How I Realized I Was Ready To Have Sex With Other Women

Despite society's need to label people as "gay" or "straight," sexual orientation is a spectrum. But coming to terms with a sexuality that falls somewhere between those two labels can be confusing (just ask Katy Perry or Stranger Things' Shannon Purser). If you're a woman who has predominantly dated men, but you're experiencing feelings of attraction or romantic love for other women, how do you know when it's time to take the plunge?
Biphobia, a prejudice against bisexual people, is real. So it's important to realize that everyone who is bicurious has the right to explore, discover, and claim their sexuality — no matter what part of the gray area it falls into. "If you've mostly dated cisgender men but can't stop thinking about what it would be like to have sex with someone femme of center, you can never know whether it will be a good fit for you until you explore it," says Liz Powell, PsyD, an LGBTQ-friendly sex educator, coach, and licensed psychologist.
I identify as queer and bisexual. Until my early 20's, I had only dated men, though I had made out with other women. Shortly before my 22nd birthday, I finally went on some real dates with another woman and had sex (and liked it). Remember, in the queer community, sex isn't as strictly defined. That means that exploring your bisexuality can involve a range of activities, depending on your comfort level.
"A lot of folks coming from mainstream culture think of 'sex' as penetrative intercourse — a penis going into a hole. So when two people with vulvas are having sex, I think a lot of folks don't understand how that works since there's no penis. They may think that women can't have sex or that the sex isn't satisfying," Dr. Powell recently told me. If you ask me, if two (or more) people are getting together with the goal of sexual pleasure and getting off, it's sex.
Of course, knowing when you're ready to try sex with another woman is a personal decision. But here are some signs that tipped me off that I was ready.
1 of 4
Other women turned me on.

This may sound obvious, but in my case, I had to stop ignoring the fact that I had a physical reaction of arousal to certain women. If you notice you're turned on by other women and flooded with sexy thoughts about what you'd want to do with them (or one in particular), it's probably a sign that you're indeed attracted to women and should try going on dates and hooking up with them, says Mal Harrison, sexologist and director of the Center for Erotic Intelligence.

However, when it comes to erotic imagery (like lesbian porn), Harrison says that the answer isn't always clear cut. Meaning: Just because two women having sex arouses you, that doesn't mean you actually want to try it yourself. Studies suggest it's not uncommon for women of all orientations to get turned on by seeing other women have sex with each other. While this confirms the fluidity of arousal, it doesn't prove that all straight-identifying women who enjoy lesbian porn have a desire to have sex with women, or would even enjoy it if they did.

Sound confusing? Trust your instincts. More than likely, you're self-aware enough to know the difference between being turned on by visual imagery and a desire to actually experience what you're seeing. "And if you're not sure, keep exploring the idea until you are," Harrison says.
2 of 4
I explored and enjoyed it.

Before you sleep with another woman, try safely exploring how you feel around sex between women. While I jumped right into it, I was well aware that I was not straight. However, for those still trying to figure it out, watching real-life sex between women in safe, sex positive environments may help you gauge your sexuality.

Harrison recommends checking out Skirt Club, an all-female play party for women of all orientations, since it's a safe place to explore (you can find these events across the globe in cities like London, New York, Berlin, Chicago, and Los Angeles). I attended Skirt Club, and I loved it and had one of the best orgasms of my life. While there was sex present, from oral to strap-ons, plenty of people simply kissed during spin the bottle or hung out in a hot tub filled with other naked ladies. I'm a fan of Skirt Club because everyone is there for sex or curiosity, so it's very honest.

Important: When sleeping with women for the first time, keep in mind that others may have no interest in being your experiment. If events like Skirt Club aren't available to you, you could try hooking up with a friend who is also exploring their sexuality or changing your Tinder settings so that you can start talking with women you're sexually interested in. However, if you've never slept with a woman before, always be open and honest about what you're looking for so the other person knows where you're at. "Don't be afraid to admit that you're looking to explore your first experiences with someone," Harrison says.

That said, when you're exploring, it's also important that you're mindful of the language you use. "Talking about this exploration as 'experimenting' or 'trying it out' could make someone you're talking to feel more like a sex toy than a person. Remember that whomever you explore with is as real and valid a person as you are, and be sure that you're considering their wants and needs," Dr. Powell says. "Most of us who are queer have been someone's sexual sherpa, and while we may be into that sometimes, we certainly aren't always in that space."
3 of 4
If I had waited any longer, my vagina might have exploded.

When you're so hungry that all you can think about is food, and you're pretty sure you're going to pass out if you don't eat, you know it's time to eat. The same goes for having sex with other women. During some of my first sexual experiences with other women, my clitoris really did feel as if it was exploding (orgasmically, that is). The anticipation was so arousing that when I got to actually do it, mere touch made me come. As Harrison says, the surest sign you're ready to have sex with other women is when you're on fire to do it.

There's no need to explode, though. Just change your Tinder settings, be honest, and ask a woman out.
4 of 4
I stopped giving a fuck.

I remember being a little girl and being terrified I was a lesbian (because I found girls attractive), and that meant that God would hate me — this was probably around the time my grandmother told me about God. I was also confused, because I knew I had crushes on boys at school. During high school and college, I lived in the South and felt nervous about what would happen if I told friends and boyfriends that I was also attracted to women. For me, it took moving to New York City to truly stop giving a fuck about exploring my sexuality. I told my ex-boyfriend and friends that I was bisexual and would be dating women, as well as men. And I went on OkCupid and began doing so.

When you come out and how you do it is a personal decision. Certainly, plenty of people have sex with people of the same gender on the down low (although I'd say it's important to at least be honest with your sexual partners about your level of secrecy). However, when your desire to be yourself outweighs the fear of what others may think, based on my experience, you're probably ready to enjoy sex with other women without the burden of judgement or guilt.

One last thing: You may have sex with another woman, not enjoy it, and realize you're straight. While going for it confirmed my queerness, I have a friend who succinctly said: "So I tried eating pussy. It turns out, it's not for me." Both experiences are totally valid.

P.S. God loves you either way.

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