The average age to come out is 17 years old for gay men but 40 years old for lesbians. A woman’s fantasies might cause her to suspect she is lesbian earlier than this. But a lesbian woman can marry and have children just as a heterosexual woman does because female orgasm is not required for her either to participate in a sexual relationship or for reproduction. Only 2% of women are exclusively gay (half as common as male homosexuality).
Men’s responses are very evident. So men tend to define the sexuality of both sexes. Sexual activity is typically described in terms of genital stimulation and orgasm. Media images that exaggerate women’s true responsiveness are so persuasive that women feel obliged to refer to orgasm as if it occurs naturally in their lives. Lesbians often live together without having sexual relationships. Women’s responses are emotional and their behaviours include caring and demonstrating affection. We may call these ‘sexual’ in the sense that the emotions cause women to offer physical intimacy to a partner for whom they feel an emotional attachment.
Lesbians have the advantage of being women themselves who are attracted to women. They may have an above average knowledge of female sexual anatomy. Lesbians stimulate the clitoris, the labia and the outer portion (the entrance) of the vagina. Lesbians may stimulate the breasts and the vagina. Lesbians feel obliged to mimic heterosexual behaviours such as simulating vaginal intercourse because of misconceptions about female sexuality.
There is a misconception that lesbian and bisexual women are highly sexual but they don’t talk about what turns them on or what they enjoy about sex any more than any other woman. Lesbians talk about their concerns for gaining political and social acceptance of their sexuality. Lesbianism may simply indicate a preference for female companionship.
Women’s orgasm techniques are much less consistent than men’s tend to be. Notably behaviours differ significantly between gay and straight women. Sexual orientation determines erotic turn-ons (whether we are aroused by the same sex or opposite sex). It should not logically change the anatomy that is involved in how women achieve orgasm.
The clitoris has never been strongly associated with heterosexual activity because of women’s lack of arousal with a lover. Lesbians may focus lovemaking explicitly on the clitoris but this does not mean that lesbians are more successful in achieving orgasm than heterosexual women.
We have similar levels of responsiveness as other members of the same sex regardless of orientation. Lesbians have the advantage (as women) of having a similar responsiveness as their lovers. Also being women, they are not so intent on genital stimulation, penetration and orgasm. Lesbians can be more relaxed about exploring sexual pleasuring without any pressure to achieve orgasm. With no penis urgently requiring attention, gay women can focus on sensual pleasuring rather than genital stimulation.
Lesbians may assume (as everyone does) that heterosexual women respond to intercourse because they are aroused by male genitals and vaginal penetration. This is not the case. A woman’s anatomy and her ability to respond to stimulation are identical regardless of her orientation. Women, regardless of orientation, are not aroused by the genitals of either sex because they do not respond to basic real-world stimuli as men do. All women, both lesbian and heterosexual, prefer other pleasures over sex.
Heterosexual women may be indifferent to intercourse but a lesbian has a much stronger rejection of physical intimacy with a man including intercourse. Other lesbian women marry and have children before they recognise their sexuality. A woman can engage in sexual activity in response to her partner’s initiative for years without arousal or orgasm.
A woman’s orientation is determined from the sex of the people she forms an emotional attachment to. Women may be able to deduce their orientation from the nature of their fantasies, whether these are romantic or erotic in nature. Given most women are unresponsive, we can define a heterosexual woman by her desire to attract male sexual attention. Bisexuality in women indicates an ambivalence to a lover’s gender.
It should be emphasized, however, that a high proportion of the unmarried females who live together never have contacts which are in any sense sexual. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)