Writing From Below | With No Cock - Sarah Pearce
Writing From Below

With No Cock

Sarah Pearce

We don’t talk anymore

You and I

But I remember

the way we danced

in that club

you licked salt from my neck

sucked lemon from my fingers

and every line of your body

swayed and demanded

that I not look away

I remember closing the door and turning to you

—after almost four years,

it was time


You said

with no cock

it’s just foreplay

But honey

I remember—

you led me

every step of the way

you pushed me down

you pulled my clothes up

I remember

the way the ink curled round your ribs

and your lips circled my tit—

You couldn’t believe

how soft

I was

You said

with no cock

it’s just foreplay

But honey

I remember

the way you melted in my mouth

and almost fell

as I knelt

between your legs

I remember

your hand in my hair

and the way you came

on my tongue

again, and again

I remember

cherishing every curve of your body

and the look in your eyes

as you rode me

I had never seen anything so beautiful

You said

with no cock

it’s just foreplay

But honey

I remember

waking in the morning and

turning to you

because we hadn’t had enough

couldn’t have enough

of flesh and lips

and gasping wet

They had to air that room out

because it was full of cunt

and joy and sweat

A few months ago

you posted some meme about


and how hard it is to get people

to take your sexuality seriously

and my heart


for the hundredth time

You said

with no cock

it’s just foreplay

I say—

Honey, it’s a shame

but I will always

know the difference

between foreplay

and fucking

And you?

You didn’t need a cock

to fuck me


ERA Research Statement

Research Background

This performance poem is an embodied response to a lover who enacted an insidious kind of interpersonal and anti-queer violence against my self and the consequences of which are felt in my body to this day. First drafted in the workshop “Life Writing/writing the body” (Eades 2016), the poem uses physical memory as a starting point to address issues of trauma and the consequences of violence: the body, after all, “iterates, reiterates, archives, and (echoing), is heard” (Eades 2015, 11).

This poem confronts the lingering spectre of heteronormativity, or heterosexual ideology, which “bears down in the heaviest and often deadliest way on those with the least resources to combat it” (Warner 1991, 9). The exclusion of bisexual women, and their repeated marginalisation in queer communities, denies them resources such as community peer support and identification, rendering them less resilient and more susceptible to trauma and violence. The poem therefore seeks to demonstrate “the devastating and often unconscious influence culture can have on our sexualities and sexual orientations” (Obradors-Campos 2011, 224). Fundamentally, the poem communicates the dual experiences of confusion and hurt, as the consequence of denial and rejection. The outward expression of biphobia is revealed as an act with deep internal significance.

Research Contribution

Performance poetry is a way of conveying and documenting history orally, particularly experience which has historically been silenced, such as bisexual experience in both heterosexual and queer societies: “Oral history is more than a research method; it has democratised the study of the past by recording the experience of people who have been hidden from history” (Wong 2007, 30). This piece therefore speaks to a personal experience of being silenced, in addition to a far broader issue of female bisexual marginalisation. In performing this poem, I seek to erode the marginalisation and silencing of bisexual female experience, and provide an alternative narrative regarding female-female sexual experience. This body resists, because it “insists on creative process, on writing its way out of the structures in which it finds itself” (Eades 2015, 15).

The iterative use of the phrase “but honey/I remember” indicates the confusion experienced by myself, the contradiction or dissonance between my own experience, and the words used by my lover—the words that cut deeply. Opposing iterations of this phrase and the title phrase evoke the violent battle, between my lover and me, between normativity and queer expressions of self.

Research Significance

This poem is significant because it seeks to redress some of the oppression and tangible trauma faced by bisexual women. According to recent research, bisexual women are more likely than both lesbian and heterosexual women to suffer from mental health issues and eating disorders (Kerr et al. 2013; Koh and Ross 2006). The poem aims to combat this via drawing attention to the ways in which “people with non-heterosexual sexualities… unconsciously reproduce the heterosexist system through values, ideas and actions toward others and themselves in what is known as internalized heterosexism that may lead to internalised biphobia in the case of bisexuals” (Obradors-Campos 2011, 213; see also 224). The poem foregrounds the trauma experienced by myself, in terms of silencing, erasure, and invalidation of sexual experience and sexuality. It also draws attention to broader issues of biphobia as an act of violence against queer women and, in so doing, gestures obliquely to the internalised biphobia of my lover as an act of violence against the self.

Works Cited

Eades, Q. (2015). all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body. North Melbourne: Tantanoola.

Eades, Q. (2016). Life writing/writing the body: workshop with Dr Quinn Eades. SA Gender and Sexualities Studies Postgraduate Conference 2016: Intersections. 17 September 2017. Worldsend Hotel.

Kerr, D. L., Santurri, L. and Peters, P. (2013). A Comparison of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual College Undergraduate Women on Selected Mental Health Issues. Journal of American College Health, 61(4): 185-194.

Koh, A. S. and Ross, L. K. (2006). Mental Health Issues: A Comparison of Lesbian, Bisexual and Heterosexual Women. Journal of Homosexuality , 51(1): 33-57.

Obradors-Campos, M. (2011). Deconstructing Biphobia. Journal of Bisexuality, 11(2-3): 207-226.

Warner, M. (1991). Introduction: Fear of a Queer Planet. Social Text, 29: 3-17.

Wong, D. (2007). Beyond Identity Politics: The Making of an Oral History of Hong Kong Women Who Love Women. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 10(3-4): 29-48.


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