Monday, February 20, 2012

Late in Life Lesbian

I'm going to run a question and answer bit of relationship advice I gave at my day job over at's network of dating sites. I thought it was an interesting question about age and dating with some important side information about butch/femme dynamics. Enjoy!

Dear Cass:

I have been on the site for about four months and have been talking to three ladies that I feel may lead to a friendship or long term relationship, although I have not met any of them in person yet. I am just coming out at 49. I am a femme and always been attracted to butch women. I never thought that I was a lesbian because when I see women walking on the streets I do not have any attraction to them. Only butch women turn me on, and I did not know about butch/femme relationships.

So the first lady I am talking to I would say I have the closet connection because we have been talking the longest. She is a soft butch and has been one since she was a teenager. We have share very private things with each other and I do feel close to her. She is in a nursing home recovering from a stroke so this is why we have not met in person. I told her that I was just coming out because I want to be honest, but I don't know if I should have told her or just kept it to myself. I am a little attracted to her but she is a little smaller than me and again a soft butch. We have talked on the phone, but more of our talking has been though emails because her voice was affected by the stroke and sometimes I find it hard to understand what she is saying even though I do wish we could talk a little more on the phone. She was supposed to get out of the nursing home last week but couldn’t because the apartment she was to live in doesn’t have bars in the bathroom so the nursing home would not release her. Since last week she has not been talking to me as much and I feel distanced from her. I sent her an email and she said she was still interested. We have been talking for almost four months.

The second lady lives in Atlanta and is planning on moving back to NYC where she use to live and where I live now. She is a stud and very tall. I find that I am very attracted to her, but I don't feel that close to her yet as we have only been talking for 2 months. We only talk on the phone but I wish I could email her too because sometimes it is easier for me to express my feeling when I write. She said that she is going to move back in March 2012 and we can start dating.

The last lady I have been talking to for a month and she is a butch, wears only men’s clothes, and I am very attracted to her. She lives only 30 minutes from me and she asked me to go to dinner. I am very nervous because this will be my first date with a butch and I have no idea what to expect. I tried to find out if she was a stone butch but she did not answer because I think some stone butches do not like to be touched sexually, which is fine with me. With all of them I told them that I am just coming out. I told the second lady that I was very attracted to her. Should I have done that? I also asked her if she uses a strap-on because I have never been with a woman sexually yet and I want to know what to expect.


--3-Times the Love

Dear 3-Times,

I love that this letter actually sounds like the premise for one of my short stories or novels. Congratulations, by the way, on being a late in life lesbian! That’s a pretty special realization to come to and it speaks of almost a rebirth or awakening of a true part of you that has gone neglected most of your life to that point. So, well done!

Who doesn't love a woman in uniform?

Let’s talk butches and femmes for a sec. I love that you’re already making choices in what you like, what you’re interested in, and what is and isn’t out of bounds for you. This is a positive trait common to most late in life lesbians—you know what you want and you’re not ashamed to say so. Soft butch, butch, stone butch, stud, etc…these classifications can all mean some slightly different things based on personal opinion and as you’ve seen, regional differences. I’m a California girl so I know that what passes for a butch in Orange County would almost be called a femme up in San Francisco. So my advice on this, don’t get too caught up in what labels they choose to use; focus on whether or not she matches what you’re into. For those of you wondering what scale I’m using on this, I’ve generally always thought of a soft butch as someone who dressed in masculine ways, but clearly hadn’t removed all trappings of femaleness and stone butches are often difficult to discern from men in how they dress and behave and often don’t even use feminine terminology when describing themselves (thus the stud thing). It’s really a spectrum of behavior, appearance, and mindset with a lot of area in the middle for people who just think of themselves as an unspecified ‘butch.’
Classic gender dynamics in a classy way

You know, the more I think about this and re-read your letter, the more I don’t see a problem here. You’re new to the lesbian scene and you’re looking to date around to find what you like. around. These three sound like a good start to get your feet wet in the lesbian dating pool. As you get to know them more, spend more time in person with them, and really explore your newly accepted sexuality with them, the answer to which one is the best fit for you will slowly emerge, or, and this is just as likely, you’ll find that, while you enjoyed their company and the time you spent with them, you’re looking for someone else entirely and you’ll get to go out and date that new person. You’re fresh on the scene—soak it up a little before you decide to leave with just one person. Since you are a late in life lesbian, you should also be open about the fact that you are recently out. This can only help your dating situation in letting people know you aren’t up to speed on everything in the lesbian community despite your age, but also because this pseudo-virginity and inexperience, especially when trying to attract a chivalrous butch, can be a pretty big turn on for someone who is interested in showing a new girl the ropes.

One final note on the strap-on and sex thing, and believe me when I say I am a super advocate of these devices, go ahead and do some research on your own beforehand. It sounds like you’re curious, and rightly so, but that doesn’t mean you need a dating partner to explain it all to you. There is a link to my blog on my website to find what I’ve written on the topic, which would be a place to start. If the intricacies of strap-ons, lesbian sex, and stone butches are something you’re interested in, there are tons of resources out there to explain it all in detail. Reading up beforehand will help a lot with what to expect and can be kind of hot fun too.

-- Cass

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