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The Main Types of Lesbians & Why It’s Important to Tell Them Apart

types of lesbians

If you thought all lesbians were the same, you’re wrong. There are many different types of lesbians, and everyone is unique in their own right.  

To assume that every single person who identifies as a lesbian is the same is pretty insulting. Every lesbian woman is unique and different in their own right. Some prefer a specific type of woman, others are open to experimentation, while some lesbians change their minds about their preferences over time. Just as a heterosexual person has different tastes and the option to change that occasionally, so does a lesbian. So, are there types of lesbians?

There’s no denying that there seems to be a specific set of lesbian groups out there. Even the LGBTQ community recognize these groups, so it makes sense to know about the different types of lesbians if you want to educate yourself a little. 

Why should you? Well, why not? If you’re a lesbian yourself, knowing about these types of lesbians may help you to either identify with a specific group, or if you’re not a fan of labels, may help you to simply know more about your community. If you’re not a lesbian or you’re not too sure, learning about different sexualities is just as enriching and informing as learning about different cultures around the world. 

[Read: The different types of gender and why you really need to know them]

Aren’t all lesbians the same?

No. 

If you walked up to a lesbian and told her that all lesbians were the same, she would be pretty insulted, and she would have every right to be. Are all straight people the same? No. Are all gay people the same? No. Are all transgender people the same? No. We’re all unique and individual in our own right which means that the way someone chooses to live their life or their sexual tastes, ebb and flow. 

There are several different types of lesbians but that doesn’t mean that every person who identifies as a lesbian fits in to a specific group. Some might change their mind occasionally and move from one group to another, or some might identify with two or more groups. 

To assume that all lesbians are the same is stereotypical.  

[Read: 15 ridiculous lesbian myths that you probably still believe]

Why do we have so many types of lesbians?

Again, because everyone is different! You could argue that we don’t really need to have specific types of lesbians anyway and should simply allow everyone to be whoever they are and like whatever they like. I agree with that, but you know what society is like – for some reason we love a label. 

There are many stereotypical views about lesbians, e.g. lesbians look butch or have short hair. Not true. There are many lesbian women who are extremely feminine with long, flowing locks. You can’t look at a woman who looks a certain way and assume that she’s a lesbian. Yes, some types of lesbians have a specific appearance, but not all. 

[Read: The rise of the fake lesbian – Is it a cool cliche or an annoying insult?]

Within the LGBTQ community, some people use what is known as the futch scale. This is a scale which is used to identify where a lesbian is on the range between femme, a feminine type of lesbian, and butch, the more masculine type of lesbian. However, there are a million and one different degrees in-between!

It’s up to the individual if they want to identify with a specific type or whether they just want to free-wheel it and be themselves without the need for a label. If you’re a lesbian and you don’t feel the need to conform to a type, all power to you. However, if you’re a lesbian and you like belonging to a specific type, that’s completely fine too. There is no right and wrong. 

[Read: What it means to live as a non-binary person]

The different types of lesbians 

You started reading this article because you wanted to learn about the different types of lesbians, so let’s take a look at some of the common types you’ll hear about in the LGBTQ community. 

#1 The femme lesbian/lipstick lesbian. This is a type of lesbian who sits at the most feminine end of the scale. You’ll hear the words ‘femme’ and ‘lipstick lesbian’ used interchangeably but they’re referring to the same type. Basically, this is a lesbian who appears more feminine and acts more feminine in general. They’re at the opposite end of the scale to a butch lesbian. 

#2 The butch lesbian. When most people hear the word ‘lesbian’, they tend to think of the butch lesbian and it’s one of the most stereotypical types of lesbians. However, a huge number of lesbian women are not butch at all. Having said that, many are. The butch lesbian has a more masculine look and she acts tougher. 

#3 The activist lesbian. This label has nothing to do with looks but everything to do with her personality and passions. The activist lesbian is likely to be very passionate about social justice and particularly about equality, especially in the LGBTQ community. [Read: Definition of queer – understanding what the Q in LGBTQ really mean?]

#4 The chapstick lesbian. Many lesbians identify as chapstick and that’s because it sits somewhere in-between the two extremes – femme and butch. From any day to the next, she can be more butch or more femme; it totally depends on how she feels at any given time. She can also dress more feminine or more masculine and doesn’t tend to conform to either end of the scale. 

#5 The stone butch lesbian. This is where the types of lesbians become complicated. The stone butch lesbian is more masculine in her appearance and demeanor, making her a butch, but what sets her apart is that she doesn’t particularly like to receive pleasure, i.e. she doesn’t like to be touched. She’s much more of a giver and wants to give pleasure to her partner, rather than receive it. [Read: Lesbian stereotypes: Common cliches we hear about too often]

#6 The stone femme lesbian. Completely the same as the stone butch lesbian but more feminine in her appearance and approach to life, the stone femme lesbian gives pleasure to her partner and doesn’t want to receive. 

#7 The hasbian lesbian. This is a confusing one for non-hasbian lesbians to understand in some cases. Basically, the hasbian lesbian used to identify as a lesbian but now she dates men. She doesn’t identify as heterosexual or gay these days, she simply follows her heart. Does that mean she will never date women again? Not at all, she may go back to being a lesbian or she may not. [Read: 15 secret signs of female bisexuality to recognize a bisexual girl]

#8 The boi lesbian. Not particularly butch, but not femme either, the boi lesbian appears more boyish in their style and their clothing but are biologically female. They’re not tough in terms of butch, but instead they’re softer, yet still more masculine rather than feminine. 

#9 The power lesbian. This is a lesbian who knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go after it! The power lesbian is likely to hold a highly competitive or prestigious job, such as in the law or medical field. They aim to be the very best of the best and dress to impress. 

#10 The LUG lesbian. This is a term used to describe a girl who is college and exploring her sexuality. The ‘LUG’ part means ‘lesbian until graduation’. She may continue to identify as lesbian when she leaves college or she might not. Put simply, she’s not decided and she’s perfectly fine with exploring for now. [Read: The first time lesbian experience – How to experience it minus the awkwardness]

#11 The baby dyke lesbian. A baby dyke lesbian has just ‘come out’ and isn’t any particular type yet. She’s exploring the community and finding her way. As such, she doesn’t identify as butch, femme, or anything in-between. She may become one of the particular types of lesbians later on, but for now she’s exploring her new identity. 

#12 The alpha lesbian. In the list of types of lesbians, this particular type is powerful and popular. If you think about the hierarchy of popularity in high school, the alpha sits at the cool table with everyone else pandering around her. She dresses cool, she looks cool, and she’s successful too. [Read: The alpha female – 15 qualities you need to unleash it]

#13 The lone star lesbian. This is a type of lesbian who tried to have sex with a man once, just to see how it felt or whether it was for her, but she figured that it wasn’t and went back to preferring women. The lone star label can also be for a lesbian who has only ever had one partner and sticks with them. 

It’s important to remember that these types of lesbians should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not every lesbian identifies as a specific type or even wants to. Some lesbians use the labels as a form of humor, while others like to be part of a group because it helps them to identify with their community better. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but it’s always useful to know about the different types of lesbians because it helps to inform you of what is going on within the community, whether you’re a part of it or not. 

[Read: Sex positive feminism: What it is is and why we must embrace the movement]

There are likely to be many more types of lesbians aside from this list. People change and evolve and new labels are invented all the time. Whether someone wants to identify as a particular label however is personal preference.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...

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