6 Special Ideas About What Lesbian Sex Is, 1900-1953

 

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For centuries, human beings have been asking themselves and each other, “What is lesbian sex?”. It’s a popular question because lesbians are fascinating. This line of inquiry was also particularly challenging prior to this website’s publication of the “Is It Sex?” flowchart.

Even more challenging is how it wasn’t ever lesbians who informed the public of what lesbian sex consisted of, it was almost always straight white men. Imagine that! Now we proudly introduce to you some early ideas about lesbian sex, 1900-1953!

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What Makes Lesbian Sex, 1900-1953

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1. College-Bred Cunni-Linguistics

From a medical work, early 1900s (via Odd Girls & Twilight Lovers):

“When young girls are thrown together in a college setting they manifest an increasing affection by the usual tokens. They kiss each other fondly on every occasion. They embrace each other with mutual satisfaction. It is most natural, in the interchange of visits, for them to sleep together. They learn the pleasure of direct contact, and in the course of their fondling they resort to cunni-linguistic practices… after this the normal sex act fails to satisfy [them].”

 

via liquorinthefront.tumblr.com

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2. Girl-on-Girl Nymphomania

Swiss Psychiatrist August Forel, The Sexual Question: A Scientific, Psychological, Hygienic and Sociological Study, 1906:

“The [sexual] excess of female inverts exceed those of a male. This is their one thought, night and day almost without interrupton.” +

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3. Mutual Masturbation Petticoat Party

Sociologist Alfredo Niceforo, 1900s:

“In summer, in one work-room, some of the girls wear no drawers, and they unbutton their bodices, and work with crossed legs, more or less uncovered. In this position the girls draw near and inspect one another, some boast of their white legs, and then the petticoats are raised altogether for more careful comparison. From midday until 2 pm, durng the hours of greatest heat, when all are in this condition, and the mistress, in her chemsie (and sometimes, with no shame at the workers’ presence, without it), falls asleep on the sofa, all the girls, without one exception, masturbate themselves. The heat seems to sharpen their desires and morbidly arouse all their senses. The voluptuous emotions, restrained through the rest of the day, break out with irresistible force; stimulated by the spectacle of each other’s nakedness, some place their legs together and thus heighten the spasm by the illusion of contact with a man.”

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4. Cuddling and/or Cunnilingus

Psychologist Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Sexual Inversion, 1901:

“[The 'inverted woman''s passion for the woman she loves] finds expression in sleeping together, kissing, and close embraces, with more or less sexual excitement, the orgasm sometimes ocurring when one lies on the other’s body or else in mutual masturbation; the extreme gratification is cunnilingus, sometimes called sapphism.”

a little extreme gratification in the evening

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5. No Strings Attached

Novelist Diana Frederics, 1930s:

“It was natural enough that the homosexual would approach intimacy more quickly than the normal person. The very lack of any kind of social recognition of their union gave it a kind of informality. Normal love, having to consider property and children, had to assume responsibilities that were of no consequence to the homosexual. “

or keep it illegal, whatever

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6. Straight Girls Wanna Do It Like Gay Girls Do It, However That Is

Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in The Human Female, 1953:

“Females in their heterosexual relationships are actually more likely to prefer techniques which are closer to those which are commonly utilized in homosexual relationships. They would prefer a considerable amount of generalized emotional stimulation before there is any specific sexual contact. They usually want physical stimulation of the whole body before there is any specific genital contact. They may especially want stimulation of the clitoris and the labia minora, and stimulation which, after it has once begun, is followed through to orgasm…”

“I’ll never tell…”

In conclusion, we have Phyllis Lyon in the intro to Pat Califia’s book Sapphistry, published in 1988:

“Virtually every book on human sexuality still proclaims the un-fact that Lesbians are really not so much interested in sex or orgasm as they are in hugging and kissing a lot. This kind of misinformation is a direct attack on all women’s sexuality… Our sexuality is a basic part of our being. Exploring our sexuality with our partners, or with ourselves, nourishes and nurtures us. It gives us joy, physical release, a feeling of well-being which serves to strengthen us as we go out into the world to fight those other battles so necessary to insure the freedom of us all from the bigotry, hatred and misunderstanding of those who would deny us not only our sexuality but our very right to existence.”

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Avatar of Riese

Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1720 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    I won’t know what lesbian sex is for now. First lesbian experience was not even an experience realised – it took me a while to figure out she had fallen for me. And then a while more to figure out that I had fallen for her too. As soon as I reciprocated, I guess it was too late. She screwed me and my heart over. I don’t want to dive into my lesbian exploration anymore, although I realise day after day that I actually need to.
    Hah sorry for the ranting, enjoy the sex everyone.

  2. Thumb up 5

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    Having just escaped the brutal heatwave of last week, I’m kicking myself for not taking refuge in activity #3. I am however going to have a Petticoat Party with my girlfriend sometime soon. We just need to find those awesome stockings in the picture, and we’re set.

    Thanks, dead-white-guys of the early 1900′s! (Next step: working on my cunni-linguistic practices! I think I might need a thesaurus…)

  3. Thumb up 2

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    I’d say something about #2 but the term ‘female inverts’ just makes me think of triangles, inverted triangles, which reminds me of lady triangles. Yup yup, #2 is pretty true.

  4. Thumb up 20

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    My (conservative christian) mother told me when I asked that lesbians were girls who had baths together. No wonder it took me so long to figure out I was queer. I was kissing girls, not bathing with them.

  5. Thumb up 6

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    I’m pretty sure the only reason my Dad still talks to me is because he believes that me and my girlfriend only ever lie in bed and cuddle. I think the truth might actual make his head explode.

  6. Thumb up 1

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    “Females in their heterosexual relationships are actually more likely to prefer techniques which are closer to those which are commonly utilized in homosexual relationships. They would prefer a considerable amount of generalized emotional stimulation before there is any specific sexual contact. They usually want physical stimulation of the whole body before there is any specific genital contact. They may especially want stimulation of the clitoris and the labia minora, and stimulation which, after it has once begun, is followed through to orgasm…”

    As a bi woman, yes. Yes Kinsey spoke truth here. In my opinion, his research is the only logical research on us queers. The spectrum! And yes as a woman I like my fair share of cuddling and total body stimulation before getting the get down.

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