QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I'm a woman who thinks of herself as heterosexual. However, I also like to fantasize about sex with other women. Sometimes I go to lesbian clubs to flirt. This is very exciting for me but I struggle with the ethics. Am I a lesbian pretending to be heterosexual? Or am I really heterosexual? I don't want to pretend to be someone I'm not, and I don't want someone to fall for me if I'm not available. Please help me figure out what to do.

Answer

It sounds like you're struggling with two different issues. One is the question of whether you are a lesbian. The other is what to say about your sexual orientation to women you flirt with and find attractive. That is the simpler of the two issues, because it is always easiest to be honest with people. If all you want is to dance and flirt, simply turn down offers/requests for more. If you are interested in a date, go. If you want to have a one-night stand but are not interested in an emotional commitment, be clear about that.

The question of whether you are a lesbian is ultimately one that only you can answer, for you are the only one who knows what you feel. One question you might ask yourself is how strong your feelings for women are in comparison of your feelings for men. Women who are far more strongly attracted to other women often identify as lesbian or gay, while women who are far more strongly attracted to men typically identify as heterosexual. Women who are more evenly attracted to both women and men are more likely to identify as bisexual. Some people prefer not to label themselves at all. It's okay to be confused while you sort all this out.

For more information and sources of support, I suggest checking some of the sites listed in our Resources Department under Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender. Good luck to you!

3/14/98


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.

 

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