Hayley the Happy Lezzer: Sleep with as Many Women as You Can

Hayley Sherman, Lesbian, Sex

By Hayley Sherman

That’s right: you heard it here first. Sex is a good thing. Okay, that’s hardly news, so let me back up a bit.

woman lying on white bed

When I told my partner the title of this month’s post, she threw a sock at my head. I guess I was lucky there wasn’t a brick in it. I have a very good reason for the suggestion, though, and I’m standing by it.

You see, as queer women, we sometimes have a rough ride—there’s self-acceptance, homophobia, coming out, finding and keeping a partner, having to deal with the fact that all of our TV heroes get killed off as soon as we get attached to them—but we do have an advantage over our straight sisters and brothers that serves our mental health in a number of positive ways—sex!

That’s right: you heard it here first. Sex is a good thing.

Okay, that’s hardly news, so let me back up a bit.

Back before Covid-19 got its spiky claws into the world, I was quite active. I was running regularly, cycling, eating well. Then the country came to a standstill and my personal lockdown was sponsored by Mr Kipling and The Codfather chippie around the corner. I work from home, but pre-lockdown I would get out and cycle to the library or into town quite often. With nowhere to go, stuck indoors, the most exercise I did was the lift-point-press-repeat of the remote control. Consequently, I’m now a flab monster of epic proportions. I’m not just a little wider; I’m all the way chunky. My partner and I used to enjoy taking a bath together; now we can barely fit in the bathroom at the same time. No lie, someone actually asked me when it’s due the other day! But I’m still feeling pretty okay about myself. I like my body. I can’t help it. I always have and I always will, whether it’s fat or thin. And why shouldn’t I? Aren’t we supposed to love our bodies?

She had been heavier in the past, so her breasts hung low, although they were small, and they were marked with silvery lines. Her stomach was a soft pouch that was once far fuller, and I loved to run my fingers over it.

Well, no, not if all we’ve got to measure them against are images of flawless, mostly photoshopped, ‘perfect’ women in the media that are presented to us as normal. But this is where our big queer advantage comes in. If you’ve slept with any number of women, and seen more than a few naked female bodies you will have experienced first-hand what I wish all women knew: that we don’t look anything like that (most of us don’t anyway) and it’s pretty much okay to be any damn shape, size, colour, height or weight you damn well please.

Follow Women Like Us on Facebook and Twitter

The first woman I ever slept with had tan lines that made her look like she was wearing a white t-shirt and shorts, although she was naked. She had been heavier in the past, so her breasts hung low, although they were small, and they were marked with silvery lines. Her stomach was a soft pouch that was once far fuller, and I loved to run my fingers over it. Another partner’s incredible breasts rested on the surface of her bulbous stomach when she sat up in bed and disappeared between her armpits when we made love; she had the most beautiful thighs I have ever seen. Another was sharp ribs and a xylophone spine. Another’s mottled, orange-peel bum still makes me smile. Scars, tattoos, veins, piercings, moles, birthmarks, skin tags, acne, stray hairs; none of us is ‘perfect’.

And I know we’re not supposed to talk about such things, but I’m officially lifting the fanny stigma too and telling you that I have never seen a symmetrical vagina. I have seen everything from discreetly enveloped folds to explosive, dramatic waves, and I have never seen two the same colour or the same shape. The perfect vagina is a myth that’s sold to us to sell products and make us feel like shit. Yours is absolutely fine. No two women’s bodies are the same, and we are so blessed as queer women to have this inside information. We don’t have to take the word of magazines and the internet about how other women look naked or semi-naked; we know from our own experience. And we definitely don’t need to listen to bullshit about how we should look. Why should we look a certain way when we’re all so different?

blonde-haitred Barbie doll photo

That’s the incredible, wonderful thing about our bodies – in fact, it’s where the true beauty lies; every inch tells the unique story of our lives. What could be more beautiful than that? Mine can’t look like yours because I’ve lived a completely different life to you, and I’m proud to wear it. Mine doesn’t look like the women in the magazines because my story hasn’t centred around the ambition of making my body ‘beautiful’ enough to qualify for these magazines. It hasn’t been a 24/7 regime of working out, colonics and drinking green goo; it’s been a seesaw with fitness on one side and over-indulgence on the other; currently playing is the story of my lockdown laziness: the plumper breasts and fuller belly; it tells other stories too: a slightly older tale of physical strength that’s still visible on my shoulders and back; it tells of my writer’s bum and the tattoo I had when I was nineteen to show my only ever boyfriend that I was braver than him; it whispers about the childhood bully who once pushed me over and called me ‘Ribena’ because of the long birthmark on my leg that looks like a map of the British Isles; and it proudly sings songs of survival with scars self-inflicted as a fucked-up young woman, struggling to cope with life, who didn’t understand the concept of forever. This is me. It’s my story. Your body is your story. It can only be your story; no one else’s.

So, yes, sleep with lots of women. Go out and hear as many stories as you can – each one so different but with the same ending – that we’re all incredible exactly as we are.

Hayley Sherman is a writer, ghostwriter, blogger and editor who just wants everyone to be nice to each other. Her blog smiles in the face of adversity, licks the cheek of the oppressor and generally reflects on her denial about being a middle-aged lesbian. hayleyshermanwriter.com.

Read all Hayley the Happy Lezzer posts.

Find blog posts by other incredible LGBTQ+ women

Like, Comment and Share the Love

Follow Women Like Us …


Sometimes I Look for the Love of My Life When I Pee … Illustrations by Odara Rumbol

Inspirational, motivational illustrations that make it just a little bit easier to be a woman.

Hayley the Happy Lezzer – Fingering After Dark

Hayley Sherman, Lesbian, Marriage

By Hayley Sherman

person holding string lights

“I run downstairs for the butter, WD40, an organ grinder and eventually the fire brigade and trash the whole room trying to wrestle it off her while she miraculously stays asleep.”

It’s 3.30 a.m. and my alarm quietly bleeps on the bedside table. It takes a bleary second for me to remember why I set it, and then the magnitude of the moment kicks in and I’m all business. Tonight’s the night!

Sarah stirs a little beside me, so I don’t make a move until she’s found her sleeping rhythm again, making a noise that I choose to call a purr rather than a snore because I love her so much. It’s as dark as a room can be, so with all my stealth and cunning, I reach out and feel the carpet under the bed where I’ve hidden the secret tool I need for my covert mission – a loop of thirty steel rings strung together, designed to measure everything from a baby’s little finger to the devil’s own thumb. As soon as I touch it, it jangles like a set of jailer’s keys, but Sarah’s out for the count now, so, holding my breath, I dare to pick it up and put my plan into action.

I have to confess that when gay marriage was legalised, it never occurred to me that I might, one night, be awake in a dark, silent room forcing my unconscious girlfriend’s finger into a series of holes to measure her up for an engagement ring without waking her, but life is full of little surprises.  

Follow Women Like Us on Facebook and Twitter

Take me, for example; I had been happily single for about nine years before meeting her and was perfectly content in life. I don’t want to say that I’d resigned myself to never marrying, because that somehow implies that my single life was ‘less than’, and that was never the case. In fact, it always pissed me off when well-meaning, loved-up friends would tip their heads on the side, pull the pity pout and say, ‘Aw, are you still single?’ as if asking if I still had piles. ‘Don’t worry, the right person’s out there for you,’ they’d add. ‘You just haven’t met her yet. You’re lovely.’ Bloody cheek! I spent years cultivating the single life I wanted.

Sometimes I’d get in there first and say, ‘Aw, are you still with Kelly? Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get your freedom back soon. You’re lovely.’

The frustrating/beautiful truth, however, is that they were right. She was out there all along, but if we’d met at any other point in our lives, we wouldn’t have been a fit. We’ve both lived just the right amount of life now to be oven-ready for each other.

Back to the dark bedroom, and Sarah’s working with me without even knowing it. She’s made a surprise big-spoon move and is draped over me. I’d wondered how I was going to engineer grabbing her hand, and now she’s handed it to me (so to speak). I have to be quick, though. I fumble for a ring from the middle of the jangly set, wishing now that I had a) chosen a few rings that might be close to her size when it was still light, b) taken them off the loop or c) taken the advice I read online about using cotton to measure her finger. But never mind. We’re here now. I have her hand and if she wakes up mid-manoeuvre, I’ll just hold on for dear life, thrash about a bit and tell her I was having a nightmare about Boris Johnson.

Celebrating Female Passion … Art by Paola Rossi

I get lucky on the first go. The ring doesn’t fit, but it’s close, just a touch too big, and more importantly, she hasn’t moved or stirred, but something’s changed: I can no longer hear or feel her rhythmic breathing on my back, so either she’s awake and just letting me do this, too polite to spoil the surprise, probably laughing her arse off at me, or she’s tragically passed away in the last few moments. I hope it’s neither and try to slip the ring off her finger, but before I get to the knuckle, the worst imaginable thing happens – she clenches a fist. I try to console myself with the good news that she’s probably not dead, but it seems little consolation next to the task ahead of getting the bloody thing off. Thankfully, she unclenches just as quickly, but I’m about as close to a coronary as a 43-year-old should be allowed to get by now.

I can’t help wondering if married life is always going to be this difficult.

I feel for the next smallest ring. Something inside is telling me that I should quit while I’m ahead, but I’ve never been one to listen to the voices, so I slide it on – or rather I force it on – over the knuckle, and this is definitely the one. Perfect! A little snug but definitely the one. And I know what you’re thinking. Is she going to be able to get it off or is this going to turn into an episode of Mr Bean, where I run downstairs for the butter, WD40, an organ grinder and eventually the fire brigade and trash the whole room trying to wrestle it off her while she miraculously stays asleep? Well, I’ll leave you to wonder how that part of the story ended and skip a few weeks ahead to the good bit … She said yes!

 

Hayley Sherman is a writer, ghostwriter, blogger and editor who just wants everyone to be nice to each other. Her blog smiles in the face of adversity, licks the cheek of the oppressor and generally reflects on her denial about being a middle-aged lesbian. hayleyshermanwriter.com.

Read all Hayley the Happy Lezzer posts.

Find blog posts by other incredible LGBTQ+ women

Like, Comment and Share the Love

Follow Women Like Us …


Pride, Love and the Power of Self-Acceptance

By Louise Clare Dalton: “Yes, for almost twenty-four years I was ashamed, I denied myself queer love and the joy of living my truth, but I’m here now. How great is that? I’M HERE! And I’m so proud of my journey.”

2020: Locking Down My mental Health

By Josie Quinn: “Addiction is sneaky like that; it reminds you of the brief rush you felt, not the days and weeks of regret and shame after, and definitely not the years of help and work it took to get to a stage where it finally felt under control.”

Hayley the Happy Lezzer: The Gender Dance-Off

Gender, Hayley Sherman, Lesbian, Non-Binary

By Hayley Sherman

“Had I been growing up now, ‘non-binary’ may have been a shoe that fit, but as I skidded through my teens in the nineties, gender was as fixed as the colour of your skin; you could change it no more than you could change the weather or Sporty Spice’s insistence that she was straight.”

When I was about eleven, I won a £5 Co-op voucher in a dancing competition in an old people’s home. I have no idea why I was there on my own, but it was a cake stall and tombola kind of day, and there were maybe five of us kids bopping to ‘When Will I Be Famous?’ by Bros in a threadbare-carpet clearing, watched by flossy-haired old dears – me in my shorts, Rowdy Roddy Piper T-shirt and floppy, mousey, boyish curtains. I don’t know if I even knew it was a competition until the music stopped and a middle-aged woman in a flowery number gave out the prizes.

“And in second place … (pause for tension) … this handsome young fella here.”

I looked around, and when I turned back, she was coming at me, lips first, and planted a smacker on my cheek. Me? A handsome young fella? But …

“Give him a round of applause,” she told the dusty crowds, and I blushed as the place erupted into creaky applause.

As she moved onto the winner, I was left gripping my voucher, not only wondering if the Co-op sold anything other than frozen chips and fish fingers (which was what I was usually sent there to get), but if I should correct her. I’m a girl! You kissed a girl! But at the same time there was something too delicious about it. I’d wanted to be a boy my entire life, and in that moment, I was. It wasn’t like at school, where kids I’d known since I was five would laugh and ask, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ in high-pitched voices. This was actually passing. Eighties disco-boy realness! It didn’t stop me running to spend my voucher before anyone found out and took it away, though.

Follow Women Like Us on Facebook and Twitter

I joke now that I was a little boy until I was about twenty, when I became a woman. There was never a girl phase. I still wonder if the girls in my school had secret makeup, hair and giggling classes that I was excluded from. Without these classes (which I assume also taught appropriate walking, talking and breast management) the transition into womanhood wasn’t particularly easy, but what other option was there? I couldn’t remain the muddy, tree-climbing scamp that I had been as a child, and the secret ‘man classes’ at school also went on behind my back. I wasn’t particularly butch anyway; I was just other.

I occasionally tried to go undercover with women, drawing on my face and limping along in high heels, but I was always sprung, and I’m not a natural conformist, so more often than not, I would just do me, which thankfully always landed me good friends: initially menfolk who didn’t easily fit the man-mould and then other lesbians when I finally worked out where to find them. 

Had I been growing up now, ‘non-binary’ might have been a shoe that fit, but as I skidded through my teens in the nineties, gender was as fixed as the colour of your skin; you could change it no more than you could change the weather or Sporty Spice’s insistence that she was straight. And, to be honest, wrapping my brain around being gay was hard enough; not viewing myself as a proper woman was something that would occasionally make me feel shit, but it wasn’t the centre of my world.

Checkout artwork by Nicola Copsey

Now, many years later, I’m glad that the wonderful term ‘non-binary’ was unavailable to me, although I see that it fits some people, because I feel like I’ve won a hard-fought battle over the years to pocket the term ‘woman’ on my own terms, to wrangle and panel-beat it into something more comfortable. And the gender revolution has provided something that feels so much more useful to me than a new term; it’s given me representations of women that I can relate to … on TV, online, in the street, in movies; they’re everywhere, and seeing myself represented – seeing us all represented – is validating. As a younger woman I had such a fixed idea of what a woman should be – everything I wasn’t. Turns out it was my definition of the word ‘woman’ that was faulty, not me; my position on the vast sliding scale of femininity does not determine my success or even my qualification as a woman. We come in all shapes, sizes and flavours, all just as delicious as each other.

Hayley Sherman is a writer, ghostwriter, blogger and editor who just wants everyone to be nice to each other. Her blog smiles in the face of adversity, licks the cheek of the oppressor and generally reflects on her denial about being a middle-aged lesbian. hayleyshermanwriter.com.

Read all ‘Hayley the Happy Lezzer‘ posts.

Find blog posts by other incredible LGBTQ+ women


An Afternoon in Primark Changed My Life: Joni’s Story

“It touched other aspects of my life for years to come: finding work was difficult because I was so searchable. Nobody wanted ‘that angry transwoman’ working for them. Read More

BLOG POST: But … how do you even know you’re bisexual?

“It’s this same logic that leads some to think that bisexual people in heterosexual relationships have flipped on their straight switch, and are now no longer bi. Or that when a bi person enters into same-sex relationship, they are now gay. For some reason we’ve been conditioned to believe that the person we’re currently sleeping with is in direct correlation to our sexuality. Honeys, that ain’t it. I assure you.” Read More