Why Some Women Become Lesbians Later in Life

They meet the right woman, fall in love, then feel sexual desire

By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2010 5:23 AM CDT | Updated Aug 14, 2010 12:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – 'Late-life lesbians' are just women who were attracted to women all along but were too repressed to come out earlier, right? Not exactly, say researchers who have challenged conventional wisdom about sexual orientation with a study showing that women's capacity to feel attracted to other women can change significantly from one life phase to another. "Women's erotic desires are pretty tightly linked to their emotional feelings," a researcher who has tracked a group of 79 women over 15 years tells NPR.

"So for some of these women, they authentically did not feel attracted to women before they met one particular woman that they completely fell in love with." Scientists say that our feelings of sexual desire and romantic love are neurologically wired in such a way that people have the capacity to first fall in love with others, then feel sexually attracted to them—apparently the case with many 'late-life' lesbians.

When a woman finds a lesbian partner after decades with a male partner, that doesn't mean she was previously a repressed lesbian, researchers say.
When a woman finds a lesbian partner after decades with a male partner, that doesn't mean she was previously a repressed lesbian, researchers say.   (Shutter Stock)
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