Lesbian dating attraction
The varied meanings of lesbian since the early 20th century have prompted some historians to revisit historic relationships between women before the wide usage of the word was defined by erotic proclivities.
The sexologists' claims that homosexuality was a congenital anomaly were generally well-accepted by homosexual men; it indicated that their behavior was not inspired by nor should be considered a criminal vice, as was widely acknowledged.
In Algernon Charles Swinburne's 1866 poem Sapphics the term "lesbian" appears twice but capitalized both times after twice mentioning the island of Lesbos, and so could be construed to mean 'from the island of Lesbos'.
In 1875, George Saintsbury, in writing about Baudelaire's poetry refers to his "Lesbian studies" in which he includes his poem about "the passion of Delphine" which is a poem simply about love between two women which does not mention the island of Lesbos, though the other poem alluded to, entitled "Lesbos", does.
Some women who engage in same-sex sexual activity may reject not only identifying as lesbians but as bisexual as well, while other women's self-identification as lesbian may not align with their sexual orientation or sexual behavior; sexual identity is not necessarily the same as one's sexual orientation or sexual behavior, due to various reasons, such as the fear of identifying their sexual orientation in a homophobic setting.
Portrayals of lesbians in the media suggest that society at large has been simultaneously intrigued and threatened by women who challenge feminine gender roles, and fascinated and appalled with women who are romantically involved with other women.
Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States.