Straight Woman Wondering Who’s the Asshole in Lesbian Relationship

In a display of well-meaning ignorance, straight woman Francesca Ryser recently asked two of her friends the age-old question of who’s the asshole in their lesbian relationship.


“I understand that Francesca, who has only dated cis men, was trying to understand the dynamics of a queer relationship,” said Parker Miletus, one member of the couple. “But it’s honestly very heteronormative to assume one of us has to be the asshole in the relationship.”


While Miletus was frustrated by the inquiry, her girlfriend, Esha Acharya, was more willing to explain.


“It’s a common misconception that members of gay relationships have to map onto the roles of a straight couple: woman and asshole,” said Acharya. “But neither of us is the asshole; that’s the entire point.”


Ryser had a number of follow-up questions to this explanation.


“So, if neither of you is the asshole,” said Ryser, “then who plays devil’s advocate when you’re having sensitive political conversations? Who takes the other person’s side when you describe a microaggression? And who gets furious when you’re driving and one of you has to pee?”


Demonstrating immense patience, Acharya tried once more to help Ryser understand.


“None of those things are necessary for a relationship,” said Acharya. “In fact, they’re all bad. People in straight relationships should not do those things either.”


This concept has not been easy for Ryser to grasp, but she is gradually coming around to the idea that there doesn’t need to be an asshole in a relationship for it to be valid and complete.


“I’m doing a lot of unlearning and excavation of my unconscious biases,” said Ryser. “Growing up, I was inundated with messaging about trying to find my perfect asshole. My parents had one of those ideal ‘woman takes care of the asshole’ relationships you see on TV. I guess I just always thought that for a relationship to function you needed equal parts mean asshole and endlessly compassionate angel.”


Ryser has come to terms with the fact that just because there is no asshole in Miletus and Acharya’s relationship doesn’t mean they aren’t dynamic and different from one another. However, other areas of the relationship remain a mystery to her.


“So,” said Ryser, “When you have sex, which one of you comes?”