Just Out? Love Advice For Lesbians

If you’re a woman who has just started dating other women, these tips will help you hit the scene with confidence!

By Chelsea Kaplan

f you’re a newly out lesbian, the thought of your first foray into the all-girl dating scene is probably equal parts exciting and terrifying. To help you feel confident and comfortable, heed this girl-getting advice from Diana Cage, host of The Diana Cage Show on Sirius Radio’s OutQ and author of Girl Meets Girl: A Dating Survival Guide.

Tip #1: Identify who’s on your “team” by making eye contact
Cage says that a common hang-up of newly out women is feeling like they don’t know who else is gay. “I always tell newly out women to go ahead and
Dress in a way that expresses your true self; you’ll soon be recognized for who you are without needing to flaunt it.
smile and make eye contact with a woman she’s set her sights on,” says Cage. And it shouldn’t be a split-second glance; make your intention clear by holding her gaze. “If she smiles back, she’s probably interested,” says Cage. But if you’re still not feeling confident, no matter what you do, don’t stare, advises Cage: “If you do, she’ll surely think you’re a stalker.”

Tip #2: Don’t go for a cookie-cutter look
According to Cage, many newly out lesbians often overcompensate when trying to make up for naïveté or lack of experience. “They feel as if they need to belong in the queer world, have queer friends, get the inside joke and be recognized by other queers,” she explains. “This accounts for the abundance of rainbow accessories and weird haircuts amongst the newly out crowd.” To avoid this pitfall, Cage recommends resisting the urge to embrace stereotypically “lesbian” styles of dress and appearance if that’s not wholly “you” once you first emerge on the dating scene. “If you’re newly out, you probably haven’t discovered the more subtle ‘lesbian signifiers’ like chunky heels and glasses,” she says. But that’s OK: Dress in a way that expresses your true self; you’ll soon be recognized for who you are without needing to flaunt it—especially if you flock to the places where like-minded women are.

Tip #3: Don’t dive into a relationship with the first woman who comes along
According to Cage, too many newly out women attach themselves to the first lesbian who crosses their path. “Many times a newly out woman will settle right down with the first woman she dates, especially when she only knows a few other lesbians in her town,” she explains. “That’s where the ‘U-Haul’ stereotype of women who start seeing each other and then immediately become a couple
“It’s important to really understand who you are outside of a relationship before you enter into one.”
comes in to play.” Cage advises avoiding this mistake by keeping in mind that you need to have more in common with a potential girlfriend than the fact that you are both gay. “Taking your time and moving slowly prevents broken hearts,” she recommends.

Tip #4: Know who you are outside of a relationship before you jump into one
“Lots of lesbians start by dating people who have a similar gender presentation to themselves, only to discover as they became more confident and aware that they are actually attracted to people who are more masculine or feminine than they are,” Cage says. “That’s why it’s important to really understand who you are outside of a relationship before you enter into one. As you meet other women and go on dates, you’ll start to get a much better idea about what you are looking for, and this will hopefully save you and the women you date some heartache.”

Tip #5: Do some research about sex
Whether that strikes you as super-fun or scary, it’s an important step if you’re new to the lesbian world. “Read books so you feel a little familiar with this aspect of your upcoming relations,” advises Cage. If you have a gay-friendly erotica store in your town, Cage advises you visit it before you enter the dating scene; if you live in a town that doesn’t have a store like that, do your research online. “All the good sex toy shops have extensive information on their sites,” she says. These can be a great way to get a little insight onto the world you’ve just entered.

Tip #6: Don’t be afraid of your inner player
When you’re newly out, don’t berate yourself for wanting to make out (and more!) with every hot new woman you meet. “It’s OK. In fact, it’s more than OK, it’s a good thing that you want to be sexual, to explore your sexuality, to feel sexy and flirt and turn people on,” she says. Cage notes that most lesbians internalize the good girl vs. bad girl messages that are prevalent in our society: “Because dating a lot, sleeping with more than one person, and embracing our need for sex usually falls into that ‘bad girl’ category, many lesbians are conditioned to think it’s wrong.” Bottom line: If you’re just seeking a little fun, go for it without apology! Just make sure you keep it safe and are straightforward with your partners about your choices.

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of and regularly appears as a guest on XM Radio’s “Broad Minded” and WBAL Baltimore’s “The Shari Elliker Show.” Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at
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