Apologies if this turns into my life story….
I am a 23 year-old woman. Growing up, I remember having very intense feelings for guys – wanting to cuddle with them, kiss them, possibly even sleep with them. I would meet a boy and not be able to get him out of my mind. Sex wasn’t my primary interest, but I don’t know if most girls dream about sleeping with their boyfriend so much as being with them. I recognized girls as attractive, but never felt any romantic feelings toward them. I wanted friendship and friendship only. So, I grew up thinking myself as a smidge bisexual insomuch as that I didn’t think girls were unattractive, but was primarily interested in boys.
I should mention that I’ve never slept with a man – or a woman, for that matter. I’ve never been kissed either. I’m very shy and the more I move away from my teen years, the more I feel like I’m sexually immature and therefore of no interest for people my age. So I have some hang ups about working up the courage to have sex. But I still always imagined I would sleep with men.
Recently, I moved countries and started a course that is dominated by women. I was infatuated with one of the boys for a few months but he found someone else and I moved on. I saw the other women in my course as attractive but I wasn’t interested in sleeping with any other them, and I certain never felt any of those intense ‘crush’ feelings for any of them. I haven’t felt any intense interest in anyone for well over a year, but then again I don’t meet many new people.
A few months ago, I noticed that I started to get turned on by women. Any woman, actually, even if I didn’t like her as a person or only knew her casually. The more I got to know anyone, the less I thought of them sexually and the more I thought of them as friends. I should mention that I used to watch porn pretty regularly, and I would watch all sorts – gay, ‘lesbian’ (aka made for straight guys) and hetero, and I liked it all. There were sorts of things I liked to watch that I had no interest in ever trying in ‘real life’. I had fantasy and reality pretty well separated. I got turned on by women in porn but didn’t want to actually sleep with a woman myself. So when I started getting turned out by chicks, it felt strange. I was confused – which is something I thought I would have left behind in my teenage years. I sought advice online and read a comment in response to a 16 yo girl questioning her own sexuality, in which a guy said that if she was turned on by women and fantasized about having a boyfriend more than sleeping with guys, she was probably a lesbian.
This really bothered me. I liked the idea of finding a guy I felt close to and having a relationship and growing sexually. Sex was not my primary interest in guys, but I found male bodies attractive and even erotic in some contexts, and would like to try sex at some point. But I look at women and get turned on more physically, even if I’ve never felt any special emotional attachment. I didn’t like the idea of acting on sexual attraction without emotional attraction, but that seemed to be what this guy was suggesting.
In my head was planted a rather obnoxious seed of doubt. Now I’m second guessing myself on everything. Am I really attracted physically to guys? Was I just lying to myself about that to feel ‘normal’? Do most self-defined straight women walk around constantly aroused by men don’t have any sexual feelings about women? Should I feel that way if I’m truly interested in men? What if what I thought were romantic feelings aren’t? Maybe friendship and love have been mixed up? Maybe it’s normal to want to sleep with someone and get to know him/her later? Maybe I could actually fall in love with a woman if I forced myself? Do I have a mental block about loving women? I always thought of myself as open-minded. Maybe I’ve never been with a guy because subconsciously I’m not interested in the idea?
Now, simply walking down the street has become a mental chore. I am constantly looking at women and imagining having sex with them, but that emotional aspect isn’t there and I feel hollow inside. I told myself to get over it and accept that I’m probably more of a lesbian, but I can’t imagine being in a *relationship* with any women. Still, I fear that I can’t imagine it because I’m afraid it might be so – but then again, it would be so much easier if I did feel that connection! At least then I would know with whom I want to be. Now I feel like I have to pick sex or emotional connection, but I can’t have both.
When I look at guys, I panic that I don’t like them the ‘correct’ way. If I see a guy I’m not attracted to, I’m worried that I should be attracted to him in the same way I am for women. I am hugely confused, because I feel overly aroused around women and panic that I’ve lost the emotional connection with guys. I don’t find guys visually erotic but definitely (used to) like the idea of being with them.
I feel like it used to be so much easier. I didn’t question myself and thought the way I felt about guys was the way other women would feel about guys. Now I am (a) constantly aroused, more than I ever felt before this mess, because I’m looking at each woman sexually and (b) unable to connect with either sex. I told myself to follow romance rather than sex, but again I get The Big Panic when I talk to guys, because I wonder if I would like to sleep with them or am only lying to myself.
I don’t know exactly what answer I’m looking for here. I don’t necessarily want a label, but I’m afraid that I may deny myself happiness if I sleep with men and likewise if I sleep with women. Am I going to be happier having a physical relationship with a woman and maybe someday loving her, or happier having a slightly less physical relationship with a man that I’m ‘in love’ with? Not that anyone can give me an answer, but I guess I’d like to know what people think.