For the first 20 or so years of my life, I didn't have a lot of questions about my sexuality. I felt pretty settled in the standard heterosexual identity, but I hadn't ever stopped to give it much thought. All of my high school crushes were guys, and while I could appreciate the appeal of women, I didn't really think they did much for me.
At some point late in my time at Williams, I started spending more time with people whose sexualities are best described as progressive and fluid. Their comfort with their own and other people's broad spectrum of sexual orientations and experiences allowed me to break down my thinking around my own explorations. What had been a tiny seed of "well, maybe I could see getting involved with a woman," became a more fully fledged form of bi-curiosity.
For about two years, I identified as bi-curious. I didn't have any women in my life who made me want to take that any farther, and although I developed a couple of crushes, they didn't go anywhere, and petered out quickly. It was only in the spring of this year (2000) that I found myself attracted to a woman in a more serious way.
She and I met through my semi-ex when the two of them were flirting. We all ended up at the same sci-fi con, which actually caused a bit of psychodrama, but it all worked out. She worked near me, and we decided to get together for lunch to clear the air after the blowup. A few lunches led to a few dinners and movies and general hanging out. I realized I had a crush on her early on, but I felt very hesitant about bringing it up with her. I didn't know where along the spectrum my bisexuality was, and I didn't want to lead someone on, or to mislead her. For all I knew, we would get started in a romantic relationship and I would find myself balking at some of the more, uh, advanced activities that might take place. I might even find myself completely uninterested in carrying the relationship further. I didn't want to start something when I didn't know that I would be able to carry through. On top of that, we were building what promised to be a very close friendship, and I worried about screwing that up. So I decided that I would sit back, enjoy the crush and focus on building our friendship.
Happily, she didn't have the same kind of wait-and-see attitude. After a week or two of pondering whether and how to say something to me, she sent me email, saying essentially what I would have said if I had had the nerve to do so :)
So now that I've been doing the same-sex r'ship thing for a couple of months, I'm finally getting around to writing about it. I'm incredibly happy with things, but I think I have to credit the individual(s), not the gender, with that :)
The most common question I've gotten is, "Is it hard to get used to being sexual/physical/romantic with a woman?" And, really those are three questions wrapped into one. The quick answer is that I've been rather surprised at how easy and comfortable I feel about the whole thing. I'm generally a relatively touch-feely person with people I know, so being physical and cuddly with a female partner hasn't been strange. And in some ways, I've had romantic feelings toward non-romantic friends at times -- it's a general warm, fuzzy feeling of care, to me. So that wasn't a big question. But the sexual end of things? That was a bigger question for me. Again, it's felt really natural. If I were to step into my life right at this moment without any knowledge of what came before, there would be no question about my sexual orientation -- the bisexuality would be obvious. Which, I have to say, makes me happy, because nothing feels forced. In some ways, I'm still working through some built-up cruft from social expectations and such, but, basically, where I am at this point in my life feels incredibly natural.
Are there things that are different about dating a woman than dating a man? Well, sure. But, again, I don't know how much of that has to do with gender, and how much with the individual. I can say that I feel like there's less mystery around the physical, and I think we relate much more smoothly than I often have with male partners. Do I like dating a woman more than a man? In some ways, sure. In other ways? Well, let's just say I'm not planning to give up on men any time soon.
It just goes to show that people change. And I'm inexpressably glad that this is true :)
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