Sexuality is complicated. There are at least seven ways to be attracted to someone:
- Physically (appreciating someone’s physique, wanting to hug or cuddle, but not necessarily have sex.)
And I’m sure there are more! So if you think of all those categories of attraction individually, it’s easy to see why people get confused about what they feel for people.
Here’s something I’ve noticed with ladylovers: they tend to confuse other types of attraction for romantic attraction. Just because you have social intimacy with someone doesn’t mean you want to date them. Or maybe a friend is really hot and you’re so close and the fact that you wouldn’t mind getting naked with her is confusing. It can be difficult to figure out how we’re attracted to someone and if those attractions constitute wanting a romantic relationship.
So my advice is to take stock of where these feelings are coming from. Does having a candlelight dinner with a friend sound romantic and exciting, or would you end up talking about the latest episode of Game of Thrones and doing impressions of that annoying girl in your class like usual? Does the thought of having sex intrigue you or are you ambivalent about that? Are you comfortable with the intimacy you have now, or do you want more? Don’t rush to figure it out. You have time.
Best of luck!
Many women who date women exclusively have this experience of feeling unjustified “betrayal” when “one of their own” dates a man. I think we need to look at the socio-political context of being a queer woman in the modern world in order to understand why this happen.
There has been some damage done within the lesbian community when some women attempted to create a “hierarchy of lesbianism.” Bisexuals are on the bottom-most rung, and are slut-shamed without cause. However this anger and poor treatment of our fellow queer women actually stems from living in a wildly heteronormist culture and not from the LGBT community at all. Bisexuals are unfairly labeled as traitors or cheaters or sluts, accused of abusing their heterosexual privilege, or brushed off as being confused or indecisive. Above the bisexuals were people deemed less “pure” in their lesbian identity, including those who had a sexual history with men, those who were just coming out, or those who had struggled in any way with their identity. In this section we see derogatory terms such as “gold star” being thrown around. The term “gold star” is used to denote that a woman who identifies as lesbian has never had sex with a man. This is problematic because many women have a long and complicated process of uncovering their identity, wherein some sexual exploration, relationships, opposite-sex marriages, etc, might have occurred. “Gold star” holds the same outdated cultural relevance as virginity, which unfairly pairs chastity with cleanliness and purity. Having sex with a man has no bearing on your internal experience of your sexuality, and not having sex with a man doesn’t make you a “better lesbian.” Identifying as a lesbian is what makes you a lesbian. Being a decent human being, not shaming people for their path of self-discovery, and identifying as a lesbian makes you a better lesbian.
Read this essay to understand how queer women are not the ones to blame for the tension between queer women with different orientation labels. It’s a fascinating read and hopefully will help you feel better about your friend dating a man.