What is Queer Sex

What is Queer Sex?

What is queer sex is a simple sounding question but there isn’t one easy answer for it. Anyway, I get asked it so here’s how I respond.

When people refer to queer sex they usually refer to any kind of sex that people of the same gender do. So things like: kissing, vaginal sex with toys or fingers, humping, anal sex, fingering, stroking, oral sex, or using sex toys. People might also use the term ‘lesbian sex’, to mean kissing, licking out, using sex toys, and strap on penises. And other folk use the term ‘gay sex’ as a shorthand for penis in anus sex, blowjobs, handjobs

If you have a queer identity and you find the terms ‘queer sex’, ‘lesbian sex’, or ‘gay sex’ useful then great. However, I don’t use these terms here at BISH, even though this website is definitely not just for straight folks. Here’s why. 

Queer sex vs ‘normal’ sex

When people use the term queer sex it’s to make space for talking about a kind of sex that is often not really talked about. When people talk about sex in the real world they often are saying ‘kissing – foreplay – taking clothes off – masturbation – oral sex – penis in vagina sex’. I call this the sexual script. We might also say that it’s heteronormative. It’s telling a story about what kinds of sex is ‘normal’ and that sex is hetero, ie straight.

So when we live in a world where the stories about sex are really really straight, it might be quite useful for people to talk about queer sex. It’s about making space. Reminding people ‘hey not everyone is straight’. That can be useful, but it can also reinforce the boundary around what is ‘normal’. It makes the line that bit thicker, rather than thinner. If your sex ed was really really straight and then you get just one LGBTQ lesson, what message does that send about what kinds of sexualities and genders are normal? 

Queer folk doing ‘straight sex’

A downside of defining what is queer sex is that queer folk often have ‘straight sex’. Of course bisexual or pansexual couples can have penis in vagina sex. Also some trans men may have a vagina, and some trans women have a penis, and both may be able to enjoy penis in vagina sex. 

A lot of straight folk really enjoy having what is called ‘queer sex’ and some straight folk might find it difficult to have ‘straight sex’ even if they wanted to. For example many people with disabilities, or some intersex folk, or people who can’t enjoy entry sex. So ‘queer sex’ can be really great for people who may not be queer, but does that make it queer?

Here’s an article about vanilla sex

Why I try not to define things

As a pretty well respected sex educator 💅, I have quite a lot of power. If I say ‘this is what this is …’ or come up with a new term for something, then it can quite easily become a story about what you should do. A should story. Being a good sex educator is about giving people tools to try to work out how they might want to have sex, with whom, and when. So if I define something I risk doing just that. 

Also because I’m not queer, it’s certainly not for me to define what is ‘queer sex’, even if I thought that would be a good idea (which I don’t). Mind you, I don’t go around telling people what ‘straight sex’ is either, in fact I hope I never have. Rather than trying to define queer(n.) sex, I think it’s more useful to try to queer(vb.) sex. 

Queering sex 

I think that good sex educators should take the stories that we hear about ‘what is real sex’ or ‘normal’ sex and queer them. We try to mess with them, or rearrange them, or f**k them up in some way. I think that’s more what I’m trying to do here at BISH. 

So instead of asking ‘what is queer sex’ I tend to try to ask things like ‘what [else] does queer sex do?’ The main way I approach sex is to say: look, there are lots and lots of different sexual activities that people may want to try, regardless of their sexuality or gender. There is no ‘normal’ or ‘proper’ sex, just different kinds of sex. What do we need to make these sexual activities as safe, consensual, and as pleasurable as possible? 

So at BISH …

This means that at BISH I try to make every page for everybody. There are no ‘these are the resources for straight readers and here are the resources for queer readers’. If you find a page on here that could be a bit more inclusive, or can think of a way to make it a bit better, you can leave feedback below. (Be kind and nice though).

Here’s a big article called what is sex which explains different kinds of sex and how you might do them more safely, consensually, and pleasurably.

Hope that makes sense!

Comment below if you like. I moderate all comments before they appear, just so you know!

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© Justin Hancock, 2024 Find out more about me and BISH here.

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I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’ve been on the telly and the radio and have written articles for newspapers and magazines. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Read more about me and BISH here. Find out about my other work here Justin Hancock

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