On Being Icky by Kim Dare

I’m not always incredibly quick on the uptake, I’ll admit that. I live inside my own head a lot.

While I’ve always known that I’m attracted to men and women, I was in my twenties before I realised that knowledge came with a label attached to it. But, the real shock was realising that the rest of the world wasn’t bi. It hadn’t really registered with me until then that most people were only attracted to one gender.

I can actually pin point the moment when I first started to realise that being bi made me “different”, when it made me someone who might not be accepted, when it was perhaps something I was better off not telling certain people.

I was reading a blog written by an author I knew in passing. She wrote (and as far as I’m aware, still writes) both MM and MF. In her latest story, she’d intended to include a brief FMF scene. But, during that scene the two female characters ended up touching each other—I believe one touched the other woman’s breast.

She stopped writing and if I recall correctly, scrapped the ménage scene entirely because writing about a woman being intimate with a woman made her very uncomfortable. A woman touching another woman was icky and she wasn’t writing that.

I raised an eyebrow at the post, but being more a lurker than anything else, I didn’t comment on it. However, I did drop by the blog again to see what everyone else had to say. There were quite a few comments from other writers, all of whom were female and most of whom wrote at least some MM.

I settled down to read them, fully expecting the comments to politely suggest that the original writer grow up and stop being so homophobic. A woman touching another woman is no ickier than a man touching another man—and we write about that all the time. Show some respect. We aren’t the kind of people who have a problem with LGBT people, whichever part of the acronym someone may represent.

What I found were lots of people saying: Yeah, that would have freaked me out too. I don’t blame you for cutting the scene. Ew, girl cooties. I couldn’t write that. I’m not a lesbian.

This all happened a few years ago. I still have mixed feelings about that blog post and the comments left on it. On the one hand, no one should feel pressured to write something that makes them uncomfortable. There are things I won’t write, I’d guess that most people are the same.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for treating people, even people who you don’t want to write about, with a bit of respect. The whole thing did make me wonder about the community around me—about the people who wrote same-sex romance and who I thought were so accepting of the whole rainbow. It did make me pay more attention to what was being said about women who like women—about people like me.

It did make me wonder if, having realised that I was “different” in this way, I should tell my little bit of the Queer Romance community. This was quite a few years ago now. I don’t recall any other female MM writers being openly bi. I didn’t like the idea of all those writers I was just getting to know thinking that I was icky. But I sure as hell didn’t want them accepting me on the basis of me being straight either.

I have had some interesting reactions. There’s a lot of biphobia about, from both sides. (Usually preceded by “I’m not biphobic, but…”) I still wonder sometimes how many readers see the word “bisexual” in my author bio and decide they don’t want to read something by someone who does icky things with other women.

But the good reactions have outweighed the bad.

My favourite reaction was telling my mother I was bi. Something changed that day. She went from hoping I’d meet a nice man and live happily ever after to hoping I’ll meet a nice person and live happily ever after. That was it. That reaction still makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside every damn time.

(Actually, in the interests of full disclosure, she’s now moved on to hoping I meet a nice dominant and live happily ever after. What can I say, I write BDSM, and she reads all my books. The maths isn’t complicated.)

About Kim Dare

Kim is a thirty-one year old bisexual submissive from Wales (UK). First published in 2008, she has since released almost 100 BDSM erotic romance titles ranging from short stories to full length novels. Having worked with a host of fantastic e-publishers, she has just moved into self publishing.

While she has occasionally ventured towards other pairings, Kim’s first love is still, and probably always will be, Male/Male stories. But, no matter what the pairing, from paranormal to contemporary, and from the sweet to the intense, everything she writes will always feature three things – Kink, Love and a Happy Ending.

 About Bi Now Gay Later

Book five23. Bi Now, Gay Later in the Perfect Timing Series

Can a bi submissive really find happiness with a master who doesn’t believe bisexuality exists?

Jerry would be Denton’s ideal submissive – if only he would just get his last foot out of the closet and admit he’s properly gay. Denton loves Jerry, but he knows it’s a master’s responsibility to make sure his submissive doesn’t lie to himself or the rest of the world. He can’t let Jerry hide behind the bi-sexual label forever.

Jerry has no doubt that he’s one-hundred percent bi-sexual. He’s also well aware how much his master hates that fact. Jerry loves his master and he wants to please him, but he can’t lie and say he’s gay when he knows he’s not. Denton would be Jerry’s ideal master, if he could just accept the fact he’s bi.

Eventually, somebody’s going to have to give in and admit he’s wrong. The only question is who?

Grab a copy on Amazon US
Or Amazon UK

21 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Interesting post. I sometimes find it embarrassing to see the weird “ew, girl cooties” reaction, from grown up people, in discussions like that. Nobody says you have to be into it. Nobody says you can’t feel turned off by it if it’s really not for you. But acting like it’s gross and icky is so childish. I’ve got my first F/F story coming out this weekend after being entirely M/M so far. I won’t mind any of my usual readers saying, sorry, F/F is not my thing, so no thanks. But I hope I don’t see any stupid comments about “cooties”.

    • It is a strange reaction, isn’t it? It sometimes reminds me of the straight men who like the idea of watching FF action, but are freaked out by the idea of anything “gay”.

      There are also lot of straight people who can be strangely supportive of non-het people, providing there’s no implication that *they* might not be het themselves. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

      I’ve only done one FF, and that was a little while ago. I can’t say it was a huge success sales wise, but a few MM readers did try it out and some even liked it :) All huge best for your new release!

      • Thanks, Kim. :)

        “There are also lot of straight people who can be strangely supportive of non-het people, providing there’s no implication that *they* might not be het themselves. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”

        Always makes me think of the “not that there’s anything wrong with that” episode of Seinfeld, with the guys being so worried they’ll be seen as gay, buy frantically trying to make sure they’re not sounding anti-gay either because they also don’t want to be seen as that kind of person.

        • I haven’t seen that episode, but it is crazy how common that kind of thing is.

          I like this attitude: Johnny Galecki, of CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, on media speculations of his sexuality – “I haven’t really addressed those rumors because why defend yourself against something that isn’t offensive?”

          Happily more people in the limelight seem to be taking that stance :)

  • Thanks for the post, Kim.
    I always think it’s weird and even insulting that you sometimes aren’t welcome to even mention anything about female body parts in the broad M/M romance reader community. I think that is especially strange since so many of them are women.

    • That’s always confused me too.

      It’s the same as pictures. If I post a picture of a naked male model of twitter – fantastic – some people will probably retweet. If I post a picture of a naked female model – not so fantastic – some people will probably unfollow.

  • This was such a touching article. Thank you for sharing this with everybody. I hope it inspires a change in people’s hearts. I love your Mom!

    • Thank you :)

      I think sometimes people think they’re only talking about fictional people, without realising that the characters represent people in the real world. They don’t mean any harm.

      I really lucked out with my mother :)

      • It’s just been pointed out to me that “lucked out” can mean two opposite things depending on where you’re from. So, to clarify – I mean I’m really lucky to have my mother as a mother – not the opposite!

  • Thank you so much for this post. I had a very similar experience when I was very, very new to the M/M community, that made me really second guess coming out as well. Which was part of the reason I was very closeted for the first year or so that I was published.

    The way that other letters asides from the G in GLBT are sometimes treated in the M/M community is a huge problem, the way that women are treated especially when they are sexual is also a huge problem. Luckily I really do think we are moving forward as a community and doing a lot of hard work on all of these issues.

    • It is hard. I wasn’t really aware of being closeted, until I realised that there was an assumption of heterosexuality. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the BDSM community, where I’ve found people to be very accepting of, well, everything, lol. Bisexuality doesn’t usually raise an eyebrow there. So, hadn’t be exposed to much biphobia etc. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out when I came out.

      I do think there are problems in the MM romance community, but I also think that they are often problems that are inherited from wider society and/or the genres we developed from. They aren’t problems specific to us, but they do seem to be more jarring here, because they catch people by surprise. If that makes sense?

      Either way – yes – things are getting better.

  • I loved the post so much. Peoples view points never fails to amaze me. As a Bi female, married to another Bi female who both write M/M I find it really unsettling that others within the GLBT rainbow of authors who claim to support our community would actually be so belittling of it or the real people living within it.

    Thank you for taking part Kim. Very enlightening. :)

    • Thank you :) I think in a way, the problem is that people forget that they’re talking about real people. They forget that fictional people represent real people.

      Sometimes people seem genuinely confused when you point out that when they’re saying fictional WSW they’re passing comment on real ones too.

  • I see less of the “ew, girl cooties” around these days, thankfully. However, I’ve also removed myself from some m/m communities where this attitude was prevalent. I don’t understand why, if you are open to reading about gay relationships, you can’t handle lesbian, trans, or bi relationships as well. The rainbow has more than one stripe.

    I think the readership is maturing and broadening their horizons. There are also more books that are more than just the G of GLBT, thankfully!

  • I bet you know a lot of bisexual female and male m/m writers now :) . I’ve noticed the tendency for bisexuals to get overlooked in everything and for the men especially to be out-casted for it. Thank you for writing this. I too love your mom. I don’t really want to talk about how my mom initially reacted. She changed her tune later and love her either way, but it was rough hearing that disapproval and maybe more difficult when a few years later she mentioned something positive about the possibility of my sister being bi (she isn’t). I guess I did want to talk about it after all. Anyway…. I can totally see not writing about something that makes you too uncomfortable but that is a very odd reaction, I agree.

  • The idea of f/f touching as icky is baffling, especially in a context where m/m touching is decidedly not. So this post was a revelation for me. But then, the Kinsey scale always made sense to me. I guess I’m like you in that I’ve taken for granted the idea that most people are likely to be at least a little bit attracted to members of both sexes even if they don’t necessarily identify as bisexual. Is that not true? I’ve never considered myself “bisexual enough” to ID as bisexual though since I’ve never been in love with a woman. I identify as heterosexual, but burlesque performers and pin-ups are a good example in my case. I’ve had a long-standing obsession. Is it that rare to be at least a little bit turned on by that kind of magnetism (or even more than a little bit)? I mean, humorous, sexy, and confident women taking pleasure in the capabilities of their bodies? Of course I’m attracted. I’ve had conversations with RL girlfriends since at least high school about, what do we call that? Incidental attraction? We all seemed to agree, which made me think that some degree of bisexuality even among heterosexual people was pretty commonplace. Though I admit it’s not something I’ve discussed in detail with anyone but my group of friends so it seems fair to acknowledge that there would be the bias of a self-selected sample.

    I’ve largely resisted commenting on these posts, but this one…well…I just can’t see how anyone would think it’s okay to call someone else’s sexuality icky, even independent of my own apparently erroneous assumptions about the degree to which bisexuality is commonplace. I swear, I am learning so much this month. Also, I’ve followed you on Twitter, Kim. Please post all the pictures of naked female models you like.

  • My feeling (I’m bi, and sometimes write some het in my m/m universes) is that just like male homophobes who are freaking out at Teh Ghey outside themselves, it’s the fear of the feelings inside that are the source of the panic. Come out, come out, whoever you are…

  • My teenaged son identifies as bisexual, and from what he tells me of his friends, there’s much more openness in his generation to the idea that most people feel at least some attraction to both males and females. Among New York City teens, there’s definitely an attitude that being bisexual is “cool” so some of it may be mostly talk, but from what I can tell, these kids are pretty open to experimenting, more so than my generation certainly. I can’t help feeling hopeful that he and his friends will be able to discover the nuances of their own desires through trial and error (so to speak) without feeling pressured to adopt a predetermined label.

  • Kim, I didn’t realize until today that I hadn’t read this yet. I guess I read your beautiful post on some thoughts you had because of QRM and forgot to get to this one.

    Anyway, echoing the thoughts of others, I’m baffled by those types of attitudes. It does not take one of privilege to have them, either. It just takes a selective reasoning, an attitude of them-ness instead of an us-ness. I haven’t run across that, but I don’t have as many interactions with readers, mostly authors like you, who are very much not icky. 😉 (I could not type that with a straight -ha!- face.)

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