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Trying to stay straight at all-women’s college

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Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 6:43 am

Dear Straight Talk: I’m a freshman at a top all-girl’s college. I’m straight and broke up with my boyfriend to be here. There is tremendous pressure to fit in here by hooking up with girls. I realize girl-girl experimentation is “cool” today, but after considering it, I decided I’m not interested. So many girls come here straight and now they’re lesbians. But not real lesbians. They’re doing it out of peer pressure, and because if you don’t, you’re a second-class citizen. Don’t tell me to meet guys on other campuses. When you tell them your school, they don’t respect you. And they never come here. I can’t take three more years of this, but how do I tell my parents? — Trying to Stay Straight at all-female college

Zoe, 19, Portland, Ore.: I completely understand. I attended a top women’s college and experienced so much social pressure to become lesbian, or at least try it, even though I had no sexual interest in women! The sexual pressure and exclusivity led me to transfer to the college I now attend and love. Tell your parents about it — I did. It’s an awkward topic, but no parent wants their child sexually pressured.

Katelyn, 19, Huntington Beach: How sad that people are pressured into being “bisexual” or “lesbian” at your all-girl’s college. Are people really that focused on sex over a good education? Tell your parents exactly what’s happening — no sugarcoating. Then present alternative colleges.

Mae, 21, Santa Cruz: TRANSFER. A close friend went to Smith and ended up dating a girl, and it definitely was “induced” bisexualism. She explained the social scene, how social status and acceptance is entirely based on being a lesbian or similar. It sounds very intense. Your experience sounds totally legitimate and common.

Lara, 21, Vienna, Austria: Freshmen year at my small Catholic liberal-arts college, I felt like “everyone” was rich and materialistic. With time, I learned to be myself and stopped judging others — who then accepted me for me. Once I had this clarity about myself, I found my people and my happiness. I’m positive you’ll find yours, too. Every college has pressure to be someone you’re not. P.S.: Pardon my feminist mood, but please avoid terms like “real lesbian,” or even “straight.” They project that homosexuality and bisexuality are fake, crooked or wrong.

Molly, 21, Berkeley: Never, ever, do anything sexual that you’re uncomfortable with. That said, sexuality is often fluid for women, so please refrain from judging others. Set firm boundaries and don’t let anyone pressure you. You’ll emerge able to stick to your ideals no matter what.

Savannah, 20, Portland, Ore.: I experienced, first-hand, everything you’re saying. The expectation to be lesbian felt very unnatural and I disliked seeing my peers “changing themselves” to fit in. Several girls I knew gained weight and start experimenting with girls — which they were totally opposed to when they started. Get out!

Dear Trying to Stay Straight: With three panelists corroborating your experience, I, too, say TRANSFER. I receive too much mail from heterosexual girls as young as 13 who are confused and emotionally damaged by bisexual experimentation. The pressure today, subtle and not-so-subtle (as you experience), for heterosexuals to be “bi-curious” is another of today’s unhealthy trends amped by the porn industry, and does no favors to anyone — including the bonafide homosexual and bisexual community, whom I support. Describe the situation frankly to your parents (they weren’t born that many yesterdays ago), and start applying elsewhere. Show them this column as proof you’re not exaggerating. For more discussion, see our website. — Lauren

StraightTalkAdvice.org tackles youth’s toughest issues with youth’s wisest advice. Go deeper in today’s conversation or ask a question at www.straighttalkadvice.org or P.O. Box 1974, Sebastopol, CA 95473.

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