So You Think Your Girlfriend Might be a Lesbian: Words for a Straight Guy

Q:
I’m having doubts about my girlfriend’s heterosexuality. She says she’s attracted to men, but routinely fawns over naked women on the internet. She says it’s ’cause she finds the female body beautiful, but I think it’s more than that. She finds other women physically attractive, and she gets pretty aroused watching videos of suicide girls and scantily clad models or what have you. She’s joked about “eating out” another girl and other things, and is very defensive about the whole subject and I feel like I can’t talk to anybody else about it. I just need a second opinion on this. Is my girlfriend a lesbian, or at least a little bi-curious?

A:
Ok ok ok. I’m going to be doing a lot of generalizing and assuming in order to reply to this question. And then there’s the issue of labeling someone else’s sexuality for them, which every good little queer knows isn’t allowed. However! Even though people are probably going to yell at me, I’m gonna go ahead and say that my first and most prevailing thought was “hm this girl sounds ummm exactly like me -6yrs ago,” which is why I wanted to talk about it. We like talking about ourselves. This morning I had blueberries for breakfast!

So I used to think I was straight, but that I was ‘open-minded’ when it came to sexual things. I would – and this is kind of embarrassing but I’m gonna share it with you because I like you – I would ask boys to tell me what it was like to go down on a girl. I was actually pretty obsessed with that.

But! I never thought I could be gay. Like, it didn’t even occur to me. Then I cried in my best friend’s driveway because she was going to get her nails done with some co-workers and I was like, “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME.” So I searched my soul and realized that I wanted her to take off her shirt and cuddle with me on the sofa, which doesn’t necessarily make a person gay, but I was definitely in love with her.

Then one weekend I had free Showtime and I watched Shane fuck Cherie Jaffe by the pool and my head exploded.

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Based on my own experiences and similar stories from other people, I feel like your girlfriend would really enjoy rolling around naked with another girl. But there’s more to being a lesbian / bisexual than just sex, obvs. There are emotions and trust and all that jazz, just like in a straight relationship. Like you have to be willing to sit up until 5am talking about your feelings and her feelings and whether or not you’ve allowed enough space for her feelings to be fully respected while also ensuring that your feelings are respected because the sale at Ikea ends tomorrow and you have to make a decision about that lamp for real. And what I’m saying is, not everyone is cut out for / wants that shit.

If you’re feeling generous and maybe slightly masochistic (<– personal opinion), you could give her the go-ahead to explore the world and all the breasts it has to offer. Don’t make the mistake of insisting that you be there to witness the exploration – that’s skeezy. Maybe she’ll really like girlsex and want to keep doing it, but liking girlsex and wanting to date you aren’t mutually exclusive feelings, you know?

I’d say most importantly, you should take her at her word. If she says she’s not gay, she’s not gay. Even if you’re SURE she MUST BE gay, you have to go on how she defines herself. Then just love her as a human and support her in everything she does etc. Even if one of the things she wants to do is your sister. You seem like a supportive, caring person and I wish you well.

Now everyone else is going to tell you what they think in the comments! It should be fun. Probably someone will yell about polyamory and bisexuality and labels, so this’ll be a lot like a real lesbian relationship!

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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here. She's 37, has two kids, two dogs, one cat, one Megan, and some personal essays.

Laneia has written 918 articles for us.

131 Comments

  1. So, yeah, pretty much like Laniea, your description of your girl is like me from the ages of about 20-24. Then I came out as “bi”. Then I didn’t date any girls and got another boyfriend because I didn’t know any girls to date. Then I went out on a date with a girl and it was the wrong girl. Then I broke up with the boy and then started dating another girl. Then I decided at the age of 28 that yeah, I was exclusive to the diving of the muff.

    • god this is EXACTLY what i havebeen looking for for the past 10 years. i’m literally shaking. like this could have been me being brave when i was 22 and scared, because did try it with guys and kind of ran away from them, because the sexual intimacy part of it (mainly antything to do with the genital regions) freaked me the EFF out. i broke up with my last boyfriend (10 yrs ago) because i was way too stressed at teh end of our dates and where it would “lead to.” He was such a super, super person and kept telling me “i will take it as slow as you need, there will be NEVER any pressure.” I still ran. Till this day i think of him and how much grace he gave me, but i was too scared. Previously was a girl i met in my last year of college, that i alawys took as us being bffs, except when she tried to kiss me and i was like “uhh, whoa! i thought we were just friends!” I wasn’t repulsed at all, but relly confused. so i broke off the kiss (we were really drunk and i remember thinking “think of your ex(bf)’, and she promptly ran downstairs crying, and i promptly jumped in bed, crying. From that point on it was a clusterfuck of a year, we vascilated between being besties who hold hands walking home from the bar and snuggling at night in my bed. No spooning, more just passed out in my twin bed, and between me going “No way i think of you as a friend” (that i wanted to be around constantly),

      AHHH. that was 10 years ago, and now she’s engaged to a boy and we haven’t talked since i graduated from college and she went back to school.

      OMG. i have never told this whole story to someone like that.

  2. “Like you have to be willing to sit up until 5am talking about your feelings and her feelings and whether or not you’ve allowed enough space for her feelings to be fully respected while also ensuring that your feelings are respected because the sale at Ikea ends tomorrow and you have to make a decision about that lamp for real.”

    I feel like that in particular is a fairly accurate summary of what it is like to be in a relationship with me, so.

    Also, that girl sounds like me a few years ago and I totally agree with the response.

  3. This is going to sound redick, but when I was very young, I thought all girls liked other girls like I did. I only realized this wasn’t true when a friend (who was pretty hot, btw) told me about how sexy her brother’s BFF was. Then I was convinced that I liked boys because there was no way in HELL that I was *different*. I decided that all my feelings for girls were something else, admiration, envy, anything but lust. I managed to convince boys of this, too.

    Your girlfriend may have no idea what she is yet. It might take time. For now, she’s with you, which is all that matters.

    • I’m kind of in that frame of mind now, actually. I always forget people are actually attracted to guys. Actually I guess I just forget that anyone is primarily attracted to them. I mostly don’t understand how anyone could be monosexual. This got kind of incoherent. Oh well.

    • My sort-of-ex-girlfriend-slash-ex-best-friend-who-hates-me-now-since-I-broke-her-heart and I had this conversation many, many times. We both spent our entire lives thinking, hey, it’s normal to notice exactly how well those jeans fit your classmate’s really curvy and amazing ass. Also, the fact that I memorised the girl next door’s lips? Like, I could have recognised those suckers anywhere on the face of the planet from the age of six onwards? Completely, completely part of every girl-child’s growing up experiences.

  4. Um.. Your girlfriend sounds exactly like me about 1 year ago and I am TOTALLY GAY now… so… yeah… But Laneia has good advice and maybe your girlfriend isn’t the samesies as me and she actually is straight or even bi and you may have nothing to worry about your relationship. If it turns out that she is gay, your support and understanding will probably be very important to her, even if it’s hard for you.

  5. I think this was a pretty even-handed and reasonable piece of advice you just posted. The only thing I take issue to is the idea of polyamory being “masochistic” – just because it would be horrible and painful for some doesn’t mean everyone would feel that way. But, as you said, personal opinion. 🙂

    I feel like I was pretty lucky because I got through the whole “WHAT’S WRONG WITH MEEEEE” thing in high school rather than later in life. That would have sucked. I like both boys and girls (insert comments about sparkly bisexual unicorns here) and maybe your girlfriend does too, question-asker!

    See? You’re totally right, Laneia. Look at me talking about me… 😉

    • I don’t think she meant that the polyamory would be masochist, but was saying that if he asked if his girlfriend wanted to explore the world of homogaysex then maybe she’d never come back? Like kind of a joke but kind of not? I just read it that way because of the part later about how that might not happen; that she could love ladies and also him. Just my read

      • I’m thinking along the same lines too. Guys have fragile egos. To be the last guy a girl dates before realizing she’s gay is generally an ego killer. It shouldn’t be but that’s how it usually goes. I had a good friend get dumped by a girl who came out as gay and his “friends” never let him hear the end of it. So I sympathize with the whole not being able to talk to anyone about it.

        • I can definitely say that although my very last boyfriend totally encouraged me to come out fully as gay and even pointed me in the direction of my first girlfriend, I think he totally flipped the fuck out after it actually happened. Not even immediately, it was like a year after the fact that he really started to be weird and inappropriate about it.

          • My high school sweetheart and I dated for about three years, and then both came out after the break up. So we turned each other gay? Saved us a lot of jokes and hassle, really.

    • I’ve always kinda questioned myself about being gay, and then this past June I randomly started watching season 2 of the L Word and after I recovered from the “head explosion” I realized yep I’m gay…..SOOOOOOO gay!!

      • watching it, i’d always think that i didn’t believe erin daniels and jennifer beals and sarah shahi could possibly make out with all those chicks and not become at LEAST bisexual, i mean how would that even be possible. how could you make out with shane and then still be totally heterosexual. how could you be on this gay show saying these gay lines and living in a little gay bubble and attending all these gay events and not become gay. and then i realized that the reason they could do that and not become gay was because they weren’t gay. and that what i’d always defined as heterosexuality wasn’t actually heterosexuality as it was commonly defined by other people. like that some people really truly didn’t want to kiss girls at all ever. like they were born that way or something

        • Are you serious? Some girls really don’t want to kiss girls ever??

          I’m in total denial right now. I mean, come on. How can someone not want to kiss a girl?

          I feel like I just got back a year ago in my confusing-ness about life, the universe and everything.

        • Ha, yes. I also have experienced the counterpart to that feeling, which is that for a loooong time it didn’t really occur to me that many women are actually very physically attracted to men. Like, that there were women who found guys just as desirable as I found girls seemed (and, honestly, still seems) super weird. I mean, guys are just, you know, *around*, and you date them and it’s pretty easy and that’s all, right? And even despite that epiphany and my rational acknowledgement of that fact, I still find the thought of female heterosexuality a little implausible.

          • As a bisexual girl, it’s not so much that I find female attraction to men implausible as I find exclusive female heterosexuality implausible. Like, how do these girls find GUYS to be the be-all and end-all? Guys who barely know what women like sexually because they’re taught to think only of themselves? Or when I see a straight girl who has bad taste in men, I secretly think it’s only because she doesn’t realize there are women out there who could fulfill her needs way better. It’s silly – despite the fact that I’m pretty 50/50 in my attractions, I can totally understand women who would only want to date other women, but not women who would only want to date men. Maybe it’s because I’m still in college where most of the guys are fratty Neanderthals who are not worth my or any girl’s time.

          • There are guys out there that aren’t all about themselves… and we have some knowledge of pleasing our women. just saying.

          • rose! THIS. I too am bisexual, I was pressured to be straight my whole life and deny that I was secretly drooling over the hot butch, or the cute tattooed goth girl. I am attracted to men, but I am more attracted to women than men as a whole. I thought every girl was secretly attracted to other girls. being raised as a roman catholic didn’t help either. :p I always thought 100% percent heterosexuality for women was kind of bullshit. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part. XD

          • Same here. Guys are just, you know, *around* and it’s easy to date them, that’s all. How can there be such a thing as a *really* heterosexual girl? I mean, one who is BORN like that and does not behave like that because of social pressure. Impossible.

            LOL. We almost sound like heterophobes!

          • This reminds me of my wee self before sexual identity when I would tear apart boy barbies to throw over the fence, cry if I got boy dolls and pick one very unattainable boy to be my crush so I could talk boys with the rest of the girls. I feel like I should have known. When you get your first boyfriend and you don’t even actualy want to talk to him on the phone your probably confused what you want.

          • When I was fifteen I found out that my best friend was talking about boys with another of our friends, so I decided that I was going to find a boy to crush on so I could be part of those conversations. And then a year later I got a boyfriend so I could be part of this whole exciting dating thing.

            And then eventually I realized I was gay.

          • I’m a lesbian but I’ve defined myself bisexual for some time (see bisexuality = transition). In practice this means I always knew I preferred girls, but I’ve dated quite a few boys (for lack of girls). It wasn’t terrible, just not as amazing as it is with women.

          • Yeah. A friend of mine started dating this guy, and kept gushing about how “manly” he was. I always thought that girls who wanted to date these really stereotypically masculine guys were just self-hating people who were bowing to patriarchy. But this friend was very pro women’s rights, and gay rights, and a pretty cool and independent person. So when she was talking about this guy, I suddenly realized that to some people this kind of traditional masculinity was actually attractive. Wat? O_O

        • Truth: I still have a little trouble believing that any of those actresses could do all that and not become at least a little bit more bi. Come on. How? HOW!?

          But that says more about me than about them. You’re right, some girls are just actually straight. Which is hard for my not-very-straight brain to understand! And so I convinced myself that all straight women deep down had at least bisexual potential. Cuz apparently I really wanted to be normal.

          Oh the L Word.

    • free showtime led to the real l word, which led me to AS, which then led me to riese and the l word and now im mind-fucked. no head explosion for me (yet? maybe im in denial idk. i have never been with a woman so… idk)

  6. Hello, queer girlfriend of a straight guy here. So far it looks like he’s gonna be a rare exception to my loves/crushes – a book I was reading said something about “heterosoporifica”, how conventional heterosexuality bores the writer, and I liked that term! The people I go for – guys, girls, whatever – tend to be queer on multiple levels, but the queerest thing about my guy is that he’s non-monogamous and dating me. So he’s had a lot of similar concerns to you, Straight Male Anon, and if he wasn’t on his way to egypt right now I’d send him a link to this post.

    People express their sexuality in so many ways. People express their love in so many ways. Sometimes they aren’t even connected. While I have a female lover and prefer women sexually, I love my boyfriend for more than just physicality (though I do feel very comfortable around him physically which is good) – there’s trust, compassion, kindness, friendship. Things that aren’t gender-specific but don’t just come at once.

    I did have a hard time reconciling being queer (and at that point not having had anything to do with women) with dating a straight guy. After some dealing-with-it and talking-it-out we decided on polyamoury, which works great! Part of it is that my creative work is also often sexually charged and it didn’t make sense for me to say “oh, only HE has access to my body” – just because I have an act where people can lick sweets off me doesn’t mean our relationship is any less valid. My body’s not a museum piece. I get to expand and learn sexually and romantically, he also gets to find his kicks and not depend on me totally for sex (he’s chatting up another poly pansexual girl similar to me atm. lol), and it’s all good.

    communication communication COMMUNICATION. most important thing.

  7. “Now everyone else is going to tell you what they think in the comments! It should be fun. Probably someone will yell about polyamory and bisexuality and labels, so this’ll be a lot like a real lesbian relationship!”

    Quote of the year already? It isn’t possible.

  8. So, I kind of stumbled out of the closet. I was a big fan of The L Word for a couple of years and thought about chicks all the time and had no interest whatsoever in guys, but I totally convinced myself that these things DID NOT MEAN I WAS GAY. I was adamant about this. I ignored it for awhile, and then I just told myself I was going through a phase. If someone had come up to me and said “um, you’re a lesbian.” I would’ve had denied it and then probably curled up in the corner and freaked out. For me personally, due to the environment I’d grown up in, it wasn’t okay for me to be gay. In my head, it was totally fine if other people were gay. I supported those people with all my heart, but I wasn’t gay. Until one day, I was. One day, I just admitted it to myself, and it was amazing. I felt so much better, but it took a lot of time for me to get to that place and nothing anyone else could have done would have gotten me there any faster.

    I feel like you should be able to tell your girlfriend that you’ve noticed a few things that make you feel like she might be interested in girls, BUT you understand that it’s a very personal thing and just want to let her know that you’re there for her. That is if you want to be there for her. If you love her and want to help her through this, that’s great, but if this has become a huge issue in your relationship that you can’t work through, then staying in that relationship isn’t good for either of you. The fact that you bothered to submit this question tells me that you care about her a lot, so I hope it works out okay without too many hearts being trampled on.

    • “it wasn’t okay for me to be gay. In my head, it was totally fine if other people were gay. I supported those people with all my heart, but I wasn’t gay. Until one day, I was. One day, I just admitted it to myself, and it was amazing.”

      I really identify with this 95% of the time, and 95% of my mentality is currently the “it was amazing” part. However, for some fucked up reason (internalized homophobia? likely.) there’s still 5% of my fucked up brain that can’t deal yet. this might sound weird, but these are irrational thoughts, obviously; my irrational brain is obsessed with imagining my future wikipedia page (my rational brain highly doubts its future existence) and then it imagines the Personal Life section and thinks, “Damn, you coulda been perfect, terracottatoes, if only you hadn’t been such a fucking homo. I mean you’ve got accomplishments up the wazoo, but you’re gay so who cares. There’s something big you’ve failed at.”

      …It’s something I’m working on fixing, but irrational attitudes towards fictional wiki pages are not exactly the easiest demons to confront, yeah?

      • I feel you. Like I felt that shock-of-recognition moment with the L word, and little smaller versions of that with Dani’s comment, and with yours (that’s why we love AS, no?).

        My big gay moment was like on the one hand I was seeing/experiencing something completely beautiful, it was that awe-inspiring wtf-god-might-be-real kind of beautiful, which was weird and mysterious and wonderful, and on the other hand, there was something completely heartbreaking about it. Like this beauty is real, and now so is all of this: you tell lies, you hide from the truth, the people you love don’t know you. This whole identity thing is a way deep thing. I want to give everyone a hug and hand them a blank chalkboard–one of the black ones you can carry around with you, or you would if it was like 1920 and you were 8–and just say, don’t worry, here’s your clean slate.

        • First all of – the 1st half of your second paragraph makes me wanna get high and watch the l word.

          Also – okay with homos, but not okay with own homodom – that WAS me. And is a very confusing thing to go through. So props to those who were there with me and those still going through it. I’m now engaged to my first girlfriend (don’t hate) and it’s awesome.

      • “I really identify with this 95% of the time, and 95% of my mentality is currently the “it was amazing” part. However, for some fucked up reason (internalized homophobia? likely.) there’s still 5% of my fucked up brain that can’t deal yet.”

        Same here. *winces* 95% of the time I know that I am a raging queermo, but 5% of the time the dark side takes over and I start obsessing over how I’m going to let my parents down, how I’ve never been with a girl so how can I know for sure, how much telling them is going to suck…

      • That sneaky 5% is a biotch. It’s been following me around and tends to send me into spirals of panic.

        Also, I don’t think it’s internalized homophobia as much as wanting to be accepted by society at large. Even if you feel okay and even like living in an “alternative life-style” bubble of society, sometimes that shit gets tiring, and you just want life to not be so damn hard just because you happen to like girls.

        • Idotry, and Dani. THIS.Same problem here, the sneaky 5% is a real bitch. Plus I’ve never been with a woman, so how do you truly know if you haven’t? it’s funny b/c i do love living the alternative lifestyle, but it is hard liking girls. especially when you’ve been straight your whole life, got married to a man. then realized the sight of shane on the L Word warrants a panty change, then oh fuck, you’re married, now what? plus, you’ve never been with a woman, so the self doubt does horrible things to you… LE SIGH

  9. POLYAMORY! BISEXUALITY! LABELS! RAWR!!!!!

    No, but really, pretty much agree with what Laneia said. Your girl is your girl, queer, straight, gay, bi, whatever–she is who she is. Love her for that, and if she realizes she isn’t what she thinks, you have to trust that she’ll tell you.

  10. i tried so very very hard to be straight. like, i wanted to choose that just like my parents think i chose gay. and i had boyfriends, and then a husband… but no, i was so gay for the ladies. i have not once desired sex with a boy, even though i’ve had plenty of it. girls, on the other hand… oh my. and i totally like talking about my feelings until 5 am, i admit it.
    It’s really hard to say what anyone feels, where they fall on the sexual spectrum. but speaking from my experience, no matter how much i denied it, to my husband and to myself, the truth is that i am just 110% homogay. (and happy to be so!)

  11. I’m going to say that I did genuinely enjoy much of the sex I had with guys when I was having it. However, it took having one girlfriend, and having sex with her, that I realized my preference for women was so much stronger than I imagined. It’s hard to explain the difference, but there is a difference. And the emotional aspect? Doesn’t even compare to me. I cannot relate to or connect with a man the same way I did with that first girlfriend. After that experience, I knew that I just could not go back to men, like, at all.

  12. respect is a huge and important thing. my ex-boyfriend who I was with when I still identified as bi used to call me “lesbian”, and I got really angry at him because he just didn’t respect my sexual identity. he also shouted other things at me, but that’s a different story.*
    I’m glad I left him because a) I’m really, really a big homo and b) he was a jerk.
    also, this is not helping any straight guy who is having doubts about his girlfriend.

    *what I really mean to say is: respect your girlfriend and the way she identifies. the way she identifies might change, or not, but it’s her life/sexuality.

  13. I love this post and all the comments! It feels like I’m talking drunkenly to my queer best friends, and it’s pride week and the sun is just coming up.
    Anyways… My story is similar to a lot of the others. Had a boyfriend who totally knew that I liked girls, and kept pushing me to accept I was bi. But I broke up with him when I realized that I wasn’t interested in him sexually. I loved to kiss him but I wished he had something else between his legs. Then I started exploring, reading about David Bowie, hooking up with people whilst drunk, afterellen.com, the l word, kissing the most beautiful girl ever, BANG gay!! 🙂
    Props wrote a little too much, but yeah, it’s fun to talk about yourself…

  14. in the fourth grade, my friends and i were playing truth or dare and one of the questions was “would you date boys or girls if you were turned into a boy?” everyone said they would date boys including me, but in my brain i was like “if i had a chance to kiss a girl i totally would!” I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. i think i did, sort of, but i just didn’t want to deal with it. so i tried liking boys. probably actually did, but never for long. i even had SEX with a boy to prove to myself that i was normal, but there were no sparks or anything. anyways flash to like a year later and my soon to be girlfriend is touching me in ways that i couldn’t deny anything anymore. so yeah, it takes a while to finally figure yourself out.

    i love talking about my feelings, can i braid someone’s hair now?

    • Even though I came out to myself a couple years ago, it took me until earlier this year to realize that, no, not everyone wanted to make out with their best (girl) friend in 7th grade. I had just always assumed that it was a thing my other friends felt too but didn’t about for whatever reason, but, um, nope, that was just me being raised in rural Missouri and not knowing that gay people existed.

      All these feelings and talk of hair-braiding make me feel like I’m at a giant Autostraddle sleepover.

      Also, Autostraddle sleepover: great idea, or greatest idea?!?

  15. First time commenting but this guy’s girlfriend could totally be describing me…I really always thought I was totally straight and only “appreciated” the female body and never even considered I could be anything BUT straight for some reason, and here I am at 21 and about 99% certain I’m at least bisexual.
    Realization comes thanks to me finally noticing for the first time since I even started noticing people in that way that I check out girls almost more often than I do boys, and thanks to Autostraddle and all the comments and such that make me go oh hey that’s what I’m like.

    • wow. your comment perfectly describes me right now. i feel so much better knowing i’m not alone in this. I’m also 21, check out girls ALL the time. Just starting to wonder if I’m bisexual. thanks 🙂

  16. Sometimes I don’t comment on articles that I really really like for fear that they’ll think I like them, which I do, but I’m afraid it won’t like me back. I do that with people too. Not this time.

  17. After being a total head case for years, identifying myself as bisexual, and going so far as getting married I started really thinking about my feelings and unjust rationalizations and I am pretty sure I am gay. There aren’t many gay girls in my area though and no good place to find them 🙁

    I highly recommend talking with your girl to get her to really think about it and figure out her own head. I love my husband, but I will always be more attracted to girls and things have gotten kind of complicated because I couldnt be honest with myself.

      • me too. Glad to hear I’m not the only one?

        What sucks is being honest with yourself and then not being believed by the person you’re with to the point of not believing yourself anymore..(not that fucking up a marriage doesn’t suck, but that shit doesn’t need to drag?)

        Anyway, the guy with the question should just not try to convince his girlfriend of anything if he loves her and if shit gets too complex clinging on to something broken is not ok because guilt about hurting someone who doesn’t deserve it will keep people from coming out like no other. Also encourages the crazy. Overshare sorry.

        But yeah that was me and totally, totally, silly levels of obvious gay here. And not bisexual, because if I was I’d still be married and we could just keep checking out girls together. Which was nice but sad too ’cause I like them much more, see.

        • yeah, it helps to know that we’re not alone in this; i know that when i was struggling with being honest with myself, I felt VERY alone. Actually it’s part of the reason my first gf and i ended up together, because she was going through the same thing as well. We bonded. (and bonded and bonded and bonded…. SO MANY FEELINGS!!)

          like you, my ex didn’t believe it… or it wasn’t so much that he didn’t believe it, but he wanted to try to make the marriage work in spite of my gayness. So it did drag, for about a month. I eventually realized how impossible it was going to be, though, and ended it. I felt awful about hurting him, but I think now that almost 3 years have passed, we’re both so much better off.

          • so glad to know i’m not the only one! i identify as bi for now, am married to a guy, and wasn’t really able to acknowledge my deep-seated lust for girls until now. :p but the thing is, I love my husband, and am attracted to him. but i am more attracted to women than men. but i’m not really attracted to men other than him. I can see a guy, think he’s cute, hot, whatev, but never to the point where i want to sleep with him. it was like this even b4 i was married. idk. much confusion. XD

          • You and me both! I consider myself “lesbian with an exception” because of this – I can’t see myself being with another guy sexually (except for Darren Hayes XP) but bring on the girls!

          • haha THIS. i wonder about the whole lesbian with an exceptionn thing. i would never want to be with another man, i can think that they are cute, or hot, but am not interested in them sexually. except for my husband. but yes bring on the girls please! not sure what this means….

  18. One summer I had a sweet boyfriend and I loved him. Only then I met a girl and she was a lesbian and we became fast friends and I found myself with a lot of feelings. SO MANY FEELINGS! And so much confusion! I didn’t know what to do. I told my boyfriend about the confusion, and, being sweet like he was, he told me I should check it out, see what happened. Go for it. So I did. But… I was still confused after. I liked it (in fact the more times we checked it out, the more it blew my little mind apart), but it scared me. And I didn’t want to hurt him. Or her. Or me. And I didn’t want to re-define myself to the world. Confusion reigned.

    The sweet boyfriend told me that he had assumed, in encouraging me to check it out, that one of two things would happen: either I would realize I was gay (BANG! FLASH!), or I would realize I was not. Easy, right? Then we would know and we could all get on with our business. Oh, if only it had been that easy.

    Straight guy with a the girlfriend, I want to tell you that it’s not always that simple. I do think you should encourage your girlfriend to explore, but I also want you to know that it might not lead to a simple, easy determination of sexual orientation. It might take her several years of dating different girls to find one that makes her go “oh, I could really commit to this whole gay thing.” Or she might be bisexual and still decide she’s happy being with men too. You just never know…

  19. i came out as bi when i was 17 and CLUNG to that for years and years and years (and for dear life, in fact)… except that i never was attracted to men, was shocked/bewildered when i heard any girl say “oh, he’s hot,” only thought about women, hooked up with women every chance i got, aaaand had boyfriends/serious boyfriends throughout it all … so just saying, denial = powerful as fuck. when i finally excepted i was gay – rainbow explosion of joy and honesty!
    this gal may just think girls are pretty/hot, but it may be in her best interest to explore it so she can go down the most honest path for her.

  20. Can I just say that I knew I was gay before I watched The L Word and it warms my lil gay girl heart that so many people figured out they loved ladies from watching that show. So many people have criticized me for liking that show (hell, I’ve criticized myself from time to time) but it’s awesome and valuable for the simple fact that it helped girls figure out they liked girls.

    Love it! We need more stuff like this on TV.

    Love all of you too and thanks for the thoughtful commentary.

  21. this description sounds like me … now. I’m in a relationship with a man but my admitted ‘bisexuality’ keeps getting more and more girl-centric and I find men in general totally undesirable
    glad to know it’s a thing at least :-/

  22. Does anyone else have Ellen Page’s SNL skit of going sorta ladygay playing in their heads?
    Also Laneia “Then one weekend I had free Showtime and I watched Shane fuck Cherie Jaffe by the pool and my head exploded.” – you = win.

  23. OK, this is a _long_ comment, but I’ve got to get this out. Apologies in advance if I lose any of you before the end…
    If only Autostraddle had been around 10 years ago, this post (and the ‘gayversary’ ones) and all your lovely, insightful, honest and _supportive_ comments could have saved me a lot of time… in figuring out why I was secretly so pleased that Alex(andra), the most perfect button-nosed, long-white-blonde-haired girl in my class picked me to practise kissing with when we were 7… in working out why I had no more than a passing interest in boys in my high school years and was so fascinated by the brains and attitude of a girl in my class and the fabulous legs of a girl a year older than me… why I ended up at Sussex uni (in Brighton, one of the gay capitals of the UK) – semi-androgynously dressed with hair short enough to make a passing man pull his girlfriend a little closer to him, like I was going to steal her away at gunpoint or something – majoring in Queer Studies(!) but was still too petrified to admit that I might want to try being with girls… That was the time ‘bi-curious’ became a big deal in the media and everyone in my Queering Popular Culture seminars seemed so secure and sure in their identities; the possibility of being scornfully and authoritatively dismissed as a little bi-try wannabe by far more experienced peers was too devastating to think about… (I didn’t have a lot of confidence at that stage.) Everything was pretty stressful, partly due to walking around constantly worrying, simultaneously, that I might ‘look gay’ because of my hair/clothes (ya think?!) and that I couldn’t be a lesbian because ‘real’ lesbians would be able to tell in an instant that I was a horrible faker and would want nothing to do with me… Mentioned to a longstanding straight friend that I wouldn’t be averse to being involved with girls (she didn’t freak out). Graduated, dumped my long-distance boyfriend…   Did 4 weeks’ PR work experience in London, where I had a total obsession over Deb, a beautiful, freckled Irish woman… I could now write epic poetry, but I’ll spare you… Let’s just say it finally dawned on me that I wasn’t actually doing any _work_ and if someone noticed the lack of typing, it would be a short step to work out who I was gawking at… Watched her flirt with a guy who was on a one-way fantasy train to nowhere (cos she was SO OUT OF HIS LEAGUE!!!) so was pretty sure she was straight and didn’t need the work experience chick hitting on her…  Didn’t date anyone for a long time (5 years – now seems like a waste)… Launched myself at my best friend in the back of a taxi (don’t actually remember this as was too drunk) – she didn’t reciprocate, but thankfully we’re still good friends…
    All through this and the subsequent years, I couldn’t find ‘proof’ within myself that I was gay. Bisexual didn’t seem like an option (I know, considering I have a Masters in Sexuality Studies I can be really dense sometimes) and when I met my current boyfriend 4 years ago I denied any interest in women and tried to forget all about it. Recently, I unearthed the excellent Whole Lesbian Sex Book, bought before J and I met. Rather appropriately, it was buried deep at the back of my closet, ha ha.. (At some time in my mid-twenties, I’d got very into lesbian literature and magazines and wanted to be prepared for The Big Seduction. Great book, learned a lot from it about my own body and desires, at least…though still waiting to spring The Big Seduction on some as-yet-unknown lady…)
    Lately, a few things have brought this simmering stew to a boil: my brother and his wife expecting twins (no more self-generated guilt about not settling down with a Nice Boy and giving my Mum grandkids); Lip Service (TV series filled with hot homosexy women); a lap dance when colleagues ended up at a strip club at the end of our work Xmas night out (not particularly proud of this, not PC at all, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity – didn’t like the artificiality of it, but hot naked chicks writhing around in close proximity is something I’d definitely want to experience again, definitely without payment/patriarchal sexual servitude being involved).
    The most bizarre of these is that I came out to Human Resources at work before I was out to myself (in the ‘sexual identity’ section of an ‘anonymous’ questionnaire on diversity within our company, I clicked ‘Bisexual’ instinctively and then blinked, staring at it and thinking ‘Really? For real this time?’, searching and feeling nothing but a deep, rounded conviction in my gut – no jagged doubts or second guesses. Turns out it is now in my confidential HR file so I’m glad I feel it’s the truth.) Cue a frenzy of googling to make sure (Question: ‘how do I know I’m bi?’ Answer: ‘you’re attracted to men and women’ – I’m surprised Google didn’t also kick up ‘how many times do we have to go over this?!’) and last but by no means least, discovery of Autostraddle. Thank god. You guys rock. Thanks for this and so many other posts and comment streams which are helping me dismantle the walls I’ve put up and disprove my previously faulty logic. Finally, I’m piecing together all the attractions and desires which I’d previously dismissed as insignificant and finding out exactly what they mean to me. It’s taken a while – I’m 34 – but now I am pretty sure I am bisexual. I guess my gayversary is now, the start of 2011. Now I just want to be honest with the people I care about. Coming out to my boyfriend this weekend, hope we can negotiate the next steps in a mutually respectful and supportive way…
    OK, now I’ve realised this is the most me-centric comment on here and all I can say in actual answer to your question Straight-Guy-With-Potentially-Queer-Girlfriend is, yes, I think the previous commenters are correct, it can take a hella-long time to figure out your sexuality and even then it might shift over time. Respect, care and communication should be priorities – apart from that, enjoy your relationship and just see what happens.

  24. Thiiiis was me. Oh my god, this was me. A year ago this month I left my boyfriend of three years, found myself a beautiful girl, and never looked back. In a later conversation with the ex, he told me he’d always kinda known I was gay… Moral of the story, shit works itself out.

    • my ex went on a month-long trip about a year ago during which time i met ‘the new girl’ at work. i came out to him on valentine’s day and all he said was ‘yeah kinda figured. doesn’t surprise me much.’

  25. I feel exactly like this girl.
    I am going out with a boy but i am costantly thinking of what it would be like if i sleep with a girl.
    unfortunately i can’t answer myself the question am i gay or not, sometimes i think i am sometimes i am sure i am not. maybe because there are a lot of women i find phisicaly atractive but i can’t imagine myself with them, we just don’t connect, probably because they are straight. sometimes i just think that maybe my problem is that i am an emotional cripple.;)))
    but you are right Laneia the scene from the L word where Shane is fucking Cherrie at the pool is the sexiest hottest love scene ever on television and makes me wet everytime i whach it.

  26. I, too, am in a similar situation. In a previous relationship my ex joked about me being a lesbian (to be honest I did joke about him being a bastard)– and I am currently dating a possibly-queer boy who claims to be utterly straight while being queer myself. Thankfully, current guy has no problems with my being queer.

    /relationships are so confusing!

  27. Aside from the fact that whenever I was presented with an 8 ball between the ages of 11 through 16 I somehow got around to “Am I gay?” being on the list of questions I asked it (and then furiously shaking it if it began to fall on anything but no, which for some magical enigmatic reason it always did not) I had no idea. Ah the quiet undertow of self-denial in blue, inky, water. I have angelina jolie in Gia for my blown mind moment, which is kind of making me feel old.

    Anyway, don’t think you’re wasting your time or anything waiting for a girl who may or may not be gay. If you are both comfortable with one another and are continually expanding on your levels of intimacy (emotionally, physically, spiritually) I personally feel that is the most important thing, though it is also probably a long and winding road, which we all know thanks to the beatles, is only for the most sentimental of hearts.

    best of luck in the maddening search for truth

  28. “Like you have to be willing to sit up until 5am talking about your feelings and her feelings and whether or not you’ve allowed enough space for her feelings to be fully respected while also ensuring that your feelings are respected because the sale at Ikea ends tomorrow and you have to make a decision about that lamp for real.”

    THIS.

    Honestly, exactly my day today – shopping for lamps, respecting feelings, determining if sufficient space is being made.

  29. I somehow doubt there will be an abundance of straight girls here to contradict the “this was me [insert number] of years ago,” though. We’re not exactly unbiased.

  30. I feel one of my former friends is a like this guy’s girlfriend. On many occasions she would talk about how female genitalia is ‘beautiful’, and how she would never ever go down on a guy. And she was always jokingly hitting on me and my two female best friends. Hell, she stole my first kiss to ‘make me stop talking’. Long story short, I think pushing her about her sexual identity is part of the reason we stopped talking (other parts include pushing her about her anorexia).
    Then there’s the touching story of my more-straight-then-not best friend who is still dating a girl she is not attracted to. Despite her girlfriend I would often forget and label her straight, but I don’t think that helped lead to her revelation that she only wanted to date guys. It just made me feel like an asshole and annoyed her.

    So that is how I’m learning not to lable people, I’m sure more lessons will be forthcoming

  31. I have to say, being the boy friend that was on the receiving end of a 7 year relationship where my girl friend figured out she was gay after a 3 month stent in Germany, was not an easy thing to go through. I mean, I know it’s not easy ‘coming out’ but so many of people forget about how the man may feel over this, honestly. I now find myself in a situation where she has begged for me to stay her friend, while her ‘new friends’ rally against the ‘evil’ straight man. I value her and care about her deeply and wish her all the happiness in the world… but I guess as was previously stated…. ” Guys are just, you know, *around* and it’s easy to date them, that’s all”….

  32. I wasn’t gonna post a reply, but had to after reading benny’s comment.

    You’re not alone, I am too a boyfriend at the receiving end of a 7+ yrs relationship where my girlfriend is realizing that she might be gay. Not many people are going to think about how the guy feels, because we are encouraged to support the one we care for, but once they figure things out, what happens to us. Chin up and keep trying, that’s really all we can do.

  33. So pretty much me and my boyfriend just had a really long talk about wether or not I’m gay. Sounds exactly like the first 15 comments I read. Only after him “pointing me in the right direction” as we lay in bed this moment, he googled something and this Q&A appeared. He had me read it and as I read out loud I can’t read some of these sentences without starting to cry. I’m 23 now, does this in fact mean that at 28 I will be a full blown lesbian? So were kind of in bed wondering what now? Either way I am 1. Scared to death and 2. Hoping he doesn’t hate me in the future. Am I seriously coming to terms with this right? Am I seriously coming to terms with this in a comment on a blog?

    • everything is going to be okay. maybe not right away, and maybe not for a long time, but one day things will be okay. i promise.

      while you figure things out, know that we’re here. we’re not going anywhere. even if you don’t wanna deal right away…we’ll still be here if you need us.

      that’s all <3

  34. Thanks. I can’t really bring myself to say more than that right now. I feel like I’m in shock. Do I have to come to terms with this? Can I have more thoughts on being bi? Does being bi just make me a dare I use the word LESBIAN but in need of hope that I may actually be straight with just “a thing for girls”? I’ve always had such love for people that are gay in terms of wanting them to feel free to be who they are and them knowing it was okay .. But it’s odd that all of a sudden when thinking that this might me I feel all wtf? I didn’t actually want to have to go down this road myself. CRAP.

    • yes, i think you’ll eventually have to come to terms with who you are, but no, not right away and especially not before you’re ready.

      yes, you can have more thoughts on being bi, and an important thought is that bisexuality is a real thing and it absolutely doesn’t mean you’re definitely a lesbian, you could really and truly be bisexual, that is a thing!

      i know it’s odd to be responding to your comments on this post from a couple of years ago, but they happened to pop up for me in the dashboard and they stood out to me because you kind of remind me of myself 4-5 years ago. the important thing to remember is that things will be okay because that’s how life is, ya know? and so it goes.

  35. ohmygod. i registered just for this post.i haven’t read any of the resposnes as of right now. i’ve also been up since 4:30 am and just took an ambien to try and get myself the fuck to sleep since my boss is so nicely letting me sleep in a few hours before i go back to work. SO. there are similarities to my story and laneia’s story except i never got marreid or had kids. fuck. i can’t go intothose details right now. where do you find help with this sort of serious meltdown? espcially that its been a year since its been last updated.

  36. Pingback: Burnt out on men... Am I a lesbian? - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out

  37. Hi, I’m a gender-nonconforming person, and because of this, a lesbian friend of mine insists that I, too, am a lesbian. I’ve repeatedly explained that this isn’t the case, yet she keeps with the same old thing, like a broken record. I think it may have to do with the fact that she’s a little attracted to me, as she’s stated in the past. She keeps using slurs like “dyke” around our other friends to refer to me. I honestly find that very disrespectful and rude. What should I do about this?

  38. I have to disagree with the end. You NEVER go by what a “queer” girl tells you. We ALL lie/have lied about our sexuality for various reasons. Just because a girl tells you she’s straight doesn’t make it true. Whether she’s lying to herself or you. When a girl says she’s 18 do you listen even though she looks about 13?? For me, living like that, ignoring her sexuality is you taking advantage of her shame or issues facing the gay community and you ARE to blame. You’re just looking for an excuse to be with someone YOU like, doesn’t matter if she doesn’t like you. It’s selfish and it’s sick – cause it ain’t your heart OR your head you’re thinkin with. NEVER listen! Cause you know what you’re gonna do?? you’re gonna run across someone and say “she told me she was straight” and I’m gonna say, “look at her, does she LOOK like she’s str8”. “I thought she was 18” and we’re gonna say “She looks 12!!” Even if she showed you ID, I bet that thing doesn’t look authentic, it doesn’t look like it’s suppose to, just like lesbian love for a man. it doesn’t look like a str8 girls love. So i’m just sayin, if you stay with someone like I”M describing, you’re using an excuse to get what you want, and it’s really really going to hurt her later when she wakes up and says, i had pig tails, i didn’t look anything like 18 and my ID card didn’t look real, they don’t even make ’em like that anymore. And she’s going to see you for what you are and she’s gonna have the worst memories of you. Cause u knew!! does that clarify?? Never go by what they tell you. I hate the author of this article even suggested that. Perhaps in the future when everyone feels comfortable with their sexuality and it doesn’t cause them grief and no one is pressuring or talking them into saying they’re queer instead of lesbian. THEN, you can go by what she says, but we’re a ways away from THAT time. There’s a lot that goes on with lesbian women that the heterosexual community doesn’t understand.

  39. Hello

    I know it’s been several years since this topic opened but I think this situation applies for any year.
    I’m currently in a scary similar situation with this girl.
    I’ve been dating a guy for 3 years now and even when he’s sweet and caring during sex I can never really be into it.
    I only do it for him at this point, but I secretly at home can have an orgams in 10 seconds only by closing my eyes and picturing myself eating a girl out.
    Sorry if I’m being cross, I just want to be totally honest for once. I think I’m gay but I’ve never dated a girl and I don’t want to hurt my bf. I don’t know how long can I keep doing this. I think I’m going insane of desperation to kiss a girl and I fantasize many times every day about having sex with women, to the point I get extremely nervous around pretty girls everywhere and I find myself checking out their bodies a lot. I have never been like this with any guy in my life, I don’t find their bodies desirable and I’m starting to feel disgusted everytime I see my bf completely naked, specially his genitals, I think I feel nothing but repulsion for dicks.
    What do I do? I feel like I will never get out of this farse, I feel like I’m gonna stay like this forever because I’m not brave enough to do anything (all my family and friends are Orthodox Jewish and they will never accept this) can I hide this desires forever? Can I be straight if I hold up long enough?

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