I’m Attracted To Women, But Why Aren’t They Attracted To Me?

When I first realised that I found women sexy, it caught me by surprise.
I was nineteen, living in a five-person share house in Adelaide, and one of my housemates had invited a group of friends over. One was a woman with pink bangs and cool clothes and I felt an immediate draw towards her — as though I really wanted to be close to her and talk to her. And, as we talked, I noticed that her eyes kept lingering on my lips.
We were having really playful banter and throughout it all, she’d be looking from my eyes to my lips and then back to my eyes.
Recently, thanks to TikTok, I’ve learnt that’s called the triangle method. When someone looks at one of your eyes, then down to your mouth and then back to your other eye — in the shape of a triangle — it’s a signal that they want to kiss you. And while TikTok frames it as a technique to try on your crush, I think it’s something we already subconsciously do. 
When this woman looked at my mouth, it stirred something inside of me that veered away from just vibing with a new friend. It felt a lot like sexual tension — something I’d only felt with men at that time. It took me a while to realise why I enjoyed talking to her and looking at her and being near her so much.
Through my experiences with other women, I’ve learnt that I have the capacity to find a whole range of people sexy. I’ve realised that I don’t really care about gender or looks. For a while, I considered myself bisexual and now I’d probably lean more towards pansexuality because I don’t think my horniness towards other people is bound to any specific gender. I just find people sexy and I want to kiss those people, no matter how they identify.
But more recently, as a single and femme-presenting woman, I’ve started to notice that women never hit on me

I don’t like to be performative with my queerness. It’s something I feel protective over, something I’m still figuring out.

Laura Roscioli
I often have instances where it’s clear that a man finds me attractive and then we eventually kiss and it feels easy. And, while I love men — I can’t help but be aware that the same interactions with women don’t happen as naturally. 
It can’t be because I don’t find women as attractive as men, because I do. There’s something about women, or femininity in general, that turns me on in a completely different way. I love the softness of women, the sensibility and the understanding of each others’ bodies. I find it so fascinating that we can know each other so intrinsically, and yet, not know how to hit on one another. “Women — especially gay women —  are scared of being seen as predatory or creepy,” my lesbian friend (and my ex) Chelsea hypothesises.
We’re taught that lesbians can be quite intense, she says. It’s this toxic stereotype that lesbians are butch and super forward, and not all of us want to fit into that; so we’d often rather observe from afar.
“We can find someone hot and just acknowledge it and leave it. We don’t have that same entitlement that men sometimes have, where it’s like ‘I want it, so I’ve got to — or I deserve to — have it’,” she says.
I feel like this is true of most of my queer experiences. Often, if a woman finds me beautiful, I kind of sense that they do but never really know.
The last time a woman hit on me was via Instagram DMs. I was out to dinner with friends and she served our table. I could sense a vibe; that same magnetism I felt with the woman at my share house. But I couldn’t get a proper read on the situation, so, I crushed on her from afar.
Later, she messaged me on Instagram saying I was the most beautiful woman she’d ever seen and we agreed to have a drink. We were both doing the thing that Chelsea said queer women are inclined to do; admiring each other from afar, but not wanting to make assumptions.
And while that’s wholesome and lovely and respectful, it can be quite frustrating too. Because I want women to find me beautiful and to tell me that. I want to go on dates with women and kiss women and experience what it feels like to be sexually desired openly by a woman. I find women sexy, and I feel a little confused as to why my encounters don’t reflect that.
“It’s not you,” Chelseas assures me. “Women just feel less entitled to your space, so they won’t just approach you.”
She explains that most gay or queer women meet their lovers and partners through friends, acquaintances, the community or the apps, to avoid the guessing game. 
But what if I don’t want to go on the apps? Do I need to present more queer? Do I need to do the hitting-on?
Chelsea says I need to be more obvious. If I see or meet a femme I find attractive, I should show them my interest by giving them prolonged eye contact, dropping into conversation that I have a female ex, talking about my queerness in general, or even just straight up tell them I find them attractive.
She asks me if I ever go to queer spaces. And the answer is, not really. I’ve been to gay bars and WLW events before, but have personally found them to be intimidating. I don’t like to be performative with my queerness. It’s something I feel protective over, something I’m still figuring out, something that feels sacred and special and just for me. And just generally, I don’t feel comfortable in environments where people expect me to behave in a sexual way. 
Chelsea assures me that some queer spaces are super chill, so maybe it’s just the ones I’ve experienced. But being in a gay bar or at a WLW event for me meant feeling like I had to be physically intimate with at least one woman there, and I didn’t feel sexy under that pressure. 

While the cues between men and women are basically written in a script for us, those things don’t come as naturally to me in WLW scenarios — because I just haven’t seen it. 

Laura Roscioli
It’s important to note that open queerness in our society is still an extremely new thing. I often forget this, living in Melbourne’s inner north where I’m surrounded by open-minded people in my daily life. It’s easy to forget that same-sex marriage wasn’t even legal in Australia until 2017. 
It’s also easy to forget that, growing up, in school and our family’s social circle, I wasn’t surrounded by queer people. My parents had a few gay friends, but they were men. I didn’t meet a queer woman until around the same time I met the woman with pink hair at 19.
Not only was I not surrounded by queerness, I also wasn’t taught anything about it. I think that a lot of learning happens through observation —  just having queerness around would’ve helped — but it was never even a conversation. Sure, I watched The L Word like a secret under the covers at night, so I knew that lesbians existed and that I liked to watch them kiss, but you can’t really learn much from a queer TV show. Especially when there are no open WLW people around to experiment with. 
It goes without saying that women haven’t been taught to date other women so, for many of us who are still finding our way, it’s something we’re all just fumbling through. While the cues between men and women are basically written in a script for us — touch their arm, give them a compliment, ask to hang out, kiss them — those things don’t come as naturally to me in WLW scenarios because I just haven’t seen it. 
But maybe Chelsea is right, and I do just need to be more obvious. Part of me feels that I might still be carrying around a bit of shame surrounding my sexuality. Although I don’t feel it consciously, there is something niggling inside of me that feels uncomfortable about being obviously queer
So, I’ve devised a plan. 
I’m going to go on a dating app and set my preferences to just women, and see what happens. Chat to my therapist about being into women but not wanting to be obvious about it. (I’m sure there’s deeply ingrained stuff to be unpacked there.) The next time I feel attracted to a woman, I’m going to let her know. I’ll make an effort to put myself into more queer spaces.
“We can go together,” Chelsea says.
There’s something very The L Word about this scenario — me going to a queer space with an ex because I feel more comfortable with her than going alone — but I’m into it. She says that most people she’s kissed and dated have been either via apps, friends or exes. 
So maybe this will be the start of the new me. The me who identifies with being queer in a more active way. The me who finds women beautiful and feels comfortable telling them that. And, in turn, is told. 
After all, I think I just want to feel as though I’m connected to my sexuality. And given we live in a world where it’s only recently okay to deviate from heterosexuality, it’s okay that it’s still a work in progress.
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