Straight women: You could be lesbian and not realize it, TikTok says

Straight women: You could be lesbian and not realize it, TikTok says

By Hannah Frishberg

Sexuality has been turned into a Myers-Briggs test of sorts.

TikTok users are doing their questionable best to help women determine if they’re really attracted to men — or if they’ve actually just succumbed to “compulsory heterosexuality” and are, in fact, lesbian.

In one particularly viral video tagged with the trend’s “#comphet” hashtag, a user checklists “common signs of compulsory heterosexuality.”

These include: “Liking guys until they like you back,” “only liking fictional men and celebrities,” “kissing your girlfriends when you were younger to ‘practice for guys,’” “feeling bored when intimate with guys” and, of course, “feeling nauseous when intimate with guys.”

The tag #comphet has racked up over 61 million views on the social media platform, with videos generally preaching the positive points of being bisexual. The viral video trend also seems to raise awareness about how many women think they are heterosexual — but in actuality are just falling prey to the pressures of a patriarchal society. The handy explainer embedded below — from TikToker @FemmeFetti — has racked up more than 400,000 views on the platform.

The phrase “compulsory heterosexuality” was first coined by feminist Adrienne Rich in her 1980 essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” in which she argues that female heterosexuality is a product of nurture, not nature. Cosmopolitan posits that the term’s recent burst of popularity can be attributed to a resurfacing of the viral 2018 PDF “Am I a Lesbian?” in which then-teenager Angeli Luz offered a chaptered “masterdoc” pamphlet to helping readers determine if they’re lesbian. The first chapter is titled, “What is Compulsory Heterosexuality?”

“Compulsory heterosexuality is the voice in my head that says I must really be het[erosexual] even when I’m in love with a woman. Compulsory heterosexuality is what forces lesbians to struggle through learning the difference between what you’ve been taught you want (being with men) and what you do want (being with women), which is why so many lesbians have dated men at some point,” Luz explained in the document, which has since spawned scores of viral TikToks, including the one embedded below.

“Compulsory heterosexuality is very similar to heteronormativity — the assumption that straight is the default,” Luz added. “We’re trained from birth to believe that we will find someone of the other binary gender, fall in love, have sex, etc. In a million tiny ways we’re taught that only relationships with the other binary gender are valid. (And if you’re not one of the binary genders this can be even more confusing.)”

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