27 February 2008

I am straight, but I am questioning whether I'm attracted to my female friend

I’ve lately begun to wonder if what I feel for one of my closest friends is more than just friendship. Sometimes I think I’d like to kiss her, but other times, I feel nothing sexual at all. I’m not worried about how she would receive this, as I know she has been attracted to women before, and very much supports the LGBT community. Right now, I’m just so confused about how I actually feel about her. I do tend to seek her approval a lot, and when she praises me, I feel absurdly pleased with it. On the other hand, up until very recently, I’d never even seriously considered if I might be even bisexual, and I’m not sure if what I’m feeling for her is genuine attraction, or just a little girl crush. What should I do?

Kay Wo

Hi Kat,

Thanks for writing in to us at AlterHéros. From the post you sent in, it seems that the feelings that you have for one of your closest friends is making you question your sexual orientation. Discovering new feelings towards a friend that you feel very close to can be a very confusing situation. What can be even more worrisome is when you identify as straight and your dearest friend is the same gender as you! Not only do you have to wrestle with new feelings of attraction for someone you didn’t initially find sexually attractive, but you also start questioning new feelings of desire for the same gender.

In order to figure out whether or not what you feel for your friend is more than just friendship, you might want to consider talking about your feelings with her. You say that she has been attracted to women before and that she very much supports the LGBT community. Since she has experienced same gender attraction before, she would probably be able to help you sort out your feelings and figure out whether you do have a genuine attraction or just a crush. Tell her about your feelings and she’ll probably be able to relate to what you’re going through and also might be able to give you some insight on what it all means.

Just to let you know, it is quite common for people who identify as heterosexual to have same gender desires at some point in their life whether it be with a particular person or because of a particular environment they’re in (i.e. one that is very open and accepting of diverse sexual orientations). This does not necessarily mean that you are gay or bisexual. Terms like gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, are all just labels that we use to describe different sexual orientations. Even though there is a lot of societal pressure that compels many of us to classify ourselves into one of these categories, only you can decide whether you want to or not.

Right now seems to be a really great time for you to explore the relationship you have with your friend as well as your own sexual feelings. You say that you seek her approval a lot and that when she praises you, you feel not just pleased, but absurdly pleased about it. What do you make of this reaction? Is it really because you might be crushing on her? Do you ever feel this way when other important people in your life praise you? You say that sometimes you feel like you’d like to kiss her and sometimes you don’t feel anything sexual towards her. Can you identify what triggers these feelings? How do you usually feel when you are attracted to someone? Feelings of attraction may wax and wane over time, and this does not mean that what you feel is not genuine attraction. Take the time to really go over some of these questions and reflect on what you think these feelings mean to you. It is only through careful self-reflection that you will be able to figure out whether you are truly attracted to this person or whether it is just a crush.

Hopefully you will be able to sort out your confusion after considering all the different factors involved. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions and good luck with your future pursuits.

K-Wo for Alterhéros