It may come as a surprise, but I haven’t always been the sex goddess that I am now. Heteronormativity, Christianity, patriarchy and being raised by Chinese immigrants took a heavy toll on my sexual empowerment.
Honestly, one of the easiest ways for me to reflect on my journey toward liberation from learned prejudices about sex and queerness is through a few of the varied hookups I’ve had on Tinder.
The peak of the questioning of my sexuality began right before college started. I’d known I liked girls since the ninth grade. Realizing that came easy: Titties are soft and girls are beautiful. What I couldn’t determine was whether I liked men or not. Was I repressing some other part of my sexuality because I’d been taught that bisexuality didn’t exist, or was I feeling compelled to love men because of patriarchy?
I’d debate in my head in circles for hours. So when a lovely man messaged me a very simple opener — “u a sub?” — I thought, “Fuck it.” In my head, I obsessed so much over whether I liked men that I couldn’t see a better way to see if I enjoyed sleeping with men than to just sleep with this straightforward guy.
Cut to a few days later, passively laying on my back, hands pinned above my head, staring at the wall and categorizing every feeling clinically. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. This man grunted and thrusted, finally finding a rhythm that actually worked for me. But just as soon as I started to actually feel pleasure, he groaned long and hard (unlike his dick), came, promptly pulled out and fell asleep.
As soon as I had just begun to decide that I actually might like dick, he just … finished? Now I was back at square one: incredibly confused and horny to boot.
After this, I could’ve easily given up on Tinder and written off men completely, but I didn’t. Instead, I endured the swath of boring profiles, waded through yellow fever; eventually, I was rewarded with my next hookup.
I’ve always been a bit wary of girls who make Tinder profiles just to get queer girls as “birthday gifts” for their boyfriends. But this woman messaged me, saying right off the bat that she had a boyfriend who was also bisexual, and they’d both been the third before. I appreciated her honesty and messaged her back; thus began my first threesome.
We met up a few times at their house; each time, I came away fully sated. In those few trysts, I experienced a multitude of different positions. Highlights include but are not limited to: double penetration (my first time pegging!), anal, train running.
Going into the threesome, I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it, that I would be fetishized for my queerness and that I wouldn’t be good enough at fucking two people at once. But all my fears were soon allayed.
One of the first sentences the man said to me was, “I’m Asian and bi too — and I’ll bet you $20 I suck dick better than the pair of you combined.” (He was definitely right). This was the first time I’d ever slept with more than one person at once, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only was I not fetishized, but all parties’ orgasms were given attention, especially mine. At one point, the two competed to see who could make me orgasm faster.
Heartened by this oasis of wetness, I felt fortified enough to keep voyaging on in search of more voyeurs.
An old acquaintance from high school matched with me and right away invited me to the winter orgy they were hosting — and damn if I wasn’t at least intrigued. I asked for more details and showed up dressed to the nines for the dinner party/icebreaker for the main event. At this point, I was beginning to embrace not really knowing how I identified sexually. Even so, I felt out of my comfort zone. But as soon as I got there, we sat down in a circle and shared our lowest and highest expectations. I’d never felt so safe, seen, respected or excited for a hookup before.
I can’t detail every moment of that night, but I can provide some snapshots. After a copious amount of cuddling and kissing, the group splintered off into little clusters of people.
One man picked me up, sat me on his thighs and made out with me, stripping me as others around us started shedding clothes. At one point, two people kissed over me while they choked me, and another woman fucked me. Then I fucked another woman with my strap while someone else sat on her face.
I ended the night fully satisfied, but with no answers and even more questions in my mind — I’d known what polyamory was but never considered it for myself.
Even after all this, I still don’t fully know where I stand in terms of my sexual attraction — layers and layers of sexual repression and systematically instilled self-hatred have made it excruciatingly hard to really decipher my feelings.
But what I do know is that it’s OK to not know. It’s okay to identify as a lesbian and realize you’re bisexual, or identify as bisexual and realize that you feel more comfortable with identifying as pansexual. It’s normal to not know, to question yourself, to experiment.
Wanting to know more about yourself is perfectly natural, and so is uncertainty about sexual identity. But obsessing over it or letting other people decide your sexuality just makes it harder to figure out. The lines between identities are blurred, so try to relax and let life happen. Who you are will come to you. And on the way, you’ll come too.
Astrid Liu writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected].