8 people share what it was like to have their first same-sex encounter
"For a while, my partner would touch me, but it took longer for me to touch her in return."
You never forget your first time being intimate with a partner. It’s a rite of passage for everyone who participates in sexual experiences—whether it’s the first in a long line of partners or your first time with the only person you’ll have sex with for the rest of your life.
But a lot of queer people may actually experience two “first times”: the first time they have sex with a partner of the opposite sex, and then the first time they have sex with a partner of the same sex. So for these individuals, the experience with someone of their same sex can be an affirmation of their sexuality as well as a right of passage.
That’s why we connected with eight individuals to hear about the first time they had sex with a same-sex partner. Read below to hear their stories.
“I remember being between her thighs, saying, ‘This is it! This is when I know if I’m truly gay!’”
“I truly realized and accepted that I was gay about seven years ago when I was 22. But, thinking back, I definitely fantasized about [being] intimate with girls as a child and teenager. A little over two years ago, I was on a fifth date with my now-fiancé. We were fooling around on her bed when we both paused, and I said, ‘Are we doing this?’ She got up to close the window blinds, and I remember being nervous.
“The overall experience consisted of us taking turns going down on each other. At the time, I thought that was what lesbian sex was ‘supposed’ to be. She gave me oral first, and I enjoyed it, but being close to her in that way felt even more exhilarating than the sex itself. When it was my turn, I remember being between her legs thinking, ‘This is it! This is when I know if I truly am gay!’ Since that first time, I have learned that I like being the ‘top,’ if you want to call it that.
“As far as sex goes, I think there is both more work for a same-sex relationship but also more reward. By work, I mean figuring out what each person likes and dislikes, which toys we enjoy, what we feel comfortable with. It’s not as simple as dick and vagina. I’m not saying straight people don’t have those conversations, but in a same-sex relationship, we’re pushed to do it earlier on in the relationship. The reward is having more communication and comfort with each others’ bodies and needs and wants.”
— K., 29, together with her fiancé for almost three years
“I never really thought about it until it was literally right in my face.”
“My interest in the opposite sex really snuck up on me. My partner and I were friends, then roommates in our sorority (so cliché), and then we lived in the same house off-campus for the summer. We just always liked hanging out together, and the relationship gradually changed. I remember laying on the couch, and my partner (then-friend) would lay her head on my thighs, and I would rub her head—and I thought this was totally normal!
“One night, she knocked on my door and claimed there was a spider in her bed and wanted to know if she could sleep in my bed. After a few nights, Liz kissed me, and it felt shocking but totally normal. So I guess this is all to say that I never really thought about it until it was literally right in my face.
“For a while, my partner would touch me, but it took longer for me to touch her in return. I can’t explain it other than it is all tied up in preconceived notions of who you are ‘supposed’ to be attracted to and who you should be intimate with. I remember being so excited and infatuated by it all but also really unsure about the whole thing. It didn’t seem possible to have something feel so right and natural and then have it also be ‘not normal.’ I didn’t grow up with homophobia overtly present, but I think it was covertly present enough in high school that being with a woman ultimately just didn’t feel like how my life was supposed to be. For probably a month or so, I kept telling her ‘we can only do this for another two weeks’ or ‘I just want to be friends.’ This made it okay in my mind. But, needless to say, that didn’t happen. The summer was intense and we were totally infatuated.”
— KRB, 35, together with her partner (now-wife) for 14 years
“I also remember her pointing out after that my nails were too long—I didn’t know that was an issue!”
“When I was in high school, I considered that I may be attracted to women, but I didn’t have anything to compare my feelings. I was definitely attracted [to] and interested in men, so I didn’t pursue my potential interest in women. When I got to college, I met my now-girlfriend and was excited about flirting with her and felt sexually attracted to her. It wasn’t until having that person that I was specifically attracted to that it really felt confirmed.
“I was so nervous and excited the first time we were intimate. I had thought about touching a woman’s boobs a ton but absolutely had not considered what I would do with a vagina. My sexual experiences had all been with men, and I was confident I knew how to please a guy but had no idea how to make another woman feel good.
“I had also not considered that another woman’s vagina would feel like my own. That moment made me feel so much more comfortable. I was super overwhelmed emotionally and physically, and I don’t think either of us had an orgasm. I also remember her pointing out after that my nails were too long—I didn’t know that was an issue!”
— anonymous, 25, with her partner for six years
“I had always secretly fantasized about women, but I deeply repressed these feelings—and they often came out when I was drunk or tipsy.”
“I first knew I was interested in other women after breaking up with an abusive boyfriend when I was 21 years old. I had been with him since I was 15 years old, so I just never really got to explore or think deeply about my sexuality without feeling that I was betraying him. I had always secretly fantasized about women, but I deeply repressed these feelings—and they often came out when I was drunk or tipsy.
“My first intimate encounter with a woman actually occurred the same night I had my first kiss with a woman. It was my second time in a lesbian bar ever—the historic Cubbyhole bar in the Village. My friend scoped out a girl she had been chatting with who proudly identified as bisexual and introduced us. Within seconds, we were making out, and I took her home.
“The night was honestly perfect. She was gorgeous and the sex was great! I was on cloud nine the week after. Particularly as a bisexual woman constantly questioning the validity of my sexuality (throw in some religious trauma and we have a shitstorm brewing), this was beyond liberating and affirming that I am queer as fuck.”
— anonymous, 26, currently single
I realized how giving, cooperative, and mutually pleasure-focused sex is with another woman.”
“There was a part of me that has always known since at least puberty that I was interested in other women. But at the time, I barely knew what lesbians were and had no idea someone could be bisexual. I had been sexually active with men in high school and spent most of my adult life prior to this in two long-term, serious relationships. I believed all of the typical bi myths: that a bi woman is an experimenting lesbian, bi people are confused and selfish, and so on. That, coupled with bi-erasure and not really visibly seeing many bisexual people, skewed my views.
“My first sexual encounter was a threesome with a married heterosexual couple when I was 35. I spent a lot of time getting to know the wife on the phone first. She was nervous and also trying to quell jealousy issues with her husband. I told her I’d never been with a woman and I was afraid that I wouldn’t know what to do. Being with a woman for the first time in a threesome scenario with a man seemed like the perfect, non-threatening introduction to a first same-sex encounter. I realized as we moved closer [to] the night of our date, however, I was most excited about sleeping with the woman in this scenario and couldn’t care less about the man!
“During this first encounter, I realized how giving, cooperative, and mutually pleasure-focused sex is with another woman. I felt like it was the first time someone genuinely cared about my pleasure with no strings attached. Having sex with men I have always felt like I was being taken from and that his pleasure was always the priority. I’ve been with men that loved pleasuring women and took pride in it, but even though they thought their actions were all for the benefit of female partners, their motives were actually incredibly self-serving. They wanted to be recognized for being woman pleasers to stroke their own egos.
“I also don’t feel as emotionally connected during sex with men as I do with women. There is also a certain bond that women have with close female friends they trust. Perhaps part of it is knowing you’re talking with someone that truly understands you without you having to explain it. Part of it is also that communication with women about vulnerable things is often easier. Sex with a woman brings that same vibe into the bedroom”
— Sunny, 48, currently single
“I think we both orgasmed more from excitement and less from technical expertise.”
“I started to realize in my late 20s that I was interested in other women. I saw it as a possible explanation for my failure to truly enjoy and invest in relationships with men. I would always get bored and find myself making excuses not to share my time with my partner. Interestingly, I didn’t quite realize I was sexually attracted to women, but during a late-night party where we were discussing the specific porn we gravitate toward, I got some raised eyebrows after admitting that I was only watching lesbian porn. Having a friend ask me to consider what this might mean allowed me to [be] more actively introspective.
“I had invited a close friend to join me at my neighbor’s New Year’s party. We were excited to reunite, so I had her [come] over early, make an array of gourmet toasts, and gave her a gift. Turns out, these were strong signals that I was now open to her. We enjoyed the night, and at midnight, she found me and told me to kiss her. So I did.
“With that, I realized I wanted to be closer to her, and I was done with the party—so we left. That night, we went back to my place and fully explored each other’s bodies. I think we both orgasmed more from excitement and less from technical expertise, but that was enough to show each other that it would be a good idea to further explore this.”
— anonymous, 31, together with her partner for 3.5 years
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
. It was innocent and sweet.”
“I identify as gay. I came out when I was 18. I waited until after I had graduated high school. My then-boyfriend and I started dating not long after my graduation ceremony. I was house-sitting for someone locally, and we had been on just one date. I invited him to come over and watch a movie with me.
“One part that has always stuck with me is the preparation for my first time. I would say that I took an hour-long shower trying to make my body look perfect. We watched Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. It was innocent and sweet. He offered me a massage, which then led to my first kiss.
“We spent the night together that night, but we didn’t have sex. In both of our minds that was still something that needed to be extra special and ‘perfect.’ I believed whoever I slept with first would be the man I married. I think my opinion on that has changed. There was a connection between us that I had never experienced up until that point. It was truly a great night. We didn’t sleep much. We stayed up and talked for hours. Then and there is when we started officially dating.
“I dated him for eight months, which is the longest relationship I have ever been in. We were each other’s first everything.”
— Mason, 22, currently single
I was immediately excited, which I had never felt with my boyfriend.”
“I knew I was interested in being intimate with someone of my originally-assigned gender when I developed a crush on my best friend at 14 years old. My best friend was very outgoing, charming, friendly, and loyal. Those qualities attracted me to them, and it wasn’t until we had a sleepover (as teens do) [and] we shared a kiss that [I had] my first interest in being intimate with another woman.
“My very first intimate encounter with a woman was with another friend of mine. I was in a relationship with a guy at the time. She had had more experience with girls than I had, so I felt like I had something [to] prove. I honestly really just wanted to do something with her to know what it felt like.
“She first kissed me when we were lying down in bed and proceeded to feel up my shirt and down to the button of my jeans. I was immediately excited, which I had never felt with my boyfriend. I got really into it and touched her everywhere she would let me. We giggled the entire time because it was new to each other, and she knew that it was my first time with a girl. She then unbuttoned my pants and reached her hand down and touched me. I had never felt more pleasure than I did at that time.
“It felt much more natural to do that with a woman than it did with a man. It felt more sensual and more intimate to me than it ever did with my boyfriend, even though my boyfriend at the time brought me pleasure as well. We finished and we kissed and we hugged, and I felt so safe with her. We weren’t in love or anything, but she was so kind and helped navigate me to her own body.”
— Lily, 25, currently single