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Am I a Lesbian? Masterdoc

Am I a Lesbian? What is Compulsory Heterosexuality? How do I know if I’m a lesbian? Exploration of how societal conditioning can lead lesbians to have conflicting feelings and attraction toward men

gender, sex, LGBT

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Am I a Lesbian?


What is Compulsory Heterosexuality?

How do I know if I’m a lesbian?

But I like fictional men/male celebrities..

But I think I’ve Liked men before?

Conflicting Feelings About Men

Signs of Compulsory Heterosexuality

‘Attraction’ to men

Relationships with men

Sex and Intimacy with men

Early interest in women

The ‘straight’ version of you

Exploring attraction to women

Gender Feelings

Considering lesbianism

Attraction VS. Compulsory Heterosexuality

Nervousness and Blushing

Hypothetical Attraction

Sexual Fantasies

You might be a lesbian if TL;DR

Conclusion

What is Compulsory Heterosexuality?

“Compulsory” is the opposite of “optional”. “Compulsory heterosexuality” is exactly what it sounds like - being straight is something our culture tries to force on us.

It affects people of every gender, but it’s mostly been studied as something that affects women. This is because compulsory heterosexuality easily ties in with the misogyny that causes women’s sexualities and even identities to be defined by our relationships with men.

Women are taught from a very early age that making men happy is our job. We’re supposed to be pretty for men, we’re supposed to change the way we talk so men will take us more seriously, we’re supposed to want a man’s love more than anything else. Our magazines are full of sex tips on how to better please men, our movies are about how we’re supposed to fall in love with men. We literally cannot exist in public without men loudly grading us on how well we’re pleasing them visually.

So… what happens if you want to be with women? What happens if you’re not attracted to men at all? When you’re trained from childhood to see romantic/sexual relationships with men - and only men - as major life goals, how do you separate that from what you want?

Compulsory heterosexuality is the voice in my head that says I must really be het even when I’m in love with a woman. Compulsory heterosexuality is what forces lesbians to struggle through learning the difference between what you’ve been taught you want (being with men) and what you do want (being with women), which is why so many lesbians have dated men at some point.

Compulsory heterosexuality is very similar to heteronormativity - the assumption that straight is the default. We’re trained from birth to believe that we will find someone of the other binary gender, fall in love, have sex, etc. In a million tiny ways we’re taught that only relationships with the other binary gender are valid. (And if you’re not one of the binary genders, this can be even more confusing.)

Compulsory heterosexuality is built into you from the moment you’re born into this time and place, and it takes a long time to dismantle it.





How do I know if I’m a lesbian?

If you’re questioning if you’re a lesbian, it's way more important to ask yourself if you can be truthfully happy with a man than if you’re attracted to them. Ask yourself if you can have healthy fulfilling relationships with men and actually wanna be with them. You can be attracted to men or not know if you are because of compulsory heterosexuality and it doesn't mean you want to be with them. Attraction is supposed to feel good. If being in relationships with men isn’t appealing to you, if you can’t truly see yourself ending up happy in relationships with men, or if your attraction to men makes you uncomfortable, you may be a lesbian. Lesbian isn’t a dirty word and being a lesbian is beautiful.

Many lesbians STILL struggle with compulsory heterosexuality even when they know they don’t want men. If you love women but feel fake about it, just remember that those feelings are the product of a patriarchal society which has conditioned you to believe the false idea that you are defined by your ties to men. this can be really difficult to remember at times, and it might take you a while before you can fully love women without feeling like you’re somehow “wrong”, but just know that there are a million other women who are in the same boat as you are, meaning that this is a problem with society and not with you.



But I like fictional men/male celebrities..

Lesbians are allowed to like male celebrities and fictional characters. it’s usually a symptom of compulsory heterosexuality—male celebrities/fictional characters are completely unobtainable crushes and thus it allows the lesbian in question to distance themselves from men. Because it’s impossible to ever be with that person, they get to avoid the romance and intimacy, which is usually something that girls can recognize that they don’t want with men but can’t exactly place why or what it means. Even if the attraction to male celebrities/fictional characters is NOT an effect of compulsory heterosexuality (which would be really hard to figure out), it’s not fair that straight women can have “girl crushes” and straight men can have “man crushes” without anyone telling them they can’t be/aren’t straight anymore, so the reverse should not be applied to lesbians.

But I think I’ve Liked men before?

You can identify as a lesbian if you’ve liked men in the past but no longer are attracted to men or want to pursue relationships with them. lots of lesbians have dated or had genuine relationships with men before realizing they were lesbians, and that doesn’t make them any less of a lesbian. If you don’t care about men or would no longer like to me with them, you can be a lesbian now. It’s a “now” identity - it matters how you feel now! you’re not interested in men, so you can ID as lesbian regardless of how you’ve felt in the past. if you ID as lesbian now, and then meet a man and fall for him, it would be wrong to call yourself a lesbian but having a relationship with a man in the past doesn’t mean you can’t be a lesbian now.



Many lesbians have previously liked men at some point in their lives before realizing they are lesbians. Now a common misconception is also that everyone is born knowing they are gay and that’s not necessarily true. It can be because of both nature AND nurture. If you have had terrible experiences with men and now would like to no longer date them because you don’t see yourself being truly happy with a man and would only like to date women, you can be a lesbian too. It’s okay to try on the lesbian identity and see how it fits you because many lesbians were unsure of how they felt about men until they identified as lesbians. This helped them realize how much of what they felt for men was actually compulsory heterosexuality over time.

If you think you feel attraction towards men but don’t want to date or be with them and instead want to date and be with women, then you CAN be a lesbian. Lesbian doesn’t need to mean “only experiences attraction to women”, it can mean “only feels comfortable, only prefers, and only prioritizes women & relationships with them”. Many lesbians have found out this way that their “attraction” to men was in fact compulsory heterosexuality.

Attraction is super complicated. It’s possible to recognize a man IS attractive but not be attracted TO him. Attraction is often coerced by societal conditioning and some lesbians have hypothetical attraction to men due to compulsory heterosexuality. But we don’t want to actually date or have sex with a man ever. Allowing people to identify based on where they are willing to put their romantic and sexual energy is more powerful and gives people agency.

Conflicting Feelings About Men

You can really, genuinely have warm, positive, strong feelings towards men and they can still be compulsory heterosexuality. Compulsory heterosexuality is the assumption that any feelings that you have towards a man MUST be attraction because society talks all the time about hetero love and attraction so when you feel something towards a man you think “oh, this must be what it’s like”. Then as part of “discovering your sexuality” you try to find ways that you find men attractive. You think “i’m not attracted to physical appearance, only personalities” or “i only like feminine men” or you find ways to make yourself aroused by men by imagining them in all kinds of unusual scenarios until you hit one that appeals to you

Then when you can’t follow through with this ‘attraction’ in real life scenarios when you have a chance to have a romantic/sexual relationship with a man you assume that’s it’s some broken part of you that’s stopping you, or some quirk of your personality, or a circumstance of your life (”i have high standards” or “i only like older men” or “i have some incredibly obscure made-up sexuality where i only like men until they like me back”), and you explain away why you’re unable to find an attainable man in real life who you’re attracted to.

This is something that’s really difficult to recognise because in the process of figuring out your sexuality you question how you feel and you come back with “well i definitely have strong feelings for men” and assume you’re straight or bisexual. But another important thing to question is “have i correctly labelled and understood what this feeling is and am i certain that it’s actually attraction”

Society puts so much emphasis on the importance and intensity of heterosexual love and attraction that it’s important to actively remind yourself that it’s possible to love someone and have a deep interest in them without having romantic or sexual feelings towards them (especially if that love comes along with another intense interest, like your feelings towards a fictional man in a tv show you love).

Signs of Compulsory Heterosexuality

If you relate to or identify with a lot of these things, I’d say it’s worth an investigation into why so many of these things resonate with you. Is it because you have a specific taste in men or because society has conditioned you to want this? Is it because you have bad experiences with men related to trauma or because these kinds of desires have been i

Am I a Lesbian? Masterdoc
Info
Tags Gender, Sex, LGBT
Type Google Doc
Published 21/10/2020, 01:15:03

Resources

DEFINING BISEXUALITY
Pride Guide
Sapphic Couples in TV Shows MasterDoc
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/5dzd3k/am-i-a-lesbian-tumblr-google-doc-internet-canon
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8475881/Viral-30-page-Google-Doc-lesbianism-turns-guide-women-questioning-sexuality.html