Flirting is an anxiety-inducing minefield. We all know this. But if you’re someone who’s attracted to women and queer people, it can feel even more confusing. Weirdly, not all LGBTQ+ women and non-binary people walk around waving a rainbow flag and wearing Dr Martens. You could be talking to some hot babe at a bar for half an hour, but totally unsure whether they’re straight and just being friendly, or actually want to get into your pants.
Cosmopolitan UK spoke to psychosexual and relationships therapist, and trauma therapist Carolyn Cowan about how to tell if someone fancies you.
‘I’m an out lesbian, but from my therapeutic perspective I think there’s something very erotic in flirting [between two women]… more so than in heteronormative flirting,’ says Carolyn. ‘I think we have much more of a game [than when cis and straight men and women flirt]. It’s such fun and that thrill of really properly chatting someone up, and wondering, “Will they want me? Because fuck I want them”.
‘One of the things that makes it difficult to tell if a woman fancies you is you don’t have outwards signs like rutting male behaviour. And women play lots of different roles. You might not know someone’s LGBTQ+, or they may be femme and you could make a whole load of assumptions about them and think you’re looking at someone who’s straight.’
So, how do know if they’re interested in you? Carolyn explains there are some pretty obvious signs to look out for. She also recommends reading The Erotic Mind, by Jack Morin.
If they’re ‘meeting your smile and smiling when you smile,’ they might be into you, Carolyn says.
They’re leaning in
‘Attraction is a very large amount to do with body language, closeness and leaning in,’ she explains. ‘I think there’s quite often subtle touch which isn’t always hands, it can be a physical leaning against you.’ Carolyn says this happens as someone ‘starts to want to physically experience the person.’
She explains when someone fancies you they may also lick their lips, or watch your mouth closely.
You feel an erotic thrill
Carolyn says if there’s a mutual sense of attraction, you’re likely to feel an ‘erotic charge’. She adds, ‘It’s to do with that really intense desire to physically experience the person. But you’ve also got the sense of risk, in that the arousal isn’t so obvious. Are you about to fuck up and make a huge mistake? That’s where the thrill is.’
They message you a lot
If you’ve met someone who fancies you, the texts might then start, she says. “‘It was so lovely to see you. I hope I get to see you again soon”. There may be something you can sub read into that. They might send a message saying, “Let’s go to this queer event/club together,” and that’s them inviting you into their world.
‘The woman I live with once sent me a playlist of her favourite lesbian singers. Oh my god I fantasised about the fact she might have made that playlist especially for me, and it kept me going for years. It’s those small acts that show someone’s interested.’
They mimic your movements
Again, Carolyn says it’s all about the body language. ‘Imagine you’ve got two people who are next to each other at a bar. And they’re chatting facing the bartender, if one fancies the other they might open and face the other with their chest,’ she explains.
‘That’s an invitation. Like going from leaning to being open, or whispering, for example. There may also be accidental touches, like your knees touching under the table. Some people will show their attraction by being “chivalrous” and letting the other person go first, but different queer women and people will play out different roles.’
They’re asking you questions
‘There can be the invitation into the other person’s world via conversation,’ Carolyn explains. “‘I like this thing, what are your thoughts?” for example.’ If someone is paying an interest in you and asking lots of questions, that’s a tell-tale sign they’re into you she says. ‘The art is to not reveal too much about yourself.’
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan UK
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