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Ask a Grown Woman

What’s it like dating someone of the same gender?

Q: A lot of my friends are experimenting with their sexualities right now. I have a general question. What is it like dating someone of the same sex? How does it compare with dating a guy? Any advice for awkward teens in this possible phase? —Roma

A: Hi Roma!
I like your question.

Roma, for me, dating someone of the same gender is like…breathing.

It’s natural.
Something I do without thinking.

Because I’m gay, asking me what it’s like to date someone of the same gender is like me asking a straight person, “Sooo…what’s it like dating someone of the so-called opposite gender?”

For me, dating boys would be weird.

When I look at my girlfriend, I don’t think, “Oh, hey. You’re a girl”; I look at her and think “obviously.”

Dating someone of my own gender is my norm.

But whatever. That’s all well and good for me.

I know what I am. I’m a lesbian.

What about when you don’t know for sure yet?

I mean, I’ve dated boys and slept with boys. I did it for years.
I’ve dated and slept with girls. This continues to this day.

Both guys and girls are lovely.
Both are fun in bed.
People who are neither girl nor boy, or somewhere in between, are fun too.

And for the most part, relationships work the same way, no matter what gender or nongender you’re dating.

There will be pet names. There will be drama. There will be your partner looking awesomely cute in underpants.

Fights. Sweet text messages. Misunderstandings. Taking care of each other.

But there are, um, some major differences between dating girl-identified people and dating boy-identified people.

Let’s talk about a couple, mmkay?

Some of the Ways Dating Girls Is Different From Dating Boys:

We’ll start with first impressions.

#1. Um. Girls are soft.

By Milton Greene

No joke, Roma, I swear to god that’s the very first thing I thought the very first time I ever touched a girl.

GOD WAS SHE SOFT.

Girls have soft lips. (Katy Perry says so, it must be true.)
Soft skin.
Soft hair.
Boobs like two pillows made out of baby bunnies wearing matching cashmere sweaters.

And girls—for the most part—smell amazing, like clean clothes and soap and good shampoo and lip balm and perfume and a little bit like sweat but nice and something indescribable, possibly magic fairy dust.

Lots of girls shave and exfoliate almost every part of their body, and then apply lotion, and the result is…the softest goddamn skin you’ve ever felt.

submitted to fuckyeahdykes.tumblr.com by borninflames82

Most guys don’t do this.

Don’t get me wrong, here. Guys often smell wonderful themselves, like Irish Spring soap and cheap shampoo and shaving cream and sweat and cotton and maybe a fantastic manly cologne if you’re lucky, but…across the board, I think it’s safe to say that girls—androgynous-type girls and trans girls and tomboi girls included—are softer and better-groomed than boys.

I think this is one of the thousands of reasons guys go apeshit for girls.
Girls are so soft, and they smell so good.

How do they do that???

#2. Most boys have penises. Most girls have vaginas.

God, aren’t you glad I’m here to point these things out?

Seriously, though, it makes a big difference.

Society’s definition of sex is when a man’s penis penetrates a woman’s vaginal canal.

When his wee-wee goes into her hoo-ha.

Soooo…girls dating girls aren’t having sex?
Cool, then, I’m basically a born-again virgin.

Honestly, in my experience having a fair *ahem* number of partners—both cis-male and cis-female—I find that, unless you’re hanging out with a truly talented guy, sex with guys centers around The Penis.

Especially sex with guys when you’re young.

Girlsex, when you’re new to it, feels both exotic and strangely familiar at the same time.

When both partners have the same equipment, you have a fairly good idea of what things feel like down there for each other.

You’ve touched yourself (c’mon you have); you have a basic understanding of what it feels like when you touch her…there.

Although people act like it’s a state secret or something, what two girls do together in bed is no mystery.

We use our hands. We use our mouths.

Believe me, when two girls are having sex, they’re not thinking “What do I do next? There’s no dick!”

They’re too busy having sex.

Now, obvs sex with girls is no better or worse than sex with boys.

One’s not superior to the other.

Unless you suddenly discover you vastly prefer sex with a particular gender.

That’s what happened to me. I was going about my life cheerfully sleeping with boys…and then I slept with a girl.

And it was like I heard a damn choir singing. For real.

For me, sex with girls was absolutely incredible. For someone who’s straight, or bi, or questioning, it might not be as instantly clear-cut as it was for me.

#3. The roles are different.

Often, when you’re dating a guy, the roles come fully formed for you. Thanks, society!

Watch!
The guy is the strong one.
The girl is the cute one who shrieks during scary movies.

Even if it’s totally the other way around (the girl is the one who can watch a chainsaw massacre without blinking and the guy is the one half-fainting under the blanket), you’re still fighting against hundreds of years of what everyone else considers “normal.”

Built-in roles.

The guy likes football.
The girl likes Zumba.
The guys watch football in the living room.
The girls cook Thanksgiving in the kitchen and gossip.

Wheee.

They’re bullshit, obviously, and tons of straight and trans people ignore and stomp on gender roles, but the roles are still there, ready and waiting to sneak up on you, with loads of support from family members and the media.

So what happens when it’s two girls dating?

Now who’s the automatic strong one?
Now who’s supposed to pay for the movie?

Well, shit.

When you’re a woman dating another woman, you usually decide on the roles for yourselves, instead of society dictating how things should be.

You’re dating a girl!
Society’s already pissed!

Messing with traditional gender roles hardly seems to matter at this point—you’re already messing with the very fabric of society! My god, think of the children!

You and your ladydate have a bit more wiggle room within gender roles.

#4. When dating a girl, you’re going to be attracting a lot more attention.

Both good and bad.

I mean, when you’re walking down the street holding hands with a boy, you are basically invisible to people.
They hardly even notice you.

It’s totes natural for girls to hold hands with their boyfriends.
Isn’t that sweet and all that.

But when it’s two girls…get ready to get stared at.

Or glared at.
Or given a “talking to” by a random offended middle-aged lady in line at the coffee shop.

Girls dating boys are able to do couple-y things in public without thinking about it.

Girls dating girls have to watch their backs.

And some people are nice. Some people are accepting. Most people, in fact.

And some aren’t.

Women in a lesbionic relationship get used to the attention—some of it well-meaning, some of it curious, and some of it disapproving as hell.

In conclusion: There’s a ton of similarities between dating girls and dating boys. There’s also tons of ways dating a girl is seriously different from dating a boy.

A relationship with someone of the same gender can be awesome.
Eye-opening and new.
Exactly right.

Love and sex and all that good stuff.

It can also—just like a straight relationship—suck ass.
And hey, even relationships that suck ass can help you figure things out.

It all depends on the personalities of the people involved—not always gender.

Thanks for asking, and I hope that helps, Roma! ♦

If you have a question for a future edition of Ask a Grown Woman or Ask a Grown Man, please send it to youaskedit@rookiemag.com.

52 Comments

  • giov November 15th, 2011 3:19 PM

    I think the look on the animals’ faces was key to my understanding of this topic, which is something I care very much about. for real!

  • olala November 15th, 2011 3:22 PM

    Very cute article. Very tiring to read.

  • Jennifer C November 15th, 2011 3:36 PM

    “When you’re a woman dating another woman, you usually decide on the roles for yourselves, instead of society dictating how things should be.”

    I don’t agree with this at all, when you are dating a guy you decide your role in that relationship yourself, it’s up to you and nobody else!!! I mean, there are plenty of lesbian stereotypes and expectations running around and to say that you are not free to have a un-stereotypical relationship unless you are a lesbian, is quite extreme… It’s your relationship, so you and your partner set the rules, no matter the gender and no matter what anybody else says.

  • Marguerite November 15th, 2011 3:43 PM

    I agree – the animals are a nice addition!

  • darksideoftherainbow November 15th, 2011 3:52 PM

    i only had one problem with this posting…i desperately wanted it to be longer. i’m a straight girl and i’m absolutely sure of that, but i still found this article amazing. i think it would benefit a lot of ppl to read it and open their minds, even just a little. thanks so much for this! <3

  • Dahlia November 15th, 2011 4:03 PM

    I get that some people are bi or gay, but I really find it all so incredibly confusing. I feel like this article actually made everything and ton more confusing.

  • washingpowder November 15th, 2011 4:37 PM

    this is an amazing article. it’s just brilliant. i’m not sure why, but it is. so yeah. thanks for a great article. :)

  • Ruby B. November 15th, 2011 4:44 PM

    This is actually really funny. I mean the way it’s written. I don’t think it’s funny when two girls date. Not that I think it’s bad. Or good. Not that it’s NOT good. It’s just normal. God, why am I so awkward? I can’t even reply to this without seeming homophobic, even though I’m not, I swear! Sorry! You know what, I’m just going to simplify it down to this:

    Good article.

    Ruby
    therubylotus.wordpress.com

  • fizzingwhizbees November 15th, 2011 4:44 PM

    I. Loved. This. Article. Except for the fact that it made me mopey about the fact that I am a lonely queer teenager (queernager?) who has yet to have a girlfriend. Womp womp. Oh well. Thanks Krista!

  • steph.anie11 November 15th, 2011 5:11 PM

    I’m really glad you addressed same-sex relationships a bit. Sadly, teen publications don’t commonly address this issue which sucks because that is when we need these articles the most!

  • mangachic November 15th, 2011 5:14 PM

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I’ve been wondering if I was gay or straight for the past month and this was really timely. I really hope I’m gay- not to be stereotypical but I feel like girls would be likelier to overanalyze texts like I do and the like. And I feel like I’d have a lot more in common with her than with a boy because, um, we’re both girls. And i think she’d be more likely to remember bdays, anniversaries, etc. (Or maybe i’m just thinking about emily from pretty little liars.)And the smell seems way better than even good cologne.
    But then again I was crushing on the same guy for 7 years so who knows…
    Could you please do another article helping teens figure out what sexuality they are? I loved this but it confused me even more.
    Again fantastic article

  • autelle November 15th, 2011 5:20 PM

    I think this is really entertaining and well-composed article! However, I did want to comment on the apparent connection between shaving (alongside exfoliation and using lotion) and being “‘better’-groomed” as a person.

  • unicorn November 15th, 2011 5:20 PM

    “Or given a “talking to” by a random offended middle-aged lady in line at the coffee shop. ”

    this happened to me once, except it was in an icecream place. SHE HAD THE EXACT SAME EXPRESSION AS THE RABBIT. and i am straight too. but i still really liked the article. the pictures made the article.

  • sabina November 15th, 2011 5:27 PM

    I totally agree with Jennifer C

  • Tavi November 15th, 2011 5:31 PM

    Krista is actually going to start writing for us regularly instead of as a guest Grown Woman :D

  • Cruicked November 15th, 2011 5:39 PM

    I’m glad Krista is going to be writing regularly! Also, this answered the question I submitted so this was a great article.

  • Maialuna November 15th, 2011 5:50 PM

    This is very time-appropriate for me. I like girls but my mom doesn’t take it seriously, I like girls and my friends take it too seriously… I’d consider myself bi but I’ve never kissed anyone before so I suppose things could change.

    I feel so awkward when my friends whom I’m not out to ask me who I have a crush on and I answer “…no one…” I’d like to tell the truth, and I know they’d be supportive and everything, but they’re the kind of people who I know would feel awkward. Luckily I have plenty of friends who I talk about girls with all the time. ^_^

  • pagingdoctork November 15th, 2011 5:50 PM

    This reminds me a lot of an article on Autostraddle– which I love to read even as a straight girl.

    The only thing I don’t like about this article is the weird fonts and typefaces. It kinda started looking like AOL IM circa 2002, haha.

  • GagaMcQueen November 15th, 2011 6:55 PM

    I love that you managed to address a “serious” issue playfully. I love the how honest the entire thing feels. Thank you!

    Oh, and I loved the animals. :)

  • sobrina November 15th, 2011 7:09 PM

    I’m pretty sure I’m straight, but damn, when you started talking about how soft girls are, now I want to kiss girls!

  • November 15th, 2011 7:15 PM

    Great read. I like the colours, and different fonts and spacing, and stuff. I found it much easier and more interesting to read than if it was just blocks of text. I also like how Marilyn’s jumper matches her hair, eyes and lip colour. Good work Roma, Krista, and Milton :-)

  • Rachael November 15th, 2011 7:21 PM

    I love this SO MUCH.

  • kittenmix November 15th, 2011 7:28 PM

    it’s so true that people like to stare more/feel like its their business to comment when yous a lesbian couple. Some woman asked me if it was really necessary for me and my girlfriend to be making out. To be fair, it probably wasn’t, but she didn’t say a thing to the copious amounts of hetero couples getting their mac on.

  • happyyeah November 15th, 2011 7:43 PM

    Thanks. I love Rookie. The only thing is, I feel inferior… cuz you know… all these people who are amazing in an obscene number of ways.

  • abigail November 15th, 2011 9:59 PM

    Great article on something that needed to be said. You answered what a lot of girls were secretly thinking, and that’s super important.

    Abigail
    abbysroad.tumblr.com

  • Billy November 15th, 2011 10:36 PM

    This article is perfect

  • Jamie November 15th, 2011 11:23 PM

    oomph so good. so timely.

    i think i learn from rookie twice as much as i write for rookie if that makes any sense.

  • Mia November 16th, 2011 2:02 AM

    As much as I like the pictures, it’s the writing in this that I like the most. I found it really funny and I’ve wondered what it would be like going out with a girl. Write another post soon!

  • MadelineTower November 16th, 2011 2:15 AM

    I enjoyed reading this article, it was the first blunt article anyone has ever shared about the differences between gay relationships and straight relationships. I appreciate the brutal honestly.

  • LauraGrey November 16th, 2011 4:00 AM

    I enjoyed this article!
    But I just wanted to reassure some of of the girls who have been commenting about trying to “figure out” their sexuality. I’m 21 and bisexual (when I have to put a label on it) and realised I was attracted to women when I was 13. Being same-sex attracted in high school is hard! And really confusing! I spent heaps of time wondering, “Am I just gay?” and a few weeks later, “Am I just straight?” Then I realised that there’s no point in worrying about it, I’m attracted to who I’m attracted to and their gender doesn’t really make a huge difference.
    So my advice to those of you who are questioning “what” you are is: Just be you. Experiment. See who you like, rather than which set of genitals you like. Don’t label yourself, because you don’t need to. Enjoy yourself. And most importantly, remember that as you get older most people will start to care less, label you less and ask you less about who you have a crush on! You’ll just be you, not a sexuality :)

  • Brookems November 16th, 2011 7:10 AM

    Super awesome article. When I was just discovering my sexuality, something like this would’ve helped me hugely – casual, funny, and informative.
    My 1st thought was MY GOD SHE IS SOFT too

  • amelia November 16th, 2011 7:54 AM

    this is awesome! i’d be open to dating a girl, though i’ve never been attracted to one in real life YET. this was such a well written article and really insightful!

  • Filia-Zissy November 16th, 2011 10:05 AM

    I liked this article very much! It was interesting and informing and those animal pictures were so funny and the other pictures so cute!

    http://filiasenchantingworld.blogspot.com/

  • warreno November 16th, 2011 12:43 PM

    If I ever have a daughter, I sincerely hope she’ll be able to get advice and feedback this good when the time comes.

  • back2thepast November 16th, 2011 5:55 PM

    It’s great to have sources like this. My religion stereotypically doesn’t support gays but i love my religion and i love people of all sexualities. so it’s hard to talk about gender confusion in a non-supportive community. i myself am super confused and exploding with hormones, so i love being a part of something that won’t reject you. thank you

  • Arabelle November 16th, 2011 9:40 PM

    KRISTA I LOVE YOU SO MUCH and of course this post. effingfykes confirmed i was lesbian. ♥♥♥

  • Alexa November 16th, 2011 11:29 PM

    I liked the article :) It makes me miss having a girlfriend even more though, sigh. I have a pretty good life as it goes, but having no one to date at your school still kinda sucks.

  • oriana November 16th, 2011 11:33 PM

    Cute article! And I like the animal faces, haha :)

  • sami November 18th, 2011 12:05 PM

    This was very interesting to read, to be honest, and i enjoyed hearing what it’s like to date a girl. although, i have no idea what it’s like to date a guy either x3 xxx

  • hazeleyedgirl November 18th, 2011 1:56 PM

    Thank you for this article! Seriously, sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the WORLD who honest to god, doesn’t notice or care whether it’s two girls, two boys, or a boy and girl holding hands.

    I also feel like when I start ranting about how much I hate homophobes, some people just assume that I’m a lesbian. Well, sorry to disappoint you. I’m straight.

    Also, I can’t stand guys who feel like they have to be the dominant one in the relationship. I have dated quite a few guys, and NOT ONCE have I let a guy pay for dinner, stand up for me or try and protect me (I can stand up for myself, thanks), nor have I ever cooked for a guy, been pressured into having sex with a guy or let a guy dictate anything I do, say or wear.

    I honestly hate gander stereotypes. None of them make sense.

    *RANT OVER*

  • X November 20th, 2011 10:26 AM

    great post!
    I think people should be aware of stuff like that and not just throw out that being gay is a negative thing. Because its not.

    I even had a presentation on sexuality in school.
    That gave them quite a…shock. Most kids write about their trip to the Bahamas.

    I did it because a lot of people where protesting me whenever I said that being gay was beautiful, and I think it is.
    Its beautiful to be gay, and I think people have understand that some ARE gay, and whether they like it or not, they have to live with it.

    http://newtoughgirl.blogspot.com/

    *_*

  • norther.violet November 20th, 2011 11:12 AM

    Thank you for all you’ve said here, it helped me to believe my feelings are quite normal..

  • batwit November 21st, 2011 4:59 PM

    Lovely article.

    I would like to, however, like autelle, point out that not shaving definitely doesn’t mean being less clean! I find female armpit hair crazy sexy.

    For me, the hardest part about dating other girls was getting anything started at all. Especially when I was younger, trying to find a girl to date was incredibly daunting. The fear of rejection was even more magnified by the possibility of the object of my affection not being interested in girls, or worse, offended or horrified by my even asking. Living in a very small town didn’t help either.
    Once I got to college, the internet helped a lot but I never really figured out how to flirt with a girl outside of an obviously queer environment. I let a lot of interesting girls go by because of fear.

    I am now married to a man, so my girl chasing days are probably over but I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for getting past those obstacles for other girls in the same situation.

  • cancercowboy November 22nd, 2011 10:25 AM

    hilariously written and filled with whats true, what more can you want?
    special thanks for “Boobs like two pillows made out of baby bunnies wearing matching cashmere sweaters” and the pic of witness-to-disaster-cat.

  • elishaaa November 28th, 2011 3:34 AM

    LMAO @ selena and justin AHAHHAAHHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHA!!!!! justin looks like a girl…. HAHHAHHAHA he needs some facial hair or some shit. ahhahaha

  • KayKay November 29th, 2011 3:46 PM

    Being as young and confused as I am at this point, I’d like to thank you so so so much for writing this. In the past two years I’ve been wondering whether I’m straight or gay or bi or simply losing my mind.
    I’ve never had a boyfriend before and the thought of having one seems weird to me. I find myself much more attracted to girls than to boys. It’s just something that I’m having trouble dealing with. Then again, which teenager doesn’t have trouble dealing with their sexuality?

  • hearts and darts November 30th, 2011 11:13 PM

    Brilliant writing.

    I loved the part about how everyone acts like what two girls do in bed together is a “state secret”.

    That could have been one part that’s missing from the article – if you date girls, expect friends and stangers alike to ask you how you do it.

    Um, I’m not a friggin encylopedia! Is it really that hard to imagine?

  • WWG December 5th, 2011 1:39 AM

    Hello all you lovely Rookies! I hope you don’t mind, but I came over here from Krista’s site to read what she had to say. I didn’t expect to write, but since so many of you made comments about your confusion, I thought maybe I could be of some assistance myself. I’m 34 and I grew up with Sassy Mag.
    Anyway, I came out at 16 as bi. I kissed boys. I kissed girls. When I kissed one, I found myself wanting the other. ARGH! When I was 18, I went away to college, and I fell in love with my first girlfriend. We broke up and I was very hurt by it. Also my confusion came back – women? Men? I didn’t know. I dated both for a bit until I found men constantly there, so I dated them. I even thought maybe I was “gay in the past” and now was straight. Hey, it happens. That was for about 10 years of my life. I came out again 3 years ago as a lesbian, and it fits!
    It was in hindsight that I realized all the ways I’d always known but was in denial – the crushes on actresses as a kid, when in my tween years when I put pics up of guy actors too “in case my friends questioned why I had actresses up”. It was 3 years ago when I looked back & realized that I never had romantic feelings for guys – ever. Kissing them was like kissing someone through a plate glass window – you can see the intention but you can’t feel it. Recently I kissed a girl and there was definitely no window in between us! 
    It’s become easier to come out, but the confusion about sexuality is a human thing, not a generation thing. All I can say is pay attention to all the clues (and there will be many) and you’ll figure it out. And be open to love in all forms. Your heart will know what you want.

  • wildstorm-warrior December 8th, 2011 7:21 PM

    Haha this came at the perfect time for me too! Not for the same reason as the others though. I was actually studying for a chem test and decided to take a break and check effingdykes and I saw a new link.
    This is a great post like usual. I particularily enjoyed the secton on steriotypical gender roles because I have been arguing with a friend of mine about feminism and the topic came up. :)

    Also love the pic of the cat XD

  • MissKnowItAll December 13th, 2011 7:25 PM

    Who is the boy in that picture????
    SO DAMN CUTE!!!!!

  • Jennifer53 December 14th, 2011 7:26 PM

    Not sure if I totally understood the Trans portion though……..being post-op M2F I consider myself very respectful of not only all in the LGBT Community but all of the hetero’s as well…….maybe my blondness is showing…..hmmm – great article tho…thanks!