Claire Rammelkamp on new play FFS! – an exploration of teenage experiences of sexuality and the world of “lesbian” porn

BY CLAIRE RAMMELKAMP

I have never, to my knowledge, met a lesbian who enjoys so-called “lesbian” porn.

It’s a highly misleading category; it sounds as though it should be porn for lesbians, but in reality its just porn about lesbians.

Lady botherers are very much the object, not the subject, of this hugely popular variety of porn. And this is because it is designed and curated not for queer women, but for heterosexual men. 

In the annual statistics released by PornHub, the UK’s leading free porn website, “lesbian” is consistently one of the highest searched terms, along with “milf”, “step-sister” and “teen.”

Make of that what you will.

To me, it suggests that our sexuality is just one of those items – albeit a favourite – on a list of fetishes.

Most of us have experienced a fetishisation of lesbian sex at some point; on a spectrum from casually creepy to deeply distressing.

I’ve been asked more times than I count that classically bizarre question, “How do you do it” and men have leered at me while holding a woman’s hand as though we were having public sex.

And in many ways, it’s not surprising considering the images of queer female sexuality they are exposed to are designed for their pleasure. Porn actually has an enormous amount of formative power.

I have a gay male friend who maintains that porn was one of the most helpful tools for figuring out his sexuality.

Unfortunately, lesbian porn often seems to have the opposite effect for queer women. Our play, FFS! explores this through a character called Harri.

She’s a gay sixth former who’s never had sex and is questioning whether she is even allowed to call herself a lesbian without the sexual experience.

Like many teenagers, her main source of sex education is free online porn – and her straight best friend.

We’ve tried to unpick that time in your life when you are obsessed with working out what’s “normal.” Harri doesn’t get turned on by lesbian porn, and starts to panic – is that normal for a lesbian? Is she even a lesbian?

Anecdotally, I know that a lot of my lesbian-identifying friends” are not aroused by lesbian porn. I don’t find it particularly arousing.

As one of the characters in the play says, there is a lot of “loud noises and terrifying acrylic nails.”

The actors in lesbian porn never seem to convincingly have any fun because they’re always performing to the camera. They don’t seem to share any of the intimacy and generosity towards a partner that makes being lez/bi so damn good.

I realise that applying this kind of generalization ignores the progressive feminist porn which the woke and wealthy among us might enjoy – but teenagers don’t always have the knowledge or the money for that kind of luxury titallation. 

I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self not to believe everything I saw in porn (I might not have wasted so much time trying to make scissoring work if I had) but with this play we can all have a nostalgic look back at that painfully awkward time – and laugh at it.

Our previous play, A Womb Of One’s Own, was a comedy dealing with the big, scary, stigmatised subject of abortion – FFS! finds comedy in smaller, everyday issues.

The things that make life a little harder but we tend to just grin and bear.

The things that make you want to mutter, “For F*ck Sake!” under your breath. You in?

FFS! is showing at The Space Theatre, London, 5-9 March 2019. Grab your tickets here.

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