Stone Butch, From A Femme Perspective

On the off-chance that there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know what the term “Stone Butch” means, here is how Dirt described it in a previous post:

image-4

Dirt further explained the confusion involved in and origins of Stone Butch in a later post:

image-4Many alleged “Lesbian experts” (who are neither Lesbian nor expert) claim that being Stone Butch is simply a preference, like some people like to be tickled while others don’t, or like some people like chocolate while others prefer vanilla.

These alleged “Lesbian experts” make the situation seem like it’s just another fun and fabulous way to be in a relationship: they incorrectly paint a rosy, sexy picture of a totally and mutually satisfied Stone Butch with a Straightbian Pillow Princess (while incorrectly calling her a Femme)**.

**Just to be crystal clear, since many (uninformed) people mistakenly associate Femme Lesbians with Straightbians, the difference is clear and quite simple: Femmes are LESBIAN and Straightbians are STRAIGHT.

And in regard to today’s topic of Stone Butch, only  Straightbians would prefer to be a Pillow Princess. Why? Because Lesbian is a sexual orientation. While being Lesbian is NOT all about sex, sexual attraction/interest is definitely a component.

Here’s the thing that confuses people, because sometimes Femmes will remain in relationships with “Stone” Butches (in other words, Butches who fear, and are ashamed of, being sexually touched):

True Femmes may settle for the inequity of a relationship with a Butch who feels she cannot allow intimate touch. We may try to convince ourselves not to feel rejected, unwanted, and lonely. We may tamp down our true desires in order to make our (Stone) Butch lover feel less threatened and for the sake of harmony.

But, over the long haul, Femmes who do so typically end up feeling sad, lonely, and unfulfilled.

The main factor to consider here is that Femmes are Lesbians. As Lesbians, we desire reciprocal intimacy with our Lesbian partners. We aren’t vending machines who just accept the change without dispensing the chips (so to speak, LOL). We WANT to dispense the chips. And we feel progressively guilty and uneasy over time when we are relegated to always being the receiver and never the giver.

So, what is a Femme to do? It truly seems like we are stuck between a rock and a hard place when faced with a Butch (who is Stone) who we want true intimacy with.

On one hand, if Femmes settle for the status quo of one-sided sexual relations, over time, we will likely start feeling rejected, unwanted, and lonely, as mentioned above.

On the other hand, though, if Femmes push the issue, we are likely to encounter resistance, rejection of our advances, and outright anger from the Butch (who is Stone). If we push too far, too fast, we risk even losing the relationship altogether.

The elephant in the room here is that true intimacy requires vulnerability from both partners. In the unequal, one-sided sexual encounters of a Butch (who is Stone), the Femme is expected to allow herself to be vulnerable, to allow herself to be touched intimately, to be “naked” (perhaps literally, perhaps figuratively). But: the Butch (who is Stone) doesn’t have to allow herself to be vulnerable. The Butch (who is Stone) remains in control, covered, distant, safe. This inequity is incompatible with true intimacy.

The good news is that being “Stone” is NOT set in stone.

I have come up with the following very general suggestions for Femmes who desire more intimacy, but are dealing with the complexities involved in a relationship with a Butch (who is Stone). Obviously, each situation is different, so not every suggestion will apply. Each Femme knows her own situation and her own lover best, and each Femme will need to decide for herself how best to proceed. Also, the following list only scratches the surface of this complicated topic, so this list is therefore NOT intended to be a comprehensive guide by any means.

1). First, before you say/do anything concrete at all, take time to figure out yourself, your motivations, and what you want from the relationship. What, exactly, is going on and what, exactly, do you desire to happen, with you and your partner, both separately and together?

2). You may want to take time to write in a private journal (which is kept in a safe, private place), and/or to talk to a trusted friend who understands (preferably another actual Femme).

3). Make time to take care of yourself before (and during) approaching the situation, particularly if you are feeling insecure. I don’t mean take care of yourself sexually (although that is fine too, of course, LOL!), but rather, I am referring to general self-care. Do whatever nurtures you: take walks, take baths, get massages…whatever. Why? By taking care of yourself, you will be better able to clarify and ask for what you need, and better able to approach your partner from a calm, centered place rather than from a state of anger, hurt, or frustration. Plus, those “small” self-care techniques are not really so small after all, because they symbolize valuing ourselves and our own needs, which is really what addressing this issue is all about.

4). Once you are clear about what you want for yourself and in the relationship, communicate your thoughts/desires to your partner, preferably at a time when your partner is fully dressed and calm and not feeling vulnerable.

5). It is very likely that your partner will immediately pull out phrases from the Universal Official Stone Butch Code Book  (written/influenced by Straightbians): “This is just the way I am!”; “I get my pleasure from pleasing you”; “I am perfectly happy with the way things are”; “I am wired this way!”; “It turns me on watching you”; “What’s the matter, you had fun last night, didn’t you?”; “My sex organ is my brain!”, etc.  She might even quote the alleged “Lesbian experts” like Shar Rednour (who are neither Lesbian nor expert) to back up her claim that Stone is a perfectly normal sexual expression.

6). When #5 happens, it’s important to try to refrain from becoming annoyed, angry, or defensive. Listen to your partner’s statements and concerns, and then ask questions to try to clarify, then listen again. Rinse and repeat.

7). Realize that we’ve all been brainwashed. Most Lesbian” advice has been written by non-Lesbians. Most people, including most Lesbians, have never met an actual Butch/Femme couple in real life (we are THAT rare). Therefore, Butch/Femme is misunderstood, misrepresented, and maligned. It will take more than a few conversations and certainly a lot more than one post to undo decades of false information. Part of that false information is “The Legend Of The Stone Butch”: strong, silent, and untouchable. It is time to start dismantling ALL the lies we’ve been spoon-fed.

8). Start reading the truth about Butch/Femme and issues regarding Stone Butch, preferable reading together with your partner. And: yes (because I know some smarty-pants will ask), I am telling you that Dirt and I know the truth. I know that probably sounds arrogant, but I don’t care. Why do I say we know the truth?  Because we actually are Butch and Femme. Dirt and I are not just talking about these issues…we have faced, and successfully dealt with, these issues ourselves.

9). Related to numbers 7 and 8: Immediately stop reading nonsense about Stone Butch, such as the drivel that Shar Rednour spouts, as discussed here. The attitudes such as those listed in the link, and in most other places, are detrimental to both Butches and Femmes, and encourage a very unhealthy dynamic. Let the brainwashing stop.

10). Connect with other real Lesbians. Most so-called Lesbian sites are cesspools.

11).  Realize that you cannot, and should not, change anyone else. You know that saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink”? That saying applies here. Your partner may, or may not, be amenable to discussing these issues with you and/or open to changing her pattern. If she is not open, explain clearly why the issue is important to you and delineate the possible consequences from your perspective if no changes occur (e.g., your loneliness, frustration, etc.). Please note that I do NOT mean this as in a “threat” to your partner to “shape up”, but rather as an honest, frank communication of what the situation means to you.

12). Make sure to not blame nor shame your partner, but instead, focus on your own feelings, thoughts, and needs.

13). Realize that the issues driving your partner’s Stoneness are complex and are rooted in Butch Shame. Your partner is not trying to hurt, frustrate, or deny you, and her hesitation to let you reciprocate in love-making is not a sign of a lack of love or caring.

Read what Dirt wrote here and here (Please read the entire posts at the links…not just the blurb below):

image-1

14). If you are a currently single Femme, it is important to have these conversations BEFORE the relationship progresses to sex.

In summary, there are no easy answers for Femmes who are seeking greater intimacy with their Butch partners (who are Stone).  Healing and hope are definitely possible, but, truthfully, the road there will likely be fraught with pitfalls.

Stay tuned for more on this important topic, and as always, please feel free to ask questions and/or give your thoughts here in the Comment section; and you are always welcome to email me at sayebennett@gmail.com.

Important Usual Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to be professional advice, nor to substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. The reader should consult with an appropriate professional regarding any/all mental health needs.

20 thoughts on “Stone Butch, From A Femme Perspective

  1. Thank you so much for this! When I was reading FtM Transsexuals in Society I saw exactly this sort of thing happening. Study participants were saying that their lovers didn’t understand or appreciate their masculinity (which means they were not with an appropriate partner, and they should have been looking for a femme), and they were saying that they were unable to be sexually touched as women, despite loving their female partners. What infuriates me is they interpret this as meaning they’re men! No, they’re not, and that doesn’t make any sense! They’re lesbians with butch shame. However, this is now being packaged as “gender dysphoria” which is cured by transition. I wish there were more butches like Dirt who talk about butch shame, because this conversation is desperately needed!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi and thanks for commenting! I totally agree that Butch shame is a topic that we really need to talk about as a community. It is a complex issue that is often hard to comprehend or explain, and it is often difficult, embarrassing, and stressful for Butches to talk about. I am so glad that Dirt is willing to be so open about it and share what she has been through.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. if i may ask, why was this written to focus on butches that are stone. im definitely femme, or myb lipstick by your definition but recognize myself in a lot of the excerpts. I struggle with being touched in certain ways or that remind me of my femalness/give me intense shame afterward. My gf is the less stone (and less lipstick)one in certain ways and doesn’t seem to understand my issues and shame. Esp as i tend to bottom. I really don’t know what to do. I’m not butch at all but i struggle with this stone thing. i know a lot stems from internalized lesbophobia or shame and i have no problem touching my gf…will there be a follow up piece from the perspective of someone w this problem?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi nan, Thanks for your comment! I usually start by approaching everything from the Butch/Femme perspective because that is what I personally know, but I am always interested in hearing about and learning more about other “types” of Lesbian perspectives. I think that many lesbians may struggle with versions of dysphoria and/or feeling “different” and/or body issues/shame. Will be putting some thought into it based on your comment and yes, I do plan to write more about this topic. Thanks for the food for thought! 👍🏻

      Liked by 4 people

    • Hi nan,
      Just wanted to briefly respond to your comment because I have struggled with very similar issues. I used to be confused by my aversion to being reciprocally touched by partners because that is usually posited as a butch thing, and though I’ve never been feminine, I’m not a butch.
      For several years I partnered exclusively with Straighbians because I wanted to be with someone who would permit a sexually one-sided relationship and never force me to confront my deep-seated fears of vulnerability and intimacy.
      I think sexual abuse and growing up in an intensely homophobic environment can lead people to those “stone” behaviors. I used to associate being touched sexually with a loss of control, with pain, fear and self loathing. And even if my partners did not have bad intentions, I didn’t want those negative associations tainting what we were doing. I also wasn’t ready to look beyond the walls I had built, to deal with (or even admit) the trauma, or to give up the unhealthy coping mechanisms to find better ones. The things that have helped me most were learning to have compassion for myself, learning to see my body as a part of me (as opposed to a tool or a burden or an object), and finding partners who were trustworthy and understood what I was dealing with.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Thank you so much for this post!! It really rings true, what both you and Dirt have written on this topic. I need to collect my thoughts before commenting further.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. OK, I’m so glad this topic came up. Like you said
    ” We WANT to dispense the chips. And we feel progressively guilty and uneasy over time when we are relegated to always being the receiver and never the giver.”

    But what if the femme is uneasy (just as she’s always been even with (formerly) a male) “expensing these chips”) She’s just uncomfortable with this type of intimacy, yet she truly loves her lover whether she be femme or bitch?

    Is that selfish??? Or does that realistically make her a straitbian?

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s an excellent question, thanks!

      My initial thoughts are:

      Some people are naturally, due to temperament, initially uncomfortable/shy/etc. sexually, but then start feeling more comfortable as they get familiar with sex with their partner.

      So that’s NOT what I am referring to here. I am not referring to the initial awkwardness or shyness that may occur at the beginning of a relationship.

      By saying “pillow princess”, I am referring to a woman who is comfortable/interested ONLY in being on the receiving end of sex; and who has NO interest and makes NO effort (etc.) to reciprocate by making love to her Lesbian partner.

      In that case, if there is truly NO interest or desire whatsoever in touching her Lesbian partner, then the question of Straightbian arises.

      Because Lesbian is a sexual orientation. Although it is certainly not all about sex, sexual attraction/interest is definitely a component.

      But: if she is interested but has other reasons for her discomfort with sex (due to, for example, sexual abuse or previous sexual assault), then those factors do indeed confuse the situation, and would therefore need to be addressed, preferably before embarking on a sexual relationship.

      Does that make sense? It’s a complicated question and therefore difficult to address concisely. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, I understand.
        Okay, next question:
        Let’s say a femme interested but (due to sexual abuse) and wants to be intimate but taking it slow, would would be uncomfortable with “going down” on another woman, but instead “other things” does that still make her a straitbian even does she truly does love her mate (just uncomfortable with doing it back) because honestly I don’t think it’s fair…I guess not is it fair to review it but not give it. It’s not in a lesbian Handbook that says you must.

        Another question or statement: I’m attracted to butch (so to speak) but only if she’s attractive. For example some lesbian women are distinctive and there’s no doubt they’re butch because they carry themselves very masculinly and they “look” sorta like men and I apologize if that offends anyone. Then there are the butch who carry themselves masculinly, but look femme. Which are the women I am sorta attracted to. I have a photo of a few from KistchKandy Instagram that sells fashion but has all Lesbian models that I wish I could show you as an example. She’s pretty.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I think the problem is that with limited information plus the complexities of the topic, it’s difficult to make broad proclamations. The women Dirt and I have addressed as Straightbians in our series have an extensive public history of writings, lectures, interviews, etc. that we could definitively draw on to conclude that they were/are Straightbians.

          My point is that, as I noted in the post, there are Femmes who do remain in relationships with “Stone” Butches due to love, not knowing what to do about it, brainwashing, etc. Those Femmes aren’t true “Pillow Princesses”.

          As far as sex goes, everyone has preferences of what they like to do and what they are comfortable/uncomfortable with. Not liking oral sex or penetration or toys (or whatever) doesn’t, by itself, indicate whether someone is a Lesbian or a Straightbian. Everybody has likes/dislikes, the key is hopefully to find someone whose likes/dislikes are compatible with yours.

          So: it’s the reciprocal desire to want to make love, in some physical way, that I am talking about, NOT a specific act.

          The main point is: is the desire for MUTUAL sexual touching/intimacy present? (Whatever that entails for the specific couple involved).

          Does that make sense? Will answer the rest separately because space in this “reply” bubble is limited, LOL!

          Liked by 3 people

        • Part 2: Re: semantics regarding the term “Masculinity”: It is difficult to describe Butches because we are all so limited with the current terms of language, but Butches (or any other woman) can’t be “masculine” because they are female. The best term I have heard is how Dirt describes it: Butches “carry female differently”. But I know what you mean and I am not criticizing, it’s just a point I try to always make when I encounter that term. 🙂

          Anyway, attraction is a very individualized thing. Some people have very specific “types” they are attracted to, others are more flexible. Sounds like from your general description that you like sort of “Sporty” or “Athletic” or “Tomboyish” types (what some refer to as “soft butch”), rather than true Butches. I looked at the KitschKandy website and that is the general vibe I got. Again, though, it’s difficult to describe what we’re talking about because we’re limited by available language.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for this post. Butch shame is a topic that most people either do not know about or do not understand. I hope to see more information like this in the future.

    One thing I wanted to point out if I may is that stone in the context being discussed here is exclusive to butches. Sure other lesbians might have discomfort or confusion but it is not the same as what a stone butch experiences. Not to minimize anyone’s experience but this is a very specific thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Concerned Lesbian (love your name, BTW!). Thanks for pointing that out, and I agree. I believe I said in an earlier comment that I think that Lesbians of all “types” can experience some degree of discomfort or body shame or dysphoria, but I totally agree that the Butch shame we’re talking about here, in regard to the topic of Stone Butch, is a very specific thing that is unique to Butches. While the rest of us (including me) can learn about it and even develop some cognitive understanding of it, we cannot truly/totally understand it since we haven’t experienced it ourselves. That’s why I extensively quoted Dirt in this post and provided links to her posts on the topic; because we need to listen to, and learn from, someone who has actually lived it herself.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve been thinking about any advice I may be able to provide. I don’t have as much experience as you since I am younger and have only been with one butch, but I do have a little bit of advice to femmes.
    Things to do:
    -Do let her know that you love her as a butch woman, and that means you love her butch personality and also her female body
    -Do let her know that you are turned on by her body and want to pleasure her
    -Do offer her patience and understanding, and let her grow into intimacy at her own pace
    -Do practice other forms of intimacy and give her other forms of touch, such as massage & cuddling
    -Do talk to her about how you can make love to her without making her feel “unbutched” (maybe she can handle having her clit stimulated even if not her vagina)

    Things NOT to do:
    -Don’t give her ultimatums or have tantrums when she shuts down. This will just ensure she keeps shutting down
    -Don’t make a big deal out of it or gloat when she allows you to touch her. Just tell her you loved pleasing her and leave it at that
    -Don’t put a whole bunch of pressure on her- it’s better to let her know you want her and then let her come to you when she is ready

    Also: in one of Dirt’s posts that you linked, she mentioned Stone Butch Blues. I think Dirt believes that Jess was always stone, but Jess had a lover named Theresa who she said “could always melt my stone.” She didn’t write a sex scene about it, but judging by that comment I think that Jess did allow herself to be touched by Theresa. I think Theresa was also the most important lover in her life. Jess didn’t transition because she believed she was male, she was suffering from chronic unemployment and felt her only choice was to pass as male in order to fit into society. She said she would still be a butch even on testosterone, which is not what FtMs say. Theresa, being a real femme, left her when she transitioned, because she would not be with a man. It was really, really sad, of course, but I think that Theresa saw Jess as a butch lesbian and knew how to bring her back to herself, and it was just the pressures of the outer world that made her transition. It would have been good if Feinberg wrote more about how Theresa “melted her stone” during their relationship and it’s too bad she didn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Excellent suggestions! Thanks so much! Will incorporate those into a follow-up post and will give you credit, of course. 🙂

      That is interesting about Jess & Theresa too; it’s been sooooo long since I read Stone Butch Blues. It would be interesting to read again now.

      I wish more Butches would write/speak about all of this too.

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

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