“Marie Claire” takes on lesbian sex and relationships


Journalist Margeaux Watson has a first-person piece in this month’s Marie Claire where she talks about her relationships with women. From the title alone (“I Kissed a Girl”) I was skeptical. And then it started like this:

It all started 10 years ago with a drunken kiss, which quickly led to drunken sex.

Admittedly, that was her first experience, and I’m sure we’ve all had those kinds ourselves. I was just nervous because the majority of Marie Claire readers most likely have not, and equating lesbian sex with drunken sex is pretty much like calling it a mistake.

The story took a bit of an unexpected turn, however, when Watson started discussing her body image, and how her future experiences with women made her feel self-conscious about her “robust … large breasts, tiny waist, and curvaceous hips.” (Yeah, I know — how awful to have those attributes.)

Naively, I assumed that connecting with women would feel even more comfortable, like coming home… Given that our bodies were so similar (shapely, supple, soft), it was like having sex with a distorted mirror image of myself. Not only could I see what I looked like from a multitude of angles and positions, I also saw all of my flaws, reflected, in a sense, in hers (stretch marks, cellulite, jiggly bits).

This was not the piece I expected. Even in a magazine for women who are concerned about the latest products to hide wrinkles before they’ve sprouted and how to smother imaginary fat rolls, I didn’t think the idea of lesbian sex would present itself as yet another experience in which women would compare themselves. I’m quite sure the women she was with were incredibly concerned with all of their differences in those moments.

The writer with two friends

I so envied [my girlfriend] Taylor’s nonexistent hips and delicate, dimple-free legs that I couldn’t really appreciate how much she turned me on. The relationship lasted just four months.

Following the break-up, she beds several women of all shapes and sizes, and gains twenty some pounds out of depression. (Such an uplifting piece on lesbian relationships. I hope the readers are getting a lot out of this.)

Luckily, the piece does not end on a sour note of “lesbians just compare bodies in bed because they are truly narcissists.” Watson met a “tomboy” whom she fell for, and confessed her body image issues to. And now, she’s lost 42 pounds.

Wait, so is the moral of this story that lesbian relationships help you lose weight? I’m confused, conflicted, and hoping no one really reads Marie Claire anyway. If anything, the female side of the LGBT community is one of the most accepting, at least in my experience — which was not all drunk or a vain attempt at pointing out all my own flaws.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on Ms. Watson, but with the little coverage lesbian and bisexual women get in mainstream women’s publications, I’d like to think we could have a more positive representation, even if it has to be titled “I Kissed a Girl.”

I never thought I’d say it, but I think I prefer Cosmopolitan.

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