Lesbianing With AE! Are You a Late Blooming Lesbian?

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I’ve wanted romance and intimacy (from girls) since 14, but for a while I was uninterested in sex with anyone. It was probably because of internalized homophobia and obsession with chastity due to my religious family, but a part of me is worried that I’m not a true lesbian because it took me this long. I’m 16 now btw and I’ve just decided I want sex in the future. So could I be a late bloomer? Is that a thing?

-Late Bloomer?

 

Dear Late Bloomer,

Yes, late bloomers are a thing. But you are NOT a late bloomer at 16. I promise!

ALSO, you are a true a lesbian as any other lady lover. There is no one right way or one right time to be a lesbian, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is insecure and judgy, and not someone you want in your life.

Late bloomers generally mature after their peers, and while the term is often used to denote sexual expression, it refers to more than that. Someone who is a late bloomer lags behind socially, mentally, or physically. So your older brother’s best bud who was short and had a super squeaky voice and was painfully shy, but who started senior year as a muscled hottie was a late bloomer. Same with your friend who was super into stuffed animals all through middle school. Full disclosure: I wore clothing with animals on it for WAY too long. Also? I just packed for vacation with a llama t-shirt, a rooster shirt, and a cheetah print top – so have I ever bloomed?

You figured out a couple of years ago that you were attracted to women… probably partway through the time most of your friends were getting crushes on and making out with guys and that was so not your idea of a good time. You didn’t feel ready at that time to be sexual, but now you are moving in that direction — so you are ready to find a girlfriend and get physical, not necessarily today, but someday.

All this to say, you are right on time. I promise.

 The average age for women to lose their virginity is 17, btw. And speaking of ages, there’s been an uptick in middle-aged women coming out of the closet after a lifetime of playing it straight. There’s even an inspirational movie about so-called late blooming lesbians. 

Although, the cultural notion of the late bloomer aside, you are always right on time. If you didn’t feel ready to be sexual until 18 or 20 or 25, that would be fine, too. Don’t let your friends, society, or pop culture make you feel like you need to have sex before a certain age and if you don’t there is something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you, I promise.

Cultural notion of the late bloomer aside, you are always right on time. If you didn’t feel ready to be sexual until 18 or 20 or 25, that would be fine, too. Don’t let your friends, society, or pop culture make you feel like you need to have sex before a certain age and if you don’t there is something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you, I promise. 

The religious upbringing gave you a head trip not just in terms of internalized homophobia but in terms of expressing your sexuality. Don’t know what religion you were raised with (BUT I CAN GUESS) but I am sure you got a heavy dose of sex is bad and wait until marriage combined with slut-shaming and virgin praising.

It sounds like you have figured this part out, but if not: Religion is something you get to choose whether you believe in. You do not need to adhere to the rules of your parents’ church or temple. You do not need to believe in the man in the sky or the eightfold path or the chosen people.

If parts of your religion work for you and it’s meaningful for you, then keep your faith. If not, act in a way that feels right and true for you and allow the religious upbringing to fall away from you. Especially the parts of said religion that want to keep women barefoot and pregnant and shackled to a man who can provide for their needs, amen.

If parts of your religion work for you and it’s meaningful for you, then keep your faith. If not, act in a way that feels right and true for you and allow the religious upbringing to fall away from you. Especially the parts of said religion that want to keep women barefoot and pregnant and shackled to a man who can provide for their needs, amen.

In a few years, you will be in college, probably somewhere outside your hometown or state, and you will have the physical and mental space to evaluate your own beliefs and act accordingly, if you feel like that’s something you can’t do at home.

And as for the dating part of it, I encourage you to go for it. You know you want women, and now you can see yourself being intimate with them in a new way. That’s empowering. If you feel safe (in your town and family) to start dating, look for other gay teens near you.

If you don’t feel like it’s safe to do that, continue to explore what your sexuality means to you. What kind of women turn you on? What skills can you bring to a relationship? In what ways do you self-sabotage? How can you heal that internalized homophobia so when the opportunity presents itself, you can be open to love?

 It may feel like you are being left behind if your straight friends are dating and you don’t feel safe to do that, but you are not blooming late. Trust and believe in your awesome nature and work on your own shit so you can move forward with lesbian dating when that someday comes.


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