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All About the LGBTQ+ Acronym: What is a Lesbian?

Many women experience health issues during their lifetime, however, lesbian and bisexual women's health issues are at greater risk of cancer

The first letter of the LGBTQ+ acronym stands for lesbian. A lesbian is a woman, cisgender or transgender, who is romantically attracted to other women. It is a type of homosexuality. Lesbians also refer to themselves as gay. 

Misconceptions About Lesbians

1) Lesbians hate men. 

Since lesbians aren’t sexually or romantically interested in men, there is a misconception that they hate them. However, this simply is not true. Many lesbians have friendships with men or professional relationships.

2) One person in a lesbian relationship must take on the man’s role. 

One myth is that one lesbian in a partnership must take on a traditionally masculine role. However, every relationship is unique, and this isn’t always the norm. Gender dynamics can look various ways in a lesbian relationship. 

3) Lesbians are sporty. 

A common lesbian stereotype is that they wear flannel shirts or play sports. You can’t tell someone is a lesbian just by looking at them – many lesbians wear various types of clothes and have several other interests.

4) More feminine Lesbians aren’t actual lesbians. 

There is no one way to be a lesbian – many lesbians have various styles and identities, even feminine ones. Masculine and feminine gender models are outdated and do not account for the diverse experience of lesbians.

5) A romantic relationship between women can’t be as serious as a heterosexual one.

Even though some uninformed people may consider gay relationships to be less serious than heterosexual couples, this could not be further from the truth. Love does not depend on a person’s sexual orientation – romantic feelings and partnerships can be just as intense and deserve just as much respect. It is essential to validate lesbian couples, as it can impact their self-esteem better and lead to feelings of acceptance.  

Some Myths About Lesbian Sex

There are lots of myths out there about lesbian sex. Here are a few:

  1. You have to scissor or use a strap-on. Scissoring is when two individuals with vaginas rub their vulvas together. It can be pleasurable for some people, but not all lesbians enjoy it or find it pleasurable.

    Strap-ons are sex toys that often use dildos as penetration. They attach to a harness or underwear contraption and can penetrate a vagina or anus. While they can be enjoyable, they aren’t a requirement for lesbian sex – it depends on your preference.
  2. Someone needs to take on “the man’s” role in the bedroom. A common misconception is that one partner does the penetrating and one does the receiving. This dynamic may work for some, but some enjoy switching roles. Plus, penetration is not a characteristic solely belonging to men and doesn’t make you one.
  3. The end goal is having an orgasm. Most people think that orgasm is the endgame for sex. However, this is not always true. Sex can still feel great without orgasming. There is no shame in stopping sex if you or your partner didn’t orgasm.
  4. You don’t have to worry about STIs or pregnancy. It’s still possible for lesbians to get pregnant since trans people can identify as lesbians, and one partner may have a penis and the other a vagina. No matter what gender or genitalia you have, it’s still possible to spread STIs.

    Types of Lesbian Sex 

Sex education in schools, media, and local communities is largely gendered and heteronormative. We learn that penis-in-vagina sex is the standard. However, sex is more fluid and means different things to individual people. 

Here are some other types of lesbian sex:

  • Oral sex (vagina, penis, or anus) 
  • Genital rubbing or dry humping 
  • Hand job, fingering, anal play, fisting, and more
  • Nipple play 
  • Using sex toys on a partner 
  • Mutual masturbation

Lesbian sex can be whatever the person defines it as. There are no rules and works for what you consider sex to be. 

How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Being Gay

If you are thinking about coming out to your loved ones, make sure that you are the one that came to this decision. You can come out any way that you want, whether it’s through a group announcement, or with people individually. 

If you have some people in your life that you are unsure of how they will react, you can find out their opinions about lesbians beforehand. You can do so by asking what their thoughts are about particular celebrity lesbians, gay marriage, or their general views about lesbians. 

Coming out is a personal decision, and if you don’t feel like it would be safe at this time, there is no pressure to come out if you’re not ready. 

If you do think it is the right decision for you, you can anticipate difficult questions that may occur. Come up with different scenarios for potential responses or reactions. You can even provide information that your loved ones that they can access. 

Some options for telling people about your sexual orientation include:

  • Talking in person
  • Communicating through text
  • Speaking over the phone
  • Writing a letter or email 

If you want to come out but think it could be unsafe, be sure to have a plan in places like having transportation, housing, and food. 

How to Find Information About Lesbian Topics 

If you are curious about lesbian topics, there are many resources online that can provide you with information. There are reputable websites like Twenty10ReachOut.com, and the queer and lesbian-specific website Autostraddle. You can also access lesbian content via TikTok and Instagram by looking up hashtags. 

Taking the Next Steps 

Now that you have a basic understanding and definition of what it means to be a lesbian, you can do more research if you are questioning or wanting to learn how to be a good ally.

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Billie Olsen

MODEL: Billie Olsen

Billie Olsen (she/they) is a lifestyle writer, disability justice advocate, and cozy femme located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Their works have appeared in Metro News, Discorder, Sophomore Magazine, the Post-Feminist Post, DINE Magazine, and NerdReader.