Not trying to figure anything out, but if you can relate that's awesome. I've been back and forth and all around identitywise on this site, from questioning my sexuality to questioning my gender and back. I see so many people on here doing the same thing I had done: unable to think of anything else, we obsess over labels and identities in the struggle to find ourselves, and are on here for support. It's nice to know we're not alone, though it still makes us feel lonely that at the end of the day, we must figure out our sexualities for ourselves. So while we're in questioning mode, we ask for opinions but still only hear what we want to hear. We have the answers inside. And after years, we all come to realize that we fit some label, but it doesn't feel as good as we thought it did, because in the end we all defy labels as well. This is a story about defying labels. I'm sure I'm not alone here, though the google hits for "straight butch" are slim. Many of us just suppress it. So I'm a bi woman on the masculine side who has been straight for most of my life until the past few years, where I've dated women exclusively. With women I've not only had my first adult relationships, but also I've been fortunate enough to be able to explore my gender identity to its fullest. I may yet end up with a woman. I'm currently in a relationship with a wonderful woman who is butcher than me and softer than me at the same time. But I feel guilty that some part of me thinks I'll end up with a man. In elementary school I was the tomboyest of tomboys. I wasn't good at sports and I still loved playing with girls, but I dressed exclusively in boys' clothing and my neighbor and I would mostly play games involving "exploring" our back yards, or this educational computer game that got us both really good at math. As the years went on, I tried being girly but failed miserably: it was like researching costumes to me. I'd look at what the other girls were wearing and try to emulate their outfits without copying them outright. I looked okay, but I was losing myself. It took til after college for me to start the journey back to myself again. In an attempt to do what all us 20-somethings were doing (or at least, what hookup culture led me to believe we were all doing), I was sleeping around to fill a void. In a moment of clarity for me, I started crying during a hookup with a friend, and when he asked me what was wrong, I could say nothing. Then, with all my thoughts muffled by alcohol, one thought rang out: "he wouldn't like me the way I really am, only the way I'm being." I was being fake, I was lost, and I didn't realize I was in crisis til then. Then I fell for a woman. Moments of full-fledged crush are rare for me, and this was one. So I thought I was gay. The relief that flooded over me was beautiful, and released me from the burden of pretending I was like "everyone else". She was straight and I was heartbroken, but despite the pain this was an opportunity to reconnect with myself. My favorite movies as a kid, besides adventure stories, were ones where a tomboy/independent girl gets together with a guy who validates her. I thought something was wrong with me that I didn't love the typical chick flicks: everyone was gushing over romances I couldn't relate to, and so I thought I must be gay. But movies like Love and Basketball: beautiful. Relatable. I didn't want a makeover movie, I didn't want a stalker fantasy (hem hem Twilight). Hated The Notebook. I couldn't be the only girl who was into guys who hated the hollywood-fed crap? Enough questioning my sexuality. I'm tired of straight culture; the beauty of a lesbian relationship is the equal partnership I so crave, and the freedom from gender roles. But I don't know that it will ever be fully who I am, though I love lesbian culture and have immersed myself in it, and though I love dating women. Being openly bi has been incredibly liberating. I wish straight culture was less monolithic, but I still relate in many ways. What I want is to be able to be my masculine self in a relationship. Should I date men again, I'd want to be able to keep my hair short (currently sporting a low fade and loving it) and men's boxer briefs, even under women's jeans. I'd want to feel sexy without embodying bombshell aesthetics. I'd want to be free from the pressures of playing sports with the boys and also from the pressures of dressing up. I'd want to keep shopping the way I shop: some things from the men's and some things from the women's. I'd want to embody this space without pressure. I know there's a stereotype of women going gay and then going back, growing out their hair and all; should I go back, I'd want to stay where I am aesthetically. I really hope that's at all a possibility. And I know some of you will say "it is, lots of people feel this way!" and i know that... I just don't know many personally. Most of my female friends are non-conforming in some way: either they're really outdoorsy like me or super independent or don't wear tons of makeup. And I know some girls who have short hair that feel masculine but don't read very queer. I on the other hand read pretty queer, and I don't know anyone who is straight who can relate to that. I know girls who play with gender--short hair, etc--in decidedly straight ways. My freshman roommate was probably the closest thing: she's married to a man and has a baby, but everyone thought she was gay (and/or had a crush on her). She was in many ways a more typical butch than I am, into cars and sports and video games. Couldn't relate to that either. I feel either inadequately straight, inadequately gay, inadequately butch, or inadequately femme. So... I don't know what I'm looking for! I guess I just want more of a variety of bi/straight/queer non-lesbian female masculinities represented. In fact I know more masculine lesbians who don't fit the stereotypes--soft butch I guess-- than masculine straight women who are softer. I wish I could find a community of people who are maybe closer to an effeminate man than a masculine female but is still comfortable being female, but who sometimes wishes she could be with a man as a man. And maybe men who are not confined by prescribed gender. That's all!! (&&&) Ah the complexities of gender expression/identity: the more I look at it head-on the less I understand it.