Finally realising I was bi at the ripe old age of thirty had me feeling like Bambi first discovering his legs, but it turns out that the utter bewilderment of coming out later in life is a common experience. Despite Gen Z purportedly being the most queer generation, millennials aren’t far behind. More openly queer representation and (varying levels of) acceptance in wider society have helped more people feel comfortable being themselves.
For many of us late bloomers, though, wrapping our heads around the fact that we’re in fact into people of all genders after all can be a lot. Firstly, you might have some internalised biphobia to work through. Then there’s a lot of looking back on your past experiences through a new lens (‘bi’-focals, if you will). There’s those realisations that what you used to call ‘girl crushes’ were simply just crushes. There’s the reflections on late night’s passed, when you and a friend just ‘fooled around’. That time you ‘experimented’. And, if tik tok has anything to say about it - the way you simply can’t sit in a chair in a normal position - yep, that screams bi, apparently.
But, then there comes the point where you want to actually act on your newfound (or newly accepted) desires and actually try dating someone of the same sex. To quote Aladdin, dating women as a woman is a whole new world.
Gone are the societally-ascribed gender roles, dictating the dance of dating, who initiates, who asks who out, who makes the first move, who is expected to pay, who is assumed to be ‘on top’ in the bedroom. Everything feels simultaneously upside-down and really damn even. It’s at once discombobulating, and deeply refreshing.
I often describe the experience of dating women as a woman who only realised she was bi a matter of years ago as akin to being a teenager once again. I felt like I was back at square one. I hadn’t really (intentionally) flirted with women before, definitely hadn’t asked them out, didn’t know how to date them, how to make a move and most certainly had no clue what to do in bed (it should be easy since we have the same parts, right? Wrong! It can be intimidating af.)
What I realised when I first came out was that I’d essentially had half my life at this point to hone my skills and confidence with men. But I was starting from scratch with women. Getting attention from men? Easy! Flirting with men? Piece of cake! Dating men? Used to it. But women? Deer in headlights, baby.
If you’ve felt intimidated by the sheer beauty of women, confused as to how tf to flirt with a woman, or just plain scared to ask her out - you’re not alone! Here’s a list of pointers for the newly bi woman who wants to up her flirting and dating game.
Casually Mention You’re Bi
In a world where being straight is seen as the default sexuality, there’s a tendency for people to assume themselves and everyone around them is straight until proven otherwise. And despite Tik Tok trends and TV stereotypes making us believe that you can spot a queer person simply by the way they dress, it’s really not as simple as that. Sure, there are certain symbols used within queer culture, known as ‘flagging’ that can be used to discreetly let others in the community know their sexuality. But, not everyone participates in flagging, nor even knows what these tells are. So, it’s safe to say that you really can’t know whether some is bi or not simply by looking at them. This can add an element of mystery and, well, straight up confusion when attempting to flirt in the wild. One way I’ve found to get around this is to somehow, casually slip into conversation with someone you’re crushing on but not certain of their sexuality, that you’re bi. See how they respond. If they reply with “me too” and perhaps some lingering eye contact and a smile - you might just be in.
Use the apps
It’s always going to be a much simpler process using the apps than meeting people IRL when navigating the “are they bi too?” question. So, a great place to start your journey dating women for the first time is to set up a dating profile.
But, be warned - this also comes with some considerations. If you’re using a mainstream, predominantly heterosexual app (Tinder, Hinge, Bumble) as soon as you change your preferences to include women/non-binary folks, suddenly you might be inundated with a bunch of straight couples looking for a unicorn aka a woman to be their third addition for a threesome. Now, I love me a good threesome, and maybe you do too. It’s also a very fun way to explore sexually with a woman as often she will be bi too. But, if you’re wanting to actually match and flirt with and eventually date other women, you might have to weed through a series of unicorn hunters. Apps like HER are geared specifically towards women, trans and non-binary folks so, depending on your location, can be a better option. If you’re open to exploring more sexually, Feeld is a good place to start.
Be honest about being a newbie
I know it can feel super vulnerable to admit that you don’t quite know what you’re doing when it comes to dating women, but honesty really is the best policy here. Be open with whoever you match with or ask out that you’re new to this but excited to connect with them. Chances are they’ll find it endearing, they’ve been there before or that they’re in a similar position too.
Ask them on a date
“Is she flirting, or just being nice?”
This is one of the most common phrases uttered by the bi woman. Naturally, women tend to be very close and complimentary of one another, which is generally such a sweet trait and a hallmark of female friendship. Until you’re going out of your mind trying to figure out if you’re on a date, or just hanging out as friends. This is where clarity and communication comes into play. If you’re vibing with someone and want to see them again, please I beg of you, don’t simply say “Want to hang out again some time?”. Because, what does that even mean!?
If you intend to date this person, I insist that you make that crystal clear. Try this one on for size instead: “I’d love to take you on a date sometime, are you free on Saturday?”. I know it’s scary af, but you’ve got this!
Down with gender roles
An incredibly liberating (while also confusing) part of dating women and non-binary folks is that there is no societally-imposed script when it comes to dating. Essentially, you get to make your own rules. One of you isn’t expected to plan every single date, one isn’t expected to be the one to make the first move either. And, if you’ve come from exclusively dating and relating to men, I understand how much of a culture shift this can be. Despite raging against the patriarchy and not believing in such so-called traditional values, we’ve all been marinating in this societal stew of heteronormativity our entire lives, so you’d be forgiven for somewhat embodying certain gender roles until now. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s definitely an invitation to question your conditioning and how you have usually shown up in relationships and the dating world.
It’s also a big invite to be brave, be forward and take the initiative. A common experience of bi women is that neither typically have the confidence to make the first move, despite wanting to, and so neither ever does. And then (if you’re like me) you find out years later that the babe you had a crush on actually had a crush on you too and you were both too scared to do anything about it. A cautionary tale.
So, if you catch yourself thinking “I wish they’d ask me out/hold my hand/kiss me”, then I officially challenge you to make that move.
As you continue on your journey into Bisexuality, I encourage you to check out my Beginner’s Guide to Going Down for some hot tips to boost your confidence in the bedroom. Remember to be gentle with yourself as you explore your newfound identity, and to be brave and challenge yourself. You can do it!