Q: Is it possible for a heterosexual woman to become a lesbian?
A: Short answer? No, yes, and maybe.
The long answer?
No. A heterosexual woman who defines herself as a heterosexual woman and is not interested in women the same way she is interested in men is not going to turn into a lesbian. Her sexual interests, her romantic interests are all about men. Because she is a heterosexual woman it means she is not a homosexual woman, a woman who’s sexual and romantic interests are all about other women. Ergo, she will not become a lesbian.
Yes. Some women start out their romantic, sexual life as heterosexual, only to learn along the way that they are not heterosexual at all, that their sexual and romantic feelings are toward other women and in time, they cease to be heterosexual and become lesbians because they are lesbians. Sometimes this happens when they are in high school or in college, or later out in the working world. Sometimes this happens while they’re living with or married to a man. Sometimes it happens well into a traditional heterosexual life: marriage to a man, kids, dogs. Or later in life, when there are grandchildren. One woman I knew came out when she was 58! She had affairs with women throughout her marriage because coming out any earlier was not, for her, an option. So yes. It can happen, and it happens because these women are not inherently heterosexual. Ergo, it is possible for them to become a lesbian because they are not heterosexual.
Maybe. Sexuality is not as binary as we’d like it to be, not as either/or. In general, today we have this spectrum of sexuality, and greater openness and willingness for different sexual expressions. In general, heterosexuals date/relate romantically and sexually other heterosexuals. In general, homosexuals date/relate romantically and sexually with other homosexuals, and generally, bisexual/pansexual/omnisexual/polyamourous people have more dates and relates than anyone. Seriously, all this micro labelling is getting quite silly. Suffice it to say that there are some people who are fluid, who go with the flow of what they might say is the sexual energy or the love energy. Then there are those who work with the circumstances and interest at the time. Ergo, maybe it’s possible. Take a look at how that can shake out in a woman’s prison:
- ‘gay for the stay girls’, and
- devout heterosexuals.
It’s possible that something similar is at work in the broader community outside of prison walls. Some of my straight friends have said that if they don’t find a guy soon, they’re thinking that they might start looking for women.
Now, if the question is a sneaky one, the one wanting the recipe to turn turning a heterosexual woman into a lesbian, well, that’s a horse, a dog, a cat, a goldfish, a ferret and a bat of another colour.
Can you change a woman’s sexuality? The answer to that, is NO. If she’s straight and wants to stay straight, it is not possible to turn her into a true, in her heart of hearts lesbian.
Backgrounder to today’s Q+A
I read a piece on AfterEllen about a woman who’d fallen in love with a so-called straight woman. Of course I had to comment.
Then I looked through the search terms people use that land them here. While there have been some interesting patterns of late — fodder for future posts — questions about turning straight women arrive here every single day. It was that question which prompted the Dumb Question of the Day pages section. It’s frustrating to see the same question asked repeatedly. Think of the customer service representative who is asked the same question dumb 500 times a day: those 500 people don’t know that there are 499 other people asking the same question. At the same time, it’s amusing on a number of levels:
- people are lazy: they clearly do not look around here to see if their question has been asked by someone else, and therefore already answered.
- sex ed is lacking: people do not know much about their own sexuality or human sexuality, and
- people don’t think things through: where exactly is the thinking brain when these questions are asked. Are people thinking? With their brains?
Granted, about sex and love, mixed with fear and confusion perhaps it’s the primitive brain that’s triggered and not the whole brain; a frightened brain is not exactly thinking clearly when it’s wondering about sexuality and where lesbians might come from and where to find lesbians, and oh, can a straight friend be turned into one of those there lesbians. Confusion. Fear. Panic. All clouds thinking straight, um, clearly.
A sexually self-aware heterosexual woman who is happy with being heterosexual, and only wants to be heterosexual is not going to turn into a lesbian. As in: not going to happen unless she decides she is not strictly heterosexual.
Additional thoughts about the dumb question of the day
Is there something else prompting the question? Is there a wondering whether you can make someone fall in love with you? Sociopaths do it all the time. So I suppose the answer to that is yes, although the mountain of manipulation and pools of power plays hardly seems worth it but then, I’m no sociopath.
Fall in love and live happily ever after with a formerly straight woman? Only if she is not straight.
Is there a wondering about whether you can make a heterosexual woman go to bed with you without drugging her or getting her drunk — which I am certain no card-carrying lesbian would think of doing for fear of being drummed out of the lesbian corps. I suppose all things are possible, if sex is just sex and if she’s game for it and if you’re willing to suffer the consequence of intimacy with someone who just does not feel the same way you do. I think the consequence is spelled H=E=A=R=T=A=C=H=E.