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Saturday 30 August 2014

Dear Mary: I kissed a woman and liked it: am I a lesbian?

Mary O'Conor

Published 26/11/2012 | 06:00

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It isn't necessary to have a label

I am a 26-year-old woman. I was very sure of my sexuality until about two years ago, and then there was a series of unfortunate events, and since then I have been confused. I met up with a couple of friends of mine who are lesbians. Things were going well until we all had a little too much to drink. Then the interrogation started. Was I gay? I dress gay (I grew up with brothers and I'm not really into dresses).

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I was clearly part of 'their club'. At the time, I was a bit offended that they were trying to force their sexuality on me. But afterwards, I got to thinking. I have had sex with a handful of men, but no experience was pleasurable for me. I go to great lengths to avoid sleeping with a man I meet in a nightclub. One of my best excuses was I was too sunburnt. I fancied boys and had a few short-lived romances, but nothing 'Wow!'

Then my life was turned upside down. I started my job a while ago and another girl started with me. I have never felt like this about anyone. I am head over heels in love with her. We tell each other we love each other regularly and we get slagged for being gay. One problem: she has a boyfriend who is also a friend of mine.

But I hate him for – as I see it – stealing her away from me. She and I shared a kiss a couple of months ago and it was the most erotic thing I have ever experienced. She initiated it – I never would unless I was sure it was what she wanted because of the strength of my feelings.

Now I don't really know what to think. I find myself turned on watching women kiss now. I don't know if I'm reading too much into things – I have always overthought things. I love this girl, but I can also say I don't fancy other girls. So now I don't really know who I am. My biggest enemy is my inner homophobe. Surely I am not gay? Help!

Mary says: In recent times, people have begun to say frequently that they love each other, but it doesn't at all signify that it is something really special. People say it when signing off on the phone, when setting out on a journey, when leaving for work; they even use it to end an email. So this girl and yourself exchanging love does not necessarily mean that you have a deep emotional bond.

I worry about you being hurt by all of this. You have had one erotic kiss, you see her every day at work, but you don't mention anything other than that. She, on the other hand, has a boyfriend with whom she is, no doubt, sexual on a fairly regular basis. You don't sound very happy, but presumably the other girl is. Have you talked to her at all about all of this? Apart from telling you that she loves you, what has she done to indicate that she has genuinely strong feelings for you?

Well done on not having sex with guys that you met in a nightclub – if you had there would almost certainly not have been a 'wow' factor there either!

I wonder why you describe yourself as homophobic – some of your friends are lesbian and surely they wouldn't be friends if you were really anti-gay. A few years ago, a well-known Irish dress designer spoke to Marian Finucane after the sudden death of his male partner. He described how he had dated girls prior to meeting his partner and then when he met him he just fell in love with him and that was that.

He didn't even see it as being gay or straight; he just fell in love and was happy that he had. They had many happy years together before his partner died.

I'm using this example to prove that it isn't necessary to have a label – what is going on in one's life is much more important.

Ask yourself what you need to do in order to feel happier than you are at present and I think you will find an answer to your question.

Submit your letters to Mary anonymously at dearmary.ie.

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