unsure about sexuality

Questions and discussion about your sexuality and how it's a part of who you are as a person.
kipperstickers
newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2023 4:59 pm
Age: 17
Primary language: english
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity: queer
Location: scotland

unsure about sexuality

Unread post by kipperstickers »

for a really long time i have struggled with my exact sexuality. and i mean, like, a REALLY long time.

i know i am queer, i've known this since i was 8. but it's the exact labelling of it that i've always struggled with. i'm sure for a while and then i'm not.

at first i identified as a lesbian, and then bisexual, then pansexual, then a lesbian again, bisexual, omnisexual, and most recently: just queer. it's an umbrella term and there's not a specific category you have to fit into to be queer, just not straight. it was the easiest for me to identify as because it's that simple.

though i identify as queer i also am unsure if i've ever felt romantic attraction. i identified as aromantic for a short time but i stopped because of internalised hate towards the label on myself and now i'm just.. stuck. i'm autistic, so maybe this affects my sexuality in some way? my ability to feel romantic attraction? i don't know. when i search for answers on what it feels like, i feel like none apply to me because it all sounds so unrealistic and made up, like something out of a fairytale. i wish it was easier explained.

for about 2 months now i've thought i might be a lesbian, after all thats what i identified with at first, but i'm not sure if i can be. i know comphet exists and a lot of my feelings can be applied to that, but im not sure if thats actually what's going on. it makes it harder because i dont actually have people that i interact with irl, i only have one online friend. i dont have that source most people do for figuring out their feelings like this. i only have people online and celebrities.

there are two celebrities that i'm attracted to, that i daydream about and such. they're two male actors. im attracted to both them and of course the characters they play in turn. so i think, i can't possibly be a lesbian, if im fantasising about them in the way i do because a lesbian wouldnt do that. but when i take a step back i realise that it's not actually "me" that im implementing into these fantasies i have but it's rather a character i make up, like an idealised version of myself but also so far removed from me as a person. i mean, like, completely different name and personality. different upbringing, background, country. it's not me. i can't actually imagine myself in a relationship with these two men and i guess it makes sense because i am 17 lol and they are adults but imagining myself as an adult with them makes me feel awkward and almost embarrassed. imagining an adult version of myself with the characters they portray feels awkward. its actually difficult for me to even do it. for a while i thought this was just because im very deeply insecure but i'm not so sure about that anymore.

i like to read and write fanfiction about the characters. it's obviously m/f because i have a fem body and appearance and so does the version of myself i envision when i think about these characters. i think, if i enjoy m/f fiction, where it's written from a 3rd person pov (there is no set name of the reader insert but rather is described as "you"), how can i possibly not be attracted to men? when i think they are genuinely attractive and am attracted to them in both ways, how could i be a lesbian?

i don't think i'd date a man in real life, if i'm honest. i have an idealised version of men in my head and the men i'd date if i had to, but i know most don't behave that way and i think thats what puts me off. i do realistically feel much more comfortable and safe at the prospect of dating a woman or another nonbinary person.

i dont want to get too nsfw but when it comes to thinking about sex (i've never had it as mentioned before i have no irl connections) again i dont even think about myself in those situations. sometimes i do, sure, but its pretty rare. i havent ventured too far into lesbian stuff mostly because its all made for straight guys so that makes it pretty difficult to help figure out if im sexually into that. i know het stuff works for me though. i dont penetrate myself because i find it quite uncomfortable if im honest, and it doesn't actually feel that good for me when i do it. but i haven't really explored it much, i dont think im its biggest fan either way. the idea of actually having sex with a guy is sort of daunting and almost scary in a way. thinking about it with a woman is also daunting, but not scary. and i've considered the prospect of trans women pre surgery, and that doesnt "scare" me either. amab nonbinary people dont either. all of this doesnt really help with my confusion because i can watch the porn and enjoy it but actually doing it feels like a whole different story.

all of my past partners that i had, and i mean ALL, were afab and then came out as transmen. one of them had come out to me as we were still together and i didnt mind at all, i still dated him. but to be fair these were all online because like i said i have no irl connections and havent for at least a couple years now. so i don't even actually know if i was attracted to them. im sure i was, at some level. one of them is still my friend now and i get jealous over his friendship with another guy, so i also use that logic to battle the possibility of being a lesbian because to me this must be a romantic jealousy but i don't even think thats true.

i know i dont have to have it all figured out by now but its frustrating. its been YEARS of me flipflopping between sexualities and labels and i feel like its never going to end. i feel almost scared to realise i could be a lesbian because.. i dont even KNOW why. it just feels scary. i dont know if its the feeling of being invalidated because there are two male actors i like, multiple fictional male characters i like or what. i dont know if its the fear of being fetishised by straight men. i dont know what the fear is of or where it comes from. i was able to come to terms with my nonbinary gender identity easier and almost INSTANTLY compared to every sexuality i've identified with.

i'm sorry for how long this is or if anything doesnt make sense, i have a tendency to ramble and sometimes my words just string together incoherently. ive been holding this in for a while too and have no one else to really talk to about it so i came here to just get it off my chest and hopefully seek some help or something.
Latha
scarleteen staff/volunteer
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Re: unsure about sexuality

Unread post by Latha »

Hi there, Kipperstickers- welcome to the boards! You've come to a good place to talk about this kind of thing. Don't worry about rambling or being incoherent- if we have any questions, we'll just ask, and you can do the same for us.

I understand how frustrating this lack of clarity around your sexuality must be, and I get why you want to find an answer. I'm just going to make a few disclaimers:
  • You're right, you don't have to have it all figured out by now. You can take as long as you need.
  • Sometimes our identities defy clear explanations and that is okay. You're right that the word 'queer' is useful here.
  • You can always change the words you use to identify yourself. There is no limit of how many times you can do that.
So, you've mentioned that you're unsure of whether you've experienced romantic attraction. That is understandable, it really can be hard to tell. Could this be related to the fact that you are autistic? It is possible. Anecdotally, I've heard a few autistic people describe similar feelings, though allistic people can experience this too. Attraction is a bit of a nebulous idea, so it may be that you're having difficulties identifying whether you're experiencing romantic attraction due to your autism, rather than your autism impacting your ability to feel romantic attraction at all.

Our fantasies can give us clues about the nature of our sexuality, but fantasies don't necessarily correspond exactly to what we would want in real life. I wouldn't say it is a given that a lesbian wouldn't have fantasies about a man in fiction (though it might be a little uncommon), or that writing about men in fiction means you must like them in your real romantic life.
i dont penetrate myself because i find it quite uncomfortable if im honest, and it doesn't actually feel that good for me when i do it. but i haven't really explored it much, i dont think im its biggest fan either way.
There are ways you can make penetrative sex more comfortable and pleasurable, which we can discuss if you'd like, but you don't have to want or explore penetrative sex, now or ever. This would be true even if you were in a relationship with a man.

I do have some questions:
  • What feelings do you have that might be described as arising from comphet?
  • What is the idealized version of men in your head like?
  • What is it about having sex with or dating a woman or nonbinary person that seems more safe and less scary than doing so with a man?
  • You're right that having more friendships and relationships is a good resource for clarifying such feelings. Online connections are not bad at all, but I wonder, what prevents you from finding more irl friendships? Do you live in a very isolated area? Is it difficult to meet people or go out?
kipperstickers
newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2023 4:59 pm
Age: 17
Primary language: english
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity: queer
Location: scotland

Re: unsure about sexuality

Unread post by kipperstickers »

hi latha, thanks for replying. i appreciate it !

i do think my autism makes it harder for me to narrow down my exact feelings when it comes to people. i have a hard time differentiating between platonic and romantic feelings. i think i jump the gun and assume because i enjoy spending time with someone a lot i must have romantic feelings. it's very difficult to tell and since my friendships are online it doesn't help the confusion lol

i appreciate the offer for help to make penetration better for me! i think it's something in the future i'd want to explore, but i'm alright with what im doing right now.

to answer your questions;
  • i've always sort of picked out men to be "attracted" to. i remember when i was younger and hearing my friends on the school playground talk about their crushes, and i was prompted to tell them mine. i didn't have one of those, so i remember racking through my brain for my list of male friends and picking one out to say i had a crush on. (he was the most flamboyant "feminine" male friend i had at the time, if that says anything lol). after a while i did end up "confessing" to him and we dated briefly but nothing between us actually changed .. we didn't hold hands or kiss or anything, we still just acted like friends. i think i felt really comfortable because of that. there wasn't an expectation from him because i dont think he wanted that either. when i was REALLY young i remember doing the exact same thing with a boy who was the exact same. and as i've gotten older, all of my male crushes have been celebrities — actors or singers or even youtubers — which are all completely unobtainable for me. i don't actually know these people, so it's easy for me to create a personality for them in my head. make them exact to my liking. though, yes they are men and some even have facial hair and whatnot, there's always *some* kind of feminine quality to them. either feminine or extremely boyish and sweet, with hints of femininity. this is also true with fictional male characters. there are also gay men i'm attracted to. there's more i'm sure but i'm very bad at remembering lists things when prompted ..
  • the idealised version of men in my head is definitely not the craziest thing. i think most people, especially women & afab people, who are attracted to men would want the same thing. a man who's sweet and caring, who's gentle in everything, gives me all the space i need and doesn't care about presenting overtly masculine. who's okay with being feminine, who's okay with being "submissive". a man that has a lot more feminine quality to him than masculine, a hardcore feminist, advocates for womens rights whenever he can. isn't into that "hetero macho" shtick at all. and if i could describe it best honestly; i take a man and essentially make him a woman. but subconsciously..? im not sure how to explain it but im almost certain thats what i do. i'm not sure how this sounds, maybe bad, but if i take one of the men im attracted to and imagine him as a trans woman or nonbinary person, i immediately feel.. different. i don't even do it intentionally, sometimes my brain is just like "hey what if" and i realise how much i'd like that, actually. i feel more comfortable and weirdly giddy. i always resort to nonbinary when i do this because i am also nonbinary, so i think it feels more natural and easy to portray in my head someone else being that. im not sure. i hope this makes sense
  • i just think the idea of being with a man in any intimate scenario is scary. i mean, i dont want to nor do i like to generalise, but some men can be.. really, really awful. especially if you deny certain things. and i know that's not exclusive to men, but i feel like if i were with a woman the chances would be way way lower. or literally anybody but a man. i think they'd be more understanding and wouldn't be as bothered. also, the thought of being with a woman just makes me feel better. lighter, i guess.i know it's not really true but i feel like women judge others bodies less than men, especially since they're held up to such high standards that always change, so i would feel safer and more comfortable. i think i feel far more giddy at the idea of being with a woman than a man. it just feels more plausible and easier to think of with me myself and not an idealised version of me or a character i make up thats "me".
  • i don't go to school, so it's difficult for me to find and connect with people my age irl. i tried to sign up and attended a lgbt youth programme but i ended up backing out from anxiety + we had to move, so the journey would be harder. and i don't even know where to start with making friends. i struggle enough making friends online, i feel like it would be worse irl. i don't have a lot of options available for me right now unfortunately.
i hope i answered clearly. thank you again ! :D
Sam W
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Re: unsure about sexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi kipperstickers,

I wonder if something that would be helpful in terms of understanding your own identity is to consider the fact that not only can people be attracted to a variety of genders, we can be attracted to a variety of gender presentations. The reason I mention that is that it sounds like, for you, gender presentations that are traditionally associated with femininity are really appealing to you, regardless of the gender of the person presenting them. To give you an example, I'm a person who tends to be very--though not exclusively--attracted to what I'd call very butch gender presentation, in people of any gender.

Too, it almost sounds like you're having trouble narrowing down how to describe your desires and sexuality because you feel like what you want or perceive as the desirable traits in a partner or the scary parts of sex as being universal. But the truth is, what people want from a partner of any gender gets pretty varied pretty quickly. And, as you pointed out, while the perpetrators of sexual violence are still predominantly men, there's no guarantee being a woman makes someone a safe partner.

But, with all the above in mind, it may be most helpful to treat your sexuality as something you gain information on about over time, rather than as something you need a grand, unified theory of. You mention scenarios that make you giddy to think about, and one day you'll probably encounter someone who makes you feel that same excitement and desire, and what will matter is not how they fit into your overall sense of your orientation, but how they, specifically, make you feel. Does that make sense?

If it would help, we could certainly talk about some ways to meet other queer people, either now or in the near future!
kipperstickers
newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2023 4:59 pm
Age: 17
Primary language: english
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity: queer
Location: scotland

Re: unsure about sexuality

Unread post by kipperstickers »

hi sam!

to be honest, i never considered gender presentation attraction as something that can be different from gender attraction .. i always assumed they had to tie in together somehow, like me thinking because i enjoy feminine features in men it must mean i like women but im pushing it down. i hadn't considered that i could just simply be attracted to feminine men / men with feminine qualities. there are certain masculine features i do find attractive too, but im not as crazy about them as i am with feminine features. i hadn't thought about that before so thanks for pointing it out! it makes this whole thing feel less confusing and restrictive for me.

do you mean that what i'd want from a woman can be different from what i desire from a man? that makes sense. i tend to think everything has to be the same in terms of attraction and such so you're definitely right in what you're saying.

being able to just let my sexuality *be* and not be obsessed with having a direct label is something i have been trying to work on, though i always revert back into trying to fit into a box. im autistic so (for me) i really need things to be clear cut and labelled, so it's easy to understand and i have something to go to to describe it exactly. and i know that sexuality *can* "change" sometimes, like you can discover that you're bisexual or that you've lost all attraction to a certain gender, which makes the overall experience of trying to "find myself" more difficult. i do understand what you're saying.

i've had some time to think on this and i think i'm just going to stick with identifying with queer. whatever happens happens and whoever i like i like. it's just more difficult to understand myself because i can't connect with people on that level so trying to narrow down my feelings is even harder than it would be normally.

meeting other queer trans people could possibly benefit me, but i don't 100% know how i feel about it. i would like to some day, though.

thanks for everything you said, it's helped me a lot!
Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 9701
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
Age: 32
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Sexual identity: queer
Location: Desert

Re: unsure about sexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

I'm glad what I said was helpful! And I think continuing to stick with queer as an identifier for now is a good plan; like you said, you may get more information down the road that makes you go "wait, I think THIS word is also really useful for describing me

And yep, people can experience attraction to different genders in different ways. Attraction can be varied in how we experience it, just like it can vary from person to person.

If you decide you do want to try meeting more queer folks, or finally feel ready for it, down the line, we're also happy to help you talk about ways to do that!
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