It is never too late to doubt your sexual orientation, and there is no time limit for finding love.
After years of marriage to men and having children, an increasing number of women are discovering that they are lesbians.
Late-blooming lesbians, or women who announce same-sex desires in their 30s and beyond, have gotten a lot of attention in recent years.
So, what happens when a woman discovers she is gay after creating a full life with the husband?
Leaving a 17-Year Marriage for a Woman:
“The year I turned 40, I decided to leave my marriage of 17 years for a woman. And I understand that in the process I may hurt a few people — I have a son, and parents, and an ex-husband who I am still very fond of. Love has no reason and sometimes takes on strange shapes that are inexplicable”, expressed a woman from India to The Hindu (name hidden to protect her identity).
“Concealing my name would mean that I am operating from a place of shame, guilt, and fear, built up over decades, like thick castle walls. Individually, they can be deadly; together, they can erode, until you forget who you really are. And authenticity is having a moment — at least in my life.”
“Mine was not a journey towards lesbianism at all, but a connection with a person who happened to be female. In hindsight, it was also an escape from ‘ties that bind and gag’. The process had begun about 10 years before, when I decided, in some measure, to stop portraying to the world that I was ‘a good girl’, the person who did what was expected, always staying within a boundary.”
A Solo Trip That Helped Lauren Come Out as Gay:
“In May 2020, I embarked on a two-week solo camping trip, leaving behind the two things I loved most: my husband and my dog”, said Lauren to the Insider while talking about her coming out journey.
“We dated for three years, got engaged, bought a house, and then got a dog. Two years later, we got married. We didn’t have sex on our wedding night, but we were tired. I mean, not everyone has sex on their wedding night, right? The truth is, my husband and I were having sex only a couple of times a year. I kept telling myself it was OK if we didn’t have sex because I had everything else.”
“My husband and I tried everything to make our marriage work. We signed up to couple getaways, made weekly schedules to have sex, and started taking couple’s therapy. When I told our couples therapist that I might be a lesbian, she brushed it off. I needed time to get away and think everything over. That’s when I booked my solo camping trip.”
“Two weeks later, I came back from that camping trip and said the words out loud for what felt like the first and last time: I’m gay.”
“My husband knew it, and I knew it. We cried, we hugged, and we cried some more. This beautiful thing — our life together, our marriage — was over.”
Sexuality is Fluid and Can Change Over Time:
These are only two examples of numerous women who came out as gay after being married for a long time. The question is whether they were always queer, or whether sexuality has become more flexible.
Dr. Lisa Diamond, a psychology and gender studies professor at the University of Utah, has been studying sexual identity for over 30 years.
She claims that for many years, women were “socialised to regard female sexuality as shameful.”
“Most women develop an alienated relationship with their own sexuality because every time they have a sexual desire, they repress it,” she says.
“The idea is that there is this pressure on all women to be heterosexual and this inability to even think of anything else that prevents a lot of women from knowing what they actually want,” explains Dr Diamond.
Repressed Identities Can Lead to Late-Life Coming Out
“The capacity for a same-sex relationship might have been there from the beginning but if you don’t have a chance to articulate that to yourself, then it might take a big life transition to wake up and actually ask yourself what you actually want,” says Dr Diamond.
“We know that sexuality is a complicated spectrum that changes over time.”
Diamond admits that the idea one’s libido could vary between genders may be unsettling and confusing to people who have traditional views on sexual orientation. But when the women she interviewed explain their feelings, they don’t sound that strange.
Many of them said they are attracted to the person, not the gender, and were moved by qualities such as kindness, intelligence, and humour, which may apply to either a man or a woman. Most importantly, humans yearn for an emotional connection. And if it comes from a female rather than a male, the thrill may outweigh any heterosexual orientation they had.
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