Q: My girlfriend prefers women.    I just found out from the girl I’ve been seeing for about 6 months that women turn her on more than guys do. It makes me feel really strange to know that she is not as attracted to men as she is to women, yet she is with me.  It bugs me to see her checking out other women when we go out; her interest is making me jealous and taking a toll on my self-esteem. Is it normal for some girls to be attracted more to women, yet prefer to be with men? Should I let her go or put up with this?    —John

Dr. Linda: Yes, some girls are more attracted to women yet mostly date guys. That can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Some fear acting on their same sex attraction would lead to ostracism from family and friends. Others fear punishment for their lesbian tendencies based on religious beliefs that label them a sinner. Still others just want to be “normal.”

Various definitions of lesbianism and bisexuality exist. The most comprehensive ones are the most on target, in my estimation. For example, a lesbian (or gay) is a person who is erotically, psychologically, emotionally and socially drawn to another person of the same sex, even if the preference is not overtly expressed. A bisexual person is one who is capable of feeling both erotic stirrings and social/psychological attachments to a member of either sex. As Woody Allen once quipped, “The great thing about being bisexual is that you double your odds for a date on Saturday night.”

Back to your girlfriend. Labels are often difficult and

Misleading. It’s impossible to surmise, without more details, if your girlfriend is fundamentally lesbian, but in a transitional stage; if she’s destined to retain a dual attraction to both sexes; if she’s straight but in a curious, “experimental” phase; or if her same sex interest reflects some unresolved difficulty.

Have a heart-to-heart talk with her about her deepest

desires and preferences. Let your decision about staying or leaving be based on your intuitive response to her input and the degree of compatibility between the two of you it suggests.  Good luck!