You Need Help: Your Girlfriend Is Jealous Of Hypothetical Boys

Welcome to You Need Help! Where you seek advice and we try our very best to give it.

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For more info on sending in questions, see the bottom of this post. Let’s get down to bossing people around on the internet! Today we help you deal with a jealous girlfriend.

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Q: My girlfriend is the only girl i’ve ever been with, but she seems to be concerned I’m going to leave her for a guy and that she’s not enough for me. I’ve told her so many times that she’s the only one I want. How do I convince her I don’t miss the penis?

 

THIS IS A MOVIE AND NOT REAL LIFE

A: Okay, so this situation sucks. It sucks for everyone. It sucks for her because she feels nervous and insecure and jealous and that’s no fun, and it really sucks for you because you feel defensive and confused and hurt because you’re being punished pre-emptively for something you haven’t done. It’s hard to be in a relationship where you feel like you can’t trust the other person’s love. It’s also really hard to have the person you love tell you, essentially, that “I think you’re totally capable of doing something deeply hurtful to me, and you just haven’t had the opportunity yet.” Because that’s what it feels like, isn’t it?

I mean, the context isn’t that uncommon. Okay, so you’ve dated men, okay, so that worries her. She’s not the first, she won’t be the last. But here’s the thing: while I don’t know your whole deal, and I guess it’s possible you met in queerio blindfolded no-questions-asked speed dating where you were only allowed to communicate via interpretive dance, but I’m guessing she knew that you’ve dated men before you two were in a relationship. Basically, she knew what she was getting into. That doesn’t mean that she’s not allowed to have insecurities; we all do. It doesn’t even mean that there isn’t a healthy way to talk about those feelings.

But bottom line, it’s unfair to enter into a committed relationship of any level of seriousness with someone if you don’t plan on trusting their commitment to it. The situation isn’t feasible in the long run; something has to give, you know?

Are her issues coming from your actual relationship or somebody else’s? Chances are good this has less to do with you than it does with something her ex did, or her ex’s ex, or even something she did once. You’re not her ex and you shouldn’t be blamed for things she did, and on the one hand you can’t ever really “convince” her of anything in that case, but just keep on being you. Sometimes people bring baggage into relationships that take a little extra time to deal with, and if this is her own personal baggage from some other relationship, then talk about that. But if her jealousy isn’t actually about you, then nothing you do is going to make it go away. I do not, personally, ascribe to the belief that the love of a good woman cures all things. (See: Jal and Chris.)

So if it’s not about your relationship or somebody else’s, then it’s about her — about her worry that “she’s not enough for you.”  Find out where that’s coming from, and deal with that on its own terms. She’ll eventually have to do her own legwork to work through that issue, but open the door.

There’s a degree to which your situation is specific to bisexual/non-gold star women dating other women, in that you’re being made to shoulder the huge, evil weight that we assign to the Imaginary Awful Slutty Cheating Bisexual Girl Who Is Probably Straight Anyways. But also — and she should know this — your situation is the same one that a lot of couples, straight or gay or whatever, have to deal with. Why we have trouble trusting each other sometimes. Yes, relationships usually end, and sometimes people hurt each other, and sometimes they even leave relationships to enter into other relationships with other people. But we can’t let that stop us from loving or trusting other people, at least not if we want to be happy. It’s not unfair to want your partner in a monogamous relationship to be faithful, and to love you as much as you love them, but it is unfair to refuse to have faith in them.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

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157 Comments

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      Yo honestly people really do put a lot of emphasis on the gold star situation way too much. Like, “ewwwww, you slept with a man?” without giving cause or thought to why certain people sleep with certain people.
      I mean. I like to think of myself as queer which implies that I won’t fall into the normative boundaries of other people’s expectations for the use of my vagina. #wompwomp to them, though.

      Obvious L Word Reference: And also Better Porter slept with a man and was still sexy as fuck. Granted he was gay, but dammit, it counts.

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        I’ve never slept with a man before, and sometimes when I tell people this they go, “Wow, so you’re a gold star! That’s awesome!” But I also identify as queer and I won’t rule out sleeping with a man in the future, and so it just makes me feel bad when people get all excited about me being a “gold star.” Like, now I know who’s gonna be all judge-y if I ever start sleeping with a man…

        • Thumb up 2

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          Honestly, while I am bi, I understand the idea behind the “gold star” concept. We live in a society that repeatedly tells women of all sexual orientations that they need a man to be truly “happy,” and that they should prioritize that above all other things in their life. Making the lack of a man in your life into not only something of which you should not be ashamed, but a point of pride, is subversive and empowering.

          I don’t have a problem with that. Where I have a problem with it is when people use it to feel superior to bisexual women or lesbians who did not figure out their sexuality right away. You can be proud of something without thinking that those who do not have it are inferior to you. I am proud of my bisexuality, but I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with being monosexual. I’m proud of my musical talents; that doesn’t mean I think non-musicians are lesser beings.

          I won’t begrudge anyone the pride that comes with the “gold star” label, especially as I think it’s good for women of ALL sexual orientations to subvert the notion that one needs a man to be happy. (Yes, straight women, too, as they are also oppressed by this when, say, excelling in their career is more important to them than landing a husband.) And also because pride is good. I think it’s possible to be proud of your “gold star” label without necessarily thinking that bisexual women or later-in-life lesbians are inferior.

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          Hmm, that’s a really interesting way to think about it.
          I think specifically for me, the reason I don’t like being called a “gold star” is that I’m being praised for something that may not always be true for me–never having slept with a man– and I start to feel like I’m being herded in to a box I don’t want to be in.
          I also think that while it’s easy to say that your being proud of something doesn’t invalidate other people’s experiences and identities, that fact is that a lot of people DO use the “gold star” idea to establish a kind of lesbian pecking order–I mean, they call it “gold star” for a reason.
          I think I agree with you that it can be “subversive and empowering” to take pride in never having been with a man. But my problem is that, by calling it “gold star,” you establish a category of lesbian, and imply that those lesbians are in some significant way different–and better–than other lesbians/queer women. Maybe it’s the difference between being individually proud of the choices you’ve made, and being proud as a collective member of a group?

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          I brag about my gold star because it’s funny, really. I’ve always wanted a gold star for something! And given that I grew up thinking that my lesbianism was something to be ashamed of, I think it’s nice that I get an award for it.

          And I would never judge anyone for being bisexual. Good gosh – love is where you find it. If you meet a nice guy or a nice girl, more power to you. If you guys want a star too – what color do you want? You can have a star too!

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          I agree with many of your points but would come to a different conclusion. I think that rather than being “subversive”, gold-star fever is a sure-tell sign that the joke is on you: I think it clearly (or rather, sometimes clearly – I suppose I can’t presume to know what is going on in even my own head, much less other women’s) is a reflection of one’s own insecurities: “Oh, society says you need a man to be happy – well, I’m afraid of dating anyone who might also date a man, because there is no reason to choose me over that man.”

          I think without that underlying current of insecurity, no one would give a damn if you were a gold star or not…imho.

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          THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL. Expecting your girlfriend to be a gold star is almost like a conservative Christian dude expecting any possible girlfriends to be abstinent until marriage. In my view it’s just controlling and unfair, although I can see where the fear comes from.

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          You know what’s super confusing? Being an unintentional bisexual gold star. I’m labeled a virgin because I don’t run to my friends telling them I slept with a girl (and I “obviously” haven’t slept with a guy; they know I wouldn’t have a one night stand for my “first time”). I’m also at the age where I should have already had lots of crazy sex in college.

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        “I like to think of myself as queer which implies that I won’t fall into the normative boundaries of other people’s expectations for the use of my vagina”

        THIS THIS THIS. I need to put this on cards and hand it out to people when they ask about my sexuality cos seriously I just can’t deal with this shit anymore.

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      Wow, I’ve never experienced anyone ever really thinking that much about the whole gold star thing, because I barely know any gold star lesbians! I am actually proud not to be one, because it’s part of who I am. And I don’t really know how the whole gay thing works, because I most definitely identify as a lesbian now, but when I was with guys, I wasn’t exactly lying back imagining it was Kate Moss.

      I just think that no one should be made to feel bad for their experiences, because that is what made them who they are.

  1. Thumb up 1

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    I pretty much could have written this question. Except, to take a different approach, in this case I actually WAS the one to bring my baggage into the relationship. It sucks, but it was an accident, and her anger helped me see all the little ways that I had disrespected her in the very beginning. I second the advice: just keep being you. You can prove your fidelity to her by listening hard, and being aware of yourself. The scars will hurt at first, but if you orient yourself with boundaries and self-awareness then you will be able to create a culture of trust.

    Also:
    “queerio blindfolded no-questions-asked speed dating where you were only allowed to communicate via interpretive dance”

    best scenario ever.

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    I’m with a woman who dated men for 20 years and I’m the first girl.. and I’m a goldstar.. Yeh sometimes there’s that voice in the back of your head telling you “what if she goes back to men”? But then you have to just realise that you need to trust her.. and she could easily cheat with another girl, right?
    I think everyone has those doubts sometimes..being with a former straight girl..
    On the other hand: am I the only one who’s finding the whole thing pretty damn hot? Kind of like……she had all those guys but now all she wants is me because I’m the only one who can truly give her what she wants… ahh ok I admit it, I love “straight” girls.. ♥

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    Totally second that it’s about this girl’s girlfriend’s ex or ex’s ex or whatever. I could have written this question like ten years ago… and I am a ‘gold star’! But because I am femme and can “pass” (and whatever else seemed like reasonable criteria for her to worry that I was going to go straight), this was like her biggest fear and it was a really big deal in the relationship. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I had the added bonus of NOT being a gold star… which makes me feel bad for this girl!

    A lot of lesbians put so much emphasis on whether or not someone has slept with a man in the past… like that has so much to do with their true level of lesbian-ness or something… and I think that is such b.s. From personal experience, it has about zero to do with anything. Of my exes, the two that were butch and could be spotted as a stereotypical lesbian from a mile away had both slept with men in the past… and the two that were femme and could 100% pass as straight had not. (Also the two that were femme were the only ones that cheated on me… and both times, it was with other women.) I really think none of that has anything to do with the relationship itself.

    The part that concerns me most is the apparent lack of trust. She shouldn’t have to convince her girlfriend that she doesn’t want a guy. It’s not an issue of gay or straight, male or female… it’s an issue of trust, 100%. If you don’t have trust, you honestly have nothing. That is the one thing I learned from every failed relationship.

    My advice to the girl writing the question… have an honest conversation with your girlfriend and tell her that you don’t want to date anyone else, male or female, and that her constant fear of you going straight is what is undermining the relationship because it shows she doesn’t trust you. State your case and then let it go. If she never comes around and the issue never stops, I’d say it’s worth it to think about moving one… I would imagine a situation like this completely stresses you out and weighs on you all day (it did me!). It’s so worth it to break out of it and start a relationship with someone where there is mutual trust and respect. It honestly takes a huge weight off your shoulders and makes the entire world better… lol.

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    One of my dearest friends spent 15 years married to a (gasp) man..She denied her sexuality for a multitude of reasons but eventually could not deny har feelings for another woman and it ended her marriage. I don’t fault her. I don’t judge her. I don’t envy her the internal struggle. The whole “gold star” shit irritates me. Like somehow she is less valid than I am? Bullshit! A persons insecurities, while born from many sources, all stem from within. If your partner makes you feel that way then it doesn’t even matter if how true -or false- the possibility is. Put plainly: You’ve got problems. “She might leave me for a man” is really just a variation on “She might leave me” Sure..Another woman I can compete with…But a man? A MAN?? She’s not going to believeu no matter how much you reassure her that her feelings are unfounded. Bottom line: You need counseling. It may not save your relationship..But it might save your sanity.

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    my ex? she pulled this same shit on me. and all her “worrying” made me feel terrible and bad for most of our relationship and then she cheated on me with two guys and i realized it was her thing not me and now she’s my ex. fun story.

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    I know this totally doesn’t help at all, but one of the benefits of dating another bisexual – or, as the case may be, another lesbian who isn’t a gold star and doesn’t hate herself for it – is they don’t give you crap about this.

    This also reminds me of a much more extreme case on Dan Savage where a gay guy said his boyfriend was so threatened by his previous lovers that he made him write essays about them! Like Riese said, this can be an issue with any couple, not just those where one has dated both sexes/is bisexual and the other hasn’t/isn’t. Anyway, Dan told that guy to DTMFA, but I think there’s room in your relationship for your gf to work through her insecurity.

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    Reading this I was thinking of my gay man friends, pretty much all of whom either had or attempted to have sex with ladies before they realised their homosexiness. I have NEVER heard a gay man complain that his boyfriend once slept with a woman. I have also never heard a gay man complain that his boyfriend is jealous because he once slept with a woman. But this shit seems rife amongst lesbians. Why the difference??

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      From what I understand from bi men, gay men tend to see it as a “conquest” if they’re the one to “turn” a bisexual or closeted gay man.

      I also think some of it might have to do with the fact that men don’t always take women’s sexuality seriously, so gay men aren’t as “threatened” by the idea of their man being with a woman than the other way around – because women just aren’t seen as “threatening.” Also, while there’s a lot of pressure to be heterosexual in general, women in particular have pressure to be in a heterosexual RELATIONSHIP, as women are told everywhere they aren’t complete without a man. Whereas, for gay men, it’s really more pressure just to be seen as straight, and not date men, but not necessarily be with a woman.

      Does any of that make any sense? I’m not sure it does.

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        yes makes perfect sense.

        “From what I understand from bi men, gay men tend to see it as a “conquest” if they’re the one to “turn” a bisexual or closeted gay man.” ….. well I don’t like how conquest sounds so.. pejorative…but I kinda feel the same about “turning” a straight girl… in the nicest possible way!

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        Yeah, it does, I agree with what you are saying! I especially agree with you about women’s sexuality not being seen as threatening, and men being pressured to be straight rather than to be in a relationship… I think that explains why gay men who weren’t the one to ‘turn’ a guy still don’t worry about whether that guy is going to ditch them for a lady.

        I also agree that women are under pressure to be in a straight relationship… but idk, it seems like there is some internalised lesbiphobia going on with the lesbians in question here? It’s almost like they are worried that heterosexuality has some gravitational force, some power, that lesbianism doesn’t. Like if lesbianism and heterosexuality are really equal, then why would heterosexuality be a threat??

        I am just tossing round ideas… this is one area that really stumps me. I like girls and I like boys so the whole thing just goes over my head. I understand it is incredibly painful if a girlfriend turned out to be straight and never really had the feelings you had for her. But if said girlfriend really is into you and then leaves you, why does it hurt more that she leaves you for a man than a woman? Maybe I am just insensitive.

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          I’ve always thought that it’s because bisexuality in women is seen as trendy, and so there’s this fear that girls are just claiming the label “bisexual” in order to be cool, when they’re actually straight. And of course, no one wants their girlfriend to turn out to be straight. But bisexuality in men is seen differently, I think. It’s so not-trendy that it’s basically invisible, and if there are any stereotypical ideas about bi men, it’s that they’re actually gay men in denial–and so gay men who date them aren’t afraid that they’re actually dating a straight guy.

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          Yeah, I’d say the stereotype about bi men is that they’re actually gay, so they tend to get from straight women who bi women get from lesbians. Straight women, excepting yaoi fangirls, generally have an even stronger aversion to dating bi men than lesbians do to dating bi women.

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          And it’s interesting that in both cases, the fear is of men – in both cases, the fear of a bi person leaving you for the opposite sex is greater when the opposite sex is a man rather than a woman.

          As for the idea that “heterosexuality has some gravitational force, some power, that lesbianism doesn’t” – I think it’s really that no one, even lesbians, can completely escape societal messages as entrenched as “women really need men to feel complete,” so when they come across a woman who is attracted to men, they feel like it’s inevitable that those women will give into that.

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          yes! I really agree with this. one of my gay man friends has a saying about bi guys – ‘bi now, gay later’. and then I have been asked by straight women whether I wouldn’t be worried about a bi guy a) being gay or b) giving me AIDS. ugh ugh ugh.

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    this question reminds me of life with my ex. only she was less concerned that she wasn’t enough for me, and more convinced that because she was a gold star and i’m not, she was superior. she was quite mean about it, actually. if she had been legitimately nervous that i was going to leave her for someone else, that might’ve been better, somehow. instead, she just constantly made jokes about how i wasn’t a “real gay” and that i’d end up with a dude, etc.

    .

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    Being a very femme queer girl that ALWAYS passes for straight and has been in a hetero relationship for 9 years, the whole “gold star” elitism bothers me so much. I’m already basically dismissed from the whole lesbian scene because of femme invisibility and bi angst and of course the fact that there’s OMG A PENIS in my life.. It’s like the extreme version of the insecurity the OP is dealing with, except I don’t even get the chance to TRY a queer relationship (I’m poly, just to clear that up). It’s depressing.

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      anyone else thinking that internalised homophobia has got to do with that angst? That somehow a tiny voice in the back of our brains always tells us that “homo is always inferior to hetero”? I think that is more or less ingrained in everyone through society, media etc..
      My hypothesis is: fear of bi girls and being left for a man has got to do with our own internalised homophobia.. well I’m speaking for myself here, as I know that’s the core of what I’m struggling with!

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        I definitely think it has to do with internalized homophobia and massive amounts of insecurity… It’s so incredibly frustrating to me because I love women, I miss intimate relationships with women, but because I’m femme and “bi” (I identify more as pansexual than bi) and read as straight, I’m dismissed. And as soon as anyone finds out that I’m poly and there’s a flesh-and-blood penis in my life, I’m not even considered as an option.

        If I want to be with you, I WANT TO BE WITH YOU. Sure, a penis can stimulate my vagina in ways a woman can’t, but you know what? The inverse is also true! A woman can touch me and stimulate me in ways a man never can (though he tries, bless). It’s all just SO MUCH insecurity and misandry and internalized homophobia, and it’s so silly and gets us nowhere. Believe in your own awesomeness, people.

        I’m tired of being invisible. Of being discounted because of insecurities that I didn’t foster. I just want a goddamn girlfriend. :(

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          “Sure, a penis can stimulate my vagina in ways a woman can’t”

          I daresay there are certain contraptions that make this entirely possible… ;) Hmm I so love being a lesbian :D

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          Perhaps I should have said “a penis can stimulate my vagina in ways a piece of plastic/rubber/silicone can’t” (and yes, I can elaborate, but I have a feeling that would be TMI, haha). But my point still stands: man or woman, one is not more or less stimulating that the other, one is not better or worse or more desireable or whatever. It is only different.

          And I miss that difference.

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          ^I mean ok ok so in theory everything a woman can do a man can also do…

          Like men can use dildos, fingers, tongues, etc…

          So saying that a girl can “stimulate your vagina” in a way a dude can’t…well…it doesn’t seem to be the case really. I guess there’s scissoring or rubbing your boob against it (LOL) but my guess is not every lesbian is into those things haha

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          I mean as someone who is, as Marta said, queer as in lesbian (well mostly a lesbian anyway), I understand it from the framework of, a girl is going to give me a high that no guy can. So THAT’S how she’s different…she’s better.

          It’s hard to imagine “separate but equal” attraction if ya know what I mean..

          (Also, not trying to be rude, just legit curious)

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          …I have a hard time imagining “separate but equal” attraction too, to be honest. To me, it’s just.. attraction. That’s largely why I identify as pansexual; there’s men and women and a whole range of in-between. Over the course of my life I’ve been personally attracted to people that fall all over the spectrum.

          “So saying that a girl can “stimulate your vagina” in a way a dude can’t…well…it doesn’t seem to be the case really. I guess there’s scissoring or rubbing your boob against it (LOL) but my guess is not every lesbian is into those things haha”

          ..That wasn’t really what I meant. A woman’s touch is different than a man’s, in a way that I cannot possibly explain in words without resorting to poetic metaphors. Her body is different, she responds differently than a man, and I respond differently to her. Yes, a man can use his fingers, hands, tongue, but it’s the how that matters here. (And yes, the technical physical differences of boobs, hips, *ahem* et cetera is quite nice, too.)

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          I agree! But I don’t think we can just say it’s difference because of fingers, tongues, peen or whatever. To me sex is the whole experience of being sexual with a person. You connect with their whole body and (hopefully) their personality too. Women’s bodies are obviously so different from men’s… soft and curvy and beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you are say being held and fingered by a dude who uses the exact same movements as a lady would. It is going to be a completely different experience because dudes and ladies have such different physiques. At least that is my experience of it.

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          Haha, yeah, I was being slightly tongue in cheek and figured you meant what Dizzy said (essentially).

          I’m coming at this from the perspective of a girl who was told by her (now) ex that she “missed dick”, essentially. That “her strap-on just wasn’t the same.” (Not as a reason for breaking up, she just thought it was normal to say this at various points during the course of the relationship…maybe it was…since she was trying to get the green light to sleep with dudes, after all). And yeah that is a monogamous lesbian’s worst neurosis…’cause quite frankly I’ve dated people who were good at any number of things…but I’ve never felt it appropriate to say I missed how my current gf couldn’t fix cars, or ski, or wasn’t totally ripped like my last one and so she couldn’t fuck me up against a wall, or whatever. In fact I never really /did/ miss any of those things…sure every relationship is different…but in the end a connection (sexual and emotional) was a connection, and a remarkably similar feeling across partners (for me). Was it because I was monogamous and that’s how monogamous people think, or was it because…

          …when it comes to guys…it’s more significant, somehow? It’s not about a single hobby, it’s about something way more integral (dick and vagina magic, namely, but maybe also hormone magic, or something?). At least, that’s how SHE described it, and sort of planted the idea in my head as well. It was more than unnerving that I couldn’t be everything she wanted out of a romantic-sexual connection, when I felt like she was everything /I/ wanted, at the time anyway.

          But my head, if not my heart, knows (maybe knows?) that there are some (especially monogamous) bi girls who don’t think that way, who see chick versus dick as the same thing as swimmer versus skier. But it’s hard to overcome the initial, well, I think it amounts to fear more than anything else, of being inadequate. Of putting my heart into it and it not being enough. But oh well. Maybe I’m just rambling/spamming.

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          And no she didn’t think guys were “better” (at least I hope not, though it sometimes felt that way). It was more like, “You’re asking me to give up PIZZA FOREVER.” And I was kinda like no I’m really not, I mean, a good orgasm and emotional connection is a good orgasm and emotional connection. If you aren’t the same person as my last gf does that mean /I’m/ the one giving up pizza forever?! And she was all, blahblah it’s different…(i.e. the difference is more important, somehow)

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          I mean maybe it does mean she isn’t getting pizza anymore…but if girl likes pizza so frickin much and being in a monogamous relationship with me precludes her eating pizza for the foreseeable future, well damn, I am just going to feel like shit the whole time, amirite?

          So extended metaphor aside, is it not for our own good if some girl hangs up a “bi chicks apply elsewhere” sign? (OK I promise I’m done now -_-).

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      Lal, I’m trying to understand your perspective.

      “Being a very femme queer girl that ALWAYS passes for straight and has been in a hetero relationship for 9 years, the whole “gold star” elitism bothers me so much.”

      How does your current, fairly long-term, hetero relationship affect your “queer” identification by others as well as your own identity?

      I think that identity is so important whether it’s titles like mother, woman, womyn, man, sister, husband, teacher, etc., and/or queer, bi, lesbian, etc. I specifically think that identity is important when establishing a space where we feel that we fit and feel safe. Also, I recognize that words can mean different things to different people. In my case, I identify as “queer” meaning lesbian, not heterosexual, and extremely androgynous.

      Anyway, I’m curious as to your opinion.

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        I love that “queer” is such a flexible term. I identify as pansexual or fluid, polyamorous, kinky, sex-positive, tomboy femme (though visibly way more femmey), and for me “queer” is a convenient title for “not heteronormative.”

        That said, my hetero relationship affects my queer identification by others in that I am simply not identified. I “look straight” (good ol’ femme invisibility) and so I am always dismissed as straight, and that false assumption is amplified 300% when they learn I am in a hetero relationship. If I’m in the actual company of my male partner, forget it. Even if I tell them otherwise (and despite the dainty but semi-obvious rainbow bracelet on my right wrist), it seems like I am very rarely believed.

        Which affects my own personal identity as queer because it is basically denied on a constant basis. It’s not that I’m in danger of changing my self-identity, but more that it’s painful to be standing among my own people (for lack of a better term) and not be seen for what I am.

        I’m aware that this is partly my own responsibility as well – it’s only been in the last few years that queer has become a tangible, integral part of my self-identity (it’s always been there, but it took me a while to realize just how important it is to me). So I myself have been fairly heteronormative for a while, and I’m out of practice with flirting and picking up signals (especially with women) and terribly shy to boot. It’s probably equal parts femme / “bi” invisibility and me just needing to put my ass out there more often.

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    Lal, I get that. I am ultrafemme, have no tattoos and only pierced ears I have been marginaized by the lesbian community. More than a few times I have been told I am really straight and haven’t met the right guy…by LESBIANS! So this of course wears on my G/F hearing that crap. I have never had a man and have no interest in one, the chemistry just isn’t there.

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    I am not a gold star lesbian, nor have I ever been threatened by other non-gold star lesbians…until after my wife and I got together. I have dealt with all the usual psycho ex-girlfriends in past relationships, but have never (until currently) dealt with a psycho ex-boyfriend. About 1.5 years ago, my wife’s college ex-boyfriend was calling/texting her for several weeks unbeknownst to me, asking to take her to dinner to “talk” about how lonely he was, how sad he was that all his friends are married, saying he still thought about “them” from when they were together in college, (like 8 years after they broke up after dating for only 10 months), and generally obsessing over her (he had stalked her when she originally broke up with him). Well, she was hiding all this from me, because she didn’t want to admit that I was right about him still having feelings for her. So yeah, that situation made me feel threatened. And it WAS in a different way than had it been a female who was stalking her. Her family wasn’t super okay with her being gay at first, so there is that to think about. And honestly, if she wanted to go back to the penis, well, I can’t give that to her. I had had NO idea how serious that relationship had maybe been in college. Or that he would still have feelings for her after so long. I just feel like the entire situation and their relationship was misrepresented to me, so it was shock when he tried to re-enter her life and stuck himself into my relationship. So I did question why she hid all that from me. It took a LONG time for me to get over that… and it nearly ended our relationship. But we have worked past it and are okay again. But it definitely shed some new light on the whole “being jealous of boys” thing for me. I had never even really thought about it (in 13 years of being with women) before her.

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      I think that jealousy is more than understandable in your situation, especially as I don’t really understand why your wife was not being up-front about her ex’s behavior toward you if she didn’t return his feelings. Although it seems you worked that out, that does seem very strange in terms of how it was at the time.
      To give an example: My dad has had some weird e-mails lately from his ex-girlfriend from college who keeps trying to “reconnect” despite the fact that they are both married and haven’t spoken in 30 years. Because there’s no chance he’d ever act on these, he shares them freely with my mom, and they laugh about them together. There’s nothing he needs to hide, so why would he have to be secretive?
      Unless she was worried you would have them break off their friendship and she wanted to stay friends with him, I don’t see the reason for the secrecy.

      The fact that it’s unfair that bisexual women have to bear the burden for these situations doesn’t mean that these situations never happen and that people like you don’t have a right to be angry and frustrated when they do.

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        Rose,
        thank you for your response. I agree with everything you said, which is why it really did take me a LONG time to get over the dishonesty. I also don’t really know for sure why she hid it from me, either. Believe me, we have been through rounds of arguing about that. (ugh). In all, I have learned to be okay with it… I guess. and have been clear about what I expect from her and that I would never be okay if it ever happens again (like, the relationship would end). I’ve always been much more open about exes, and my wife hasn’t been. I don’t think it’s due to a dishonest nature on her part, but just part of her personality to not bad-mouth or talk about her exes. I can respect that, but I can’t respect being outright lied to. I had suspected his feelings from the start of him contacting her again, and she denied it. I think she just didn’t want to be wrong, and have me get mad about him trying to re-enter her life. It’s been a confusing time, really. But even writing about it makes me upset again.

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    In a sort of flip-side of this, I’m a “gold star” and I was dating a girl who had been with a bunch of guys before we got together.

    She was really insecure about it, told me she was embarrassed she’d been with so many guys before she realized she was gay, etc. It was so bizarre to me, since I honestly couldn’t imagine caring about that. I trusted her completely and knew how she felt about me, and that was all that mattered.

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    Oh, hey, should could always leave you for another woman.
    ♪What’s genitalia got to do with it?♪

    In all seriousness, I’ve dealt with this from my goldstar partner A LOT. It was really rough in the beginning of our relationship (she had bi-baggage and at the time I identified as bi). It just takes time, ***communication,*** and your very best behavior. I’m happy to report that my queerness is something she celebrates now. :)
    Good luck!

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    so im a gold star. Im so proud of it i got it tattooed but but i dont flaunt it even tho you can see it if im wearing a t-shirt i dont tell people unless they ask me about it i also dont go around picking on people for not being gold stars themselves. I could give a shit what you do with your genitals as long as they dont have anything to do with me. I’ve never dated a bi girl or girls who have slept with men before but i doubt that would really matter to me if i really liked her

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    We need to remind ourselves collectively (and OFTEN), that the dating pool for bisexual women is just larger on the guy side than on the girl side. Chances are that bisexual girls are going to meet available men more than available women, because there are just more guys interested in women than there are women interested in women.

    If you’re dating a bisexual girl and you break up, she’s likely going to meet and date a guy. AND IT’S NOT HER FAULT.

    I mean come on. Holding that against bisexual women is just mean. Nobody is responsible for these statistics.

    And why should this matter? For pete’s sake. If you break up with someone, you don’t get to pick who they date after you.

    And holding this over someones head while you’re dating them? How unfair is that? Continually telling someone that you think they’re going to leave you for someone else is a good way to get them to do just that, because you’re telling them you don’t trust them. Over and over again.

    That is not a recipe for a loving relationship.

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      Agreed. I dated a bi guy before I knew that I was bi/queer. First thoughts when he came out to me on our second date: what if he’s actually gay (omg he probably is), he could date (or leave me for) anyone in this restaurant, am I as good as a guy for him?

      Then I realized: 1. Why should I label him something that he doesn’t identify as? If he identifies as bi, he is bi and I shouldn’t project a confused gay persona onto him. 3. Just because he’s bi, doesn’t make him any less loyal or committed. 4. Bisexual people are not inherently less loyal than monosexual people, nor are they inherently more likely to cheat. 5. If he breaks up with me and dates a guy/girl/transperson he’s just dating another PERSON and the gender shouldn’t matter.

      Yes, maybe the dating pool is bigger, but bi/queer/pansexual people don’t have the whole world to choose from. Everyone has their types and even though I’m attracted to men and women and people in between, I’m certainly not attracted to all people. I personally tend to go for androgynous types anywhere on the gender spectrum (but most often tomboy-ish/dyke-y girls and bois, at least these days–tastes can change!)

      Now that I have realized my own queerness, I have found that the most successful relationships I have are with people who understand that sexuality is a spectrum.

      Biphobia sucks, coming from lesbians or straight men (or even, weirdly enough from other bi/pan people with their own internalized homophobia/stigmas). It shouldn’t take a relationship with a bi person for people to get over their own prejudices; as a queer community, we should have moved past this ages ago.

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    I think that the paranoia some girls get about “omg you will leave me for a man because you porked one in the past,” more than factual, has to do with personal insecurities… if your chick loves you, if the relationship is good, if you love her… in the end gold star or not… it won’t really matter. Besides and no offense but for some of us non gold star street cred having lesbians, being with dudes wasn’t exactly like the wind was in our hair and the hills were alive with the sound of music…

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    one time i dated a girl who was previously straight. she cheated on me with a dude. i was pissed and sad about it for a while but then i moved on. i went on to date other girls, some of whom had previously been straight. i guess my advice to the girlfriend of the advice seeker is to try not worrying about it so much.

    easier said than done, i know. but i believe it’s completely on her.

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    For some friends around me, the issue goes beyond personal preference of genitals and more about pressure from family and friends — to marry a man and have a traditional family like “everyone else”.

    It’s like they wake up one day and go, “Oh god, I need to get married and have kids, and I think being with another woman just don’t seem to cut it. At least not in this country.”

    I think it’s sad, but I can so empathize with the fear of losing a woman in such cases.

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      Yeah, I was going to say that that’s probably a big part of the reason for the fear that a bisexual girl will prefer a guy, because of the privileges that come from being in an opposite-sex relationship and being read as “straight.”

      That said, one thing that gays and lesbians often neglect when assuming this of bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships is just how relative most of the variables that constitute “straight privilege” are. The only universals are the laws on same-sex marriage/civil unions. (I’m not counting laws against job discrimination, since being in an opposite-sex relationship is not going to protect an out bi person from that.) Stuff like family attitudes, social environment, whether the person gravitates toward more traditional vs. more nonconventional relationship models, etc. vary from person to person and situation to situation. In my case, my family is very accepting of the idea of me dating another woman, as are my friends (most of whom are some flavor of LGBT themselves), and I’ve never been all that invested in having a “traditional” marriage anyway, if I even want to get married in the first place. So I really don’t feel like I lose enough by dating a woman/gain enough by dating a man that that would be a factor in picking partners.

      Still, when some gay people find out that you’re bisexual and in an opposite-sex relationship, they automatically assume this to be the case, and it’s extremely annoying if it isn’t.

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    i’m a lesbian who (finally) came out in my mid-20s and was with men beforehand. in my experience, my past with men, while seen as somewhat icky, is not viewed as a threat, since, well, i’m gay, and with women now. i assume the comfort is that i left all that behind and whatnot. conversely, i always got a little worked up when i thought too hard about my gf being goldstar. because i know what that’s like and, hello, so not for me, but i understand the curiosity if you’ve never done it before. as everyone has said, it all comes back to trust, but the insecurity can definitely go both ways on the star spectrum.

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    I’m a gold star, but when ever I go out with women who’ve been with men, they’re the one who brings it up, not me! Then when I confirm that I’m a gold star, they get all defensive about it. “Well, I was really young! And confused!”

    I don’t know if they feel like they have to prove their “homo cred” to me or something, but I always feel uncomfortable. Honestly, I’m not fussed about who they have or haven’t slept with. It doesn’t matter to me! It’s kind of sad really that women feel they should be ashamed of their post or who they are/were.

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    Can I just say I want to hug each and every one of you posting here? I was expecting the usual flame war since the word “bisexual” was present, but no! You’re all beautiful snowflakes.

    p.s. I think there should be a shirt or a button that says “NOT the Imaginary Awful Slutty Cheating Bisexual Girl Who Is Probably Straight Anyways” for those of us on the receiving end of the biphobic hatred from lesbians.

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    It always really bums me out when I see a cool girl on a dating website and she specifically says she only dates lesbians, no bi girls need apply. I guess I qualify as a ‘gold star’, but I still identify as bi and wouldn’t want to date someone who wasn’t cool with my fellow bisexuals or the fact that I am sometimes attracted to guys even if I’ve never dated one.

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    I’m surprised by people who want to analyze why some lesbians don’t want to date bisexuals.

    I am a woman who only dates women, who only currently date women.

    Does it matter why? No.

    I don’t try to understand the bisexual mind b/c it’s unnecessary.

    And I think it’s unfair for others to try to pick apart why I wouldn’t date a bisexual woman.

    As far as the “gold star” thing….I hope that most people use that term to be humorous as I find it slightly funny, but don’t use it myself.

    Go easy on one another…there are plenty of us lady likers to go around.

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      “I’m surprised by people who want to analyze why some lesbians don’t want to date bisexuals.”

      – Because, at least in my experience, it appears that most (not just some) lesbians don’t want to date bi women, for no reason other than they’re bi. It hurts to be dismissed for that, just like it hurts to be dismissed for anything when you aren’t even given a chance. Of course we wonder why and try to understand and explain.

      “I am a woman who only dates women, who only currently date women.”

      – This doesn’t make sense to me, because who a person is currently dating doesn’t have a thing to do with their personality, their potential to love, who they really are. To not even consider a whole group of women seems unfair. If you met a woman, got to know her, was attracted to her and she to you and all of the indicators of *awesome potential girlfriend* were there, and THEN you learn that she doesn’t identify as lesbian – would you discount everything else she has to offer because of her dating history? It seems like there is a very fine line between preference and prejudice, and I personally do believe that is worth analyzing and exploring.

      * I’m not trying to be inflammatory; only as someone on the other side of your exclusion, I am trying to understand and be understood.

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        I believe instead of “analyze” I should’ve used “criticize” because that’s how a number of these postings have “felt” to me.

        “This doesn’t make sense to me, because who a person is currently dating doesn’t have a thing to do with their personality, their potential to love, who they really are.”
        –I could respond in the same way. Who a person dates says a ton about their personality and who they are.

        Just so that it is understood why I identify as I do……. I am not attracted to men, though I have a number of close male friends who I think very highly of, though I wouldn’t want to sleep with any them. I love and appreciate all of the amazing and sexy qualities a woman embodies. And I do not understand why a woman would be with a man and b/c of that the connection is different. Therefore, in dating, I want to be with a woman who feels the same. At least for me it’s about relating. And on some levels I find it hard to relate to some of my straight girlfriends b/c of who they sleep with. But I don’t go around grilling them as to why they’re straight or why they wouldn’t date a bisexual man. I feel like b/c we all read AS it’s expected that we are going to have the same opinions, which is just not going to happen.

        Everyone’s reasoning is at least slightly different so I would hope that one would respect that without grouping lesbians who only date other lesbians into some “arrogant gold star” category. Let’s say, for example, that in a terrible, yet all too common situation a woman has been sexually assaulted. Are you going to demand that she justify her reasoning to make yourself feel less hurt?

        And I can’t help but feel that some folks on here want an explanation for something that may not be able to be explained. For the longest time my Mom wanted to comprehend how it could possibly be that I was attracted to women, as if it’s necessary for her to understand or even possible. I hope to better understand people and ask for further explanation when I don’t but it doesn’t mean I’m always going to agree or “get it”. (Like my earlier comment on your “Queer” post. I don’t fully understand your identification as such, but my understanding doesn’t really matter.)

        I think it sucks that people get hurt over this issue but if a lesbian feels that strongly then I don’t understand why she isn’t entitled to her feelings.

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          Reading your post I have come to a strange peace with people who have preferences that I wished I could get but don’t. Sometimes it just is and I cannot demand them to change or I cannot assume their preference is rooted in phobia/bigotry. As long as you don’t go about it like an asshole let bygones be bygones and move on.

          I am a lesbian and I do date women regardless how they identify sexually as long they are interested and sexy. I don’t expect people to date me just cause and I have been rejected by other dimensions of my being like race and (lack of) religion, age and things I do feel are not as important like reading, so long there is compatibility. These people seem narrow and some are single forever and some manage to date their specific exclusive attraction. It’s life. I just hope that when people state their preferences they do it in a respectful manner, those who don’t fit I hope they have the courage to move on because there are other people.

          PS: I always found that the internet amplifies the feeling of rejection because people too bluntly state their preferences and I understand when you keep seeing the same type of rejection over and over in different profiles you start to wonder. I think in cases like this conversations about preference vs prejudice is important to have because it could potential unlock hidden biases and ill information about “groups” people prefer not to date.

          Anyway everyone deserves love so long they want it and it’s important to love yourself first.

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          Totally agree with you. For me, it’s more of a relating to each other issue. I wouldn’t be able to relate well to another girl that was attracted to guys, and that would hurt our relationship. That’s why get along so well with guys, because I can relate to them in terms of their sexual desires. It’s actually kind of important when it comes to something so integral to a relationship, the sexual part. Do you get what I’m saying? Just different strokes for different folks, yno. Can’t always argue with that.

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          I think your reasons for not dating bi women are fair ones and make a lot of sense. In fairness to the bi women questioning your reasons a lot of lesbians won’t date bi women because they think we are all tremendously fickle people and using them for fun before we leave them for the man we’ve always wanted. Which hurts a lot. Its the only reason given that I’ve ever heard before, it never occured to me that wanting to relate to your girlfriends sexuality could be a factor. So I think most bi women when they hear that assume they are being judged.

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          I think that this discussion is so important to understanding each other.

          I’m sure that there are plenty of lesbians who are fearful of a disingenuous bisexual and that that is the reason for not wanting to date them. But, I do think the more common reason is not understanding the attraction and therefore not wanting to date that person. However, I can only speak for myself.

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          Sadly I don’t think it is, because usually when women say that they follow it up with a comment about how we are all skanky hoes or similar. Though its possible that its just that, as usual, assholes have the loudest voices.

          (I never thought about it before but actually sharing a sexuality with my partners, and with the one bi guy I dated back when I still did that, definitely improves things over not doing so. Is it bad that this kind of makes me feel sorry for straight people?)

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          Good God. What kind of lesbians are you meeting anyway? That’s ridiculous. I have never heard anything close to that in the 10 years I’ve been out. They must play for “the other, other team” ;)

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    On the flip side, I’ve known a few “lesbians” (I’ll call them this because they’ve only had relationships with women and can’t see themselves being in a relationship with a man) who are “bi-curious.” They’ve never really dated men or had much in the way of physical relations with them, so they wonder what it’d be like. One of them was dating a girl who gave permission to get the curiosity out of her system (sleep with a guy). I don’t think it really worked but that’s another story.

    So there’s that. At least you’ve already been with guys so there isn’t that questioning/curiosity/wondering because you’ve been there and done that.

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    I love each and every one of these comments going throughout this thread!! I am still coming to terms as my identity as queer, but it looks like I qualify as a ‘gold star‘ as well. I have had one boyfriend in my 22 years of life (for 3 months) and no girlfriends [:-(] and it has taken me this long to realize that maybe guys just aren‘t going to work for me. I don‘t want to call myself bisexual because I feel it implies that I like boys as much as I like girls and I don‘t want to call myself a lesbian because I feel that I would be denying the fact that sometimes I find a dude I am attracted to.
    I have only ever gone on dates with men and I rushed into my first and only relationship with my ex (whom I started to lose attraction for after about 3 weeks but didn‘t want to end my relationship with because I didn‘t want to hurt his feelings. I then finally got mono from him and had an excuse to break up).

    I am now at the point in my life where I am only looking to date girls. I am on OKCupid and I get discouraged when I see that there are people who don‘t like the fact that you have no experience with the same sex or that you classify yourself as bisexual on a website because there isn‘t any better option.

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    I saw this on another site, which I think sums things up:

    “bisexual women don’t know what it’s like to be a lesbian. It’s not like being a bisexual woman who happens to be in a relationship with a woman. It’s not the mirror opposite of being straight.

    While you cannot choose your sexual orientation-which gender you have a base attraction to–you can control which individuals you fall in love with and commit to. Going around saying you have no control over it implies–however unintentionally–that you would leave the one you’re with if you had feelings for someone else because you can’t help yourself.

    Opposite-sex relationships are privileged in society. Lesbians know this and are aware that men can offer bisexual women things that women cannot. I would imagine bisexuals would be even more aware of the inequality between same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relationships having first hand experience rather than just observing the inequality. Instead, many bisexuals deny such inequality exists. I suspect they’re just trying to ease the worries of potential lesbian mates, but it would be better if they acknowledged it and explained why they’d be willing to take a more difficult route.”

    Bisexual women seem to spend an inordinate amount of time whining about how “badly” they’re treated, when, in truth, they have straight privilege, since they marry men. Why don’t you just date each other? Then you can play around to your bisexual hearts’ content, with your boyfriends’ and husbands’ approval.

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      Because we don’t all want to marry men. Because we prefer women or are in love with specific women etc. And your final paragraph is a lovely example of what it is we have to whine about. We don’t all want to “play around” either. I am poly, so I guess I do, but I also have zero interest in playing around with men. My partners are both bisexual and gold stars at the same time. Madness I know.

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        Can you explain a bit more about what you mean when you say “My partners are both bisexual and gold stars at the same time.”? I think you have a different understanding of what “gold star” means than I do, and I think someone else used the term here in the comments in a way that’s different than I’ve used it, too.

        My understanding of “gold star” would be a lesbian who has only ever had sexual relationships with women. I’ve never thought of that term as something that could apply to bisexual women, because what with the bisexuality, and all, guys are part of the picture.

        I guess that it can apply to bisexual folks who’ve only had same-sex partners. I just never thought of it that way. Possibly because I’m older and most of the bisexual folks I know started out with opposite-sex relationships first before they started considering their same-sex attractions. I haven’t met too many bisexual folks who starting dating their own sex first. Because I’m ancient, I guess. :)

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          They’ve never had sex with men. They’ve never slept with anyone but each other and me actually. I am not sure if you can usually apply the term to bi women who have never had sex with men but I was using it in this context to highlight that not all bi women are the same, and in fact many have sexual histories that look highly lesbian, and that therefore its unfair to dismiss us because of the fact that sometimes we find non female people attractive.

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          Well it does make sense in that context; I thought that’s probably what you meant but wanted to be sure.

          I’ve learned after participating in the afterellen SkinsUS flamewars to think carefully about how I use terms, try to provide context for what I mean, and to consider where I fit generationally and not make assumptions, because women younger than I often come out sooner and have very different dating experiences than my generation, and that makes a difference about how they understand all kinds of things.

          I also have a very good friend who is bisexual and last year she started dating the nicest boy ever, and she agonized for months about telling me about him, to my dismay. She was afraid I’d have a bad reaction – which really upset me, because I thought it would be obvious that wouldn’t bother me, but it wasn’t to her. But to me, the most important thing in the world is that she be happy, and she is. How could that bother me? But I guess some combination of general comments I made coupled with the general anti-bi bias out there in the lesbian community made her worry.

          So I’ve been working hard, every since I found that out, to make sure that my friends who are bisexual know that I care about their point of view and want them to have happy relationships with whomever they end up with…

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          I like both genders and fooled around with/dated girls first. I have slept with a guy but I can easily see how I could have ended up a “gold star” bisexual, if that makes sense.

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          One of my friends identifies as a “gold star bisexual” because, as she puts it, she’s only ever been with men or women. I give her shit but I think it is a hilarious appropriation of the term and does a great job pointing out how ridiculous it is in the first place.

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          Just out of curiosity, why is that ridiculous in the first place? Given that I’m one of the people who identifies that way, I’m interested in knowing. Is there something wrong with being a woman who’s only slept with other women? Or is it just ridiculous to mention it?

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          No, she identifies as a gold star bisexual because she’s only been with men or women. She’s been with both, she’s saying that, as a bisexual, she’s a gold star if she hasn’t been with anybody who isn’t a man or a woman. Meaning like animals or children, not genderqueer/trans folks. I pretend to erase her bisexual identity(no real biphobia here) and she retorts with things like that.

          And the ridiculous was referring to making such a big deal out of the whole “gold star” thing in the first place. I qualify as a “gold star” but only ever mention it as a joke.

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          I’ve rarely heard it mentioned as anything other than a funny “I’m a gold star!” context by any lesbian (including me) so I’m not sure who, exactly is making a big deal out of it.

          I think the only time I’ve ever used it in any other way than as a joke was in the flame wars on afterellen when a bunch of people claimed that all humans are sexually fluid and that “gold star” lesbians were just deluding themselves that they weren’t also attracted to men. Then I got out the forks to defend my gold star, but only because I don’t like to be told who I can be attracted to by others. If I say I’m a Kinsey 6, that’s what I mean.

          But just because I’m a Kinsey 6 doesn’t mean that other people don’t fall in other places all over the Kinsey scale, or move around on it. If everyone were just like me, that would be super boring!

          But to me, saying I’m a “gold star” is just a description, not some sort of way of saying I’m better than bisexual people.

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          Yeah, I think only on the internets does the whole “gold star” thing become something more than a joke. And I agree with your last sentence. That’s how I feel about it. I’ve never banged a dude, but that’s just me and it has no bearing on anybody else, except for all those dudes who never got my sweet sweet lovin.

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          I think the “gold star” thing might be another one of those things we have a generation gap over, too. I came out when I was 18, in 1987, and I got labeled with he term immediately, as a joke, by lesbians because it was really rare then to come out “so early” and without having slept with a man. It really didn’t have anything to do with bisexuality, just with having figured out your sexual orientation “early on”

          Now young people have a lot more role models and figure out their orientation at really early ages, so “gold stars” aren’t really very rare at all. Which is cool; lots of us wish we had come out in high school and earlier and been able to have normal teenage dating experiences with same sex partners.

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          I don’t think there is anything wrong with it at all, I just get fed up with women using it as a stick to beat queer women who have slept with men over the head with. I hope I didn’t make you think I was criticising being a gold star!

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          I think that the term “Gold Star” doesn’t have the relevance today than it did long ago, partly because it’s not as rare for lesbian-identified women to come out without having relationships with men first.

          I haven’t ever really heard the gold star thing used towards bi-women as “I’m better than you because I never slept with a guy!” but if women say that they’ve been insulted in that way, I believe them.

          Aside from the fact that we shouldn’t go around insulting people, using the term that way is definitely a change in meaning, too, from how it was originally meant, and not a change I’m happy with.

          The origins of that term were from a generation before mine, and I’m in my 40s. And when that generation said it, it was a compliment that lesbians paid to you for figuring out your sexual orientation early without having bowed to society’s conventions and dated/slept with/married a guy when you weren’t really interested in doing that.

          It wasn’t meant like “ewww, guys, yuck, gross!” more like – “Nice that you didn’t put yourself through the emotional wringer of dating someone you really weren’t attracted to at all just to please society! How clever of you to figure that out with no role models in society to draw upon whatsoever!”

          When I came out in 1987, there were NO celebrities out. The few films you could see had the “real lesbian” kill herself at the end after the “seduced straight woman” went back to the guy. There were a handful of fiction books, but they weren’t in public library, or I would have found them, given that I worked there. It wasn’t until I discovered the cache of fictional lesbian novels in my college library that I really sorted myself out, and that was because someone had gone through and inserted business cards into all of them with the contact information for the campus gay and lesbian organization.

          Seriously, it was pretty hard to locate other gay people in pop culture back then, and most lesbians dated and slept with men just because that’s what everyone did before they figured themselves out.

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      this. bisexual women seem to complain an awful lot about not being accepted by lesbians. they are complaining to a group of people that are generally not accepted by a majority of the population about not being accepted by a tiny sliver of the population.
      someone here posted about being a bisexual woman who is in a 9 year heterosexual relationship and how she feels dismissed from the lesbian scene. i am blown away by this.

      i have a girlfriend of 3 years- whom i can’t marry or make babies with. i can’t say the word “girlfriend” around most of my family. i can’t hold my girlfriend’s hand in most neighborhoods of my city. (and these are just tiny problems compared to gay people in other places). shall i go on? i know this isn’t your fault, bisexual female, but you have to realize that there is a huge gap between your quality of living and mine. so when you complain about not being accepted into a social group that has to deal with these injustices 100 percent of the time, you can not be taken very seriously. i would trade all the “visibility” in my community to be able have the things i can not.

      furthermore, on the complaint that lesbians don’t want to date bisexuals. some lesbians aren’t into bi girls. for whatever reason they may have, it’s really not your business. please just accept this. it’s a preference. i’m not into blondes, but i hope no blondehaired people are offended by my preference. don’t bisexuals want to date people that are into them? i know that i do. in brighter news, there are a plethora of other people you can choose to date: BISEXUALS! bisexual men, bisexual women, straight men love you ladies.

      bisexual ladies- i think this time you should just suck it up.

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        I don’t care if lesbian women don’t want to date me. I do care if they dismiss my sexuality, my right to be in clubs and the community, my relationships (I only date women) and also make rude assumptions about me based on stereotypes. I have all the same problems you have because I am dating women. I do not think I should have to suck it up because hypothetically I could go off and live a straight life. I don’t want to.

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          I don’t want to go off and live a straight life I mean. Not, I don’t want to suck it up if I start for some reason dating men and gain het privelige.

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        You know what’s wrong with your argument, trample? It’s not that bisexual people are not accepted by a tiny sliver of the population; it’s the VAST MAJORITY. Many straight people (my mom included) say bisexual people are confused or want attention–in effect, that bisexuality doesn’t exist. On the other hand, people like you–self-righteous lesbians who seek to minimize the struggles of bisexual people just because they don’t experience the EXACT SAME discrimination as you–dismiss us as “straight people in disguise” or “people who will jump at a man any chance they get because of course people fall in love based on societal privilege and not because of attraction/personality/anything besides gender.”

        So, as many many other commenters have said, we get slammed by both sides. And I am so fucking sick of people like you pretending you’re not prejudiced but actually just oozing it (the prejudice, I mean.) Your comment “oh, bisexuals can all date each other!” is remarkably evocative of the argument that black people should only date/marry each other: it’s suggesting self-segregation because the rest of the population doesn’t want to deal with the fact that a certain group exists, and in fact they DON’T have to deal with us if we’re all secluded and fucking people exactly like us. Makes things easier to digest for people like you, doesn’t it trample?

        Furthermore, you are just assuming that bisexual/non-straight people have never been in a same-sex relationship and so have no idea what discrimination and rejection by society feels like (false, I do) AND that we will invariably choose a man over a woman because of the privilege involved (absolutely false.) Wrap your mind around the idea that dating doesn’t always follow this rational model of “who will make my life the easiest?” If that were true, no one would ever date a poor person, or a handicapped person, or anyone who might invite any judgment or hardship whatsoever. Love and attraction isn’t rational, it’s the opposite of rational. Right now I don’t care that I “could” be with a man; right now I am not attracted to any man. I am in love with my girlfriend, and that’s caused me trouble within my family, within my church, and within my community. AND I have to put up with bullshit from people like you who want to tell me, essentially, that I have a choice in who I’m attracted to! Pro tip: I don’t. Pro tip: no one does. And I will be happy if I never have to deal with bigoted comments like yours again, but that sadly will probably not be the case.

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          Krissy,

          A “bit of a rant” is putting it mildly, because “pretty harsh” is more like it. Though, I’m gonna take a guess that you truly feel at least some part of what you wrote.

          Hopefully we are all trying to understand each other better by commenting, posting, breathing, taking a break, and then re-commenting, breathing again, and re-posting. Am I right? At least I think that’s the goal. And in the middle, really trying to simply understand the other person’s perspective….even if, in the end,you can’t.

          *Breathe*

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          Marta,

          Sometimes it gets a little enraging to hear the same old prejudiced statements over and over again. Sometimes that rage can come out in a comment. I have been reading, probably out of some secret masochistic tendencies, the comments on this and the Krisily threads, and while most commenters are supportive and accepting, there are still those who say things like “bisexuals choose men over women,” “bisexuals are flighty,” “bisexuals should date each other and not lesbians,” and, most infuriatingly, “bisexuals should suck it up.” trample’s comment contained nearly all those ignorant statements. So, I feel that I have a right to be angry and express that anger. I am not going to sugarcoat it when someone says inflammatory and rude things.

          But yes, I will breathe. And I am trying to understand people’s perspectives. But in order for me to respect someone they need to show a little bit of respect for me (or people like me) first.

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          I agree, show respect to get it.

          Though, I think that prejudice is a strong word to use when you have no concrete idea why the “self-righteous lesbians” feel the way they do. And to assume you do is just plain wrong.

          I have been extremely irritated reading many of the comments on this thread the past few days, attempting to constructively comment and remain calm in the process. Also, choice of words plays a huge part in how we interpret, as I’m sure you know. After reading days worth of other people’s opinions about what I “supposedly” think and feel about why I don’t date bisexual women, I happen to agree with most of what Trample said..

          Additionally, I also think many on here ignore the majority of what a person says just looking for something to be pissed about.

          I think we all need to “simmer down” and remember that we really are all in this together.

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          For some reason there is no “reply” button to your comment.

          I completely understand where you are coming from, and I apologize if what I send sounded like a generalization about all lesbians or even all lesbians who prefer to date only lesbians. I also read your comment about preferring to date someone who shares your sexuality (that almost came out “sexyality,” which I wish was a word) and it made total sense to me. It’s not a preference I share, but it’s not something I’m going to hold against you. However, I do take issue with what Trample said for reasons I angrily explained above, but it was how I feel nonetheless. I am trying to differentiate between people who are prejudiced/biphobic and those who have certain dating preferences. Honestly, I’d like to know why you agree with things such as “bisexuals should only date each other,” though.

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          I think we’re finally getting somewhere :)

          Why do I agree with “bisexuals should only date each other”?…… I don’t. That’s why I said I agreed with “most” of the post. I think you should date whoever you’re attracted to and who is also into you. Sadly, those don’t always match up.

          Honestly, the number of lesbians who only date other lesbians may be the vast majority. I just don’t think we should go around scrutinizing others’ feelings or making presumptions as to what they are.

          I hope you’re having a great weekend! Cheers!

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      As someone who’s experienced relationships with men and women (and has been with a woman for about a year and a half now), I do think there’s a huge difference between how you’re perceived! I would never deny that. But I don’t think it makes someone a better person, or more queer, to be in a relationship with someone of the same sex. And maybe there is some degree of choice involved in who you commit to but the initial feelings and sparks and all of that are less of a choice…sometimes we find people we don’t want to let go. (And sometimes people do leave partners for new people they feel more strongly about, so there’s that. Pretty sure that actually happens all the time.)

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      “they have straight privilege, since they marry men”

      Nope, not how it works. You have to be straight to have straight privilege. If you’re bi and being read as straight, that’s called “passing privilege.” It’s different because a bisexual person in an opposite-sex relationship is going to be more aware of it – because they know how much of it is based on the person not knowing who they are – than a straight person.

      This is also assuming that bisexual women marry men, which not all of us do! And even those of us who do, it’s not necessarily because we want the privileges associated with being read as straight, but might actually be because WE JUST HAPPENED TO FALL IN LOVE WITH A MAN. (BIG shock, I know!) Plus, believe it or not, a lot of us are really proud of being bisexual, and really don’t like it when people assume we are something else based on who our current partner is! Look up “bisexual erasure” and you’ll see what I mean.

      And as I said above, all of the markers of “privilege” except for the actual laws about LGBT rights (and particularly those about marriage equality – bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships are still impacted by laws on job discrimination and hate crimes) are RELATIVE. Some of us really DON’T have very much in the way of family or social pressure to “end up” with the same sex; I don’t. Some of us really don’t care about having a “traditional” wedding or even getting married at all; I don’t. The key here is to really STOP ASSUMING and accept that individual bisexual people really do know their situation better than you do! And if they say that “privilege” and “pressure” had nothing to do with their choice of partner, there’s a very good chance they’re right! And either way IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

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        Straight privilege applies when you’re in a straight relationship — I’m not sure what that even feels like.

        I know the kind of “looks” I’ve gotten while walking with a girlfriend and even by myself and I know that straight couples don’t get them. You know, the *look* of “you f***ing queer I’d like to beat the living shit out of you”? Or, “ooh, disgusting”. Oh, and deciding whether or not an exit off of the interstate looks populated enough to stop. Those are experiences I deal with at least weekly. And I’m sorry, but when you’re in a hetero relationship you get somewhat of a break.

        I just wish that we could acknowledge that at least in most places in the U.S. “straight privilege” is alive and well, even if you’re aware it’s existence. And you’re still on the receiving end even if you don’t want it.

        I’m not discounting your experiences or ability to relate, but just understand that when talking about lesbian privilege in the general population, it doesn’t exist.

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          But the looks you get by yourself, are they because you “look queer” or because people know you and know you are gay? Because both of these things apply to bi women too. (The looking queer thing can even apply to straight women of course, and is to do with societies stupid expectations on gender presentation but that is sort of tangential). I’m with you on your other points but I think that one is worth considering.

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          I definitely look “queer” so some of the looks I get I would get regardless of being with my girlfriend and therefore could apply to really anyone who looks different. But, they’re the same looks I get when I’m with a woman I’m dating.
          I do get what you’re saying, however, a hetero couple just wouldn’t get the same looks and experiences.

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          No, a hetero couple wouldn’t (unless people think they’re a gay couple, this used to happen to me and bi ex boyfriend, it was bizarre – he was not a feminine looking man – but I share this only for amusing anecdote value, not because I think it is at all the same, because it obviously isn’t). But bi women by themselves can and do. Which was really my only point there. The hate crime legislation and general dislike for queer people is relevent to bi women who do not pass as straight because, when not actively doing something that outs them as with a man, they can and do get conflated with queer women. And in the case of hate crimes and anti discrimination laws, for many people your current relationship does not cancel out your dirty queerness and so they still need recourse to them.

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        Also, judging by the posts I’ve seen on sites like the Offbeat Bride Tribe, many bisexual women who marry men agonize over it – because of the privilege they have in being with a man, over the erasure of their non-straight identity, etc.

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    it’s unfortunate you are currently feeling that sort of prejudice, but once you start being treated differently (better) by the world (if you choose to!), you can’t possibly expect the same community support you once received. not everyone is going to be happy for your new found privilege- this shouldn’t be seen as hatred, but should be met with understanding.

    this subject is always touchy, but gays barely have rights or are even viewed as actual humans. to think this certain group of people is going to applaud you for bowing out of their struggle is a pretty arrogant way to think.

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      I get where you are coming from but as bisexuals don’t “get” how it is like to be bisexual and the privileges that come from it, a lot of monosexual people don’t “get” how it is like to be bisexual and all the what looks like privileges can be at times a “second closet” depending on the gender of their relationship.

      My main gripe is that people who are queer at any point can deny it gay/bi/pan etc because IT IS NOT VISIBLE unless of course we are talking about gender…different topic. Because one’s sexual orientation is not visible the judgements surround them without even knowing the person is suspect but again as long preferences are stated nicely and it excludes the bisexual person or any “conflicting” sexual orientation maybe you just have to move on. I wish I could see more bisexual people dating each other same sex or opposite! I had fun interesting conversations with people in bisexual-fun relationships.

      I also agree that this is a touchy subject and I just wish people can be respectful and if one’s opinion is challenged it is best that they don’t get overly defensive and simply state that they don’t have to explain themselves.

      I have theories to why this is so deep within the queer community because it really is about having the right to be in the same sex relationship protected regardless of how you identify. When there seems to be a “choice” and that choice or relationship “looks” like the majority there are layered responses from heterophobia to envy and anything in between. Also in the case of lesbians bisexual women gender equality is another dimension that makes this whole thing really sensitive.

      I really do think if women alone are seen as equal to men in opportunity and heck even to have true autonomy from the expectations of the patriarchy I bet these happenings of all this “oh she will leave me for a man” would go away. So instead of turning on each other let us make equality a reality.

      I baked some cookies full of love and tolerance have some, they are tasty.

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        PS: Also that people use labels as if they are getting married to them and refuse to divorce it, conflicting ideas, it’s politicized, it’s not politicized, people use it for other things like clothes so there that whole materialization of labels and assumption versus not-materialization QUEERTHEORYOVEREDUCATEDOMFGPEOPLEARECOMPLICATEDANDIJUSTWANTPEOPLETOGETALONGANDEATCOOKIESGAAAAAHHHH!!!1111*

        I also think we need more bi-friendly memes: like

        Hey bi girl, you sexiiii!
        or

        Hey bi girl, it’s totally cool let’s talk about the beauty of people.
        or
        Hey bi girl, I’m SOO glad you don’t say you “don’t see gender” because you just see me in all of my dimensions and find it all beautiful.

        or

        Hey bi girl, as a lesbian it’s totally cool that you think Jason Gordon-Levitt is attractive.

        Hey bi girl, you make me better person for realizing that given our preferences compatibility and heart matters.

        Hey bi girl, let’s cuddle and bake cookies.

        Hey bi girl, don’t stop, get it get it.

        Hey bi girl, meeting in the ladies room, I’ll be back real soon.*

        *it’s also a good song too, gurl.

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      “you can’t possibly expect the same community support you once received. not everyone is going to be happy for your new found privilege- this shouldn’t be seen as hatred, but should be met with understanding.”

      You go on and on about privilege, but can’t you see how your comments are just so chock-full of monosexual privilege? You really can’t understand how terrible it is to tell a bisexual person who has very strong ties to the queer community, who really RESENTS being read as straight (one person’s “privilege” is another one’s “erasure”), but happens to fall in love with someone of the opposite sex, that s/he should just suck it up and accept the loss of many of his/her closest friends and most trusted communities because of some privileges that s/he may not even want? Just because s/he falls in love with the “wrong” person?

      People are always wondering why there are so many “lesbian-identified bisexuals” out there? THIS SHIT IS WHY. For the same reason there are so many straight-identified bisexuals! Because, um, what you’re asking bisexuals to put up with is exactly the same thing that homophobic straight people have been asking LGBs to put up with for years! Love who you really love, but only at the risk of alienating your friends and your community.

      THERE IS A B IN LGBT FOR A REASON, YOU KNOW.

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        A “lesbian-identified bisexual”? (Or “straight-identified bisexual”?)

        I guess I kinda know what that’s supposed to mean.

        Somehow that label depicts pretty well the confusion and warpedness of this entire identity discussion – big fuss about labels, wanting to be recognized as that-or-that identity and heaps of hurt feelings and anxiety stemming from one’s own experiences, all somehow mixed up together.

        Sheesh, it’s just labels. Let it go. They can serve a purpose in political fights but hardly in the bedroom.

        We attach labels to us in an attempt to say something about ourselves to us and to others. But it rarely does, doesn’t it?

        People commenting here have identified as bisexual and it meant so many different things… having had a straight past being currently in a gay relationship, having had relationships with girls now with a guy, having had relationships with girls and guys, feeling equally attracted to men and women, feeling attracted to men and women but leaning more heavily one way, having had relationships with girls only but hypothetically not ruling out the possibility of getting involved with a guy some time, feeling attracted to men and women and pursuing polyamorous relationships… this list could probably go on and on.

        And how did this get into a discussion on lesbian-bi-relationships anyho?
        The person asking the seeking-advice-question didn’t identify as bisexual but as “being with a girl for the first! time”. (Rachel brought up the issue of prejudices against bisexual women.)
        I think that’s a somewhat different issue.

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    I get so sad when I see so folks on AS trying to play the oppression olympics. Yes, obviously lesbians deal with lots of shit and it’s frustrating and makes us angry. However, we have this community, ostensibly the LGBTQ community, and within it we have a safe space. Bisexuals get excluded from this community all too often, even though that B is smack dab in the middle of that acronym. In addition, their identity gets erased by the straight world. In fact, should they end up with a member of the opposite sex, they will probably never be able to be viewed as bi ever again, even though that is most likely still a part of the identity.

    All of this is completely unfair, rude, and hypocritical of the gay community on the whole. And this is all coming from a “gold star” queer.

    In closing, I do not give a damn who you have fucked in the past or how you identify, just as long as you aren’t a republican and you don’t like twilight.

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      “In closing, I do not give a damn who you have fucked in the past or how you identify, just as long as you aren’t a republican and you don’t like twilight.”

      SOMEONE WITH PRIORITIES ABOUT CHARACTER!!!!1

      *gives you all the cookies!

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    I seriously could have written this question.

    I’m in my first serious relationship with a girl since coming out and while I love her to pieces, she still has a huge fear that I am going to go running back with open arms to guys because I identified as bisexual for many years before realizing that, despite trying, guys do absolutely nothing for me. I’ve told her this countless times and that it hurts me because seriously, I’m a lesbian, but she still has a paranoia. I can see her side because she has apparently been a first girlfriend for a couple of women and was also the “fun experiment” of many straight girls but it’s still frustrating. I feel like the only way I can prove that I’m legit gay is by running off into bed with other women but I have absolutely no desire to do that because I’m otherwise very happy with her. It’s a stupid catch 22.

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      My 2 cents for what they’re worth.
      Errm, don’t run off into bed with other women just to proove your lesbionic point.
      Hang in there, stay calm, don’t join her paranoia and go about building your relationship, intimacy and trust as you would anyway.

      As a former paranoid girlfriend I say time will tell her not to worry.
      Depending on how well you two do with showing hurt, you might wanna show her that her paranoia and distrust is painful for you and maybe makes you feel shoved away. My girlfriend gave me a handful of that and it was a ‘refreshing’ change of perspective for me whilst showing me how serious she was about what she’d said.

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    This is why I don’t think I’m going to ever have a girlfriend. I have enough problems and flaws as it is, and adding “being bisexual”to that list just makes it even worse.

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    Dear Lesbians-Who-Only-Date-Lesbians,

    I’m bisexual and I respect your decision to only date lesbians.

    Love from The-Hot-Piece-of-Ass-You-Are-Missing-Out-On

    Side note that is really only relevant to the bisexual-experience-sharing: My mother would rather I were (and is more easily able to understand the concepts of being)

    1)Straight
    2)Gay
    3)Into-Bestiality
    4)Bisexual
    5)Anything-Else-“GOOD-LORD-ARE-THERE-OTHERS!” (said in mother type voice)

    Obviously heterosexuality and bestiality are out of the question, but “bisexuality” is so far out of her range of understanding that I continuously find myself compromising and using the word “gay” so that she takes my (2 year) relationship with my girlfriend seriously. But then saying “gay” makes me cringe because really it is equally as wrong as saying “straight” for me. Reading some of these comments (and the ones on the Krisily interview) made me realise that it turns out I never really came out of the closet at all… not as long as I continue being ashamed of telling people that I am a god damn bisexual woman dammit. If you can’t date me because of that then that is absolutely fine with me. But please don’t make me feel like I’m in “the other closet”(the one where being openly lesbian is ok but being bisexual is not) because it was hard enough coming out of the first one.*

    *I know someone is tempted to throw the privilege word at me so I’m just going to say in anticipation of that: meh, not feeling like you can do you hurts no matter what, and hurt is bad no matter what.

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      Missing out on what? Drama and STDs? I feel sorry for your girlfriend, since you’ll undoubtedly leave her for a man. I’ve been around enough to see this all happen over and over. It’s sad.

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    I’ve been prowling this site for a while without posting, but something about this conversation drew me in. Hope I don’t sound naive. :)

    I’ve never had a problem with dating bi girls. If they’re willing to openly date me they’re obviously not looking for straight privilege. In fact, I find it kind of flattering that they’d be interested in being with me. Where I live it’s harder socially to be in a relationship with another woman than to appear to be straight. A bi girl would be making a conscious choice to set aside any perks being with a man could provide just to be my grrl. I think that’s kind of hot. Makes me feel special.

    There are a million ways my girlfriend could cheat on me. Leaving me for a man wouldn’t be any worse than leaving me for another woman. Either way I lose someone I care about. At the end of the day I have to acknowledge that I chose to be with a girl and that choice deserves respect and trust. I won’t check my girl’s email or phone calls or ask who she’s hanging out with or get paranoid about her leaving me. I expect her to be honest with me. I’d rather her leave me than stay with me when she doesn’t want me anymore. I’d even rather her come to me right away and say she’s in love with someone else or that she cheated than to keep it a secret. Secrets and lies are usually a symptom of deeper problems that won’t lead to a healthy relationship.

    I think couples need to set firm, detailed limits and then trust each other to stay within those limits. Make it acceptable to talk to each other if you want those limits to change. If the conversation comes up, you can decide at that point if you’re willing to change your relationship or if it’s not for you. Make it a rule that you admit right away when you screw up. No lies. No hiding. Neither of you should put up with dishonesty. Neither of you should feel trapped in the relationship or like you can do whatever you want and your girl will never leave. Be willing to break up, even if it will be difficult. That way staying together is always a conscious choice, not a given. I find it comforting when I know my girl could live without me, she just doesn’t want to. I don’t want her staying with me because she thinks it would be too hard alone. I want her to stay because she loves me.

    Worrying just wrecks relationships and often drives the other person to leave. Insecurity is a personal issue. Your girl can’t fix it. Look in the mirror. Figure yourself out. Find a way to be comfortable. You’ll probably fix a few scars you didn’t even realize you had. If you decide you genuinely can’t trust your girl, then leave. I guarantee it will be better for both of you in the long run.

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