'5 things I wish I knew before my first lesbian date.'

It never occurred to me that I might be attracted to women.

I’d always enjoyed male attention, was rarely without a boyfriend, and had no problem having sex with guys. My future had a husband in it, this I knew for sure.

Even after I slept with another woman, I brushed off the idea it meant anything at all. 

We had hot, clumsy sex at a uni party after my fourth goon-and-juice had kicked in. She accidently elbowed me in the head while flinging her bra off, and we rolled around laughing about it before I went down on her.

Afterwards, she acted as if the night never happened, and I pushed the curiosity it awoke in me down into a pit of denial so deep, it wouldn’t be retrieved for over a decade.

While you're here, watch 'You Can't Ask That: Lesbians'. Story continues after video.

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It took the breakdown of my marriage to a man in my early thirties, and the realisation being a wife hadn’t delivered the fulfilment it promised me, to finally dip my toe into queer dating.

Still, as I changed my Tinder settings to include women, I wasn’t entirely sure I could discern between appreciating another woman’s beauty (and body) and being physically attracted to it. 


And the date that eventuated was no less discouraging than my first foray into women. She was beautiful, and the sex was... okay, I guess?... But I was no more convinced I was anything other than straight, and maybe a bit bored with men.

Fast forward eight years, and I couldn’t be more certain I’m a raging lesbian. It’s a conclusion I would’ve come to far sooner, had I known then what I do now.

Here are five things I wish someone had told me before my first experience with another woman...

1. Indifference and bad sex aren’t proof you’re straight.

Ambivalence and sexual disappointment aren’t reliable gauges of who you’re attracted to. At least, not if they happen infrequently. Doubt, indifference and dud sex happen to most people in dating, regardless of sexuality or gender.

As soon as I went on a date with a woman I had chemistry with, and worked out what my "type" was, it became abundantly clear I was queer. Repressing my interest in women after my first failed date stopped me from making that discovery and living out my truth for years.

2. The rules don’t apply.

If you’ve dated men, you’re likely pretty clear on "the rules". There’s no ambiguity around who'll organise the date and pay for it at the end of the night, or initiate getting physical – which can make determining who takes the lead when there's two women involved all the more of a minefield. And this, in itself, can be enough to make you throw queer dating into the too-hard basket.

But once I dropped the idea there *needed* to be a "lead", dating women became incredibly emancipating. In fact, the joy of colouring outside the lines of heteronormativity is there aren't any expectations or obligations to perform certain roles at all.


The only thing that's generally universal in queer dating is equality. Rather than waiting for one person to plan, pay, or make a move, both people have autonomy, so it's a far more reciprocal exchange.

3. There’s girl flirting, then there’s gay flirting.

There’s nothing more confusing than spending an entire date – or even just an encounter with an attractive woman at a bar – trying to decipher if a girl is just being nice to you, or angling to bone you.

Likewise, it can at times appear simpler to solve a complex algebraic equation than make it clear to your date you don't just think her pants are cute – you’d like to get into them.

Thankfully, I eventually stumbled upon a solution to both predicaments, and it's in the details.

"Girl flirting" (otherwise known as platonic flirting between friends and drunk women in bathrooms) focuses on complimenting a woman based on something she's wearing or has done – e.g. "Your eyeliner is on fleek, girl!" or "Wow! That dress is so gorgeous, where’d you get it?"

But gay flirting (read: when she's into you) focuses on complimenting the woman herself – "That eyeliner highlights how pretty your eyes are," or "Wow! You look incredible in that dress – it really shows off your legs."

Once you know the difference, everything becomes easier.

4. Pay attention to your body.

For years, I thought the fact I could have sex with men was proof I was straight. I didn't know simply being able to go through the motions of doing something was a poor indicator of what I was into.

When I started paying attention to the way my body felt around women on dates and during sex, it became clear I'd never experienced true sexual arousal with a man.


Honing in on the physical responses I had with women also allowed me to realise years of conditioning to view male attention as a signifier of my worth and desirability had led me to mistake wanting men to be attracted to me for being attracted to men myself.

5. Get your mind out of the gutter.

After I came out, I went on quite a few dates with women who viewed their lack of sexual experience with other women as a kind of deficit they were duty-bound to reveal ahead of meeting me.

But here’s the thing – you don't owe anyone an explanation of your sexual history, nor do you need to legitimise your sexuality through sex. Your sexual identity is determined by who you're sexually and romantically attracted to, not who you’ve banged.

Also, telling your date you might not be good at sex before you've both even decided if you want to have sex is a sure-fire way to make things weird. Stop putting pressure on the getting naked part and just be in the moment.

If things do heat up, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover – just as every queer woman inevitably does – that sex with someone who has the same anatomy as you is vastly easier, not more complicated. 

Sure, first times can be a little awkward, and there's always the possibility you'll be unintentionally elbowed in the head at some point, but it's all part of the fun. 

Nadia Bokody is a queer sex columnist, YouTuber and professional over-sharer who considers herself a pro at gay flirting. Follow her on Instagram for more.

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