April 28, 2016

Fighting my Own Gay Revolution: Adventures of a First-Time Lesbian in a Sexually Fluid World.

Julia Manzerova/ Flickr

I left her apartment overwhelmed with excitement.

Not just the normal, giggly excitement I’m used to after spending the night with a guy. There was this quality of lightness, of full-heartedness. Normally this sexual excitement is paired with a subtle voice of shame, a light trickle of anxiety.

Not this time. This time the only voice I could hear was a strong declaration of “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

I get in the car and text my roommates: “Guys, vaginas are awesome!”

awe·some /ˈôsəm/


1.      extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.

Adding an “and” felt like a more accurate description though:

“extremely impressive and daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, and fear.

It’s like when you show up for the first day of class and as the teacher begins, you feel a creeping anxiety and confusion. Like this class is totally different than what you thought and you don’t know what anyone is talking about. And then you realize that you were just in the wrong classroom—and you feel a sense of relief that you don’t have to deal with this confusion all semester.

Dating had always felt like walking into that first class. My sexual experience existed on a spectrum where being straight wasn’t uncomfortable enough for me to cast it away, so I cast myself as someone who didn’t do relationships well. I came off very empowered in dating, but it always felt like an active effort to appear that way. I engaged in a lot of self help, counseling and journaling. I never considered that the problem might not be me, but my orientation, the power dynamics of heterosexuality and the isolation of heteronormative culture.

I was just in the wrong class. And now I want a f*cking coming out parade.

Instead of remaining empowered, I’ve watched myself shift into closeted-ness, excusing my new gayness as lame in comparison to real lesbians. The other night, I came home from a really good date with a hot guy and couldn’t stop crying. It had felt so empowering to find that I like women, but it was restrictive and scary to find that I no longer liked men.

I was grieving the loss of my straight self, without having yet sunk into my gay skin.

“Well this doesn’t have to be forever. Your sexual identity is fluid and you can change your mind whenever you want.” This consolation is the opposite of what I want to hear. I don’t want the openness to change my mind. I want to be completely, conformingly gay. I want to dive head-first into the Gay Box, lock myself in it, make a little nest of it, cuddle up in the restrictive warmth of Category.

In our beautifully progressive world of spectrum, open-ended, nonconforming, fluid sexuality and gender, I feel my gay internal revolution falling a bit flat.

I’ve had sex with one woman, been on dates with a few and I do not feel worthy. Coming out, to gay women in particular, is the most vulnerable. I do not feel good enough for entrance into the amorphous Lesbian Community. This Association of Lesbians, in my mind, sit around the Lesbian Round Table with a large stack of Lesbian applicants, idly chatting and casting “yea” or “nay” votes upon young, eager Lesbian wannabes. My application falls lightly to the ground, trampled and forgotten. It is accidentally recycled by the janitor, never to be read by the Lesbian Elders.

I’ve read a lot of coming out articles in the last couple of months. It’s reassuring to see that I’m not the only one whose coming out is a slow, creeping thing. It’s like a case of orientation amnesia—I’m walking down the street and suddenly remember that my first kiss was with a girl. I’m sipping my coffee and it registers that I could never fantasize about guys, only women. These are just some examples from a super-long list of times my gayness was inviting me to open my eyes, and I continued to fumble blindly through heteronormativity.

It has been there the whole time, waiting for me.

Even though I feel dumb writing this, I do it because of a desperate need for community, belonging, validation. Even now, I don’t feel empowered. I feel a double-dose of nervousness about coming out, about not being “lesbian enough.”

So I turn to the internet to let others who feel this way know that I hear them. If they’re not quite brave enough to speak up and approach the cute gay chick at the party, maybe they’ll be brave enough to google “first time lesbian,” weed through the porn and find this post.

And maybe we can gently push through the fear and doubt and be who we want to be—together.

Author: Emma Craig

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: Julia Manzerova/Flickr

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Emma Craig