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.