I need advice on sexuality
December 22, 2012 9:08 PM   Subscribe

I need advice on sexuality!


I am a female and I'm not sure if I'm straight, bisexual or a lesbian. I find men attractive. I get really awkward around most men and I get these fantasies about dating certain men I find attractive in my day to day life. But I also think I may be into women. I'm not sure because I've never really explored it.
I guess I have to give a back story, when I was much younger at about 6-11 y/o I was a very sexual kid. I'm not sure what brought this on, but I'd fool around with neighbors. They were all guys except for one girl... at about at 11 y/o I changed my ways because of my religious beliefs. So it's not like I have been really into sex since then...
Anyway, now I'm much older, in my mid 20s and not sure what I am. I've never dated anyone, nor have I ever had sex with anyone. I sometimes daydream about me (well not exactly me, but someone much more attractive and outgoing) and some guy dating or in some type of relationship.
Though I consider myself religious (I do believe in God and Jesus Christ), I don't really have a problem with people being gay. I actually a very liberal thinker when it comes to most things. I do know that my family (except maybe my brother, but I'm not really close with him) are NOT accepting of homosexuality. They are extremely religious and generally have unreasonable opinions about many things, including homosexuality. Along with that culturally where they are from, homosexuality is not tolerated well. My family being so against homosexuals is why I've never wanted to explore it, even if I am straight, I'm just so scared of what my family would think, I have yet to explore.

I need advice, where do I start, what should I do? Also I guess someone to keep in mind when advising me is that I am a very busy person.

Thanks in advance!
posted by UrbanClassic to Human Relations (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Start dating. Don't wait until you "are something."

The fantasizing about dating (men or women) isn't going to tell you anything. What will tell you something is who gets you wet. And not "which gender" but who as in which person specifically.

Date whomever you want -- but have sex with the person who gets you wet.
posted by vitabellosi at 9:16 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Actually participating in dating and sex will help a lot of these feelings gel into place.
posted by Sara C. at 9:20 PM on December 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

Make out with people you find attractive. That's it. That's the whole thing.
posted by elizardbits at 9:25 PM on December 22, 2012 [46 favorites]

No need to "figure it all out" - you're not stuck with the first person you have sex with. Just ask someone out that you find attractive, regardless of gender. I thought I was a lesbian at one point in my life, but I was also attracted to men. I ended up marrying a guy because I'm crazy about him in particular, not because he's a man. If I'd met a woman first, with whom I was just as compatible, I'd have married a woman. It's about the person, not what's between their legs (although that's fun too).

Don't worry about your family - they don't need to know just yet, and you can cross that bridge when you come to it. If it turns out that you really like women and find a girlfriend, you can draw from the experiences of many, many other people who've dealt with their families. Don't doom yourself before you begin.
posted by desjardins at 9:31 PM on December 22, 2012

Here's a comment I made in an earlier question:

I don't know if I have the right words to convey my thoughts here, but here goes...

At the ripe old age of 44, I've seen so many changes in so many people I know. I've seen straight people leave hetero marriages and enter gay relationships. I've seen gay people enter hetero relationships. I've seen rampant lesbians (okay, one rampant lesbian) suddenly decide that she's bi and pursue a relationship with a man.

So for the last year or so, I've been wondering if there's no such thing as absolutely steadfast for life straight or gay or bi. You just fall in love with/want to sleep with whoever pushes your buttons in the right way. Sometimes that person will have the same bits between their legs as you do yours. Sometimes that person will have different bits. Sometimes those bits are part of what you fall in love with, sometimes it doesn't matter - you just want/love the person regardless.

I guess I agree with those above who have said "drop the labels". If someone interests you, go for it.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 9:32 PM on December 22, 2012

I've never dated anyone, nor have I ever had sex with anyone.

You were dating someone recently. How did you find that? Did you like being with a guy? Did you feel like something was missing?

What makes you think you might be into women? Do you think about them when you masturbate? That's probably a good clue.

To help ditch the social baggage, try to avoid thinking in the gay/straight dichotomy. Maybe you're usually into guys but you might be into certain girls? That's totally valid too. Just think about who you want to make out with.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:40 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're not sure what your sexual orientation is, then we definitely don't know. As others have said, you can start by having some experiences. Then you can step back and think about how to define yourself overall. What's fundamental is your real-life experience; the label, if any, can emerge later.
posted by John Cohen at 9:47 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go on a few dates. Lean toward whatever feels right. You're not going to hurt anyone if you go out on a few dates with a member of the same or opposite sex, and decide that it just isn't for you. If you don't feel a spark, just move on and try something different.

When it comes to first dates, there are absolutely zero expectations or obligations. You're both there to feel out the other person, and an embarrassingly small percentage of first dates turn into second dates, etc. Get serious about figuring this out, line up a few dates, and see what happens.

Nothing bad will happen if you go on a few dates, and don't like it.
posted by schmod at 10:07 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You don't need to have a label. You can just be attracted to certain people. You can date without knowing where you land on the Kinsey scale. Your family doesn't have to know about your own confusion/curiosity. This can be just for you to explore with people you're interested in, that way.
posted by RainyJay at 10:39 PM on December 22, 2012

try to avoid thinking in the gay/straight dichotomy

That's really sound advice.

Personally I like to think about it like this: your family probably wants you to see the world (and your choices) in black and white. Other people have probably said that they see things in shades of gray. But I would offer a third option: upgrade your vision to full color. The world --and your life-- really are in full high-definition color. Every color you can imagine!

Sex is like that too. Maybe you are straight, or gay, or queer. Like schmod said, this is a process of self-discovery. Ask some people out, see how it feels.

Even if it turns out that your family disapproves of who you are and who you're attracted to there are people in this world who love you like wildfire and you haven't even met them yet. Never forget that.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:45 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't be in a hurry to define yourself by these labels. You don't have to identify with any particular sector. You may develop your sexual tastes at your leisure, but you do need the cooperation of partners you are attracted to--and the all-important vice versa.

Just be yourself. I'm sure your circle of friends will come up with clues that will make sense. You may never come up with a handy, tidy tag for how it all works for you. This could turn out to be a very good thing. I don't know that you should worry about putting a clock on your sexual emergance. I'm not advising abstinence, or maybe I'm not even advising patience. However you decide to proceed, avoid those who don't treat you with respect. (Okay, there may come a time when you decide that's your thing, but, having a choice, you probably should go with the nice folks, at least until you get your sea legs.)

You don't have to confront your family with these issues right now. Wait until you gain some perspective.

Have fun.
posted by mule98J at 11:19 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Though I consider myself religious (I do believe in God and Jesus Christ), I don't really have a problem with people being gay.

If you're a church-goer, attend a church that's openly welcoming to queer folk. Or attend a queer interfaith group for a little bit.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:18 AM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Pornography in its myriad forms can be a good way to learn about what you like too. There's a lot of great AskMe threads on this. You don't have to stick to the traditional stuff that's targeted at men, either, there's a whole myriad of interesting stuff from softcore to hardcore, real and drawn, stuff like that. I don't even just mean stuff that's visual either-- check out erotica, think about what romances in books and movies and explore that. Date, too, and make out with people like elizardbits says, because pornographic and romantic media is totally unrealistic and different from real life and if you don't have actual experiences to balance it your expectations might get totally off-base (which can get bad in a myriad of ways, from people not being able to live up to expectations to getting unreasonably afraid of things that seem to happen in books/movies/porn).

Just spend some time exploring. If you don't masturbate, you might want to learn to do that in a way that makes you feel good. If you have a cool local sex shop (the kind that's usually owned by women and has workshops on sexuality and sells great sex toys and stuff) you might go there and see if they have advice on toys and/or books to check out if you want something for yourself to make your sex life better with yourself, which is totally a legitimate thing to want to do. (If your town doesn't have a shop like this, the one in my city has an online shop, and I've heard good things about places like Babeland.)

It's okay to not be into anything, too, and it's okay to not have a label for yourself. Just remember to take care of yourself sexually too.
posted by NoraReed at 2:31 AM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Get a vibrator if you don't have one.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:56 AM on December 23, 2012

Love one another
- Jesus

He didn't qualify that at all.
posted by carsonb at 6:26 AM on December 23, 2012

Pornography is not a good indicator of which gender you're into. Porn is porn. It's there to do one thing... get you off no matter what you are looking at. Relax, don't worry. You'll see what floats your boat. The thing is, to not freak. Not everyone is 100% anything, we fall into spectrums.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok I'm a 28 year old gay female. I'm light on the dating history and I am still a virgin (wow! Yep. Same thing as you...for religious reasons, although in the last year I've relaxed on the religious thing) But I still know I'm gay. I say gay because...well I haven't had a crush or liked a guy in years (10 years). I just say gay to make things easier for me. I did have crushes on a few guys when I was younger, but the majority were girls. I leave a light on in my mind for a guy who might want to get me to fall for him, but I'm not counting on that happening anymore. If it does? Cool.

I knew kinda since middle school that I was primarily gay, I was just in denial for a long time.

I only fall for girls. I only get butterflies for girls. I only get torn up over girls. Do you get those feelings? Are there any people that you find yourself thinking about...who drift into your mind and give you a little burst of excitement? You don't say anything about this in your question. Is there a reason you're asking this question? Usually people ask this because they have feelings for someone of the same sex. Are you just having questions because of that one girl back when you were a kid?

I had to laugh at the first answer here, but it's true. Who gets you wet? It's a little crude but that is a damn good barometer...

I'm not sure if going on random dates will answer this question for you...it *might*, but I'm just a bit past where you are in life and I went on an online date with a girl and I didn't feel any sort of butterflies for her or anything. I didn't feel any attraction. So...I'm not sure if that is the best way to answer your question. But it won't hurt to try!

Watch some lesbian movies. The majority of them are junk, but I can recommend a few...Imagine Me and You, Kiss Me (swedish), Saving Face. Try that on for size, and perhaps work on opening up your mind a little to some different possibilities. You can memail me if you want.
posted by christiehawk at 8:22 AM on December 23, 2012

Pornography in its myriad forms can be a good way to learn about what you like too.

I think this can be interesting and worth doing, but as a bisexual lady with a complicated sexuality/dating life/identity/past/etc, I've found that the genders present in the porn that turns me on is not necessarily consistent with the gender of the people I want to have relationships with. Which, in turn, is something that has historically been flexible for me.

Interestingly, taste in porn does not map directly to sexual orientation.

I agree with folks above who've said "who gets you all fluttery inside?" That's what really matters.
posted by Sara C. at 9:26 AM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm just so scared of what my family would think

You don't need to keep your family up with all the details of who you are dating, and you certainly don't need to give them a play-by-play of any sexual activities. Once you are ready to introduce someone to your family, no matter who that person is, there will be things about them your family might not like. Cross that bridge when you come to it.
posted by yohko at 12:33 PM on December 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Have a look at some (queer friendly) dating sites. Look through the profiles of people who seem interesting and attractive to you. Make a little list of the ones that you think you'd be okay going on a date with, maybe more. Then, see what gender they are. That will tell you something about your sexuality or your sexual interests. For a more sexual take, do the same thing on a more 'casual' site. It's kind of hard to tell in advance which angle will appeal more.
posted by Drexen at 2:32 PM on December 23, 2012

Pornography is a terrible way to figure this out. I am so very straight in my day-to-day practice (I get "girl crushes" on pretty, successful girls, but they're nothing like my guy-crushes, which are so melodrama) but pornographic images of women do it just as well as pornographic images of men. In fact, sometimes when I used to masturbate I'd imagine myself as the guy, fucking the girl. Who knows what the hell was going on-- men and women are both sexual, maybe identifying with male desire made me feel it more intensely and turned me on more, maybe I just liked the phallic role, idk. But seriously just roll with it, flirt with people you have crushes on, see how you feel when other people are interested in you, and it will all work itself out.

(If a girl were into me and wanted to hook up and I was single, I would go for it. Maybe my bisexual identity would solidify more, then-- I don't know. Maybe I would decide I'm definitely only into guys. But as of now I'm in a beautiful relationship with a person I love, so why worry?)
posted by stoneandstar at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2012

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