Fluidity of Desire | Advice

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I'm a lesbian who has only dated women, but lately I've been attracted to a man who I work with, I just feel something different with him that I haven’t felt before with other men. Does this mean I'm not really a lesbian? Does this mean I’m bisexual? I’m so confused about my sexuality.

First, take a deep breath. Your experience is more common than you might think, and it doesn't invalidate your identity or your past. Sexuality is a complex, multifaceted aspect of human experience, and sometimes it can surprise us. Let's unpack this together.

You've identified as a lesbian and have exclusively dated women, which speaks to a strong and valid part of your identity. Now, finding yourself attracted to a man has understandably thrown you for a loop. It's natural to question yourself, but I want to reassure you: this doesn't necessarily mean you're "not really a lesbian." Instead, it might be an opportunity to explore the concept of sexual fluidity.

Dr. Lisa Diamond, a pioneering researcher in this field, introduced the theory of sexual fluidity in her groundbreaking book, "Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire." She argues that for some people, especially women, sexual orientation can be fluid – changing over time in ways that may surprise us. This doesn't mean that sexual orientation is a "choice," but rather that our capacities for attraction are more complex and dynamic than fixed labels sometimes allow for.

Diamond's research showed that it's not uncommon for women who identify as lesbian to experience attraction to men at some points in their lives. Similarly, some straight-identified women may find themselves drawn to other women. These shifts don't erase or invalidate previous experiences or self-understandings. Instead, they highlight the rich diversity of human sexuality.

It's crucial to understand that experiencing attraction outside your usual pattern doesn't mean your lesbian identity was "wrong" or "fake." You're not confused; you're human. Our hearts and bodies sometimes lead us in unexpected directions, and that's okay. What matters most is how you feel about yourself and what makes you comfortable.

Some people, when faced with experiences like yours, choose to adopt labels like "bisexual," "pansexual," or "queer" to reflect a broader range of attractions. Others stick with "lesbian" because it still feels most true to their overall experience and community. There's no right or wrong here – only what feels authentic to you.

Remember, too, that attraction doesn't always equal action or identity. Being attracted to someone doesn't obligate you to pursue a relationship or change how you see yourself. You get to decide what this means for you and how (or if) you want to act on it.

It's also worth considering that our attractions can sometimes be influenced by emotional factors beyond just gender. Maybe this particular man has qualities that resonate with you in a unique way. Perhaps you're drawn to his energy, his mind, or how he makes you feel seen. Attraction is often about the individual, not just their gender.

I hear the distress in your words – "I'm so confused about my sexuality." It's uncomfortable when our self-concept is challenged. But I invite you to reframe this: you're not confused. You're exploring. You're growing. You're experiencing the beautiful, sometimes messy reality of being human.

In times like these, it can be incredibly helpful to connect with others who understand. You're not alone in this experience, and there's a wealth of community wisdom out there. 

The Erotic Intimacy Academy is hosting a webinar called "Unlabeled Desires: A Deep Dive into Gender and Orientation." This event is an exploration of human sexuality and identity, designed for everyone, regardless of how you identify – straight, LGBTQ, or ally. It's not just about labels and definitions; it's an invitation to understand the fluidity and diversity of erotic experiences.

I think this webinar could be enlightening for you, offering perspectives and stories that might resonate with your current journey. It's a chance to see your experience reflected in a larger context and perhaps find some peace with the uncertainties you're feeling. If you're interested, you can register on their website at www.eroticacademy.net.

Above all, be gentle with yourself. Your attraction to this man doesn't erase your history, your community, or your truth. You are valid. Your experiences are valid. And you have the power to define yourself in whatever way feels right. Embrace the journey of self-discovery, knowing that the only label that truly matters is the one you choose for yourself.

Queerly Beloved is an expertly curated column dedicated to the world of LGBTQ sex, intimacy and relationships that provides education, insights and actionable tips for the reader to enhance their pleasure journey. This column from Kelly Ghweinem, LCSW, will answer questions and provide advice to readers to deepen intimate connections, elevate pleasurable experiences, and empower people. Ghweinem is an established queer-affirming therapist and business owner who champions the LGBTQ+ community through activism and advocacy utilizing a queer, feminist, anti-racist lens. A University at Buffalo graduate, Kelly came to Fort Lauderdale from Manhattan in 2022.

For more information on their practice, visit www.velvetcollective.org.

The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.


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