real life

Bi-curious: How the pandemic sparked more women to try same-sex relationships.

Corah knew from a young age that she was attracted to women.

While in the early years of high school, her sexuality dawned on her – all her schoolfriends were invested in boys and male attention. Corah wasn't. And that stuck out. 

"It was all about which boy was giving us attention each week in my friendship group. The stereotype of young girls being 'boy-crazy', well in this instance, it fit. But for me, I had instead developed a crush on one of my friends," Corah said to Mamamia.

When she told a few people about the crush and the fact she thought she was a lesbian, Corah felt dismissed. She said she didn't experience any overt homophobia in a way. But those around her just didn't get it. And that made her feel alone, so Corah pushed that part of herself to the side. 

Over the next few years, she dated various boys until she was 18. Then the pandemic hit and everything changed

"One month into lockdown in 2020, I realised that I needed to come out. I think having that space to myself during lockdown to think about things opened my eyes. I always knew my family would accept me – that was never an issue. It was more the social pressure that really affected me," Corah explained.

"And while in lockdown, TikTok started to boom. There were heaps of people on the internet making videos. To see so many women share their stories of realising they were queer brought things into perspective."

So while in lockdown, Corah decided to tell the world that she was gay. And she hasn't looked back.


Corah and her girlfriend today. Image: Supplied. Corah is one of many women who have either realised or opened up about their sexuality for the first time amid the pandemic. 

Jaime Messina is an American sociologist and life coach who helps members of the LGBTQIA+ community find their confidence. 

And considering the work she does and the thousands of women she has spoken with, Jaime sees a strong correlation between TikTok, the pandemic and sexuality.


"During the pandemic, we were all home and couldn't really do much. And even myself who was into social media, I wasn't using TikTok yet. And so I started to use the platform in lockdown for entertainment, like a lot of others," Jaime explained.

"I realised very quickly that this trend was being featured in my 'for you page' where it was kind of a joke that women were 'turning' lesbian later in life by finding cute lesbians on their TikTok feed. And that piqued my interest. Because soon that joke morphed into a very serious realisation for many."

@jaimemessina #stitch with @sam.breezie ♬ original sound - Jaime Messina
@capricampeau you got this & I got u #bisexual #bitok #lgbtq #bitiktok #bipanic #bicurious #questioning #HoldMyMilk ♬ Castaways - The Backyardigans

For Jaime, she explains the theory as follows – amid the lockdowns, we were on our phones, stuck at home and bored. And for some who were in long-term relationships with men, they noticed a shift after being stuck together for so long – a realisation that it wasn't just their specific man, but perhaps men in general that they weren't attracted to.

And with more and more women sharing their realisation online, it made others feel seen and understood. And so the intersection between TikTok, COVID-19 and sexuality came to fruition. 

"The TikTok algorithm is insane. In your 'for you page', if you look at a video for a few seconds longer than another, the algorithm will see your interest. And seeing so many videos of other women sharing their own experiences, would have made some question their own sexuality," Jaime said. "Lots of women I've worked with said to me 'I just thought that girl was pretty – now I've started to realise I have proper feelings'."


For Jaime, she has been open with her sexuality since she was 18, and is now 40. The reason she became a life coach was that she had seen first-hand the 'later in life lesbian' niche and knew it was something that needed to be talked about more.

"The first question lesbians in this scenario have is 'what resources are there for me?' Only recently have we seen more information, and more women sharing their experiences publicly. And we have social media to thank for that," Jaime said to Mamamia.

Watch You Can't Ask That, lesbian edition. Post continues below.

Video via ABC.

"Sociology is the study of people and connecting with others is something I love. Soon after I came out, I was going through a very heavy state of depression, anxiety, drugs and alcohol. I made changes that ultimately saved my life. And now I really want to do that for other people."

And 22 years later, Jaime is walking other women through similar journeys. 

She recently created a Facebook group called Club Lillies which has thousands of members connecting over a shared experience of being later in life lesbians. 


"Coming out in today's age is mostly a lot different from when I came out years ago - when gay marriage still wasn't legal. Stepping into the lesbian community is a journey in itself - I want to make that experience easier for all women," Jaime said.

For women like Corah, embracing their sexuality is what brings joy. To finally feel comfortable revealing an important part of themselves.

Today, Corah is in a happy and loving relationship with her girlfriend, living together and sharing a fabulous cat. 

"Seeing how brave other women were, I knew I wanted to do the same," Corah said. "I wanted to share exactly who I was and who I love. Now I have a whole beautiful community and it's great to feel a part of something."

But what Corah wants women to know most of all is that sharing your sexuality with the world should always be done on your own terms – and in your own time.

"I would recommend others going through this process to take their time. It's alright, if it takes you 10 years to work it out. But when you do, and when you say it, you will feel like you've never felt before."

For more from Jaime, you can listen to her podcast here, check out her Instagram here and her TikTok here. If you would like to join her Facebook Group for later-in-life lesbians, Club Lillies, you can do so here.

Feature Image: TikTok @jaimemessina@thekateaudrey@capricampeau.

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