i wish i were lesbian

Common experiences of lesbians who don’t know they’re lesbians yet

 Out of curiosity, I recently googled “Am I lesbian quiz”. Half the “Are You a Lesbian” quizzes just asked outright, “Are you attracted to women?” as though that isn’t the very answer a questioning lesbian is trying to figure out. The other half marked me as heterosexual for things like owning more nail varnish than dogs. I hope this list will give you more nuanced ideas to think about as you explore your identity.

These experiences are all really common among - but not universal or exclusive to - people who later realize they’re lesbians and find a comfortable home in the lesbian label and community.

It’s mostly stuff that I and other lesbians I know have wished we knew when we were first coming to grips with our lesbian identities, because the fact is it takes a long time to discover how common a lot of these experiences are among lesbians, and not knowing what to look for when trying to figure out if you’re a lesbian can be hard.

‘Attraction’ to men

  • Deciding which guys to be attracted to – not to date, but to be attracted to – based on how well they match a mental list of attractive qualities
  • Only developing attraction to a guy after a female friend expresses attraction to him
  • Getting jealous of a specific female friend’s relationships with guys and assuming you must be attracted to the guys she’s with (even if you never really noticed them before she was interested in them)
  • Picking a guy at random to be attracted to
  • Choosing to be attracted to a guy at all, not just choosing to act on it but flipping your attraction on like a switch – that’s a common lesbian thing
  • Having such high standards that literally no guy meets them – and feeling no spark of attraction to any guy who doesn’t meet them
  • Only/mostly being into guys who are gnc in some way
  • Only/mostly being attracted to unattainable, disinterested, or fictional guys or guys you never or rarely interact with
  • Being deeply uncomfortable and losing all interest in these unattainable guys if they ever indicate they might reciprocate
  • Reading your anxiety/discomfort/nervousness/combativeness around men as attraction to them
  • Reading a desire to be attractive to men as attraction to them
  • Having a lot of your ‘guy’ crushes later turn out to be trans women

Relationships with men

  • Dreading what feels like an inevitable domestic future with a man
  • Or looking forward to an idealized version of it that resembles literally no m/f relationship you’ve ever seen in your life, never being able to picture any man you’ve actually met in that image

  • Being repulsed by the dynamics of most/all real life m/f relationships you’ve seen and/or regularly feeling like “maybe it works for them but I never want my relationship to be like that”

  • Thinking you’re commitmentphobic because no relationship, no matter how great the guy, feels quite right and you drag your feet when it comes time to escalate it

  • Going along with escalation because it seems like the 'appropriate time’ or bc the guy wants it so bad, even if you personally aren’t quite ready to say I love you or have labels or move in together etc.

  • Or jumping ahead and trying to rush to the ‘comfortably settled’ part of relationships with guys, trying to make a relationship a done deal without investing time into emotional closeness
  • Feeling like you have to have relationships with guys and/or let them get serious in order to prove something, maybe something nebulous you can’t identify

  • Only having online relationships with guys; preferring not to look at the guys you’re interacting with online; choosing not to meet up with a guy even if you seem very into him and he reciprocates and meeting up is totally realistic
  • Getting a boyfriend mostly so other people know you have a boyfriend and not really being interested in him romantically/sexually
  • Wishing your boyfriend was more like your female friends
  • Wishing your boyfriend was less interested in romance and/or sex with you and that you could just hang out as pals
  • Thinking you’re really in love with a guy but being able to get over him in such record time that you pretend to be more affected than you are so your friends don’t think you’re heartless
  • After a breakup, missing having a boyfriend more than you miss the specific guy you were with
  • Worrying that you’re broken inside and unable to really love anyone

Sex with men

  • Having sex not out of desire for the physical pleasure or emotional closeness but because you like feeling wanted
  • OR: preferring to 'be a tease’ to feel wanted but feeling like following through is a chore
  • Only being comfortable with sex with men if there’s an extreme power imbalance and your desires aren’t centred
  • Using sex with men as a form of self-harm
  • Feeling numb or dissociating or crying during/after sex with men (even if you don’t understand that reaction and think you’re fine and crying etc for no reason)
  • Being bored with sex with men/not understanding what the big deal is that makes other women want it
  • Doing it anyway out of obligation or a desire to be a good sport/do something nice for him
  • Never/rarely having sexual fantasies about specific men, preferring to leave them as undetailed as possible or not thinking about men at all while fantasizing
  • Having to make a concerted effort to fantasize about the guy you’re “attracted” to

Early interest in women

  • Not recognizing past/current crushes on women until you’ve come to grips with your attraction to women
  • Being unusually competitive, shy, or eager to impress specific women when you’re not that way with anyone else
  • Wanting to kiss your female best friend on the mouth for literally any reason (”to practice for boys” included)
  • Getting butterflies or feeling like you can’t get close enough when cuddling with a close female friend
  • Looking at a close female friend and feeling something in your chest clench up and being overwhelmed with love for her - love you may read as platonic
  • Having had strong and abiding feelings of admiration for a specific female teacher, actor, etc., growing up that were deep and reverent
  • Having had an unusually close relationship with a female friend growing up that was different and special in a way you couldn’t articulate
  • Thinking relationships would be simpler “if only I were attracted to women/my best friend who would be perfect for me if she/I weren’t a girl”
  • When a female friend is treated badly by a man, having your protective thoughts turn in the direction of “if I was him/a man I’d never do that to her/my girlfriend”
  • Being utterly fascinated by any lesbians you know/see in media and thinking they’re all ultra cool people
  • Having your favourite character in every show be that one gay-coded or butch-looking woman (like Shego from Kim Possible or Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica)
  • Feeling weirdly guilty and uncomfortable in locker rooms etc., when your female friends are less clothed than they normally would be around men and being more careful not to look than they are

The 'straight’ version of you

  • Thinking that all straight girls feel at least some attraction to women
  • Thinking that your interest in seeing attractive women/scantily clad women/boobs is an artificial reaction caused by the objectification of women in media
  • Being really into how women look “aesthetically”/“just as artistic interest”
  • Thinking it’s objective and uncontested that almost all women are way more attractive than most men
  • Being a really intense LGBT+ “ally” and getting weirdly emotional about homophobia but assuming you’re just a Really Good Ally and v empathetic
  • Having like half your friend group from school turn out to be LGBT+
  • Getting emotional or having a strong reaction you don’t understand to f/f love stories etc.
  • Having had people think you were gay when you had no suspicion you were gay

Exploring attraction to women

  • Feeling like you could live with a woman in a romantic way, even if you can’t imagine doing anything sexual with a woman
  • Feeling like you could enjoy sexual interaction with a woman, even if you can’t imagine having romantic feelings for a woman
  • Thinking you couldn’t be a lesbian because you’re not attractive enough, cool enough, or otherwise in the same league as most of the women you know
  • Interacting with het sex/romance in media by imagining yourself in the man’s position or just never/rarely imagining yourself in the woman’s position
  • Really focusing on the women in het porn
  • Being really into the idea of kissing/being sexual with a woman 'to turn guys on’
  • Being really annoyed when guys actually do express interest in watching or joining in when you do that
  • Only feeling/expressing attraction to or sexual interest in women when you’re inebriated or otherwise impaired

Gender Feelings

  • Having a lot of conflicting gender feelings that are only possible to resolve once you understand you are/can be a lesbian
  • Thinking that being gnc and feeling a disconnect from traditional womanhood mean that you can’t be a woman even if that’s what feels closest to right - many lesbians are gnc and many lesbians feel disconnected from traditional womanhood since it’s so bound up in heteropatriarchy
  • Knowing you’re attracted to women and not being able to parse that (esp + any gender nonconformance) as gay, taking a long time to figure out if you’re a straight man or a lesbian
  • Being dysphoric about the parts of you that make straight men think your body is owed to them, having to figure out what that dysphoria means for/to you
  • Knowing you’re attracted to women, but feeling weirdly guilty and uncomfortable trying to interact with them as a straight man, and only later realizing you’re actually a trans lesbian
  • Knowing you’re gay, but experiencing a lot of the symptoms of comp het when you try to interact with men romantically/sexually, and only later realizing you’re a trans lesbian and not a gay man
  • Being nonbinary and taking a long time to sort through being able to respect/understand your nonbinary identity and your lesbianness at the same time

Considering lesbianism

  • Wanting to be a lesbian but feeling like if you don’t already know you are one you can’t be
  • Feeling guilty about wanting to be a lesbian, feeling like you’re just attention-seeking or trying to be trendy
  • Suppressing your lesbian dreams because you think exploring that desire would mean you’re a bad/homophobic person using lesbianness selfishly
  • Wishing you were a lesbian to escape the discomfort of dating men
  • Fantasizing about how much fun it would be to be a lesbian and just be with women/a specific woman, but thinking that can’t be for you
  • Worrying that some of your past attraction to men was actually real so you can’t be a lesbian
  • Worrying that bc you can’t be 100% sure you’re not attracted to men and can’t be 100% sure you won’t change your mind, you can’t be a lesbian
  • Worrying that you only want to be a lesbian because of trauma and that means your lesbianness would be Fake
  • Worrying that trauma-induced complications in how you experience sex (e.g., a habit of self-harming via sex w men or a fear of any sex at all) mean you’re not a Real Lesbian

Every item on this list is common among Real Lesbians. It’s all Normal Lesbian Stuff. If you’re worried that you can’t be a lesbian even though it’s the life you really want for yourself, I hope this gives you permission to explore that. You are allowed to be a lesbian. 

And if you’re not sure yet – if you took the time to read this entire thing because you’re curious about your identity, if you identified with a bunch of items on this list – you may or may not be a lesbian, but friend, you almost certainly aren’t cishet. Welcome.

(I’d love to hear other things lesbians wish you’d known were A Thing when you were first exploring your identity!)

What do you do when you can’t tell the one you love the most that you love them out of fear of losing them?
My autistic and lesbian identities are intertwined by people’s desire to get rid of both groups. Whether it’s conversion therapy or applied behavioral analysis, parents shell out money to torture their children into compliance with what they deem ‘normal.’ … Neurotypical and cisgender, heterosexual people often operate under the assumption that our suffering is caused by our differences, and not by a world that hasn’t been built for people like us.
Working on an LGBT show is really cool for me as well because I have a lot of friends who identify as queer and I just think it’s like a really important thing.
I have been getting a lot of questions as to my own personal sexual identity which I’ll say, and a lot a people are gonna…maybe this is a controversial, I think, a lot of people are gonna hate me for saying this…I actually don’t identify as anything, I’ve never felt the need to. I’ve never in my life identified as straight, I’ve had relationships with men and women, but it’s just something that I’ve never really felt the need to do. So you can call that what you will…whatever, pansexual, or queer, or whatever you need to call me, but it’s fine. But for me I have no need to call myself anything. But that’s why it was kind of exciting for me to get to play a role that is not like a very typical straight female ingenue, it’s just very refreshing, and for those people who do struggle with their sexuality and coming out and struggle with their identity, I’m very very honoured and happy to be I guess a role model in that community.
—  Natasha Negovanlis about the Carmilla series and her own sexuality- Sara & Allison Talk TV Podcast 25
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just finished suikoden 2 so here’s a doodledump

spoilers: it’s a good game