The Hook Up: When a crush blows you off and speaking up for yourself in the bedroom


There’s this girl I’ve been seeing. It’s pretty casual at this point, but it’s been a few months now, and I feel like it has potential to grow into a relationship. The problem is, she won’t go down on me — like at all, ever. She does plenty of other things and the sex is pretty good, getting better the more we get to know each other. I finally had the nerve to ask her about it (I’m not super great at speaking up in bed, which is something I’m working on), and all she said was it wasn’t “her thing.” But, um, isn’t this some kind of lesbian crime?

I like her and it seems petty to stop seeing her over something like this, but I can’t stand the thought of a life without oral sex. Should I keep trying to press her further? Maybe I’m being insensitive and she had some traumatic cunnilingus-related thing I don’t know about? Help! — Tongue-Tied

Anna says: There are still non-rug munchers roaming the streets? I thought we shipped them all to Oklahoma, along with white rappers and people who speak in double negatives. Fear not, however, I will alert Lambda Legal posthaste!

I think I’ve said this before, but being a lesbian doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every lesbian-related sex act. The same goes for other kinds of sexualities. Not all gay men like anal. And if straight men’s websites are to be believed, there’s a full-on blow job epidemic amongst straight women. Run for the hills!

I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that your girl has a negative or triggering relationship to going downtown, but it seems unlikely. I’m of the mind that we shouldn’t pathologize people just because they enjoy fewer entrees in the sex buffet of life. Contrary to stereotype, some ghey girls just aren’t into spelunking, and no amount of Lip Service re-runs will convince them otherwise. I know. I don’t understand it either, but just as it’s their prerogative to abstain from polishing the spittoon (?), it’s your prerogative to decide whether that’s ultimately a deal breaker for you. And it sounds like it is, based on your tone of exasperation.

That said, “not my thing” isn’t a very satisfying answer. Sauerkraut’s not my thing. NASCAR’s not my thing. But oral sex is too big a thing to be relegated to thingness. Feel free to press her further, but do so from a place of curiosity and not condemnation, and know that you might not get a more gratifying explanation. Ask her about her preferences, her past, what specifically she finds unappealing about it (if she does at all), etc. Along with your questions, you should let her know how important it is to you. She might be operating under the assumption that you’re not wild about it either. If you tell her how gung-ho you are for the gun-show, she might be willing to indulge your request. It’s not like you’re asking for something outlandish, like a pet sloth or “dinner with Madonna,” which is, coincidentally, how I refer to oral sex.

Good on you for speaking up about your pleasure, Tongue-Tied. Now you just have to figure out how important oral sex is to you in the long-Uhaul. If it’s a do-or-die scenario, then I’d say get out now before those Big Lesbian Feelings really start messing things up.

I was introduced to a friend about six years ago through a mutual friend. He told me that she was “a cute lesbian musician who just moved to the city” and brought me to a mostly lesbian house party to meet up with her. The feelings were not lust at first sight. She was drunk, loud, and hanging onto another girl. We became acquainted and it was a year into knowing her and seeing her out and about that I decided I was interested in her. But it was too late — she had fallen into a relationship.

Fast forward time three years. She and her girlfriend were the adorable lesbian couple in our circle of friends and their relationship was the sort of relationship I wanted to have one day. Last year I moved to San Francisco and she was out there on business. She came to my house party on a Friday night and we had an amazing time together. I was surprised that she was so flirtatious with me, although come to think of it, she had always been subtly flirtatious around me, and I figured it was part of her nature. In the middle of the party, with many of my lesbian and bi friends around us, she turned to me and said, “Wait, I thought that you were straight?”

I was shocked. For the five years that we had known each other, she thought I was straight! I’m accustomed to people assuming I’m straight as a femme lesbian, and she’s femmey herself. “I’m sorry,” she said, looking stunned. “I didn’t know. I honestly thought it was adorable that you were taking such an interest in lesbians. I thought you were curious.” And since then, everything has been completely strange between us. I realized how much I like her and how much I want to be with her if only she had been single.

I moved back to my hometown last March. I loved being around her and her girlfriend and looked forward to seeing them. Her girlfriend was excited to see me, but my friend acted super distant and could barely look me in the eye. Something was definitely not right. She has refused to see me/hang out with me/associate with me since that weekend in San Francisco one year ago, coming up with excuses like “I’m busy this week” or “I’m laying low” or “I can’t, I have a sewing class.” Finally, I expressed that I felt like our friendship was different and asked her if she wanted to talk. She denied it and mentioned that she was “M.I.A.” and that she and her girlfriend had broken up, much to everyone’s shock. Still, to this day, being single, she won’t see me. I decided I need to tell her how I felt to move forward in December. I’ve taken the hint that she does not care to see me but am left feeling extremely confused and crushed. I know that I deserve real friends and a real girlfriend who appreciates me. The demise of this friendship is baffling. Have any insight?

Anna says: I dunno, man. Maybe she’s in super depressed break-up mode. Maybe she’s avoiding you because she knows you have feelings for her and doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. Maybe she’s actually really busy. You could drive yourself crazy speculating and guessing what’s behind her sudden lack of attention, but you shouldn’t.

You’ve reached out to her multiple times. She’s choosing not to see you, for whatever reason. Now you gotta respect her space, and let it go. There’s nothing else you can do, besides worry yourself into a tizzy, and you have far better things to do, my friend. Take heart, though. I doubt this will be a permanent condition. She probably just needs time. But pressuring or constantly sending “Hey, where did you go? Where are you? Are you mad at me? Let’s grab a frap?” emails isn’t going to speed things along if she truly doesn’t want to be reached.

The most baffling part of your story, to me, is that you could be friends with someone for five years who didn’t know you were gay. Like, how is that even possible? What the hell have you been talking about for the last half-decade? Even adjusting for some femme invisibility factors, that blows my mind, and makes me question how well you really know this gal and vice versa.

“I know that I deserve real friends and a real girlfriend who appreciates me” should be your new mantra. Or your new-old mantra, since you already know it. Give your mind something else to focus on so that it doesn’t get stuck in anxious, confused mode, which ruins your ability to find happiness in the present moment.

Pretty much everyone knows the famous Horace quote, “Carpe diem” or seize the day. But did you know there’s actually more to it? The whole quote is “Carpe diem quam minime credula postero.” It means “Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the future.” Isn’t that brilliant? I think about how often I let the future, and things that haven’t happened, control what I do in the present, and how that kind of thinking does me very little good. I want you to think about the last part of that quote too. The future is an a–hole. Let go of it, and the stress of not knowing, and focus on what you can do right this second.

If that’s too New Agey for you then get yourself a fifth of Jack and watch this adorable Kristen Bell video over and over until your life seems bearable again.

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at [email protected].

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