Ask A Lesbian: 8

Originally posted on Thought Catalog November 9, 2012


My daughter experimented with a girl in college, and later in life told me that “nobody in her generation has sex with just a guy or a girl.” Are we headed toward a society of everyone being bisexual?

Interesting choice of words from your daughter! There are a few facets that I believe play into this question. One of them is where you are and where your daughter is. I think that depending on your daughter’s environment and experiences, the crew she hangs with can make a difference on where she believes her sexuality lies. What I mean by that is that if she’s hanging out with people who truly believe that nobody has intercourse with just one sex, and that’s the attitude they put out there, then she may be able to feed into her sexual curiosity and be very okay with it. It’s rare to find a crew of people who have intensely different views on sexuality hanging out: say, a straight person who believes homosexuality is disgusting, a Gender Studies major who identifies as pansexual, and a man who believes polyamory is the only way to live – therefore, your daughter has surrounded herself with people who she most likely shares those views (along with others!) with, and that’s great.

As so many lovely commenters responded to you in the post, I agree: sexuality is a spectrum. For many, it’s attraction versus orientation. I think it truly depends on where you happen to be on the spectrum, because people can cross lines. And, for me, before I came out, I was just pretty sure that I had fallen for one woman and one woman only. I thought that I was a straight girl attracted to one woman. As time passed and I learned that the things I loved about being with my girlfriend were in fact things I loved about being with a woman in general, my own truth changed for me. I now comfortably identify as lesbian, and find that is what works best for me.

Recently, I was at a baseball game with some friends from home. Per usual, they met my girlfriend and asked her the same questions that all of my friends who have met her asked: “When did you come out?” “What attracted you to Alison?” “Did you ever like, try with men, though?” My favorite response to that last one was “Yeah. And it was whatever. And then I was with a woman, and it felt right.” So, for your daughter, maybe being with both is normal and feels right for her. Also, also, also: I don’t think the need to identify with an exact title from a spectrum is necessary. If your daughter feels like she’s open to love and be loved and doesn’t care what she identifies as, then good for her! She’s comfortable in what she’s got going. Cheers to her.

Now, for the latter part – are we headed toward a society of everyone being bisexual? In the words of a one miss Gaby Dunn: “I. Wish.” But in all reality…probably not. Since (I believe) we’re all born not making the decision of our sexuality, falling on that spectrum probably won’t change in the future. Then again, I’m not a scientist. I do hope that tolerance begins to change, though. You seem lovely and supportive of your daughter and her decisions, and so no matter where she ends up in life, if she has children, she’ll most likely teach them that same love and tolerance (and so on).

If lesbians aren’t attracted to men, why do so many lesbians make themselves look like men? And why would they date other women that look like men, as well?

You are not the first person to ask this, nor are you odd for thinking it. When you’re outside of this, it might seem weird – a woman wants to date a woman, yet that woman looks like a stereotypical man. What’s the point?

This smacks the nail of gender heteronormativity right on the head. Society tells us at the youngest of ages that pink is for girls, blue is for boys, and it only snowballs from there. From trucks and Barbies to baggier versus fitted jeans and everywhere in between, men become “men” and women become “women.” But what if you feel more comfortable as a man in a tighter-fitting shirt? And what if, as a woman, you wear your hair cropped short? You are immediately pigeonholed based on society’s decision that you are trying to be more masculine or feminine. I personally find comfort in dresses and skirts, yet I toy with the idea of cutting my hair short because I like change, and I think Audrey Hepburn did it right.

I asked my girlfriend this question, and she told me that she likes “girls that look like girls.” This is frustrating in the same line, but on the opposite side of the coin. As a woman who dates women, she is also falling into gender heteronormativity, stating she likes women who are society’s standard of “women.” Though I completely understand what she means, and she had said “I can’t think of a different way to describe it. I like the look of what society calls a ‘woman.’”

What does it all mean? I believe that as an individual, we have certain traits that make us who we are. We don’t have control over those, though it seems like we do. If I shaved my head and wore cargo pants, that wouldn’t make me feel like “me.” So who are we to say that a woman dressing in society’s standard of “masculine” is wrong?

It all comes down to a matter of taste. A bisexual friend of mine likes to date men who are taller than her and stronger physically, and women who are shorter than her and really feminine. She said she never blurs those lines, because that is her attraction and that is her taste. As for me, I am pretty into girls who don’t give a what. My girlfriend dresses in her favorite clothes every day. She may not fit society’s stereotype of “woman” to a tee, but she does have a huge rack, so there.

For the short answer: to each their own.

I’m a 19 year old lesbian in my first serious relationship, going on one year. Any advice?

First: hurray! Congratulations on one year, that’s great. Second: I may not be the best person to ask! I’m only one year into being out and with my girlfriend. Therefore, I am a newbie. But, as a woman who has immersed herself as much as she can in this world as quickly as possible, I can try my best.

1 – Be prepared. I say this because for me, as a woman who was in a relationship for around two years at your age, people are going to question you and your love. What makes you so sure about the person you’re with? Why aren’t you off having fun and dating around? You’re so young, how can you be so sure about your sexuality? Practice answering these. I know that sounds weird, but it feels good to be sure of yourself, which I’m sure you are! I used to be asked those questions when I was your age and in a LTR. Hilariously, my red flag of “What’s your secret for staying together for so long when you’re so young” response of “Umm, I don’t know, we just haven’t had a reason to break up” should have shut things down, but it didn’t, and I stayed there for years. Basically, if you and your partner are aware of your relationship and you wake up every morning in love (even if you’re angry/annoyed/stupefied with something they did the day before), you’re in the right place. So find a way to express that and you’re set.

2 – Be aware. If you’re in this relationship for that crappy reason I stated above, or any others (Because why not? Because he/she/ze is loaded! Because they have great friends! – These are reasons I’ve heard, eek!), then be aware of what you’re doing to yourself. I think number one is communication, communication, communication! Honesty is the best policy – tell your lady what’s going on so she doesn’t feel like she’s figuring out a Rubik’s Cube when you two are together. And remember, relationships are 50/50. Always. No ifs, ands, or buts. If you feel like you’re giving too much or you’re not into it, then you need to reevaluate. In the queer relationships (well, and not queer, lezbehonest) I’ve seen around me, this is commonplace. People just draaaaaag it ouuuuuut, and I’ll never understand that. But! If you aren’t there, and you feel like the give and take is healthy and non-exhaustive, then good. That’s a good sign!

3 – Be happy! Seriously, if you feel like you are spending your time right now with someone that is your best friend who’s also sexually fulfilling (this does NOT have to mean sex, mind you!), then you are in a great place that many people aren’t. You’ll have to deal with all of the regular things that relationships come with: jealousy, time management, clear communication, and baggage…but if you can make it through an average day with that person AND a smile on your face? Look at them right now and give them a high five. A good one – the one where you stare at each other’s elbows as to ensure the hand connects in the best way possible. You two rock!


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