Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Questions and discussion about your sexuality and how it's a part of who you are as a person.
belled
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Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by belled »

Hello!

I'm almost 20 years old and I've been identifying as a lesbian for a few years now. I originally thought I was bi, but I haven't had any crushes on guys since I was about 14, and the thought of dating guys generally grosses me out.

However, there is one guy who makes me feel confused. I met him at college and we instantly clicked because we have similar interests. We don't hang out a lot because we're both busy, but he always makes time in his day to chat with me when I'm working, and he's one of the kindest people I've ever met. There's never been any possibility of us hooking up because he knows that I am a lesbian and he's in a serious relationship.

That said, I think I might have a tiny crush on him. I get so nervous and excited every time I see him, and I think about him a lot. Whenever I see him and his girlfriend walking around campus or posting their couple pics, I feel confused because part of me wishes that I could take her place. I can't tell if I'm just lonely and desperate for a relationship with somebody who cares that deeply for me or if I'm starting to fall for this guy.

I don't necessarily thirst over his appearance the way I do with women, but I do find myself admiring his looks. He's very fit and he dresses quite androgynously (think Harry Styles). But then last night, I was lying in my bed masturbating and I suddenly pictured him on top of me, and I liked that feeling. That said, I'm not sure if I would actually enjoy having sex with him in real life (and I'm not going to find out because I don't want to ruin his relationship with his girlfriend). I sometimes can't tell if I'm attracted to him for his masculinity, his femininity, or both. I'm pretty sure I'm not bi, but I sometimes think I would make an exception for him, and I'm not sure what to think of it.

It's just very confusing and I would really appreciate any help you can offer.
Sam W
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Re: Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Belled,

So, you're definitely not the first person to feel this way; plenty of people who are only attracted to one gender have moments where they're like, "hmmm, but I'd make an exception for that person over there." A big part of that has to do with the way sexuality can be fluid. When we say sexuality can be that way, it doesn't always mean big shifts. Sometimes fluidity can just mean there's a little more variety in how you experience attraction than you initially thought.

When you're trying to work out how attraction to a certain person "fits" into your identity as a whole, one thing that can help is to think about whether that person is part of a pattern of attraction or is just one outlier. A single instance of attraction often tells us less about our sexual orientation than the patterns in our attraction do. Too, those one-off instances of attraction don't have to mean anything bigger right away (or ever) than, "this specific person is attractive to me." They can just be one part of the overall picture we build of our sexual orientation throughout our lives. Does that make sense?
belled
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Re: Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by belled »

Sam W wrote: Mon Sep 05, 2022 7:19 am Hi Belled,

So, you're definitely not the first person to feel this way; plenty of people who are only attracted to one gender have moments where they're like, "hmmm, but I'd make an exception for that person over there." A big part of that has to do with the way sexuality can be fluid. When we say sexuality can be that way, it doesn't always mean big shifts. Sometimes fluidity can just mean there's a little more variety in how you experience attraction than you initially thought.

When you're trying to work out how attraction to a certain person "fits" into your identity as a whole, one thing that can help is to think about whether that person is part of a pattern of attraction or is just one outlier. A single instance of attraction often tells us less about our sexual orientation than the patterns in our attraction do. Too, those one-off instances of attraction don't have to mean anything bigger right away (or ever) than, "this specific person is attractive to me." They can just be one part of the overall picture we build of our sexual orientation throughout our lives. Does that make sense?
Thanks, that makes sense! For me, this person is definitely an outlier. To be quite honest, I think a lot of my attraction to him stems from his personality and interests rather than just his physical appearance, even though I don't mind how he looks. I don't think I'd be attracted to him physically if he wasn't so funny, thoughtful, and charismatic.

I also think I like the idea of him being a man because I sometimes do feel a little disappointed that I can't participate in a lot of male/female couple stuff (for example, being able to relate to popular romantic comedy movies or buying cute "his and hers" stuff). If I was straight, he's exactly the kind of man I'd want to date. But I also think a lot of my attraction to him stems from the fact that he's so androgynous (I've never been attracted to traditionally masculine men at all). It's not really a big deal; I just find it a little confusing/interesting.

I'm not sure what to feel about him, but I'll figure it out.
Mo
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Re: Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by Mo »

It's really interesting to see you say you're into the idea of this guy being a man due to how that fits in better with the sort of couple-y stuff you see out in the world. I pretty often hear young women say (both in talking with folks here at Scarleteen and in my own personal life) that it took them a while to understand their own sexual or romantic feelings for other women because they just didn't see those relationships reflected in media or in their wider communities! So I can definitely understand your feelings as another aspect of this same general idea.
There's so much in the world that's geared exclusively towards male/female relationships, even in ways that don't fit many of those relationships, and that can have a big impact on the sort of relationships people want or imagine for themselves.
belled
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Re: Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by belled »

Mo wrote: Mon Sep 05, 2022 3:48 pm It's really interesting to see you say you're into the idea of this guy being a man due to how that fits in better with the sort of couple-y stuff you see out in the world. I pretty often hear young women say (both in talking with folks here at Scarleteen and in my own personal life) that it took them a while to understand their own sexual or romantic feelings for other women because they just didn't see those relationships reflected in media or in their wider communities! So I can definitely understand your feelings as another aspect of this same general idea.
There's so much in the world that's geared exclusively towards male/female relationships, even in ways that don't fit many of those relationships, and that can have a big impact on the sort of relationships people want or imagine for themselves.
Yeah, I think that plays a huge part in why I like the idea of having a boyfriend. I do watch some shows with lesbian couples, but I definitely think the mainstream hetero pop culture is largely responsible for how I picture relationships.

I also think it's possible that I've internalized the whole "guys and girls can't just be friends" myth even though I don't seek out men romantically. Sometimes I feel like the guys in my life are supposed to fulfill certain roles just because they're men and I'm a woman, and a lot of those dynamics are quite heteronormative. For example, I love going to school dances with my gay male friend because we can act like a straight couple even though we both know that nothing sexual is happening between us. I grew up on a lot of Disney channel movies like High School Musical that were centered around cute straight couples, and I always dreamed about having that dynamic for myself.

I also think things are a little more complicated with the guy I'm crushing on because he is 1) androgynous, and 2) in a long term relationship with a bisexual nonbinary person who uses they/she pronouns. I've never asked him what label he prefers to use, but since I see him as more queer-adjacent than most of the guys at my college, I think my brain feels safer playing out a potential romantic/sexual scenario with him because he's not just a typical cishet frat bro. However, I'm still very conscious of the fact that he identifies as a cis man and that being attracted to him would mean I'm not a lesbian anymore. I also think I feel safer entertaining the thought because I know he's in a committed relationship and adores his partner so much that nothing would ever happen between us. (He's a senior and I'm a sophomore, so even if they were to break up, I don't think I'd pursue him because he'll be graduating in June and I'll still have two more years of school after he leaves).

Just a disclaimer: I'm also friends with his partner, so I would never try to split them up or pursue him. In fact, I think part of my attraction to him stems from seeing him being so committed to his partner. He just seems like an ideal boyfriend, and I'm still trying to figure out whether I'm meant to have a boyfriend or not.

I'll keep thinking about it over the next few months.
Sam W
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Re: Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Belled,

I think those are all very good insights to have about where certain fantasies came from for you or why crushing on this friend in particular may feel very safe to you.

I feel you big time on trying to navigate the "boys and girls can't be friends" message and how that influences where you kind of see guys fitting into your life. I will say that's something that, in my experience, can kind of go away over time simply because you encounter more and more examples of guys who fit into your life in ways that aren't romantic.
belled
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Re: Am I bisexual or just a lesbian struggling with comphet?

Unread post by belled »

Sam W wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:59 am Hi Belled,

I think those are all very good insights to have about where certain fantasies came from for you or why crushing on this friend in particular may feel very safe to you.

I feel you big time on trying to navigate the "boys and girls can't be friends" message and how that influences where you kind of see guys fitting into your life. I will say that's something that, in my experience, can kind of go away over time simply because you encounter more and more examples of guys who fit into your life in ways that aren't romantic.
Thank you! I'm definitely trying to unpack some of the ideas that I've internalized from mainstream society and figure out if they're influencing me to think about him in a way I normally wouldn't.
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