My Teen Asked About My Sexual Experiences With Women. I Told Her The Truth
During a casual Saturday dinner, over chicken skewers and hummus, my 17 year-old daughter, Rowan, asked me about my sexual experiences with women. By the end of dinner, I wasn’t sure if I was coming out to her or if my daughter was coming out to me. She asked me simply because, as she she says, she was, “just curious.”
As we ate, my daughter mentioned that she if she marries a woman that she’d like to be the one to get pregnant. I immediately responded, “Can you please just start a career before having babies?” Then I added, “Rowan, bring home a girl, bring home a boy, I don’t care. Date guys. Date girls, as long as the treat you right.” Then I told her, “I wish I had grown up in your generation, because it seems so many teens are proud of their sexuality, and they truly don’t give a shit what others think,” before telling her that I have been with women over the years, admittedly usually when I’ve had a couple drinks.
I told my daughter a funny story, when after kissing a woman one night in my late 30s, this woman told me I was a “horribly aggressive kisser” and I almost “broke her tooth.” I was mortified! I was in a serious relationship with a male at the time, one who did not consider making out with women cheating. But, thanks to this women, I literally changed the way I kiss.
Candidly, I don’t think many teens want to know about their mother’s sexual experiences, but modern times and all. My daughter wanted to know everything. I told her I have been attracted to women, and have had a handful of intimate relations with women, but I’ve never been in a serious relationship with a woman. I consider myself to be straight but, on occasion, I do find myself attracted to women, and have acted on that impulse, usually with women I know there’s a slim chance I’m going to see again. I do sometimes wonder if I missed out on being in a relationship with a woman. But, like I said, I did not grow up in my daughter’s generation, where lines are blurry. Which is good!
I told my teen daughter that when I was her age, I had a hard crush on a girl, a year younger than me, even though I had a high school boyfriend. I never told her. I didn’t really hang out with her. I had no idea, back then, if she was attracted to women. But I’ve thought about this woman, on and off, for years and have ran into her a few times. She still makes me blush (in a good way!) And yes, she is gay. I even showed my daughter a photo of her on social media, smiling with the kids she had with her wife. (I still find her attractive, but not so attracted to her face piercings.)
The reality is, teens are now “outing” their sexuality online. I feel strongly that parents need to have these conversations, continually (without being annoying) as awkward as you may find them. Personally, I don’t find them awkward at all. I just want my kid to be happy. I’m not suggesting you should, or need to, tell your kids about your experiences, but you certainly shouldn’t judge me for sharing mine, with my own daughter, who asked.
Months ago, Rowan showed me her latest 8-second long TikTok video. She told me to “really” listen to the lyrics.
The lyrics, by Jason Derulo, went like, “Oh my, oh my, oh my god. This girl is straight and this girl not.” When Derulo sings, “this girl not,” my daughter points to herself. I burst out laughing. I thought it was a very clever and fun way for teens to express their own sexuality (aside from the fact my daughter was filming my reaction. And I don’t doubt sharing it with friends!).
Instead of a serious sit-down conversation, teens have been saying that coming out in a TikTok video “made it less formal and relieved some of the pressure and paralyzing fear,” according to this article, a must-read, about teens coming out online.
My daughter, like so many other teens nowadays, also posted on her Instagram stories another 7 second video, lip-syncing along to Nicki Minaj lyrics, “I’m not gay, but let’s be precise. Cause if she’s pretty than watch it cause I’m going to be fucking your wife…” My daughter pointed to herself, with a wide smile, at the same time as, ‘I’m going to be fucking your wife.” Judgement about the lyrics aside, my daughter again was telling the world something, without actually saying anything.
I asked Rowan if she was gay, or bisexual. “I’m saying that I don’t know if I will end up in a serious relationship with a male,” she responded. “I don’t know if I’m attracted to males. I’m just not sure. But I am saying I’m ‘wlw.’”
I immediately thought, “What the f*ck does ‘wlw’ mean?” Before I had the chance to ask, my daughter texted me a page from Urban Dictionary, where the definition for “wlw” is, “Women who love women. Typically used as a blanket term for lesbians, bisexual, and pansexual girls.”
I’m jealous that my daughter’s generation doesn’t feel any pressure to figure out when it comes to who they are attracted to. Call me naive, but I also truly believe my daughter’s generation is the very first generation of teens who can be their authentic selves, proudly and loudly, have the confidence to share, and are saying they just don’t know. For many teens, they truly do not know and they also know that’s okay.
And by making short videos, hinting at their sexual identity, it also provides a safe outlet for teens, to test the “temperature” of how well their parents will take their “news.” If their parents or friends are appalled or unsupportive, teens can then say the video “was just a joke.”
Make no mistake, there are still way too many parents who would be unsupportive to say the least. One 20 year-old who grew up instilled that homosexuality is a sin, but had “more- than-platonic feelings” for a girl, says she found an incredibly supportive community beyond her “super conservative Catholic family” on TikTok.
“If some people’s parents don’t support them, there are millions and millions of people on TikTok that will be there,” says another 17-year-old. “If it wasn’t for TikTok, I probably would still be in the closet right now.”
Many teens no longer feel like they have to stay in one “box.” They don’t want to be put under any “label.” They feel they are no longer are relegated to dating the same sex, forever, or opposite sex, forever.
The latest “coming out” trend on TikTock is the “head tilt,” where a teenage friend asks another friend, to “tilt” their heads, listing off numerous things they agree with, including if they are bisexual. I’ve watched so many teenage girls “tilting” thier heads, I worry many will suffer from whiplash.
It also helps teens have some amazing online role models, like “JoJo” Siwa,” who is also 17 years-old. She has 42 million followers. In late January, when Siwa officially came out as a member of the LGBTQ community, she tweeted, “My cousin got me a new shirt,” alongside a photograph of herself wearing that T-shirt that reads, “BEST. GAY. COUSIN. EVER.” Millions of her fans went wild, cheering her on.
Young fans pointed out how monumental and inspirational this was: ”jojo siwa coming out is so important..her audience is younger and kids being able to look up to someone that’s NOT straight could help them discover themselves and hopefully make future generations even more open-minded,” a fan tweeted. Another tweeted that “jojo siwa coming out at what could be considered the peak of her career when her audience is mostly kids is such a power move and i respect her so much for that.”
I did ask my daughter, over numerous weeks, to really think about whether she is 100 percent comfortable with me writing about this. “I really don’t care,” my daughter told me, numerous times. “Because there is nothing to be ashamed about.” (I love my kid.)
I also told my daughter about another experience with I had with a newish female friend when I was single and in my early twenties. When we met for coffee a couple days after our “encounter,” it was awkward as shit and that blossoming friendship pretty much ended there.
(I’ve never been sexually attracted to my girlfriends, or female colleagues — well, once! — nor have I ever told them about my experiences with women. I’m not sure why. Maybe I just don’t think it’s a big deal. Maybe I didn’t want to “kiss and tell.” Maybe it’s because no one has ever asked — aside from my own daughter — because I am usually always in relationships with men.)
JoJo Siwa also said. “…I always believed my person was going to be my person. If that person happened to be a boy, then great. If that person happened to be a girl, great.”
I’m not sure my daughter has truly been in love. She’s never even been in a serious relationship, with either a male or female, either. When I asked her if she thought about me differently after I told her about my experiences with females, she answered, “I was surprised because you’ve never talked about it before, and I had to ask you.” And, no, she does not think “worse” of me.
I’ll never be with a woman again. Why? I’m in a monogamous relationship with a man so if I were to be with a woman, nowadays, even a one-nighter, I do feel it would be cheating on my amazingly, maddeningly almost-perfect boyfriend, who I am ridiculously attracted to and plan to spend the rest of my life with.
But if you asked me if I’m attracted, at times, to women, my answer would be in my “head tilt.”