Sunday, November 1, 2009

How do I know I'm Lesbian?

How do I know I'm Lesbian?

Answer: I wish there were an easy answer to the question, "Am I a lesbian?" but there is not. I think that people can be attracted to different people at different points in their lives. You admit that you are attracted to both males and females. Have you considered that you might be bisexual?

You are wondering if it is a phase. Even if it is a phase, that is no reason to discount where you are right now. You may find as you get older you are attracted to one sex more than the other. Or you may continue to be attracted to both sexes.

You will know you are a lesbian when you are ready to label yourself as one. For now, just be 17 and unsure. It's really okay.

As you continue to figure it out, here are some things to consider:

•When you are with a girl you are attracted to, does your belly do flip-flops?

•When you hear love songs on the radio, do you think of guys or girls?

•Who do you fantasize about?

•If you have the choice of spending time with a girl you like or a boy you like, which do you choose?

•Who do you enjoy kissing more? Men or women?

•Please don't think you have to sleep with someone to figure it out. While sex is a big part of sexual orientation, it is not the only part. Listen also with your heart and your head.

Be easy on yourself. In time you will figure it out. Coming out is one of the hardest things a person will ever do. I encourage you to talk with supportive friends, read books with gay and lesbian characters, attend a gay youth or coming out support group.

Am I a lesbian? But many heterosexual and bisexual women ask themselves the same question and come away with a different answer. So, how do you know if you are a lesbian or if you're just curious?

If I only had a dollar for every time I've been asked this question, I would be a rich woman today! Struggling with one's sexual attractions is very common and not just with young people. I hear just as often from women who have been married 20 years or more. But at age 19, relax and give yourself time to explore your feelings.

I know many of you are looking for cut and dried ways to determine your sexual orientation. Perhaps a quiz you can take. If only it were that easy!! Unfortunately, determining your sexual orientation is not that simple. It is something that will take time and self-reflection to determine. Talking to a therapist or a lesbian coming out group may help.

Some women identify as lesbian after having feelings for one woman. Others wait to label themselves only afters years of attractions and relationships with other women. Some will remain attracted to both men and women and call themselves bisexual.

The important thing to remember is that your sexual orientation is not something you can choose. You can, however, choose to act on it or not. If you are happily married and find yourself attracted to a female friend, it might be quite alarming to discover that you are bisexual. But it does not mean that you need to act on those feelings.

Okay, having said that. How do you know if you are a lesbian or not? Consider the following:

•Are your feelings for women stronger than your feelings for men?

•Do you get more excited about the idea of kissing a man or kissing a woman?

•Who do you see yourself settling down with in the future?

•Are you more physically attracted to men's or women's bodies?

•Who do you fantasize about more, men or women?

Answering these questions may help you figure out what your sexual orientation is. You may be lesbian, bisexual or straight. My best advice to you is to be patient with yourself. Whereas it is empowering to label yourself, the process of being sure is much more important.

Remember whether you are lesbian, straight or bisexual you will be most happy and fulfilled if you live a life true to yourself.

How do I know if I’m a lesbian or not?

Lesbians are women who are attracted to other women. This can be a physical attraction, emotional attraction or sexual attraction. If you’re a woman attracted to women, you might be a lesbian. Or you might be bisexual or you might simply be a straight women who is attracted to a friend. It may take you some time to determine which one you are.

Some women claim to have known from a very early age that they were lesbian, or at least knew that there was something “different” about themselves. Others don’t come out until their forties, fifties and even later, after having spent years in a heterosexual marriage. Whatever your situation, what is most important is that you’re taking the time now to try and figure it out and get to know yourself better.

I think I’m a lesbian, but I’ve never had sex with a girl.

That’s okay. Most straight people know that they are attracted to the opposite sex before they ever actually have sex. There’s no need to rush to have sex to “find out” if you’re a lesbian or not. Do what feels natural to you.

What percentage of the population is lesbian?

A statistic like that is hard to figure out. There’s no census form that counts gay and lesbian people. And even if there were, people have good reason to keep things like that under wraps. Even though we’ve made some strides in the last decade, in most states it is still legal to fire someone because they are gay or lesbian.

A study of human sexuality in the 1950s determined that most people have some degree of attraction to both sexes. The generally accepted figure is that ten percent of the population is gay or lesbian.

Is lesbianism normal?

Lesbianism is normal for lesbians. You cannot determine who you are attracted to any more than you can determine the color of your eyes.

How do I meet other lesbians?

Where can I turn for more help?

The internet is a great resource. Spend some time browsing these pages. If you’re under 21, check out the youth resources. Read about bisexuality. If you’re Black, Asian, Latina or Native American, check out the resources for Lesbians of color.

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