Here you will find a summary on some information concerning lesbian ways of life, especially for young lesbians, but also for any person wishing to know more about lesbians.
- Who is lesbian?
- How do lesbians live?
- How does a girl become lesbian or bisexual?
- What can I do if I suspect that I am lesbian?
- Lesbian sexuality?
- What about aids?
- Where can I find contacts and leisure activities?
- Should I speak with my family?
- What ca I do if I am desperate?
Who is lesbian?
To be lesbian or bisexual has absolutely nothing to do with culture, skin color or origin. Since time immemorial, there have been lesbians and gays in all societies and countries, in all professions and social classes, in cities and rural areas. Different cultures have different approaches, from persecution to particular esteem of lesbians and gays.
There are international organizations of lesbians and gays, eg. IGLYO – International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organisation Postbus 542, NL – 1000 Amsterdam, firstname.lastname@example.org. Book recommendation: van Dijk, Lutz: “Coming-out. Lesben und Schhwule aus aller Welt”, Düsseldorf, Patmos, 1997.
How do lesbians live?
Lesbians’ lives are as diverse as those of heterosexual persons. Some live for many years with a partner, others prefer to have shorter and not so close relationships. There are lesbian mothers, lesbian career women, lesbian vendors, lesbian wheelchair users, young and old lesbians….. just as many other people.
How does a Girl become lesbian or bisexual?
There are different theories as to how an individual becomes homosexual. Some theories presume that lesbians and gays are what they are by nature, whereas others search for circumstances in education or individual experiences. The American couple Kinsey (both sex researches) has examined numerous theories on sexuality and could not find any coincidences. And what is more, they could not find any really consistent theories. Hence, they assume that we must consider hetero- and homosexuality more like a range, with exclusively lesbian and gay persons on one side and exclusively homosexual persons on the other side. A great majority is to be found somewhere between these two poles.
Explanations that try to find out what went wrong with lesbians and gays normally have to do more with prejudices of researchers than with reality. Recent studies have shown that there also exists homosexuality among animals. And why does hardly anyone know about this? Some biologists openly admit that they did not dare publish these results earlier on the basis of the motto: What cannot be, must not be.
What can I do if I suspect that I am lesbian?
You are very courageous if you study your feelings and find out that they are contrary to what is commonly recognized and accepted. If girls are attracted by other girls or women they are sometimes afraid of what their future lives might look like. Even girls who have no problems with their lesbian feelings often fear the reaction of others and have to struggle with concrete problems in their social environment. It is of utmost importance that you find people who understand you and that have similar feelings. Contact can help you to see and recognize that there are other lesbian and bisexual girls. To learn about each other is a wonderful experience, because you find out how normal and joyful it can be to be a lesbian.
Lesbian sexuality is as diverse as any other sexuality. It is extremely important to find out what you like and not to do anything that makes you feel uneasy. There is no one blue-print on what you are supposed to do. Many lesbians like to caress and excite with their hands and mouth, most lesbians will enjoy tenderness, kisses and caresses. Some will prefer very soft sex, others like harder or hard sex. It is as simple as everything in life: There are different tastes, likes and dislikes vary a great deal.
There are people that have sex exclusively in a solid partnership, whereas others consider sex and life to be two different issues. Such different perceptions can lead to mental violation. Hence, it may be important to speak with your partner about your personal needs and expectations.
Our society attributes great importance to sex. Men and women are expected to practice it, always to be fit and successful. Don’t be fooled: You can learn and develop sex and to be a beginner means no more than that you are a beginner. Don’t worry and don’t try to be perfect, just watch your own and your partner’s pace, be innovative and just find out what you like. This may change over the time, but just keep cool and don’t expect too much. Even if you already made a great experience, don’t expect that it remains like that.
What about Aids?
The risk of infection during sex between women is relatively low, nevertheless it is possible. In principle, vaginal fluid and blood, including menstrual blood can transmit aids. If you have injuries on your hands, you should wear latex gloves when touching or exciting your partner’s vagina. Even if you stimulate your partner’s vulva you may become infected. In order to protect yourself, you can use a plastic wrap, condom or latex glove cut apart as a protective barrier. All latex products should be used with a water-based glide agent. If you share a vibrator or a dildo, make sure to use a fresh condom each time you exchange it.
Where can I find Contacts and leisure Activities?
There are different ways of contacting other young lesbians or bisexuals, e.g. groups of young lesbians at the Fetz. You can also find a lot of information on the subject of lesbians on the Internet under the following address: www.lesben.org. Moreover, general city magazines also offer such information under the heading lesbians and gays. In addition, the Youth Network Lambda for young lesbians and gays can be found under www.lambda-online.de. They often organize youth camps for young lesbians and gays.
With whom can I speak openly?
When you wonder with whom you can speak about your lesbian feelings, a small check-list may help you find the right person:
Does she or he have a positive attitude towards lesbians?
- Is she/he a good listener?
- Will she/he spread news?
- Will she/he be supportive?
Can I come out to my Girlfriends?
To open up to girlfriends can be frightening. On the one hand you want to be honest, but on the other hand you are afraid of being rejected. If you have been living in a more or less isolated environment and have avoided contacts, coming out may offer you an opportunity to make new acquaintances which will love you for who you are.
You will probably be able to judge who is for or against you. It is not unusual for lesbians and gays to be rejected by many acquaintances, but the majority has friends that admire their courage and support them.
There many ways of coming out. The most important thing, however, is that it is your completely personal decision as to how, when and to whom you want to come out of the closet. Even adult lesbians carefully consider to whom and how they will disclose their sexual orientation. Most important: Every single day offers a new opportunity to do what feels right for you. And don’t forget: Secrecy has its price, because if you have to conceal such an essential part of yourself you cannot deal with people in a spontaneous manner. Moreover, it is tiring to have to protect yourself from “compromising exposure”. What is more, you permanently have to avoid and diver from “dangerous” topics.
Should I tell my Family?
If you want to come out to your family, you should first think about them. How will they react? You can test them by speaking in general terms about lesbians and gays in order find out what happens. It may be helpful if you talk to them in a situation in which you feel safe and strong. It will help if you are alone with them and that you don’t do it out of opposition or because you are furious, since then your parents might not take you very seriously.
If you have information material and if you are willing to answer their questions this might help to ease the situation. You can order the following free brochure for parents from the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung: “Unser Kind fällt aus der Rolle. Über Geschlechtsrollen und sexuelle Orientierung“, Köln; 1994.
At first, many parents will be taken aback, perhaps even angry, since for them too it is difficult to deal with the situation that their daughter is lesbian or bisexual. But by and by their anger will abate. Just give yourself and them a chance.
Should you have major problems and can’t reckon with any improvement, seek help from people that might help you. Don’t run away from home.
What can I do if I am desperate?
If you feel really terrible, because nobody understands you or because you believe that nobody understands you, don’t escape into drugs or alcohol and don’t give up. Many lesbians and gays that now lead a happy life have gone through such a crisis and haven even contemplated suicide. Please gut in touch with a crisis center, look for people who are open minded with regard to homosexuals and speak with them.
P.S. Even counsellors are ordinary humans and may have prejudices etc. This means, that even in such cases you have to look for people who have a positive attitude towards lesbians and gays. Believe in your feeling if you feel badly treated.