I spent nearly a decade in fandom hearing the anti-slash crowd try to point out, “But how can those two men be a couple? Look how much [one of them] liked women!” And they said it again and again, because so many people who are only attracted to one gender truly believe we don’t exist. Bisexual women who marry cis men are called “lesbians until graduation”, and bisexual women who marry AFAB people of any gender are often mistaken for lesbians by straight people. I’ve had a number of straight cis men argue with me about my orientation for years — they’re determined that I should be called lesbian, not bisexual, despite my rather passionate crushes on various cis male celebrities and my spouse’s transgender identity. Thank goodness I married the way I did because otherwise I’d be mistaken for straight, and I’d certainly rather have my hetero side erased than my queer side — if I have to suffer such mislabelings at all.
There used to be a link to another blog here, but they had to move their site and I was told the old posts might not migrate. So I’ll post the content here. It goes into some detail about how my bisexuality led me to write both lesbian romance and heterosexual romance into my fantasy novel, The Second Mango.
I thought I’d talk about the more sensual aspects of the book. Now, it’s listed as New Adult or Young Adult, so the sex scenes aren’t explicit, and they focus more on the emotions than the mechanics of what’s going on, but I was still striving for unbridled passion, and even without graphic details you can tell which acts are being enjoyed.
First of all, the main character of my book is a bookish little lesbian queen named Shulamit, who’s at that age where pretty much all women catch her eye. She’s attracted to confidence and competence, and also has a pretty serious interest in Bewbs.
[Shulamit’s] left hand was full of one of Aviva’s breasts, the feel of which sent her brain spiraling into pinwheels of delight. “I tried looking in books to see why these make me so happy,” she commented. “Nobody knew.”
Aviva giggled at her. “You would.” Moans overtook her ability to speak as she ground herself harder against Shulamit’s other hand.
“It wasn’t a complete waste of time—I did find some pretty interesting reading on how our bodies work.”
Aviva clenched her teeth, clearly trying to muffle herself, but the next groan escaped anyway, even stronger. “Is that why you’re—Ahhh! Okay, you studied for sex. You are truly amazing.”
Then there’s the secondary main character, Rivka, a heterosexual warrior woman who stands five-foot-eleven and rides a dragon into battle. She’s still a virgin, but only because the man she loved — the wizard who taught her to swordfight, against her uncle’s wishes — was held prisoner of a celibacy curse as the price of his getting to learn magic. They fell desperately in love:
“I’m sorry—I’m weak—” She pressed herself against his door, yearning for the impossible, wanting him to hold her and turn whatever felt like a heart beating between her legs into an oasis of sweet relief.
“No, you’re strong because you know what you want and you’re not afraid to ask for it.”
Picture him: over six feet tall, with muscled, powerful arms and the kind of body that’s got a cushion of fat over thick, sturdy muscle–the barrel-chested bouncer type, but fun to cuddle. He’s got a neatly-trimmed goatee and an “impish, placid expression and pointed eyebrows that suddenly made her think of a cat smiling at you with its eyes closed.”
The sensuality in my book is feminist-positive, sex-positive, and healthy for all the characters involved. Women are permitted to own their desires; when the celibate Isaac finds out that Rivka has the hots for him, he doesn’t encourage her to choke it off “for her sake”–he attempts to soothe her as best he can and tells her over and over again that she’s allowed to feel the way she feels. Shulamit is the only lesbian she knows for most of the book, but she isn’t ashamed of being different–only lonely and alienated because the people around her aren’t handling her difference in as respectful a manner as she would like.
The Second Mango is very much a reflection of my own bisexual brain. There are lots of things I love about women, and women’s bodies, and the bodies of people who don’t identify as women but have that same body. But I also like certain men — the middle-aged, mysterious, gray-hat, secretive, cassock-wearing, barrel-chested, goateed Isaac being well within a type I’ve loved for years. By creating this story, I can enjoy both types of fictional relationship within the same universe, alongside each other just as they are in my own daydreams.