Whole Lesbian Sex
Are You Getting Any Action?

Felice Newman,

When my book, The Whole Lesbian Sex Book, first came out, there was one question I was asked over and over and over: "So, are you getting much action?"

Women wanted to know if I'd been getting a lot of, well, attention. You know, offers, come-ons, invitations. Have I been getting hit on, they want to know – eyebrows raised.

Actually, what I got most was a lot of women asking me if other women were asking me to have sex with them. What's up with that?

Some of these inquiries came from women who hoped I embodied their fantasies. They wanted my life to resemble an endless On Our Backs pictorial, and they sighed with disappointment to learn that, while I do have great sex, I didn't just step out of a photo spread.

Other inquiries were themselves not-so-subtle invitations. But like cautious card players, these girls hedged their bets. Just in case I wasn't interested, they hadn't really asked.

Whatever happened to the thrill of taking a risk? I offer sex advice on a lesbian website, and I get posts asking me to divine the signs and tell the writer whether the woman of her dreams dreams of her, too. She's convinced herself that if the object of her (wet) dreams isn't making a move, she must not be interested. So why invite rejection? This would be comic if it weren't so tragic – since the woman in question is probably thinking the very same thing.

You know the joke: While the lesbians are still parsing the data, the gay boys are zipping up and heading home.

Rationalizing that women traditionally have been socialized to wait for someone else to make the first move doesn't cut it. Feminist theory won't get you laid.

There's got to be a better way. Whether you prefer subtle flirting or bold propositions is up to you. But if you want to have sex with that hot woman, you've got to state your interest. Try these:

Are you single?

Do you play?

Are your lips as luscious as they look?

I find you fascinating.

I love the way you move.

I've wanted to tell you all evening that I find you beautiful.

Would you like to dance?

Are you dating anyone?

Are you free for dinner?

Are you free for breakfast?

The statement "I find you extremely attractive, and I'd love to spend some time with you – would you like to get together?" is acceptable in almost any situation. "I'd really like to touch you. May I?" is best saved for the dance floor or a sex party.

You can state the conditions under which you might like to have sex: "I'd love to play. But I'd like to get to know you a bit better first." You can check out a potential partner's relationship status: "I never date married women. Are you seeing anyone?"

You can trade interests, experiences, and fantasies – and get your message across quite clearly: "I hear you're quite a skilled top. I find the thought of submission tantalizing, though I've only bottomed once. Would you be interested in showing me the ropes?"

Of course, sometimes you get turned down. My own fear of rejection shrank to a manageable size the day I overheard a stunning femme graciously deflect a sexual come-on. The would-be suitor approached the femme and said, "We've been eyeing each other all day. I want you to know I find you very attractive." The femme responded, "Thank you." Period. She did not find it necessary to qualify her response, nor did she find it necessary to behave defensively.

I understood in that moment that a genuine expression of desire had value, regardless of the response. I was no less beautiful or worthy a human being because someone said, "No, thank you."

And most of the time, they said yes.

Felice Newman is a founding publisher of Cleis Press, coaches individuals and couples and she is the author of "The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us." She can be reached at Visit her at

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