I have never been one for labels. I don’t really think ONE WORD can describe someone completely and I find this true about my sexuality as well. If I had to label myself, I would say that “lesbian” would be the closest. But again, I have issues with labels. I am attracted to women emotionally and sexually. At this point, I don’t think I would ever be with another man nor do I find myself missing a man one bit. I have never been so satisfied emotionally or sexually in my entire life. I have found someone that I can be myself with at all times. Part of that is because I decided to finally accept and love myself and part of it is that I have found the love of my life; she just happens to be a woman. However, even before Erin and I started dating, I was into her.
I do feel uneasy calling myself a lesbian because I feel like it takes away from women who have bravely loved women for years. Yes, I have fantasized about being with women for decades and had some experimentation here and there, but I never had the courage to go “all in” until 11 months ago. At the time there was no one, but I made the decision that once I started to date again, it would be with a woman. Even my ex said, during a conversation as he was moving out, “Now you can date a woman,” and I thought, that’s the plan.
I was married to a man for eleven years and only had relationships with men until several months ago. Most people just assume that would make me bisexual. I am not. At this point in my life, I can’t even imagine being with a man, ever. Yes, certain men are cute, but it’s not the same. It’s like once I decided to embrace the real me, I didn’t have to comment about men anymore. Yes, he is cute . . . or he has nice abs . . . it’s just not what I want. It’s almost as if a switch had been flipped and the fascade could fall. Historically, I thought men were cute, that’s who I am supposed to be with, but I was also very attracted to women. However, if the plan was to get married and have a family, that has to be done with a man, or at least that was my thinking fifteen years ago. So that is who I focused my energy finding. Several of the men I dated, including the one I married, knew I was into women, but not to the extent that I was/am.
I remember while I was married, I’d fantasize about a three way with another woman and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t a three way I wanted, I wanted a female partner. I would watch Big Love and think, oh, what I would give for a sister wife . . . someone to help me with the laundry, raising the kids, to talk to but what a bummer they couldn’t hook up. What I really wanted was a wife, not a sister wife.
Am I pansexual? Pansexual describes a person with the capability of attraction to others regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Up until my “switch” was flipped, I think this would’ve been the best label for me. For years, when I would teach about relationships and attraction, I would say this very thing. For me, sense of humor ranked higher than gender on a list of characteristics that were important to me in selecting a partner, but now I think that wasn’t completely true. I think it is what I would say at the time because I was married to a man but knew in the future, if given the opportunity, I would be with a woman. I don’t think I’d say this now because I am attracted to women, and don’t really think about being with a man again, so not really “capable” anymore.
The “Kinsey Scale” is a heterosexual-homosexual rating scale developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues. It was created in order to account for research findings that showed people did not fit neatly into exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories. Just like Kinsey’s team found while recording people’s sexual histories, many people’s thoughts, sexual behavior, and feelings towards the same or opposite sex were not always consistent across time. This is also true with my own sexual history. Kinsey-wise, I would say in my high school years I was probably a 2. Later in college I would have put myself as a 3. For the last decade I would say 4, maybe 5. Currently, I would say I am a 6 and if I’d have to guess what the future holds, I would hypothosize that I’d stay a 6.
I hate labels. I’ve said that before right? So instead of a label I’ll just describe myself. I am a woman who is involved in the most emotionally and sexually rewarding relationship I have even been in. I cannot imagine being with anyone else but Erin, but if something happened and we were no longer together, if I found someone else, I have no doubt it would be another woman. So, if you feel the need to label me, go for it!
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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