Can you be lesbian without a strong attraction towards anyone yet?

Can you be lesbian without a strong attraction towards anyone yet?
I’ve never really felt a strong attraction towards or had a crush on anyone of either gender yet. I’ve been questioning my sexuality for a while, and i started to think i might be a lesbian. This has lead me to the question, do i need to have felt a strong attraction or had a crush on a girl to be a lesbian? And does it really matter anyway?
Many thanks,

Hi there Samantha,
Thanks for reaching out to AlterHeros with your question.
For a lot of us, our sexuality can feel difficult to figure out. It’s very common to be having questions about your sexuality, and to feel unsure. Your main question was whether or not you need to feel a strong attraction to a girl to be a lesbian. The simple answer to this is no, but let’s talk about that a bit more.
Sexuality can be more complex than the lesbian/gay/bisexual/straight labels that many people use to explain their sexual orientation. So when you say that you have “never really felt a strong attraction towards or had a crush on anyone of either gender”, this doesn’t necessarily give any information about your sexual orientation (i.e. which gender(s) you are attracted to) but it might say something about your sexuality (which includes sexual orientation among other things). It might mean that you have a low sex drive or that you don’t feel much attraction (romantic or sexual) to any gender. This is the case for many people, and can sometimes complicate the desire to know or figure out your sexual orientation, but ultimately it’s just another facet of your sexuality.
Most people have shifts in their degree of attraction and arousal. At one point you may have no sex drive and no one may attract you, and then at a later point you may have strong romantic or sexual feelings. This is an aspect of our sexuality that can change over our lifetime, or even over the course of a day (depending on the individual)! It is not a constant unchanging state.
This is especially true for young people who are starting to feel sexual and romantic feelings for the first time. Not everyone experiences this in the same way, or at the same age. So while some of your peers may seem very sure of their sexual orientation, that doesn’t mean that you need to have yours all figured out at the same rate. It might just be that you need to give yourself a little more time to develop (emotionally, physically, sexually, etc.) and that’s completely fine. We all reach these milestones at different points in our development, and it takes longer for some people because of their physical/sexual development among other things. Sexual orientation (and the way that we interpret it) can also be influenced by external factors like our upbringing or history with relationships etc.
What’s most important to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with not being sure of any aspect of your sexuality. You will likely reach a point where you feel a bit more certainty over time, but even if you don’t, that’s alright too. Be patient with yourself, and try to remain calm while you explore and learn more about you.
Finally, our sexuality is something that we can decide to either assign value to or not, so the next part of your question “does it really matter anyway?” is a question that only you have the answer to. It matters if it matters to you.
Thanks again for trusting AlterHeros with your question, and feel free to reach out again if you have any more questions. If you want, you can also read this previous answer about asexuality.
All the best,
Matt from AlterHeros.

About Matthew Scott

Matthew completed a BSc. in Psychology at the University of New Brunswick before moving to Montréal where he currently resides. He is passionate about queer issues, volunteerism, community involvement, music, and houseplants.

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