Hetero male attracted to lesbians - why?
February 6, 2005 7:05 AM   Subscribe

I am a hetero male. Why am I attracted to lesbians? I know it's a fairly common thing for guys, but I just don't understand where it comes from, and this disturbs me -and hurts my hetero relationship.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(Ed. note: after approving this post, I think it's worth stressing that you should limit answers to helping the guy out, and hold off on telling us all the reasons why you, too, like lesbians or jokes about that kind of thing. Thanks.)
posted by mathowie at 7:11 AM on February 6, 2005

Because they are women?

Because they are usually intelligent and outgoing?

Is this a trick question?
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:26 AM on February 6, 2005

any chance of finding out why it hurts the hetero relationship? what's the connection?
posted by andrew cooke at 7:26 AM on February 6, 2005

At the risk of perpetuating stereotypes, perhaps you are attracted to women who put on an appearance of strength or independence, and lesbianism is just a manifestation of that personality type. It follows that your current partner doesn't match that personality type, which is causing stress.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:30 AM on February 6, 2005

Maybe if you remove a person's sexual orientation as a variable, you will be able to see more clearly.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 7:31 AM on February 6, 2005

I don't think I really understand the question. I'm not sure how being attracted to lesbians = hurting your hetero relationship.

There must be some specific set of behaviors that are entailed by your attraction to lesbians that are hurting your relationship. You can certainly find lesbians attractive without doing anything about it, and you can work to contain those behaviors.

For what it's worth in terms of an answer to your 'why' question: Edmund White (the author of "A Boy's Own Story" and other important [gay] novels) once told me that he thought straight men found lesbians attractive because, secretly, they imagined themselves making a third and 'saving the day.' This was humorous, he thought, since, the girls being lesbians, it would never, ever happen. I have no idea if his theory is true, but maybe you can just think, "It will never, ever happen" whenever you start daydreaming about some lesbian girl. Seriously.
posted by josh at 7:31 AM on February 6, 2005

well there's the combination of them being women, which is your preferred gender preference, and them LIKING women which is something else they have in common with you that straight gals do not. my dime-store psychology take is that if it's hurting your hetero relationship, that has more to do with who your specific partner is than the fact that she's not a lesbian, maybe what SI said.
posted by jessamyn at 7:34 AM on February 6, 2005

Do you mean "attracted to lesbians," in that you like watching lesbian sex, or in that you're attracted to stereotypically lesbian women?

The first is easy to answer. You can watch sexually engaged females without the distraction of a penis.

The second may just have to do with personal taste. I go for tomboyish, spunky type girls myself, and sometimes they happen to be lesbians.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 AM on February 6, 2005

^not meant as joke. honest attempt to answer question. don't want you to think I'm flouting the rules.
posted by jonmc at 7:45 AM on February 6, 2005

There may also be a dose of "I want the one I can't have"-itis. For a variety of conscious/unconscious reasons, sometimes folks find it easier to pine over someone they know is safely out of bounds. Gay guys yearning for straight guys, straight girls yearning for gay guys, lesbians yearning for straight women, straight guys yearning for lesbians...it's so common it's beyond cliche.

Emund Wilson's "saving the day" comment is worth thinking about, too.
posted by mediareport at 7:48 AM on February 6, 2005

What exactly is meant by 'liking lesbians'? Do you like two lesbians together? This is just a common fantasy and shouldn't hurt your hetero relationship, unless you're so obsessed about it that you don't appreciate the person you're dating because the idea of double female bodies is all you think about.

or do you like butch women? There are plenty of straight women who aren't girly girls.

Or women who don't try to overtly sexify and flirt with guys? Or who you can hang out with like regular people and not feel like you have to play a role? Again, not limited to homosexuals.

Basically, I'd try to identify what qualities you're feeling drawn towards and why they appeal to you, and work from there. If it's just a simply two naked ladies fantasy, you're not really attracted to lesbians; you're attracted to bi-curious hotties who will treat you to a threesome (which isn't a bad thing but may annoy some partners who want a less fantasy/ego-fulfillment based relationship). If you're attracted to straightforward, non girly/flirty, semi tomboyish type girls, you're also not attracted to lesbians, but to a certain type of woman (who may be more commonly found in bisexual/lesbian communities than in straight mainstream).
So, yeah, advice really depends on what you mean...
posted by mdn at 8:17 AM on February 6, 2005

I've read that one theory as to why heterosexual men are attracted to lesbian pornography is because there is penetration with out having to see another guy's penis.

I not sure if your question was about a general attraction to lesbians or lesbians in pornography.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:51 AM on February 6, 2005

what jonmc said
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:53 AM on February 6, 2005

If you've been attracted to specific women you've met and it turned out that they were lesbians, it could be that the relationship you're initially forming with them is somehow different than one you'd form with a single hetero girl... and maybe that difference is what you're drawn to. For instance, getting to know a lesbian girl could feel more direct & honest, since the flirtation/rejection risk is not a major factor.
posted by xo at 9:04 AM on February 6, 2005

...penetration with out having to see another guy's penis.

On the other hand, I like other guys' penises, and I still find lesbian porn has a special appeal.

My guess is just that we're fascinated by experiences we can't have ourselves. Most men will never have lesbian sex, be a teenage girl masturbating in the shower, or pee sitting down out of biological necessity -- and whaddaya know, those are all popular subjects in porn for straight men. I'd say lesbian porn is hot because it shows attractive women getting off, but it's fascinating because it plays to our curiosity about what it's like to be female.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:47 AM on February 6, 2005

(Of course, just because lesbian porn aims to satisfy that curiosity, that doesn't mean it does a very accurate job. Most pornography is horribly unrealistic. So it goes.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:50 AM on February 6, 2005

Males are biologically, well, "encouraged" to spread their genetic material as far and wide as they can, and the possibility of being with more than one female at a time is arousing because of that. Note that many animals, humans included, build harems. And while having sex with two or more lesbians may never happen in real life, it certainly does in your imagination.

I wonder, though, are polyandric fantasies as common with heterosexual women? It's certainly not unheard of, but I'd venture that because women can only bear children once every 9 months, they have to be more selective and so this sort of fantasy doesn't crop up as often. I could be wrong, however.
posted by Goblindegook at 10:14 AM on February 6, 2005

"... and [it] hurts my hetero relationship."

I can understand, a little, what you mean, although I don't really know the particulars. Did you tell your girlfriend that you have these fantasies? Or do you just feel conflicted in having them?

*If you haven't told her: you don't have to if you don't want to. You say that it's hurting the relationship: since I'm assuming now that you haven't told her, it seems as though you think she'd be angry/hurt if you did tell her. So don't tell her. But, if you don't tell her, remind yourself constantly that to desire a thing isn't to do it, and that you've done nothing wrong in having fantasies. Shame is useless here; don't beat yourself up over something that everybody does. Are you good to her? That's all you need to be. Sexual urges are just urges; getting torn up about them is pointless. In fact, if she's like most girls I know, she realizes on some levels that males have fairly active sexual fantasies, even if she'd rather not confront it personally. Finally, some people are simply delicate about sex, but there's a thin line between being sensitive and being closed off. Fostering more openness in the relationship might be what's needed; in that case, asking her to share some of her own fantasies can be a good idea.

*If you have told her: then you probably mean that you've shared a fantasy with her, or maybe even proposed something, and she ended up hurt. You need to talk about it with her, about how she feels and about what you both want. Sexual things are difficult, because we feel a certain way about something but don't understand why; that's why you have the desires you do, and that's why she had the reaction she did. You have to be careful and kind, but don't overreact, and don't apologize for your desires; they shouldn't be an object of shame or pride, since they come from a place within us that we don't understand. Love is love, and is stronger than sex.

Finally, re: steve_at_linnwood's point about lesbian pornography; if the issue is that you're really into lesbian pornography, the solution is easy and clear. Cut out the pr0n.
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 AM on February 6, 2005

Males are biologically, well, "encouraged" to spread their genetic material as far and wide as they can, and the possibility of being with more than one female at a time is arousing because of that.

That's overly simplistic gobbledegook, Goblindegook. There are many, many species in which the *female* is the gender that sleeps around. Some of them are primate species, even. It's more than a bit of an overstatement to tie some human males' fascination with lesbianism to a deep-seated male impulse to spread semen all over the place.
posted by mediareport at 10:55 AM on February 6, 2005

Of course it's simplistic, it's two paragraphs, I didn't know I was expected to write an essay covering every factor. With our intellectual ability to suppress instinct, humans can go all over the place. But polygyny is the most common type of sexual bonding among vertebrates, even in (mostly) socially monogamous species, and I haven't yet heard another hypothesis that is satisfactory in explaining why so many men have this fascination with lesbianism.
posted by Goblindegook at 11:59 AM on February 6, 2005

Relax, no one's asking for essays. Taking the certainty down a notch or two when making pronouncements is nice sometimes, though.
posted by mediareport at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2005

Males are biologically, well, "encouraged" to spread their genetic material as far and wide as they can, and the possibility of being with more than one female at a time is arousing because of that.

Eh, I think nebula's theory about a fascination with what you can't have, and also the very general sense that more of a good thing is even better, play into this more than some 'evolutionary predisposition.' A lot of women are pretty turned on by two hot guys together too - check out erotic fanfic, eg - so much of it is male-male themed. (A very general rule is that men get more turned on by visuals while women are more stimulated by verbal porn, so just because there are less videos doesn't mean it's less of a common fantasy).
posted by mdn at 12:43 PM on February 6, 2005

I read once a psychologist's theory on why hetero men enjoy watching some good female-on-female action:

A lot of it had to do with feeling repressed sexually, especially by one's mother growing up. Being taught that having sexual feelings is 'dirty' and 'bad,' and learning to hide masturbation and any sexual feelings, adult men felt that all men were disgustingly over-sexed and women were not interested in sex at all (because of their mother's reaction towards sex).

Therefore seeing two girls having sex portrays that they are so incredibly sexual that they would "even do it with another girl." Reassurance that women can be just as sexual as men, sometimes even more sexual. And that is hot.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:42 PM on February 6, 2005

1. Because people want what they can't have.
2. Because men like to see women enjoying themselves, and lesbian pornography has double or more of that enjoyment.
3. Because we're told that it's hot and we should enjoy it.
4. Because the natural male human tendency is towards multiple partners, and lesbianism hints at this.
posted by seanyboy at 4:32 PM on February 6, 2005

Functionality to allow the original anonymous submitter to respond as anonymous in the thread would be very helpful. I don't think we can address this question any further, beyond the helpful responses thus far, without knowing exactly why finding lesbians attractive is hurting a relationship.
posted by Justinian at 8:24 PM on February 6, 2005

Are you attracted to real life lesbians or porn lesbians? Because there's a big difference.
posted by Cyrano at 10:36 PM on February 6, 2005

As Cyrano asks: any lesbians, all lesbians? This confuses me. Lesbians come in all shapes, ages, and sizes. Some lesbians are sexually active, some aren't. Some are physically attractive, some aren't.

The questions that ask "what type of woman are you attracted to" are pertinent. Lesbian is probably NOT the first item on the list, or you'd be satisfied with my 52 year old neighbour who has a faint goatee and is built like a fireplug (AND is taken, in case i'm wrong about your tastes).
posted by reflecked at 3:41 AM on February 7, 2005

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