice in The L Word. Whilst I saw online on various forums and threads, L Word fans screaming for ‘Shalice,’ I remember completely opposing this idea and was adamant that they remained friends and I am very glad they did. Their friendship was full of banter (my favourite kind of friendships), yet when shit hit the fan, they were there for each other – a bond which I felt would not have been so special and maybe even ruined if something sexual were to happen between them. The recent film, Can You Ever Forgive Me? A film adaption of Lee Israel’s book of the same name also shows queer friendship. Yet again, a friendship with a lot of jest and wit, but this time between a lesbian and gay man – something which is very rarely depicted in mainstream media. The divide between lesbians and gay men in the queer community is so thick, and that is probably another article for another day, so I can tell you it was very refreshing to see such a friendship shown on the big screen.
In summary, I just want to see more celebration of queer friendship across the board. Just because there is more than one queer in a story does not mean they have to be sleeping together. Now, do not get me wrong, I am not saying stop the raunchy queer sex scenes, they have served a great purpose to many queers including myself on those solo nights in….but what I am saying is there are a lot more to us queers than sex. After all, when I think about my own life, and all the different forms of relationships I have, it is the queer friendships that I have often turned to when I want to celebrate something, when I’m in need, when I just want some company and to chat. I think queers coming together in solidarity and friendship is an act of resistance and something in which I think we all need to cherish and honor more, both amongst ourselves and in the media.