'For years I dated men and felt nothing. Then in lockdown, I added girls to my dating app preferences.'

When I was 10, I had a hopeless crush on a boy in my class. Every girl in my class was in love with this boy. He was perfect in every way. Far too popular to look at me, though.

When I was 12, I googled ‘lesbian porn’ (on the home wifi, sorry dad). I was just curious. But I wasn’t gay.

When I was 14, I was in love with a boy who’d never even spoken to me. I’d imagined kissing him, having sex with him, you name it. When that crush materialised into a ‘very serious’ Year Nine relationship on school camp, I suddenly wanted nothing less than to kiss him. 

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I think my excuse was something like ‘I don’t know how’. This didn’t stop him trying. I didn’t like being attached to him. After three weeks, I broke up with him. I felt nothing. I still liked boys, though.

When I was 17, on a family holiday, I saw a girl with long blonde hair on the beach. She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She was German, from what I could hear of her accent. 

I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I wasn’t gay, though.

When I was 18, I had my first kiss. Some random boy in a nightclub, whose friend filmed the whole thing on Snapchat. I was too drunk to care, but sober enough to know I felt nothing. I still liked boys, though.

When I was 19, I was dancing with a boy at a uni party. I was excited, not because I wanted it, but because I felt like I was finally doing something I was supposed to enjoy. 


He invited me back to his college. I wanted nothing less. What was wrong with me? I still liked boys, though. I just hadn’t found the right one.   

When I was 21, I went on quite a few dates. I had lots of interesting conversations, but nothing more than that. I ghosted a few people and got ghosted by as many. I didn’t feel very much at all.

When I was almost 22, Melbourne went into its first lockdown. A few weeks in, I gave in to my boredom and downloaded TikTok. This might seem inconsequential. It wasn’t.

Within a few hours, my For You Page was feeding me queer and wlw (woman-loving-woman) content. I was an ally! Hooray! I wasn’t gay, though.  

A few weeks go by. I see a lot of beautiful women on my TikTok feed making incredible queer content. 

Maybe I’m bi, I started thinking. Maybe this app is onto something. I nervously switch my preferences on my dating apps to ‘men & women’. Just to see... Purely a temporary change. I’ll switch it back soon. It felt like I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to. I definitely wasn’t gay.

I matched with a girl. She was very pretty, and I told her so.

We moved to Instagram. I was nervous. I was stuck inside my house, so my anxiety about the situation was intensified. Had she replied? How long is the reply? Did I forget to respond? We chatted for a while. It fizzled out. I don’t think I’m gay.

I kept swiping. I only swiped right on girls. Just a coincidence though, I thought. It’s just that none of these guys are my type.

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A year into COVID restrictions, I matched with another girl. We met up, and we clicked straight away. This is so easy, I thought. Why does it feel kind of wrong? I’m not gay.

She kissed me, and I enjoyed it. Ok, so I’m definitely bi. We hung out a few more times, but I wasn't really feeling it. Was it because I was pretending to like girls?

I got sick of seeing men on my dating apps so I switched my preferences to ‘women only’. 

Then, I turn 23. I meet a girl. She comes over to my house at 9pm during lockdown number six. She’s 25, older than me. She’s gay, and sure of it. 


We talk for hours. She kisses me. She stays over. When she has to go to work in the morning, I don’t want her to let go of me. She’s all I can think about. I think I might be gay.

‘When am I seeing you next?’ she asks me. And so it goes, for a month. I am overwhelmed, in a good way, I thought.

It’s a secret. I only tell a few people. Am I ashamed? Maybe. I work up the courage to tell my sister and my dad. It goes well. Why wouldn’t it? They’re happy for me. So why do I feel dirty?

Then, replies slow down. We meet up less often. I am constantly anxious. I feel like a burden. She only broke up with her girlfriend of a year a few weeks before she met me, she says. She didn’t process it, she says. She’s overwhelmed, she says. “That’s ok” I say. “We’ll take it slow”. I am a distraction.

She’s supposed to come over. She cancels. “I don’t think I can do this right now” she says. My world falls apart in that moment. Surely figuring out who I am isn’t supposed to hurt this much.

I’m angry. I’m devastated. It wasn’t even a real relationship, why am I so dramatic? Everything feels empty. She posts an Instagram story with her ex-girlfriend. I feel betrayed. And stupid. Why was I so stupid? F**k her.

Weeks go by. Slowly, I start to heal. It’s not linear, though. I go in circles. I get dizzy.

Months go by, I eventually start to feel good again. I’ve escaped.

I start posting about my life and sexuality on social media. It feels good. I let go of any shame I was carrying. I feel more myself than I have ever felt. I give absolutely no f**ks.

I meet a girl. It’s a slow burn this time, and it feels right. We take our time. It’s an even playing field, not like before.

We are honest with each other, I feel secure.

I have no guilt. I don’t feel dirty, like I’m pretending or keeping a secret.

I feel appreciated.

I feel like myself.

I feel loved.

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