The best sex of my life continues to be queer sex.

-Haillee Mason

by Haillee Mason

I wish I could say that I’ve always known that I deserved good sex. Or that I arrived into my twenties seeking out my own pleasure. But Black queer women like me are never taught that they deserve anything—not an orgasm, not empathy, or even apologies. I had arrived in my adolescence, familiar with the pleasure I had learned to give myself, but unaware of how to demand that same pleasure from someone else.

For as long as I’ve remembered myself to exist, I have been queer. I’ve felt it quaking in my belly since the time I was five. Still, I spent most of my childhood stumbling through the indoctrination of Southern Baptist condemnations of queer identity and the subtle homophobia of an Afro-Caribbean home life. When I got older, I tried to cure my own queerness through sex with cis-men.

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I hated sex with cis-men. Many times, it was painful and uncomfortable. They didn’t want to use lube or toys, they wanted to use my body to reenact their mainstream pornographic imaginations, using my pain and discomfort as the muse for their orgasm.

When I finally realized that there was no cure for my queerness, I told myself that the sex that I was having with men was a prerequisite for my own queer sexual liberation. That eventually, after numerous sexual experiences with a lot of different cis-men, I would stop suffering in silence and become brave enough to ask for a slower stroke or more lubricant. That eventually, after I became comfortable asking for what I needed, I could end the mechanical sex I was having, and seek out the queer sex I desperately wanted.

So, I fucked. I fucked how I had learned—selflessly, dramatically, and unassuming. I never asked for oral sex, or intimacy, or reciprocated vulnerability, but I gave them freely.

In the few technical conversations I’d had with my parents about sex, themes around abstinence and protection grounded the conversation, not pleasure and comfort. I experienced pain, discomfort, and shame because I had been taught that was the only way I could experience sex. I had never thought enough about my pleasure to demand better.

But I was tired of feeling shame around my experiences with painful and coercive sex at the hands of cis-men. I felt there was nothing shameful about my wanting sexual partners who were invested in my humanity and my pleasure. There was nothing shameful about desiring sexual partners who wanted to engage in a kind of sex that shed every subtext of violence and domination that brought me pain. I wanted sex that was delicious and emancipating, and I had finally given myself the permission to locate my own desire.

It was my freshman year of college. I had moved out of my parent’s house and I was eager to explore what sex could be outside of shame and secret. During my second semester, I met a woman. She was gentle, and kind, and attentive. I felt so much comfort with her, a kind I had never experienced—warm, and full, and deep down.

I wanted her to fuck me.

We were cuddled together on the twin bed in my dorm room. Her leg was wrapped around me and kept me close. We fit together there, like two pieces of mosaic. I pressed my lips firmly against her sleep-furrowed brow and inhaled deeply. I studied her. The technicolor light from the television turned metallic on her skin, and I had never felt more present than in this moment.

I took her hand, which had been resting on my ass, and leisurely brought it to my face. Her fingertips brushed the side of my breasts and I felt heat. I kissed her on each closed eyelid. Even though it was late afternoon, the room danced with shadows from the drawn blinds. I tenderly traced her cheekbone with my pinky finger. I wanted her to wake up—and she did. She smiled at me through eyes still heavy with sleep and pulled me closer. Her right hand rested on my upper thigh.

Imagine how butterflies feel underneath your skin after they have erupted from your belly. I’m sure she felt my body tremble when she brushed her knuckles across my pussy. Her lips were on my neck, on my shoulder, on my mouth. I felt enveloped and desired in a way that did not make me feel dehumanized or shameful. I felt empowered.

She looked up at me for permission to explore my body and I gave it to her. We spent the day indulging in each other, using our hands, and mouths, and imaginations to validate each other’s humanities and pleasure.

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The best sex of my life continues to be queer sex. Every time I fuck another queer person, it is active decolonization. Every moan, and bite, and stroke is an erosion of every binary I once believed was true.

When I fuck another queer person, it is like an outpour of celebration for our collective existence. It is veneration to my ancestors whose queer intimacy kept them alive and feeling in the bowels of slave ships. It is an exploration of what sex could be in the wake of liberation. This is the sex that I’ve always deserved.