“Ew.. unless you have OnlyFans?”
This was a comment that landed on a photo of me and my fiancée from a male user on Instagram. I wish I could say that these types of comments are the exception, but unfortunately, they have become the norm.
Lisa and I started dating almost 5 years ago, and before then I had only ever dated men. Very early on in our relationship, it became alarmingly apparent to me that homosexual relationships are not seen as equal to heterosexual relationships.
There have been instances where Lisa and I were out at bars and men have made disgusting sexual comments toward us, asked us to kiss, or touch, or perform other acts for their pleasure or entertainment.
Dating men was a different story…
When I was dating men, I never experienced inappropriate comments challenging or invalidating the seriousness of my love. Never when I was in public with my male partners holding hands would we have men yelling out car windows, or approaching us with sexual comments. It seems this type of inappropriate behaviour, lack of respect, and sexualization of my love was reserved solely for my same-sex relationship.
My social media presence has really magnified how people view same-sex couples and their relationships. Our relationships are often not taken seriously; rather, they are seen as a form of sexual entertainment. I struggle daily with the desire to share the love and romance between my partner and I on social media, knowing there are cis men sitting on the other side of that screen, interpreting our love as if it is porn. According to them, we exist only to be devoured; celebrated for the way our relationship satisfies their sexual desires rather than for the way our love is true and real and beautiful and transcends the barriers of normalcy.
The majority of inappropriate comments and messages that I receive seem to come from cis males, however, there have been women who have insinuated that simply because we are two women attracted to one another, we must be interested in having sex with them too. The idea that my relationship is open for others to join in on simply because I am with a woman just never really made sense to me; in fact, it makes me feel angry and frustrated. I chose to take that frustration and channel it into sharing my story and educating others. Simply put: Our homosexuality is not an invitation for your heteronormative fantasies.
My relationship does not exist for your sexual pleasure
Many of those comments that once went ignored, I now use as an opportunity to educate.
“What makes you think that we would want you to join in?”
I have given this response to many people after comments like “room for a third?” or “can I join?” I don’t often receive a reply from them, but sometimes I do. The responses can be rude, downright verbally abusive, or sometimes they can be remorseful. Regardless, I feel good knowing that I made them aware that those kinds of comments are not acceptable, ever.
I will never forget the lengthy conversation I once had with a man who tried to tell me that I am only in a relationship with a woman because I had not met the right man yet. He then went on tell me all of the ways in which he would please me sexually that Lisa could not.
His reaction was not a positive one when I told him that there are many ways women can be pleased sexually that do not involve or require a man and his parts—go figure.
When sharing affection turns into a negative experience
Sharing my experiences on social media has been even more enlightening, as it has shown me how common this type of treatment is. The number of messages I have received from other same-sex couples experiencing the same disrespect and harassment makes my heart ache, but it also drives me to fight for change.
Any relationship, regardless of who exists in it, should be treated with the same respect that heterosexual couples are given automatically. It is unsettling that I still have to explain this to people, and that I am left vulnerable and exposed to verbal abuse and cruel comments simply because I choose to stand up against these culprits. I will continue to stand up and fight relentlessly for the validity of my own relationship and others in same-sex partnerships who do not deserve the harassment and the vile comments.
All love is true and real, and we all deserve to exist fully in our relationships without fear.
Our love should not be questioned or undermined; and when it is, I will continue to stand up for myself, my partner, and the many others who have messaged me saying “me too.” Love will always win, y’all.
Hillary Lutes is a content creator and the face behind @hillarylutes. It is through her platform that she shares her journey through real life, real love, and everything that comes along with it. By degree, Hillary is a registered nurse. Her passion to help, empower, and inspire spills over into how she shows up for her community every single day.