Last week, I overheard some girls talking about their sexual experiences while I was standing in line at Target (BEST place ever to chitchat about these things right? SMH). One girl confessed that she had “only one or two sexual encounters with another girl in college” but she reasoned, “I was just experimenting. I like totally love dick!”
I personally have several issues with these statements.
First, let’s get familiar with the term “LUG.” I was fortunate enough to take several feminist studies courses in college that were taught by incredibly courageous women. LUG is an acronym that stands for “Lesbian Until Graduation.” This describes a common trend among females in college who deviate from heteronormativity (to follow a heterosexual male/female lifestyle) and use LUG as a valid reason for their behavior.
So why did this girl and so many other individuals like her, both male and female, associate one’s choice of sexuality solely with sexual encounters? I have gay friends who didn’t have their first sexual experience until college but were openly gay prior to their first experience. Sexuality is a significant part of one’s identity, it’s not a categorization tool based only by sexual experiences.
The boundaries that form same-sex relations aren’t solid either, especially when you look at different cultures’ understanding of sexuality. Boundaries are actually transparent and vary in meaning not only from culture to culture, but person to person. For instance, in Nigeria in 2006 a “sexual deviancy” law was revised to prohibit women from holding hands, making it a criminal offense.
What this girl was unintentionally telling her friends was that sexuality is established only through sexual experiences, rather than a combination of emotional and physical preference.
It’s a strange thing, how we can label lesbian encounters as simply “having fun” in college but then look down upon genuine lesbian relationships.
Going to college, especially one in which you can afford to move away from your hometown, live on or near campus and have the chance to get crazy, is an opportunity that’s not available to everyone. So say someone didn’t get the opportunity to go to college away from home and decided to “experiment” just for fun. This person would not get the so-called “free pass” that many undergraduates get. The “free pass” allows individuals who went to college to say things such as “when I was in college…” or “…but that only happened in college.”
So, back to LUGs.
Young women who grab onto the LUG excuse might have insecurities about being openly bi-curious, bisexual or lesbian, or may even feel pressured by the college atmosphere to engage in activity with another woman. I see LUG as an extension of the so-called “free pass” excuse.
Reflecting on my personal experience in college, it’s frustrating that females feel the need to use the LUG reasoning for same-sex experiences in college but males are not.
Female same-sex activity is hyper-sexualized in the college realm due to the media and the porn industry but the complete opposite is true for males. How many times have you heard a male undergrad talk about wanting a threesome with two hot girls? How many times have you heard about jello-fights with girls in bikinis? How many times have you seen two guys squish two girls front-side together and grind them on the ends?
Young female undergrads, especially freshmen, have a strong stereotype of being inexperienced and innocent but curious at the same time. Understanding why any young man would be attracted to LUGS is not difficult in this sense.
Yet while LUGs are heavily seen as sexualized objects, males are typically seen in two different lights. The first is one of courage and respect for being able to stand up against normative standards on sexuality or “coming out,” while the second is one of stigmatization and homophobia.
I’ve observed that college males generally have this one road or the other perception by others in regards to their sexuality, but females have this hazy cloud where lesbianism, bi-sexuality and heterosexuality all meld into one.
Female undergrads that identify as lesbian face various hardships to prove their “authenticity,” whether it is having to “prove” their sexuality to themselves, to their friends, to their lover, or anyone really. These same women face the daunting task of establishing to society that they are not LUGs, but women who, like gay men, are inherently attracted to the same sex and that this is not a frivolous college fantasy.
If young women continue to use LUG as their fallback excuse for “experimenting” in college, these same women will only continue to fuel the flaming fire of hardship that publicly queer females face on a daily basis. These females face the challenge of fighting against being labeled a LUG and the stigmas that are associated with it, including hyper-sexuality. While college culture encourages temporary LUG behavior, in the end it only takes authenticity away from women who are genuinely lesbian or bi-sexual.
Here’s a question. Why is it that gay males are not seen in the same objectifying and hyper-sexualized frame as gay women? When’s the last time you heard a guy say, “Yah, I made out with a dude once but bro I totally love vagina.”
It’s something to think about.
Be prepared for a juicy story next week. My goal is to either have you pee your pants from laughter or have your jaw drop from complete shock.
Till then- kiss kiss,
P.S. Follow me on Twitter @KnottyBella
( photo via lacuna-inc.)