Lesbians Guess Whether Porn Stars Are Straight Or Lesbian, But Should Sex Acts Constitute Identity? — VIDEO

It's no secret that most mainstream porn is created with a very specific audience in mind — namely, straight men. As a result, a huge amount of porn found under the "lesbian" category isn't necessarily made for actual lesbians, or by them. A new YouTube video released by lesbian YouTuber Arielle Scarcella capitalizes on this fact; titled "Lesbians Guess: Straight Girls or Gay Girls in P*rn," the video features — you guessed it — lesbians watching various porn videos and trying to guess the sexuality of the women starring in them based off how they have sex with their partners. Some of them make immediate, sweeping judgments saying things like, "The blonde girl is straight for sure," or, "She kissed it, that's a gay thing to do"; other times, they describe the women as "iffy" or "probably curious." In fact, there appear to be an awful lot of do's and don'ts required to convincingly perform lesbian sex in porn.

The "rules" of being a convincing lesbian in porn according to the video require performers to: Visibly look like you're into having sex with your female partners, be into kissing her vagina, be visibly appreciative, put your hair in a ponytail so you don't get lady fluids all over it, finger other ladies with consistency, and have good form. Some red flags and causes for judgement include French fisting, looking like they're acting, unusual or particularly large-looking toys, or poorly executed fingering.

But it can sometimes be entertaining to watch one group of people attempt to identify another group of people based off of nothing more than a video — while it's true that a lot of porn intended to depict lesbian sex stars straight women and is created for a straight gaze — Scarcella's video also drives home this very important point: Sex acts shouldn't actually be considered a marker for sexuality. In fact, Scarcella says it herself at the end of the video: "How we express our sexuality has nothing to do with our sexual orientation .... How can we know how someone identifies based on how they act in bed?" We can't — and that's the whole point. We're not the ones who get to decide how someone else identifies.

I myself as a queer woman have fallen victim to adhering to this kind of narrative. Often when I go out and my friends ask me to identify whether another girl is gay, I — not unlike the girls in Scarcella's video — make sweeping judgements like, "Oh, her nails are long — she can't possibly be gay," or, "A gay girl wouldn't be caught dead in that outfit." I and many other women who like women have also made bold claims about how other girls have sex, saying this like, "Scissoring totally doesn't exist," or, "Lesbians don't like anal." While statements like this may have statistical or numerical value, they cannot be used to categorize the behaviors, sexual or otherwise, of all lesbians. These kinds of narratives undermine female sexuality and the complexities behind each and every identity, and perpetuate harmful stereotypes that can isolate lesbian, bisexual, and other non-hetero women, making them believe there's something wrong with them or that they're not normal.

The issue also, in this case, becomes one of feminism. We're essentially policing these women and deciding what they can do with their bodies to fit a particular mold. Why should I get to decide what makes someone else a lesbian? Why should anyone get to decide someone's identity based on her body or her choices? There's no such thing as a "real lesbian." The phrase itself reminds me of a campaign I used to see a lot when I was younger describing "real men." One specific visual that stands out in my mind is one that read, "Real men give up one-night stands for a woman they can't live without." While the sentiment to find a woman you love a lot is nice, it pushes a certain socially constructed, moral code or agenda onto men. Can gay men not be real men? Can men opposed to marriage not be real men? Can men in consenting non-monogomous relationships not be real men? So, then, in a similar vein can lesbians who have anal not be real lesbians? Or can women who have a lot of sex not be real women?

It's time to start moving on as societies and individuals from harmful generalizations. We need to start understanding that identity, sexuality, and sex and complicated, non-binary things. Besides, stereotypes are so yesterday.

Arielle Scarcella on YouTube

Images Giphy (2); Arielle Scarcella/YouTube