What am I?
June 3, 2007 9:32 AM   Subscribe

I am confused about my sexuality.

I'm 21, female, very little sexual experience (all with men--I've never even kissed a woman). While I identify as "straight" to society at large, I'm confused if that's what I actually am. I've always been a bit of a tomboy and always had "girl crushes," on celebrities and on people I know, though they're never really "sexual" in nature. I want to kiss girls and be affectionate with them, but I don't want to have sex with them. On the other hand, I want to have sex with men, but don't ever feel myself compelled to kiss them or hold hands or be affectionate with them. My sexual fantasies pretty much all involve men; my "romantic" fantasies all women. If I could sum up my problem, it would be this: I am sexually attracted to men, but emotionally attracted to women. How can I reconcile these conflicting ideas? As it stands, I'm not getting any--no sex, no affection--because I've yet to find someone (of either gender) who makes me fire on both cylinders, so to speak. To further complicate things, I think other people read me as "asexual" (probably because of my own confusion) and so I have little real-world experience to experiment with being with either men or women in either a sexual or romantic capacity.

I'm looking for any insight or advice that could help me further understand and figure out my sexuality. Email can be sent to sexconfused@gmail.com. Thanks in advance.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

You're what you just described. The fact that there isn't a common name for it doesn't change that.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 9:38 AM on June 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

I tend to think of sexuality and identity as a million shades of gray between black and white, and it sounds like you're on the hetero side but far from the absolute edge. What I would suggest is finding a guy that is sensitive and has empathy for your and others feelings -- a dude that is going to appeal to your female fantasies.

Seriously, without trivializing the whole thing, I feel like I'm a wussy guy (often called "fag!" when I was younger) and my wife is a butch woman (who gets mistaken for lesbian fairly often) and we get along really well because of it.
posted by mathowie at 9:48 AM on June 3, 2007 [5 favorites]

Take what you want. Leave the rest. Just like your salad bar.
posted by mr_book at 10:03 AM on June 3, 2007

You're so young and you have yet to figure it all out -- that's okay. But you won't figure it out by pondering it; you have to go out on a limb and follow some of those instincts about people. Ask a girl you really like intellectually to hang out with you. Do the same for a guy you're really hot in the pants for. As you experience a variety of relationships with people it'll start becoming a little more clear. Good luck.
posted by loiseau at 10:13 AM on June 3, 2007

To reverse what mathowie said, you might also be interested in women who identify or perform sexually with a more 'masculine' approach -- you might like butchier women, transguys, more ambiguous dykes, than you do more femme women. It might be more about a (perceived) power dynamic that is attracting you sexually to men, and you can most certainly get that with a butchier/dykier/more aggressive/top woman. Lots of descriptors might apply here, depending on your race, age, location, hobbies, tendencies, etc. But basically I wouldn't write off trying to date or have sex with women. Get someone to take you to a dyke bar or event (fundraiser) or even a drag king show and you might find some hotties that get you thinking in a way you haven't before... have fun. This can be a fun process of finding out what floats your boat.
posted by barometer at 10:18 AM on June 3, 2007

June brings a lot of Pride festivals in cities all over the country. Whether or not you identify with the gay community, these celebrations are a great place to be surrounded by others who have felt "not normal" and have come to accept and love themselves - not DESPITE their non-normalcy, but because of it. It's really quite inspiring. You'll also get plenty of solid evidence that people don't all fit solidly into "gay" or "straight" categories. Sexuality is a very fluid thing, and it might help you to see that you're not alone in feeling this way. Plus, outdoor festivals are what summer is all about. I definitely suggest that you check one out.
posted by vytae at 10:20 AM on June 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think it may just be that you haven't met the right person. You're 21 so you haven't had that much time! I'm sure there's someone of either sex that can be all these things for you. Maybe not, but I do firmly believe that, like mathowie said, sexuality isn't black and white so experimentation may be the order of the day. Good luck!
posted by ob at 10:27 AM on June 3, 2007

Mathowie said what I was going to say. I'm sort of like you without the romancing the women aspect of it. I like guys but I'm also pretty butch myself and I have most of my BFF relationships with women even though I get along with guys really well. I tend to date guys who are a little on the femme-y side for whatever reason though I don't do it consciously. I don't date women, btu then again the opportunity has rarely presented itself. I'm older than you though and my advice is to not worry about it. When you meet someone that turns your crank, you'll know and there's no reason to really push it in any direction otherwise. In short, people are complicated. There are many people who are complicated in similar ways that you are (more in urban areas than the country, but really anyplace) and you just need to run into more of them.

As far as being asexual, you can look at this two ways. Maybe you're not putting a vibe out there, a random siren vibe, the sort of vibe that other people could or would pick up on. Just because you're not getting any doesn't mean you can't be sexually happy with yourself or flirty and interactive with friends and strangers. Granted not everyone is comfy with this and you shouldn't go that way if it's not your thing, but I'm just saying there are a lot of options that don't involve picking out a date or a mate where you can give and get attention in a way you enjoy. A lot of times it's just about sending out an "I like me!" vibe or an "I think I'm hot what do you think?" vibe or whatever it is that you think is true about you. I know it's dorky and cliche but being really into yourself [as you, as what you are] is really the best way to investigate and check out the range of people who you're into and who wouldbe into you.
posted by jessamyn at 10:29 AM on June 3, 2007 [2 favorites]

I'm in agreement with barometer.

Sounds like you're physically attracted to masculine attributes, but connect emotionally with women. A female identified butch may be up your alley.

Butch-Femme.com is a community of, well, butches and femmes. There is a very wide spectrum of queer sexuality to be found in the b/f community. If you can put an ID around it you can find it there.

My email is in my profile if you'd like to discuss more.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:40 AM on June 3, 2007

People are attracted to all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. Just follow your desires and be wary of others feelings and you'll be fine.
posted by jonmc at 10:52 AM on June 3, 2007

If you're in Canada, Superdyke is an awesome community. Actually, there are even some folks from the US on it now, but it's mostly concentrated north of the border. There are *lots* of younger people like yourself on it -- I'd even recommend signing up to see some profiles, see how people describe themselves and see if that is fun for you. I haven't found a community quite like it in the States.
posted by barometer at 11:01 AM on June 3, 2007

One possible interpretation is that you might not think that men can provide the emotional connection you value with women. Or that you won't like sex with women as much as you with men.
posted by rhizome at 11:59 AM on June 3, 2007

I think your attraction to women is undermined and overshadowed by your lack of experience; if all of your sexual confidence and your concept of yourself as a sexual being is based on experiences with men, then I can imagine that you would find the idea of sexual contact with women threatening and intimidating, which is possibly manifesting as non-attraction in general.

Once you find yourself actually going through those motions, and (hopefully) feel your body responding, the experience will reveal itself to you for what it is. You may find that with the right person, romantic attraction is just a slippery slope you tumble down to total sexual satisfaction. You may discover that you really, really, don't like having sex with women. Or you may decide that you just need to keep experimentint. No matter what, you will at least have expanded your understanding of your desires, which is a perfectly reasonable goal in itself and makes this worth checking out.

If you do decide to experiment sexually with women (and I don't see why in the world you wouldn't) you should be open with the women you meet about how you feel and about your inexperience. You may meet someone who is able to guide you and cultivate an appreciation for what now seems alien; many women would jump at the chance, I'm sure.

I have a friend that did this when she turned 40, after a lifetime of dating only men. She'd often had female crushes on miscellaneous people and celebrities and often mused whether she was bisexual, but it really didn't fit into her image of where she saw her life going (husband, kids). When she hit 40 she finally decided to give it a shot, she found a woman on a dating website that she was interested trying to have sex with, and discovered that she probably did like having sex with women-- just not necessarily THAT woman. Fast forward a couple of years, and she's had a couple of real relationships with women and now actually identifies as a lesbian. She would definitely date and marry a man if she met the right one-- but she's equally content with the idea of spending the second half of her life with and among female partners.

Everything about us can change. Every trait we claim is our own is really just a variable, as likely to change based on time or chance as our own will. Some changes come a lot harder than others, others come a lot easier than we'd ever thought possible. If you are seeking something (and from the tone of your post, this isn't just a matter of idle curiosity for you) then all you can do is reach out with both hands and see what reaches back.
posted by hermitosis at 12:10 PM on June 3, 2007

I say don't sweat it. What will you learn from figuring out a label? Attractions are mostly on a case-by-case basis anyway. You will get more data as you get older, and learn more clearly what features you like in a partner and what features are no-gos for you. For now, do what seems right in the moment. There are only two real rules for dating: be good to your partners, and only date people who are good to you.

Also, there are a ton of previous questions with similar confusion, which might offer relevant advice for you, or at least will remind you that a lot of people are in between black-and-white sexuality categories in one way or another. These are from just a quick search, I'm sure there are more.
- Am I a lesbian or what?
- I was gay, now I might be straight
- I'm a straight woman but I fantasize about women
- Another straight woman who fantasizes about women
- Can one become more straight or gay over time?
- what are some good tips or info about women's sexual experience, and how to get more confident?
- What are good books on women's bodies, health, and sex?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:17 PM on June 3, 2007

Keep looking. The more you look the clearer you'll get about this.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:58 PM on June 3, 2007

nthing the above. don't worry about a label, just try to find people you want to spend time with. if you feel an aversion to sex with women--rather than indifference--you might want to find the more sensitive guys. they're definitely out there!
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2007

You may be interested in Cuddle Parties.
posted by phrontist at 2:40 PM on June 3, 2007

I think you are probably a throwback to the standard, pre-auto-domestication wild-type of human female. From my observation, lots of quite nifty things are generally included in that package. If you are able to relax and accept yourself, I suspect you will really enjoy the process of finding out what it means to be you at this point in human history.

I wish I could ask you if you have any OCD-like features in your behavior or personality, and what your ethnic background is.
posted by jamjam at 3:52 PM on June 3, 2007

you might also be interested in women who identify or perform sexually with a more 'masculine' approach -- you might like butchier women, transguys, more ambiguous dykes, than you do more femme women.

Trans guys aren't women. Hence 'guys'.
posted by crabintheocean at 4:49 PM on June 3, 2007

Bang a chick because you are never going to get the emotional needs met by a guy. Start kissing a girl and see where it goes because certain things you thought were a requirement for sex aren't.

I'm not saying all men are totally emotional incapable but no man can identify with your needs like a woman can.
posted by CwgrlUp at 5:33 PM on June 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Trans guys aren't women. Hence 'guys'. Yeah, you're totally right and I noticed after posting. Really I meant that the original poster should be open to other kinds of bodies and genders and identities, but it didn't come out like that. And honestly, in my community here, I know quite a few women who were vaguely interested in women, not really into biomen, and who have fallen rather nicely in love with transmen (in various stages and outness). And also folks who would have identified more as lesbians/dykes/queer (but generally women interested in other women) and not interested in biomen who have been in awesome relationships with transguys too. So I dunno, I'll eat my words but not my sentiment: be open to exploring 'cause there is likely a person, a body, a feeling that is out there for you, and it won't be encapsulated by "I'm a girl and like emotions only with other girls and sex only with boys." I mean, it might, but those two (seemingly opposing) desires might also be found in an actual person, and they might have an identity or concept of self, sexuality, desires, performance, bodies and emotions that the original poster hasn't thought of. I do apologize for the mistake though.
posted by barometer at 6:01 PM on June 3, 2007

I would encourage you to experiment a little bit to see whom you connect with better, men or women. You might like sex with women more than you expect. Or it might be a matter of finding a great guy like Mathowie.

There are a thousand shades of sexuality, but most people will find a place that suits them with a little patience and experimentation. I say this as someone who was tortured about coming out until I actually started dating me. All of the sudden connecting and sustaining a realtionship was much easier. You can't really sort this out alone. You need to give yourself a chance to figure out what's right for you.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:22 PM on June 3, 2007

I have the same type of attraction as you. I bonded closely with women (but not in a sexual way), and ended up engaged to a more-sensitive-than-average man. I label myself bisexual though that's not what most people mean by the term.

I really don't see why you can't have your cake and eat it too - have an emotionally intimate relationship with a woman, but have a guy for a fuckbuddy. As long as everyone is on the same page and you're not misleading anyone.
posted by desjardins at 8:32 PM on June 3, 2007

Also please note: Most girls have non-sexual girl crushes. Many women have more emotionally intense relationships with their best female friend than they do with their boyfriends.
posted by desuetude at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2007

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