So we went into a house under construction and traded oral sex on a large bolt of insulation (still wrapped in plastic). I kept trying to imagine it was one of the girls I was interested in at the time. What straight and gay men have in common is they’re men — they’re into the ego boost of the hunt, and all that — and I’m socially just much more attuned to women. He replied, "I would." After a second or two of shock, sexual frustration took over. I guess all our bookish conversation wasn’t the aphrodisiac for him that it was for me.
It was the '80s, and we were all listening to queer British music like Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Then in grad school I went to a dance party at a gay friend’s loft in Alphabet City and I saw this woman. I did have a clandestine cruising phase, but I’ve mostly dated women since then. I grew up in the South then went to Washington State in Olympia. The first time I kissed a girl was in the backseat of a taxi. Romantically, I’m more aligned with men, but I find women’s bodies more beautiful. I’m still friends with these people and still find them attractive, but we’re not at that point in our lives. My husband and I have never strayed, but we did have a hot-tub party where I kissed girls. He approached me a couple of times more but took the rejection well.
I knew lesbians and gay guys as a youngster because my mom was an art professor. I’ve wondered how much my own anxiety — my fear of being socially vilified — affects the way I recall that period. Lesbianism was thought of as being really powerful. I probably didn’t experiment with girls until I was 20 or older. People think girls do this to titillate guys, but I actually think it just made us feel safer, acting as if we were doing it for them — and we definitely had an audience — but we were really doing it for ourselves. I probably fooled around and made out with around six women in college.
We kissed on a bench in Union Square, but I don’t think it went much further. Then I completely drunkenly went home with a really queen-y, silk-bathrobe kind of guy. I just couldn’t wear that relationship in the daytime. We stayed friends, and I told myself that my feelings about men were just sexual, not about closeness or affection or romance. I was very curious, sexually, and had like a hundred lovers before I was 20.
Throughout this week, the Cut explores college life, from politics and identity to parties, sex, and style. We made love the first time in our friend’s house on the floor. So I was really nervous about the upcoming weekend. When we arrived, she tried to learn to snowboard and fell and broke her wrist. Instead of going to the ER and ruining the NYE party, we splinted it with cardboard and went on partying. I really appreciated that, plus she was hot, with brown hair and blue eyes. I sometimes kiss guys at clubs and trade videos with gay friends. It’s such a strong impulse — for all men — to go out there and tally up conquests.
A straight woman I know was asked by her boyfriend if she’d ever made out with a girl. “I went to college.” The LUG — Lesbian Until Graduation — is a long-standing cliché, but no one's story is as simple as that. And part of what you learn is that you can’t always predict whom you’ll want to sleep with. I had been to a feminist conference in Eugene, Oregon, where I met several lesbian women. We spent one night with our tops off and one with our bottoms off, then the third time was the charm. I’ve found it better to look for a strategically optimal relationship, like the one I’m in, since I can be so honest with her. I was a serious feminist and lefty at Harvard, and I thought it would be so great if I were a lesbian, too.
Here are 15 men and women whose college experiences took them away from heterosexuality and (sometimes) back again. But after we broke up, my next serious relationship was with a man, and I’ve just never fallen in love with another woman. We were hiking and she kept trying to read lesbian erotica to me — those things don’t go together! The women I’ve been attracted to — except for my girlfriend, who was very feminine — have all been super-hard-core butch. I know that after an apocalypse, my husband could go into Prospect Park and kill dinner for us and we’d be fine. We lived in different places and visited each other and traveled around Oregon. I had a lot of political and theoretical interest in it. For a good year, I was totally convinced I was a lesbian. I even took my girlfriend to my high-school prom in Houston, Texas. When I got to Oberlin, I signed up to be a peer counselor for gay students.Some names and identifying information have been changed. My college boyfriend had moved away and I was really missing him. I did get a lot of crushes on power dykes in the lefty community. In grad school, I had a friendship with a lesbian that veered into romance. I still find myself attracted to women, but I’m married to a man now so I’m not going to do anything. I’ll get emotionally attached.” I had to backtrack, big time. I also came out to my roommate during the first week and flipped her out.Over the summer, I went to work at a New Age conference center and I met this woman there and totally fell head over heels in love with her. She ended up moving back to college with me and living with me in my off-campus housing. I’d announced to my parents that I was gay and everything. In my senior year, I was the token straight girl volunteering for a sexual orientation support group and ended up having a fling with a lesbian there. She had a fantastic sense of humor and literary talent, and that was appealing. One guy I dated after Sara knew about my past with women and kept proposing threesomes. Then, one day near the end of my freshman year, I was at the vegetarian café and noticed a guy across the room and thought, “Oh, he’s attractive.” So that caught my attention. I really enjoyed sex with her, so I thought, “I’m a lesbian! But I more or less concluded that I preferred boys. So funny, smart, and beautiful — a tall, lanky, dark-haired Italian beauty. I think she walked me home that evening and we kissed in a doorway. I’d had a steady boyfriend in high school who was older (and I would later have two husbands much older than me), but Lanie was my age. My feeling is that Lanie could have been male or female — or in any skin at all — the gender doesn’t matter. Part of me thinks that, even now, at 52, it could still happen with a woman. Also, she was very slim, which has always been an elusive goal of mine. Those women have stayed in my life as friends, but I had a really chaotic childhood and my main desire then was to have a “normal life,” which I pictured as being married to a man and having kids. I’ve definitely had attractions and temptations over the years — I’ve been married for 25 years — but I’d never act on them. C., Santa Cruz, a very liberal school, and would sometimes dirty-dance with girls or make out with them on E. I was the girl you don’t want to fall in love with. And I realized that I was really unmotivated sexually with the women I’d been with. Even now, if I’m with a guy, he can have the most beautiful cock on the block, but I still want the hands. After college, I dated mostly guys, then had casual sex with a guy and got pregnant. I have scarcely ever been as excited by the thought of making love with someone as I was with her. I knew there would be a guy there who liked me and I liked him. Then that situation became confused because I hooked up a little with the second guy. Thankfully, the guy I invited brought another girl, and I ended up hooking up with her! For me, a long-term, live-in relationship with a woman is like the ultimate sleepover for the chatty, sensitive little boy I was. I’m not entirely monogamous with my current girlfriend. I can still see and feel this about myself, although I haven’t had sex with a woman since then. I was invited to a New Year’s party weekend at a Tahoe ski resort. No hugging, no kissing, nothing like the companionship stuff I've had with the females in my life. So then I dated both men and women, and now I’ve had two long relationships with women.