I would love to experiment with women but I don’t want to make a woman feel like I’m just using her to explore my sexuality. Any advice?
(@emmawondra / Instagram)
Happy Tuesday, lovers, and welcome back to another Rowdy After Dark, where I answer reader-submitted questions about all things love and sex.
Here’s a question from a reader who is curious about being bicurious:
I’m in my early ‘20s and have always been bicurious. I would love to experiment with women but I don’t want to make a woman feel like I’m just using her to explore my sexuality. Do you have any advice?
I love this question, not only because of a spike in same-sex college hookups (even among those who identify as straight) but also because it’s clear that your intentions are genuine and you will be respectful toward your partner. That means you’re already on your way to having a better experience. However, I know exploring something new can be daunting, so here are a few dos and don’ts to make you and your partner feel comfortable.
DO be honest about your intentions.
It’s likely that whoever you’re with isn’t going to feel all that weird about it being your first time with a woman — but it’s better to give them a heads-up anyway. Before she orders you an Uber to her place, you can say something like, “I’ve never been with a woman before, but I’m really attracted to you and would like to try it out.” That way, it’s up to her to decide if that’s something she is comfortable with, and there won’t be a miscommunication about expectations down the road.
DON’T assume you’re going to be a star the first time around.
As my girlfriend (who was the first girl I ever hooked up with) tenderly likes to remind me, I wasn’t the best our first time. But once you have enough practice, you really just naturally figure things out. The same goes for hooking up with anyone of any gender; if you’ve exclusively been with men in the past, you know that you’re not a pro the first time you do it. Go into the hookup with that headspace. Don’t let it deter you, but don’t rush into things you’re unsure of either. Asking her to show you what she likes is good practice for any hookup, and it can be a great way for you to invite your partner to show you the ropes in a way that doesn’t feel like too much pressure.
DO hop on some dating apps.
It can be hard to gauge how someone feels about being part of your experimentation just by meeting them on a night out. If you’re looking exclusively for a hookup, try making a profile on Tinder or Bumble and explicitly state what you’re looking for. Then you know for sure that whoever is matching with you is totally cool to be part of your sexual journey.
DON’T worry too much about labels.
We know how fluid and flexible sexuality can be. Being bicurious only has as much weight as you want it to have, but it doesn’t have to mean anything beyond that. If you have your first girl-on-girl experience and you’re not ready to identify differently, you’re not alone: about a quarter of college women whose most recent hookup was with another woman consider themselves to be straight. On the other hand, perhaps it happens and suddenly the stars look brighter and something about life just feels right in a way it didn’t before (OK, just me?). You still don’t have to be quick to wear exclusively rainbow apparel. It simply offers you a new glimpse into who you are, just one of the many facets.
As Alice Walker expertly said, “Sexuality is one of the ways we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.”
Morgan is an online writer at Rowdy Magazine and a fourth-year journalism and women’s studies student at UF. You can usually find her at a local coffee shop, petting her latest foster cat or on social media @morgangoldwich.