group of scientists announced recently that they will start referring to a distant rock in the solar system as Pluto*. The asterisk is meant to denote that although Pluto* has been posing as a planet for decades, it really isn't one.
This news made me think of lesbians who don't have sex. Sadly, I know a lot of these women. Most are in long-term relationships. These couples buy property together, develop complicated emotional attachments to their pets, commiserate over the character flaws of their friends, and even share the same bed. The only thing they don't do together is have sex.
I think we should call such women Lesbians*. These are women who once made a lot of effort to have sex with other women. They ditched their husbands, horrified their parents, got dreadful haircuts, and learned to spell the word 'woman' in ridiculous ways ( womyn, wombin, etc ) .
And for what? So you can sit around a depressing apartment coated in cat hair, eating stir-fry tofu, and not having sex with your 'life partner'—a woman who no longer lets you see her naked and yet feels entitled to nag you about your career choices and insists that you eat dinner with her parents every Sunday night?
A few days ago I asked my friend Doris, who hasn't had sex with her girlfriend in five years, if she still considers herself a lesbian.
'Of course!' she said, raising her hand to her chest in horror. 'Sex isn't what makes you a lesbian.'
'Sex might not make you a lesbian, but I wouldn't suffer through the hell of a Melissa Etheridge concert without some guarantee of a sexual payoff at the end of the evening,' I said. I firmly believe that sex is the defining principle of lesbianism. Sex is why most of us got into this racket in the first place. When I was in college, my roommates and I would get drunk and admire each other's breasts. But it wasn't until I actually nuzzled another woman's breast that I classified myself as a lesbian.
So, where do sexless Lesbians* fit into our little gay galaxy, and how long do you have to go without sex to be reclassified as a Lesbian*?
'I think that Lesbians* fall somewhere between fag hags and nuns,' said my friend Greta. 'The thing that scares me is that they don't seem to be bothered by the fact that they're no longer having sex. In fact, they act like it's a relief.'
'None of you lesbians know how to pluck your eyebrows, so what does it matter whether you're having sex or not?' responded my mother.
'You have to go without sex for two years—and be in a committed relationship—in order to qualify as a Lesbian*,' my friend Stacy said with authority. 'If you're not in a relationship, there is always a chance that you will have sex again no matter how long you've gone without it. But if you and your partner haven't had sex in two years, your best hope is that your partner will die young.'
'Listen, I'm just surprised to learn that lesbians manage to have sex at all,' said my gay boyfriend Rolf with the look of disdain he reserves for conversations about professional football, plumbing problems, and lesbian relationships. Rolf is one of my chief confidants and, as such, he has had to suffer through my countless unrequited love affairs. 'All you lesbians ever do is talk about your 'issues.' Well, honey, the only 'issue' you have is that you don't shut up long enough to jump in the sack.'