smiling women looking from behind large leafIt was only after I came out that I understood the difference between physical and emotional attraction.

I came out late. Very late. I was 29 and had been in a relationship with a guy for 6 years. I had a mortgage. I had a job. I took bottles of water out with me to nightclubs and wore sensible shoes. I wasn’t just fashionably late to the party where everyone’s warming up with their first couple of drinks. I arrived and people were chucking up in bins, passed out on toilets and having drunk sex in the garden shed.

At these times, it can feel very much like you’ve missed the boat and are alone. You’re not. There are tens, maybe even hundreds of women around the world who come out in later life. If you’re one of them, here are a couple of things I’ve learned as a bonafide old lezza.

1. You know it’s possible to love someone but not be sexually attracted to them.

This is a biggie. I know – HOW COULD I NOT KNOW THIS?  But I didn’t. As a young adult, I always thought that love and sexual attraction came hand in hand (pun very much intended). It was only after I came out that I understood the difference between physical and emotional attraction. So, it’s possible to be a gay woman who loves a man or a straight woman who loves a woman. Tiny mind was officially blown.

2. Your libido is like an angry furnace.

A lifetime of sex with the wrong gender will do terrifying things down there. I just had to throw women at it like buckets of water until it calmed down. Jokes, obviously! I was very respectful. There was no throwing. But I definitely had that desperate, wild-eyed, heavily perspiring, tequila-scented vibe in clubs where you’re thinking just anyone, please, will you sit on my face? Needless to say, I was swiftly removed by security.

3. People will assume you’re bi.

If you’ve had a lot of relationships with men, especially relationships that were so serious people sing ‘Put a ring on it at you in bars, there will be a lot of, “but are you actually bi?”

People find it very hard to accept point number 1 – but, but…you own a house together? You cried once talking about how happy you were? You said it was the best sex of your life?  Yes, I know and all those things were true because I loved them and I’m a crier and sex can feel amazing just from pure emotion and intimacy. But – WHERE WERE THE ORGASMS?

Months after coming out very firmly as gay, friends would say, “so, you’re definitely not into men at all then?” No. Nein. Non. Merci. Please stop asking.

4…but you’ll think about saying you’re bi to protect your ex’s feelings.

Yeah. This is really hard. Because saying you’re gay raises all sorts of horrible questions like was it all lie? Was she faking it every time? Did she even love me? What the hell do I tell my mates? Oh god, I’m going to have to return the ring. It’s awful, hard, heart-breaking stuff and I honestly still don’t know what the right answer is. Maybe a phased “I’m bi” to “I’m gay” thing over a period of several years? Or maybe it’s better to be honest upfront as then they know it really is you and not them. Answers on a postcard, please.

5. You go clubbing with your straight friends and literally no one speaks to you all night.

If you look a bit straight (you have long hair and wear dresses) and you go out with mates who are all straight, you may find it very hard to pull. Lots of women have sent me death stares in clubs because they assume I’m here for the safe women-only space when actually I’m here to be a big, sleazy letch, thank you very much. I find I have to drink 8 tequilas in order to chat someone up, by which point they know I’m gay but also – horrendously unappealing.

6. You feel lucky you didn’t have to deal with the shit of coming out 10 years ago.

From the conversations I’ve had, coming out in your teens seems so much harder than coming out when you’re older. For one thing, people used to say weird, wrong shit about gay people and then kids would take that and use it as a bazooka because they’re fucking horrible.

Coming out when you’re older spares you a lot of that grief. You get to the point where you think, I care so much more about having an orgasm next weekend than I do about your opinion.

7. But sometimes you regret everything you missed out on.

The uni years! They must have been so amazing! I would do anything to go back there and do all the things I did with boys – but with girls. Sigh. Well, maybe not all the things. I could probably live without having my face licked a second time by someone who’d just been sick.

8. You’ve got a hella radar for all the ‘straight’ women who secretly like girls.

*Whispers* They’re everywhere. It’s like we’ve been invaded by an alien species of secretly queer women and they’re slowly infiltrating offices, restaurants and parks around the world.

Having the radar is both amazing and very frustrating. It’s amazing because you know in a few years there will be so many women with angry libidos and so you’re just waiting around like a nifty little bucket of sex water.

It’s frustrating because they’re not quite there yet and lots of other people don’t see it. People look at you like, poor little lamb, she’s so desperate to meet someone she’s hallucinating. No I’m not, they’re real, THEY’RE REAL I TELL YOU. *Gets swiftly removed by security*.

9. You are so grateful for your second chance at love

Hands down the best feeling ever.