Dear John, I love Jane

Straight women with kind, loving husbands explain why they became lesbians

Dear John, I love Jane

Photograph by Andrew Tolson

In a new collection of true stories about straight women turning lesbian, all of the women are, and were, married to extraordinarily kind, supportive husbands. Laura Andre, co-editor of Dear John, I Love Jane, points out that these women are “living proof that sexuality can change over time, often against our will. The women in this book didn’t set out to dismantle their marriages and relationships; the last thing they wanted was to hurt their husbands or boyfriends.”

One woman writes that her husband thought it was “cool” at first that she was attracted to women. “I wasn’t the jealous type so it never bothered me if my husband said another woman was sexy or beautiful. In fact, sometimes I would agree, and I spoke freely about different women I found attractive. He thought he had the coolest wife ever,” writes Crystal Hooper. “We always said that nothing and no one could ever come between us. Then along came Zoe.”

In another story, a woman tells how a session of marriage counselling inadvertently ignited her desire for women, several years into her 23-year committed marriage. When Kami Day first met her husband, John, he was funny, attentive and cute. “He wanted lots of children. He declared his love for me. How could I not marry him?” she writes. But, from their honeymoon on, Day found their sex life stark and lonely. “I consented to sex every few weeks out of guilt and obligation, and I lay there hoping it would be over soon.”

Believing she was frigid, Kami and John sought the help of a psychiatrist specializing in sexually dysfunctional couples. “During that first session, I learned that many women do not have orgasms with intercourse, and I also learned that I needed to be responsible for my own orgasm. Of course, I did not have a clue how to take on that responsibility, so to help me, the doctor showed John and me a video of a woman masturbating. I watched in amazement,” writes Kami, and from then on, whenever she and John had sex, “I envisioned the woman in the video. I did not share these fantasies with anyone, but for the rest of my marriage, which was about 15 more years, I fantasized about women.”

Another happily married woman, Michelle Renae, writes that she and her husband, Jo, were “crazy about each other” when they met. They were both pastor’s kids: “To say I was not well acquainted with the lesbian lifestyle would be a comical understatement.”

Sex was never their problem, writes Michelle. “Combine his high sex drive with my desire to explore our love for each other with the fact that it all felt so damn good, and toss it with years of repression, and you get a pretty satisfying sex life during the early years of our marriage.” Slowly, however, the couple “tiptoed our way out of the church,” while remaining emotionally close to each other.

“Jo and I had always talked about our sexuality and needs. My desires for women, at first, seemed small and playful. I developed a crush on a woman I worked with. I told Jo and we laughed about it and talked about it often.” But then Michelle began pulling away sexually. “Divorce was a thought, but never something either of us wanted to pursue. We were, in fact, happy together and wonderful partners. Our sex life was never a problem. It was broader than that.”

Michelle wanted to experiment with a woman, and took her search online where she “was able to connect with other women, many of whom were in the same heterosexual-marriage boat I was in. [My husband] and I were making every effort to keep him involved in the process. It took barely a New York minute for me to find a woman I hit it off with and was desperately attracted to.”

Despite Michelle’s overwhelming sexual preference for women, she and her husband have stayed married. “Am I taking the easy way out?” she writes. “Perhaps I am just the laziest lesbian on the planet, so wiped out I can’t even be bothered to divorce my husband.” But, she continues, “I chose to stay with my husband because I love him and he loves me. Enough love, I might add, to make room in our life and marriage for all of who I am.”

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