Lesbian - my experience

Submitted by Zelin on
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This site is the first thing that has ever made sense to me of something that happened to me. At 38, I'm now a lesbian, but I used to have relationships with men.

I found that I enjoyed the early stages of these relationships - all of the cuddling, kissing, and connecting. Every time - WITHOUT EXCEPTION - that I had sex with a partner, the dynamic so changed afterward... and to something that no longer appealed to me. It's not that I didn't enjoy the sex (though I later did become totally turned off to men and to male-female sex), but that I felt like my partners always "left" me afterward, even if they stayed in the relationship. I even felt like this with my ex husband. It's like they always "checked out" and stopped engaging with me. I liked them better when they were trying to get me into bed than I liked them afterward.

My experience with men was that we would have long conversations and spur each other to growth, but that -always- went away the day after the relationship became sexual. In one case - this was my ex husband - I had 15 years of friendship with the man, connecting on every other possible level, then the "deadness" set in after sex and after we married, he retreated into porn and stopped even talking to me.

Every time I had sex, whatever had drawn me into the relationship went away. I remember one time, one lover actually looked dehydrated and deflated and less alive after we had sex - it was kind of horrifying to behold - and he completely lost interest in me afterward.

I came to prefer my platonic male friendships to actually dating men, and was celibate for a long time in my 20s just because I was sick of the sexual dynamic. I did go back to having male lovers for a time, in my 30s, and even married briefly, but increasingly, the men were more and more desensitized and porn-addicted.

I guess it isn't that surprising that eventually I decided to try having a woman partner, even though I don't have the childhood/teenage typical "coming out" narrative and used to date a lot of men.

I expected to just experiment but ended up in a long term relationship. I did have a woman lover (my most recent long term partner) and it was a much better experience. She had to re-train me, however; I was used to how men functioned sexually and had become, myself, more "male" in my response pattern. She re-trained me into being more slow, sensual, and connecting with my partners rather than trying to "get each other off".

I enjoy men as people and have always enjoyed my male friends, and some of these friendships got quite deep. In one case, one friendship became very deep and skirted the edge of being romantic, but my experience with sex had been so bad by that point that I didn't want to ruin the friendship and connection by having sex with him. Who knows, because he was an open minded and experimental kind of guy (was interested in Tantra and breath control and such), perhaps he would have been interested in karezza, but I didn't know about it at the time. We did have a "friends with benefits" relationship but never went "all the way" nor did I ever touch him.

And now I'm at the point where I am no longer even sexually attracted to men. :/

Anyway... Thank you for listening. This is the first site that's ever helped me make sense of what happened.

Fascinating story

Thanks for sharing it. It's amazing how a few neurochemical ripples can alter perception and connection for some folks. And most of us are so orgasm-driven that we are convinced that's all we need concern ourselves with.

Your comments remind me of those of a friend in Europe who said she watched her husband "age 10 years" after sex (they had been experimenting with bonding behaviors only for weeks or so right before that event) and didn't want him to touch her. So frustrating for all concerned.

And that's not necessarily even counting how our perception change affects the relationship too. Humanity has so much to learn....

Glad you found a solution that works for you.

I wish that it were a

I wish that it were a solution!! I'm having issues with lesbians, too! I think straight men get the best pick of women!

Women are getting increasingly influenced by masculine "norms" and more and more, the lesbian community is becoming influenced by porn, ideal body shapes, kink, and polyamory... Gay women are becoming increasingly more and more like stereotypical men. The masculinization of the women too is affecting the subculture in that the preferred norm is for a woman to be an athletic tomboy and androgynous (I'm feminine and prefer other feminine women) and the more badass, driven, goal oriented, and high powered, the better. Most of the women in my local community prefer butch, tomboy, and or androgynous women. I am far from this. Everyone is also really athletic and I don't have that kind of stamina (I have a thyroid condition and tire easily) and there is a huge emphasis upon physical competence. I wish I were still attracted to men, because men were content to just sit with me or do calmer things and in the male female dynamic, there is a certain amount to which men care for the women and it is accepted for the woman to not be equally competent; for example, i much preferred hiking with men because the men didn't get mad if I couldn't keep up, and they enjoyed the chance to be chivalrous, whereas I feel like most lesbian women are not very nurturing; when I dated men, every date didn't feel like an exhausting competitive sport wherein I wasn't "material" if I couldn't physically keep up. I am very much in a "slow food" approach to life, and more slow/contemplative/meditative, and an artist.

When i do online dating, it's hard to find women who aren't either poly or up front about being into all kinds of high stimulation sexual practices and they increasingly want the same tight, taut bodies that men reputedly have wanted. Even 10 years ago, it wasn't as bad as this, with the disparaging of fat women in online lesbian communities like there is now. I am only a little overweight and had fewer body issues dating men (because plenty like "curvy" or large breasted/large hipped women) but now in the gay community, I get to deal with women's projection of their body issues upon each other. Gay women in my community now work even harder on their bodies than any straight women I know! I can feel this thick vibe of shame and hatred of women's bodies when I am in an environment where women supposedly love other women's bodies! It makes no sense!

I find myself turned off from wanting to connect with these women; even when I was dating men, the men weren't quite so bold about their sexual preferences because it would turn off straight women. I'd much prefer to be with the kind of women I tend to meet in my ceramics and art classes and meditation groups and the kind of women with whom I'm already friends.

As of recently I tend to most often date either rather older women (most recent one was 52) or women who are very newly "out" and thus haven't spent time in the gay subculture. Unfortunately, the kind of women I most like (gentle, not as intensely goal driven, feminine), tend to be straight. :(

I've been asked why I am concerned about relationships between men and women, when I'm a lesbian, but the fact is that in this world, ripples affect everyone. What happens between heterosexual couples affects gay couples too, and vice versa.

One of the things that goes on between modern lesbians is the issue of lesbian bed death and serial monogamy (short, dramatic, and unstable relationships, jumping from relationship to relationship, and LOTS of drama and insecurity), but I think that what we tend to do wrong, is that we do not spend enough time actually bonding with each other and cementing the relationship before getting sexual, and our sexuality is increasingly becoming more about "getting off" (which is what is considered female liberation in the mainstream culture). Somehow eye contact is also a taboo in our culture; lesbians rarely look at each other if they see each other in public; and I found that there is a "look away" instinct even when with lovers.

Spend enough time bonding with someone - and the relationship will be stronger and there will be less insecurity, less need for drama. And it will last longer and so will the attraction.

Seems obvious to me.

I got tired of the gay community at a few different points, and tried going back to men. But the thing is, the attraction died long ago. Whereas with my cuddly, huggy, and agenda-less straight female friends, I feel "sparky" all the time.

Of course, it could just be that I need to find one compatible woman - and I just haven't found her yet. I find this community, so far, very supportive and validating in terms of accepting that pair bonding is a real human need. There is so much emphasis upon being fiercely independent in the mainstream world, and most of the lesbian ads tend to try to emphasize that the woman in question is independent and feisty and badass. The typical ad emphasizes how competent the woman is at everything, how physically fit she is, what events she has competed in, and how she is independent and "isn't looking for love but if it happens, that's great"... I.e., how great she is at all of these activities that actually contribute nothing to a bond with another person. I was actually advised once to not ever mention that I don't know how to ride a bike because this would be a turnoff to a majority of lesbians. I don't want my partner to be my perfect athletic partner, I want someone who will discuss deep topics with me and has a more contemplative orientation as well.

Orienting myself away from excitement-seeking and stimulation-seeking, in fact, has been part of how I am dealing with my thyroid condition. I have recalibrated to the extent that now, I never experience boredom; I can sit quietly and enjoy the silence.

Hi Zelin,

Hi Zelin,

Your observations of the lesbian community remind me of the women of my generation (and yours, we're the same age) in general - straight, bi, les, whatever - myself included in some ways. I agree with what you're saying -the body image, porn, etc...I think we've gotten onto a path that we need to get off of, for our own health and that of our brothers as well.

I'm bi (although I've mostly been with men and still wanting to be now), probably fit in a lot of ways the 'masculinized' women you're talking about, and I've been fairly sexually explorative and sensation seeking, but this past year or so, after my divorce, I hit a couple turning points. One was that 'suppressed feminine' part of myself was struggling to come out, but I didn't know what that meant. I just felt like I wanted to release that part of myself and I was getting feedback from others that encouraged that. On the other hand, I started feeling like I'm 'behind the times' cause I wasn't experienced in x, y and z (kink, bondage, etc.) - that in order to be interesting enough to attract someone, I'd need more wild experiences. And I started looking to the powerful erotic temptress archetype as a possible outlet for that feminine part of myself that still wasn't familiar to me. Better sex, being sexy, better orgasm...that must be the right path, right? Although I didn't take this far publicly, the thinking and some of my explorations were taking me further away from the loving compassionate and rational person that I am and want to be.

I'm also really happy that I found this site and Marnia's book cause I feel way more clear headed and confident now about where I want to be and how to get there and I feel like I've found that feminine part of myself and it's not about style and sexiness, it's very loving and tender and as such, very powerful.

The first part of your post

The first part of your post here, where you describe masculine females, reminds me of a screenplay my formely lesbian friend wrote. It's called Liberty Lovemore Loses Her Cool. It's about a girl who grew up on a hippy commune and the only way she could find to rebel (given that her mother had done everything else) was to become a lesbian. Her characterization of herself in this stage is hardly flattering: womanizing, drinking, insensitive, self-absorbed, competitive. The story ends with her realizing what an ass-hole she's been as a dyke and she falls back in love with her first sweetheart, the man whom she is now married to and has two kids with. She still considers herself bisexual. Needless to say the screenplay was pretty challenging to her lesbian friends. It's not so PC to point out how the more masculine lesbians repeat the same old problem one would think inscentivized women to stop being with men in the first place. It is a strage irony I've noticed with one of my close lesbian friends, who is married to her partner. Her annoyance at her wife's constant badgering or pressuring for sex could have just as easily have been coming from a woman married to an insensitive man. I'm sorry to hear that you see the trend going in that direction in lesbian circles, and I hope more and more people, whether heterosexual or homosexual, will start to explore more the gentler forms of lovemaking.

Yeah... The trend is on more

Yeah... The trend is on more partners, kinkier sex, wild "showboating" behavior. The average personal ad from a gay woman reads like the average personal ad from an arrogant young guy... "I'm successful, entitled, have won x amount of prizes, etc"... And that brings WHAT to a relationship?

There's this strong streak of narcissism that I don't see as often in hetero relationships - I don't see a lot of actual nurturing and mutual support. Then again, this could be that I'm seeing what's left over in the singles' world by age 38, and people who are single for a long time probably are single for a reason. My mom tells me that there is a lot of the same sludge in ANY singles community and that she kept running into narcissistic men, too, before finally meeting my stepdad.

I have known decent gay women who were in long relationships... I just don't know how to meet a decent one who is single!

where do the tender, mutual support oriented people hang out?

And yeah... The lesbian community is full of some of the worst women. There is a lot of cheating in that community, too. And really short high drama relationships. I don't like that... I am not into roller coaster rides.

I just wish I could meet someone outside of that community. It's not like i need its support; my family and friends are all pretty supportive and I'm totally out. Something tells me that the community is the problem, not women as a sex. But I do wonder if being single for a long time or not relying upon men tends to make women harden up and become less nurturing and flexible. I did date a nice woman recently (older; was in her 50s) who was very "slow sex" in her outlook, and she also was into some interests which are totally "non gay community". If the vibe had been right then I think we could have enjoyed each other.
However, she had been single for a very long time, was fiercely independent and there was a certain lack of warmth/openness to her. She was so successful at setting her life up without a partner that there was actually no room for a partner anymore. I find this lack of warmth to be very common, unfortunately, among people who have been too long out of a pair bond.

But also... the lesbian community has changed over the years and I think that goal oriented sex and the "sex positive"/kinky/poly/wild meme is to blame. We didn't used to be as focused on sex and body image. There used to be much more enduring relationships and it seems now that the most stable relationships are between women who are over 60 and weren't part of the community during its recent changes. I see some 30+ year relationships in that set, but meanwhile, my own generation is lucky to get past three years with anyone.

The typical pattern is to meet, jump into an addictive high drama sexual relationship, move in together. The relationship ends up being high drama because there was little bonding, so there ends up being a lot of insecurity, jealousy and addiction which leads to a lot of dishonesty and game playing until the relationship finally destroys itself with its own drama... but very often, once the passion peters out, one woman will meet some other woman in the lesbian community and then start the passion cycle over again with that woman, leaving the previous partner. And to make things more psychotic, all the exes stay friends!!

For all the talk about gay women getting together and adopting babies and the like, I know of more single gay women who become single mothers.

Our dating subculture is really, really, really depressing.

It's hard to find good relationship role models because the lesbians who are in stable relationships tend to drop out of the community, and it doesn't seem easy to tell which lesbians in the community might be the ones who are amenable to meeting a long term partner and dropping out.

The focus is on women being super independent and feisty and being together as independent creatures.

There also doesn't seem to be much in the way of dating and romance, but that may be because of the fear of homophobic reprisal in public places and lack of money. It's common to go out in groups and the dates tend to mean you are holed up in one person's home, or you go to some gay-specific venue, or you go to a gay bar together. After a few times of that, you go to bed, then you start a relationship that consists of a wash, rinse, repeat of all of those activities and hanging out in a tight clique with the same 15 lesbians that youve known for the past 10 years. Who wouldn't get bored?? What's funny is that despite all of the increasing attempts at wildness and overt sexuality and brashness, the community and its repertoire of activities are all so repetitive. The funny thing is, I'm the opposite - I want slow sex, but a stimulating mix of activities and people in my life.

Very depressing. I haven't done the fun things together with "community" gay women that I used to do with guys, or with platonic friends of either gender. how many more coffeehouses and poetry readings and gay bars can I stand to go to?? I am tired of them! I really miss museums, mainstream concerts, lectures, walks around town, drives up the coast, etc. I'm bored with being holed up in the gay ghetto.

For all of my complaining - the thing is, I'm still ATTRACTED to women. I fall in love with my straight female friends. I don't fall for guys. So obviously as much as the community and culture sucks, I feel stuck with it :(

I have a number of gay male friends who have the same complaints about gay male culture, but the thing is, there seem to be way more non-subculture gay men, I haven't had any luck with meeting gay women who don't conform to the gay subculture.

Bummer. I'm sorry to hear

Bummer. I'm sorry to hear that. Can you start to create the culture you want, maybe one that is not focused on sexual orientation? Or maybe start a salon discussing these issues amongst gay and lesbians, since, as you said, many gay men are noticing the same thing? I'm sure many hetero singles could point out the same unsatisfying dynamic too - the focus on sex/entitlement/kink is a broad-scale cultural problem.

I'd very much like to do that

I'd very much like to do that. I am trying to get some of my gay male friends into some kind of an Internet discussion group, since we live far-flung from each other.

Interestingly, my regular social group is pretty diverse and there are generally one or two gay men. I'm the only gay woman, though. I feel like it's not fair for the gay men to go out, connect with straight people, and show straight people that gay people don't bite, basically doing all the work, while the lesbians just hang out by themselves. Just having contact with straight people is a form of activism too. Carrying signs and protesting isn't the only form of activism. I know a number of people in my life who have steadily become more pro gay rights as a result of knowing me and I've never carried a sign.

I have wondered if women feel a greater need to hide out in the safety of a group. I don't know.

I agree that the whole "sexual smorgasboard mentality" is a broad scale social problem affecting everyone. It all trickles down. You can't poison just a part of the ocean. Likewise, even one adjusted, happy couple in a neighborhood can be healing for multiple people in ways that people possibly don't even realize. To me, activism is working on my own personal and spiritual growth.

Very interesting and sad. I

Very interesting and sad. I guess there's no inherent reason to think the other people (meant to be broad, not judging) have gotten it right. Lesbians that are angry at men/hetero women might want to rethink things and vice versa.

That deadness you describe sounds awful. It goes both ways. My glimpses at this have been no fun. I need to watch myself too given that no one is immune.

Another complaint I have is

Another complaint I have is with how the polyamory meme is spreading like a virus. I think it's a direct consequence of the insistence upon making sex more intense and passionate.. people aren't really bonding with their partners to begin with but still have the social need for primary, consistent relationships.

With poly getting more popular, it's like trying to be "slow sex" is like trying to swim against the social tide.


This is interesting, and I am sorry for your predicament...
Hah... What subculture are you talking about?? I didn't really even know one existed.. O.o
I dunno, I'm only 15.. Bisexual, but never really seriously been with a guy and don't want to.
I think it is definately the subculture not the people, because I am lucky enough to be in an exclusive, commited relationship the most amazing, sweetest, most caring, gorgeous, relaxed, easygoing, beautiful girl in the world(:
...we have only been together a little over a year... But considering my age, it's the longest relationship I've ever been in by over 50% haha. And we are both still absolutely dedicated, and definately in love...
So I don't know how you are meeting all these terrible people, but the only experience I've had with girls has been wonderful. And so...everything you say lesbian relationships you've observed aren't. Just saying. O.O