So You Kissed a Girl and Liked It
you might just be bisexual
My butt is hovering just inches above the white porcelain toilet seat as I prepare to pull up my pants, when from the other side of the bathroom door I hear someone seethe, “What are all of these women who are obviously not lesbians doing here anyway?”. I am bisexual.
Still bare ass, I freeze as a rush of humiliation warms my cheeks (the ones on my face). Maybe humiliation isn’t exactly the right word for what I felt at that moment. Stuck in the single bathroom stall at a lesbian dance event, I would say that the sensation was more of the “kid getting caught with her hand in the cookie jar” flavor.
I’ve identified as bisexual for most of my adolescent to adult life. When I was young, I had no words to describe my sexuality. At the time you were either gay or heterosexual, there was just nothing in between. Bisexuality wasn’t yet embraced by either camp. And being gay was a big fucking deal! Coming out stories were rare and always filled with experiences of rejection and sometimes violence. But now we know, women’s sexuality is more complex. Less black and white.
As I moved into my early adult years in college (ah the 90’s), bisexuality began to gain some recognition. The second I heard the term, I knew that that was exactly what I was. Thanks to Ani DiFranco I soon found my mentor and a million bisexual anthems, and I began to open up to friends about my interest in both boys and girls and the concept of bisexuality. My experience with girls was fairly limited, but I had no doubt about what and who I liked.
Through my early adult years, my openness about my sexuality led to constantly being accosted by my girlfriends (platonic) in bathrooms at parties. They’d want to make out to see what it was like and asked me if I thought they were really cute. Like cute, cute. Like, “would I sleep with them?” cute. It sounds funny, but it sucked. I loved my girlfriends. They were indeed cute, but only friend cute to me…and indulging them with a kiss felt gross and as exploitative of my sexuality as the boys I dated who thought dating me would earn them that coveted threesome.
As difficult as that all was, what I struggled with the most was feeling out of place in the gay community as a bisexual woman. Meeting potential boyfriends was far easier than meeting potential girlfriends, so I often was coupled with a heterosexual man making me also “appear” heterosexual to most people. Even when I wasn’t coupled with a man, most of my friends in the gay community knew I had been, and I just never quite fit in. There was always this unspoken feeling of being “not gay enough.”
The bisexual experience now and then
Fast forward 15 years. I’ve moved to Portland, Oregon where I’m surrounded by amazing, beautiful LGBTQ communities and a growing acceptance of bisexuality. I searched for fellow bisexual women and could not find them, so I created a meetup and a FB group and enjoyed a real “If you build it, they will come” experience.
I’ve got a good group of friends who are all bisexual women, living in different relationship arrangements, and open to exploring women’s sexuality and its complexities. We get together to talk about our experiences and be seen for who we are, and we adventure out together in hopes of being more visible and accepted in the queer world.
This all brings me to being frozen, with my bare ass mid-air.
Being bisexual is not easy. I’m still navigating it and what it means ladies. Bi-curious women reach out to me all of the time asking for tips on how to explore their own bisexuality…and man…it’s so hard to give them a clear answer as I am still on my own journey and just starting to explore what we know about women’s sexuality.
Here is the good news: none of us have to do it alone. I reached out to my awesome PDX Bisexual Women’s Group and gathered all of the thoughts, advice, and tips that we could to share.
If you are questioning your sexuality, considering bisexuality, or think you may be bisexual, then read on for some of the best advice I’ve found anywhere on the net, in books, or while scrolling through articles.
Note: Please note, there are other names/labels for those who identify as something other than gay, heterosexual or bisexual. For the sake of simplicity and staying authentic to my experience, I’m using, “Bisexual” in this article.
15 Tips for women exploring bisexuality
1. Girl on girl sex is THE best thing ever… once you get over the nerves, judgments and stereotypes. Best advice I can give is go into it with an open mind. Don’t judge yourself or the experience and let it unfold as it will. -Livia
2. First-time girl sex is best when you figure out what your limits are and can communicate that to your potential partner. Go into sex knowing what you are and are not willing to try. It is ok to work up to the more challenge things. – Alicia
3. For me, when exploring with a woman, the most fundamental piece was making sure I had the perfect partner. She was perfect for me because she was so patient and kind. She really enjoyed the process of “converting” me over to the “other side” LOL. – Marie
4. I think the best advice I could give is to know that lesbian sex is NOTHING like it is portrayed in porn, which is typically geared towards men and enhancing what they perceive to be sexy. It is way more sensual and gentle than anything I’ve seen on porn. – Cat
5. Something that I wish I had been prepared for was the knowledge that female on female sex can essentially last forever. It just keeps going and going because there isn’t the old paradigm of once a partner cums, the experience is done. Oh, NO ladies, we can cum over and over and over again and the sex can just continue. – Kelsy
6. I recommend remembering that although far less common, STD’s can still be exchanged and therefore that pesky sexual health history convo still needs to occur. Be smart, and proactive surrounding your own sexual health! – T.J.
7. Not all women are OK with penetration so for the love of god, please talk about that upfront before you get naked!! – Tessa
8. Don’t be afraid to use toys, not squirt guns (although making a woman squirt is so epic), but sex toys! They can really enhance and expand the whole thing. – Sylvia
9. I strongly recommend finding a partner to explore bisexuality with using an app. Picking up women is more complicated than picking up men. You can’t look at a woman and know whether or not she is interested in women, and by using an app, you can automatically be connected to other women who are. I mean maybe I’m just lazy, you can certainly give it a go, but that’s my two cents. -Parker
10. I remember public displays of affection, such as hand-holding and lip kissing were a big part of my evolution into bisexuality. I feel like taking things slowly and spending the day exploring new and sensual experiences was a very alluring activity to do with a crush. Also, taking time to be comfortable in my own skin required being patient with myself when absorbing shy and sensitive experiences with a woman I cared for; this seemed to accompany holding deep conversations long into the night. -Tawny
11. Sign up for a dating app. Or two. Or three. I recommend Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, or HER. Make a profile for yourself and look around to see what’s out there and what other women are posting about themselves.
Read bisexual articles and books. There are lots of resources out there. Check out bisexual.org.
Lastly, go to pride and have fun! -Tabby
12. For me, it was helpful finding this group. And bi brigade. Conversations over coffee and marching in pride helped me feel normal about my bisexuality as well as helped me feel proud and feel supported. I also know that not everyone lives in or around Portland where there are such communities, but find a local center for the LGBTQ community or a meetup group. Also making sure you have friends you trust as you navigate this new side of yourself or newly discovered side. For the first time in my life, I feel that what I feel and who I like isn’t wrong. – Bridget
13. First of all, embrace your own uncertainty! It’s common to hear a lot of people talk about how they were “born this way” and knew they were queer, straight, etc. since childhood. That’s great for them, but it’s also fantastic to still be exploring. The way we grow into our sexuality isn’t one-size-fits-all.
It’s also OK to not know exactly how to flirt with/chase/get chased by/date/make out with/fall in love with/cuddle/fuck someone of a different gender then you’re used to. There’s no universal advice that works because everyone is an individual who likes different things.
Next, you don’t owe anybody an explanation, but I’d consider being upfront with potential interests and trusted friends about how you’re exploring your sexuality (and bisexuality). This not only weeds out intolerant, judgmental people—whom you’ll definitely run into—but builds a community who’ll support you when things get difficult. It can also prevent folks you’re pursuing from feeling betrayed if you aren’t as interested in that group of people as you expected.*
Finally, keep in mind there are so many ways to explore your sexuality. Not only are there dating apps and bisexual / LGBTQ+ groups to check out, as everybody mentioned, but you also have queer films, books, music and other media to take in. Volunteer with queer organizations! Go to queer events! Know that certain environments are more low-pressure and inclusive of bi-curious folks than others. Ask around to find them.
If you’re confused about anything, learn as you go, talk to a trusted member of the community and/or Google it. I really like the website Autostraddle.com because they’re really nonjudgmental about bi+ issues and have inclusive tutorials on everything from signaling your bisexual orientation to others to having safer queer sex.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to be assertive with hotties who pique your interest. I realized I was bi after I asked someone intriguing out and really, really liked them.
*Though, keep in mind there could be haters who demonize you simply because you’re not into THEM as individuals. Even loud-and-proud bi+ people deal with this crap. -Emily
14. I have to admit it was hard in the beginning, 2011. All I was aware of at the time was Craigslist. Most people didn’t want to date me because I was married at the time, and they themselves were only looking for unicorns. Women scared me, I find women to be much more discerning. I also admire their authenticity, and their ability to see/accept me as I truly am. I rarely find these character traits with male potential partners. I find that they will put up with an annoying personality trait that I might exhibit rather than set a boundary, which makes it difficult to establish trust.
I often find men to only be interested in my looks, and the pleasure that my body can bring them. Fast forward to now. I belong to many alternative relationship groups and dating sites. When I find a woman that I’m interested in, whether I know if she’s bisexual or not, I simply go up to her and ask her if she’s into girls. If she is she’ll start a conversation with me, if she’s not she’ll look me at me funny. Although I’ve made many platonic friends this way. Either way, I took a risk, and more often than not it’s been a most rewarding experience. -Lollie
15. Accept you will make mistakes. Know your boundaries. Like what are you ok with, what’s off the table sexually speaking? Have an intention. Be good to people, sometimes when people experiment they will do things they wouldn’t normally do. Don’t treat people like your object. They don’t owe you anything. Be upfront and honest about it. -Andrea
With Bi-Visibility Day upon us, it’s the perfect time to consider exploring feelings and thoughts you’ve had about other women. Or, if you are a bisexual woman who is in a relationship with a man and is mistaken for being heterosexual, it’s the perfect time to start seeking ways to connect with a community that allows for visibility.
As a bisexual woman who was in a heterosexual relationship for many years, finding other bi-women to connect with has been empowering and liberating. I truly found my tribe when I began connecting with other bi-women, and since then, I’ve made some of the most supportive and best friendships I could have ever hoped for.
While it is still frightening for me to speak openly about my sexuality, I recognize how important visibility is for my emotional, sexual, and physical well being. The more I am authentic and honest about who I am in, the more liberated and empowered I feel. And an empowered woman is one who can protect herself and change the world for the better.
My wish is that every bisexual woman reading this will feel a little less alone and a little bit more seen–even if you aren’t ready to come out. Know, that there is a tribe out there waiting to accept you with open arms. #Weexist