Study Guide

Orange Is the New Black Sexuality

By Piper Kerman

Sexuality

Chapter 1

Among our loose social circle was a clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-thirties. (1.15)

We're not sure if Piper means these lesbians are impossibly stylish and cool because lesbians usually aren't or because they're just impossibly stylish and cool for any human being. Because Piper is a lesbian herself, we're assuming she means the latter.

Chapter 2
Piper Kerman

I didn't particularly want to date a man, and this man wasn't even my type! (2.10)

How does Piper know what her type is when it comes to men if she hasn't been with one in so long?

Chapter 3
Other Inmates

"There's lesbians up there. I want you to understand, you do not have to have lesbian sex. I'm old-fashioned. I don't approve of any of that mess." (3.73)

We're not sure if Butorsky doesn't approve of the whole barely-consensual prison sex part, or the lesbian part, although we're thinking it's probably the latter.

Chapter 4

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct here at Danbury." She was talking about prison guards, not marauding lesbians. Clearly sex and power were inseparable behind prison walls. (4.20)

There is no such thing as consent in prison when it comes to a prison guard and a prisoner, despite how the "romance" on the television show might make it seem. If a guard and a prisoner have sex, the guard is taking advantage of the prisoner's lack of rights, no matter how you spin it. The power is just too uneven in this dynamic for true blue consent.

Guards and Other Officials

[Mr. Scott] admonished us repeatedly not to be "gay for the stay." (4.6)

That's the slang term for women who have same-sex relationships while in prison and only while in prison. The prison officials seem less concerned with the fact that the prisoners are having sex, whether it's consensual or not, and more concerned with making sure they don't all magically transform into lesbians or something.

Chapter 5

It was easy to tell the difference between women who were lonely and wanted comfort, attention, and romance, and a real, live lesbian: there were a few of them. (5.33)

We guess the first group are the ones who are susceptible to that "gay for the stay" thing the guards are so concerned about.

Chapter 8
Other Inmates

"I am looking for a real woman!" (8.24)

Piper makes Crazy Eyes out to be a crazy lesbian, but at least she has standards. As she says, she's a "big-time drug dealer" (8.24)—she ain't got time for silly girls.

Piper Kerman

Larry was clearly feeling the pressure of our separation too. His hello kisses in the visiting room grew more ardent, and he wanted to play footsie under the card tables. (8.32)

Sexual frustration builds for the boyfriends, fiancés, and husbands on the other side of the fence, too. We have to give credit to the real Larry who, unlike the Jason Biggs Larry in the show, remains faithful to Piper despite being celibate for over a year.

"When I was locked up in county, they used to make dildos out of a spork, a maxipad, and a finger from a rubber glove!" (8.9)

A lonely lady has to do what a lonely lady has to do. And who knew a spork and a maxipad had so many uses? They are both modern miracles of human innovation.

Chapter 12

Free shows were available. As Vanessa settled in, she got more boisterous, and she was thrilled to display her surgical glory at the merest suggestion. (12.22)

The prisoners are either grossed-out, confused, or horrified by Vanessa, the transgender woman in prison. But they're also almost all curious about her.