How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

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Although there are no sure-fire ways to tell if a woman is interested in you, there are some signs that may reveal the truth. It may be difficult to determine if a woman is just being polite or actually has the hots for you. Bisexual and lesbian women may especially go out of their way to point out their sexuality if they like you. For instance, she may bring up what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ and what it was like to first come out. This is just one sign of her hinting that she likes you.

Signs That a Woman Likes You

One of the most common things a woman who likes you will do is try to make direct eye contact. When you glance her way, see if you catch her looking back at you. These are all signs that she may be intrigued. However, it may not be in a romantic way. Pay attention to the context to see if these are clues that the lesbian at the bar is into you or it’s just an employee at work gazing in your direction.

Additionally, notice if she’s making any physical moves. If she makes it a point to be with you, she might be trying to get closer. It can happen in many situations:

  • Noticing a woman always sitting next to you in staff meetings at work
  • Seeing a friend constantly take the seat right next to or across from you
  • Consistently coming up to you in person to ask a question or start a conversation
  • Finding ways to lightly touch you, like on the knee

Similarly, if a woman is making a consistent effort to engage with you, she might be trying to let you know she fancies you. For instance, she may always come by your cubicle at work to check in on a project, when it can easily be talked about through email. Perhaps this lady always shows up at your softball games, at the club where you bartend, or outside of your classroom. These are all signs she could be into you. Then again, it could just be another co-worker, boss, or classmate. Pay attention to the details in these situations and go with your gut.

Signals That Show She’s Into You

One of thing a woman might do when she likes you is constantly laugh at your jokes. If she does so (especially if you believe they’re not very funny) it’s possible that she is interested in you. If she’s more forward and finds ways to physically touch you, it could be another sign. Examples of physical touch include touching your hand when asking to see your ring, sitting close to you on the couch, and giving your shoulder a squeeze when you pass by her.

Of course, if you find that she’s constantly complimenting you, she’s probably flirting with you. Flirting includes compliments like saying you have pretty eyes or a nice smile. If she says nice things about material items like your shirt or shoes, it’s possible that she’s just being friendly. Consider if she’s acting a certain way toward only you, or if she is generally a touchy and flirty person.

Additional signs that she might like you:

  • She constantly talks about her queer experience, what your experience was like, what it’s like to come out, and otherwise brings up the topic of gender frequently.
  • Observing that she’s very socially or physically awkward when she’s around you. She might be nervous or shy.
  • Remembering the tiny things you say. If she brings up little details that you’ve told her in the past, this could be a sign that she’s going out of her way to really get to know you.
  • Initiating physical touch, especially in more intimate areas. This includes affectionate and romantic gestures, like helping you put on your necklace, fixing your hair, and trying to hold or cuddle you.

Listen to Your Instinct

It’s hard to know if someone likes you as a friend or something more. If she’s constantly joking around with you, she could have a great sense of humor or uses her jokes as an icebreaker. If she likes you, she’ll probably take some action by teasing, joking, and/or flirting with you.

Ultimately, you need to go with your intuition. Often, the energy between two people is palpable. Feel for it, but understand that you can never be sure if it’s one-sided. Of course, the only real way to find out if she likes you is to ask her. If you get intimate, however, things are definitely looking up.

Be Cautious

Implement good boundaries. If you’re wondering if a co-worker is interested, you can ask her to hang out outside of work. Don’t hit on her while in the office, as this is highly inappropriate and uncomfortable for other parties.

Whatever you choose to do, use caution. While many signs may add up to her liking you, take it slow and get to know her better. Otherwise, it’s possible that you’ll do something rash or foolish. Finally, you may decide to ask her if she’s gay or bisexual. She may not even know yet herself, but if you come out to her first, she may have a suggestive response.

This article was co-authored by Marissa Floro, PhD. Dr. Marissa Floro, Ph.D. is a Psychologist and Instructor at Stanford University’s Weiland Health Initiative and adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Floro received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Chicago, focusing on the intersections of race, attraction, and gender. Dr. Floro’s continued clinical, teaching, and advocacy work focuses on sexual and gender diversity, racial identity and belonging, and liberation from oppressive systems and structures.

There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Becoming comfortable in your sexuality is an important and personal journey. If you have realized that you are bisexual, you might be wondering how to tell other people. The most important thing is being comfortable with yourself and your sexuality. Figure out whether or not you’re ready to come out as bisexual. If you are, you should choose someone trustworthy and supportive to tell. Keep the conversation honest and positive, and you’ll be likely to have a constructive conversation. You may also want to say something at first to settle them down or make them comfortable with you then you should ask them if they and they’re family is okay with those kind of people, if they say that they and they’re family is okay with it then you should tell them and be as honest as you can be.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Another day, another study proving that people have some weird AF misconceptions about bisexuality. New research published in The Journal of Sex Research shows, like many other studies, that bisexual women are more likely to be thought of in a negative light than other women.

The study asked 261 heterosexual participants (154 men and 107 women) to provide descriptions of heterosexual women, lesbians, and bisexual women. They also were presented with descriptions of two characters on a date and asked to give an evaluation. And the results? Well, they won’t come as a surprise to any bisexual women out there. Bisexual women were described as more confused and promiscuous than other women. They were also evaluated as more neurotic, more extroverted, and more open to experiences. Now, not all of those are bad things — but good or bad, they all have literally nothing to do with being bisexual. The study also found that these stereotypes are not learned by seeing bisexual behavior, but rather come through assumptions about bisexuality. In other words, they’re just prejudices with no basis in reality.

As a bisexual woman, this all sounds all too familiar to me. Bisexual women are often thought of as either greedy or going through a phase — or, even worse, “faking it” to impress a guy. We run into these misconceptions all the time. But it’s time to stop perpetuating these stereotypes and start talking about what it’s actually like to be bisexual. Here are seven things you should know.

It’s Not An Exact Science

Some people think that being bisexual means your sexual experiences have to be 50/50. Seriously, if you say you’re bisexual people want the receipts. They want to know how many men and women you’ve slept with, how long you check out a man versus a woman, and of course, “WHO DO YOU LOOK AT FIRST?!”

But it’s not an exact science. I probably was more man-leaning for a while, but then it shifted. Some people never act on their bisexuality at all, but that doesn’t make them any less bisexual.

It also may take a while to realize that you’re bisexual,В or you might know right away. And that’s OK, too. I know bi people who didn’t have any experiences with women until their 30s, but that doesn’t make them any less valid.

Bisexual People Have Higher Rates Of Mental Health Issues Than Straight Or Gay Folks

Although a lot of people think bisexual people are basically just whining about bi-erasure, there are some real problems in the bisexual community. Studies have shown that bisexuals have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal tendencies than straight or gay people. Part of the problem is not feeling like we belong in the straight or queer community, and another part of the problem is that we feel uncomfortable seeking help set aside for LGBTQ folks. Either way, it means people aren’t getting the help they need — and that’s an issue.

It Can Be Hard Navigating The Queer Community

One of the reasons bisexuals don’t seek help meant for queer people is that not everyone in the queer community is cool with bisexuals. Some people think it’s just a matter of time before we retreat back into our heterosexual privilege — or that we’re just experimenting. It can be really stressful finding out where you belong. My girlfriend is a lesbian and, though her close friends were all very welcoming, many of those in her wider LGBTQ circle made it clear they were skeptical of me because I was bi. It was a rocky transition.

It gets even rockier when you consider the fact that we still experience queer-phobia. When men shout “dyke” at my girlfriend and I or try to have a threesome with us, it’s really upsetting. But I feel like I’m not allowed to be upset or talk to other gay people about it because I won’t be taken seriously.

Some People Straight Up Won’t Date Us

One of the ways people made it clear they weren’t convinced about me and my girlfriend as a couple was by making it very known that they refused to date bisexuals. Yes, that’s a thing. Some people, regardless of gender and orientation, just straight up say no to you if you’re a bisexual.

In fact, on some female-focused dating apps women can request on their settings not to see bisexuals at all. I mean, I wouldn’t want to end up on a date with someone who wouldn’t want to date me, but it’s still not a nice feeling to know that other women who are attracted to women would rule you out automatically.

We Are Not Confused, Horny, Or Greedy

. Or if we are, it had nothing to do with our bisexuality. Some bisexuals want to have sex with everyone and some are relatively asexual. Some are outgoing, and some are shy. I’m greedy if you put a pizza in front of me, but that’s not because I’m bisexual — it’s because I love bread.

We Don’t “Transform” Into Gay Or Straight When We Get Into A Relationship

People suddenly thought that when I started dating my girlfriend that I became a lesbian overnight. Even men that I had sex with for years wondered if it meant I actually secretly hated their penis the whole time. Now, there were obviously some issues with them feeling threatened or emasculated, but this is really common.

So let me say this for the people in the back: we’re still bi. Whoever we’re dating, whoever we’re having sex with or not having sex with, we’re still bi. I’m always bi, just like I’m always a Gryffindor. You can fly that effing flag as high as you want.

It’s *Not* A Phase

Some people might experiment sexually and find out they don’t like something — and that’sВ fine, that’s what experimenting is for. But bisexuality is an orientation, it’s not a phase. One study found that 92 percent of people who identified as bisexual still identified as bisexual a decade later. That is not a phase.

Being bisexual is not something I’ve ever felt ashamed of, but I’ve definitely found it challenging at times because of people’s assumptions and treatment. It’s 2018. It’s time to get over these misconceptions about being bisexual. If you want to know the truth about what it’s really like, we’re here — just ask us.

Into threesomes? Bondage? We’ve got you covered.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Bringing up a sexual fantasy with a partner can be a bit daunting. No matter how you slice it, you’re opening yourself up to vulnerability and sharing a part of yourself that could end in rejection. No wonder we barely discuss our sexual wants, needs, and possible dissatisfactions when it come to sex.

Fantasy really runs the gamut. You might have a recurring masturbation fantasy about a threesome. Perhaps you picture a scene where you partner pees on you. Or maybe you want your partner to tie you up and use like a sex plaything. There really are no limits to what goes through people’s heads—and as long as your sexual fantasy is legal, there’s no reason you should be concerned about it.

Fantasies are normal and everyone has them. Discussing these with your partner can be a great addition to foreplay, building a closer connection, and improving trust,” says Dr. Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist.

Here’s how to bring up your sexual fantasies with your partner.

Is there any such thing as a “weird” fantasy?

There’s this idea that if you’re indulging in a sexual fantasy outside of what we might label “vanilla sex,” then there are undercurrents of deviant behavior. This is BS. Fantasy is normal and healthy.

According to Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist of Vibrant, fantasies normally fall within two distinct groups: some are mundane; others are out-of-the-box and unusual. But no fantasy is weird.

“’Weird’ is a judgment word, and it’s not helpful in sex. Let’s just call them ‘creative,’” Deitsch says. Sure, not every partner is going to want to act out the thing you want to try—that just isn’t realistic, as people are into different things—but that doesn’t meant you shouldn’t bring it up.

And hey, when it comes to sex, some of the more creative and in-depth fantasies are the best of all. There’s nothing like a good gang bang bondage fantasy, you know? Anyone?

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Why you shouldn’t keep your sexual fantasies locked away

If you’re embarrassed about talking about a fantasy with a partner, you really shouldn’t be. This is someone you trust and respect, and they should show you the same courtesy.

As will all aspects of a relationship, you should always be able to share your feelings without judgement. Of course, sometimes you may want to keep a fantasy just for yourself—something you like to enjoy in private. But issues arise when you aren’t having your sexual desires met as a result of your silence.

“It’s sad to think about a never-expressed fantasy, even if there’s no inclination to bring it to fruition,” Deitsch says. “Arousal from sharing a fantasy is a great way to keep things fresh in a relationship so start sharing.”

You don’t want to wind up resenting your partner because you’ve chosen to bottle up your desires.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to broach the topic of sexual fantasy with your partner

Talking about a sexual fantasy with a partner shouldn’t be difficult, unless you specifically want to bring it to life, Deitsch says.

Bringing it up can be as simple as, “Babe, I had this incredibly hot fantasy about you and I’d love to tell you about it.”

If that makes you uncomfortable she suggests “floating a ballon—like describing it as something you saw in a movie or read in a book and gauge your partner’s reaction. If it’s just something to stoke the fires during a sexy session, start out with a more mild version and ask if they’d be okay with things getting more creative.”

“Babe, I had this incredibly hot fantasy about you and I’d love to tell you about it.”

For example, you could bring up the wax-dripping sex in Body of Evidence with Madonna and Willem Dafoe; perhaps they’d find erotic pain interesting. If you’re looking to actually try it, use a massage candle specifically designed for this kind of play as a safer alternative. If you’re simply using the fantasy to heat things up, you can pretty such say anything you want.

And, let’s be real: Fifty Shades has plenty of material to work with.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

What to do if they’re freaked out or not feeling it

There’s always a scary feeling that someone we love will reject us or think we’re disgusting for our sexual fantasies. You might have a stable, loving relationship, but that doesn’t always assuage the fear.

Don’t shut down and write your partner off. Instead of getting defensive, ask your partner what about this fantasy is so off-putting for them. “It could be [that] it simply reminded them of something traumatic or unpleasant and other things would be fair game,” Deitsch says. “Check in. They owe you that, at least.”

Try opening it up for a discussion about fantasy in general—not just this particular one.

“Tell her that she probably has fantasies that you’re not into, but you would be open to discussing them with one another,” Overstreet suggests. “A big part of the fantasy happens in the discussions of it, versus the acting it out. Just because she isn’t into it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it with her in different ways.”

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

Into threesomes? Bondage? We’ve got you covered.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Bringing up a sexual fantasy with a partner can be a bit daunting. No matter how you slice it, you’re opening yourself up to vulnerability and sharing a part of yourself that could end in rejection. No wonder we barely discuss our sexual wants, needs, and possible dissatisfactions when it come to sex.

Fantasy really runs the gamut. You might have a recurring masturbation fantasy about a threesome. Perhaps you picture a scene where you partner pees on you. Or maybe you want your partner to tie you up and use like a sex plaything. There really are no limits to what goes through people’s heads—and as long as your sexual fantasy is legal, there’s no reason you should be concerned about it.

Fantasies are normal and everyone has them. Discussing these with your partner can be a great addition to foreplay, building a closer connection, and improving trust,” says Dr. Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist.

Here’s how to bring up your sexual fantasies with your partner.

Is there any such thing as a “weird” fantasy?

There’s this idea that if you’re indulging in a sexual fantasy outside of what we might label “vanilla sex,” then there are undercurrents of deviant behavior. This is BS. Fantasy is normal and healthy.

According to Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist of Vibrant, fantasies normally fall within two distinct groups: some are mundane; others are out-of-the-box and unusual. But no fantasy is weird.

“’Weird’ is a judgment word, and it’s not helpful in sex. Let’s just call them ‘creative,’” Deitsch says. Sure, not every partner is going to want to act out the thing you want to try—that just isn’t realistic, as people are into different things—but that doesn’t meant you shouldn’t bring it up.

And hey, when it comes to sex, some of the more creative and in-depth fantasies are the best of all. There’s nothing like a good gang bang bondage fantasy, you know? Anyone?

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Why you shouldn’t keep your sexual fantasies locked away

If you’re embarrassed about talking about a fantasy with a partner, you really shouldn’t be. This is someone you trust and respect, and they should show you the same courtesy.

As will all aspects of a relationship, you should always be able to share your feelings without judgement. Of course, sometimes you may want to keep a fantasy just for yourself—something you like to enjoy in private. But issues arise when you aren’t having your sexual desires met as a result of your silence.

“It’s sad to think about a never-expressed fantasy, even if there’s no inclination to bring it to fruition,” Deitsch says. “Arousal from sharing a fantasy is a great way to keep things fresh in a relationship so start sharing.”

You don’t want to wind up resenting your partner because you’ve chosen to bottle up your desires.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to broach the topic of sexual fantasy with your partner

Talking about a sexual fantasy with a partner shouldn’t be difficult, unless you specifically want to bring it to life, Deitsch says.

Bringing it up can be as simple as, “Babe, I had this incredibly hot fantasy about you and I’d love to tell you about it.”

If that makes you uncomfortable she suggests “floating a ballon—like describing it as something you saw in a movie or read in a book and gauge your partner’s reaction. If it’s just something to stoke the fires during a sexy session, start out with a more mild version and ask if they’d be okay with things getting more creative.”

“Babe, I had this incredibly hot fantasy about you and I’d love to tell you about it.”

For example, you could bring up the wax-dripping sex in Body of Evidence with Madonna and Willem Dafoe; perhaps they’d find erotic pain interesting. If you’re looking to actually try it, use a massage candle specifically designed for this kind of play as a safer alternative. If you’re simply using the fantasy to heat things up, you can pretty such say anything you want.

And, let’s be real: Fifty Shades has plenty of material to work with.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

What to do if they’re freaked out or not feeling it

There’s always a scary feeling that someone we love will reject us or think we’re disgusting for our sexual fantasies. You might have a stable, loving relationship, but that doesn’t always assuage the fear.

Don’t shut down and write your partner off. Instead of getting defensive, ask your partner what about this fantasy is so off-putting for them. “It could be [that] it simply reminded them of something traumatic or unpleasant and other things would be fair game,” Deitsch says. “Check in. They owe you that, at least.”

Try opening it up for a discussion about fantasy in general—not just this particular one.

“Tell her that she probably has fantasies that you’re not into, but you would be open to discussing them with one another,” Overstreet suggests. “A big part of the fantasy happens in the discussions of it, versus the acting it out. Just because she isn’t into it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it with her in different ways.”

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

LESBIAN: Usually refers to a woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation toward women. Some nonbinary people also identify with this term.

GAY: Used in some cultural settings to represent men who are attracted to men in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense. Not all men who engage in same-gender sexual behavior identify as gay, and as such this label should be used with caution.

BISEXUAL or BI: A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction to more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree.

TRANSGENDER: A person whose sense of personal identity or gender does not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth, or does not conform to gender stereotypes. Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity.

QUEER: a multi-faceted word that is used in different ways and means different things to different people. 1) Attraction to people of many genders. 2) Don’t conform to cultural norms around gender and/or sexuality. 3) A general term referring to all non-heterosexual people. S ome within the community, however, may feel the word has been hatefully used against them for too long and are reluctant to embrace it.

QUESTIONING: An individual who is unsure of and/or exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

INTERSEX: An umbrella term that describes people born with any of 30 different variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals.

ASEXUAL: A person who experiences little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior. They may or may not experience emotional, physical, or romantic attraction. Asexuality differs from celibacy in that it is a sexual orientation, not a choice. People who are asexual may call themselves ace.

AROMANTIC: A person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior.

PANSEXUAL: A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions.

NON-BINARY or ENBY: A person whose gender identity does not fall within the binary genders of man or woman.

GENDERFLUID: A person who does not identify with the gender binary and move within genders and gender stereotypes.

GENDERQUEER: A person who does not identify or express their gender within the gender binary. Those who identify as genderqueer may identify as neither men nor women, may see themselves as outside of or in between the gender binary, or may simply feel restricted by gender labels.

AGENDER: a person with no (or very little) connection to gender, no personal alignment with the concepts of either man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender.

STUD: A term originating within communities of color to describe a masculine identifying person who was assigned female at birth. Here is a study looking at the sexuality and gender construction of people who use ‘stud’ to describe their identity.

MĀHŪ:(‘in the middle’) in Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian) and Maohi (Tahitian) cultures are third gender persons with traditional spiritual and social roles within the culture. Here are two videos to help you learn more about the Māhū culture.

MUXE: Derived from the Spanish word for woman (mujer), muxes generally represent Mexican people who are assigned male at birth and identify as different genders. The iterations among the muxe community and their self-identifications vary – some identify as male but are female-expressing, while others identify as female and are more closely associated with Western culture’s understanding of transgender. Others defy gender entirely. But, in Mexican culture, the term “ third gender ” is often tacked to the muxe community. This video and article can help you learn more about muxe culture and identity.

HETEROSEXISM: Prejudice against individuals and groups who display non-heterosexual behaviors or identities, combined with the majority power to impose such prejudice. Usually used to the advantage of the group in power. Any attitude, action, or practice backed by an institutional power that subordinates people because of their sexual orientation.

CISGENDER: A person whose sense of personal identity or gender does correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth.

LGBTQ2S+ ALLY: Someone who confronts heterosexism, anti- LGBTQ2S+ biases, heterosexual and cisgender privilege in themselves and others; believes that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are social justice issues.

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How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

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Every woman is different. But if you’re mystified about what she wants in bed, this is a good place to start.

There are some things she won’t tell you. Maybe she’s too shy, too polite, or too afraid to hurt your feelings. So we asked hundreds of women to open up, anonymously. Brace yourself — and get ready to learn a lot, from the women and the experts alike. Then use the intel to make your love life hotter than ever. She’ll thank you.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Submission and domination fantasies are common among both genders, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports. In fact, 65 percent of women want to be sexually dominated. “I want him to pull my hair,” one woman told Men’s Health, while another chimed in, “I love it rough, and I mean really rough.”

Suggest Fifty Shades for movie night, says sex therapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D. Yeah, we know, it’s cliché, but it’s a solid segue. Say “Feel free to laugh, but it’s time I learn what the fuss is about,” or be flattering and flirty: “I’d like to try that on you.”

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

One fantasy you may share: her with another woman. Over half of women fessed up to this one — “girl-on-girl porn is a turn-on,” one woman confided — while 58 percent of men in a separate Men’s Health Twitter poll want a threesome with their mate and another woman.

“Make it personal: Say the thought of her with another woman turns you on,” says sex educator Tina Horn. Watch lesbian and threesome porn with her, but if you’re serious about having a threesome IRL, “talk boundaries first.”

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

In our poll, 63 percent of women wished to be kissed more. “He doesn’t like making out and it sucks,” one woman wrote. “He’ll do it if I ask, but barely uses his tongue. I want him to grab me and kiss me, I want to feel that he means it.”

When deep kissing only happens in foreplay, you lose the benefits of those great makeout sessions of your early days, says Aleece Fosnight, a sexuality counselor.

Try this: Kiss her for two minutes. That’s long enough for nerve receptors in the lips to signal the release of feel-good neurotransmitters. It also increases testosterone, boosting energy and libido.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Fantasizing about someone else is normal, says Richmond. Think of it this way: She’s helping herself climax, which means she values having good orgasmic sex with you. Thoughts are not realities; you’re the one she wants inside her. (Same goes for your thoughts, so drop the guilt and enjoy them.)

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Many women told us they secretly enjoy frequent battery-powered pleasure — and in our survey, 23 percent said they hide sex toys from their mate. (Too bad — men like to watch.) “I have a much higher sex drive than he does, and I have to take care of myself more than he knows,” one woman confessed.

Make sex toy shopping a kinky date night, either in person (try the welcoming Adam & Eve store) or online, says Richmond. Ask the staff plenty of questions; they’re used to it. If something turns her (or you) on, go for it.

Try the We-Vibe Sync, created for couples. Its C-shape stimulates her clitoris and G-spot during sex. You’ll feel the sensation as well.

We-Vibe Sync, $156.89

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

More than four in 10 women admit this. “I faked almost every orgasm with him the past year,” one woman said.

Don’t confront her; instead, ask what she likes, or better yet, have her show you, says sex therapist David Ortmann, L.C.S.W. Say, “I’d love to watch you touch yourself — it would be so hot and help me learn how to touch you.”

While she’s masturbating, kiss her neck, touch her nipples, caress the back of her knees. Note what she looks like when she comes, and copy some of her touch techniques. Ask easy questions so she can stay in the moment, says psychologist Erica Marchand, Ph.D. “Faster or slower?” “Softer or harder?” Not “What should I do?” Remember, the clitoris is tiny, so small changes make a big difference.

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Seven out of 10 women are eager to try something new. Many women said they were interested in trying rimming, as well as “crazy, crazy wild positions. Would be funny just to try them!,” one woman wrote.

Make sexual “menus,” suggests sex therapist Michael Aaron. You each write down types of sex you’re excited to try (green light), curious but nervous to try (yellow), or that are off-limits (red). Then you each pick one green and one yellow from the other’s menu. It’s fun and helps you practice negotiation, says Aaron.

Apps such as Let’s Try It are like this (you each fill out a sex questionnaire, and mutual desires are revealed), but paper is intimate and bonding. “The unknown can really be a turn-on,” says sex therapist Michael Salas. “Discovering new things about our partner not only energizes us erotically but it energizes the connection as well.”

How to discuss your lesbian or bisexual interest in a friend

Don’t assume she’s not in the mood. Seven out of 10 women told us they want sex more often, and more romance. I’d want sex more often if it wasn’t so chore-like. Seduce me, turn me on!,” one woman wrote.

Richmond suggests romantic (and dirty) talk throughout the day. “Foreplay can last all day,” she says. Or set up a regular date night. “Dress up. Make an effort, like when you were first dating. Relax and have fun, keeping the tone flirty and romantic. Turn on the charm and curiosity as if you just met. Candles and music are cliches for a reason. Use them.”

A version of this story was published in the April 2018 issue of Men’s Health Magazine.

A gay activist holds up a rainbow flag … ‘Allow people to be shocked and to need time to take the news in.’ Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

A gay activist holds up a rainbow flag … ‘Allow people to be shocked and to need time to take the news in.’ Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Last modified on Tue 20 Sep 2016 10.38 BST

1 You don’t have to come out. While many people find it’s a great weight off their shoulders, others don’t want to come out, seeing their sexuality as a completely private matter – so it it’s really up to you. Only come out when you feel comfortable and confident in doing so.

2 Coming out can be a really positive experience and it can feel liberating to be authentic with family, friends and colleagues. You can also be a positive role model to others around you who may be considering coming out.

3 Many people worry about other people’s reactions. Key concerns are that they won’t be accepted or will be seen differently. So if someone comes out to you, one of the best ways to respond is to say, “I still feel exactly the same about you.”

It’s also perfectly OK to say that you need time to process the information, but try to communicate at the same time that your feelings towards the person who has come out to you have not changed.

4 Worries and concerns may vary according to how old you are. Younger people can be more concerned about reactions and acceptance among their peer group, and worry about whether or not they might be bullied. Older people – especially those in a heterosexual relationship and maybe with children – may have different dilemmas. If you are coming out to your children, remember to remind them that you are still the same person, that you still love them and that you still feel the same way about them. If at all possible, get the support of your ex-partner and tell the children together.

5 Allow people to be shocked and to need time to take the news in – be sensitive to their feelings, too. Pick a quiet, calm time when you tell people, which will give you all time to talk about it. Remember that coming out may be more of a process than an event.

6 If family or friends react in a negative way, it won’t necessarily be how they always feel. Give them time to get used to the news. First reactions aren’t always lasting reactions.

7 If you are really nervous about coming out to family or friends, consider writing them a letter telling them, then follow up with a phone call or visit. This allows the recipient time to get used to the news, but you still retain control of the situation.

8 Staying in control of the news should always remain with the person who is coming out. So it’s important so think about this when choosing how to do it. While you should use whichever medium you feel most comfortable with – face-to-face, phone call, text, email, social media – it’s worth bearing in mind that some offer more privacy than others. If you don’t want everyone to know at once, consider using more old-fashioned methods of communication. If you want to come out to one family member at a time, remember to tell them that as you share your news.

9 If you are not sure of how certain significant people in your life may react, it’s a good idea to build a support network around you first. This could mean coming out to one person whom you trust and are reasonably confident will be supportive. If necessary, have that person with you when you come out to others.

10 If you suspect someone you know is LGBT, remember that you cannot – and should not – force them to come out, but you can foster an environment where the person feels supported and safe to do so.