The Gay B C’s of Gender: T Is for Tribbing | Autostraddle

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Thanks for visiting
The Gay B C’s of Gender
! Every month I’m identifying an alternate sex-related phase which is made use of within the queer neighborhood. I am crafting these definitions with assistance from queer archives, pop tradition, interviews, and more. Remember that terminology — specially when you are looking at gender — varies widely across communities, and no solitary definition or post can encapsulate every person’s knowledge about these terms and conditions. Utilize this column as a jumping down point for your own personal reflection and discussion from inside the reviews.

If you’ve ever pushed your own nether areas against a partner’s genitals, thigh, butt, pubic bone, or any other body part, congratulations — you’ve tribbed! Scrubbing the pieces against another hot bod is actually literally and visually enjoyable, whether you determine to call it “tribbing,” “tribadism,” “humping,” “grinding,” “scissoring,” or something like that else. Inside month’s line, I’m particularly exploring “tribbing” simply because of its lengthy (and fraught) background. Jump to your extravagant queer time equipments — we’re heading to Ancient Greece! But very first, here’s all of our definition:

tribbing (letter.) – the act of scrubbing genitals against somebody’s human body

“So I’ll state one thing haphazard that no-one’s ever stated, like ‘peanut butter tribadism!'”

— Bo Burnham,
“out from the Abyss”

“Tribbing” or “tribadism” originates from the Greek verb τρίβω, meaning “rub.” In historical Greece, this phrase initially explained the work of
a woman or intersex individual
penetrating someone employing their clitoris or a dildo (yep, dildos had been anything well before the creation of silicone).

Afterwards, the words “tribas” (Latin) and “tribade” (French) were used to spell it out any lady exactly who engages in penetrative or non-penetrative sex with other women, or, to estimate the 1843 text

A Greek-English Lexicon

, “a female which practices
an unnatural vice
with herself or with other ladies.” Hot.

If perhaps you were accused to be a tribade — really, that would be bad news to suit your reputation. Listed here is one of these: Queen of France Marie Antoinette had been depicted as a tribade in many pamphlets (aka 18th 100 years governmental cartoons) criticizing the Queen’s relationship with Austria. One satirical book labeled as “The Royal Dildo” painted Marie Antoinette as
an orgy-loving, deviant pervert
which on a regular basis banged English baroness woman Sophie Farrell of Bournemouth. Many years later on, Marie Antoinette ended up being put on trial for treason among other different crimes, such as
false accusations incest

. She was
discovered accountable
and beheaded.

Regardless of the word’s sordid background, queer women, intersex individuals, and trans folks have reclaimed “tribadism” and “tribbing” in recent many years to describe intercourse acts that include genital scrubbing, but descriptions differ across resources. The Meriam-Webster dictionary
defines tribadism
as “a kind of sex between women in that your external genitalia are rubbed together,” but in the 1988 book

Sapphistry: The Publication of Lesbian Sexuality

, Patrick Califia consists of a larger selection gender serves beneath the “tribadism” umbrella: “Tribadism is carried out by scrubbing the vulva against your partner’s mons veneris, stylish, or leg. Some lesbians also will rub against their lovers’ buttocks or any other areas of the body.”

In case you are considering, “wait a second…this all sounds like scissoring,” I’m right there along with you. Just what exactly exactly is the difference in tribbing and scissoring? As always, viewpoints vary, but according to
this 2018 Autostraddle article
, scissoring and tribbing are the same: “…scissoring is actually a colloquial umbrella phrase for all types of acts of tribadism, aka: rubbing vulva against all kinds of human body parts!”

this Healthline post
, intercourse teacher Lisa Finn puts it that way: “Scissoring is actually a colloquial phrase, generally there’s wiggle space during the definition…Officially, tribbing may be the sexual work, while scissoring is but one certain place.” This means that, per Finn, “tribbing” involves massaging the genitals anywhere on somebody’s human anatomy, while “scissoring” talks of the sex situation the Barbie dolls probably loved. You understand, the one which kinda seems like this:

However if Barbies could flex their own legs, perhaps it might resemble this:

Both these photos are from A.E. Osworth’s
scissoring guide

Discover the reminder that YES, the classic scissoring sex position is actually, in fact, an actual thing that some queer people enjoy, no, that does not mean it really is comfy, pleasant, or feasible for every set of aroused people (especially if you should be choosing clit-on-clit activity, since that requires you to aim for


little targets). If you have attempted this place and hated it, whether it’s not your thing, or if perhaps the parts and your lover’s pieces simply cannot connect like Lincoln Logs, 1. You are not alone, and 2. That doesn’t mean this intercourse place merely happens in pornography or even in lesbian flicks guided by men. The scissoring positions/techniques represented above

carry out

occur in actuality often, regardless if they aren’t happening within room.

Eventually, the difference between “tribbing” and “scissoring” actually crucial. Providing you like what you are doing, call-it what you would like, carry on humpin’, and go ahead and test! Grind against somebody’s face, calf, boob, leather-based boot — whatever seems enjoyable and pleasant for all involved.

When you need to discover more about tribbing/ scissoring, consider A.E. Osworth’s
scissoring guide
, A. Andrews’
sex situation tips guide
, all of our visitors’
thoughts about scissoring
, and Archie’s
scissoring present guide
(and, without a doubt, discover our scissoring

Before going!

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