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21 Main Types of Lesbians, Their Preferences & Ways to Tell Them Apart

Lesbianism is a diverse group of women all with different traits. If you think all lesbians are the same, you’re wrong! Learn the types of lesbians here.

types of lesbians

To assume that every single person who identifies as a lesbian is the same is pretty insulting. Every lesbian is unique and different in her own right. Many types of lesbians choose to identify with different sub-cultures based on their upbringing, preferences, social groups, and overall identity.

These groups are recognized in the LGBTQ+ community, so it’s important to know about the different types of lesbians if you want to educate yourself. 

Still wondering why should you? Well, to that we say, why not? If you’re a lesbian yourself, knowing about these types of lesbians may lead you to identify with a specific group.

Or, if you’re not a fan of labels, learning about different lesbian cultures will 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 and their communities is just as enriching and informative 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?


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? Nope. Are all transgender people the same? Still, no. We’re all unique and individual in our own right, which includes the way we choose to live our life or express our sexual tastes. 

Although there are several different types of lesbians, not all lesbians choose to identify with certain sub-cultures.

Some might change their mind occasionally and move from one group to another, or some might identify with two or more groups. It’s all up to personal preference. [Read: 15 ridiculous lesbian myths that you probably still believe]

Why do we have so many types of lesbians?

Again, because everyone is different!

No one is forced to put a label on themselves. However, those who do label themselves may choose to do so for numerous reasons that aren’t anyone’s concern but their own. Labels create communities for those alike to share experiences and relate to one another.

There is a rich, deep history of lesbian activism and culture. It only makes sense that some women relate to certain aspects of the community more than others. This is why lesbian sub-cultures emerged: to find people who relate to one another and feel empowered and secure in their identities.

A common misconception is that the different types of lesbians are associated with how they present themselves.

Although groups of lesbians do present the same, not all lesbians feel connected to dressing with a certain type of masculinity or femininity. [Read: What it means to live as a non-binary person]

You can’t look at a woman who dresses a certain way and assume that she’s a lesbian. Yes, some lesbians under the same sub-culture choose to express similar styles, but not all lesbians do. Lesbianism is a spectrum, just like other sexual and gender identities.

The common types of lesbians 

You started reading this feature 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 within the LGBTQ+ community. 

1. The butch lesbian

When most people hear the word “lesbian,” they tend to think of the butch lesbian: a woman who presents as masculine and has masculine traits. [Read: Lesbian stereotypes – common cliches we hear about too often]

However, a butch lesbian is more than just her presentation. Butch lesbianism is also a lifestyle that challenges traditional male gender roles and breaks the expectations of women in society. The butch sub-culture is a spectrum itself, with many different types of butch lesbian groups within it.

2. 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.

Essentially, femme/lipstick lesbians favor a traditionally feminine style. They indulge in the glamours of life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t perform masculine tasks. They just prefer the elegance of traditional femininity, hence the term “lipstick.” 

3. The chapstick lesbian

If butch and femme lesbians are on opposite sides of a scale, then chapstick lesbians are in the middle. [Read: Definition of queer – understanding what the Q in LGBTQ+ really means?]

They are typically easy-going, not hypermasculine or hyperfeminine. Chapstick lesbians know how to take care of themselves but aren’t opposed to being pampered a bit either.

They are independent and strong but have soft edges *hence, the chapstick on their lips as opposed to lipstick*.

4. The stud lesbian

The stud lesbian is a term that is used by Black or Latinx lesbians who present masculine and have masculine traits, similar to butch lesbians.

It doesn’t inherently mean that a butch who is Black or Latinx is a stud, as this label is a preference. But this type of lesbian is a racial-specific label.

5. The stem lesbian

The stem lesbian gets her name from the mix of “stud lesbian” and a “femme lesbian.” These lesbians are Black or Latinx and indulge in femininity.

This term originated from Black or Latinx women not identifying completely with being a stud, and not completely with being a femme lesbian.

6. The stone-butch lesbian

Falling under the butch spectrum, the stone-butch lesbian is more masculine in her appearance and demeanor.

The term “stone” attached to the front of labels is commonly used to indicate emotional and sexual boundaries.

This means a stone butch doesn’t particularly receive emotional or sexual pleasure from being touched. Instead, this type of lesbian is much more of a giver and receives pleasure from pleasuring her partner. [Read: How to pleasure a woman – 19 subtle things every girl craves in bed]

7. The stone-femme lesbian

Similar to the stone butch lesbian, stone femme lesbians use this label to indicate emotional and sexual boundaries.

A stone femme lesbian identifies as feminine in her appearance and approach to life and prefers to give pleasure to her partner rather than receive. 

8. The pillow princess lesbian

A pillow princess is a type of lesbian slang describing a woman who likes to receive pleasure during sex but isn’t interested in reciprocating.

So it only makes sense that the term depicts a woman laying down on the pillow like a princess!

This doesn’t mean she won’t reciprocate, but in most cases, she prefers to not break a sweat. She is usually lying down and enjoys being submissive. [Read: Pillow princess – what does it really mean to be labeled as one?]

9. The soft-butch lesbian

Soft butch lesbians are on the butch scale but do not take on the traditionally masculine roles to the extent that a butch lesbian would. They aren’t any more feminine, but instead, they are “softer” than the regular butch.

10. 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. [Read: Am I a lesbian or bisexual? 31 signs to the truth without asking around]

11. The power/suit lesbian

This is a lesbian who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it! Power lesbians are known for dressing in powerful attire *hence, the power suit* and exuding confidence and authority. They are total bosses and they know it.

Power-suit lesbians don’t necessarily align with a certain type of femininity or masculinity. Instead, this term is used to describe a woman who is dominant, usually wealthy, and self-sufficient. They are influential, well-respected, and alphas. [Read: The alpha female – 15 qualities you need to unleash it]

12. Blue jean femme lesbian

The blue jean femme lesbian gets their name from, well, being femmes who wear blue jeans. They are feminine, but not exactly lipstick lesbians.

Instead of bathing in all things luxurious, a blue jean femme lesbian will opt for something more comfortable.

She would be a less intense version of the lipstick lesbian. She may have more neutral traits, as opposed to hyper-feminine or masculine traits.

13. The sporty lesbian

The sporty lesbian is just what you would expect: a woman who is a natural athlete. She has a very competitive edge and traditionally presents as more masculine than feminine.

You can find this type of lesbian in athleisure wear and always ready for a good time. And, of course, she loves sports! [Read: Lesbian dating apps – the best apps for some girl-on-girl lovin’]

14. The boy-babe lesbian

Boy-babe lesbians are another masculine group of lesbians, but not masculine in the way a butch might be. Boy-babes have a more juvenile, “boyish” look in their appearance.

They often rock short, flowy hair *think young Justin Bieber hair* and have no problem taking on stereotypical male gender roles in the relationship. They are eccentric and aren’t afraid to be themselves.

15. The futch lesbian

“Futch” is a lesbian slang word referring to lesbians who are both femme and butch.

This type of lesbian pretty much correlates with the chapstick lesbian, however, it’s emerged as its own label now. Their style is effortless and comfortable.

16. The alternative lesbian

This is a label for women who are alternative in their fashion and interests. Think rock music, dyed hair, innovative outfits, tattoos – that’s the alternative lesbian.

Although she may seem tough as nails, she is free-spirited and loves to have a good time.

17. The Granola lesbian

The term “granola” refers to those who live a tree-hugging, hippie lifestyle. Granola lesbians love activism *as do the rest of them,* peace, and social justice.

Lesbians who identify as granola don’t conform to masculinity or femininity the same way as other lesbian groups do. Instead, this type of lesbian is all about their perception of the world. [Read: Dating a feminist – 23 myths, benefits, must-knows & how to read her mind]

18. The LUG lesbian

This is a term used to describe a woman, usually in college, who is exploring her sexuality and is assumed to be a lesbian. “LUG” means “lesbian until graduation.” She may continue to identify as a 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]

19. The lone star lesbian

The lone star label is a lesbian who has only been with one partner in her life. Although many lesbians may technically fall under this label, it isn’t one that is necessarily used anymore.

20. The gold star lesbian

Now, this is a slang word that definitely isn’t used anymore because of its purist and insensitive meaning. A gold star lesbian refers to a lesbian who has never slept with a man before.

Women who unironically call themselves “gold star lesbians” are essentially saying they’re better than other lesbians because they never slept with a man. [Read: Being sex positive – why this matters & why you need to get on board

If this term is used, it is only done so in an ironic sense because, well, it’s just sad. Many women go through extensive journeys when coming to terms with their lesbian identity, including having sex with men. Shaming women for their sexual history is not something we’re cool with.

21. Celesbian

A celesbian is, you guessed it, a celebrity lesbian! They are celebrities who are actually lesbians *not straight women who portray lesbian characters in the media*.

Celesbians are celebrated in lesbian culture because they are successful celebrities who shatter expectations of women in the rather heteronormative society.

A few famous celesbians are Ellen Degeneres, Lea DeLaria, Lena Waithe, Samira Wiley, Wanda Sykes, Sara Paulson, Hayley Kiyoko, and Jojo Siwa.

Important note

It’s important to remember that these types of lesbians should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not every lesbian identifies with a specific group despite having characteristics similar to them. You should never assume a woman’s identity.

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 informs 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 a personal preference.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...