Lesbian confusion

A lesbian relative of mine married a man while she supported him financially through university. When it was her turn to go to university she decided to dump him at great financial cost to herself. At the time, she told me she couldn’t stand his immaturity, even though he was a nice enough guy. For years she remained single and then moved in with a female co-worker. After several years of that of course every one was suspicious but who would dare ask? Then she came out. She told me that her relationship with her partner was completely platonic for several years, and their coming together in a more intimate way was a complete surprise to both of them. They are very happy.

Now my wife an I don’t have many close friends, but two of our female friends have mothers who left the fathers afer the kids had left the nest to take on committed sexual relationships with other women.(one each that is)

Also, in my early 20’s I got dumped by a girl for a girl.

It seems to me that young guys have a far better handle on their sexual orientation than girls. Am I onto something here, or am I just projecting on too small a sample.

Oh,and would it be correct that lesbians are anxious for committed relationships more readily than gays, paralleling the straight community more or less.

Hmmmm…48 views and not one response.

Well let me help here:

Yes, you are projecting on too small a sample.

I would say that your anecdote points out just the opposite: that women are better at realizing (“admitting”) what they really like. Most guys, on the other hand, grow up so deeply intrenched in the anti-gay rhetoric (Spend 5 minutes in any high school in America and you’ll see what I mean) that they very determinedly refuse to ever think about it.

Personally, I’ve always felt there should be a bell curve – the majority of the population would be varying degrees of bisexual, trailing off to strict hetero- and homo- to either end. IMO, the reason that American population -isn’t- distributed that way is because of the stigma against non-heterosexuality…and most females grow up more free of that stigma than most males do. Thus, as it starts becoming less and less taboo, women would, in general, be more likely to investigate their true leanings than men would.

My two cents, anyway.

I’ve never noticed females growing up more free of that stigma.:slight_smile:

Sigh. Dingos ate my post. Here’s version 2.0, and it’s a lot shorter.


I would say flipside. I’ve noticed that girls tend to be able to deal more than guys. However, men tend to be more obvious.

Well, since I’m not female, I admit I’m on shaky ground with that comment :wink: That’s how it struck me growing up, though…the average cluster of male teens would throw out a derogatory statement or joke using the term “gay” seemingly every five minutes. I never heard any of that kind of thing from the gals :wink:

It does seem that there are more lesbians than gay men who come out after they have already reached adulthood. I have known or known of many women who did not come out until after they had already married and had children, while this seems more rare among gay men. It may be that gay men do figure things out at an earlier age. Or it may be that the men who don’t come out at a young age are so deeply closeted that they never come out at all.

I think it’s a matter of women having more options. Homosexuality is actually more common in men, so if it seems that women experiment more freely with sexual identity, it’s probably because it’s much easier for them to do. Heterosexual women are allowed engage in intimate behavior (hugging, kissing, etc.) that would be considered unacceptable for heterosexual men, so women can change sexual identities without drastically modifying the range of acceptable behavior. Men, on the other hand, are hardly allowed to embrace, much less engage in sexual activity (keep in mind I’m talking about America here). I suspect that men are much more likely to remain in the closet for this reason.

I don’t know about that. My guess is that the curve would peak somewhere between bisexuality and strict heterosexuality, with strict heterosexuality being more common than strict homosexuality. It would be interesting to see a graph of sexual orientation in males and females on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being purely homosexual and 10 being purely heterosexual (hint: this would make a fascinating web poll for those with access to CGI and a little free time).


Agree, I don’t think it’s a bell curve. That would indicate that the vast majority of people are purely bisexual, that is, favoring both sexes equally. I expect you’d find a bimodal distribution, with a larger peak in the hetero-to-bi segment of the graph than in the homo-to-bi segment.

Perhaps I should simplify to the following postulation. Lesbians who come out have more often experienced a committed relationship with a man, wheras gays predominantly know their orientation early on. That’s the way it appeared to me.


It’s called the Kinsey Scale, and it goes from zero to six. I’m sure the Kinsey Institute’s website has a distribution graph, but I don’t have a chance to look right now.


Sorry, Esprix. I recall reading that homosexuality is slightly more common in men than women, but I can’t provide a reliable source. I knew someone would catch me on this one!

I couldn’t find a graph of how people rated on the Kinsey scale, but I did find the next best thing: a Kinsey scale web poll! (In case you’re wondering, I rank myself a solid 2).

Interestingly, Felice was right about the graph being bimodal. People tend towards identifying themselves as either strictly homosexual or strictly heterosexual. Of course, the results of a web poll can probably be called into question, especially if the site hosting it caters to one sexual orientation or another.


Would you believe that I am working on a paper about this exact subject for a linguistics class? It’s about how words like “gay” and “faggot” have become insults not directly connected to homosexuality, but “dyke” (although an insult) almost always suggests homosexuality.
I have no cite for this, but I once read in a lesbian magazine (I can’t even remember the title–this was over a year ago) that most lesbians say that they lost their virginity twice–one to a man, and then later, to a woman. I think this reflects the OP’s idea that women are more likely to be in a hetrosexual relationship than gay men.

Not directly connected?? :confused: They certainly are the way I hear them used.

You’ll have to explain this one to me…

I’d tend to agree that there’s less of a stigma on being lesbian than gay.

From my experience, (not saying this is universal), men tend to find women making out a turn on, but get weirded out by men doing the same.

The whole ‘female confusion’ thing always seemed to me like part of a larger thing that is a personal theory of mine. Guys are every bit as romantic as women, but guys usually find a physical representation of it, where women tend to keep it as a more abstract idea. What I mean is that every guy over 25 I talk to feels that he has met the true love of his life sometime while he was between 16-23. There is some girl(or guy for gay dudes) that he pretty much spends the rest of his life thinking about, even though he usually goes on to love and possibly marry someone else(or someones else). And when a guy finds this love for an actual person, it is pretty damn easy to figure out if you’re gay if you’ve fallen in love with a guy. Most of the women I talk to don’t have a particular person that they met in that age range. They seem to have an abstract of the perfect person, who is a dream more or less. Since this person doesn’t actually exist, it is easier not to notice(or not to accept)that they are projecting same-sex characteristics onto the dream person.
(Sheesh, what a crappy explanation of my theory, I hope it makes sence cause I got to go back to work now.)

Non-linguist here, but I’ll take a stab …

When people call a man “gay” or a “faggot” as an insult, they are not necessarily asserting that the man is homosexual. They are simply insulting him. As a personal anecdote, growing up in my oh-so-tolerant Catholic neighborhood, “queer” was a common insult at a young age, even though I, and no doubt my friends, had absolutely no clue what a homosexual was (or what sex was).

OTOH, calling a woman a “dyke” as an insult is almost exclusively an assertion that the woman is a lesbian.

I’ve never heard of this theory before, but my first impression is that it may very well be valid.


From what I have seen, lesbians generally have much emotionally closer relationships than gay men but some gay men can have very close ones. As such when a lesbian couple separates, it’s much more emotionally uglier than a straight counterpart separation.

I’ve heard this theory countless times, but I still don’t buy it. Just because many men think it’s hot to see “two chicks goin’ at it” doesn’t mean that they are accepting of lesbianism. In fact, many of these same men are the ones who are mostly likely to be completely UNaccepting of women who genuinely do not wish to engage in any sexual acts with men or who look or act in a stereotypically “dykey” manner. The idea of “two chicks goin’ at it” generally seems to appeal to men only if they perceive the two chicks in question as being far enough down on the Kinsey scale that they would be welcoming of a man who wanted to join in. Even this doesn’t seem to be a particularly accepting view of bisexual women, since it places them in the position of being nothing more than sex objects.

I do not think that mainstream America is any more accepting of real lesbians than gay men, and possibly even less so. On another message board I once pointed out that there are precious few popular television shows or movies that feature lesbian characters. Another poster attempted to contradict me by listing off many examples of…wait for it…popular shows and movies featuring gay men! There are many problems with the way these gay men are usually portrayed in the media, but at least they’re there, not virtually invisible like lesbians.

In my experience, this is true. Every lesbian (or bisexual of about a 4 or 5 Kinsey rating) that I know can tell at least one horror story about a break-up. Lord knows I’ve got my share.