1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Unsure of how to label myself.

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by condorqueen, May 16, 2017.

  1. condorqueen

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Hey everyone!

    I joined this forum a few months ago whilst in the middle of a crisis. I had intended to post asking for advice on my then-situation, but got nervous midway through it. But here I am, looking for help again and hopefully I will be able to work up the courage to hit "submit" once I've finished typing. This is long so there will be a brief recap at the end- No pressure to read each and every detail.

    I have liked girls ever since I can remember. In this aspect, I am completely comfortable. I know that I am attracted to women sexually as well as romantically. And, when I imagine a future, married with kids and whatnot, I can only picture being partnered with another woman. (In that, this is where I would imagine myself being truly happy- When I try to force a guy into the picture, I feel really uncomfortable, like okay- Maybe it would work but I would never feel right about it, never truly content.)

    Based on the above, I came to terms with the fact that I was a lesbian at around 14. I knew then, just as I know now, that I would only find true happiness with another woman. And I came out to my parents as such at 15. They were adequately accepting but it's more or less something we do not discuss in honest language here- But whatever, that isn't really the point. I had come out as a lesbian, that was the label that felt right to me.

    Throughout high school I started experimenting more with guys. This included 1 relationship and a lot of casually hooking up. I got a kind of "thrill" from the casual encounters but never enjoyed the acts itself and in fact generally felt rather uncomfortable in the situations. However, with the 1 guy I dated, I did have some romantic feelings for him- But I was always fuzzy on whether or not it was mainly platonic or not. There was definitely a "crush" but it was akin to how I would imagine straight girls crushing on girls; the reserve of a girl crush, being best friends with a sense of deep attachment. We dated on and off for years and I would force him into that married with kids fantasy and just feel this sense of impending doom, kind of a sinking in my gut. (More on my relationships with guys in a minute though.)

    Also it's important to note that I feel genuine disgust when doing anything inherently physical that is also inherently romantic. Eg, a guy pulling me close to him in a movie and rubbing my arm lovingly. It just grosses me out and makes me feel immediately ugly to myself. I actually get panicky, "this isn't right, this isn't right, this isn't right."

    I've had more serious relationships with girls/women however, and have only felt "in love" with them. Like I said, though, I've never doubted my ability to be romantically attached to them. When I'm with another woman it just feels. . . Right. I love everything about them and regularly get crushes on them. Sexually, I absolutely experience a more authentic kind of attraction to them than I do with men. In this, I look at a woman and experience attraction, while I look at a man (conventionally goodlooking or otherwise) and feel nothing. Sexual experiences with women have been better as well, feeling more "right." This includes amorous/romantic activities as well, like cuddling- With guys it freaks me out, but with girls it's amazing.

    I fantasize about both men and women, however. This is part 1 of why I'm confused on this respect. I do think of men in a sexual way, though they are more of a vessel in my fantasies than an actual person, while my fantasies about women are more elaborate and intellectually charged.

    I have told men (2) that I've loved them before. The guy I dated from high school, and one who I dated after for almost a year and a half. This is part 2 of why I'm confused. I dated them for significant periods of time, I said that I loved them, and truly did/do feel the time I spent with them was significant. However, throughout both of them I was open to the fact that I didn't know if I loved them in a platonic way or a romantic one. I was quite attached to both of them in different ways (note that one of the relationships was very unhealthy, and I think this plays a role in my "attachment"- They threatened to kill themselves if I left, and effectively destroyed many of my friendships; if I left them, my reasoning was that I would have nobody, and was more to do with this than the fact that I was in love with them.) I do think I loved them in a way that you can love your friends and perhaps even in a way similar to "squishes" but the romantic aspects were minuscule on my part. At times I did wonder if I was falling in love, but these moments were fleeting and replaced with more platonic enjoyment.

    Finally, number 3 of my confusion. Although I recognize that a, I do not really enjoy sexual encounters with men and b, have more platonic interest in them than anything else and c, only want to marry a woman, I am self aware enough to understand that I probably will casually date them again at some point. I cannot really explain why I would do this apart from maybe viewing it as a fun way to spend my time when nothing else serious is going on. However, I would not enter a serious relationship with them at this point, as I know that I will not see a future in it. I have been effectively identifying as bisexual for awhile now, mostly due to the fact that I'm immediately read by friends as this due to my behavior, but I am wondering if there is any other more accurate description of how to label myself?

    TL;DR

    I do not enjoy being sexual with men and I do not picture myself having a long term relationship with them. With women, I'm definitely 100% into it on both fronts. I fantasize regularly about guys though and would probably be open to having casual relationships with them, without the expectation of it turning into something serious. I only imagine myself marrying a woman. With all this in mind, what is the most accurate way to label myself?

    I realize that labels aren't everything but I feel like it would give me some sense of comfort and would also help me navigate through the LGBTQ+ community better in some respects. It would help me find my "niche."
     
  2. Jax12

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Canada
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    You're part of the niche either way, so choose a label that best represents you. It'll make sense over time as well. I came out to myself 3 years, but didn't start to fully accept it until this year. Even now, I'm quite selective on who I come out to.

    There's the whole discussion about societal norms and how we were taught to think heterosexual relationships are all that mattered because that's all the media portrayed. I know this has affected me because I thought I was attracted to women, but the more I looked into my attraction towards men, it made more sense and my attraction to women started to subside. Now all I think about is men lol.

    If you do not picture yourself with a man down the road, I think it's safe to say that you are not straight, and you can leave it at that :slight_smile:
     
  3. Athexant

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Maryland
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    All but family
    First of all, congratulations on finding the courage to post this!

    As you've mentioned previously, there is no rush to put a label on anything. However, you're free to try on all sorts of different labels until you finally find one that feels right to you. It seems you've already done some of this through experimentation and fantasizing, which is good, seeing as the process of finding an accurate label can be long and daunting.

    There are a plethora of terms floating around the LGBTQ+ community. Lesbian, bisexual, bi-curious, homoflexible, heteroflexible, homosexual, pansexual, etc. From what you've described, it sounds like you're in the bi-curious, possibly homoflexible, category. It doesn't seem like you're bisexual because you've said you're not sexually attracted to men. However, being curious and experimental could put you in the "curious" category. There's also another term that's not as widely-used, and that's homoflexibility. If someone's homoflexible, they will exclusively feel attraction towards the same-sex unless they meet someone extraordinary who they'll feel attraction towards. You may only find one man out of a million, but hey, a guy's a guy.

    Also, you might just want to continue identifying as a lesbian. You said you couldn't see yourself settling down with a guy, and to me, that's all of the proof you need that you're a lesbian. Food for thought, sexuality itself is a very fluid concept and can change from time to time. Maybe you're just going through an experimental stage where you might find a bit of masculinity attractive.

    It's up to you in the end though. I can only provide terms based on my experiences. It's ultimately up to you and what feels right on the inside.
     
  4. Altruistic blue

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    From what I understand about your situation, I think you started to have fantasies with men after you've had experiences with them. You genuinely feel attraction towards women, but the fantasies that you have with men may just be because you've had those experiences with them and your mind just returned to those places again. This is just a theory tho

    Also yes, congrats on your ability to post this, I'm learning to accept my feelings so that I too can gain an understanding, and its no easy task. Goodluck
     
    #4 Altruistic blue, May 16, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2017
  5. condorqueen

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Thank you so much for such an insightful reply! :slight_smile: And many congratulations on coming to fully accept yourself as well as begin to come out to others.

    You're absolutely right in that societal customs impact our own self-perception. I've absolutely considered the possibility of having been affected by a sort of compulsory heterosexuality. My attraction to men is very artificial and I view them as an option for casual purposes simply "because." This contrasts heavily to how I feel about women, who I have a more sincere/passionate pull towards. This is a really, really, good thing to point out and I'm definitely going to have to think about it further!

    Saying I'm not straight is a very adequate way of description, also. Because. . . I'm not, haha. But at the same time I would take comfort in knowing where I belong. I feel like the LGBTQ+ community can be somewhat divisive at times, and categorizing myself as a lesbian would lead to certain problems/identity policing, while I cannot truly relate to many bisexuals/biromantics either in that my experiences and relationships with the opposite gender are heavily contrived. Above all else though, having a more solidified way of identifying would just put my mind at ease.

    In any case, thank you again for your response! That you took the time to read through the mess that I typed means a lot.

    Thank you for the warm congratulations! I can already tell that this is a wonderful community and I feel so lucky to be here. You have also given me a lot of reassurance on the subject- It's never too late to figure things out. I definitely do feel the need to have a label, but I suppose that it will come to me when it comes to me.

    Bi-curiosity and homoflexibility are terms which may both apply to me though, you're right. It's interesting that you bring them up now because I had previously not given them any real consideration (and I had, in fact, thought of them as being interchangeable), but as per your descriptions of them, they do make sense. The "curious" aspect especially when relating to experimentation in particular. Similarly to how I have fantasized of men, with them being more of a vessel than a person, my sexual interactions with them have all been of the vein of, "Let's do this, because I want to see what it's like," rather than me acting on attraction.

    I do think that I feel most comfortable with the term lesbian, but I also feel like I could be harming reception of lesbians in my behavior. If I do end up agreeing to go out to dinner with a guy in the future, or I get drunk and kiss one at a party (neither of which are scenarios which I've completely written off, either- I know me, I know my personality, and I know that they're both possible), will I be perpetuating harmful stereotypes about lesbians? That they're only guy until a certain guy comes around, that they're all a bit "fluid"? I considered myself gay throughout most of my promiscuity in high school and I'm only just now understanding how damaging this might have been to other queer girls in my school. The last thing I want to do is make a mockery out of a valid orientation.

    But you've given me so much to think about and I am endlessly appreciative of all that you've offered to me in your reply! Thank you so much.

    This gets a bit personal and is more of me introspectively analyzing what you said, there is no pressure to read it at all
    This is an interesting interpretation of my post and I'm truthfully uncertain. Analyzing my own thoughts/behavior is quite difficult for me. When I was 13, a close friend and I were being groomed (this is the best description of what occurred) by a 19 year old I feel like this experience may have warped my own perception of sexuality somewhat- It may have influenced my hyper-sexuality as a teenager, is what I mean. I do know that I thought of women before this experience as well as before any kind of sexual activity with either gender, but I can't peg down my feelings for guys as easily. I will say however that my fantasies involving men have more to do with enacting a fetish than it does with the men in my fantasies- They're virtually nonentities. This further makes me wonder if them appearing in fantasies has any real merit.

    But you raise a good question and I will definitely keep this in mind. Once again (I'm probably sounding like a broken record, but I really do mean it you guys!) I am very appreciative of your reply and the insight you've offered me. I wish you all the luck in the world in figuring yourself out, as well as accepting yourself! :slight_smile:
     
  6. Altruistic blue

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    I agree. Analyzing your own behavior is probably the hardest thing to do, an i understand where you are are from. That experience may have altered your sexuality as you mentioned, but it may not have completely changed it, just gave you a new perspective. The only way to truly be sure about your sexuality in this situation is to maybe focus less on the labels and describe what you feel out loud, then analyze it from the outside. This may give you some clarity so you feel less pressure to direct your focus inwardly
     
  7. Athexant

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Maryland
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    All but family
    You're very welcome! I've always found that helping other people and especially answering their questions makes me incredibly happy. There are a lot of people on this online community who feel the same way, and I'm glad that together, we could shed some insight or maybe new perspectives into what you're dealing with currently. And I'm super glad I actually helped. When I read back over my post later, I thought I was a rambling mess. >.<

    I understand your need to have a label completely. Biologically, humans classify themselves and others based on what they are not and do that through lots of comparison. That's what makes this whole label business tricky in the first place. Also, I'm glad my definitions cleared up some confusion. I remember when I was trying to figure myself out, I had no idea homoflexibility and heteroflexibility were terms, and I thought being bi-curious and being bisexual were the same thing. The way you just described your attitudes towards men when in a sexual setting brings up a very good point, that it was more about the thrill of something new rather than the thrill of being with an attractive person. What you described is the biggest difference between bisexuality and bi-curiosity.

    Actually, you bring up a lot of valid points that I hadn't thought about. It's very good that you're self-aware of all of the possibilities that could happen. Let's say a few years later, you do meet a guy and you go on a date. It's up to you if you wish to divulge your sexuality to your date, and that can get confusing very quickly. Take into account that most people don't know the differences between bisexuality, pansexuality, and bi-curiosity and they probably wouldn't have heard the term homoflexible before. You're in a tough position, and you have pure intentions. The issue is that other people won't see the full story. They may only understand the fluidity of sexuality when using it to justify cheating or stereotyping those who aren't straight. For instance, bisexuality gets a lot of hate. I've gotten a lot of flirting from people who think I'm easy just because I identify as bisexual. That stereotype came from somewhere, and it could have been someone's behavior or maybe it's the product of flawed logic. "Oh, they have more options, so they obviously have lots of sex with more people," type of thing. This is all very interesting to me because I've known these stereotypes exist, I just haven't considered whether or not my actions have worsened them. Thanks for pointing this out to me!

    You're very welcome, and I'm always glad to help! You've also given me quite a bit of self-introspection to do, and I'm very grateful for that. I loved your earlier line, and it'll be on my mind when I'm considering a course of action in the future when representing the group of people who share a label with me: "The last thing I want to do is make a mockery out of a valid orientation."
     
  8. Rana

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    419
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    condorqueen,

    Here's why I identify with being a lesbian (maybe it will help you, or not, but here goes).
    I dated men most of my life, but something was always missing.
    I'm not repulsed by men (sexually or romantically), but it was always just, meh.
    When I think of sexual or romantic aspects of being with a woman, it's like 1000 times more exciting, sexually and romantically, than with a guy.
    I've never wanted to marry a guy, but I definitely could marry a woman if I loved her.

    I came to the realization that for me, this means identifying as a lesbian.
    Take it for what it's worth, and I hope it helps.

    At the end of the day, I think labels are never going to be 100% accurate anyway, so don't fret about it. You are uniquely yourself! How about that as a label? :slight_smile:
     
    #8 Rana, May 20, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2017
  9. warholwendy

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2014
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Midwestern US
    Gender:
    Androgyne
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    My advice is to just go with the flow man. You'll see I have myself as gay cause that's how I identify but you can't let the labels define you. Like I'm not gonna rule out women as a partner
     
  10. condorqueen

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I just wanted to post here - on this specific thread, I'm definitely going to stick around the forums as a whole - once last time to extend my appreciation to all of you once. It really means a lot that I was able to receive such constructive feedback and insightful perspectives and each response really, truly, helped me. I also wanted to add a brief update:

    In spending the last few weeks soul searching and really thinking about how I feel, I've reached the conclusion that I am a lesbian. I'm probably around a 5 on the Kinsey scale and in using one of the identities that Athexant brought to my attention, I think that if I were to describe myself on a more technical level that "homoflexible" would be the most accurate. My attraction/interest in men has always been incredible artificial/faked whereas my interest in women has been nothing but sincere. I'm at a point where I recognize that my previous encounters with men were stemming from a rather dark place within me, ultimately manifesting as a kind of self destructive behavior.

    I've started confiding in certain people as to why I dated men in the past and articulating that I've always been gay - In this I am coming out, again, in a way but not making such a big deal out of it. I do not see myself going on a date with a guy/getting drunk and kissing one at a party/etc anymore and no longer see the probability of any sexual/romantic relationships happening with anyone other than a woman. I'm becoming increasingly involved within the queer community and in these newly forged friendships I am finding a space to be myself and interact with people who "get it," and breaking free of heteronormativity is quite liberating.