Gillian Kendall Tell your younger selfGive more of your heart, less of your body.

As a long-lived lesbian, I’m often surprised by the younger people around me. For the past seven months, I’ve been the oldest member (by twenty years) in my massage class, and I’ve appreciated the humor, high spirits, and technological finesse of men and women in their twenties. But I’ve also noticed see their insecurities and areas where their education has so far failed them, and it’s made me wonder how much like them and how different from them I was at similar ages.

Here is some advice I wish I could have given myself when I was younger:

  • In many things, but especially in sex, go for quality, not quantity. Sex with the wrong person or for the wrong reasons is destructive to long-term mental and emotional health. Offering and giving sex as a trade for attention and admiration is of limited value, because the attention you’ll get — and by “you” I mean “I” — is fleeting and senseless. That is to say, the attention *I* got was of little value other than to my ego and vanity.
  • Don’t pay much attention to ego and vanity, yours or anyone else’s. Don’t f*ck anyone as a way to get to know them. Don’t f*ck anyone to impress them (or others). And even if you know someone well and care about them, even if you’re in a long-term relationship with the person, don’t f*ck anyone as a courtesy or out of a sense of obligation. Give more of your heart, less of your body.


  • On the other hand, feel free to sleep with anyone you want – but keep it to sleep, pillow talk, and mild cuddling. Sharing a bed is a good way to feel close to someone and get some healthy touch, without the complications of the lower chakras (note: so is massage).
  • Exercise more. Keep playing tennis even though you’re not good at it and never will be. You like it, it gets you moving, and it’s a good way to meet people. Swim and walk a little further than you might really want to – it builds strength and endurance.
  • Don’t worry about money. Don’t waste it, and don’t eschew it, but don’t worry about it. Money is a tool, not a lover.
  • Go to women-only spaces more often. Being at all-women events and spaces is as exciting and thrilling as going to a different country.
  • Go to other countries. Go early and often and as far away as you can get. Don’t over-plan the trips, and don’t go on group tours unless you really have to. Find your own way; create your own adventure.
  • Keep a journal (written, photographic, drawing, online, scrapbook, or a combination). That way, when you’re a long-lived lesbian, you’ll have evidence of your wild youth, your strange adventures, and all the ways in which you gave your young, reckless heart.