Being an openly gay woman in a relationship is a little bit like being pregnant, in that suddenly everyone and their mother wants to know your intimate details.

“So do you two have sex all the time?” and “So who’s the boyfriend, really, though?” are the questions swapped for “Have your boobs grown much?” and “Have you decided whether or not to have a natural birth?” Straight dudes hitting on my girlfriend and I, drunkenly and in front of their girlfriends, replaces the invasive belly rubbing.

Maybe this isn’t the most apt metaphor, especially since I have no experience being pregnant, but I imagine moms-to-be being just as shocked by this privacy invasion. Maybe people feel more inclined to ask my girlfriend and I their most prying questions about lesbians because there are no discernible power dynamics in our relationship. No gender roles; no top or bottom. It drives them crazy and they just can’t wrap their heads around it.

It’s also a little bit like being an endangered species. As far as we know, there aren’t as many gay people out there, so it’s automatically harder to find someone. That issue is then compounded by a vast array of rules and pickiness that make it exponentially more difficult for any of us to find “the one” and settle down (I’m sure any gay person could rant for hours about this because I’ve heard them).

Throw in the restrictive social scene of a small town like Reno, and you might begin to see why I just decided to not acknowledge why I was gay for a while. Lesbians in this town can be very intimidating.

Then once you do find someone that has the qualifications — whether they end up being Mr. or Mrs. Right or not — you hold onto them for dear life, often moving very quickly in your relationship, and everyone around you zealously investigates your every move.

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke: “What does a lesbian bring to the second date?” The answer? A U-Haul.

The stereotypes are rampant, and funnily enough, just like life, they often exist for a reason. Case in point: I came out as soon as I found my partner, and once we started dating, we were living together within six months.

Also, as with life in general, there are just as many exceptions to these stereotypes as there are people that match them. Though I have a serious girlfriend, neither of us is butch or has a Bieber haircut, neither of us has bizarre facial piercings, and much to the disappointment of some male friends, we don’t have any crazy bondage gear or sex machines in our house.

We are under intense scrutiny and asked to answer some of the most difficult and/or personal questions on a regular basis. Usually we don’t really mind, because it’s nice to be a positive spokesperson in this time of transition towards marriage equality in our country, but nonetheless, people often find it all too appropriate to just put our private sex life on blast in front of a room full of people.

For example, the first time I met one of my girlfriend’s friends from high school, the first thing he asked me after shaking my hand was, “So is scissoring a real thing? Do you guys, like, do that?” Granted, they did go to Catholic school, but it was at this point of the party that I decided it was necessary to take a shot.

Straight guys also have an especially hard time figuring out how our relationship works, since it’s two women. In their eyes, it has to be twice the trouble because there are two women, two periods and therefore at least eight times more of the shit they do not understand. In the end, though, we are a couple just like any other, and we are subject to the same lover’s quarrels.

The boyfriend of one of my female friends was once listening to my partner and I debate snidely about the dirty dishes, and we will never forget the amazement with which he said, “Aw, you fight like normal people.”

In the end, what I can tell you is that the only two stereotypes that I can think of that are consistently true regarding women who sleep with other women are these:

1)They dig the clam, if you know what I mean. Start talking smack about “snail trailers” around a lesbian, and she’s probably going to get pissed.

2)They have short nails, seriously, because the only time those long acrylic nails work with vagina is in porn. If you’re planning on using that hand to sleep with a woman, you’re close friends with the nail clippers, otherwise you are not getting laid.

Guys also get so twisted up about how a sexual relationship could work without a penis. It blows their minds, which is surprisingly endearing sometimes, but can quickly become offensive.

One of my favorite questions that I ended up fielding was, “So, when you guys have sex, is it like all foreplay?”

To set the record straight in the least graphic way possible, when we are intimate, there is nothing introductory about it, and it leaves neither of us feeling deprived. To be a little more graphic, imagine if your penis had opposable digits like fingers or came pre-textured with the ability to self-lubricate like a tongue.

Despite all the awkward and abrasive conversations I have ended up having, and all of the intimate details I have had to share with the general public, I really do appreciate when people are brave enough to be open and honest with me, because I want to help people understand. I was grossly misinformed about the culture and variety of girl-on-girl society that awaited me. I don’t want everyone to be wandering around with these preconceived notions about lesbians that may only be half true, half of the time. After all, that’s like playing just the tip, and nobody hates that game more than lesbians.

Juliana Bledsoe studies journalism and Spanish. She can be reached at