Q&A: I Think About Women When I Masturbate. Am I A Lesbian?

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QUESTION: When I have sex with my boyfriend, it’s good and I have no problem getting turned on. But when I masturbate, I can only think of girls to get turned on. Does that mean I’m a lesbian?

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Some women who identify as heterosexual have never engaged in sexual activity with women in waking life, but they may have had pleasurable, satisfying sex dreams about women.

Determining Sexual Orientation

Great question! Although many people wonder if there is an easy way to know if a person is gay, straight, bisexual or some other sexual orientation, the fact is that there is not. Many scientists consider a person’s sexual orientation to reflect a larger pattern of their romantic and sexual attractions such that women who identify as straight tend, for the most part, to be romantically and sexually attracted to men whereas women who identify as lesbian tend to be romantically and sexually attracted to women.

Experiences, Thoughts, and Labels Don’t Always Match Up

Of course, few things in life are cut and dry and neither is sexual orientation. Some women who identify as heterosexual have explored sexually with other women. They may have kissed other women or engaged in oral sex, breast touching or genital touching with other women.

Then again, some women who identify as heterosexual have never engaged in sexual activity with women in waking life, but they may have had pleasurable, satisfying sex dreams about women. Or, like you, they may find that their preferred fantasies during masturbation involve women. The fact that you get turned on thinking of other girls doesn’t minimize the fact that you also get turned on by your boyfriend.

By the same token, many lesbian women have had some type of sexual contact with men. Some lesbian identified women may include men in their sexual fantasies or may have also had enjoyable sex dreams involving men. Just because a lesbian woman enjoys thinking about men or masturbating to images of men – or images of men and women having sex together – does not mean that her true orientation is heterosexual.

Research About Sexual Attraction

Pioneering sexuality researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey suggested that sexuality was a rather fluid concept. He found that people sometimes experienced different sexual attractions at different points in their lives and that a person’s sexual behaviors, dreams and fantasies could vary. He also felt that, based on his research, more people would be attracted to both men and women if only society didn’t suppress these attractions.

Labels Can Change Throughout Life

Whether you identify as heterosexual, lesbian or bisexual is up to you. You may find that one label suits you well now and, later in life, you may find that a different sexual orientation label better reflects your feelings and attractions.

However you decide to label yourself, try to let go of any stress or anxiety about how you “should” or “shouldn’t” feel sexually. What you find arousing and exciting during your partnered sex play as well as during your masturbation fantasies is likely to keep evolving with time. By keeping an open and accepting mind toward your own experience, you can continue to explore your sexuality in positive ways.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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Comments

  • confused99

    I am very confused. I am very attracted to guys and i've gone pretty far with most of them but I also think about girls. I have a number of friends who are gay and now I've started thinking about my own sexual orientation. Am I bisexual or bicurious?