Tag Archives: sexual identity

Shit, am I really a lesbian?

via tumblr Curves and Confidence
via tumblr Curves and Confidence

Have you ever dived into a lake, and then barrel rolled under the water a few times until you no longer know which way’s up? That feeling of floating, spinning, twirling…when under my own volition, it feels fun and exciting to lay motionless for a moment to realize which way is up, watching my bubbles rise to the surface, guiding me to my next breath of fresh air. This was a past-time of mine as a kid, and I did it in pools or lakes or any body water big enough for me to splash around in (note: I might have unsuccessfully tried it in the bathtub).

But contrast this with being thrown from an inner tube or being knocked over by a strong ocean wave, or being tossed into the deep end by a ruthless family member. That feeling of spinning under water, with panic outweighing the fun adrenaline sense of whoa dude! You know the difference.

I fee like I’m somewhere in-between those two feelings, like walking out into the waves and feeling the sand slip away from under my feet. I’m searching, searching, searching for a label to try and pin this sticky thing of sexual identity on. I came out as NotStraight (my very eloquent dip into the other sexuality pool), and then just defaulted to saying bisexual, because whoa people didn’t quite get the whole NotStraight thing. And bisexual neatly expresses why I am, in fact, married to a man. And why, in fact, I have had boyfriends in the past. And why, in fact, I have only just had my “first” sexual experience in the lady pool (with childish “experimentation” and drunken college makeouts with ladies. Bisexual explains it…right?

So I’ve spent my free time diving into the community. Reading AutoStraddle and watching Netflix documentaries like Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, or Chely Wright’s coming out story, and in the latter I couldn’t help but feel really…convicted (to use a Christian term I grew up with) when Chely talked about having dated men, but knowing she was, in fact, a lesbian.

With Anne, we refer to each other as lesbians. And yet we’re married to men. We talk about being attracted to pretty lesbians, like Chely Wright, and yet how it’s an energy attraction that we feel. Anne has some butch lesbian friends who talk about seeing women on the street and thinking “whoa, I wanna bang that chick” (to use crass language), and she (and I) don’t resonate with that, because I see a pretty girl and think she’s beautiful and how nice it would be to brush her hair or sit and drink coffee in her presence. And yet, get me alone, with my thoughts, later, and all the fantasies come crawling out. I don’t see guys and drool over them, either, so it’s not just a lady thing.

I cannot deny that I have been incredibly attracted to a handful of men over the years. And yet, if I were to really be honest, I resonate with the word or concept of lesbian much more than I do with the concept of bisexual. I can’t quite explain it. It doesn’t make rational sense. Lesbians like ladies. Bisexuals like ladies and men. I like men and ladies. But don’t really feel like the bisexual pants fit quite right (I’m muffin topping all over the place here people!).

UGH.

Labels.

They’re so unnecessary, I know.

But I also know that sometimes before you can transcend and feel comfortable beyond and without a label, you first must embrace and living within its framework. And I feel like I’ve been thrown into that deep end and barrel rolling and trying to blow bubbles to find my way to the surface. Reframing my past in light of my present and thinking…was I just living a lie? Were those feelings for boys misplaced or influenced by a Disney fairytale culture? Am I really a lesbian?

And, if so, what does that mean?

 

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Answering questions from friends…

At work Russ came up to me this week and asked how my dating life was going. We got on the topic of non-monogamy (something he is personally struggling with, as he enters into a monogamous marriage in the next few months), and the topic of ‘rules’ came up. I divulged that Keith was allowed everything but vaginal penetration at this point, and he made the joke, “oh, so it’s okay for you to get it, but not your man?!” I can see this perspective, and find myself wanting to go down a few different trails of logic.

The first being, it’s not a forever rule. But only a few months in, I’m still adjusting to even being out (somewhat) as bisexual, let alone dating, let alone letting my husband (who has a history of…er…indiscretions be in sexual contact with others physically or via technology) is sort of a big deal. And I don’t want US (yes, US) to rush too quickly and get overwhelmed with the “negative” emotions that might rear their head.

But mostly it’s because of historically how Keith and I have viewed morals around sexuality. At 29, when we got married, he was a “virgin” (to penal-vaginal sex). His reasoning for waiting were due to religious upbringing and an overall desire to make it ‘special’ and have this intimacy not found in other sexual relationships. It was something he set up, something he adhered to, despite many many many failed attempts on my part to pre-maritally break him of the habit (because, clearly, I was not, myself, a virgin).

So forgive me if I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that 6 married years later it’s just cool to dip the stick in any oil tank around, ya know? Because after so many years of ‘dealing with it,’ I finally bought into the myth that his VIRGINITY was what equaled out specialness together, I’m not quite ready to give that up…yet. But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t, especially if he found someone who was more than just a 3 month non-committal honey…ya know?

But also…

I’m struggling as someone who is bisexual.

I have known for YEARS that there’s this part of my personality that has gone unfulfilled in a monogamous relationship with man. But I’m newer to the concept of polyamory being an orientation, and not just “dudes being dudes trying to get laid.” And also, because Keith’s sex drive has historically been WAY WAY lower than mine, I have this thought in the back of my mind like, “um, dude, if you don’t want to put out with ME four, five, six times a week, then why on earth should you get more than one lady to do the dirty with?”

I’m working on it.

But that was my reasoning, and he’s honoring where I am, right now. I know it won’t be a forever thing, but I’m not interested in him losing his second virginity (is that even a thing?) to just a random hookup. Ya know?

Ugh, though. Rules. They sorta suck and put a damper on things.

How do you go about navigating relational boundaries with your partners?