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  • Zia Ravenscroft

UNiQ Column: Stone Fruit Season

By Zia Ravenscroft (he/they)


CW: Sexual Assault, Rape

The first time I encountered the term ‘stone’ was when I was both still lesbian and in high school, in classic queer text Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. The first time I used it to describe myself was one transition and two years later.


Stoneness refers to either a stone top (not wanting to receive sexual touch) or a stone bottom (not wanting to give sexual touch). Nobody experiences stoneness in the same way, so there’s lots of variation and individual boundaries. The terms stem from lesbian communities in the 1940s and 50s, and are closely tied to butch/femme identities and relationships. Nowadays, they’re a little less common, and predominantly used by lesbians still and transgender people. 


I thought stone was an outdated term. I didn’t know how it related to me, until I made friends with a high femme lesbian in first year. When she talked about her identity, I had the lightning strike moment of ‘Oh. Me too.’ 


Realising I was stone allowed me to name my desires properly, even if I was no novice to weird gay sex at this point (and would consider myself something of an expert now). I thought I knew what I wanted from intimacy, but feeling confident and comfortable in being stone completely changed this. I was no longer failing expectations I’d literally just put upon myself, and started having infinitely better sex as a result.


I’ve spent the majority of my life feeling disconnected from my body from a combination of gender dysphoria and post-traumatic stress disorder from sexual abuse and rape. Exploring my stone identity reminds me that I exist and am present in my body. While my own stoneness absolutely relates to my trauma, there is no set or even clear reason why anybody is stone. Sometimes, you just are.


As someone living with PTSD, there is nothing I can do to guarantee that I won’t have a PTSD flashback during sex. These mean I need a whole day off for recovery and looking after myself. Being stone reduces this in a way that’s transformative for me. After being abused, I didn’t think there would be a point in my life where I could have consensual sex. It felt impossible and out-of-reach, a hypothetical for if I was ever ‘healed’ enough. I know I wouldn’t have the sex life that I currently do—one I consider healthy, and most importantly fun—if it weren’t for discovering that I was stone.  


People love to joke about pillow princesses, or misunderstand stoneness entirely, and I’ve had a few partners lose interest after I’ve told them I’m stone. The first time I had a lover fully accept my stoneness and check exactly what my boundaries were, I felt like crying. It sounds like the bare minimum, but when you haven’t even had that for years, it meant everything to me.


It’s stone fruit season, baby- take a bite.


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