Women are embracing lesbianism in their thirties, according to research indicating that shifts in sexual orientation may be more widespread than previously thought.
While “late-blooming lesbians” are not uncommon in history – the married writer Virginia Woolf had an affair with the poet Vita Sackville-West – the phenomenon of mature women switching sexualities is now attracting academic scrutiny.
One study even indicates that as many as two-thirds of women who feel lesbian attractions may have changed their sexual orientation over time.
The findings appear to pose a challenge to the scientific consensus that a person's sexuality is determined more by their genes than environment.
Christan Moran, a researcher at Southern Connecticut State University in the US, said that many women who develop lesbian feelings in later life refuse to “come out” for fear of society’s reaction.
Women in long-term heterosexual relationships, especially those with children, face even greater problems reconciling themselves to their new identities, she said.
Following interviews with more than 200 married lesbians, Moran concluded that there is “great potential for heterosexual women to experience a first same-sex attraction well into adulthood.” Read more