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Am I a Lesbian?

How do I know?

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Two young women talking
Valentin Casarsa/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Here's a question I received from a woman who wants to know if she is a lesbian or not. She is confused and wants to know: Am I a lesbian?

hi, I'm sure you get this question a lot. But I am totally confused right now. I'm 19, and attend college. I've always been in long relationships with men. I'm attracted to men, and they turn me on. But recently I met this lesbian in my class and we've been talking. When we chat I get turned on. I have never done anything with a woman, besides making out drunk. Could I be a lesbian, or is this a normal/ new experience feeling?

At some point every lesbian asks herself the question: Am I a lesbian? But many heterosexual and bisexual women ask themselves the same question and come away with a different answer. So, how do you know if you are a lesbian or if you're just curious?

If I only had a dollar for every time I've been asked this question, I would be a rich woman today! Struggling with one's sexual attractions is very common and not just with young people. I hear just as often from women who have been married 20 years or more. But at age 19, relax and give yourself time to explore your feelings.

I know many of you are looking for cut and dried ways to determine your sexual orientation. Perhaps a quiz you can take. If only it were that easy!! Unfortunately, determining your sexual orientation is not that simple. It is something that will take time and self-reflection to determine. Talking to a therapist or a lesbian coming out group may help.

Some women identify as lesbian after having feelings for one woman. Others wait to label themselves only afters years of attractions and relationships with other women. Some will remain attracted to both men and women and call themselves bisexual.

The important thing to remember is that your sexual orientation is not something you can choose. You can, however, choose to act on it or not. If you are happily married and find yourself attracted to a female friend, it might be quite alarming to discover that you are bisexual. But it does not mean that you need to act on those feelings.

Okay, having said that. How do you know if you are a lesbian or not? Consider the following:

  • Are your feelings for women stronger than your feelings for men?
  • Do you get more excited about the idea of kissing a man or kissing a woman?
  • Who do you see yourself settling down with in the future?
  • Are you more physically attracted to men's or women's bodies?
  • Who do you fantasize about more, men or women?

    Answering these questions may help you figure out what your sexual orientation is. You may be lesbian, bisexual or straight. My best advice to you is to be patient with yourself. Whereas it is empowering to label yourself, the process of being sure is much more important.

    Remember whether you are lesbian, straight or bisexual you will be most happy and fulfilled if you live a life true to yourself.

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