I Went to Skirt Club, a Lesbian Sex Party for Straight Women

feature image by Sarah Sarwar 

What’s more annoying than meeting a “straight girl” who ends up leading you on? How many Tinder profiles have to say, “I don’t want a threesome with your boyfriend”? No one wants to be someone else’s experiment.

Unless you’re being paid.

There’s a new party on the scene, specifically catering to the straight-but-curious woman: Skirt Club, an international circuit of underground parties for “girls who play with girls.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Most of the women who come for an evening of unabashed sapphism with Skirt Club identify as straight,” and “60 percent identify between a 0 and a 2 on the Kinsey scale (which goes up to 6), meaning that they see themselves as anywhere from exclusively straight to ‘predominantly straight, but more than incidentally homosexual.'”

Skirt Club promoters hired me, a queer woman and professional Dominatrix, to attend and bring my submissive, Chloe, who is also my girlfriend. To undress her, tie her up, and spank her. To put on a show for their “predominantly straight” clientele. As a pro Domme, I’m accustomed to satisfying the kinky desires of straight people. While I’m a queer woman in my personal life and in my advertisements, the majority of my clients are straight men and heterosexual-appearing married couples.

I may be accustomed to doing straight-for-pay sex work, but like other queer women who’ve gotten their hearts broken by a curious straight girl or two, I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to entertaining women with boyfriends. In college, I crushed hard on a girl who professed her love for me in private while walking hand-in-hand with her blissfully unaware boyfriend across campus. From Tinder profiles of girls looking for play dates with women — “my boyfriend doesn’t have to be involved, he can just watch” — to the cliché porn scene featuring two lesbians fucking until a delivery boy brings a side of dick with that pizza they ordered, queer women are keenly aware that our sexuality is often not only invalidated, but also made into a performance.

So, despite the lesbian sex show I was hired to put on for a bunch of straight (or perhaps closeted) women, I was determined to have a good time for myself.

With these scenarios in mind, I was determined not to perform at Skirt Club. I was determined, instead, to have a scene. In her rope bondage workshops, kink and sex educator Midori explains, “Demo, performance, and scene: these three are different.” Between Dominant and submissive, a demo is meant to teach. A performance is meant to titillate. And a scene is meant for pleasure — ours. So, despite the lesbian sex show I was hired to put on for a bunch of straight (or perhaps closeted) women, I was determined to have a good time for myself.

Sex work is always work, but it feels most rewarding when you’re getting paid to do something you also find hot. Parties, couples, and individuals hire me to fulfill their kinky fantasies. Often, my fantasies overlap with those of my clients. Blindfold a dude, tie him up, and make out with his gorgeous wife? Sounds great. Dress as Rachel Maddow, turn on the news to Trump destroying America, and kick a guy in the balls? Better workday than sitting behind a desk. Since I checked “catering to straight girls” off my bucket list in college, I concentrated on my submissive: on getting her wet, rather than those women encircling us like teenaged girls, salivating over an impending cat fight in a high school parking lot. I instructed Chloe to keep her eyes closed. I tied her hands to a spreader bar hung from the ceiling, watched her breathing get shallow, felt her pulse quicken. I flogged her, choked her, teased her. And the intimacy of that power exchange got everyone’s attention. You could almost hear the panties drop.

a woman's leg in a high-heeled shoe, lying across another woman's torso

It’s popular to talk about how women’s sexuality is fluid; but admittedly, before hearing the sound of those panties dropping, I found the concept of this straight-but-curious all-female sex soirée verging upon the ridiculous. That’s half the reason I wanted to attend: I was as curious about them as they were about lesbian sex. The price of curiosity is steep: at Skirt Club, $180 gets you an evening of free-flowing booze and attention from the gorgeous hostesses in a swank downtown Los Angeles loft. It’s also highly selective. (Cis) women submit profiles for vetting before they are permitted to purchase a ticket. That vetting process includes sexual orientation. After an hour at the party, I wondered if I would have been invited if I were not for hire. I am, to be sure, a Kinsey 5.

But here we were, hired lesbians at the straight girl party like foxes in the hen house, and after our scene we took the chance to explore. The room, a dark and low-lit, red and black adorned loft space turned high-end dungeon, was packed with scantily clad women dressed to impress. Black garters, leather skirts, Cuban-heeled stockings, and some well-placed electrical tape. Stilettos sat neatly at the foot of a couch while their owners lined up barefoot to do body shots off a new friend’s bare abdomen. A group sat in a circle on the floor around an empty bottle of Veuve Clicquot, playing spin the bottle. I carefully stepped my own stilettos over them, traversing the space, looking for a bathroom, a quick lipstick retouch necessary after the heat of my scene left me dripping in more ways than one. Lipstick is a touchstone of Skirt Club. There was not a butch in sight.

Spin-the-bottle is the perfect activity for women exploring their sexualities, and a crutch for those who aren’t yet able to name and verbalize their desires. They don’t get kissed because they want it; they get kissed because those are the rules. A friend of mine, writer and sex educator Vanessa Carlisle, also attended the party, and later told me that she was ready to leave when the bottle started spinning: the game operates according to breaches of consent. As I watched, an eager brunette spun and the uncorked remains of the bottle that got everyone onto the floor in the first place. It landed on a timid blonde, who rose to acquiesce, although it’s clear that she had to kiss this same woman on the last round and wasn’t really interested in round two. The group squealed at the closed-mouth encounter like a drunken bachelorette party.

If you open a conversation at Skirt Club, you can bet it’s not going to end with a U-Haul rental and a new pet.

Straight women just do lesbian differently. In some ways, it’s refreshing. They were so eager to compliment each other, it felt like 2 am in a nightclub women’s room: “Oh my god, I love your outfit!” “You’re so beautiful.” My self-esteem through the roof from their adoring praise, I was warming up to them. Chloe took my flogger and started going at them herself: the line to have a first try at Sapphic BDSM was more than I could handle alone. The stakes were lower than approaching a woman in a gay bar or at a queer party. If you open a conversation at Skirt Club, you can bet it’s not going to end with a U-Haul rental and a new pet. The encounters work differently. In some ways it felt like they worked without consequence.

They also worked without the typical markers of any queer bar on a Wednesday. Queer masculinity isn’t privileged at Skirt Club because it doesn’t exist at Skirt Club. But neither does femme invisibility, sort of: it’s hard to feel invisible as a femme woman in a party full of other feminine-presenting women who are there because they want to flirt with you, but there was femininity present by default, a product of the club’s “Night Temptress” Pinterest board. There was not femme present on purpose or principle or for resistance.

Inclusion is not a priority here: trans people and low-income people also faced erasure. The party was ethnically and racially diverse, surprising given that the promotion and media coverage have been overwhelmingly white. But the body types were overwhelmingly similar in size, ability, and age. As a queer woman in that space, albeit also white and femme, I felt like I was in hetero territory, no matter how many times women approached me to play. A queer space lends itself to openness to different expressions, however successful that is in practice, and this space was gendered in monochrome.

When I asked what brought them to Skirt Club, most of the women told me that they wanted a girlfriend in addition to their boyfriends or husbands: someone just for them. A few said that they were looking for a unicorn, slang for a woman down for a threesome with a straight couple — so hard to find that she’s basically mythical. Some wanted to find a unicorn to bring home to a boyfriend that very night: male desire is present at Skirt Club, even without men. One woman went into detail about her recent break-up, after she discovered her famous boyfriend was cheating: the proof was on p.6 of the tabloids. Others claimed curiosity, plain and simple.

Could we, by example, have lured these women away from their husbands, many of whom were standing by, waiting for their wives to return with a new guest-starlet in their bedroom?

No matter their intentions for the evening, woman after woman came up to Chloe and I to say: “You two are an incredible couple. You are clearly in a real relationship with each other.” “You have such chemistry.” “I strive to be like you.” And my favorite: “I’ve never seen a woman dominate another woman. Well, only when a guy told her to do it.” The partygoers were shocked to find that we had no boyfriends, no husbands, that we came together and would leave together. It was as if they had never considered the option. That’s why I was afraid that I was too high on the Kinsey scale for the party. Could we, by example, have lured these women away from their husbands, many of whom were standing by, waiting for their wives to return with a new guest-starlet in their bedroom? I feared accidental lesbian home wrecking, and how pissed the hostesses might be to lose their into-lesbian-sex-but-definitely-totally-straight clientele to the dyke Dominatrix. But I secretly hope to get an email one day recounting that seeing me and my girlfriend at Skirt Club inspired an opening of the closet door.

Regardless of the sex these women were having elsewhere, in a room full of women who identified as straight, Chloe and I were certainly not the only women to get laid that night. When we arrived, a hot cougar spotted Chloe from across the room and sauntered over to make a move, already on the prowl. One of the only women with what I can only describe as dyke energy, I secretly hoped that she was an out and proud queer, cruising the crowd of married women for some no-strings-attached action.

As for our own hot girl-on-girl action, Chloe and I had made the grave mistake of claiming a space in the furthest corner of the pillow room, which looked like something out of a ’90s club kid ecstasy-fueled fantasy world. Black lights illuminated walls, piles of white pillows obscuring any view of the floor. The furthest corner featured the only electrical outlet, and we had a hitachi, so we set up shop. We were the only couple in the room save for two women making out in the entrance, perhaps hoping someone would trip over them and decide to stay. After a Hitachi-induced trance took us out of the room for a good thirty minutes, a return to reality meant that we were surrounded. Women had filled the space, grinding on each other, going down on each other, fucking with abandon. But as a femme top who loves to rock a cock, I immediately noticed that there was nary a strap-on in sight. The cougar from earlier locked eyes with Chloe as we made out, her mouth occupied, clearly impressing the woman she’d seduced. Another woman rested her head on my thigh without asking, her partner eagerly going down. More amused than disturbed by the intrusion, Chloe and I joked that it was just like fucking with the dog on the bed and looked for the escape route least likely to disturb the crowd.

The room had transformed into the lesbian fantasy of every straight man’s wildest dreams, the kind of fantasy no one really thinks is true. And the reality was even more of a “fantasy” than a straight cis dude’s mind could conjure. But in all honestly, I’m afraid that mind did conjure it.

I have rarely seen this kind of unabashed public sex in women’s spaces, even progressive kink spaces.

I was shocked, even thrilled, to see sex happening and women coming, but I had to wonder: why was it seemingly so easy for these women to disrobe and get down in public? I have rarely seen this kind of unabashed public sex in women’s spaces, even progressive kink spaces. Was it sexual socialization in the swinger scene, or were they so eager to find intimacy with another woman that they would fuck anywhere? Or, were they comfortable because they didn’t really consider what they were doing to be sex?

There is a strict no boys allowed policy, so the women weren’t performing for their boyfriends. But the party still felt like a performance of women’s sexuality. It was adventurous, but not too adventurous. It was lesbian, but not too lesbian. I have to wonder, was my presence as a queer woman in a straight women’s space, looking at their sex from a distance even when it’s happening literally between my legs, part of the problem? And what did they think of my sex?

At its core, even our queer culture figures sex between feminine-presenting women as performative. It feels like The L Word. It feels disingenuous. Perfectly beach-blown hair streaming down Pilates-toned backs, Agent Provocateur lingerie pulled carefully to the side, stilettos left on. While the #femme4femme movement online and in sex-positive queer communities has worked to reduce the stigma of femme-on-femme sex, many of us, myself included, are afraid that we learned lesbian sex from the male gaze and mirrored it back, even when the only bodies in front of the mirror are our own.

Skirt Club is a lesbian sex party, but it’s not for lesbians. Queer women are neither its audience nor its clientele, and it throws into sharp relief exactly why spaces for queer women are different and necessary. But it’s an erotic space in which women can explore their desires, away from the demands of boyfriends and husbands, even if just for a night. For that, it gets my lesbian Dominatrix stamp of approval, whether it wanted it or not. There are far too few spaces in the world where women feel comfortable enough to pile into a black-lit room full of pillows and go at it.

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” column exists for individual queer ladies to tell their own personal stories and share compelling experiences. These personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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Natalie West

Mistress Natalie West is an LA-based professional Dominatrix, offering private sessions to people of all genders, as well as kink coaching for individuals or couples. She has been working in BDSM for six years, but she has been perverted for as long as she can remember. She cares about and fights for sex workers rights, women's health, and the well-being of the queer community. You can find her website. Twitter: @LesbianDomme Instagram: @lesbiandominatrix

Natalie has written 3 articles for us.


  1. This is such a beautifully articulated post; I love the way you contrasted consensual (and loving) play on power dynamics versus the insidious and exclusionary power structures that manifest both consciously and unconsciously in society.

    Thank you – this was fascinating reading!

    • Thank you! Yes, the experience definitely affected the ways I was aware of consensual power and non-consensual power operating simultaneously, particularly around gendered performances. In D/s dynamics, awareness of those two registers is crucial to healthy and fun scenes, imo.

  2. oof! as a queer femme top who hangs in sex party spaces, this is too real. thank you for writing this. xoxo

  3. What a fascinating account – and one that left me oddly unsettled. I think it just reminded me of the odd sort of feeling I often have around straight women as a femme. The line, “where not femme present on purpose or principle or for resistance” hits home – my femme-ness is intentional in so many ways, and around straight women my resistance to centering men in even the smallest aspect of my life is a constant point of disconnection that often takes them by surprise and makes it hard for them to relate to me.

    Or, in other words, I guess it just is a reminder of why the longer I’m out the less my straight women friends & I are even able to communicate. A baseline of shared queerness makes a fundamental difference in the relationships I’m able to build, and while our queerness is never just about sex, to read about straight(?) women playing with it for entertainment & sexual pleasure feels odd. I’m still not entirely sure why, but this will feeling will definitely sit with me for a while.

    Also, the description of the ‘type’ of women who join the club – homogeneous as “femme” and a certain body type – is a reminder of what I love most about (good) queer women’s spaces, that all bodies are welcome, and that all bodies are good bodies. I don’t want to hang out with a bunch of women who look just like me, I want to hang out with all sorts of expressions of womanhood, and am attracted most in queer spaces to getting to see all the ways we construct ourselves.

    But hells yeah to Natalie for going and writing this wonderful piece!

    • Looks like the same part of the article struck you as did me. I reread that paragraph several times searching for some way to express that “odd” feeling you’re talking about.

      Really wanting to talk about this, but realizing how many straight women make up my friend circle and not sure where to turn.

      I’m a transgender woman, so to me I think my femininity will always be at least part resistance.

      I have a lot to think about here.

    • “the longer I’m out the less my straight women friends & I are even able to communicate”

      YES THIS.

    • Thanks! I once saw someone post on Instagram a drawing of a middle finger raised while applying fingernail polish with the phrase “Femme on Purpose.” It really stuck with me regarding the differences between queer and straight feminine performances. When you perform femininity in the absence of men, or even the absence of masculinity, how does that affect the performance? Maybe that question gets to why it feels alienating to not be centering men in convos with straight women.

  4. Would not have guessed this was a thing.

    I have a lot of weird thoughts and questions now ndaI need to think and ask them.

    1) Why is this a thing? Is there a similar thing for straight cis men?

    2) Where exa

    • I think that straight cis men have a lot of opportunities for sanctioned homoerotic experiences. Jane Ward’s book Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men is really fascinating on that topic.

    • I find the contrast between straight-identifying men and women really striking here. Cis men who identify as straight while having sex of any kind with other men have drawn a great deal of scrutiny and many charges that they are actually deceptive gay men. (Then there are the people who claim that all bisexual men are actually gay men and that bisexuality itself is only possible for women.) I imagine that this was less severe before the panic associated with HIV and intense stigmatization of bisexual men and straight identifying MSM that came with it.

      This straight women’s party, on the other hand, would probably be deemed in the mainstream press as harmless, playful fun. Men’s experimentation is dangerous, while women’s experimentation doesn’t have to mean anything at all.

  5. Frickin’ touch screens.

    2) Where exactly does this interact with straight privilege? Why am I bothered by the idea that this appears to be “Queer Without Consequence” for these women? Why do I care what they do with themselves/each other? Why does this strike me as colonization? Are any of those feelings even fair or reasonable?

    3) The way this was described, with these women leaving their shoes on and basically acting out fakish porn scenes. Is that the only way they can imagine this kind of interaction?

    4) Does this hurt us? Does this help us? Does this exist totally outside that frame?

    5) How long has this and similar been going on?

    I am extremely surprised and weirded out to find myself surprised and weirded out. I’m a former sex worker. I’ve done just about every kind of anything in public and private. This is a subculture I didn’t even imagine existed and I really don’t know what (or even if) to think about it.

    • “Why does this strike me as colonization”


      But also, YES to all your questions. Beautiful invitation for critical (self) analysis.

    • To answer #5, it is something that started in the UK in 2014 and spread to the US and Australia last year.

      • Skirt Club in the specific may have started in 2014 but parties like these have been going on a while – I went to something similar in 2010 in Australia (bad bad idea, for reasons I don’t really want to get into right now).

    • YES YES YES to everything in #2. I think all of those feelings are fair & reasonable, because I had them too while reading this article. It also brought up a lot of feelings about the straight friend in college who initiated a hook up with me, then told me I couldn’t sleep in her bed/room (we were at her apartment) because if I did her roommate would know we’d hooked up. Being the righteously out [at school] 19-year-old that I was, I was like, ‘so what, we didn’t do anything wrong.’ And she was like, ‘I know but I have a reputation to protect.’ LITERALLY that’s what she said. A REPUTATION. So then I was like, ‘A reputation for what, being straight?’ I shit you not, this happened. It was 18 years ago and it still bothers me, I think because it was the first time that someone (other than myself) had made me feel like being not-straight was something to be ashamed of. Also she wouldn’t even look at me the next day and didn’t really ever talk to me again after that, and we had been really close friends. It was the worst.

      Anyway, I guess my point is, why do these women label themselves as straight if they are seeking out sex with other women? Doesn’t that make them not straight? Obviously people can self-identify however they want and I’m not going to force a label on anyone, but it feels disingenuous and kind of like a slap in the face to us actual queers for them to perform queerness without claiming it. Maybe I feel this way because of my past experiences, the one I told above and others. Maybe some of these women do claim their queerness, I don’t know.

      When I first started reading the article I was intrigued by the idea of this party but the more I read the more it made me just feel like, ugh straight people.

      • #2 is spot on how I felt reading this.

        This also reminded me that straight women are seriously way too uptight. Everything is a secret. Everything has to present right for the world. Let go ladies. Just let go.

    • I don’t get why straight women would enjoy this. But I understand why this exists. Back in my high school days being a lesbian meant you were white, or white appearing and you always knew you were gay. I am mixed black and latina, was never aware of my gayness, not white passing, and I felt that if I experimented I would be one of those shitty straight girls who led queer women on.
      Safe spaces like this existing may help people experiment without judgement.
      Now of course 180$ is a lot for a college student and highschoolers are definitely not allowed, but I like the concept.
      I really vibe with the concept of experimentation for the night.
      But yea all of your feelings are fair and reasonable, if it wasn’t for my experiences as a teenager this would definitely rub me the wrong way.

  6. I would like to “like” all of the above comments, as well as the article itself. Consider yourselves “liked”.

  7. I don’t love the idea of lesbianism/etc as a kink/party activity instead of…just my life, but whatever floats their boats, I guess.

    If I were conceiving of a club to perform lesbianism at it would probably look more like a dinner party at that one couple’s house, you know the ones, they’ve been married for years and their cat has her own hashtag on instagram.

    • Hah yes. Or a meeting of the queer book group at the local feminist book store.

      Honestly, I feel like l’m performing lesbianism in queer spaces sometimes.

    • Or an open mic night organised by the local queer group to listen to babes dismantle the patriarchy in poems.

      • (This comment may or may not have inspired me to write a piece of kinky erotica starting at a queer open mic night.)

  8. While it’s not news to me that this is a thing (same sex “st8 for st8” ads on Craigslist not withstanding), as a bi femme I sort of wonder if there’s another perspective missing here, or if the context is informing interpretation. After all, if I was seen being sexual with femme partners in this context I might also be judged as performing some kind of naive image of false sapphism. A little research also shows that while the most high-profile coverage of Skirt Club paints the clientele as straight, other articles and interviews characterize the parties as firmly aimed at bi, femme women who may be seeking a safe space to explore acting on their desires. It just seems like what’s happening here might be more complicated than “girls wanting to play lesbian”.

    • I think it’s much more nuanced than girls wanting to play lesbian. In fact, I don’t think they want anything to do with “lesbianism” per se. I agree that this would be a space for bisexual femmes to explore their desires, but in my experience at the party, not one woman identified as bisexual. I actually never heard that word. Everyone said “straight,” plain and simple. And there may be elements of bi-phobia at play here. The organizers use the words “bisexual,” “sexually-fluid,” and “curious” a lot in their promotions, but those words were absent from the actual party. Would be interested in research that looks into the ways bi-phobia has erased that language, perhaps, even from some who would otherwise use it as an identifier.

      • That’s a really good point; hesitance to call bisexuality (and pansexuality for that matter) what it is is a huge problem that goes beyond this sort of venue. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

      • So odd. I’ve been to the parties in NYC and women here mostly identify as bi or bi-curious. They cited how hard it is for femmes to approach other femmes irl as reason for being there. esp those femmes that are in hetero marriages. There were a lot of inexperienced women in there too flailing about. Definitely some bi-erasure and fear happening. Correct in it not being trans or lesbian friendly either. these are blatantly high-femme sex parties, not queer meet and greets. I wonder how much the “straight” id is used to discourage being asked on an actual date with real feelings and stuff. they try hard to make the “straight” girls feel comfortable in the event they realize it’s not for them, making this kinsey-3 femme feel yubky, like there still isnt a real space for her

      • So the attached their identity based on their emotional prefs.
        Emotionally straight, sexually Bi.
        Many here seem to be taking this as some kind of affront to their own identity.
        But I think you need to remember that these women and others from many diff meetups, actually had sex and liked it. One other article spoke of the air smelling of sex and perfume and the sounds of pleasure. that article was very graphic.

    • The autor is a biphobic person. This is a bisexual club, and she is just talking from her prejudgements

  9. How trans and nb inclusive is this space? I some how a few months back matched with group on tinder(kind of odd they were on WLW section as they were marketing towards straight women). I asked them about how trans friendly it is and never got a reply back. Not even the second time when I matched with them(on purpose to see about their policy about trans and nb people).

    • I don’t know the one in the article but there is a similar group in Atlanta. If you’re not feminine-looking you can’t get in. This includes — from what I can tell — people that look more masculine (which may be an issue for trans people) and people that do not present as femme. It is strictly for femmes/girly girls, even to the point of heavy marketing with the color pink.

  10. Really enjoyed reading this!
    If it opens the door for even one woman to be able to come out to herself, then I can live with it.

    Re: performative-ness – sometimes I have cracked up laughing while with another bisexual woman at the idea that no man is watching. Your observations made me feel normal about having that thought. If two bisexual women hook up without a man watching, did it even happen? Yes!

    • Yes, certainly bisexual women exist. And yet, there is more at play here, and the erasure of bisexual as an identification is primary among what’s interesting to me. (See my reply to Jessica above on how I think bi-phobia plays into the elision of that term at the Skirt Club itself).

      What I experienced at the Skirt Club, with nearly all of the women identifying as straight, not bisexual, is in line with the ways that the promoters have characterized their vetting system. This is from the Hollywood Reporter, to which LeJeune gave an interview:

      “In response to an application question that’s part of the vetting process, some 60 percent identify between a 0 and a 2 on the Kinsey scale (which goes up to 6), meaning that they see themselves as anywhere from exclusively straight to “predominantly straight, but more than incidentally homosexual.”

      So yes, bisexuality exists. And there are plenty of venues and parties and outlets that exist for bisexual women to explore desire for women with or without their male lovers (should they have them). I would argue that Skirt is different. First, it’s different because the women themselves overwhelmingly identify as “straight,” not “bisexual,” and because there is a strict policy that disallows men. So if one were to be attracted to both men and women, this is not that space. It is by definition NOT bisexual.

      Which is not to say that bisexuality doesn’t exist, but that Skirt is the manifestation of something else, something different.

      • Oh, I should also say that technically, “bisexuality” is a 3 on the Kinsey scale, and they claim that most of their members are a 0 (100% certified hetero) to 2. That, combined with my convos at the party, lead me to think there is an elision of bisexuality, even if I, myself, definitely acknowledge its existence.

        • I see that as being where you don’t care what gender your partner is though. 1-2 and 4-5 on the Kinsey scale is still not completely heterosexual.
          (saying this as someone who’s technically a 2 if you consider my gender rather than my sex, who’s a 4 otherwise, I’d consider myself bisexual but with leanings towards females)
          If 1-2 women want to get it on then fair enough. But if I was them (which I’m not) I’d call myself bisexual.

    • all of these women self identified as straight, are you really gonna tell them that they’re not?

      • Either straight but into women or having sex with people they’re not into. It’s their business really though, they’re consenting to it whether they like it or not.
        But Kinsey 1-2 people can accurately describe themselves as bi just like Kinsey 4-5 people can (and people dead in the middle).
        Part of the problem with the Kinsey scale is of course that it measures activity rather than desire. But I don’t get doing this stuff out of desire with people you’re not into, especially alone with them?

        • I mean rather than exclusively desire. There’s questions such as ‘have you ever had sexual experiences with members of the opposite sex’

      • “all of these women self-identified as straight” I think the confusion comes in with the assumption they do, but no recorded confirmation within the piece. If the writer asked all these women how they identified, it wasn’t included. Instead we learn that some of them want girlfriends as well as boyfriends, some of them want an additional partner for a threesome, some are curious. All of which could indicate someone exploring what they consider a bisexual “side” or bisexual identity. The only confirmation that “most” of these women are straight comes from the Hollywood Reporter — in an article written by a straight woman, reporting on a club founded by a queer (bisexual) woman. It’s from a quote by said founder, but we have no idea what else she said about supposedly queer patrons, because it’s not the focus of the HR article.

        I definitely think there’s room for confirmation bias both in the HR article and even a bit in Autostraddle’s. I don’t think it detracts from the the article as a whole, since its focus is the perspective of a queer femme top in these spaces. But I also think people are allowed to analyze the assumptions made about the club’s patrons and how they contribute to the perspective of the article, without questioning the validity of the article’s POV, if that makes sense.

  11. This was a really interesting read! Thanks for writing this thoughtful piece. I have so many questions but I guess the one I want to ask is whether you saw any of the participants as “mimicking” sex or in a way, performing what they may see as their partner’s role in sex with them? The moment that is so jarring for me in this piece is when one touches your leg with her hand. I’m reading your description of her act as both innocent and maybe possessive (or to spin off a word from someone’s comment above, colonizing? Domineering?)… And then isn’t that also the point of the Skirt Club? To play both these roles in a space away from their partners — the idea of whom could be vexed by a scrambling of sexual gender roles. It’s just seeming kinda like they’re acting in the “performance” category and not in a “scene,” but I’m not sure what to make of that.

  12. This was a really interesting read – notably because of how difficult I found it. As I read it, I was aware of my throat closing and my stomach clenching.

    (This is absolutely not a criticism of you or your writing Natalie, just I guess a response to past trauma)

    I hope you write more here, this was something I have never heard of before and your perspective was fascinating – and actually very kind and generous to the straight women.

  13. Tbh I don’t get it unless they’re secretly closeted lesbians/bisexuals who just haven’t labeled themselves as that.
    I don’t get straight threesomes either. Unless you’re attracted to someone, I don’t get why you’d sleep with them. (Apart from dubious reasons like their money or something but that isn’t going on here)

      • Good point. Nothing if you’re upfront like a sw would have to be. But some people get into relationships w ppl they don’t love/fancy in order to get their cash. Which again is fine if both ppl know what’s going on. But some ppl can be very gullible about sex/relationships & others can be very street smart with it and use it to get their cash more slowly.

    • “I don’t get straight threesomes either. Unless you’re attracted to someone, I don’t get why you’d sleep with them.”
      If your talking about straight women like these you should read “Untrue”
      basically “new science” says there all just sluts.

  14. As a bisexual woman who didn’t identify as fully bi for a LONG time because i was afraid of being one of “those girls” who experiments with some girl only to not really be bi, this piece was profoundly upsetting. I only came out (partially) to my family this year and suffice it to say that it could have gone better. I’ve been a lurker on this site for a long time but only just registered recently and was just feeling like maybe I do belong in this community! and then this. This reiterates every fear I had about coming out despite having no experience with girls. The skirt website uses bisexual A LOT so why doesn’t this article? Also, are we really going with the “Kinsey definition” of bisexuality here? The Kinsey scale was very much not created with bisexuality in mind, and also seems to me to be a bizarre litmus test of identifying “true” bisexuals from those other bisexuals.

    I’m pretty upset and sad and I’m sure I’m doing a bad job of articulating what was so upsetting about this article but Ana Mardoll on twitter did a much better job of articulating points and I would encourage everybody who read this piece to read her thread about it. (can be found at her twitter (AnaMardoll/status/895347339430207488)

    I expected better from Autostraddle and I’m really disappointed right now.

    • I hear your point, Bex. Because there is a culture of hurt around “experimentation” and the fragility of the lesbian heart in question, I can imagine that being bisexual and wanting to explore with women without hurting them could be anxiety-inducing.

      I think a distinction is to be made between open, honest experimentation and the kinds of slights I’m mentioning being done to out queer women by either closeted women or those who may be bisexual but SERIOUSLY privilege their male lovers over female sexual experiences, and the feelings of their female lovers.

      A couple of examples of why this can be different than being with a bisexual woman who is honest to you about her sexual curiosity in women:

      A woman goes to Skirt Club to bring home another woman she meets there to her boyfriend who is waiting at home. The woman she meets has never met her boyfriend but HE just expects that she can bring someone home who will automatically want to fuck him. There is an entitlement to that kind of scene that privileges male desire and access to women. Certainly, the guest starlet would have to consent, but there still remains an imbalance of power that privileges male desire and access.

      In college, curious girl I mentioned in article is open and public about her desire for boyfriend but keeps her same-sex romance a secret. Even though that may be her process of coming to terms with her sexuality, her curiosity, it can still be damaging for the girl who feels like she is less worthy than a man of her lover’s affection. It’s invalidating for the lesbian.

      None of this is to say that bisexuality doesn’t exist, but it is to say that ALL of our desires and the ways we express them within a homophobic culture have repercussions on others. Culturally, lesbians are often devalued, slighted, invalidated in the presence of men and male desire is validated, publicized, privileged. This does happen with bisexual women too.

      So there are ways of doing sexual experimentation and curiosity in an honest and open way, and there are ways of doing it that are hurtful. I’m not claiming that these women are necessarily hurting anyone, but I am still curious about how women who overwhelmingly identify as straight, who are in heterosexual marriages, who have boyfriends, interact in a women’s only sex club. That in itself is fascinating. The self-identification is of secondary interest. Yes, Skirt Club uses “bisexual” often. But I was there, and no one at the party did. That is also interesting!

      And yes, the Kinsey scale is ridiculous. That’s why I made a joke about my own score! But the promoters are using it and I’m trying to write a cultural analysis of their party, so I’m playing on their turf.

      Hope this explains some of the article’s approach, and apologies that parts of its analysis rehashed fears you had about lesbian feelings toward bisexual women. For what it’s worth, nearly every woman I’ve been in LTRs with have identified somewhere around bisexual, while perhaps not using those terms. BUT, they have approached self-identification with me in a way that was open and honest, so I wasn’t ultimately getting devalued by their male lovers, past or present.

  15. Hmm, I was surprised by the twitter thread posted above because I didn’t read this as mocking, I actually read it as a positive article about the club?

    One thing I’ve been thinking about is that there are really two entities here – Skirt Club as a business, and the women who attend it. I have criticisms of the former that I don’t necessarily have with the latter.

    Anyway I hope readers like Bex stick around! The bisexual content on AS is pretty varied (I’d love another bi open thread!) and they have quite a few bi contributors and editors.

    • The article is meant to be a critique of the differences between queer women’s spaces and the Skirt Club, which calls itself a celebration of sexual fluidity and expression, but when I don’t necessarily think operates in that manner, hence my criticisms of it as a business. But the article is ultimately a celebration of it as a space that exists for exploration, even if it’s not inclusive. Its existence is a gift to those who fit its market.

  16. Another longtime lurker here; I finally registered just so I could comment on this and sort of second what Bex and others have said. When I first started coming out to myself as bi, I was already in a relationship with a possessive and very insecure man. He was pretty much horrified by the idea that I might be attracted to other women just for my own sake and not for his gratification, and the idea that if I ever wanted to experiment with that (which I did) then he would lose me. It was a whole mess and of course the relationship ended, but reading this article, I was right back in that newly-out/questioning place, feeling like everything was wrong with me. A space like this would’ve been exactly what I needed, I think, to admit to myself that my bisexuality was real. I spent years trying to push it away and/or minimize it just because it made my live-in boyfriend uncomfortable, to the point that when, near the end of the relationship, when he suggested that I kiss one of my woman friends and take a picture for his pleasure, I was deeply uncomfortable but jumped on it because I thought it would be my only chance. I’m glad the article ended with the author’s stamp of approval, but I feel like the obvious purpose (or one of the obvious purposes) of this party was ignored: a space for bi or otherwise queer women who can’t quite come out yet or aren’t sure, to experiment and solidify their identities WITHOUT hurting lesbians. I’ve still only made out with one woman because of the stigma of “experimenting”; I don’t want to break anyone’s heart, but how else are we supposed to find ourselves as queer women but with other women? Skirt Club seems like a space that lets bi+ women admit things to themselves without hurting anyone that already knows who she is and who she wants, and to write that off as straight women “performing” queer sex kind of makes me want to hide in the closet again.

    • I should add that I never would’ve been able to afford attending Skirt Club and probably wouldn’t have been allowed in, and that there are still some obvious issues with it re: body type. And that the boyfriend would have considered this cheating so it would’ve been a no-go anyway. But I think the idea that spaces like this exist would’ve given (and does give) me hope.

      • And yes, to have spaces for exploration that are not privileged spaces for those who can afford them. Access to sexual exploration is often cut through with intersecting differences of class, race, ability, gender, region, etc. that make it more or less difficult to explore, be curious, allow ourselves to be open to different sexual experiences.

    • “I feel like the obvious purpose (or one of the obvious purposes) of this party was ignored: a space for bi or otherwise queer women who can’t quite come out yet or aren’t sure, to experiment and solidify their identities WITHOUT hurting lesbians.” YES!!! That was the point I was trying to make at the beginning of the article, but you articulate it so much better than me here. When I claimed that no one wants to be someone else’s experiment, but now there is a party on the scene for straight identified but curious women, that’s exactly what I meant. Thanks for saying it in a more straightforward manner. I totally salute Skirt Club for that, and I DO wish there were many more venues for women to explore their sexualities.

      • Thanks for your reply! I think the main thing that got under my skin was the referring to these women as “straight” or “straight-but-curious,” but never bisexual, just because I’m so sensitive to being perceived as straight and lying, somehow, or even lying to myself and secretly straight. There’s so much stigma out there, and I depend on Autostraddle especially to be a generally safe place to let myself breathe and learn what it means for me to be queer–so when I feel like something on Autostraddle is excluding me from the queer category, it’s easy to feel hurt. I know you never heard anyone use the word at the party, so it makes a certain sense that you would avoid the word; however, for the first couple of years after I realized I was attracted to women, I could barely utter it and always qualified it with, “I think I’m bisexual…” and that kind of unsureness could’ve been a major factor in the B word not being used at the club. But it’s hard to know. I really appreciate that you’re taking the time to engage with all of the frustrated bi commenters, and honestly I’m so timid that articles like these are the only way I would know about spaces like this in the first place, so I’m glad you’re writing about them.

    • How is it queerer than thou when I am literally, as a queer Femme, questioning my own sexuality as a performance? I’m thinking about the ways that heteropatriarchy creates anxieties for ALL those who have femme4femme sexual desires, no matter one’s self-identification.

      “At its core, even our queer culture figures sex between feminine-presenting women as performative. It feels like The L Word. It feels disingenuous. Perfectly beach-blown hair streaming down Pilates-toned backs, Agent Provocateur lingerie pulled carefully to the side, stilettos left on. While the #femme4femme movement online and in sex-positive queer communities has worked to reduce the stigma of femme-on-femme sex, many of us, myself included, are afraid that we learned lesbian sex from the male gaze and mirrored it back, even when the only bodies in front of the mirror are our own.”

      This is not OUR FAULT. It’s the culture that appropriates femme on femme sex as existing FOR MEN. Even in our own bedrooms, many of us fear that we have learned behaviors that were developed for the pleasure of men. We have to work to undo those. I’ve had many conversations with lovers who’ve said that they had to learn to stop performing and be in the moment, because they learned to fuck as a way to please men, not to please themselves.

      So no, this isn’t a critique of the ways that bisexual women access pleasure. It’s a critique of the heteropatriarchy we all fuck inside, beyond, and through. All of us, queer, bi, straight, otherwise.

      • Ah, look. Removal of critical comments. (Neither of which violated any community rules.)


        • being unnecessarily rude/attacking the way someone discusses their sexuality is actually against policy if you have issues with how i mod you can always send me a private message and we can discuss it.

  17. Hi! I’m a bisexual woman who liked this article! Feel free to read my thought vomit!

    For people saying that all of these women are actually bisexual: part of creating a bi-accepting culture is BELIEVING people when they tell you what their sexual orientation is. Don’t tell me I’m not bisexual/queer when I say I am and I won’t tell you that you’re not heterosexual when you say you are. That includes people doing stuff I consider queer because it’s none of my business and because if that person is questioning their sexuality then scrutiny and pressure to identify are not helpful. That experimentation very well might be what’s happening here, and I think that’s why the author ultimately is in favor of this kind of a party (yet wishes for more inclusivity). 60% of this group’s clientele identify as straight. That is most of the people. You can pass legislation with that majority. We don’t get to say that actually these women were all bisexual when so many of them don’t identify that way. We can wonder how these women might identify in a world where everyone understands and accepts bisexuals and bisexuality! We can wonder how many of these women will still identify as straight in 5 years! We can say “Wow, FUCK the Kinsey scale—it does not accurately represent bisexuality” which I say all the time to everyone I talk to. I consider bisexuality to include all people who feel a sense of HOME in the word “bisexual” whether they’re a Kinsey 3 or not. But we can’t label these ladies out of a need to feel seen.
    Speaking of needing to be seen: would I have enjoyed more discussion of bisexuality in this article considering that the other 40% of women there didn’t identify as straight? YAS! But this author does not identify as bisexual (to my understanding), so she did not write a piece about bisexuality. I’m not all that anxious to read anything about bisexuality that isn’t written by a member of our community anyway. In my opinion, articles that don’t discuss bisexuality at length are not guilty of erasure by default. I don’t think she omitted discussion of bisexuality to erase us, I think she was purposefully focusing on the overwhelmingly straight clientele to explore the phenomenon of women who are straight (or whatever the fuck “predominantly straight” means…another shoutout to the Kinsey scale for being trash) who are engaging in sex with other straight-identifying women while not seeing that as “queer.” As a bisexual woman, that is fucking fascinating to me! I want to know everything about that! It’s so difficult for me to understand! I think the article was intended to explore the author’s specific experience as a queer sex worker at one of these events. I don’t think it was meant to be a dissertation on the complexities of sexual behavior and sexual orientation. Sexual behavior and sexual orientation are two different things. That’s a very important concept to understand if you’re going to talk about bisexuality, so I hope all of my fellow bi folks in the comments keep it in mind within this context, too. She isn’t saying that bisexual women who have male partners aren’t really bisexual. She’s saying that straight women appear to take their heterosexuality with them even when having sex with other women, which is bizarre to experience as a queer person sharing space with them….at least that’s what I took from it.
    One of the M I L L I O N S of things I love about us bisexual folks is that we are really brave about critiquing biphobia within the queer community, but it makes me sad to see us in Autostraddle’s comments every. single. time. an article is written about queer women without thoroughly and explicitly addressing bisexuality. Not every article on here is meant to be a discussion about bisexuality, but bisexuality IS a queer identity. Autostraddle is for us, too! Queer people who don’t identify as bi did not invent biphobia (that would be the heteros! thanks, heteros!), even though other queer folks sometimes lack understanding about us or are projecting their internalized homophobia onto us in the form of biphobia (because so much biphobia is rooted in homophobia). In fact, when the author talks about the party possibly being framed in a way that seemed unfriendly to queers (sexual orientation being part of the vetting process, etc.), I took that as calling out biphobia because bisexuals ARE queer. We have to critique interpersonal missteps within the queer community, but when I react to those things I try to remember who created the structural and systemic oppression of non-heterosexual people in the first place. It wasn’t other queer women. The people at Autostraddle have absolutely empowered me to own my bisexual identity. Bi folks, I hope you stick around!

    • “She isn’t saying that bisexual women who have male partners aren’t really bisexual. She’s saying that straight women appear to take their heterosexuality with them even when having sex with other women, which is bizarre to experience as a queer person sharing space with them…”

      This! And everything you said about believing someone’s orientation when they tell you! It’s ok!

      I feel like it’s super important to underscore how time plays into self-identification, that sexuality can be fluid, and that things can change. I’m solidly bisexual, comfortable in my queer identity, and sure as hell wasn’t this way 10 years ago.

  18. An observation: Some of my self-identified straight femme friends have started going to queer parties. They self-identify as straight and when asked to elaborate, because, well, here we are at a queer party and thats a woman they are drooling over, they explain that “romantically, its guys for me, but sexually, its men and women”. And how to find women interested in sex with women? Online or queer parties, thats what they thought. Well I can tell you, the queer parties so far have been disastrous for them. All of them are amazing, interesting (and hot) human beings. And I should add fearless – they go for what they want and they lay their cards on the table: Sex. Relationship not an option. Yet, whenever they are hitting on someone and its going well, the flirting immediately ends when they mention they have a boyfriend (who is ok with them doing their thing and would not be involved. I dislike that I feel like I have to spell that out as if they cease to be individuals with their own identity, mind and desires by being in a relationship without an open relationship even considered). Once the word “boyfriend” is mentioned, its like a spell is cast: Suddenly, the person they were just flirting with ceases to see them as an interesting human being but treats them like an infectious disease and runs. Call it what you want, the spell of “help! its a straight girl that wants to break my heart!” or “crucio, treacherous bisexual!” or the “I’m not your threesome!!”-panic. Whatever it is, they do not have a chance to address any of these fears because at the word “boyfriend”, their person of interest flees the scene.
    (Of course, it could be that the self-identified queers at the queer party are only looking for love, so a woman who’s telling them “I want you. But this is never going to be a relationship” is a no go for them but then again I have seen too many self-identified queers going for emotionally unavailable people to believe that, so the problem is not them being completely honest about whats an option and whats not, but the word “boyfriend”.)
    So what happens then? At the first queer parties, I had disappointed self-identified straight women around me who didnt understand why the hot person who was into them one second ago ran away screaming and fired warning shots for everyone else a second later. At the next queer parties, my self-identified straight friends started hooking up amongst themselves and taking each other home. They enjoyed themselves very much.

    • I read this and I can’t help but feel like I need to defend those gay ladies running the other way. It’s not illegitimate to not want to sleep with someone–no matter how beautiful and interesting–who is already in a relationship with a man or another woman. That seems completely reasonable because that simply has a high risk of drama/messiness. Additonally, many an experienced lesbian have hooked up with straight identified women and decided they’re not interested in all that, for whatever reason. So that’s legit too. Additionally, there’s something shitty/delegitimizing about being told essentially that “hey, my boyfriend is allowing me to step out with the gay ladies but not other men.” That has been said to me, and I can tell you it felt insulting.

      • Yeah, now that I think about it I feel like it’s the devaluation of women in het relationships that makes this dynamic feel very bad. Sure, boyfriend “lets” you go “play” with other women, but other men? Nope. That’s where he draws the line. It just cements the idea that amorphous boyfriend thinks that both his girlfriend and any girl his girlfriend messes around with are lesser and held to different standards than he and other men are.

        • No man likes the idea of his girlfriend/wife getting her back blown out by another man, That is Primal. but if she needs something only another women can give then we can see past the caveman DNA for our love of her. I love how so many of you on here think you can speak from some kind of authority about what a man is or thinks or feels.

  19. There is so much that is great about this article (and yeah, some stuff I don’t think is so great) and I’m still trying to marshal my thoughts into a reply that’s actually worthy of the Big Ideas it tackles. But while I’m still doing that I want to exercise my internet commentator prerogative of focusing on trivial shit, and say: man, I would never bring a strap-on to an event like this. And I do get invited to them, despite being gay as fuck, because of my presentation and a bunch of other factors. But I would never

    1. presume women I wasn’t already involved with were up for penetrative sex with a toy, full stop. But I especially wouldn’t assume that if I was under the impression their experiences were primarily with cis men and they were going to these clubs for something “different.”

    2. want to deal with the bulk/weight/noise of carting the necessary equipment (plus lube plus condoms plus wipes) around all evening before or even at the club. It’s a lot to pack (so to speak), even with my underwear-style harness — I know some people find them comfortable enough to wear as actual underwear, but I have sensory issues and most definitely do not.

    So I have to admit, while I don’t think the article meant to imply there is a specific way to have queer sex (although I can easily see how it could be read that way), I was surprised to see strap-ons or lack thereof enter the equation at all.

    • Haha yes, strap ons can be “heavy equipment,” and I certainly didn’t bring mine to the party either! I was simply trying to make a point about the idea that this “scene” was very different from queer public sex parties and scenes that I’ve attended. In a longer version, before editorial process, I was also bringing up the idea that I brought a hitachi to the party, and wondered what the women there may have thought of it. Hitachis are often featured in queer porn, and very rarely in “lesbian porn” that isn’t made by and for those with queer politics around sex, sexuality, and gender. They aren’t featured in “mainstream” lesbian porn. So if we are to buy the argument that we are modeled fucking in porn and often replicate it (or at attempt to – god help us all), my hitachi-centered fucking may have seemed out of place in a space that read very “lesbian” (albeit not, as the party is for straight and bi identified women).

      I guess the question I’m trying to pose is one around the performance of “lesbian” sex AS A PERFORMANCE. Something that can be done by bi women, queer women, straight women. It’s a culture, a behavior, a practice, which can be separated from self-identification. Strap-ons are a performance of a particular kind of sex. They signal something. Mean something. Just like missionary position. Or deep throating. They are part of a culture. I’m interested in the meaning they carry, as well as the meaning carried by their absence.

      But you’re right: they are sometimes inconvenient for a party haha.

  20. This article genuinely made me feel like a bad person. I just recently realized that I am bi. I only found autostraddle 3 weeks ago. Since I feel like I need to justify that statement: I am single and have been for *years* have had 1 relationship ever (with a guy) and just recently internalized that gay/bisexuality is an option for me. I am already struggling with issues of insecurity, and after reading this, was pretty determined to never act on my bisexuality (which – it really bothers me that the term bisexuality was never mentioned, when it is all over the Skirt Club’s information). If I hadn’t read Ana Mardoll’s thread on twitter, explaining how wrong the article is, I would have internalized the negative messages in the article even further.

    This really made me feel unworthy for 1 – not knowing what my sexuality was for years and coming late to the game, like the women at the club. 2 – Bisexual women are a high risk for both straight men and gay women? Because how dare we leave you for someone of a different gender??

    This made me really emotional, and I am very upset to see this on a website that I had thought was a safe space to learn about my attraction to girls. Guess I’ll have to find another space.

    I genuinely only signed up to add this comment so other women like me can avoid internalizing the shame language built into this article. For reference the twitter thread that helped was: https://twitter.com/AnaMardoll/status/895345562639228931

    • Hi, Holly! Since you’re new to Autostraddle I hope you explore some of the other bi content! When I started reading AS I was still closeted and I was really scared of telling gay women that I had dated men – based on articles and comment sections on other sites, I thought they were going to hate me for that. But AS helped me heal a lot of those fears. Maybe it won’t be that site for everybody, but it sure was for me.


      Sending <3 and care.

    • I’m sorry the article made you upset. It is truly not intended to bash bisexual women. It’s a personal narrative of the experience of being a queer femme hired to entertain bisexual and straight-identified women. I’m interested in the ways these women interacted in a public sex space, and how that differs from intentional queer community spaces. There are differences between the two that are interesting to explore. I am critiquing the particular configuration of the Skirt Club business model, even though I’m ultimately happy it exists and end the article with the endorsement of it.

      It’s great to explore and find new aspects of all our sexualities late into life. It’s also perfectly fine to critique a game like spin-the-bottle as the manifestation of that exploration. Ultimately, I’m commenting upon the environment for exploration, not the people who are exploring.

      But sorry you felt hurt by the article. That’s not its intention or spirit.

      • Yes. Blame her for feeling hurted but never for you deliberately erasing us bisexual people from the article and shaming women for trying to explore their sexuality

    • I’ve been reading Autostraddle without actually getting around to making an account for a couple of years now, but I signed up basically to second this comment: as a still-closeted bisexual woman, this article really, truly made me feel like shit.

      There isn’t a strong queer community where I live, and queer women are viewed as either, like, Katy Perry attention-seekers, or actively disgusting. After reading this article I went and looked up Skirt Club to see if it might ever come to my city, because it honestly sounds like a godsend to me – privacy and space and other women interested in the same thing and no men. But a couple of days after originally reading this, I still can’t shake off the feeling that this is how people would see me if I ever tried: performative and unreal and not having sex the right way and somehow (even when having sex with other women at a party attended only by women) still about male attention.

      It’s really, really upsetting for me to come to a site that I have always seen as a sort of window into a queer community that I just don’t have access to and read an article like this about women that sound very, very much like me. It makes me feel ashamed and fake and out of place, like this is just another place that I don’t belong. I recognise that you didn’t intend to make anyone feel like this, but I would just like to register that for me, that was the effect that your article had.

    • I understand 100% how you feel. I am bi and the language used in the article was definitely triggering for me. I made an account just to respond with my experience at skirtclub nyc. it was a very positive affirming experience overall. not perfect butn what is? i am bi.
      please be bi. live bi.
      it makes you more beautiful. it makes your world more beautiful. i need you to exist. you will gain so much strength from being openly bi. you already seem to be pretty good at “being” bi based on your compassionate response to this article.

  21. Yeaaaaaaaaah this is, at the very very least, so erasing of bisexual people I don’t know where to start, and super biphobic. I’m seriously disappointed in the author and the people of Autostraddle for letting this be published. I hope the bisexual (and pansexual and ace and others) women and people of this community are issued an apology ASAP.

    -signed, a lesbian who ID’d as bisexual for a long time, and if she had read this back then, she’d feel erased, unseen, and incredibly judged and dismissed

    • -signed, a lesbian who ID’d as bisexual for a long time,

      i hate beaches like you. why women can’t do anything by themselves, even figure out their own sexuality? this is pathetic.

  22. I think this was an interesting piece, but I think the sticking point, besides the points made above regarding bi-erasure both by the subjects and by the author, is that the sexual interactions in the space were somehow more performative (and, misreading Butler, more fake or less real) than the interactions within the more traditional queer community. As someone who is pretty much excluded from both Skirt Club (too fat, too trans) and has felt, if not explicitly, nominally excluded from the mainstream SoCal queer women’s scene (again too fat, too trans), i fail to see how the latter is any less performative than the former, aside from perhaps the cottage industry created to provide the space. Granted, I think that issue of the marketization of experimenting/closeted/bi-sexual women is worthy of commentary and critique, but i think the tack of somehow devaluing or seeing it as “inauthentic” queer women sexual interaction because of the lack of butches or how the women present seemed curious and nervous (which is unsurprising given the context) rather than relaxed is troubling.

  23. Thank you Natalie for this brilliant commentary.

    Count me among the weirded out group. I am glad I am too old to get dragged to this sort of club. When I was younger I was introduced to the bdsm scene by friends who, like me at the time, were still trying to figure out our sexuality. I feel like it was a lifetime ago. I did a double take when Midori was mentioned; I had not thought of her for so long.

    This club sounds like something cis men would love and would send their wives/girlfriends to. My soft-butch bi-fluid self would never get in left alone fit in, and I am good with that. The rub is it sounds a bit insincere – more a bondagogo – than a real space for women to explore anything more than the superficial.

  24. I find the whole concept of Skirt Club to honestly be pretty skeevy. I understand that for a lot of women experimenting physically is necessary for them to figure out their sexuality, but this seems very fetishizing. It reminds me of “I Kissed A Girl.” Whether or not Katy Perry was actually attracted to that woman (who probably didn’t exist, but whatever), the way she framed it was still so sexualized and fundamentally for the male gaze.

    On a slightly different note, the author’s mention of “privileged queer masculinity” made me wary. Women are never rewarded by society for being visibly gender-non-conforming. There’s no such thing as “butch privilege.” We’re not pseudo-men who experience less misogyny for our presentation. Also, “femme-on-femme sex” and “lesbian sex” aren’t synonyms and this article uses them like they are. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but come on. Femme doesn’t mean the same thing as woman and a website specifically by and for bi women and lesbians should know better than to use them that way.

  25. This article it’s full of bifobic bigotry. I’m really disappointed that Autostraddle would let anyone published it. Like first of all it’s not a lesbian place. It’s a bisexual club. And the bisexuality of people it doesn’t depend on being a 3 on the Kinsley scale. It’s being a 1 or a 5 it doesn’t matter. I’m still a queer person. I’M QUEER ENOUGH.
    If I have identified myself as a straight person my entire life and I want to have sex with a girl just because I’m starting to QUESTION my sexuality, Am I not allowed to do it just because some bifobic lesbian thinks that I don’t deserve it?
    Lesbian women. Stop being so biphobic, check your prejudgements, your sense of superior morality and your conservative minds. You’re being even more destructive and misogynist with us than cishet men.

  26. These women paid $180 to have sex with other women, at sexy women sex club. If women having sex with each other doesn’t match the standard for proper sapphic desire, what exactly does?

    Their boyfriends are not there. Their boyfriends didn’t force them to go to the club. It is entirely possible these women came to this club for the sole intent of having sex with other women.

    If anyone is inserting the male gaze into this, I think it is the author.

    • Exactly, these are women who enjoyed there sexual experiences with women. Are we to believe they are just playing the role.

  27. don’t marry fellas. all beach are closeted lesbian in want of a daddy who will carry them financially through life. not worth it, woman doesn’t bring anything to a relationship besides her ovrum.

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