I’m of the mindset that everyone should give everything a try in life. That doesn’t mean that I’ve accepted every opportunity that’s ever come my way, because I do have personal limits (and you should, too). But, truly, if you haven’t tried something, how can you really know whether you like it or not?
When it comes to our sexual expression, most people do a bit of experimentation to find out what they like most. I think as women we’re given a little more “freedom” to explore these things than men are – it’s more socially acceptable sexualized for us.
And whether we identify as straight, bi, or gay in the end, it’s usually assumed that we’ve tried on a few labels already. Whether those assumptions are necessarily true or not, I’m assuming that you landed here because you’re thinking about those thoughts.
If you’re questioning if you really should give sex with a woman a shot, ask yourself the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers – just whatever’s right for you.
1. Do you want to be her or do you want to be under her?
As women we’re often conditioned to be a bit competitive with one another. This can make it difficult to tell the difference between idolizing someone and lusting after them. (The same can be true for resentment, too – have you ever wondered if you really disliked another woman or if you secretly envied her? It’s society, man. It’s breaking us all.)
Even if you do end up identifying as a lesbian or bisexual, it can be a really thin line between I want her life and I want to be in her life. I have accidentally dated women because I was jealous of them (without realizing the difference) and, let me tell you, that is not a fun situation.
2. Do you wonder what it would be like to date a woman?
Most people mentally play with the possibility of dating their non-preferred-gender from time to time. It’s a completely normal part of the human experience, and probably explains why so many people experiment with their sexuality and still end up identifying as straight in the end. It’s normal and natural, no matter what outcome you find.
Of course, if you feel like you’re wondering more than the average woman, your curiosity is going to keep popping up until you find out what it means for you. The easiest way to do that is to give it a shot. Just be honest about your intentions – no one wants to fall in love under false pretenses, so if you’re looking for an experiment, don’t say you’re looking for a girlfriend, please.
3. Have you ever kissed your female friends?
This, of course, isn’t a tell-tale sign. You can enjoy kissing girls and not enjoy sleeping with them. Likewise, you could be one of the weirdos like me who doesn’t particularly care for kissing, but really cares for sex. There is often a connection, though, and if you’ve kissed your friends and liked it, you might be into having sex with women, too.
Just like with question #2, though, you should be honest with the person you’re experimenting with. Falling for someone who was basically “just practicing” is really painful. Sure, we shouldn’t assume that every sexual encounter means it’ll be a long-term relationship, but it’s nice to give someone the risks upfront.
4. Do you have “girl crushes”?
This is another grey area, too. Since the line between a crush and an idol is so freaking thin, we often write our woman-crushes off as “just a crush”. But if the feelings don’t seem to subside, or you find yourself tempted to act on them, what’s stopping you from looking into it?
Be warned that your exploration of this crush doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about your sexuality, either. I have an ex who used to be a best friend – until I misunderstood a crush. Closeness doesn’t always equal attraction, and you might have to learn that the hard way. Don’t worry – you’ll get over this woman faster than you think you will.
5. Are you bored of heterosexual sex?
If you feel unfulfilled after sex with a male partner, this might mean you’re into females. Of course, it’s just as likely that it means the partners you’re choosing aren’t paying enough attention to you sexually – but one of the perks of this is that, females typically pay closer attention to the erogenous zones. You’re welcome.
It is important to realize that enjoying lesbian sex doesn’t always mean you’re a lesbian – just as enjoying sex with a man doesn’t necessarily mean you’re straight. Sex itself is such a small portion of sexuality – which sounds so weird to say, but really, your identity is complicated – don’t limit it to just one label if the label doesn’t quite fit.
6. Is lesbian sex a fetish or fantasy of yours?
Guess what – even if it’s fetishized in your mind, you’ve got sufficient reason to explore it. Just like all the other curious signs above, though, it’s your responsibility to be honest with your partner, and let them know if they want to fill the role you’re casting them for.
Is it one girl in particular you’re pining over, or girls in general? This doesn’t necessarily make a difference, but it might – so pay attention to your thoughts. If you find that you’re drawn to just one woman, and it’s reasonable to pursue her, that might be the best place to start, but make sure she knows the situation going in.
7. Are you drawn toward female celebrities?
If you watch a lot of movies and find yourself being consistently drawn to the female lead, especially if she’s got queer subtext, you might be interested in women. (And if you specifically look for queer subtext for the female leads, it’s almost certain.) If it only happens with certain movies, where your favorite actress plays the lead, it might mean something else, but… I can’t say for sure, because the only male character I ever really prioritize is Johnny Depp.
In terms of musicians, it’s a little different. I don’t think it makes a bit of difference what type of music you listen to, and whether it’s done by a man or a woman. But if you find yourself “gaying up” songs when you sing along; that is, using female pronouns in the romantic or sexy songs… Maybe your mind is trying to tell you something. Maybe.
8. Does your gaze linger a bit?
Do you find reasons to look at nude female bodies? Whether you’re into lesbian porn, or female nude art exhibits, or gratuitous sexualization in movies and TV shows (female superheroes, I’m talking to you), you find yourself looking for just a bit longer than you do when it’s a male body. This could be just respect of the female form, except that it turns you on. A lot.
Before I was ready to come out, I told myself that it didn’t mean I was gay – after all, everyone looks. And everyone can agree that women look better naked than men do. Right? But, to paraphrase the intervention in But I’m a Cheerleader!, you only think they’re thinking the same thing you are when they look. If you’re turned on, it’s worth looking into.
9. What sort of orgasm do you look for in sex scenes?
When you’re watching a pornographic movie (or reading erotica – whatever does it for you), who are you paying more attention to? The porn you watch doesn’t exactly tell what your sexual preference is, but it can give a little insight. If you’re watching porn and rooting for the girl, so to speak, you might be interested in women. It could also mean that you’re feeling a little neglected in your own sex life, though.
The same goes for watching lesbian porn, although I think the indicator is which girl you want to be when you’re watching it. If you find yourself wanting to emulate the receiver, it might just be a case of sexual frustration. But if you find yourself wanting to be the one giving pleasure, you probably should try it. (Both women should try it, though. Just to be sure.)
10. Does lesbian romance make you happy?
We’ve already said that love and sex aren’t mutually exclusive concepts, but there are usually some overlaps. If you find yourself sympathizing with the queer subplot that we’ve already found out you look for, possibly more than the heterosexual main plot – or, gasp! If you actually seek out queer movies – you might be a little interested in women.
Or, you might just be an ally. Trust me, we love our straight friends, too. But there’s probably a connection if the gay stuff ranks higher than the straight stuff. It’s worth exploring those thoughts to see what they really mean for you.
11. Have you questioned it?
Really, this should be your first indication here. If you’ve thought about it, you should check it out. Worst case scenario, you find out that it’s not for you – and there’s nothing wrong with that! It is literally impossible to know how you’ll handle a situation you’ve never been in before, and it’s pretty hard to know how you’ll handle it the second time. Generally speaking, we don’t know ourselves as well as we’d like to.
It doesn’t really matter why you questioned it, either, but the fact that you did question it means it’s something you wonder about. Nothing is going to answer your questions until you give it a chance. Thankfully, our society is becoming much more accepting of experimentation, and a little more accepting of the idea that what you do as a consenting adult is nobody else’s business. If you’re wondering if you should have sex with a woman, you should. That inner voice probably isn’t talking to itself, you know.
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