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Sexual Fluidity

Sexual Fluidity
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My first real girl crush didn’t occur until I was well into my 20s. Sure, I’d had my share of the typical and varied female relationships—female friends whom I loved like sisters, female rock stars I’d idolized, girls I deeply admired for their beauty, wit, charm, or intelligence—I’d loved many, many women in my life. But I’d never actually been turned on by one. Until recently...

  Emily, 30

Emily’s sexual awakening happened more by force than by chance. After a long-term relationship ended with a messy break-up, Emily declared she was done with men.

“I’d had it with them,” she tells me over coffee. “I was done. There were so many things they just didn’t get. I thought a woman would [understand] a woman better.”

Although she was not sexually attracted to women, Emily began frequenting a gay-friendly area of town hoping to strike up a conversation, and subsequently get a date, with a lesbian. When I questioned how she’d know who was a lesbian, she said she was looking, more or less, for “girls who looked butch.”

“It was not as easy as I thought. I learned pretty quick that just because someone likes girls, it doesn’t mean that she likes you. And even the few who were attracted to me, got turned off when they found out I’d never been with a woman. No one really wanted to get attached to someone who was straight. And I wasn’t attracted to most of them, either, so I don’t know how that would work out.”

After a few weeks, Emily met Tara. Her hair was cropped close to her head like a man’s cut—she actually gets it done at a barber shop—and she was wearing a men’s button-down shirt and baggy jeans cuffed at the hem.

“She looked more masculine than the average girl, but you could tell she was a woman. It was hot.

She was going into a book store so I followed her in and asked if she could recommend anything. I ended up buying a book that I’ve never even cracked open.” The pair clicked and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Tara knew about my history, and knew I’d never, you know, done this sort of thing before. But I really was attracted to her. It took me by surprise, actually. So we eased into things.” Emily pauses, before adding, “Slowly.”

When I asked what her first sexual experience with Tara was like, Emily blushes and smiles wide, giggling like a school girl.

“I can’t even explain it. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was, like ‘Wow.’ Amazing. Amazing.” Emily looks down and smiles to herself. I can tell she’s mentally replaying the scenario in her head.

When asked about the future—does she see herself with Tara, or women, forever— Emily is unsure but unfazed. “Who knows? I mean two years ago if you told me I’d be with a woman, I would have laughed in your face,” she says. “I don’t know what the future holds. But for right now, I’m really happy with the way things are.”

  Randall, 36

I met Randall through a friend, as he’s been dating her mom, Kate, for about a year. Although he’s considerably younger than her he’s every bit as mature and impeccably groomed in that millennial-era metrosexual kind of way. As I later learned, Randall, a therapist, had gotten out of a serious relationship with a man prior to dating Kate. We met in his office to discuss the concept of sexual fluidity, not only from his personal experience, but from what he sees in his work.

“I’ve never really seen myself as gay,” he says, “but I never ruled out the possibility of dating a guy. I didn’t have the courage to pursue a same-sex relationship though, until I was in my 20s.”

I was curious about how he decides which sex to date and when. Does he wake up one morning and think: ‘I want to date girls this month?’

“I’m attracted to the person, not to their sex,” he explains. “It’s true though, that sometimes I am more drawn, sexually, to one sex than the other.”

While confidentiality laws prevent Randall from divulging specifics about his patients’ experiences, he does tell me that he’s worked with many adults who have “always been straight but reach a point in life where they’re attracted to someone of the same sex and feel conflicted.” While he has seen some men, like himself, he admits that he sees this phenomenon “markedly more in women.”

As for me, while I still identify as straight and am in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship, I do have a definite attraction to women at this point of my life. And while the outside world may view me as straight, there is no doubt in my mind that my sexuality is flexible and fluid.

So Hayley from Paramore, if you’re reading this, give me a call. Maybe your sexuality is fluid, too, and you just don’t know it yet.

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Comments

Eventually there will come a point in time, maybe after a few dates or after a few months, when things start to heat up, and you will inevitably end up in one of each others’ sacred sleeping spots: the bedroom. When this magical time begins to play itself out, there is one important piece of information to understand: emotional escalation and physical escalation should move down the same track at the same speed.

If you realize you have an extremely strong emotional connection with a woman but the only physical contact that’s occurred is the occasional game of thumb war, then you’re on the fast track towards becoming a platonic friend. If this is the case, stop playing hand games and amp it up; there are much more fun places to put your thumb than over hers!
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04/29/2010

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