Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

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Wendy_
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Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Wendy_ »

I don't know what my sexuality is and it's affecting the quality of my relationship.

I never questioned my sexuality up until I was 15. There was a girl in my art class at the time who was out as lesbian and she would always flirt and text me all day everyday. I loved the attention she gave me, I never experienced someone being so infatuated with me. We got closer as 'friends' and would even have sleepovers with a group of girls and when everyone had eventually fallen asleep, me and this girl would make out. At the time, I didn't really think too deeply into it and what it meant for my sexuality but I knew for sure that I didn't want anyone to find out. That was my first encounter with a girl. In the end, she rejected me and left me somewhat heartbroken.

Fast forward a few years to 21yrs old, I had been in two relationships with guys. I would jokingly say that I was bisexual to guys because I thought that made me sexy that I had actually had an encounter with a girl prior to them. I never not enjoyed sex with them but I NEVER orgasmed. I always wanted to perform for them and make sure I was the most sexiest thing that they ever saw. So sex was never really for me it was for them. I got off on their pleasure and gained self-worth through their desire for me. I believe this could be a mixture of comphet and an absent farther in the works but I feel like this mindset still hasn't left me now that I'm in my first proper women loving women relationship.

I've been with my now girlfriend for over 1 and half years. We were 'best friends' for a year before we made things official. She has honestly opened my world up in so many different ways that I never thought were possible for me. I mean I actually orgasm with her, it's insane. I was honestly willingly in the past to put up with me not orgasming with my partner. Of course it wasn't easy at first as in my mind lesbian sex is very different to straight sex. Well at least the way I was doing it straight sex. With my girlfriend, I have to actually lay there and feel her and connect my mind to my body in order to orgasm. I still struggle with it now and it's kinda hindering our sex life because I'm not able to orgasm. But when I do orgasm is usually because I'm imagining two complete strangers (an older man & a younger girl) having sex. It's got nothing to do with her or me. I struggle to think of myself in that way and my girlfriend as well. Sometimes I'm successful in actually getting horny by her but it's very rare.

Because of this, I'm thinking to myself that I am straight and that deep down I want to be with a man. But then that leads me on to think that is that just the easy way out? Do I just not want to face this internal conflict longer but it's just too confusing. I do fantasise about being with a man and stupidly think that heterosexual relationships are elite and I get jealous when I see a happy straight couple. Maybe my whole view on sex is just completely wrong as I don't feel like I can completely let go and let myself feel. I'M JUST SO CONFUSED. What I want is to be happy and horny in my relationship is that too much to ask.

I do love my girlfriend, I believe she is my soulmate and I want to have wild sex like I use to have with guys in the past. But it's just so different and I don't know whats wrong.

PLEASE HELP! I've been dealing with this for so long now I haven't been able to speak to anyone about it because it's just so complex.
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Wendy,

So, it sounds like there are a few different things going on here, so let's see what we can do to untangle some of them.

I hear you saying that you wish you could have"wild sex" with your girlfriend the way you did with past boyfriends. What does that mean to you? And what, in your mind, is stopping you from doing the things you did with them with her?

Too, I do want to say that there are plenty of people who find that engaging with a fantasy while they're being sexual with a partner helps sex be more pleasurable for them, or helps them reach orgasm. So you doing that, even if the fantasy doesn't involve either of you, isn't automatically a sign that something is wrong or that you "really" want to be with a man. It does sound, however, like you're perceiving your lack orgasm as a hindrance to your sex life. Is that something she's expressed to you? Or is that feeling coming only from your own mind and beliefs about how sex "should" go?

You mention that in the past you would "jokingly" refer to yourself as bisexual to impress guys (something I suspect you now know is not great to do, because it contributes to women's desire for other women as being seen as still existing mainly for the pleasure of men). But your behavior actually DID match with that description; to be bisexual, someone doesn't have to have sex with people of multiple genders. Crushes, romance, kissing, and all kinds of other expressions of desire and attraction can be indicators that someone is attracted to a given gender or genders.

When you think about your sexual orientation now, do you feel like bisexual is actually the word the encapsulates it? Or are you increasingly feeling like you don't feel attraction to men at all but, as you mentioned, you notice that the world is still easier to navigate for women who date men and some part of you is wishing for the protection that brings from certain kinds of judgement or discrimination?
Wendy_
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Wendy_ »

Hello Sam, thank you so much for responding. You don't realise how much this has been playing on my mind so I'm extremely appreciative of your insights.

With my past boyfriends or male encounters, this 'wild sex' would be me living up to porn star standards. That's what I thought sex was, it never resulted in me orgasming and mostly just dramatising/faking everything. I sort of fed of their ravenous desire for me, it made me feel wanted. When I first started having sex with my now girlfriend, I would embody what I've always known which is dramatising/faking my reactions. But because she is also a girl, she could see straight through this performative display and that I wasn't actually orgasming. I remember thinking like I actually have to think for myself now and learn what I truly like. Because no, I didn't personally enjoy how I was doing sex before, I just felt good in myself that the other person was being pleased.

You mention that having this fantasy where neither my girlfriend or I are involved is perfectly normal but it takes me away from being in the sexual moment with her. She has expressed to me that she doesn't feel excited to have sex with me because I'd be laying there with my eyes closed shut not saying anything, trying extremely hard to orgasm because if I don't then I'm worried it's going to affect our relationship. Whereas her on the other hand can literally orgasm within 5 minutes. The whole thing doesn't make me look forward to having sex at all which is why it leads me to think that I'm truly straight and I'm forcing myself at this point.


Of course now, sexuality is no joke. Back then I was just a really low self-esteem girly and obviously still am. I really don't know my sexuality even if I really think about it and listen to my intuition. I don't know if my attraction to men is comphet because being in past relationships with men, I was never able to truly be myself and let loose. But I do find myself looking at heterosexual relationships and being jealous. With my now girlfriend, it's literally my dream relationship as I've always wanted a best friend that was also my partner. But because she is my literal body double, I feel that element of sexual desire is a bit lessened because she is my best friend compared to before in relationships it was 100% sexual desire 0% best friends if you get what I'm trying to say.

I've honesty tossed up so many things could be the issue such as comphet, internalised homophobia, anxiety, confusion, daddy issues, trauma etc. Probably a mixture of everything which makes it even harder.
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, Wendy.

I have a few things I want to throw at you to think about. You can think about them aloud, here, and we can talk about them, or you can just think about them in your own head: whichever feels best for you.

1) This framework where someone is either straight or they're gay leaves out a loooooooot of people, and while I am including bisexual and otherwise queer people, I'm also talking about people who, for example, feel a lot of sexual attraction to one gender, but don't feel very emotionally connected or able to connect emotionally, but very emotionally connected to other genders but not as sexually fired up. Too, I'm including the very common life experience pretty much everyone has where they can be queer OR straight, but that doesn't mean that sexual relationships with just anyone within their orientation is going to really turn them on. If you don't think about this as an either/or situation -- where either you are straight or gay, and where you are either sexually blown away by this one woman or, if not, you're straight -- where does your mind go?

How do you feel when you think about possibilities like that you may well be bisexual, and maybe you just haven't been involved with anyone yet (which at only 22 would not be uncommon!) who is really a great fit for you as a lover, and with whom you can kind of find yourself sexually in a real way that feels right? Or about possibilities like maybe being more homoromantic than homosexual, and more heterosexual than heteroromantic? Or what about the possibility that it is just too soon for you to try and figure out your orientation at all because you haven't yet been able to have ANY lover yet where you could just be yourself sexually with ease?

2) I do have to say, it sounds like your sex life with your girlfriend isn't working for either of you at this point. That you were able to orgasm with her, but orgasm is a few seconds of a sexual interaction. IMHO, whether or not we orgasm with someone or together isn't as important a factor in a sexual life together as if we are enjoying ourselves throughout, if we feel like we can connect, if we LIKE being together and mutually get really excited about it, etc. I hear you describing what sounds like a mismatch to me, and one that feels like it's creating a different but equally not-great kind of sexual pressure on you to perform that you had with the guys before, you know?

If it helps to envision how this could be different, for example, people can be sexual together and have fantasies going on in their heads AND still be connected, like by telling each other what those are, or through role play, as a couple examples. It might also be that you find yourself more turned on by someone who doesn't feel like a body double for you: after all, women comes in a looooooooooot of shapes, sizes, gender presentations and aesthetics. What do you think about this?

3) Lastly, if you try and think about what the sex life you really want with someone looks like, what do you see? What kinds of sex do you feel like you'd want to be having? What's actually exciting for you? What would make you want to have your eyes open sometimes? What would make you feel really, really sexually connected to someone? What would a sexual life without feeling like you have to focus most on meeting someone else's needs and wants look like for you?

I do want to underscore that as I understand it, you've had four sexual/sensual partners: two men and two women. And, from what I can tell, with the exception of that first girl, you haven't yet had sexual experiences with anyone where you have felt like you could just freely explore what you like rather than trying to meet their standards. I do think that "not knowing your sexuality" isn't what's impacting your relationships in the way you think. After all, most folks your age and with your level of sexual life experience won't. On the other hand, I think not feeling able with your partners to freely explore your sexuality with honesty, openness, lack of judgment, and flexibility and curiosity on the part of your partners AND you being so hard on yourself probably is.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Wendy_
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Wendy_ »

Hello Heather, thank you for your response.

This is quite disheartening to hear as I'm in love with my girlfriend, I hope to marry her one day. There are times were we have sex and it's amazing and I think to myself that this inner conflict has finally resolved itself. But then it just props up again and again making me question everything. She is very accepting and understanding of my situation as I do take antidepressants which obviously lower your sex drive. I do feel I have some internalised homophobia and feel people may perceive me weirdly if they found out if I was with a girl. I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

You mentioned something about being homoromantic but hetreosexual, how on earth am I meant to work with that if that is true?
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Latha »

Hi Wendy_! I'm jumping in because I'm on shift- I hope you don't mind.

You know, not all relationships have to involve sex, or involve it very frequently. None of this will necessarily prevent you from staying together, or even getting married. Your girlfriend and you can build the kind of relationship that you want together. The two of you will just have to make certain adjustments.

You are right that being on antidepressants and feeling some internalized shame are some things that could be getting in the way of feeling pleasure with your girlfriend. For the former, you could talk to your doctor about the possibility of adjusting your medication. For the latter, may I recommend that you read this article? It is a guide on healing from sexual shame.

I wonder, do you have a sense of what is different when sex with your girlfriend is amazing? How do you feel during those times?
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Jacob »

Also tacking on, with at least my take on the "how on earth am I meant to work with that if that is true?" question:

Essentially, when coming up against parts of our sexuality which might feel contradictory either within ourselves or within a given relationship, I think it pays to tune into your compassion, honesty, patience and keeping of an open mind!

I think it's okay to say to a partner that we aren't enjoying sex, that we don't know why, and that we are questioning our sexuality through that. It's possible to have people who are essentially life partners who we don't have sex with, and other people we do have sex with.

It sounds like you're doing those things, and if we and our partners are sensitive to each-other's feelings honestly, any unorthodox relationship set up can be a healthy fulfilling one, it can just take time to work out what that setup is going to be.

Also, everything Latha said and ditto on their follow-up questions!
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You
Wendy_
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Wendy_ »

Thank you Latha & Jacob for your amazing advice! I have really taken on all your wise words and it's definitely made me feel a bit lighter about the situation and to be open minded. So, I have to say it's made sex a bit more enjoyable recently.

When the sex is amazing between my girlfriend, I feel sensual and of course sexy. My body is doing what I want it to do and orgasm. Just sometimes when I think about certain things that usually make me orgasm, won't make me orgasm the next time. So when next time comes around, I'm absolutely lost as to what turns me on and how to get there. Whether this being about my girlfriend (which is rare which is why it makes me think am I actually queer) or some fictional story I made up in my head. I have to say when there is toys involved, I find it extremely easier to orgasm as it's so intense I don't even have to even think about anything else.

I guess writing this out, the difference is when it's amazing is when I find my girlfriend sexy and she's turning me on. But like I said it doesn't happen all the time. I'm probably confusing everyone with my confusion on this website (which I absolutely love btw, feel like I actually have somewhere to go about these conflicting issues that I've been dealing with for so long).
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Andy »

Hi Wendy, I hope it’s okay that I’m stepping in here. I’m so glad Jacob’s and Latha’s replies were helpful!
I also think it’s great that you are identifying what can make sex pleasurable for you – being turned on, feeling sexy, fantasizing or using toys.
I would say that what you’re describing here – not being turned on by the same fantasies or your girlfriend all the time - is a fairly common thing among people of all orientations and in all kinds of relationships and if you don’t want it to play a role in how you identify yourself it doesn’t have to. How we feel about people or activities depends on so much more than how we usually feel about them – how much energy we have at the moment, if we had a rough day, how good we feel in a given place, what medication we are taking… and often there can be no apparent reason at all. Just because I don’t want to eat cucumber salad every day, doesn’t mean I can’t still say it is my favorite food, you know?
I wonder, what happens when you realize sex isn’t feeling how you want it to feel at a given moment and therefore might make you feel confused or otherwise crummy later - do you go on, do you take a break and/or communicate with your girlfriend to adjust things or stop, something else?
Wendy_
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Wendy_ »

Hello Andy! Thank you for jumping on. Apologies for my long reply, life be lifing.

Every time before sex I'm already worrying how it's going to turn out, basically whether it's going to be easy or not. At the times when it's not going the way I want it, my minds wondering off, I don't feel that aroused, I tell my girlfriend to stop for a second but she's already been going at it for 30+ mins so she thinks stopping is going to lose all the work she put in if you know what I mean?

I'm then eventually start saying sorry loads during it because it's been going on for ages which she absolutely hates because it's meant to be sexy and sensual not me apologising for not orgasming. But if we just stop altogether without getting anywhere after ages, theres a weird vibe afterwards on both parts. So that's when I have to put every single brain cell I have to focus on orgasming which involves me closing my eyes, not moving, not making any sounds or talking and thinking about something that's got nothing to do with me or her.

I feel like theres a brick wall stopping me from letting go, it's so hard out here.
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Re: Sex life ruined because I don't know my sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, Wendy.
I tell my girlfriend to stop for a second but she's already been going at it for 30+ mins so she thinks stopping is going to lose all the work she put in if you know what I mean?
Is this something she has actually said to you, or is this something you are assuming she thinks or feels?

Can you also say what you mean by "getting anywhere?" Do you mean orgasm = anywhere? If so, please know that until you switch your brain to anywhere = mutual pleasure, it's unlikely you or anyone else is going to have a very good time or feel very comfortable just exploring each other with the aim of feeling good.

I do want to say that in my book, 30 minutes isn't even a quickie: I think that is a very short amount of time for sex. If we're talking about all the time we spend from starting to get close in any way at all, to touching, to getting naked and exploring from there, it might help to recognize that figuring that something like an hour for a truly holistic sexual experience is a good amount of time to think of as a minimum, not a max.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
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