Does any woman want to date a woman with no experience?
June 2, 2012 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm a woman who identifies as queer and is out about it. Until now has mostly dated and had sex with men. I have always been more attracted to women though, and do not want to date guys any more as I just do not have the same romantic feelings and it turns out badly for everyone involved. But I am scared no woman will ever want to date me because of my lack of history dating women and my lack of confidence in talking to them. Apologies for the length.

I am sexually attracted to both men and women. While I have felt strong friendship emotions for the men I have dated, it has never approached the strength of feelings they have for me. The thought of spending the rest of my life with a man is unimaginable. Whenever I have felt strong romantic urges it has been towards women. Whenever I fantasize about a partner to marry or a wedding, it is with a woman. When I am on a date with a guy, I am mostly concerned with getting laid. When I am on a date with a woman I like, of course I want to have sex, but I'm also nervous and excited and wondering if she will like me and if the date will go anywhere serious. I could go on but trust me that I feel a lot more strongly about women even if my sexual feelings are for both.

Despite this all of my "serious" relationships have been with men. I am very bad at talking to women. Very bad. It took until my twenties until I was able to form normal friendships with other girls*. Whenever I am on a date with a girl or trying to talk to a girl I am romantically interested in I become completely tongue-tied and nervous, I lose all of my confidence, I never know what to say and it's just awful. It is easy talking to guys, probably because I do not care as much, and essentially all of my relationships have arisen from long-term hook-ups that just kind of developed into relationships. After months of casual hooking up limerance would develop, I would be interested for a few months, maybe half a year, and then while they would fall in love I would just continue out of fondness and inertia (no, this is not healthy or fair to them).

Now I am pushing my thirties and the older I get the worse my nervousness gets because now I am also concerned whether any woman would ever want to date me. In this day and age everyone starts same-sex dating so much younger. I worry any woman I try to date who finds out about my history will think I'm a poser and going to leave her for a guy. I do not have enough sexual experience to be confident in bed with a woman, even bicurious college girls will probably be better at it than I am. This is very disconcerting because with guys I feel very confident in my sexual abilities and my ability to satisfy my partner. I have no such confidence with a woman. It would be one thing if I was in my late teens, early twenties, then my peers would probably be used to me not being experienced. But what woman in her thirties wants to date a fumbler? Also I am pretty nerdy and I have yet to meet any queer women who are not impossibly cool and hip and I feel completely intimidated.

I just don't know what to do. I try to start dating women, I fail miserably, then an attractive guy shows interest and I hook up with him because I want to have sex and it is so much easier. I am pretty clear about the lack of long-term potential to him but it still makes me feel guilty. It also underlines that maybe I am just not queer enough to ever date any girl.

I know this is all very insecure and crazy, and I probably come off like a big teenager. But I just don't know what to do. I feel like two people in the dating world: around guys I am this confident, capable Casanova who can find a hookup easy. Around women I turn into a little nerdy kid who's never talked to a woman they're not related to. I try to channel the Confident Me but it has yet to work.

Has anyone else been in this situation? How much of a detriment is my age and lack of experience? Input from LGBTQ women would especially be appreciated.

*Part of this was when I was growing up I was mixed up about gender identity and womanhood and had issues defining myself as a "woman" until I realized my issues were with the stereotypes of being female rather than actually being female itself.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse to Human Relations (15 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I was always more confident with men because I actually didn't really care. If they dumped me or didn't love me enough, I would feel mostly indifferent. But the stakes were much higher with women, and also: women made my legs like jelly and my brain like cottage cheese. I'd do nice things for guys, but I'd do crazy things for girls.

I think if you're honest with the person you're dating the same way you were honest here, they'll understand. If they don't, or if they use your history against you, it might hurt, but them it's them being dishonest and uncaring. I don't think age/experience matters really. Or, it might matter for someone, but you don't have to date that someone. Their loss!

So perhaps you're understandably afraid of hurting. We all are, but there's no other way to get where you want to be except for taking the plunge. It's freaking exciting.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have no experience at all in this area, but I think you need to get involved with the local gay/lesbian community a LOT more, because, due respect etc., I'm a random Mormon girl and I've met plenty of nerdy and uncool lesbians.

Therapy might also help for the "I'm so nervous I can't function effectively in this situation" business, and maybe also the feeling too old/inexperienced to make a suitable partner for another adult.

But I think you mostly just need to get out more and socialize with the kind of people you actually want to date.
posted by SMPA at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

no doubt there are quiet a large number of people in their 30's and even much older without much or any experience in same gender sex. There are even more that are as nervous and more so than you are.

As far as the question "But what woman in her thirties wants to date a fumbler?" I would venture to say there are quite a few. There are certainly a large number of women in their 30's who wants to date a male fumbler. So many get off on teaching, on being able to be in control, on getting what she wants instead of what the partner thinks they want.

Just do what feels right. Listen to your partner, and enjoy life. It will work itself out.
posted by 2manyusernames at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was 30 when I got into a relationship with my partner. I'd never as much as kissed another woman before - I had, however, spent nine years with a man. So I get where you're coming from!

To me personally, age wasn't a detriment at all, because at 30 I knew myself a lot better than I did when I was younger. And experience? Experience doesn't really matter when it comes to love. There's no typical "queer woman" - no two people have the same experience or background, and there is so much variation to gender and sexuality! If you fall for someone who can't see beyond your "lack of experience", they probably wouldn't make a very good life partner for you is all I can say.

When it comes to sex, my personal experience is that it's a lot of fun figuring it out with the right person. You've got more experience than you think - sure, all women are built slightly differently (just like all men), but you have the same general bits! That helps. As does general experience with sex, because a lot of the fun things you can do together with a guy you can also do with a girl. For more specific advice, see for example The Whole Lesbian Sex Book. There's lots of advice to get, both from books and from queer blogs and other places online.

So, yeah. Find someone you can love who loves you for who you are, not for who you think you should be. Good luck, and don't give up, whatever you do!
posted by harujion at 10:12 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

How much are you part of the queer community aside from in situations where you're explicitly looking for dates? I think being involved with queer stuff (volunteering, cultural events, political stuff, etc.) is a good signal to people that you're not, as you say, "a poser."
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:20 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

I had a roommate once who seemed to be a LOT like you. She didn't start dating women till her mid-thirties. It wasn't terribly hard for her to find people to date/experiment with. Lots of women are really interested in the idea of helping other women explore their sexuality. (And plenty aren't, which is fine too.)

My friend went for looooong dry spells when she was dating men, but since she started dating women it seems like there's always been someone in the picture, and she recently got engaged to her current girlfriend.

Anyhow I just wanted to point out that the age/inexperience combo is not going to wreck things for you. Being involved in the LGBT community, as others have said, will give you lots of opportunities to meet people and to discuss sexuality openly (which really helps people relax about it, in my opinion).
posted by hermitosis at 10:41 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you have tried meeting women online, but that might help with your awkwardness a lot -- you have time to formulate better responses, and you can even warn them that you can be really shy or awkward in person so that they know not to read it as indifference or whatever.
posted by hermitosis at 10:44 AM on June 2, 2012

practice practice practice! just like anything else that you've had to practice at and have gotten good at...start where the stakes are low. if entering the big leagues (dating girls that you really like) is too much pressure, try playing in the minors (dating girls that are kinda cute).

perhaps date girls that you can talk to then once ur good at that, up the ante. approach, date, hang out with, flirt with many girls. get ok with failing a bit.

i'm super confident except when i really dig a girl. practicing my charm, my recovery from faux pas, relaxing, being interested/interesting and not wanting to fill every moment with words and good eye contact really got me prepared to stick the landing with the ones that i really like!
posted by PeaPod at 10:44 AM on June 2, 2012

Hey, this was totally me - I really, really, relate. I have kind of a convoluted answer I'd love to share if you MeMail me.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2012

Yes, practice practice! If you continue trying to date women and force yourself to push past the awkwardness, it WILL eventually get easier.

It sounds like you hold a monolithic idea of Women as an intimidating romantic other, and that's a lot of what's holding you back. If you continue dating women, each with their own idiosyncratic quirks, this ideal will begin to break down, and you will start relating to queer women as unique, imperfect individuals, just like you. You may also find that much of your intuitions about how to flirt with men apply just as well to women.

Are there some women out there who won't want to date you because of your long romantic history with men? Probably, but that doesn't mean that Women in the abstract won't date you, it just means that those women aren't compatible with you. Plenty of others will be attracted to you for who you are, not just as a function of your romantic history.

Also, keep in mind that any new sexual relationship requires a period of adjustment as you get to know your partner's desires. If you go slow and are attentive to her cues and not afraid to ask questions, you'll do fine.

If the idea of jumping straight into dating feels overwhelming, maybe try to make some queer female friends first? That has the potential to a) humanize queer women to you and get them off the pedestal b) get you introduced to their hot queer female friends in lower-pressure contexts.

(I totally relate - this comment is mostly me giving a pep talk to my recent past self. MeMail me if you want to talk more.)
posted by introcosm at 11:03 AM on June 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

In this day and age everyone starts same-sex dating so much younger.

This is absolutely not true; people still come out at all ages. Agree that you should try to meet queer women in unpressured non-romantic contexts -- you just might meet someone to date that way, and even if you don't, your sense of comfort around women will dramatically increase (and I promise you, you will meet plenty of other women who did not come out when they were 16). Check out lesbian Meetup groups (my medium-sized city has four of them and that's just the ones listened on, Gay and Lesbian Sierrans, book groups, etc.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:03 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

What's the saying here on Mefi? Let the women you're interested in come up with the reasons they don't want to date you (or something similar).

I understand that you're nervous and that the way some queer people treat bisexuals is extremely screwed up. However, I've found that experience means jack shit and what really matters is having a partner who asks what you like and then listens to you. Some of my more positive experiences have been with people who are less experienced with my gender/body simply because they realize that everyone likes different things sexually so having some kind of rule book is not the most important thing.

I also found that there's less of a script to follow in same-gender encounters than there is in hetero encounters, both courtship and sex-wise. It can be really overwhelming if you're really good at the hetero script but can't find a similar model to adopt for queer ones. I know I spent a while trying to find a cheat sheet, of sorts, for my queer relationships similar to the one I'd used for my hetero relationships. The difficulty is not that you're doing it wrong, but that this cheat sheet does not exist. There is no script. You kind of have to fly by the seat of your pants, confidence and honesty.

(Sorry if my phrasing is a bit odd. I'm male-identified but have a queer female history.)
posted by buteo at 11:14 AM on June 2, 2012

Seconding internet dating. This would make it easy for you to put yourself out there frankly ("I'm queer and don't have much experience with women. I'd love to meet a girl who is [description].)

Something like that immediately puts this issue on the table. Women who are only interested in meeting a more experienced partner will be immediately filtered out and you will only meet women for whom this is a bonus or a non-issue. There are almost certainly other women out there who are also lacking experience who will be relieved by your candor and eager to explore with you.

Be upfront but don't treat it like it's cancer (this is a Dan Savage thing - when you have a unique quirk, address it as a positive rather than a Big Offputting Issue. Not OH NO I HAVE A SHOE FETISH but "Hey, I have this fun thing for shoes that we can have awesome fun exploring together.")
posted by bunderful at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2012

Echoing the advice above - women come out at all ages. You'll meet women in their 40s, 50s, or older who have been married to men and just have come out. In the straight world it's definitely considered weird if you don't have much hetero sexual experience by your 30s or 40s, but in the queer world there is much less stigma about lacking queer sexual experience because people's paths to coming out vary so much. I 100% guarantee you that there are women out there who will be attracted to you in part because of your newness to sex with women - there are people who will love the idea of showing you the ropes. You just have to chill enough to meet them! You've gotten great suggestions in this thread...personally I like the idea of you volunteering and getting more involved in the queer community in general. It sounds like you could use more queer friends to talk about this with.
posted by medusa at 11:52 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm also a queer/bisexual gal. I'm currently happily cohabiting with a guy, but that's irrelevant to your question.

I was you in my twenties. I really wanted to be with women but was unsure of my ability to flirt/express interest in, or have a relationship with another woman.

One of my earliest and most successful (i.e. sexiest) attempts was with a friend of friend. At a party, after some dancing and drinking, I leaned in and whispered something along the lines of, "I'm so into you but I don't know how to flirt with girls yet. Will you show me how?" She did. I think my frankness actually turned her on. We had a really fun fling and I got the practice I needed to be confident the next time.
posted by dchrssyr at 9:34 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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