Stone Femme

I think my first girlfriend, Kristen, was stone. She was butch both on the streets and in the sheets (to tweak the old expression). She got off, but she didn’t enjoy or want me touching her genitals to do it, and our sex life was predominately organized around my pleasure. Many years after our high-drama relationship ended, I read an interview with a stone butch who said that she’d rather balance her checkbook than have an orgasm. I think that’s how Kristen felt. We naively thought we were rejecting “roles,” primarily because terms like stone, butch and femme were not in our vocabulary. I simply accepted the fact that K. had a boundary that she did not want me to cross. If memory serves, I had no problem with being the sexual center of attention!

This relationship took place in a gender galaxy far, far away, when lesbians in a certain uber lesbianic city all wore flannel and had bad haircuts (sorry, darlings, the truth can hurt, I know)–even yours truly! Those of you who’ve been reading for awhile may remember that I discussed this time in my life in my post What Makes (Me) a Femme. Looking back on it, what’s interesting to me now is that this relationship was the definining feature of my brief dykey,”andro butch” phase, but K and I were really anything but andro in private. She gave me a retro black lace slip–think Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof–for a Christmas present, so who were we kidding (except ourselves)?

Was K. a stone butch and was I a stone femme, even though we didn’t identify as butch/femme? What exactly is a stone femme, anyway? Here are a few possible definitions. #1 seems to me the one that’s used most:

1. A femme who partners with stone butches/transgendered butches/TG stone butches.
2. A femme who is uber femme, as in, “she’s a stone cold fox.”
3. An untouchable femme. Sasha at Card Carrying Lesbian discusses stone femme as a femme who is untouchable–either/or physically or emotionally in her post High femme vs Stone Femme: one interpretation

Personally, I always thought of a stone femme as someone who isn’t herself “untouchable” but who prefers to partner with butches who are–i.e. stone butches. I wonder, though, does this take us down the road of defining femme in terms of who we partner with, rather than who we are? If your stone butch transitions and becomes a transman, are you still a stone femme?

12 Responses

  1. I always thought the definition of “stone femme” was a little murky myself. Is it because there are fewer stone femmes (of any description) than stone butches, or just that it’s used so much less?

  2. i think of “stone femme” much the way you do, i think, but i don’t believe it takes us in the direction of defining femme based on who we partner with.

    i think gender (such as femme) is not dependent on who we partner with (although that part can be a lot of fun, it’s not the foundation, defining feature). however, sexuality is always about who we partner with, whether that’s men, women, no one, bottoms, tops, stone butches, blonds, whatever. so, in this case, i kind of think of “stone” as a sexuality and “femme” as a gender – in the same way that someone might call herself a “queer femme” or “kinky butch.”

  3. Thank you so much for you comments over on my blog. I really appreciate your kind words, and esp the information about “identified patients.”

    I went to a dinner nearly two years ago when I was first coming into my Femme(ness) and a femme at the dinner authoritatively told me all the definitions of femme and what exactly these femmes do, and how they act.

    Even then, I was aware enough that “Femme” is fluid that I had to work hard to not laugh.

    And, I can’t say I have a good def for “stone femme.” I will say that I really dislike using it in contrast to “stone butches” when looking for a definition. But, I dunno, maybe that is what we have to do. I haven’t a good answer here. I mean, it seems that we can collectively define butch without femme, but often have a harder time defining femme without butch.

    I will say that I was with someone who was well known as stone a bit ago. And, I was shocked when she (her preferred pronoun) began to make movements that, um, I wouldn’t define as stone. It wasn’t the smoothest move of my life, but I was so afraid of crossing her boundaries that I told her she had to tell me exactly what she wanted. And she did, and it involved penetration. lots of it.

    And, she is still stone. I can’t explain it, but, to me, she is still stone. Maybe it is all an attitude.

    So, I’ve rambled, but maybe Stone Femme is all attitude too.

  4. See that’s one of the reasons why I love the internet so much.. one can learn new things every day… I’ve never heard about “stone femme”. By rule I prefer to limit definitions (don’t like the term labels… labels are just for couture) on how we identify ourselves mostly because in my personal experience I’ve found my “identity” perception far more consistent that my tastes on partners .

  5. *Never* heard this term before (unsurprisingly).

    After reading the Card Carrying Lesbian article, I found it surprising that much of what defines ‘stone’ is emotional.

    I’ve also always thought about ‘butch’ and ‘femme’ more along the lines of ‘dominant’ and ‘submissive’ rather than who gets fucked and who doesn’t (maybe they’re similar things to some people, not to me…)

    Funny how ‘stone’ sounds like a stereotypical male. Definitely been with someone like that before (FTM), and it makes me want to dig, dig deeper… try and make him trust me enough to crack.

  6. I am stone femme because I have boundaries. It’s not really in relation to stone butches (though they are whom I partner with). I’m stone femme because I don’t go down on someone without a strap-on, because I don’t “fondle” breasts. I have zero interest in doing those things. So, to all those who say I’m not a *real* lesbian b/c I don’t eat p*ssy? F*ck you. (sorry)

    @ ladybrettashley

    She expressed how I see my ID…femme is my gender presentation, *stone* is my sexual expression. Also part of my sexual expression is *bottom* and *kinky*.

    @ Wilhemina Wang

    Stone is very uniquely a female bodied phenomenon. Not necessarily *female*, but *female bodied* regardless of ID: stone butch, stone andro (yes they are out there), TG stone, FtM, etc.
    And I’m about to go off…
    Stones do not and SHOULD NOT be “Cracked”…why do people think that it’s OK to try and get others to change their basic and comfortable sexual expression…it’s like getting me to “turn” non-kinky. I would NEVER stand for that. It’s who I am on a basic level, and if you don’t like it then you are not compatible with me and I suggest you seek partnered pleasure elsewhere.

    Too many folks think people who are stone-sexual, kinky, homosexual, enjoy more than one partner,etc., etc. are damaged, been abused, mentally ill, and all manner of crazy shit. I’m sick of it. I’m tired of the way people pathologize any variation in sexuality.

    If you don’t “get” stone-sexuality, that’s one thing, and frankly YOUR problem. However it is not there for you to change or disparage.

  7. @laurnyx

    I have a definite problem with defining FtM as female-bodied. This privileges some form of biology over identity as well as subscribing to the tired gender binary. I just don’t see why that privilege should exist nor why we need subscribe to the gender binary. And as I feel stone and am also an MtF, I take exception to the idea that stone is somehow unique to being considered female at birth. I have no idea of the boundaries of stone identity, but I do know that I place myself within them.

  8. @ Lucy

    You are absolutely correct. That was my fault in not thinking about MtFs…I’m aware they can and do have boundaries as well. In responding to the “typical male” comment I got essentialist.
    Though I have met FtMs who ID as female-bodied persons, you’re right, only thinking about them negates those who do not ID that way.
    We could extend this also to intersexed individuals, as I’ve seen some actively ID as stone as well.

  9. Thanks all for this terrific discussion! I think the insightful Lady B sums it up perfectly when she distinguishes stone (as a sexual orientation) from questions of gender (butch, femme, etc).

    One of the things I was trying to do in telling the story of my relationship with my first g/f is to show how stone sexuality is more pervasive than many of us realize. LaurynX’s comments speak to this too.

    If it’s not already clear by now, here’s where I’m coming from: Sublimefemme is a big fan of sexual diversity in all its various forms! 😉 I think it’s both narrow-minded and fundamentally irrational for queers to treat people who ID as stone as “abnormal.” After all, without boundaries (we all have them), none of us could define our desires and sexualities!!

    For more on this topic, check out LaurynX’s new post about stone sexuality at


  10. Wow! I must be another of those who live under a rock…high up on a mountain…on another planet…in a distant galaxy. Because I too have never heard these terms before, let alone understand what they mean — maybe not to me — but in how other people see themselves.

    As always, I learn something new here, nearly every day. Another excellent, insightful post SF. Thanks to you, I’m getting an education.

  11. […] As I’ve worked on this blog, I’ve moved away from thinking about femme in terms of a continuum or spectrum between degrees of femininity. I’ve learned that femme is too complex and varied to be defined primarily through a focus on quantity or intensity (e.g. whether you are “more” or “less” femme). One of my early posts “No, I’m not a lipstick lesbian (I just look like one)” represented an early effort to differentiate between the terms lipstick lesbian, femme, and high femme. It generated a really illuminating dialogue and prompted many of you to suggest other categories/terms such as earthy femme, queer femme, and chapstick femme. Since then, I’ve tried to complicate notions of femme identity in our discussions of femme style, the politics of femme pleasure, femme and consumerism, what it means to “transition” to femme, how butch and femme are not mutually exclusive categories, and being a stone femme. […]

  12. […] “I am stone femme because I have boundaries. It’s not really in relation to stone butches (though they are whom I partner with). I’m stone femme because I don’t go down on someone without a strap-on, because I don’t “fondle” breasts. I have zero interest in doing those things. So, to all those who say I’m not a *real* lesbian b/c I don’t eat p*ssy? F*ck you.” –laurynx […]

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