Am I Lesbian Or Bi If I Have Fantasies About Women? 7 Ways To Better Understand Your Desire

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto today’s topic: whether having girl-on-girl fantasies means you're lesbian or bi.

Q: For as long as I can remember, I’ve fantasized about being with another girl. It comes up while I’m masturbating, and even in my dreams occasionally. The fantasies themselves are hot, but they don’t feel right. I’m straight, and I’ve only ever dated men. The thought of having to call myself gay or bisexual makes me uncomfortable, because I'm not sure I'd ever want to date a woman, but I can’t deny that there’s something there. Why do I have these fantasies? How do I know if it’s just a fantasy or something that I need to try out? Does this mean I actually am bi?

A: Thanks for your question! Same-sex fantasies are actually incredibly common, so you’re not alone. Our sexual fantasies can feel complex and even overwhelming at times, but they really don’t have to be. Let’s go over seven steps to take when you find yourself questioning your fantasies.

1. Explore Your Reactions

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with same-sex sexual contact, but it seems like the thought of being with another woman is upsetting to you. Why is that reaction getting stirred up? What are you afraid of or worried about? Sometimes we feel uncomfortable with our fantasies because of our religious upbringing, parental beliefs, or community values. Sometimes we’re just scared of these “unknown” parts of ourselves. Whatever it is for you, it’s worth spending some time exploring your reactions to your fantasies.

2. Give Yourself Validation

A lot of people feel the need to interpret their fantasies and come up with reasons why they’re attracted to that particular thing. You asked me why you have these fantasies, but I think the “why” just isn’t that important. Your only task with your fantasies is to acknowledge that you have them and explore the role you’d like them to play in your life.

Try saying to yourself, “I have fantasies about women. I don’t know what I want to do with those fantasies yet, but they are a part of me.” Giving yourself this validation can go a long way in helping you feel more comfortable with your fantasies.

3. Don’t Feel Pressured To Act On Them

Just because you’ve had a fantasy doesn’t mean you “need” to act on it. In fact, lots of people have fantasies that they absolutely do not want to act out in real life. The classic example is the rape fantasy. This is one of the top three fantasies amongst women, but that doesn’t mean that anyone who has a rape fantasy actually wants to be raped in real life. Similarly, the fact that you fantasize about women doesn’t automatically mean you want to be with a woman, nor does it mean you would actually enjoy being with a woman if you experimented.

Instead of thinking about what you need to do, try thinking about what you want to do. Ask yourself, “do I want to experiment with another woman?” or “am I curious enough about being with another woman to give it a shot?”

4. Imagine Your Fantasy As A Reality

It might be hard to get a clear answer on what you want at the moment. If you feel like a jumbled mess when you try to think about your wants, try envisioning your fantasy becoming a reality.

As you walk by women on the street, notice if you feel attracted to any of them. If you see someone you like, imagine what it would be like to kiss her in the privacy of your home. Try to imagine the real-life details of hooking up. When we pull our fantasies out of fantasy-land and into our the backdrop of our actual lives, it can be easier to get a sense of whether or not we want to try them out.

5. Give Yourself Permission To Explore

At the end of the day, no one else can tell you the “right” thing to do with your fantasies. The most effective way to get a sense of whether or not you’ll actually like something sexually is to try it. It’s like wondering whether or not you’ll like oysters; thinking about oysters isn’t going to help you answer that question. Only trying them can. (Heh.)

6. Remember The Golden Rule

I also want to make a note about how to treat the woman or women that you might explore with. Be respectful at every stage of the process! Treat people how you would want to be treated. If you start kissing another woman and realize it’s not for you, put an end to things calmly and gracefully. Don’t make her feel like it was her fault, or like there’s something wrong with her. No one wants to feel like they’re another person’s “experiment”.

7. Take A Baby Step

If you do decide to give yourself permission to explore, I want to offer a quick reminder that you don’t need to jump in headfirst. Try putting up an online profile and just flirting with other girls over text. Or talk to women you meet out at bars or clubs. If you do want to experience being physically intimate, try just kissing or making out with another girl. Keep taking baby steps until you reach your boundaries.

If you find you're nervous about knowing what to do when you sleep with a woman, you might find reading up on technique useful as well.

It’s probably clear that my bias lies in allowing yourself to experiment with your fantasies. It’s your life, and if girl-on-girl action is something you’re drawn to, you should give yourself permission to explore it! Remember that you’re the only person who gets to make decisions about your sexuality, including how you identify yourself. You don’t need to share your fantasies with anyone or change the labels you like to use for yourself. You do you girl!

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Images: Canal Productions; Giphy