by Brandon Tietz
I’ve had my fair share of the bar and club scene. More than my fair share, if we’re being totally honest. I’ve witnessed a lot of bar fights and a ton of hookups, all facilitated by our good friend alcohol (and sometimes drugs). It eventually gets to the point where you get numb to certain aspects of it.
There is, however, one thing that never fails to draw the attention of onlookers, and that’s when a straight girl kisses another straight girl. Not just kissing, mind you—making out. Like, really sensual, deep kissing. The kind of kissing you can’t help but notice and appreciate. Aesthetically, this is amazing to watch, but it all leads up to a bigger question: why?
Do girls kiss for the attention? Are they actually sexually attracted to each other? Or are they just so damn drunk this is the result of overindulgence?
The answers are a little more complex than you’d expect. Recently, I took the time to interview two hetero women about this subject. Both are in their mid-twenties, attractive and in deeply committed long-term relationships with their partners. They also both have an affinity for gender-same hooking up. For the purpose of protecting their identities, their names have been changed to aliases.
Can you tell me about the first time you fooled around with someone of the same sex and how it came about?
Ms. X: So, I don’t remember the exact situation in which the first time I was with someone of the same sex. I think the reason is because it was very natural and comfortable. It was with one of my very best girlfriends. Since the first day we met each other, we were instantly close. We always kissed each other goodbye and have always been very loving and “touchy-feely” in a platonic way. It never escalated when we were just casually hanging out, but yes, it did when we’d go out, say, to a bar or club.
Ms. Y: It was my senior year of high school. I was partying with my friends and we were all drinking. I’m not exactly sure how it started but I made out with one of my friends. Partly out of curiosity, partly for the attention. I used to be really insecure.
And how did you feel about it after you had done it the first time?
Ms. X: Like I said, it was very natural and comfortable. It didn’t feel any different than kissing a guy. Honestly, it was extremely surprising to me how natural and easy it was to be with someone so intimately and share that with them, but not be per se sexually attracted to them.
Ms. Y: I felt a little guilty/conflicted but I enjoyed it. It surprised me how much softer ladies are than guys.
Any principle difference for you between kissing a guy and kissing a girl? Either emotionally or physically?
Ms. X: Actually, yes. Kissing a woman is so much more intimate. There is an emotional connection and closeness that we share, at least for me, because it is only with my truly close girlfriends. Women are so soft and supple, and at least with my girlfriends we are so supporting of each others’ body images and we build each other up every chance we get. This is just another way of doing that. When kissing a guy, it truly is a physical act, generally speaking. There isn’t much more thought that goes into it.
Ms. Y: Identifying as a hetero woman, making out with women feels more light-hearted and playful, like an extension of how we are already physically affectionate with each other. With men it crosses into the romantic realm because of my sexual orientation. Like agape versus eros, in a convoluted way.
Do you feel like there are a particular set of circumstances in which you would go beyond just kissing?
Ms. X: I don’t think so. I don’t know how to explain it other than I am not sexually attracted to women in that sense. When I’m kissing my friends, it’s intimate, but not in a sexual manner. It’s out of love and affection for one another.
Ms. Y: I’m not sure. I’d like to think I’m open to it, but it depends on the situation. I say this because I primarily want to respect my partner, but if those circumstances arose then it would most likely be in the form of a threesome. I’m not sure how I would feel about that, though. Too much vulnerability going on in one place.
What are your partner’s thoughts/feelings on you making out with other women?
Ms. X: From the very beginning he has always understood the type of relationship that I have with my girls. He honestly has never had an issue with it because he knows that it is nothing more than us showing how much we care about each other. However, if it were to ever go beyond that, it would most definitely devastate him. Anything beyond that is something that we share exclusively. And so with that said, that is probably the biggest reason I would never do anything beyond just kissing. I respect my significant other and would never do anything to jeopardize the trust and integrity of our relationship.
Ms. Y: Sometimes he gets a little uncomfortable, mainly when the girls are especially over the top. Sometimes it’s just kisses and sometimes they do a lot of groping. It depends on what mood they’re in that night. But on the whole he thinks it’s hot.
Can you talk a little about the role drugs/alcohol/environment play in this for you?
Ms. X: So when we are out and inebriated in any fashion, it only heightens how much we care about each other. So when sober, what may be only holding hands and soft kisses goodbye, turns into making out when not.
Ms. Y: Yeah it definitely facilitates it. I’ve never engaged in this behavior while sober.
Ever had any negative experiences with gender-same hooking up? Either during or after the fact?
Ms. X: Well, what may seem normal to us usually turns into a spectacle for others. It doesn’t change how we feel about it or stops us from doing it, but it can cause issues for our significant others. They usually have to make sure people aren’t recording us or trying to get involved as well. What we consider to be intimate and special between us as friends, usually other people look at it as us being sexually immoral or entertainment.
Ms. Y: Never with my gender-same partner. Always with myself. I always feel like I don’t have my shit together when I sober up and feel really guilty, especially where my partner is concerned even though he doesn’t care. I tend to beat myself up, though, when my choices don’t fall in line with my perfectionist ideal for myself and I recognize it isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. I set unreasonably high expectations for myself and when I act a fool, I always overcompensate with extra work and planning the few days after. That’s not me downing girls who love girls; that’s me having anxiety about whether what I did is considered cheating despite having my partner’s consent. I’m a little bit of a basket case.
Relative to you and your partner, why isn’t gender-same hooking up considered cheating?
Ms. X: Honestly, I think it all depends on whether your partner consents. As long as you’re both on the same page about what it means, there is no reason to consider it cheating.
Ms. Y: I think it’s subjective and it boils down to whether or not your partner consents to it. With consent, it resembles something along the lines of polyamory (sans sexual attraction – just affection) rather than flat-out cheating. And maybe part of my guilt is due to society telling everyone love is only between two people rather than to be shared freely, given both parties consent.
This is a bit of a curveball since it’s purely hypothetical, but in the event you saw your partner making out with another man, what do you think your reaction would be?
Ms. X: I definitely would be confused and shocked. But I couldn’t be mad or judge him for it since it’s no different than what I’m doing. That would make me a hypocrite. The biggest thing would be that we would need to talk about it and come to an agreement of what is considered acceptable as it pertains to our relationship.
Ms. Y: I think I would be confused because it would be out of character for him, but I would be open minded because I would be a hypocrite otherwise. I’d definitely want to talk it through with him after, though, and see what his thoughts were.
How long do you see your gender-same hooking up going on for? Do you think it’s something you’ll grow out of or what?
Ms. X: Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t know how to truthfully answer this question because what I do is so deeply rooted in the fact I love these girls so much. I wouldn’t call this a phase or something we just do for fun. It’s a part of the relationship I’ve built with these girls.
Ms. Y: You know, I’ve thought about that and I can’t say I have a concrete answer for you. On one hand, I tie that behavior to party culture so I want to say yes. On the other hand, it’s one of the love languages I use with my friends, so also no.