Exclusive interview with boy-crazy lesbian, author Elena Azzoni
The Kiss & Tell Report
Have you ever considered dating outside of your usual type? Author Elena Azzoni does this and then some. A lesbian for all of her adult life, she spends a boy-crazy year dating men. I interviewed her about her memoir “A Year Straight” which is subtitled, “Confessions of A Boy-Crazy Lesbian Beauty Queen.”
Abiola: Congratulations, Elena. “A Year Straight” is a fabulous book. I found it honest and entertaining. Your story especially resonated with me for a totally unexpected reason. There is an ongoing discussion about successful black women and a supposed man-shortage because African American women are hesitant for a myriad of reasons about dating interracially. Certainly if as a lesbian you became open to loving a man you proved that love is love is love.
Elena: Thank you, and I love hearing that my story resonated with you for reasons I wouldn’t have imagined while writing it. This is happening more and more as I receive feedback from readers. For example, someone just thanked me for writing my story because she is in a relationship with a much older man. She is a dear friend, and I’ve witnessed the two of them together. Though she is 40, and he is in his early 70s, they couldn’t be more perfect for one another. However, her family refuses to even meet him, and it is causing them much heartache. I wouldn’t have guessed that my story would inspire them, but she reported that is has. I love this about love. It’s universal.
Abiola: When you first became clear about your sexuality how did you know you were lesbian and not bisexual?
Elena: I first identified as a lesbian because once I started dating women, I felt at home in a way I never had with men. I didn’t identify as bisexual because I had very little interest in men, and when I did date a man here and there, it only reinforced my attraction to women. Then, at age 25, when I began my first serious relationship with a woman, I felt my lesbian identify was really solidified, and I took comfort in finally knowing, Okay, This is Who I Am.
Abiola: Do you now define yourself as bisexual or have you abandoned labels?
Elena: After adhering so strongly to an identity, only to discover that, for me, sexuality is too complex a part of me to pin down, I prefer no label. The only label that I strongly reject is “straight.” Now that I am in a relationship with a man, many people comment, “Oh, so you’re straight now.” I cringe at that, because to identify as straight would feel like a denial of who I have been, and who I have loved up until now.
Abiola: Do you feel that your sexual trauma and abuse ever played any decision in your choices
consciously or unconsciously?
Elena: Too many of us have experienced some level of sexual trauma, both women and men. It’s really at epidemic proportions. Some people oversimplify it and say, “Oh, that happened to you, so that’s why you (fill in the blank).” I would never credit a wounding experience for something as elaborate and deeply spiritual as human sexuality. I do, however, find that those of us who have faced our past and conquered our fears are more open to exploring the many facets of who we are. I can say, “Well, I survived that, so why on earth would I be afraid to follow my heart?”
Abiola: Well said. Did you feel that once you made the decision to “play” with men that you were less desperate in your dating approach because you were “just experimenting?” I’m wondering if men found you more appealing when you approached because as TJ recommended, you didn’t really care.
Elena: Yes. Once I embarked on my anthropological quest, there was nothing to lose. Men responded to this, but also seemed somewhat skeptical, like, “Wait a minute, is this woman for real?” In the book I compare myself to Samantha from Sex and the City. I love her character. She is always taking men by surprise. But in the end, I’m actually more like Charlotte. I can’t help it. I’m a Catholic girl from Connecticut.
Abiola: We saw how everyone reacted during the period of the book, but as your relationship continued with Theo how did your lesbian community react? How did your family (brother/mom) react? Was everyone still as open/understanding? Is there any backlash to your story?
Elena: Everyone has been immensely supportive, understanding, and excited for me. I am nine months pregnant as we conduct this interview. My friends and family are thrilled, and my lesbian friends can’t wait to become aunties. When the book finally came out last month, my fear of a backlash resurfaced. But I have been getting great feedback from people all across the board. Once again, in the end, the only person judging me was me.
Abiola: What’s the biggest lesson you learned in this adventure?
Elena: I learned that love is love is love, and that I am not alone in my exploration. I have been inundated by letters of thanks, and stories of others on the same bold, winding, unmarked path.
Want more? Find my full interview with Elena Azzoni on The Passionista Lifestyle Blog and buy her memoir “A Year Straight” wherever you buy books. Tell me what you think on twitter @abiolatv.