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If you’re a lesbian wading into the dating pool, you probably hear a bunch of terms like “femme” and “soft butch” being tossed around, and you may not always know what they mean. Lesbians come in all shapes and sizes, so a lexicon of words has evolved to define them.
Singles unfamiliar with this vernacular may struggle to find “their type” on a lesbian dating site — so we decided to bring some clarity to the situation.
We did a little digging into what lesbians on the web are saying and pulled together a list of 17 lesbian types. From amusing shorthand to terms of endearment, these lesbian stereotypes are just a small slice of the myriad of flavors in the LGBTQ+ community.
We’ve defined the following lesbian terms without judgment and with a full understanding that an individual is so much more than just a label. Our intention isn’t to offend but to help singles keep up with common lesbian slang and attract a date by understanding existing social dynamics among lesbians.
Lipstick lesbians (or femmes) defy the stereotypical image of a lesbian. They embrace their femininity and their queerness. These chicks don’t mind flashing some thigh with their dress or wearing their hair long and flowing. They’re attracted to women, but they also love their lipstick — that’s why they’re named after it!
As Wikipedia puts it: “a lipstick lesbian is slang for a lesbian who exhibits a greater amount of feminine gender attributes relative to other gender expressions.” Does that clear it up? They’re like camouflage lesbians, confusing straight people by looking, bewilderingly, just like straight women!
On the other side of the coin, you have butch lesbians. These studs are known for their short hair, muscled physique, assertiveness, and other traditionally masculine traits. Well-known butch lesbians include Jane Lynch, Tig Notaro, and Suze Orman.
A subset of butch lesbians are known as diesel dykes. “In some lesbian circles, Diesel Dyke refers to a very butch Big-Rig (or other heavy equipment) driving lesbian,” explains LesbianLife.com. Basically, these are very tough women.
LesbianHaven says you can also call these types of butch lesbians “bulldaggers,” but that sounds on the pejorative side so do so at your own risk.
Stone Butch is just fun to say. This delightful play on words refers to a lesbian who’s a touch-me-not type. Stone butches are sexually generous lesbians who prefer to give more than they receive in the bedroom. LesbianHaven describes these ladies as receiving pleasure by pleasing their partners. Sounds like a good deal!
In the spectrum of traditionally masculine and feminine traits, soft butches (aka chapstick lesbians) come down somewhere in the middle. Maybe they rock a tie and high heels to work, for instance. Soft butches generally appear androgynous — not quite butch but not quite femme either.
Chapstick lesbians prefer chapstick over lipstick and short hair over long hair.
With her short hair and pantsuit, Ellen DeGeneres is an example of a soft butch.
A chapstick lesbian or soft butch lesbian uses a combination of femininity and masculinity in her gender expression. Think of Shane McCutcheon’s androgynous vibes in “The L Word” TV series.
“Soft butches generally physically, sexually, and romantically express themselves in more masculine than feminine ways,” reads Wikipedia’s official definition. Some call these types of women stud-fems (or stems for short) because they’re somewhere in between gender norms.
The term “boi” isn’t so cut and dry. With all these types of lesbians, there’s more than a little wiggle room, but particularly with boi lesbians, the internet doesn’t seem to have a consensus on what the label means exactly. Is it a submissive butch? A playful LGBTQ+ person into casual sex? A young trans man? Yes to all. Effingdykes.com describes boi lesbians as “extremely boyish-looking girls.” Sounds about right. These youthful queer girls tend to be attracted to older partners.
If you know what emo is (a style of rock music with emotional undertones) and you know what lesbians are (women who are attracted to women), then you can probably figure out what emo lesbians are. Typical markers of the emo lesbian include things like wearing heavy eyeliner, dying her hair bright colors, lamenting the patriarchy, and jamming to hardcore music.
This isn’t an incredibly polite term; however, it has become widespread as people continually reposition themselves along the spectrum of sexuality. A hasbian refers to a woman who used to identify as a lesbian and now is in a heterosexual relationship or identifies as straight or bisexual.
Actress Anne Heche dated Ellen DeGeneres in the ’90s and then went on to date and marry men.
Look, it’s easy for us to use hindsight and call a woman a faker, but I think we all know it’s a gray area. It’s gray gay area. So-called “hasbians” should be free to make their own choices and follow their hearts, without shame or judgment.
“You fall in love with a person, not a sex,” said actress Anne Heche, whose three-year romance with Ellen DeGeneres was her first and only lesbian relationship.
As the name suggests, power lesbians are ambitious, awe-inspiring women. Some call them “suits.” She’s at the top of her game, and she knows it.
Power lesbians are influential, competent, and maybe just a smidge elitist. The power lesbian type can come in all shapes and forms — actresses, sports icons, news reporters, politicians — as long as she’s a complete badass at what she does.
LUG is a slang term that stands for “lesbian until graduation.” Similar to hasbians, these are women who identify as lesbians before moving on to some other sexual orientation.
They’re seen as tourists, experimenting in a girl-kissing phase in their high school or college years — but ultimately not true lifelong lesbians.
If you’re in a bar and hear a woman described as a LUG, it’s probably not a compliment. Generally, LUGs are a type of lesbian viewed with skepticism and even dismissal.
This shorthand isn’t just used for lesbians: BUG (bisexual until graduation) and GUG (gay until graduation) are both labels indicating latent heterosexuality in a person who currently identifies as bi or gay.
The sport dyke likes to mix it up on the field or the court. LesbianHaven describes the term this way, “a sport dyke is a lesbian who more than anything identifies with being an athlete.” Think of legendary soccer star Abby Wambach or basketball champion Seimone Augustus. These competitive types obsess over their sport of choice, and they may have masculine qualities but their gender presentation and relationship preference is all girl.
Baby dykes, also known as dykes in training, are new to the whole lesbian thing. Unlike the other types of lesbians, no specific lesbian fashion or look is assigned to this term. A baby dyke’s main attribute is they’ve just come out as a queer woman and are entering the LGBTQ community for the first time. Cute, right?
Some of these types of lesbian labels aren’t so flattering, but Gold Star Lesbian is definitely meant to be a badge of honor among lesbians. QueersUnited defines this lesbian type as “a lesbian who has never had sexual relations with a man and does not intend to.” She’s lesbian through and through — and proud of it. A Gold Star Lesbian is the type of person who knows who she is and has proven steadfast in her sexual and gender identity.
We’ve seen some feminists push back against this lesbian label and others like it, saying that it praises certain gay experiences at the expense of others. “What’s the gold star for?” wonders Cassie Sheets on Pride.com. Ultimately, a lesbian woman is no less than her fellow queer peers if she grew up dating like a straight woman or questioning her sexuality. She arrived in the lesbian community, so she should get a star too, right?
Contrary to what you might think, a lone star lesbian isn’t from Texas. It’s a different type of lesbian with a certain sexual experience. According to Urban Dictionary, a lone star lesbian woman has had sex with a man but only once. She tried it, got the urge out of her system, and went back to loving ladies. Some alternate definitions of lone star say the slang means having just had sex with one person, regardless of gender. Either way, this lesbian stereotype isn’t necessarily a compliment, and it’s best used only with a friend who is comfortable with her lesbian sex life.
Viva la revolution! If you’re an activist lesbian, more power to you. These kick-ass lesbians are the ones marching on Washington, boycotting homophobic bakeries, and petitioning legislators to make real and positive change for their brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.
A strong tradition of activism has often been necessary for lesbians to gain acceptance and equality in modern society. It’s an ongoing struggle, but they’re equal to the task.
Whether active members of PFLAG or Lesbian Avengers, these women never stop fighting the good fight on behalf of people of all orientations. Sound like your type of woman? You can make a sign, dress in rainbow colors, and join these lesbians on the streets for a parade or a protest!
Equality doesn’t just happen, and activist lesbians acknowledge that by rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in politics to make sure their voices are heard and everyone’s rights are protected, with liberty and justice for all.
Blue jeans lesbians are a subset of femme (or feminine) women who prefer to wear jeans. Hence the name. These casual gals are generally known for preferring comfortable clothing but still leaning toward the stereotypically girly side. You won’t find blue jean femmes in skirts or dresses, that’s for sure.
Lesbianlife.com defines a pillow queen (or pillow princess) as “someone who likes to be on the receiving end of sex.” Hey, don’t we all. Pillow queens tend not to reciprocate the loving, though, because royalty doesn’t kneel! If your date describes herself as a “pillow queen,” you’d best be prepared to do some worshiping.
A pillow queen can be difficult to spot at first glance, but she can be honest about her desires for oral sex when she’s mingling in a sex-positive lesbian community. LesbianPersonals is a hookup site where pillow queens can thrive and have their fun with no strings attached.
Finally, to wrap up our list, we have the hippie, vegan lesbian stereotype. These tree-huggers are all about peace, empathy, and social good. One blog post, sassily titled “Being Vegan is SO Gay,” argues that a sensitivity for the oppressed leads the LGBTQ community to turn vegetarian or vegan in higher numbers than the straight community. Progressive thinking and tofu stir-fry are the stereotypical monikers of this type of lesbian.
“I’m gay. I’m also vegan. To most people, these two things would seem to have nothing to do with one another. To me, the connection is clear as day.” — Ari Solomon, writer for GirlieGirlArmy
It’s no picnic being vegan and a lesbian, two solidly atypical lifestyles in current American culture. Actress Portia DeGeneres was quoted by the Vegetarian Star saying, “It’s more difficult to be vegan than gay. I think people have a harder time accepting it.”
If you want to know what type of lesbian are you: why not take a quiz. We happened to write an article about the 11 best lesbian tests on the web. These quizzes, offered by BuzzFeed, OkCupid, PinkNews, PsyMed and other sites, lend insight into where you sit on the sexual orientation spectrum. They’re also really fun to take!
There are all different types of lesbians out there, and it’s healthy to explore your own identity. Whether you want to figure out where you fit in or share a laugh with your friends online, a lesbian type quiz can help you in a few simple questions.
Our list of types is certainly not the be-all and end-all of lesbian classifications, but it can help a person in a lesbian bar understand certain jargon. We did our best to be inclusive of everyone, but these labels are constantly in flux as new young women come out and form their own unique identities.
In the end, there’s no right way or wrong way to be a lesbian — there’s just your way. You can define yourself however you like. These 17 types of lesbians are simply the terminology some lesbians have used to describe themselves or their peers. It’s hardly set in stone, and you take from them what you will.
The beauty of the LGBTQ+ community lies in their rainbow of personalities and attitudes. Whatever lesbian type you choose for yourself, just make sure you wear it with pride.