Like Frank Ocean sings, "I see both sides like Chanel." I don't like just men, and I don't like just women; I like people, and I've fallen in love with everyone. Each relationship has been a completely unique experience, regardless of my partner's gender identity, and it's difficult to compare. But when I started dating women, I did discover that there are things to know about your first relationship with a woman that heteronormative culture doesn't tell you. Or rather, heteronormative culture taught me that I was supposed to expect certain things from a relationship with a woman that weren't necessarily true.
For example, the mythology that lesbians move in together immediately, or that there's less sex in a relationship between two women are all fabrications of a straight society attempting to place labels on what it means to be gay or queer. There are all sorts of ways to be queer, both in a relationship and outside of it, and one of the loveliest things about being gay is that you can't really do it wrong.
Here are some things about dating women that I didn't expect:
1. You Won't Always Talk About Your Feelings
Before I started dating women, I bought into the idea that a first date with a woman was more or less the two of you discussing plans for remodeling your future kitchen. Everything I had absorbed about lesbian culture led me to believe that when you dated another women, the two of you committed quickly and basically moved in after a week.
I'm sure some lesbian relationships go like that. I've definitely met a few couples who seem to have committed to one another quickly. But I've also been in relationships where we go months or even a year without having a "feelings talk" or discussing where we are going. At times, those relationships have felt more like friendship than romance, and they are still valuable. It's all a part of experiencing the fluidity that is queer love and attraction.
2. Women Can Be F*ckboys, Too
The f*ckboy is a concept that transcends gender. Contrary to popular belief, not all LGBTQ+ women lounge around on silk cushions, eating grapes and talking about their feelings. (That would just be me, in my wildest dreams.) Some LGBTQ+ women just like to meet people and have sex without a lasting emotional attachment.
To be honest, the concept of the lesbian f*ckboy kind of baffled me when I first met some. Could women so kind and emotionally open really just be DTF? It turns out that yes, they could be. Just because you're a f*ckboy, doesn't mean that you don't respect women or aren't inherently kind.
3. Just Because You're Dating The Same Sex, Doesn't Make It Easy
The first time I dated a woman, a close friend of mine, who is a straight man, asked me if it was true that there was something simpler and easier about dating the same sex. I laughed in his face. Only someone who has never dated their same gender would actually believe that anything about a relationship is easy. What's under your clothes actually has very little to do with what kind of connection you form.
Sure, when you are a woman dating another woman, you both understand what it is like to be a woman moving about in the world. But that is really the only certain variable, and it's not even that certain. There are so many different ways to be a woman and so many different ways that experience can inform and shape your approach to relationships. To say that being the same gender makes things simple would be a disservice to the wondrous complexity of same-sex relationships. To find out what it's really going to be like for you, the only thing to do is try.
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