Lez Miserable: Was 2013 the year lesbian culture entered the mainstream?

Let’s face it, lesbians, we’ve peaked. We’ve had our 15 minutes of sweet, hashtag-spawning fame.

It’s a shame that the Lesbian doesn’t feature as one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Although 2013 was officially the Year of the Snake (the most phallic of creatures, ironically) it will perhaps come to be known, in less illustrious calendars, as the Year of the Lesbian.

Along with cauliflower recipes, twerking and tedious debates about whether or not a posh woman giving birth constituted news, lesbianism trended the bejeezus out of last year. Orange Is the New Black brought hot and hilarious dykes to small screens everywhere, Jodie Foster came out, Blue Is the Warmest Colour injected a nourishing dose of girl-on-girl sex into mainstream cinema, and Miley Cyrus spent the entire year in a lesbian costume. If you were a woman in 2013 and you weren’t rocking a permanent sense of outrage and an ironic early-1990s cagoule, you might as well have spent the year barricaded inside a toilet cubicle in Nando’s.

But, as with all trends, it would be pitifully optimistic to see last year’s obsession with all things Sapphic as anything but fleeting. Let’s face it, lesbians, we’ve peaked. We’ve had our 15 minutes of sweet, hashtag-spawning fame. Now it’s time for us to make our sorry way back to the realms of obscurity, where we’ll be greeted tenderly by an iPod and the Atkins diet. We’re this year’s handbag dogs, doomed to be abandoned; left shivering and begging for attention.

“What’s a lesbian, Mummy?” asks a child in 2017.

Mummy’s brow furrows. “Oh, that,” she says. “I think it had something to do with ladies in suit jackets and jeans. It was popular a few years ago.”

As we all know, sexuality isn’t only fluid but also able to move with the times. So where’s the hottest place on the Kinsey scale going to be in 2014? Bisexuality was big in 2008, and will probably take another couple of years to regenerate interest. My prediction for this year’s persuasion of choice? Asexuality.

Asexuals are going to be huge. A fuller and more inclusive version of LGBT, of course, is LGBTQIA, the last three letters standing for queer or questioning, intersex and asexual. That “QIA” is tagged on to the end of LGBT like an unexplored peninsula. And “asexual” is right on the very tip, like a carnally devoid Penzance.

Think about it. It was a year of sex overkill. By the end of 2013, the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles found that Brits are having 20 per cent less sex than we did in 2000. Then along come the asexuals, with their mystique, and their clandestine, shagless ways.

I can already see Taylor Swift revealing to the world, via a YouTube video, that she’s in an asexual relationship with a bag of salad.

If you haven’t been invited to an asexual wedding yet, you may well be going about 2014 the wrong way. No need to panic, though – you can always comfort yourself by having a big, unsexy night in with your ABF (asexual best friend). If you don’t have one of those, maybe you should start panicking.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit gazing into the middle distance, sipping soon-to-be-horribly-unfashionable herbal tea and waiting for this column to be replaced by A-OK: the musings of an asexual vegan poet.

Orange Is the New Black brought hot and hilarious dykes to small screens everywhere.

Eleanor Margolis is a freelance journalist.

This article appears in the 08 January 2014 issue of the New Statesman, The God Gap