Am I Really a Lesbian or Am I Bisexual?

I Think I'm a Lesbian

Portrait smiling barefoot lesbian couple hugging on sofa
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Dear Lesbian Life:
I'm 19 and I was wondering if I’m really a lesbian or am I bisexual?
I know I’m young and I've read your answers to some of the peoples questions, but I really think that I’m different when it comes to that because I really do know who I want to be with and that would be a girl.

I knew I was attracted to girls when I was in the 6th grade and that was actually my first time with a girl and I've been attracted to girls ever since, but I have also been with men.

I don’t want to sound like I sleep around but I've been with more girls then I have with men and I’m much happier with a girl and to me it feels like that’s who I belong with. Some people say that a lesbian is someone who’s never been with a male, is that true?

People say I’m more of a bisexual because I've been with men but I disagree because now I don’t even like the thought of being with a man. I personally say I’m a lesbian because I know who I’m attracted to and who I want to be with in the future, I just want to know what to call myself.

Last year I came out to my mom and it was devastating to her and all she said was "This is a phase you’re going through you'll get over it, and it’s because of the people you hangout with." I totally disagree with her.

Please help me understand my sexuality and let me know what you think about this whole thing because I really don’t think I’m bisexual.


Little Lesbian

Dear Little,

You are a lesbian. Why? Because that’s how you feel inside.

It is actually very common for lesbians to have first had relationships with men. Many women come out as lesbian after being married to men and having children. Just because they were once in relationship with men does not mean they are not lesbians.

The same is true for you.

Bisexuals are sexually and emotionally attracted to both men and women. Because you no longer find men attractive and you say you are unlikely to be with one again, I think this rules bisexuality out for you.

It’s true that some people come out as bisexual and then later come out as lesbian. It’s also true that some women come out first as lesbian and then realize that they’re truly bisexual.

Does this mean that sexual orientation can change? Not really, but how you come to understand yourself can change. Alfred Kinsey, a famous sex researcher found that there are not really three sexual orientations (gay, bisexual, straight), but rather there is a scale where people fall somewhere along a continuum.

The thing that is important here is that YOU get to decide who you are. Identity is a very personal thing. Some people know inherently what their sexual orientation is. Others need some time to figure it out. Either by dating the opposite sex, or dating the same sex. Whatever your process is, that’s fine. No two people go down the same path. That’s what makes us all so wonderful and unique. Just as your mom doesn’t get to decide for you that being a lesbian is a phase, your friends don’t get to decide that you are bisexual because you have dated men in your past.

Others can try to label you, but ultimately, you have to live with yourself and you get to decide how to identify.

I hope this helps!