Lesbihonest: Underwear, over there

Lesbihonest will be a bi-weekly column focusing on relationships, sex and love through gender theory.  It will not only question societal norms, but also provide suggestions for improving relationships.
Anna G. Stevens, class of 2013.5, is from Shoreham, VT.

During an impromptu stop at a gas station on the way home from Burlington, my boyfriend and I, on a whim, purchased the latest issue of Cosmopolitan—the straight girl’s guide to being a fun fearless female. Once in the car, I started to read aloud the “50 Things You Should Never Stop Doing in a Relationship.”

Reading this advice on how to remain a subservient, white-lying, inconspicuous yet sexy, committed girlfriend left me with a sickening feeling, and even worse, a head full of doubt; does my boyfriend really find it attractive when I use my “big-girl voice” and “[suck my gut] in and [strut my] stuff when he’s watching?” If so, I have got to make changes, posthaste.
 My favorite was rule number 37, which said that I must never let my boyfriend “see [my] grody underthings and—most importantly!—protecting [my] eyes from his as well.” This challenge is only heightened when we move in together but Cosmo has the perfect solution: “get two lingerie bags.”

I do not see the benefit in shielding my eyes from my loved one’s underwear just so I can pretend they don’t exist. If we’re not supposed to see one another’s undergarments then how can we comfortably look at each other naked without fear of nausea, and—god-forbid— awkwardness. I am not asserting that involving my partner in every aspect of my life, including forcing him to look at my girly wears on a regular basis, is healthy or necessary. However I don’t see the harm in remaining human; if we aren’t rocking it commando, it is likely when we remove our underwear it will remain discarded on the floor or bed, somewhere in the public view in the privacy of our rooms.

I am not arguing that girls should be inconsiderate of their boyfriends, and vice versa, but rather I want to push back against the belief that in order to remain a good girlfriend I am supposed to follow a certain set of rules that prohibit me from, essentially, being myself. Furthermore, telling girls that they should not leave their lingerie in plain sight perpetuates feelings of discomfort while naked; everyone wants to look their best nude, but if a girl is not comfortable being around her partner naked, she will always fall just short of being the most attractive she can be.

At the beginning of any relationship, it’s natural for one to feel slightly uncomfortable when naked in the presence of his or her partner. In fact, even after the initial honeymoon stage of a relationship it is still perfectly acceptable to feel reservations when the clothes start to come off, but this discomfort can foster communication, exploration and most importantly connection.

Let’s be honest—Dirty clothes should play less of a role in a relationship than dirty roles.

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4 thoughts on “Lesbihonest: Underwear, over there

  1. I’m interested to know the process behind how this name for this column was chosen. It’s called “Lesbihonest,” which obviously plays on the word “lesbian” and would be quite clever if the writer was a lesbian herself.

    However, the writer seems to be in a heterosexual relationship, giving out advice for heterosexual couples. So why the title? It seems a bit…inappropriate to me.

  2. You make an excellent point, however just because the author is in a heterosexual relationship does not mean that she herself identifies as heterosexual. She said her column will be applying gender theory when analyzing sex, love, and relationships, so perhaps future articles will discuss issues pertaining to sexuality and same-sex couples.

  3. I never stated that she identifies as heterosexual – I simply said she seemed to be in a heterosexual relationship. I very well understand the difference. I implied that the writer could not be a lesbian because of her involvement in a heterosexual relationship – that is the only implication I made towards her sexuality/identification.

    That being said, I still don’t understand where the title came from. While she may not identify as heterosexual, I don’t understand why she would use the word “Lesbian” in her title (or play on it, rather) if she doesn’t seem to identify as such. Even if she does touch on issues pertaining to same-sex couples and sexuality, why play on the word “lesbian” if she doesn’t identify as such? It still seems inappropriate to me and I just want to know where the thought process behind coming up with this title came from.

  4. Thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate you bringing this concern to my, and other readers’ attentions. As you have correctly stated, I am in a heterosexual relationship and my experiences from that relationship have, and will continue to influence my writing.

    I intentionally chose to use the name “Lesbihonest” for my column. While I do not identify as a lesbian, I want my column to be able to go beyond addressing just heterosexual relationship issues; I feel fortunate to have been involved with members of both sexes and want all of my relationships and experiences represented in my work. I am aware that my first article “Underwear, Over There” had a greater focus on heterosexual relationships, but the themes covered in my column will be varied — some weeks they will focus on issues of labeling, other weeks discussing alternatives to traditional sex. I understand that a name like “Lesbihonest” suggests a certain theme for my column, and I appreciate your reservations based upon my current relationship status. However, my sexual encounters have been marked by fluidity and I want the diversity of my experiences to shine through in my work.

    My goal with this column is to bring to light the difficulties of defining or labeling the fundamental characteristics of a person such as one’s sexuality or gender and how that manifests itself in sex, love, relationships as well as in life in general. Though I do not consider myself a lesbian, the title “Lesbihonest” best captures the purpose of my column.

    Thank you again for addressing this issue and if you have any further thoughts or reactions I would love to hear them.

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