Many people ask me how they can tell if a woman is a lesbian. And most often the questions come from women who are just beginning to question their own sexual orientation. Very often they are frightened and confused. In the case of (what I like to call) the late bloomer, it seems as if we never really think of the possibility of being a lesbian unless or until something drastic hits us over the head -- or heart, as the case may be.
Typically these emails start off with a short description of the woman's life -- married, 2.5 kids, dog/cat and 2 cars in the garage. Many times it begins with a woman getting involved with a group activity. Helping to run a scout troop, working with the kid's drama class, going back to work, something that brings her out of the house.
First she realizes that she really admires another woman in the group; be it the leader or another worker-bee. She is very impressed with the abilities of the woman, and begins to work very hard to impress her, often in ways that keep them in close proximity. Before long she begins to think of the two of them as a team, to the point of excluding others achievements in her mind. Family and friends notice she talks a great deal about this woman's abilities and accomplishments, and they start to become uneasy. They can't explain the nagging feeling in the back of their mind, but it's there.
Next, she begins to notice the appearance of the woman, admiring the woman's body, her manner of dress and the way clothes hang on her. She will begin to admire the woman's strength or grace. Soon she is dressing a little nicer, or changing her style completely to match the woman she admires. When the woman comments on her style, she is flattered and encouraged to continue. Family and friends notice the change and again become uneasy, still unable to identify why.
Suddenly, she will realize that she's thinking about this woman all of the time. She might find herself thinking more about the woman's breasts or butt. She may have a sensual dream about the woman. Depending on how in touch with her own feelings she might be, she will slowly come to acknowledge her crush on this woman. She may not immediately recognize the sexual feelings, but she will recognize the typical actions of a person who is enamored of another.
It is only when she can no longer hide the truth from herself that a woman will recognize she is sexual attracted to this woman. She will finally admit to herself (though usually only in her very private mind) that she wants to touch this woman in the ways of lovers. It is at this point that her family and friends will realize she's no longer talking about the woman, and they will feel relieved. It is now that you begin the journey into your own heart and mind.
So, before you drop me email asking if I think you're a lesbian (and seriously, how would I know?), does any of this sound familiar? And even if it does feel familiar or exactly like what you've gone through, don't be so quick to change your sexual orientation label. Give it time. See how you feel in the future. It can be a one-time thing. Just become aware of your feelings. Open your mind up to the possibilities and see what happens.
Until next time...