TikTok Is Causing A Whole Lot Of Straight Women To Question Their Life Choices

by Kristen Mae
Originally Published: 
A straight woman scrolling through TikTok on her phone while questioning her life choices

For those of us who have been on TikTok for a minute, we know how scarily accurate the algorithm is when it comes to targeting our interests. And not just interests, as in, general interests, but also interests right this particular moment.

And also … interests you maybe didn’t know you had.

I know why TikTok puts lesbian thirst trap videos on my FYP. It’s because I’m queer — TikTok intuited this almost immediately with its creepy AI. But for the straight-identified women who end up with lesbian thirst trap vids on their FYP, TikTok seems to know something else. Something that maybe these “straight” women don’t know themselves.

I’m not trying to call out anyone’s secret sexuality or tell anyone they’re something they believe they’re not, but if you’re a straight woman who is regularly on #wlw (women loving women) TikTok … let’s just say I’m giving you a little playful side-eye.

The comments in some of the thirst trap videos are honestly hilarious. Here’s a totally innocuous one — an attractive queer woman in Norway wondering where the Norway gays are.

She has plenty of volunteers in the comments, many of them who claim to be straight. A sampling:

“I need to leave TikTok. I’m either crying, laughing, getting scared, drooling over hot guys and now I’m bipanicking.”

“-cue bi panic-”

“I’ve been querying whether I’m bi. No longer querying. Norway here I come.”

Of course, this woman has that untouchable, radiant beauty that many would say could “turn” even the straightest of women.

But then there’s this #bussitchallenge video from earlier in the year:

A sampling of the comments from “straight” women:

“Yep I’m gay. I’ve had it wrong the whole time.”

“I need to stop questioning whether I like girls or guys when the answer is in this video…”

“Okay whoa. I’m usually straight but like…”

And then there’s this one…

“And I have the AUDACITY to be married to a man,” says one commenter. Another says, “My husband and I aren’t even that serious.”

And on and on.

Writer Emma Turetsky wrote a whole article for The Cut in which she claims TikTok helped her discover she’s a lesbian. “TikTok knows you better than you know yourself,” she writes. “And it will show you more of what you like, even if you didn’t know you liked it yet.”

Lol, yup.

Turetsky tells the story of scrolling to what she calls “the Most Subtly Pornographic Video ever.” This video is safe for work, but also … it’s somehow not remotely safe for work, not even a little bit.

Does anyone else need a minute? Yeesh.

One of that same TikTok user’s more recent videos has her similarly sinking two fingers into wet clay.

The comment section is positively littered with users expressing their bi panic or sudden compulsion to come out as gay.

This man jokes about worrying that a lesbian will steal his wife:

“I look at some of these women,” he says, “and I’m like, ‘ohhh… yeah, you possibly could take my woman.” He notes that a lesbian would have more chance to steal his woman than another man. “I don’t know if it’s the tattoos, the confidence — bro, they be dressin’ up real nice, they be havin’ the swaggy-swag and they’re like, ‘Hide your wife, I’ll take her from you,’ and I’m over here like, ‘You probably would!’”

“No more girls’ trips! No more! None!” he yells with pretend anger.

The comments of his video are filled with supposedly straight women confirming what he’s saying. “as a straight woman I can tell you that we are all officially a little bi thanks to lesbian TikTok,” writes one woman. “we were confused at first but now we just embrace [it].”

Then there’s this helpful video:

The comment section is filled with women who once thought they were straight and, often because of TikTok, now realize they’re not, as well as women who are currently questioning their previously firmly held belief that they’re straight — again, because of TikTok.

To be clear, nonbinary folks and other members of the trans community are often included in this “questioning” — not just cisgender lesbians. The trend, if you can even call it that, to me seems to be more about stumbling into the awareness that compulsory heterosexuality (a concept Emma Turetsky says she first learned about on, “you guessed it, TikTok.”), is a staggeringly powerful force.

If fifth-grade me had possessed any idea whatsoever that I could have kissed Jessie Dold and she may have kissed me back and that would have been a Thing That Was Acceptable, my life would have unfolded in a dramatically different direction. I’m happy with how things turned out because my kids and partner only came into my life via the path I actually took, but damn. It’s crazy to think how different my life would be if TikTok had existed when I was younger. It’s a fucking social media app.

I also want to note that admiration from straight women can, and often does, cross the line into fetishization. Many queer women have stories of becoming emotionally involved with a woman who was “curious” only for that woman to then determine that’s all her attraction ever was — curiosity, just to try out this cool and different thing. Or worse, that the “attraction” was performative, for the male gaze. Ick. I can’t emphasize enough how toxic and damaging this is.

Still, though, there is a huge piece of me that smirks with this kind of “SEE??” feeling every time I witness a straight woman realizing she’s not as straight as she thought. As someone who came out late in life, it’s oddly validating in a way that almost defies description.

Maybe it’s that for a long time I wondered if I was crazy for having what felt like a shifting sexuality. Then I was embarrassed because maybe I was just too stupid and out of touch with myself to be aware of my own sexual identity for all those years. But now I see it’s not just me. It’s mind-boggling that it was TikTok, a social media platform I thought was just a place for Gen Z to make up silly dances, that validated my path in a way I didn’t even realize I needed.

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