Femme Friday – Stonefemme, Victoria Darling!!!

Deep gratitude to Victoria, for her explicit and exuberant stonefemmeininity, for her irrepressible sense of verve, for being so incredibly queer and stoneproud, for resonating in the world, and for giving us her loving and beautiful work! Make sure you check out both her books, A Stone’s Throw, and the latest, launching Tuesday, July 16, 2019, A Stone Shelter. Below, she introduces herself.

A Stonefemme Perspective by Victoria Darling

I came out in January of 1990, thirty minutes into my first therapy session. I was there to get more traction on my goals, and during that get-to-know-you chat my therapist asked what my week had been like. I responded first with what was at the top of my mind from the night before: a news program that reported on some LGBT violence, with a cavalier and condescending tone.

My therapist asked me if I was frequently upset by mistreatment of LGBT people, and I responded affirmatively. She asked why. Not why as in how anyone could feel that way, but rather, what was under my need to defend. My entire life flashed before my eyes in single still images, one rapid-fire after the other. All the tomboys I had lusted after. All the best girl “friends” I had been devastated by when I lost them—and the absence of grief when I lost a boyfriend. And then, all the way back at the beginning – when my grandmother caught me playing “doctor” with a tomboy at the age of ten and I was so humiliated I knew not to ever do that again.

I was gay. 

I blinked several times to process that information. It occurred to me I did not feel the slightest bit bad about it, either. When I admitted it out loud, I liked the way it resonated in the room.

I went home, made a list of who didn’t know, and within two weeks I had come out to all of them. And, I’ve never waffled all these many years later.

Coming out as stonefemme was a much more time-intensive and laborious process. There is no section of the lesbian handbook that says it’s normal to want masculine presenting women who almost exclusively have strap-on sex, generally do not want to be touched directly on their genitals, dislike having their chest referred to as “breasts”, and usually have their orgasms through the use of their strap-on (by penetration of their partners or strap-on blowjobs) or when causing the orgasms of their partner without being genitally stimulated at all. It’s also not particularly “lesbian-ish” when the occasional stonebutch wants “under strap” oral sex, especially when it is only if their partner does it in a manner that simulates a blowjob.

The early partners I found adored and flourished under my unprecedented and near limitless support of their masculinity. That masculinity fed my extreme femininity, which increased my sense of verve and personal power, and in turn fed theirs. It wasn’t about them transitioning or wanting to be male, it was about us being the truest but most extreme representation of female-bodied contrasts. For us it was incredibly queer.

But gender lives that sought to exist outside established norms were not allowed in the early 90s, so several of my partners—even in my greatest moments of vulnerability and giving—suggested I would be better off with men, because I was too good at wanting them the way they were. If femmes and our soft skills are invisible, you can imagine how impaling those words were, and how much more diminished I felt.

Isn’t it possible that there are organic mates for all of us?

Coming out as stonefemme meant trying to understand why my body was aroused by the smell and touch and energy of masculine females, when men and other women left me indifferent and dry. It meant gaining strength to step terrifyingly out into unknown and decidedly anti-allowed relationships. It also meant othering myself even more than I already was, in such a way that my small (lesbian) corner of the world would kick me out and shame me painfully with their you’re-REALLY-weird judgments.

The road to success came in millimeters, not inches or instant flashes, but eventually I came into my own. My first book, A Stone’s Throw, is a collection of essays, poems, fiction pieces, and gentle erotica written over ten years or so and compiled in 2004. It captures a small sense of what it is like to be a woman like me loving the type of partners I do.

Today, I am excited to announce I am releasing my newest book, A Stone Shelter, next Tuesday, July 16, 2019, which is a collection of real-life love letters written in an old-world/old-fashioned style (with bdsm themes thrown in for an interesting twist). These letters allow readers to see inside an actual stonebutch/stonefemme romance as it begins. Here is an excerpt from Atlas, the author of the stonebutch letters:

“I’m not surprised that you found my explanation of things a bit befuddling. I’ve never heard anyone describe their gender identity the way I do. With that being said, it’s not something I usually discuss with people. I feel almost entirely masculine on the inside. I just don’t think of myself as a guy. Because I’m not. My sense of sexuality, my sexual preferences and my particular way of relating to women are probably quite close to how heterosexual men relate to the women in their lives. I’m sure that most biological females who feel the same way I do, would likely go on to identify as male. I’ve never felt compelled to do that. I exist in a world between the two. But actually, you described it best when you mentioned masculinity within a nonmale person and a female body. That’s it exactly. You’ve managed to word it in a much more understandable fashion. I would agree with you that the attraction to the masculine in another woman is not what one would consider to be lesbian in nature. It’s something else. I call it queer. 

    My desire for women is not measurably different than a hetero male’s. That’s what makes me different from most of my friends who identify as lesbians. Yes, I exclusively date femmes. High femmes if the stars are properly aligned. I get lost in their femininity and softness. They’re mysterious, wonderful, life-affirming creatures. It’s only femmes that can relate to what is the masculine within me. They set me free, Isabel. They make me real. Everything seems to make sense when I’m with them. They complete me. It’s indescribable. Without femmes I would simply be lost.”

And one other excerpt, from further along in the communications, from myself (writing under the name Isabel Dane) to Atlas:

“It has taken me some minutes and several distractions to find my way to a response though I received your last post the moment it was sent. Sometimes I am so moved by what you say and how you speak that I… I am… Well, let’s just say it takes a bit to sort myself again. 

Your manner takes my breath away. 

And you are such a novelty to me. 

It’s almost as if you pen your words, then bow gently with one arm behind your back as you lay them reverently at my feet, backing away once you do. That is a skill I have been unsuccessful in instilling in another to any large degree. Yet you have it in spades. I hear it too when you speak of your sisters, as if all the women you care for receive that bounty from you. 

If you had asked me anytime in the last few years what I wanted, what it is I sought, I would have said with great temerity that I wanted a devoted stonebutch, but one that would never fully acquiesce his mind to mine. 

I appreciate the keenness of your mind, I desire you for your strength, and I ache for your masculinity to embrace me, but I admire you for the manner you have cultivated in yourself and the manner with which you bless those you care for; there is such kindness in it. It stirs me beyond anything I have known. You have a way about you that causes me to lean back in my chair, eyes wide; my hand reaching up mindlessly to touch my pearls. Once in a while, like the last post you just sent, its utter sweetness brings a rush of moisture to my eyes that has me reaching for a tissue before I’m even aware.

You have brought me new hope. And an excitement for the wind on my face and the sun in my hair that has been long missing.”

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Victoria Darling (yes, that’s her real name) is a writer, educator, and community organizer who has helped butches and femmes feel validated and empowered to live their truest selves for more than 25 years. She began presenting on butch/femme sexuality classes and advanced training courses such as Cocksucking for Dykes and Butch/Femme D/s in the late 90s, founded the Femme Posse, Butch/Femme Salons, and the Butch/Femme Barter List, and conceptualized and led the first-ever Butch Appreciation Day in 2002 in San Francisco. She also started and manages the first-ever stonebutch/stonefemme-focused Facebook group called “Stone for Stone (Butch/Femme)”. Victoria is single and for the last five years has traveled full-time across 49 of the 50 United States with her rescue dog, Jo, as well as to Cuba, Mexico, and Europe as a solo traveler.

Victoria Darling - current photo.jpg

Victoria Darling

Victoria Darling - photo of Jo.JPG


Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it! New Femme Friday feature starting fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)