Hello! Apologies in advance if a similar question has already been asked.
So recently I've been trying to get more in touch with my sexuality. I have been sure enough that I am attracted to women to identify as lesbian, but since I've never had any romantic or sexual experiences with other people I'm always a little unsure. At any rate, I think it would be good to get a better sense of what my preferences are. I've mostly been doing this through fantasizing.
The problem is that I often feel like I am objectifying the women who appear in my fantasies, like I'm sort of adopting the male gaze or whatever (even though I'm a woman). For example, one of my first "celebrity" crushes was on a young musical artist whose listeners are mainly middle-aged men. A lot of these men would leave weird comments on her music videos, like "I'm in love with her, don't tell my wife!" When I fantasized about her, I couldn't help thinking about how uncomfortable she must be made by those older men, and I felt bad for having the same attractions (even though I'm younger than her). Similarly, I once had a young professor who I found attractive (not that I would ever act on those attractions). But then I had a conversation with her about how tough it is to be a women in her male-dominated field, and I felt terrible for sexualizing her in my head when all she wants is to be respected as a smart and capable researcher. I used to sometimes think about people my own age, but that felt even more disrespectful somehow.
I've tried watching porn, but it just didn't do anything for me—either it felt too impersonal, or too aggressive, or I kept wondering about the lives of the performers. I've also tried reading erotica, but for some reason a lot of the stories seem to be about 30-something office co-workers and I just can't relate to that. I've had some success with fanfiction, but I guess I'm a bit picky when it comes to the writing (sorry if that sounds snobby).
In short, I feel guilty for fantasizing about people I "know" in some capacity, but can't fantasize about people I don't know. If anyone has any advice, that would be super helpful. My friends and I don't ever talk about this stuff, so I don't have a good sense of what is typical or not.