I realise the immediate reaction to this question may be to accuse me of lesbophpbia, but if I can just ask: what defines attraction?

I've read and heard many more accounts from lesbians who watched porn with only men, or dated men, or read gay erotica than accounts from lesbians who knew all along. I knew a lesbian writer who wrote erotica for every sexual orientation other than lesbians because it was "too personal". I've heard/read accounts from multiple detransitioners who describe projecting themselves onto gay males, and believing they were attacted to "other" males, despite later coming out as lesbians. In fact, there was just a post a little while ago about not doubting late in life lesbians.

So clearly, it's easy to be confused and not know who you want. This very document comes from a Twitter thread linked here by a lesbian who used to identify as bisexual (and I am inclined to believe her lesbian status based on the things said in said thread).

There are probably lots of lesbians who know early, and I am sincerely happy for them and hope there are even more as time goes on.

But my question at the beginning wasn't rhetorical; what defines attraction? Is it possible to be attracted to the social power of a man without being attracted to the man? Does attraction to women look the same for women as it does for men, because in my experience, it doesn't.

There are a bunch of other barriers to understanding too, for women who haven't even considered that they might be attracted to women; that tumblr sexuality about "aesthetic attraction" comes to mind.

I understand this is a sensitive topic, in a climate where the mainstream is trying to define lesbians out of existence, but I think the truly harmful approach would be dismiss these questions out of hand. Because otherwise, a lot of genuine lesbians could be left living lives that make them miserable.

[–] Constantine 7 points Edited

I’m not dismissing these questions out of hand, and I’m still struggling with them myself if you look at my comment history.

But the fact remains that this document is incredibly harmful to lesbians, and spreading it around will only cause more confusion for young women, no matter their sexual orientation. There’s a far cry between “these are difficult questions” and “these are difficult questions, so call yourself a lesbian no matter what reality is if you want, and words have no meanings and comp het can make you literally attracted to men and wave away all kinds of sexual feelings,” which is exactly what this document does.

I don’t appreciate the implication that critiquing this document, which if you know anything about it you know it’s the origin of “bi lesbians” in my generation, means that I think these are easy questions and women can’t realize their sexual orientation later in life. Of course they can. But that’s not what this is, and any understanding of what the document says and its history should illuminate that.

Edit: I should add that finding this document last year set me back about eight months in my understanding of my own sexual orientation, and in all likelihood I’m actually homosexual.

Edit 2: I don’t feel comfortable trying to answer your question as I’m still struggling with it myself, but I posted the same question on someone else’s thread on this circle a couple of weeks ago and got a range of interesting answers if you want to look. I believe the thread was about a woman complaining about her bi friends.