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can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2021 6:22 pm
by skzly
i recently came to the conclusion that i am a lesbian. i thought i was bi for years, but from the experience i've had with both guys and girls, i know that getting close to girls makes me really happy and excited, but being intimate with guys makes me super anxious, uncomfortable and grossed out. i used to think i was abnormal because of this, but realising i'm a lesbian has made me accept myself a lot more.

however, i only ever have sexual fantasies about guys. and im sexually attracted to a lot of male celebrities, and have fantasies over guys i meet in real life. i am of course really attracted to women, both emotionally and physically, but wlw porn doesn't turn me on and i dont think of lesbian sex to be that fulfilling. the lesbian label makes me really happy, but now i feel like im forcing myself to sexualise women and watch wlw porn so that i am more worthy of calling myself a lesbian.....maybe i should just go back to saying im bi? but i know that i dont ever want to date guys and when guys like me it grosses me out......i am confused, and need advice :)) thanks

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Sun Dec 19, 2021 12:10 am
by Urna
Hello skzly, and welcome to Scarleteen!

The disconnect you're experiencing between your sexuality and your continuing fantasies about men is a very common experience among lesbian people, especially those who have realized their lesbianism in adolescence or adulthood, as you have. Almost all of us are raised to be heterosexual and see heterosexual attraction as the only viable kind of attraction, because we live in a heteronormative society (meaning that the dominant culture sees heterosexuality as the 'normal' sexual orientation, and so everyone is assumed to be heterosexual by default). While you would expect fantasy to be an unrestricted space that is free of social conditioning, many lesbian and gay people find that their fantasies are the most regulated parts of their sexuality. Despite being completely comfortable in their avowed homosexuality and not suffering from any explicit internalized homophobia, they find that they continue to have sexual fantasies that are heterosexual, and continue to be attracted to distant figures (such as celebrities, or fictional characters) of another gender, and even have fantasies about real people of that other gender. This is often called compulsory heterosexuality. However, note that all this attraction to men that you're experiencing is restricted to the realm of fantasy, or imagination. You do not want to replicate these feelings or actions in real life, because being intimate with guys and having guys like you grosses you out, and you're sure that you don't want to date a man in real life. Your attraction to women, though, is something that holds up in real life. We fantasize about a lot of stuff that we don't necessarily want to act out in real life, so rest assured that your fantasies about men don't invalidate your lesbian identity.

At the same time, though, I think you may find it freeing not to get super analytical about whether or not you fit a label. Labels exist for our use, they exist to fit our experiences, not vice-versa. A label by no means has to 100% fit all your experiences, either--part of queerness is having experiences that are so multifaceted that they don't fit comfortably in boxes. If a label makes you happy and helps you come to terms with aspects of your sexuality that weren't clear before (like 'lesbian' did for you), then it's yours, no questions asked.

As for lesbian sex: could you elaborate a bit on why you don't think of lesbian sex to be that fulfilling (I'm guessing you mean in comparison with heterosexual sex)? And maybe one reason wlw porn doesn't turn you on is because a lot of it panders only to the male gaze, and only contains those acts (and actresses fitting heteronormative beauty standards) that mostly only cishet men find sexy? Do you think that may be the case?

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Sun Dec 19, 2021 5:49 am
by skzly
hi Urna,

thank you so much for your reply! it's true that even my fantasies could suffer from comphet, and i really liked what you said about if a label makes me happy, it's mine, that's reassuring.

as for lesbian sex being less fulfilling, my fantasies and preffered methods of maturation have always involved penetration. due to various childhood experiences and religious guilt, im usually only really comfortable with my sexuality if i can fantasise that im not in control of whats happening to me, and its easier to imagine a man in this position because of their anatomy (although now i think as im writing this, maybe ive only desired this from men because i knew i would never actually be able to truly want sex and consent with a man...) . its taken me a while to come to terms with why this is my fetish, and ideally i would like to grow past it in the future, but for now i don't fanasise sexually about women at all. and i would like to, because sex is important to me. the bad representation of lesbian sex may also mean i don't really understand what lesbian sex is truly like.

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2021 7:26 am
by Sam W
Hi skzly,

You're right that a lot of representations of lesbian sex that are easily available are pretty reductive. It might be useful to think of it this way: two women can have sex in whatever ways they want, including vaginal sex. That can happen through the use of sex toys or, in the case of some trans women, just their bodies. Lesbian sex can be way more expansive than it's given credit for, and if you want to talk about some ways of exploring fantasies or sexual media that reflect that, that's something we can help with.

Would it be helpful to use this space to talk about those feelings of religious guilt? It sounds like they're interlocking with your sexual desires in a way that's causing you some distress.

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 9:40 am
by skzly

is there media that represents a more true reflection of lesbian sex? i would like to explore those kind of fantasies but i dont know where to start...

as for the relgious guilt, yeah i have really struggled with it for a long time now - i don't want to trauma dump too much lol but my family is hyper religious and they have shamed me a lot, especially after they caught me masturbating when i was very young, and they're very against premarital sex and homosexuality so it took me a while to accept my own identity and sexual desires.

even though i accept myself now, i still have a lot of anxiety and shame surrounding it all, and i feel i could only have sex and not feel guilty if i wasnt consenting (because it wouldn't be my fault that i was having sex). this is of course only a fantasy, but because of that i mostly fantasise about being used/overpowered etc., and i wouldnt want a woman to be in this position over me and so i dont fantasise about women.

i realise that my fanatasies about these scenarios where i have no control arent actually something i would want to happen in real life, maybe this is the same for my fantasies about men in general - just not what i truly want?

thanks for your reply from before (sorry if this was all tmi)

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 10:03 am
by Sam W
Not TMI at all! In fact, those details are all super helpful.

With the media, do you think you'd enjoy written media more or are you wanting to try things like T.V shows and movies (or both)? And do they need to be things that kind of fly under the radar, or are you in a living situation where you could have a lesbian romance on the table and no one would raise a fuss?

So you know, those kinds of fantasies about being overpowered and thus not having to feel guilty are more common than people might think. There's even some indication that it's why so many older romance novels have horrible representations of consent. Women in general get awful messages about how we don't or shouldn't have an intense desire for sex, and when you add religious shame into that it can make it hard to embrace sexual fantasies where you're enjoying what you want without apology or shame. That's not to say that those fantasies are bad (I believe that what you enjoy in your head is your business), but it's definitely worth making space to explore some other ones if that's not something you've had a chance to do. I really like this article as a starting place for that: How to Approach Sexual Fantasy and Desire on Your Own Terms.

I'm so sorry your parents were so unsupportive and put so much shame onto you. Can you tell me a little about how much access you've had content that talks about how to unlearn sexual shame? And are you currently able to access spaces and friend groups where you have other LGBT folks who can accept you for who you are?

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:13 pm
by skzly
hello again,

i didn't reply for a while because i'm been doing some research and trying things out, i'm back with more questions lol.

i'd love to find any kind of wlw media, films and written. i've spent years reading erotica but its only ever been mlm - which is where my original question stemmed from, because i am very attracted to the men in these fantasises. i don't know where to find good wlw erotica though.

luckily yes i have many friends and lgbt pals that love me for who i am! but i havent seen any resources for unlearning shame.

i'm just confused about a lot of things now, and i know i don't have to have everything figured out now, especially since i'm a virgin but it's just frustrating.

i think i'm understanding where my non-consensual fantasies stem from, and why i don't fantasise about women the same way. because when i think about women, it's actually me taking back control of my sexuality and thoughts on sex.

but lesbian porn doesn't really turn me on. not even the proper realistic, homemade ones. i know that i love women and am attracted to them, i cannot name what is but i know i do, but they don't make me horny. like seeing boobs or girls making out doesn't make want to masturbate like it does for straight guys.

is it common for sexual fantasies and porn interests to not translate to what you want in real life? surely if i like girls, watching them have sex should turn me on, why would i prefer mlm porn? if guys in porn turn me on am i straight?

and i love dick, when i can pretend its not attached to anything. not like a floating dick lol, just ignoring the rest that comes with it. i find them quite pretty and i wish i had a dick i could penetrate girls with. ahh this is so confusing. i am very confident in my identity as a female btw i just wish i could swap gentitals.

why can't i just be normal and have everything match up properly 😭

Re: can i be a lesbian if im sexually attracted to guys?

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:27 am
by Elise
Hi there skzly, good to hear from you on this thread, and that you've been doing some research and self reflection. Also glad to hear that you have some great LGBTQI+ friends around you, that is great. I'm sorry to hear that this is a really frustrating feeling for you at the moment, you're totally right that it can feel this way despite knowing that as you mentioned, there is no rush to work it all out right now.

Firstly on the topic of wlw erotica and media in general, you may find Autostraddle a good place to start. There are lots of great media recommendations (both your "regular" books, films and TV shows with queer women in them, and sexually explicit content) , and they do have an erotica series they host themselves under their A+ banner.

You may find that different formats of erotica, porn etc. do or don't do things for you, so potentially erotica more your thing when it comes to arousal than visual porn. Also, yes it is quite normal to have things that you enjoy fantasizing about but wouldn't want to do in real life, as Heather mentions in our article "Yes, No, Maybe, a sexual inventory checklist":
"We included a code [in the checklist] for fantasy. People often confuse what someone fantasizes about with what someone wants to actually or potentially do, which is especially a doozy for young people who can tend to feel freaked by the idea that fantasies must be "want-to-do's" rather than just "really-like-to-think-abouts." Recognizing the difference is important and can also take a lot of pressure off sharing fantasies."
Another way to think about it is that there are lots of things that we can enjoy imagining that we wouldn't want to do in real life, in part because our imaginations can take out all the parts that we wouldn't like or enjoy in real life.

In terms of wanting to be able to have sex with another woman and be able to be an insertive partner, this is actually something you can do with a dildo and a harness, in combination sometimes called a "strap on". You are not alone in finding this an arousing and interesting idea, there is a whole section of the sex toy industry built around it! Essentially you have a dildo of some kind that is attached with a harness or special kind of underwear. You can read more about it here: Harnessing Savings by Isabella Rotman (guest comic on Oh Joy Sex Toy).

With regards to unlearning sexual shame, we have an article on the main site that gives an overview of things you can do to help work on this: Undoing Sexual Shame. This too can take time, as you are undoing something that was taught to you over years, but is possible, so it is important to be kind and gentle with yourself. As you mentioned that in your experience part of this is rooted in your family's religion, you may also find these two articles useful: Also, have you considered seeing a LGBTQI+ affirming therapist, or peer support group to assist you with this kind of healing?

If you have any questions, curiosities or thoughts about the above that you would feel comfortable to share, we're very happy to hear them.