If your sexuality was a baking recipe, what would be the ingredients?
My sexuality. A point of great deliberation, a topic of relentless musing. Surely, I’m attracted to men because that’s what I’ve been told my whole life. “Do you have a boyyyyfriend?” “What are you smiling at?” “Any boys at school caught your eye?” And this was balanced by the middle school incels who asked “Are you a lesbian?” when I disregarded their attention.
I spent the largest portion of my life believing that I was only attracted to men. I’d make light of the moments when my heart raced as the gorgeously masculine girl passed by in high school or came through my checkout line when I was a cashier. When I did a double take at the martial arts instructor who walked with confidence and strength. When I had mixed feelings for a close friend in middle school. When I fell in love with my “best friend” in high school. She was beautiful, funny, insecure, kind, weird, and so genuine when it was just us. I had never felt so utterly devastated, my heart so broken, than when our friendship shattered. I told myself that this was what it felt like to lose a friend.
Trivializing my feelings towards women became a recurring theme throughout my adolescence, a theme I didn’t realize until the beginning of the pandemic. This sudden time of stillness provided a huge space for self-reflection - I must have grappled with my feelings for a good six months before I finally allowed myself to come to the conclusion that I was attracted to women, to people. To people with a quick wit, a charming smile, and confidence for days.
And, while I know this firmly from the fullness of my lived experiences, I still question it. When I’m with a man, I think, “Am I really attracted to women?” “Am I lying to myself, is this just admiration?” Then, when I’m feeling comfortable in my sapphic-ness, I think, “I must not actually be attracted to men. Could I ever feel as seen by a man as I would by a woman? But am I even physically attracted to women?” A vicious cycle, going around and around and around.
I find moments of solace with my bisexual friends. We share these worries, these fears, these questions of our “true” identity or “true” sexuality. Past my own friends, I see it widely in the online bisexual, pansexual, and queer community. There are constant messages that convey the invalidity of our desires. “Maybe you should read the Lesbian Masterdoc.” Conversations about the worries that sapphic women have about dating bisexual women, that maybe we’ll be more likely to cheat or end up “not really gay.” Biphobia is rampant within and outside of the queer community. Humans are obsessed with binaries, of which sexuality does not escape.
So. If I were to create the recipe to my sexuality, it would be:
A large helping of compatibility
45 gigabytes of confidence
Sufficient humor (the kind that comes with a twinkle in the eye)
A gazillion grams of comfort
73 tons of libido
A heap of openness
Consistent emotional awareness/maturity
A dash of social awareness