Listling Without Commentary: Things Women Said About Lesbianism In The 1976 Hite Report on Female Sexuality

In 1976, Shere Hite published The Hite Report, a monumental and groundbreaking study of female sexuality. Over 3,000 women between the ages of 14 and 78 participated, sharing their intimate feelings about sex. The book opened numerous eyeballs and enlightened many about the nature of female orgasms and masturbation.

8% of respondents said they preferred sex with women, and an additional 9% ID’ed as bisexual or reported having sexual experiences with both men and women. Hite noted that “one of the most striking points about the answers received to the other questionnaires was how frequently, even when it was not specifically asked, women brought up the fact that they might be interested in having sexual relations with another woman.”

The following lines are excerpts from testimonies given by the study’s respondents, as quoted in the section of The Hite Report entitled LESBIANISM. 

Excerpts From Women’s Testimonials On The 1976 Hite Report As Quoted In The section entitled “LESBIANISM”: 

1. “I have been brought up to believe women are more attractive and more beautiful and I am beginning to believe it.”

2. “I’ve slept with about twenty men and one woman. I found the woman much better.”

3. “Sex with a woman for me has involved pressing mound of Venus against mound of Venus on each other’s leg.”

4. “I’d love to massage a woman I liked and was turned on to, and then gradually arouse her sexually through massage and then slowly make love to her and then stop and talk, and then make love again, then sleep together. But I’d never have the nerve!”

5. “No woman has ever asked me ‘Didja come?’ They knew.”

6. “Once we made love in my parents’ bed in candlelight and discovered our love for each other as sexual women. Also once we made love all night in great passion and were soft and silly and warm, and great love was built that night. The difference with boys is it is much shorter.”

7. “I think I am a lesbian, which is not too helpful since I’m married.”

8. “If you dig another woman, let her know — she may very well feel the same. If it freaks her out, talk to her about it — she needs to loosen up.”

9. “I want a woman lover — or more. I generally want closer relationships with women; I want to do all the things only men are supposed to do! I want to explore!!!”

10. “I think women often make love by talking a certain way, at least I do.”

11. “Some times I think I could go straight from deep mouth kissing to clitoral stimulation to have orgasm. It depends on my state of “readiness.” I like also to have my lover touch me very lightly, with her tongue and hands, all over my body, especially my buttocks and lower abdomen. There is no one ‘best’ way of clitoral stimulation — when she uses her mouth it’s no different than her fingers. Sometimes I like her mouth at first and then her finger, and the other times, just her mouth. Either her tongue gently flicking my clitoris, or her mouth sucking me hard, or her finger moving right above my clitoris in an increasingly rapid up and down movement, usually makes me orgasm. Sometimes she pushes her mouth hard against me and shakes her head rapidly from side to side — I orgasm this way also. One thing — I guess it’s easier for me if we start lovemaking with our clothes on and do not have more than a minute’s interruption for removal of clothes. Otherwise I get a little self-conscious.”

12. “Once we were hugging and kissing and starting to make love and all of a sudden she says, ‘What part of the world do armadillos live in?'”

13. “It is good simply to be with women. I could not have written that five years ago. I hated women, believed perfection was male and I looked like a fairly successful imitation of a Barbie doll. Except that I kept rejecting Kens.”

14. “Liz, my roommate, and I have oftentimes made love when one of us has emotional problems.”

15.  “At seven, I used to become highly aroused fantasizing kissing a certain girlfriend. By about twelve, I was fantasizing necking with both sexes. By about fourteen, I wanted to fuck; or, more mysterious and exciting and forbidden, do whatever it was the lesbians did! Now I do. And it’s great.”

16. “I am currently thinking of lesbianism as an alternative to abstinence, and to men in general, because they are not very liberated sexually or emotionally or in any other way, and I can’t stand it any more!”

17. “Sex with a woman includes: touching, kissing, smiling, looking serious, embracing, talking, digital intercourse, caressing, looking, cunnilingus, undressing, remembering later, making sounds, sometimes gently biting, sometimes crying, and breathing and singing together.”

18. “I’ve yet to meet a lesbian who uses a dildo. I think that’s one great big male porno trip.”

19. “Lesbianism in my view is a far-out alternative to always being underneath some man and being a baby machine.”

20. “I believe that this is true for countless millions of wives, in spite of all the claims to orgasm, that they really don’t know what orgasm is… I was taken by surprise in a lesbian relationship [when] I experienced real, buffola total eclipse orgasm for the first time. Wow.”

21. “Once my heart had an orgasm when she was hugging me and looking at me and saying how she loved me. Hers did too.”


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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO 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 and then headed West. 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 Nylon, Queerty, 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! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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87 Comments

      • is it weird that i know exactly what she means? never would have thought to phrase it like that, but the feeling…when my girlfriend and i first started dating right in the very very beginning i was super overwhelmed with being in love for the first time and sometimes i would just look at her and say, “my heart is so full.” what i clearly meant was that my heart was having an orgasm.

        • I know exactly what you mean. ♥ I used to look at my (then) girlfriend and feel like I couldn’t contain all the happiness and love I felt.

        • I still get that way whenever my girlfriend does her hair the way it was when we first started dating. Or when I come home after a long day and she’s picked up and cleaned my entire apartment for me because she knows messes stress me out. Or when she holds me this one way before sleep. Best feeling ever.

    • I had the exact same reaction. Was reading the list all cool and casual then I got to #21 and I was like GOOD LORD.

  1. “I think women often make love by talking a certain way, at least I do.” —> Rachel and Laneia demonstrating lesbian sex on stage during A-Camp 1.0.

    • That was my favorite one too. I want to go back in time and marry that lady.

      • I laughed so hard, because this is abolutely something I would say. One time I scared away a girl I had just met by talking about how Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch is not evolutionarily viable because he has only one eye and would therefore have no depth perception…

    • Re: 12–the South, Central and South America, and also don’t mess with them as they are the main non-human carriers of leprosy.

      For serious.

      (I am full of useless facts).

      • That was a very useful fact. I saw an armadillo in my backyard the other day. All that showing of the TV show “Arthur” made me think they were completely safe! Guess my childhood was wrong once again (in two ways because Arthur isn’t even an armadillo).

        • Annie D

          You’re not completely wrong about Arthur! In the drafts he was an armadillo, but at some stage the design changed to the indeterminate animal he is on screen today.

          Useless fact #2

          • BR

            Arthur is an aardvark. This is important. Just like knowing where armadillos live.

            New life goal: to be asked, while having sex, what kind of animal Arthur is.

          • Emma

            A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K!

          • ancient roooooome. bah bah. it’s not like hooooooome. bah bah. cooooooolosseum.

          • BR

            And I say hey (hey!) it’s a wonderful kind of day! I forget the rest of the song something something… and get along with each otherrrr.

          • omg, ARTHUR IS AN AARDVARK? I always thought he was… well, idk, a weird mixture of a bear and a mouse with a weird nose. THE HELL.

          • Yeah in the books I think it’s a lot more obvious. He looks much more aardvark-y in them haha.

        • Wo0t! Another person who likes Andean music, then I saw that you liked Victor Jara, et cetera and I smiled.

        • Some of them are still made with armadillo parts, but it’s illegal to take them across many international borders because of it. My primary partner successfully seduced me by playing a totally legal, armadillo-free wooden charango, still worked great.

      • Kincowie

        Crunchy on the outside, juicy in the middle….. aaaarmadillos!

        (I may be showing my age here)

    • I swear to god that is so something that would happen to me (I’d be the one saying it)

  2. I really love this, it’s like getting a preview of the rabbit hole, before you actually fall down it at warp speed.

  3. #17! “…and singing together”, aw. These are all very beautiful things.

  4. amanda ling

    Am I a bad lady-lover if I read “digital intercourse” and for a split second thought she meant sexting?? XD

    • Mer

      Those were my two favourites too!!! I actually “awwwed” out loud when I read 21 :)

  5. bcw

    Thank god I learned how to use the card catalogue as a child or else I would’ve had to learn about armadillos the same way.

  6. Totes just read this entire post in a hippy chick accent while wishing my parents had birthed me in the 60’s and not the 80’s because…um…I uh…DAMN!

  7. L

    “No woman has ever asked me ‘Didja come?’ They knew.”

    Bwahaha. So true.

    That reminds me of a story my straight friend told me; she had sex with a guy and, well, it did nothing for her so to speak, and afterward he said to her, “Wow, you came so many times!” I was dying when she told me, lol.

  8. I got confused in #4, at first I thought she was saying they stopped during the sex to talk and then would go back to the sex (possibly after finding out where armadillos live). It made sense what with how we like to process everything.

    • Dalila

      I’m a woman, I tried just to know how was sex with another girl, even the idea didn’t attract me so much, I was curious and I know a lesbian that wanted me.
      Was a disgusting experience. Men’s are much better.
      There is only a very small percent of women that are really lesbian or bisexual. This book explore a sexual revolution that happen in the 70s were the people were so full of drugs to remove inhibitions but after years most of all even doesn’t remember.
      A woman will never have the pleasure that have with the penetration of a real dick. Everyone have to deal with it.
      All the rest are palliatives, self-beliefs.

      • MODERATORS PLEASE REMOVE THIS F**KING COMMENT

  9. 14. “Liz, my roommate, and I have oftentimes made love when one of us has emotional problems.”

    that’s because LIZZ IS IN CHARGE

  10. anon

    “8% of respondents said they preferred sex with women, and another 9% ID’ed as bisexual or reported having sexual experiences with both men and women.”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but is the 8% included in the 9%, or did they find 17% of women to be non-heterosexual?

    • i think so? i could transcribe it from the book tomorrow, but that’s what it said, i think — the thing is that it’s a self-selecting sample, the women in the study volunteered to talk about their sex lives. so with a sample like that, you’re gonna have high response rates amongst more sexually open people, or whatever, especially w/lesbian feminists, etc. but the “women who’d had sex with both men and women” category was women who id’ed as straight, which i think was 7% of them. then 2% reporting bisexual. and then 8% as gay. i think

      • “A hundred and forty-four women in this study (8 percent) said they preferred sex with women. Another seventy-three identified themselves as “bisexual” and eighty-four more women had had experiences with both men and women but did not answer to preference (another 9 percent).”

  11. Back when I “officially” came out at 18, my Aunt gave me a copy of this saying she’d read it and thought it might be helpful to me. It seems relevant to mention that my Aunt was a Catholic Nun. A very cool, open minded and clearly progressive Catholic Nun. Think it’s time to go back and skim this a bit.

  12. Cat

    Can I just say I’m loving gay history month? I feel like I’m meeting ancestors I never knew I had.

    • Remember the actual gay history month isn’t until October! June is lgbt pride month.

      • Cat

        Oh, so there is going to be more? Awesome! Pride in my part of the world is in November and we don’t have gay history as an official thing at all. This is kind of like having a half birthday ;)

  13. i am #12 and #12 is me. once i interrupted cute cuddling to talk about palm trees and how to tell if they’re healthy.

  14. I read “involved pressing mound of Venus against mound of Venus”, and all I could think of is “rub my royal lady-mound!” Oh Lip Service.

    • I just thought of the recent Anne Lister article when I read that, “November 1824
      She begins to stand closer to me. I might easily press queer to queer. Our liking each other is now mutually understood and acknowledged.”

      • Oh and one more thing, I also think of Captain Planet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpXM9bj-WPU), whenever “merging powers” are combined in such a way (ie: Power of the clam, Venus to Venus, queer to queer, etc). Then I think of some magical heroine popping out of their vajayjay and saving the world, kind of like Disney’s The Little Mermaid when Ariel gets her voice and starts singing like a Siren on the sea shore as they orgasm together in unison. Woooo! Being in my head is so fun, I swear I don’t do crack!

    • I know, right?

      “Hey baby, wanna come back to my place and look serious with me?”

      best. pickup. line. ever.

  15. Dee

    #9. Wants “to do all the things”! I’m totally cool with that.

  16. “If you dig another woman, let her know — she may very well feel the same. If it freaks her out, talk to her about it — she needs to loosen up.”

    What a gem.

    I feel like this needs to go in my wallet somewhere so I can remember it daily.

  17. #17 had a real effect upon the makers of the L word too apparently..

  18. So there you have it. When people ask what lesbian sex is, we can tell them “looking serious and talking about armadillos”.

  19. Jasmine

    If “singing together” is lesbian sex, someone needs to tell the cast of Glee.

  20. I love it! I recently found out that my great-grandmother’s sister (great aunt?) had been married to a woman for 40 years before passing away, I can picture her saying some of these things back then or even before then :)

  21. #17 So true. All of it and ‘singing together’ put a smile on my face. So much love! LoveIt.

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