Or: when you’re a heterosexual woman and you start finding other women sexy.
So, I could try and write some kind of ‘think piece’ about how some famous women have discovered they have new sexual identities when they hit mid-life – Glennon Doyle comes to mind – but I don’t want to. I want to get straight to the point: sometimes, when you’re in the Sex Surge, or just as a natural part of changing and getting older, you (if you’re a heterosexual woman) may find yourself sexually attracted to other women. It’s a thing. And it’s a thing some women are afraid of because we don’t know what’s happening or what it means for who we are and how we understand ourselves.
Let’s talk about that.
I will tell you, right out of the gate, when I was in the Sex Surge, I started finding women far more sexually attractive than I had before. I appreciate a beautiful body and I always have. Men, women, doesn’t matter. There are body sizes and types and ways of moving and talking that are simply lovely to behold. And I think most (not all, but most) heterosexual people wonder, at some point, “What would it be like to have sex with someone of the same gender?” But when I was in the Sex Surge I definitely noticed that I was far more interested in female-female-male erotica and porn (I do watch sometimes, we’ll talk about that in two weeks!). In the Sex Surge, I simultaneously felt like I was Stacy’s mom (and had it goin’ on) and I also wanted to check her out. [I’m referring to a pop video, check it out here.]
The thing about the Sex Surge is that our brain chemistry has changed and as a result our inhibitions around sex have been lowered. So, what may have previously been ‘off limits’ or ‘not terribly interesting’ is now…very interesting. And some of us who previously understood ourselves as “heterosexual only, thanks” might be feeling a wee bit weird when we start finding women sexually attractive.
The same sort of thing is at play in mid-life women who are not going through the Sex Surge. Sexuality (what label we give ourselves) and sexual expression (who we are with and what we do with them, sexually) are far more fluid than we understood when we were growing up. Brain chemistry changes. Personality changes. Our sense of what is beautiful and sexually attractive changes (seriously, tell me who you’d put in a lineup to have sex with as a mid-life woman. I bet the choices would be a lot different than your 24 year-old self). Last, but not at all least, our desires change. What we desired 15 years ago is different than what we desire now.
All of which is to say: being sexually attracted to women (or people you weren’t before, any people!) is a totally natural thing. And it doesn’t have to redefine your life if you don’t want it to. And, just to be 100% clear: there’s nothing wrong with being bisexual, homosexual, genderqueer, asexual or anything else that involves two consenting adults (or doesn’t if you’re asexual).
Just because I now find women more sexually attractive than I used to doesn’t mean I’m bisexual or a lesbian. I still consider myself predominantly heterosexual (like, 80%). But I’m also going to enjoy the kind of erotica I enjoy, even if that happens to include more females than it did before.
The thing is, I think a lot of women sort of freak out if they start feeling this way. And I don’t want you to freak out. Finding women sexually attractive may be part of changing brain chemistry. It may also be discovering the truth of who you are now (because I like to think we’re a little more self-accepting as we get to mid-life). It may also be about wanting to connect with your own inner feminine self more deeply- we may feel attracted to other women, because we want to experience that softness, acceptance, support, and connection we so easily give to others, for our selves (this is definitely a thing).
Why am I telling you this? Why am I outing myself as someone who suddenly thinks chicks are hot? Because every so often a woman will come to me with this question, worried sick that something is ‘wrong’ with her or that something has been ‘switched’ inside her and she can’t come back. And I want her (as she reads this in the archives) to know that she’s not alone, she’s not weird, and that nothing is ‘wrong’ with her. Attraction is something we can neither force nor excuse ourselves from, we can only choose what to do with it. And I hope you will choose to accept your attractions and desires, whether that means behavior change or not. Self-acceptance is a cornerstone of healthy mid-life growth.