There are lots of cultural narratives about same-sex attraction.
1. This straight-from-a-rom-com date:
"We were in college together, on a trip to Seattle. Long ramble through the city at night, looking for a hamburger. Telling each other too much about ourselves. Running through a fountain. Giggling in an elevator. All that romcom stuff. Good grief, she was so beautiful. We spent that night together, then went back to our respective boyfriends. I wish I had been braver."
2. This college experience that brought up more questions than it answered:
"My hookup with another woman really made me start to question my sexuality. It happened when I was studying abroad in college. One of my friends in the program had a friend visiting from home for a weekend, and we spent a couple days together. One night we went to a club, got drunk, and started dancing. One thing led to another and we started making out, then took it to the bathroom and had sex. We were both pretty drunk so it probably wasn't anything earth-shattering for either of us, but that being said, it was pretty memorable. So that's how I lost my virginity to a girl, in a nightclub, drunk, in the wee hours of Easter morning. I'm still not sure where exactly I stand with my sexuality, as I am typically more attracted to men. It's just one of the things I still need to learn about myself."
3. This cherished memory of a threesome:
"My first sexual encounter with another woman was actually a threesome with my then boyfriend, now fiancé! She was our waitress at our favorite little bar we spent many weekends at, saw and talked to her all the time. We always got along, but I never thought of her sexually. One night she came in to drink instead of work and at 2 a.m. when the bar was closing my fiancé and I were headed for the hot tub! And just on a whim we invited her to come. The whole way there we both knew what was going to happen, and talked about it. We just let it happen in the hot tub, albeit a little loudly. We stayed up until nearly 6 a.m. all playing together in bed. One of our favorite memories. While it hasn’t happened again, we would not turn down the opportunity."
—24/female/straight with some bisexual tendencies?
4. This fun romp:
"It happened this past July with one of my best friends. She knew I’d been curious for years about hooking up with another girl, but I was in a relationship with a guy so that held both of us back from making any moves. We’d talked about it enough and even made out a few times, but I was always too nervous to take it any further. She gave me a ride home from a night out and it just happened. Once the ball was rolling and all clothes were off, I wasn’t nervous anymore and just went for it! It was a lot of fun. Only happened the one time, but I certainly wouldn’t mind again, especially spontaneously."
—23/f/bi-curious, I guess?
5. This once-and-maybe-future makeout sesh:
"My best friend and I were out with our boyfriends clubbing on New Year's Eve. When our boyfriends left the hotel room to get us a shuttle, my best friend and I started making out. We had kissed before when we were drunk, but this was completely sober and got more intense as we went with touching and removing clothes. We still talk about it to this day and have considered doing it (and more) again."
6. This awkward threesome with a married couple:
"I was curious about having sex with a woman, but didn't feel ballsy enough to find someone, so instead I had a threesome with a married couple that approached me online. It was hot, and I really enjoyed the fact that a woman definitely knows what feels good, but when I went to go down on her I panicked and all of the sudden I forgot everything I know about vaginas and women, and I was really aware that her husband was watching. Worst case of stage fright. I kind of poked around down there for a few minutes and she very kindly pretended that it felt good and we went on with our threesome."
7. This Tinder date:
"I hooked up with a lesbian woman through Tinder. I always wanted to explore this side of me to know for sure if I'm bisexual or not. I have always appreciated women since I was a kid. So I went on a date with this woman and we hooked up after that. We had great sex (clearly gay women know the female anatomy better than a guy can ever know) but I wasn't into it like I am with a man. Now I know for sure I'm straight, but the skills that female had were mind-blowing."
8. This underwhelming hookup:
"It actually happened pretty recently. I had been talking to a girl who had made it very clear she was interested but I always joked it off when we'd talk. I was definitely curious and thought about experimenting, but never felt like I could actually go through with it. I finally decided to give it a go after a night out and it wasn't as amazing as I thought it would be. I quickly realized I just wasn't into it and luckily, the girl understood and we just went about things as normal. It was a nice life experience, but I know it's not something I think I'll be trying again in the future."
9. This Netflix and chill with a study buddy:
"There was a girl in my physics class. I didn't know she was a lesbian at first. We would talk all the time and study together. One day we had hung out and had dinner. She grabbed my hand and we walked all over the city together and then we went back to my place. We had some wine and watched Netflix. We were laying on my bed and then she kissed me and we started hooking up. This was my first time hooking up with a girl. It was actually really amazing, every moment was great. It really sparked up feelings that I didn't even know I had for her. We're still friends to this day. It only happened again one more time after that. She's with someone and so am I. But that experience with her was something I would love to do again. I was so comfortable with her we had such a awesome connection."
10. This intimate experience that lead to deeper feelings:
"My best friend realized recently that she isn't straight. I was the only person she had come out to. She was really struggling with it and we talked about it a lot. She told me her past sexual relationships with women and how great they were. When I say she is my best friend, I mean she is the person that I'm absolutely closest with, so we talked about every detail. I knew all about her sex life with women. I had never given much thought to my sexuality; always just assumed I was straight. She opened my eyes to any other possibility. I casually mentioned one day that she would be the only person I am comfortable enough to experiment with. Not long after I was at her apartment and we were hanging out alone (both not completely sober). One thing led to another and we were making out. We knew exactly what each other liked because we're so close that we talk about that stuff. Having it be another girl was amazing because girls actually care about pleasing the other. It was really intense and I was shocked. I had never experienced anything like it. It lasted for hours. We're both still a little weirded out that it happened months later, just because of how close we are. Shortly after, I realized I had feelings for her and maybe I'm not so straight after all. It's still really weird that it happened, but I definitely don't regret it and wouldn't mind experimenting some more."
—22/female/straight (maybe bi???)
11. This college experimentation that evolved into a relationship:
Like a true stereotype, I experimented with sex and my sexuality in college. I ended up hooking up with a girl during my freshmen year and we continued seeing each other (secretly, our friends and families didn't know with very few exceptions.) We basically felt like we were two straight women who fell in love — neither of us had ever been with a woman before and neither of us defined ourselves as gay or bisexual. (I do believe sexuality is incredibly complicated. And I don't think anyone can really find themselves never being attracted to people of the same sex.)
At the time, I enjoyed our relationship and I had no complaints sexually. I am now dating a man and all my relationships and sexual interactions have been with men, so I don't define myself as gay but it's hard to say I'm '100% straight,' because I did enjoy having sex with this particular woman. Looking back, I think this part of my life taught me A LOT about myself — what I am looking for in a significant other, how I want to act and feel in relationships, and what I like in bed — because my partner was someone I understood on such a basic and raw level because we were the same gender which connected us in a way I had never (and still haven't) connected with a man.
12. This friends-with-benefits situation that started with hot stone massages and a starry night:
"During my last year of college, I was figure modeling three times a week and it was taking a toll on my back muscles. My friend connected me with a senior massage therapy student, who gave me weekly hot stone massages for free. She was incredible and the therapy helped immensely. We became good friends, and one night we were hanging out on my bed watching my star projector make constellations on the ceiling. One thing led to another and we hooked up. I had only slept with another girl once before her, so this was pretty new. We ended up having an ongoing friends-with-benefits type relationship for a few months, and it was awesome. Being the more sexually experienced partner, I ended up being more dominant and in control, and it felt good to embrace that side of my sexuality. It felt like I'd opened a door for her into her own sexual experience, and it was intimate being that person for her. I've since moved away and she has a boyfriend, but we write letters and keep in touch."
—24, female, mostly straight
13. This carefully-considered, loving encounter:
"A dear friend of mine from college and I were out at a club and started dancing with each other. One thing led to another and we were making out on the dance floor. It was incredibly hot and we were both into it. She had been with a woman before but I hadn't, so she told me to wait until the next time we were out, just to be sure it was something I wanted. A month later we were in the same place and situation and after a lot of sexual buildup we went back to my apartment. She completely took control because I was relatively inexperienced and gave me the most fantastic, loving, special experience.
Because we were friends, we were able to communicate honestly, making the experience amazing. She spent the night and I took her home the next morning. We stayed friends, nothing more came of it. I consider it to be the most perfect hook up I ever had because of the chemistry we had and the love and respect that we held for each other."
—24/female/bisexual leaning more toward straight
14. And this delightful discovery:
"In high school, I found myself being attracted to other girls. The girls in my friend groups were so pretty, smelled so nice, had such smooth skin and hair, and they dressed amazing. Plus, they were so much easier to talk to than boys, and I felt much more myself around them. It definitely made me question my sexuality, so when a couple of opportunities presented themselves, I gave in to curiosity. It never went farther than a few heavy makeout sessions, but it gave me my answer — I was straight. I don't regret it, and I'm not overly shy about it. Turns out I was just clued in early on that women are amazing creatures worthy of celebrating, even if I wasn't sexually attracted to them."
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.