The Vagina Dialogues

Bi-curious women are here -- but not quite queer. Welcome to the new lesbian chic

"Sure, the only reason it's 'okay' for a lot of girls is that straight guys think it's hot," she says. "That's definitely part of it.

"But what I'm teaching isn't that. These women feel like they have permission to explore it because it's hot -- but then they go do it for themselves and find out they really like it."


Tania Katan, Professional Lesbian (left), shows Susan Burns the ropes.
Jeff Newton
Tania Katan, Professional Lesbian (left), shows Susan Burns the ropes.

Details

Workshop on Wednesday, September 21, at MADE Art Boutique, 922 North Fifth Street in Phoenix. She promises to give you "the lowdown on where to meet girls, overcoming your hesitations and fears, and the basics of girl-on-girl sex." The class is limited to 25 women, so send an e-mail to info@jensincero.com to RSVP. You can pay the $25 fee in cash or by credit card at the door.

Sincero is also reading from The Straight Girl's Guide at Changing Hands, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe, on Monday, September 19 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

For more info, check out »web link.

Once, Ani Davis kissed a girl, and she liked it. Then she got married and had a baby, and it wasn't until she found herself struggling with post-partum depression that she realized she wanted more.

"My therapist made me realize that I had feelings for women and I needed to explore them," says Davis, a 26-year-old Tempe resident with wide blue eyes.

"You married too young," he told her. "You'll never be happy unless you find yourself."

So while Davis was visiting her family back in Atlanta, she went to a lesbian bar and met a woman.

"We had sex and it was wonderful," she says. "The first time I had sex with a woman, I felt like I was coming home."

She decided she was a lesbian and got divorced, a decision she doesn't regret. But she didn't quite stick with it, either. Not exactly. She found herself unexpectedly falling for a male coworker last year, and after that relationship went bust, she decided she really wanted to date both men and women.

But while she tells men about her bisexual lifestyle -- "That's, like, the opening line," she says, laughing -- she doesn't tell women. She's found that too many lesbians are sick of bi-curious women who want to be "broken in."

"They assume now that if you say you're bisexual, it means you're 90 percent straight but you want to try things, like you want to kiss and mess around with girls," she says. "I want them to know I don't need any training."

Indeed, lesbians say they've been flooded with requests to learn their ways. Shine, a fresh-faced bartender at the lesbian club Ain't Nobody's Bizness, says she gets entreaties from women at least once a month: "I've never done this before, but I think you're hot." (Unfortunately for them, she's got a girlfriend.)

It's been four years since Jessica Stein found herself intrigued by a personal ad from a bisexual woman in the sleeper hit film Kissing Jessica Stein. These days, straight girls aren't stumbling toward their first time with another woman. They're begging for it.

The craigslist Web site in Phoenix draws personal ads virtually every week from women who say they've never been with a woman, but want to give it a try.

"I just moved here to phoenix . . . and since it's new to me, I thought, I would experience something else new also," a 25-year-old wrote. "I'm seeking to have my first sensual experience with another female."

A second ad, posted on the same day: "I am a young 23 year old woman curious about what it would be like to be with another woman or couple . . . Like I said I am a little new to this so I am a little shy and not sure how this works."

Andy Sutcliffe, whose Tucson ad company has been handling adult personals for alternative weeklies across the country since 1988, says the percentage of personal ads placed by women seeking women has doubled in the last decade. At the Seattle Stranger, Washington City Paper, and Portland Mercury, more than 20 percent of the women who place ads are now looking for a chick.

Lisa, a 44-year-old lesbian who lives in Phoenix and frequently uses personals, says nearly 40 percent of the women she's met in recent years have been bi-curious or bisexual.

"Do you know how many bi women I've pulled?" she brags. "At least 10."


Ritch C. Savin-Williams, a professor of human development at Cornell University and author of The New Gay Teenager, says he was first introduced to the term "bi-curious" through his female research subjects, who kept using it to describe themselves.

"I had to ask, 'What does this mean? Is the emphasis on the curious or the bi?'"

In time, Savin-Williams honed his definition: "It's young people who really haven't settled on a definite route they're going to go. They're open to sexual relationships with either gender, and they see no reason to make a commitment to pursue one at the expense of the other."

That bi-curious women are suddenly so ubiquitous -- both on the dance floor and in pop culture -- caught the experts off guard, Savin-Williams says. "It's causing a lot of researchers to say, 'What do we know about women's sexuality?'"

One of the biggest problems, says Savin-Williams, is that studies of homosexual behavior have mostly focused on people who identify themselves as gay. But the evidence is increasingly clear that these people are only the end of a very complicated continuum.

For example: Most studies show that only 2 to 3 percent of adolescents identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. About 4 percent report sexual behavior with the same sex, if "sexual behavior" is broadly defined.

Those are the groups that researchers used to study. But, as Savin-Williams points out, there's a much bigger group of kids that bears looking at. Most studies show 10 percent of boys, and a whopping 20 percent of girls, report same-sex "attractions."

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