Love & Sex

True Stories: Coming Out Straight

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"I didn't plan on having sex with a man, much in the way I didn't plan on losing my virginity to a woman. I met her when I was seventeen, the summer before my senior year in high school. We fell in love. Two years later I checked "lesbian" in the box and I did all the things one did when coming out in the nineties: I cut my hair short, I listened to Ani DiFranco, I put gay-pride stickers on my car, and I stayed away from men. In college, I minored in women's studies and took any opportunity to argue about sexism, classism, racism, and any other ism related to the plight of gender inequality.

My first girlfriend and I explored and studied sex like we were getting degrees in it. She penetrated my mouth, pussy, and ass with her tongue, fingers, and dildos that she strapped on. We tried all sorts of positions and developed a love or for role-playing. I discovered I liked pain and sexual submission. She discovered she liked power, control and inflicting pain — so much so that years later she became a he.

I never understood why men would get so flustered when I told them their pick-up lines would not work on me, I was a lesbian. Often, I was told that I needed to experience a "real cock" — theirs. But why would I want to work at getting something hard, just to have it possibly deflate, when a woman could strap on and fuck me whenever she or I wanted?

My first girlfriend and I explored and studied sex like we were getting degrees in it.

Then at twenty-six, after my second three-year relationship with a woman, I started to get curious and restless. I left my girlfriend, our one-bedroom house in City Island and our troubled relationship in search of something new. I was curious about a lot of things, even men, but didn't put "have sex with a man" on my to-do list. I figured if I was open to it, it would happen. And it did. The night I lost my virginity to a man, I told him the same thing I had told so many others: "I'm a lesbian; I'm not going to have sex with you." Except this time I didn't mean it. Many hours and many drinks after we met, I asked if we could go back to his place.

The sex was drunk and sloppy. By the time his cock was inside of me, it was seven a.m. and we were many, many sheets to the wind. He pumped me for about three-and-a-half minutes before he went limp and passed out. If I had still been a sharp-tongued lezzie who took any opportunity to tell a man off about his cock, it would have been the perfect time. But I didn't. There was something about him that I liked. Plus, my mouth was too chalky and my mind too confused to get the words out. I was determined to have good sex with a man and not leave it at a "two-pump-chump" experiment. And it turned out I had such a good time hanging out with Nate, I let my sex research continue with him. When we stopped using booze as a crutch, the sex got better. His cock did feel different than a dildo. A dildo was denser, yet sometimes I still ached the next day from his thrusting. And I liked the ache.

Mostly, other differences stood out. Dealing with semen was a huge nightmare. Not only was the fluid worrisome with STDs and baby-making, it was stickier and harder to remove than I expected. After two trips to the bathroom and then finally a hot shower with a washcloth, I regretted asking him to come on my tits (though eventually, I would find this act degrading in a way that fit well with my desire for sexual submission).

Other differences I found odd at first and then later adored: our varying sizes, the hardness of his body, his lack of curves, and the scratchiness of his face. After making out and having sex, my face would be rubbed raw from his stubble. I was used to my face rubbed red from stubble in another location, but that was like wheatgrass to his Astroturf.

Slowly, I let go of my belief that a dildo was better because it was hard and ready.

When I slept with Nate, I did miss the softness of a woman's body. I recall a few nights, my hand would drift over his chest and I would be surprised not to feel a supple breast. Much in the way that after having corrective laser eye surgery to end my seventeen years of wearing glasses, I still reached for them on the nightstand in the morning.

As our sex progressed, Nate's body became more familiar to me. I came out to him about my lack of experience with men, and he enjoyed teaching me things. Mostly he liked to show me how to give him blowjobs — we went over that lesson a lot. Slowly, I let go of my belief that a dildo was better because it was hard and ready. It became a huge turn-on to watch, feel, and create an erection. I found the power titillating when teasing and controlling his arousal.

And still women turned me on. At one point, I was dating other people — men and women. I enjoyed having sex with women and feeling our identical parts on top of each other: nipple-to-nipple, cunt-to-cunt. I got off on lesbian sex existing as a dichotomy between subversive and sexy. And I enjoyed having sex with men and feeling our opposing parts in primal positions that made me want to say things like "as God intended," which also felt subversive to me because I don't believe in God. But sex between me and Nate became some of the best I've ever had. We would orgasm together most every time we had sex, and simultaneous orgasm hadn't been a regular occurrence with women. Lesbian sex was more of a trade show: your turn, then my turn, then your turn. Because women tend to be more multi-orgasmic than men, the tag team of pleasure with women could go on for many hours. But I'm more of a sex-for-half-an-hour, hour-on-the-weekends kind of girl, so I liked that Nate passed out after we both climaxed. It gave me time to tackle nagging chores or read a book.

Beyond the sex, I felt glaring cultural differences in dating women and men. My lesbianism felt like a political act, even in a city as liberal as New York. It didn't matter if I was with another femme, or a butch, or an androgynous woman; we got stared at and sometimes even worse. I grew accustomed to, came to expect, and even sometimes enjoyed the sideways glances and mumblings. With an androgynous woman the looks were puzzlement: "Is she or isn't she? Are they?" When with a butch the looks were confusion: "Why not be with a man?" And with another femme the looks were desiring: "How can I get a piece of that?" I liked that the act of choosing a partner could stir up so much interest on the street and controversy in the papers. I thought I was forcing people to be more open-minded just by going out for a meal with my girlfriend.

Sex between me and Nate became some of the best I've ever had.

Alternatively, a night out with a man caused no drama, no mumblings or sideways glances. The anonymity was new and pleasant. I never felt more "normal" in my life than in those first six months dating Nate. I was a fish out of water: What? No one cares that we are feeding each other dessert? No one cares that my shoe is on the floor and my foot is between his legs? Aside from the political right pushing abstinence before marriage, there's not much controversy in heterosexuality. Especially for us: two white, middle-class, godless thirtysomethings living in the city.

After two years of hanging out and fucking, Nate and I dated in earnest. During those first two years, I kept identifying as a lesbian — a lesbian dating men. But then, shortly after the two-year mark, I realized I no longer felt comfortable in my lesbian identity. Nate was no longer my sexual experiment, he was my boyfriend. Both partaking in heterosexual privilege and identifying as a lesbian at the same time didn't feel right to me. I had lost my lesbian card.

It was time to come out again.

"Hi, Mom and Dad. I have some news that might come as a bit of a shock…"  


Mia Martina chronicles her experiences exploring open relationships and New York City’s sex party scene for her podcast "I Want Your Sex" found on iTunes and many other podcasting sites. Her work has been published with Ravenous Romance and Paper Bag Press. Find out more at