Coming out is hard. Even when you grow up knowing exactly who you are and what you like, there’s always the stressor of telling your family and loved ones you’re –gasp—attracted to the same sex.
Queer means different things to different people. In fact, a partner of mine once took offense when I called myself queer. She had grown up with a father who used the term to be derogatory. Because small people like to use my favorite word in a homophobic way, I use it every day in celebration of myself.
I call myself queer for many reasons. I’m married to a man, who is smokin’ hot if I do say so myself. I’m also attracted to women, and androgynous, gender fluid types, like inspirational rock hottie, Ezra Furman.
To some, queer means gay, period. To others, it means something about your gender/sex life is out of the ordinary, if not considered taboo by others.
To me, queer means weird, and I’ve always been weird, so let’s celebrate the positives of being a free-wheeling lover of all people (and parts!). Here are the five happy surprises of realizing your queerness.
1. The world is your oyster, and oysters are an aphrodisiac.
Did you know the world is full of attractive people? The first girl I had sex with looked pretty on Tinder, and when we had our first date. Then we did the scissor dance. Boom. My mind cracked wide open. She wasn’t just pretty. From her long legs to her crooked bottom teeth, this chick was a goddess.
Did you see that lady in the boyfriend jeans? Gorgeous. How about that guy in the glasses? Dreamy. Do you think Paul Rudd would wear heels if I asked him to? I hope so.
In breaking out of my sexual bubble I realized my pleasure didn’t depend on what genitals my partner had. That pleasure came from me and my experience.
2. Your confidence skyrockets.
Your dating pool is full of variety, and variety is the spice of life. Sample all the different flavors! The first time you walk into a bar and feel like you could get the number of the CrossFit guy in the corner or the chick in the maxi dress, you get a burst of confidence. And really, confidence is the most attractive trait.
When I switched from questioning to queer, my gal pals commented on my boost in self-esteem. One complimented my complexion, the other my outfit, but it was my best friend, who is also queer, who pinned down the change. “Doesn’t it feel good to know what you like?” she said. Yep, it sure does.
3. You suddenly know who you are.
I love straight sex. But unless my husband could have switched out his man parts for lady parts, I never fully would have known myself. Lucky, I knew I liked women, too.
I settled into that in-between space where I belonged. The confirmation that I am smack in the middle of the Kinsey scale, and that’s okay, eased me into a place in which I am happy to exist. The confidence boost I felt not only came from knowing I could love regardless of sexual or gender identity but from feeling at home within myself. I have found my truth: Love is one size fits all.
4. You become more open-minded, and that feels good.
Chances are if you allowed yourself to experiment sexually with members of the same sex, you were open-minded from the beginning. Knowing that pleasure can come from interactions with people of all sexual and gender identities opens the mind to respect other’s desires.
You like to wear a collar and be walked on a leash? Okay, that’s hot. Go get yours. Me, I’m going to have comfortable married person sex in bed and go to sleep in my husband’s t-shirt.
All I know is, I denied myself what I liked for the first half of my sexual life, and that left me feeling a little empty. If everyone can consent, no one should give a crap what you do behind closed doors. Or on a bondage cruise across the Atlantic.
5. You feel the love!
Welcome to a community that loves to love! Bi women and gay men and trans chicks alike need to be loved, and in these politically tumultuous times, it can be difficult to feel safe. The LGBTQ community wants you to feel welcome!
That doesn’t mean that your new gay friend won’t ask why you can’t just stick to one sex. All you need to do is quote Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones. “The Gods made that, and it delights me. The Gods made this, and it delights me… when it comes to love, I don’t choose sides.”