Since this is my first post on this forum, I'll just start out by saying that I'm a 26 year-old female with absolutely no real relationship experience and only minimal sexual experience (with men only.)
My problem is that I am kind of confused by a pattern that I've noticed in my behavior over the years; I have 'crushes' on older women, usually (but not always) teachers, and I also have crushes on women my own age. Both of these types of crushes have occurred frequently since as early as I can remember, and it wasn't until my college years that I started allowing myself to incorporate sexual feelings into my peer-based female crushes (not the teacher ones, just the crushes I had on women near my own age.) I say "allowing myself" because it was a deliberate decision to stop mentally forbidding myself to imagine women sexually, and once I did that, it sort of opened the flood gates to my homosexual desire.
At this point, after a particular incident wherein I started having sexual feelings for a female friend in grad school, I decided that I was probably either bisexual or full-out lesbian, and I devoted the next couple of years to slowly introspecting about which might be the case. But then recently I found this forum and started reading about others who had confusion about sexuality over mommy-replacement-esque obsession, and I started to wonder if maybe I just have some fundamental emotional problem that, once worked through, would do away with my sexual and romantic feelings for women. It makes me feel anxious, to be honest. Not because I'm necessarily against being gay or anything like that (actually, I quite like the idea), but because I don't want to decide on one sexual identity, act on it, and then find that I've been deceived about myself.
Anyway, I'll go ahead and describe the quality of my 'attachments,' if you will, and then give a brief rundown of why I originally thought I might be lesbian.
My teacher/older-lady-in-authority crushes have generally been less frequent than my peer crushes, but somewhat more intense. I've found that I have a 'type,' too...she's usually older (30-40s), attractive, warm/outgoing, and the intellectual, open-minded sort. My strongest ones have been professors from my undergraduate, and I'd have fantasies in which I'd do something really impressive like rescue the prof from danger and earn her affection/admiration. I suspect that this has something to do with some childish perceived deficiency in my own mother, with whom I have no real problems except that we don't really have a close, lovey-dovey, share everything with each other kind of relationship. She's kind and good to me, but she does tend to be in general personality a bit judgmental, rigid, and concrete-thinking instead of intellectual. So I started thinking that perhaps that's why I sought out women who were pretty much the opposite of her to fawn over.
Anyway, since I'm a bit of a reserved person, and I hate the idea of appearing or acting in pathetic and/or dependent ways, I always do my utmost to prevent anyone (especially the object) knowing about my feelings. I would try and control my obsessional feelings by channeling them into impressing the person with the quality of my work, and I'd usually succeed, which had the indirect effect of calling my 'crush's' attention to myself in a positive way. But then when they'd attempt to show me special attention, I'd freak out and feel like I'd been found out, and then purposely try and destroy it all by acting badly (like, skipping class or failing to do an assignment...childish, I know.) That would have the even worse effect of having them summons me to their office for "a chat," and then I'd feel slimy as though I'd subconsciously just wanted this all along, and I could barely look them in the eye/refused to talk about anything personal. It's all very embarrassing, yes.
Over the years I've learned to control these feelings a bit better and have learned to use them positively, I think. I have learned, for instance, to enjoy the feeling of working to impress this mother-figure because it gives me an emotional reason to do my best work, and I've learned to be satisfied with a compliment here/a pat on the back there without escalating my desire. Do you think this is a positive thing, or have I just learned coping mechanisms that don't solve the underlying problem? I sometimes feel as though I've become dependent on this kind of motivation, and in its absence/the absence of an adored mother-figure, I sometimes have trouble finding motivation on my own.
Regarding my peer-based sexual attractions to women (sorry, I know this is long and rambling, but I'm almost done), they've been a bit different than my mother-based ones in that I don't necessarily idolize them in the same way/solicit myself in the position of the subordinate. I still obsess a bit over them and find myself fantasizing about impressing them, but since I see them as attainable, and I usually know them as friends/acquaintances, it's a bit more based in reality. Also, it's sexual. I don't know if in the mommy-figure scenarios I simply repress sexual feelings, but all I know is that it feels gross and wrong (almost like incest) to think of them that way. Not so in these cases. I allow myself full access to sexual thoughts and fantasies about these peer-based crushes. Both types still feel like I'm automatically playing some game of seduction, though, even though consciously my end-goal is different for each.
As I said earlier in this post, I've never been in a real relationship. I've always been a bit afraid of them, really, when I limited my thoughts to relationships with men. When I'd get hit on by men, I'd feel irritated and sometimes hostile. It wasn't until I got to grad school that I tried sex with anyone, and it happened to be a male friend. We liked each other well enough, though neither of us had more than friendly feelings for one another (AFAIK), but sometimes when we'd go out drinking we'd end up having sex for fun. Sort of like the corny "friends with benefits" situation one hears about in sitcoms. I started to think about what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone like him (and to probe my own feelings for signs of growing attachment), but I found that I just instinctively reject the idea of a romantic relationship with men. I can have and enjoy sex with them just fine, but I have no emotional desire to be with a man in a romantic way, and in fact the idea of getting married and having kids with a man repulses me. With women (despite my lack of experience) the opposite is true. I can easily and with pleasure imagine myself in a relationship with a woman, even doing the corny stuff that most couples usually do (like snuggling, holding hands, giving gifts, listening to their problems and caring, etc.,.)
Long story short, are my lesbionic (hehe) feelings authentic, or are they a biproduct of my subconscious desire to be mothered? Also, are my feelings of repulsion towards relationships with men some other sort of biproduct of the way I was parented? There are overlaps between my lesbian feelings and the mother-soliciting, to be sure, and I feel like sexual feelings (for me at least, if not for all women) can be summoned for just about anything or any reason, given the right conditions. So are they real and lasting? Or will they go away if I therapize my mommy issues away?
Sorry for the novel, and thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.