Much like gender, sexuality itself is a spectrum. In fact, it can take a lifetime to discover exactly where on the spectrum you fall. And, even when you do know who you are sexually attracted to, some experiences can throw you completely for a loop and leave you questioning your sexuality all over again. So, if you are here reading this, gentle reader, chances are you are exactly at that point in your life where encountering a beautiful stranger or feeling a sudden rush of feelings toward your oldest of friends has left you wondering, “Am I a lesbian?”
Well, whatever it is that brought you here, I hope I can help you lay at least some of your worries at rest in consultation with counseling psychologist and certified life-skills trainer Deepak Kashyap (Masters in Psychology of Education), who specializes in a range of mental health issues, including LGBTQ and closeted counseling.
This article is designed to help you on your journey to find the answer to the question that may or not may not be causing you some amount of torment. But before we talk about any of that and help you reach some sort of a conclusion, we must begin with the basics. So, first things first, who exactly is a lesbian?
What Does Being a Lesbian Mean?
Before I answer that question, I must point out that terms such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or LGBTQ are sort of archaic now. They belong to the era before people realized that gender is, in fact, a spectrum and often fluid. Terms such as lesbian and gay originated when gender was still considered binary, i.e., you could either be a man or a woman. So, when a man is attracted to a man, i.e., a person of the same gender, they would be called gay. Similarly, a lesbian is a “woman” who is attracted to other “women”.
Now that we know that gender is fluid and we do not need to constrict our identities and preferences and force them into boxes, terms like lesbian, gay, and bisexual have become more open to interpretation too. Someone who may identify as a lesbian can, thus, be seen as someone who is not just attracted to cis women but other womxn too. In fact, the person in question may not be a cis woman.
So, basically, fluidity is the operative word here. That said, the basic idea remains the same. A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to other womxn. And that’s pretty much all you need to know before we delve deeper and find an answer to the question that plagues you: “Am I a lesbian?”
Related Reading: What Makes Her A Woman?
Am I lesbian? 10 Signs That May Help You Know For Sure
While there is perhaps no way to tell for sure, there are some signs a woman is attracted to another woman that can make your gayness at least a little evident. The best way to know, in the end, is to just go out and explore your needs and desires.
Deepak says, “If you pay attention to what your body likes, you will have more or less an idea of which way you lean. There is nothing called 100% gay, straight, or bi. Everybody is a bit of a lot of things.” But, if you are still looking for a tad more clarity on the situation, below is a list of 10 signs that may help you understand your orientation better:
1. You find yourself getting attracted to your female friends
Am I a lesbian, you wonder? To help you find the answer, I have a counter question for you: Have you ever found yourself staring intently at one of your best friends and thinking, “Wow, she really is beautiful”? Or do you get these urges to stare at their mouths or glorious behinds from time to time? I mean, it could be that you just appreciate female beauty in general. Or you could be very, very gay.
“I’ve never been with a woman so I thought those were just crushes or recognizing a beautiful woman when I see one. When I was about 20, I just started saying that if I had chemistry with someone or feelings for them, their gender wouldn’t matter to me. It wasn’t until I got a weird look from both my male and female friends that I realized maybe that view wasn’t shared by everyone. They were all like, “So you’d be okay with going down on her then?” and the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “uhh… yes, please”.
“Then I started a new job and started to feel excited and giggly to talk to one of the girls my age. Soon enough I realized I was flirting with her and I caught myself always glancing at her lips, her skin, and her ass. I told my boyfriend at the time and he was upset. I didn’t understand why because to me I thought he would take it as a flirty conversation between female friends and find some humor in it, but he said it didn’t matter if she was a girl because I clearly liked her,” says a Reddit user, who did not wish to be identified.
The line is thin here, honestly. If a woman finds herself finding other womxn hot and developing girl crushes yet doesn’t quite see herself doing the same with their male friends, it can be one of the tell-tale signs a woman has a crush on another woman.
Related Reading: How A Gay Friend Helped Her Accept Herself As A Lesbian
2. You have made out with a woman as an experiment
Maybe it was part of a game of truth or dare. Or you were both drunk and feeling like experimenting. But if you kissed a girl and you liked it, chances are you are going to like doing it more often. “I had kissed a girl and we dated for a bit in high school but everyone made it seem like I was doing that for attention from men, so I believed them. I assumed every woman saw how beautiful other women were and felt that rush when they could kiss or touch another woman because it was taboo,” says Reddit user juror94.
Sure, maybe it is bi-curiosity at work here. Or it is just how the repressed gay in you chooses to show itself now and then. It could be that you are experiencing one of the signs a woman is attracted to another woman. Either way, it is time to go out and explore and kiss a few more girls. Just to be sure, you know?
3. You love it when your partner suggests a threesome
Maybe you are with a man and you don’t really mind it. Sex is okay as long as you ignore the question of whether your needs are being met adequately. You usually get yourself off better anyway. And then, the day comes when your partner suggests teaming up with a woman and engaging in a hot, steamy threesome. And you could not be more excited. You even consider making unicorn dating a part of your lifestyle.
If you have been with men all your life, it can be hard to see and easy to ignore the female-to-female attraction signs. However, in this instance, if you find yourself focusing on the woman more than your partner and it feels like the best sex you’ve ever had, maybe it is time to consider whether you prefer men as partners after all.
4. You tend to focus on the women more in porn
We have all done it. Women are just more pleasant to watch, right? The way they move and moan is just outrageously hot. But if your entire attention is on her curves, her luscious skin, and her ruby-red mouth, well, child, this could just be a tell-tale sign of your inner gayness. Being sexually aroused by a woman is definitely one of the most telling signs a woman is attracted to another woman.
Related Reading: Top 12 Best LGBTQ Dating Apps- UPDATED LIST 2022
5. You tend to drunk make out with your female peers
Drunkenness can be the perfect excuse to let out your hidden desires. People often use alcohol to get away with doing things they would not dream of doing normally. So, for a lot of closeted, repressed, and/or confused queers who are still figuring out what type of sexuality they best fit into, alcohol ends up being the partner in crime they depend on when they really want to explore their sexuality.
Alcohol also seriously reduces your inhibitions and gives your confidence a major boost. So, if you need a shot or two in you before you can ask that hot girl you have been eyeing all night to make out with you, go for it. Just make sure you have their consent when you are engaging in these activities and don’t end up using being intoxicated as an excuse to touch someone. Also, while it is okay to sometimes use the help of liquid luck on this journey to discover your orientation, make sure to not become dependent on it.
Exploring your sexuality and coming to terms with it can be a slow, often confusing, and sometimes even emotionally distressing process. So, resorting to drinking every time you want to let the gay out may seem like the easy way out, but it can have long-term repercussions on your mental health.
Related Reading: 10 Best Lesbian Dating Apps For 2022 To Chat & Meet
6. You have had at least one hot lesbian sex dream
Dreams can be dead giveaways sometimes, if not always. Our dreams often tend to focus on everything that’s repressed and bugging our subconscious. So, if you have had at least one lesbian sex dream where you see yourself getting hot and heavy with a woman, chances are that you would like to explore that in real life too. The best way to confirm is, of course, to just go for it. Find a partner who is willing to help you sate your curiosity and experiment. You should have an answer by the end of one (or a few!) sessions.
7. You have had crushes on fictional women growing up
Did you have a raging crush on Princess Xena growing up? Did Merida, from Brave, look exceptionally charming but less in a platonic and more in an “I kinda wanna marry her” way? Or was Belle from Beauty and the Beast the one who took your breath away? Or may it was the sight of Princess Leia in her iconic golden bikini or Emma Watson as Hermione Granger that was enough to set your heart on fire.
The bottom line is if you’ve had a massive thing for one or a few such fierce (or feminine) fictional womxn growing up or still do, maybe it is time to start questioning whether these feelings were born out of awe and respect or are just good old crushes. Delving deeper into your feelings, in this case, may actually not just help you find the answer to your quandary of “Am I a lesbian?”
“I had crushes on fictional women since early childhood, but the actual relationship and sexual understanding of it didn’t really develop until puberty. But at that point, I internalized a lot of guilt over sexual thoughts in general and tried to force myself to be asexual, which failed spectacularly because that is not a choice. I started coming to terms with being a sexual creature – and then with being a gay sexual creature – around 20-ish”, says Reddit user LadyDigamma.
Related Reading: The Yin And Yang Of The Sexuality Spectrum
8. Being with men just feels wrong
Because society tends to convince us that heterosexuality is the norm, a lot of us queers can spend a considerable amount of time trying to fit in by dating people of the “opposite sex”. This means that a considerable number of gays force themselves to be in heterosexual relationships before they finally come to terms with the fact that they are, in fact, not really heterosexual.
Of course, this can cause a lot of confusion for the person in question and their partners, whether current or former and make coming out of the closet that much harder. But just because you have only dated boys in the past does not mean that you cannot be a lesbian. A lot of lesbians who discovered their sexuality after dating men in the past have claimed that they knew something was up when being with their male partners just felt wrong. Most of them could not connect emotionally with their male partners and would go through the motions during sex.
In such cases, the lack of connection and pleasure could be a good indicator that something is up. So, if you are still asking, “Am I a lesbian?”, ask yourself if being with men just feels weird. If you have never been with men in the past, try imagining the scenario. How does that make you feel? Good? Bad? Icky? Your reaction to the entire situation could be a dead giveaway here.
Reddit user archaeob says, “I remember wanting babies with a friend at age 4, telling another girl that I wish we were allowed to marry women not men in 4th grade (was then informed what gay was and why it was bad – Catholic school), being terrified in a conversation about lesbians in middle school thinking they would figure me out even though I was still completely in denial, wanting to kiss a girl when I was 14 and telling myself I couldn’t think like that, refusing to put down “interested in men” on Facebook at age 18 because it felt wrong and like a lie, and then finally admitting it to myself and coming out at age 20.”
9. You just really love boobs
First things first, not all womxn have boobs. Or vaginas. On the other hand, a lot of men do have boobs. And vaginas. That said, if the sight of breasts inevitably turns you on, there’s a chance that you’re at least a tiny bit gay for womxn (especially the ones with boobs). And, I mean, I completely get it. Boobs are pretty great. But, given the fact that gender and sex, again, are rather fluid, this may not be a great indicator of sexuality, especially if you are trying to understand whether you are a lesbian or not.
Related Reading: Sex Work And Love: A Sex Worker’s Story
10. Your female friendships border on obsessive
Sure, I don’t mean all of them. But a lot of womxn tend to get extremely attached to at least one of their female friends. Most just see it as normal feelings you would have for your bestie, especially in cases where they are yet to understand and come to terms with their sexuality. So, they will take the obvious signs of powerful, intense attraction and call it friendship. But there are some tell-tale signs that that’s not all it is.
Do you feel overly protective of your friend? Do you think none of the guys she dates deserves her? Do you develop a slight feeling of dislike toward the people she dates and get at least a little jealous and possessive of her? Do you tend to “joke” about how you would marry her if you were a guy? Well, these are some evident signs a woman has a crush on another woman. While these might not be surefire ways to tell that you have feelings for your bestie, they still should be taken into account when you are questioning your sexuality.
- The fact that you’re asking the question, “Am I a lesbian?”, is the first hint that you need to dig deeper and explore your sexuality
- From feeling attracted to your female friends to being in heterosexual relationships that just feel wrong, the signs that you’re a lesbian can sometime be extremely subtle or too complex to make sense of
- A strong sense of attraction toward another woman, sexual or romantic, is the biggest indicator of where your preferences lie
- These signs might give you some insight into your sexuality but you don’t have to put a label on yourself unless you feel ready to be out and proud. Remember, gender and sexuality are fluid concepts, so just with the flow and see where that takes you
But, in the end, whatever conclusions you reach, it is really important to have your own back throughout this journey. After all, there is no end to the questions and doubts that accompany such moments of an identity crisis. Deepak advises, “It is essential to accept yourself at every stage, even when you are questioning everything about your identity and sexuality. After all, it’s your life. If you don’t stand by yourself, then who will? Don’t be apologetic for who you are and what you want at any given moment. But, if it is clarity you need, make sure to keep a record of your own experiences and explore your sexuality without judgment, authentically and responsibly.”
Deepak says, “Of course, it is normal to question your sexuality. After all, it is impossible to know everything yourself from the very beginning. Your different experiences, the people you meet, and your growing and changing wants and desires reveal different, newer truths. Just remember to listen to your body and your heart and do it without judgment, and you will be all right.”
You could question your sexuality at any age. Deepak says, “Sometimes you get married early, and your life experiences are limited. So, the more experience you gather, the more you know about yourself and your desires.” It doesn’t matter how old you are when the realization or the questions hit. Again, it is important to accept yourself and your wants without judgment, no matter how old or young you may be when you start this journey.
No, it doesn’t. It could mean a lot of things. You could be a lesbian, yes. Or you could be bisexual or even just bicurious. Or maybe you just happened to find that particular woman attractive, or some form of media inspired that reaction in you. Whatever it may be, just remember that, like gender, sexuality is a spectrum. No one is fully straight, gay, or bisexual. A single lesbian sex dream does not have to mean anything unless you want it to. If you do, then go ahead and explore. Only pleasure lies down that road, in the end.