Vincent in recent videos accompanying the album Masseduction : the flat colors, the disembodied legs, the bodies swaddled completely in latex.
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Vincent use them differently, but they seem to be part of an incipient visual lexicon of female queerness — not one that begins and ends with sexuality and sadness, as in the French film Blue Is the Warmest Color , but one that encompasses play, irony, desire, and, most of all, joy. The culture that gives rise to concepts like bisexual lighting, as well as other queer readings into popular culture, is an arena where geographically isolated queers can find each other and play.
Its queerness is explicit, ecstatic, and self-directed.
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More than representation, it offers proof that queer women artists excel at building visual worlds all their own, lit in blazing shades of pink and blue. This story has been updated to clarify the explanation of bisexual lighting. Already a subscriber? Log in or link your magazine subscription.
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But Arran said he could relate and talked about his own coming out. That's when I began to realize my prejudices. The most common misconception about bisexual people is that they're indecisive or confused. The stereotype is: "You're either straight, gay, or lying.
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Even now, there are few representations of bisexuals on television. As a result, many people whose sex lives are not easily labeled still feel compelled to live in the closet. Having kept my former occupation a secret, I knew what it was like: You deny parts of yourself and your past from the people around you out of fear of rejection. You deny parts of yourself even from yourself. Arran had said he wasn't looking for anything serious when we'd met, but things moved fast.
Less than a month later, we were an item. He sent me love poems. He brought me flowers every other week. On our sixth date, he played his guitar while singing an awkward cover of "Sea of Love. He wasn't just willing to watch home-decorating reality shows; he did so enthusiastically. I loved it! It also freaked me out.
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Arran seemed too good to be true. Although we got along in every other way, I began to second-guess our sexual compatibility. Despite the fact that it was Arran who first suggested we be monogamous, I feared that he hadn't dated enough people in his lifetime—specifically, enough men. Years before, Arran had been in a sexual relationship with his coworker, Steve, and Arran said he fit so comfortably into Steve's gay lifestyle that Arran assumed he himself was gay.
Months later, he moved to New York City to attend graduate school and met a woman who became his wife. After the divorce, he'd only had a few relationships, all with women. Steve was the only guy that Arran had ever been with. And even then, Arran said, "There was a lot of stuff we never did.
When Arran told me he was bisexual, I could have just believed him and accepted that he was happy with me and our sex life. But I was insecure. The men I was used to dating were easy to please in bed. And though Arran was initially bashful around the subject of sex, I got the sense he was eager to experiment. I follow Dan Savage's GGG rule, where a healthy sexual relationship relies on both partners being "good, giving, and game," but I'm not as uninhibited as I let guys assume.
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Even at my wildest, I'm used to very particular and, in some ways, traditional sexual experiences. I kept wondering what Arran truly wanted.
So, three months into our relationship, we decided to experiment. At a sex shop in the West Village, we learned the difference between a vibrator and a dildo, along with the benefits of silicone over rubber, and found the perfect strap-on for me to slip into Arran's virgin ass. Back at home, I took it out of the package, unbuckled the leather straps, and tried it on. The leather looked and felt sexy. I liked the way it smelled. To my relief, I felt turned on. Arran went down on me, and watching him suck the prosthetic was different, but not terrible.
Then, we put it aside and had "regular" sex. The idea of pegging was exciting. It was also scary. Even though lots of straight guys like to be pegged, trying the act brought my concerns about Arran's sexuality to the surface. When we eventually did it, I had trouble getting into it and had no clue what I was doing. It was frustrating and confusing. The whole time, I wondered if he secretly wished he were having sex with a guy. As a sex worker, I was used to performing. But I didn't want to perform anymore. I wanted intimacy, looking deeply into each other's eyes, and simultaneous orgasms.
In discussions, Arran said he liked sex that way, too. But he also liked that we had begun to explore other things. I was curious, but afraid. I wanted a normal, uncomplicated life.
But I also wanted to please my partner. The more insecure I felt, the more I insisted we experiment. The first time he tied me up, I loved it.
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When he suggested I do the same to him, I felt unsure. One night, we discovered that wearing women's underwear aroused him. The sex we had after he tried them on was good, but in the back of my mind, I felt uneasy.