anonymous on August 29, 2011

My husband doesn’t turn me on. Am I a lesbian?

I’m not that turned on by my husband of 17 years...but, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had fantasies about women. In my teens, I had a few experiences with girls, but not since then. I feel guilty that I don’t desire my husband and I’m confused. Am I a lesbian? I don’t know what to do.

answered by Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD on August 29, 2011

Your question is a very important one, and I’m glad that you reached out to us

That said, only you can determine whether you’re a lesbian, perhaps with the support and guidance of a trusted counselor or psychotherapist.

It sounds as though you’re about to embark on a personal journey that may bring to light the true nature of your feelings…it could be that you and your husband are in a rut, or that your lack of desire for him has a medical cause (i.e., a hormone imbalance or other health issues, as well as certain medications, can all affect your sexual response). Talking to your regular doctor can help your sort out some of these possibilities.

It’s also possible that you (and perhaps your husband, too) are simply suffering from boredom or other relational issues that a couples therapist or sex therapist might be able to address with you. And keep in mind that unlike men, who often get quickly aroused, women typically need to go though a stage of sexual arousal before they feel the desire for sex. For example, sometimes things like kissing and having your nipples caressed will help you get in the mood for sex.

Then again, it could be that you’ve always tended to be more attracted to women…but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay. You may be attracted to both men and women, or perhaps you’re more attracted to women.

Whatever the case, there’s no reason for you to feel guilty about your feelings, attractions or lack of desire for your husband. Rather, I would encourage you to consider your confusion as a positive signal to explore your true sexuality and sexual identity. Also, having a sexual fantasy does not necessarily mean that you want to act on it.

Thank you for your question, and I wish you courage and insight in your journey.

Related info:

Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD

Dr. Owens is an AASECT-certified sexuality counselor. Her areas of expertise include the medical aspects of human sexuality and sexual problems, as well as the impact of STDs ⎼ and other diseases, illnesses and disabilities ⎼ on sexuality. Dr. Owens was educated at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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