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What type of lesbian are you? Your official guide to the different lesbian types, aesthetics, and lifestyles

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Oct 24, 2023

What type of lesbian are you? Your official guide to the different lesbian types, aesthetics, and lifestyles
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Maybe you are a baby gay who has recently come out, and you’re wondering, “what type of lesbian am I?” No matter what type of lesbian you are, there is a place for you in the queer community. 

The world of lesbians has its own very special ecosystem in which many different types of dykes exist. So how many different types of lesbians are there? 

The truth is, there are more types of lesbians than most straight people would even know what to do with.

There are butches, or more masculine-leaning lesbians. There are femmes, or more feminine-leaning lesbians. And then there are soft butches, sporty dykes, futches, lipstick lesbians, LUGs (lesbians until graudation), studs, baby dykes, drag king lesbians, pillow princesses, celesbians, Justin-Bieber lookalikes, and everything in between, all of which you can read more about on the HER glossary.

The best part about lesbian labels is that they can create a sense of camaraderie and belonging. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being read to filth by discovering the language that describes your gender expression down to a tee. Labels can be powerful tools of self-identification in the LGBTQIA+ community and help us describe who we are and who we are attracted to. 

This list is meant to be a generalized guide to specific “types” of lesbians. The worst part about labels are the stereotypes that come with them. Labels can start to feel icky when they become too restrictive or limiting. If you find yourself straddling a few different lesbian categories or feeling like your gender expression is in another constellation of gay, that’s okay! Whether you are trans or cis, don’t let anyone tell you what type of lesbian you are. That is something you get to decide for yourself.

All the different types of lesbians on planet earth

Are you ready for this? Have you put down your dog-eared hand-me-down copy of Codependency No More? Are you petting your emotional support cat? Is MUNA’s new album playing in the background? If so, you have arrived. Here are some of the different types of lesbians you might encounter out in the wild or when cruising on HER. 

A black butch lesbian in an oversized denim varsity jacket with a backwards hat on showing shaka hand signs in a workshop.

Butch lesbians 

Butch is an energy. It is ~a vibe~. Butch is a word for anyone who leans masculine in their style, appearance, or energy. A butch lesbian is typically someone who has her keys on a carabiner and is very good with her hands. Butches are known for being practical and extremely irresistible. It’s important to know that butch is not a dirty word or a bad thing! In this house, we stan butches. 

What are all the different types of butch lesbians? There are cis, trans and non-binary butches, soft butches, hard butches, studs, diesel dykes, dandy butches, butches who have had top surgery and those who haven’t. There are LHBs (long-haired butches) or butch lesbians who have short hair. Butch is a very expansive label that can capture a wide range of aesthetics, clothing, behaviors, and general masc-of-center sexiness. 

Hard butch

Hard butches are old school, hardcore, sexy ass, butch motherf*ckers. Think driving a Harley, loads of tattoos, or know how to take a shot of Bourbon like a pro. They are stoic, cool, and beyond sexy. Some hard butches might be into the OFOS (old fashion, old school) butch/femme dynamics, while others are butch4butch. 

Stone butch

A stone butch is a masculine lesbian who doesn’t want to be touched during sex. “Stone” means anyone who tops in the bedroom, doesn’t want to receive physical pleasure, but gets immense pleasure from their partner’s sexual enjoyment. The term “stone butch” was popularized by Leslie Feinberg’s 1993 novel Stone butch Blues. 

Dapper butch

A dapper butch or a dandy butch is a butch lesbian who is dressed to the nines. She has blazers, wingtip shoes, and bow ties galore. Yes, her vest is tweed. Yes, she has the time on her dangling pocket watch. Yes, she is best friends with her tailor, and yes, you can have their number. 

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Stud Lesbians

A stud is a Black or Latinx masculine lesbian. Not all Black masc lesbians are studs, but all studs are Black. Stud is a racially specific term to differentiate and celebrate the beauty and swag of Black masculine of center lesbians. The stud aesthetic is wide, but you’ll know a stud when you see her/their immaculate Air Jordans, snapback, sports bra, durag, and the flyest hair within a twenty-five-mile radius. 

Soft butch 

Soft butches are a gentler version of butch. Their masculinity might be a little bit femme, but they typically also have a boyish charm about them. Soft butches come in all gender expressions, but usually feel as if they don’t 100% fit the general cut and dry label of butch. Some Black and Latinx lesbians soft butches might identity as stems (a combo of stud and femme), while other soft butches might identity as futch (femme + butch).

A type of femme lesbian laying down on a red curtain, her curly hair falling over her face in black leather pants and a black bando.

Femme lesbians

In French, “femme” simply means “woman,” but in lesbian “femme” means something much more complex, deep, and rich. Femme is a style of femininity, but it is an inherently queer one. Femme is political. Femme is energetic. Femmes are also some of the most powerful people you know. Femmes are a well of inner strength, community care, power, intuition, and emotional intelligence. 

What are some different types of femmes? There are trans and cis femmes, hard femmes, soft femmes, high femmes, lazy femmes, stone femmes, femme tops, and many more. Femme lesbians subvert the idea that women dress, act, and look good for male attention. Instead, femmes look damn good for themselves, and occasionally for the hottie they’ve trapped in their gaze like a fly in amber. 

Queer femmes be out here reclaiming femininity and liberating it from the trappings of normative cis-hetero definitions of womanhood. 

High femme or lipstick lesbian

A high femme is a queer woman who expresses herself in a high octane, ultra-gendered, 3D type of femininity. High femmes live to look gorgeous, and they look gorgeous to live. She/they femme lesbian can walk for miles in heels or platforms and a skin-tight dress, kissing whoever she damn well pleases, without even smearing their lipstick. 

High femmes have been known to be able to kill a butch (or a man for that matter) with a single glance. They bamboozle everyone who dares to stand in their way. High femmes are similar to lipstick lesbians, but they might identify as queer instead of exclusively as lesbian. 

Hard femme

Hard femmes are similar to hard butches in that fact that they are more of the tough type. A hard femme can kick some serious ass in a pair of tight leather pants and heels. She might describe herself as punk or political, but either way she is a powerhouse of a femme. Hard femmes can be seen with dark eyeliner, tattoos, septum piercings, all black and red lace everything, and short or big hair, but always styled in that over the top rockabilly type of way.

Soft femme

Soft femmes, on the other hand, know the innate power of feminized traits such as vulnerability, empathy, and emotionality. They are often the biggest sweetie pie in the room. Soft femmes might be seen wearing cute ribbons and bows, floral patterns, or pastels. Softies aren’t afraid to speak from the heart and be vulnerable. They know that it takes strength to be soft in a world that wants us to harden.

Stone femme

A stone femme can mean one of two things. Stone femme is either used to describe someone who sexually bottoms and is partnered with a stone butch. Or it is used to describe a femme who is stone (a.k.a. uninterested in receiving physical touch). 

Low femme or lazy femme

Low femme or lazy femme lesbians are the antithesis to high femmes in the way that they just can’t be arsed. They definitely still identify as femme, but more in a low-maintenance way. Lazy femmes might be perpetually lazy, or maybe they are just too busy with work or school to really put that much effort into their femme aesthetics. Low femmes can be thought of as minimal effort with maximum results. 

A futch lesbian with a blue puffer jacket and a crop-top standing outside of a sedan late at night.

Futch lesbians 

So you’ve heard of femme, and you’ve heard of butch. But welcome to the holy gender grail of both/and: futch. Futches are your classic in-betweeny type of lesbian. Why choose one when you could have both? She’s a lil’ bit femme and a lil’ bit butch. 

Chapstick lesbian

Chapstick lesbians are a special type of futch with hydrated, luscious lips. Chappies might play softball or tear up the karaoke floor, but either way they are a minimal, practical type of futch who can be found in a pair of blue jeans, some overalls, or a button down shirt they found at the thrift store yesterday.


A stem is a Black and/or Latinx lesbian who presents somewhere between a stud and a femme. Stems might dress in a masculine way but still have some feminine touches, qualities, or quirks. With stems and soft butches deploying a combination of masc + femme aesthetics, the key is in the balance baby. Just know that however you want to style yourself as a stem, is completely up to you. 

A black and white portrait of a lesbian Pride parade showing all types of lesbians, including a high femme lesbian with headphones on holding a sign that reads in all capital letters: LESBIAN POWER.

Source: Unsplash

Lesbians aesthetics and lesbian lifestyles

There are a million different ways to “look like a lesbian” despite what the mainstream media have led us to believe. You’ve got your skater girls, your granola girls, your power suit lesbians, your astrology dykes, activist lesbians, flower farm femmes, your software engineer trans femme lesbians, motorcycle butches, cottagecore queers, and more.

You can also blend and mix any of the aforementioned lesbian labels together for your own personal gender expression cocktail. Beyond the lesbian aesthetics, there are also different types of sexual preferences among lesbians. Anyone can be a top (meaning they’re the dominant one during sex), a bottom (meaning they are more submissive), or a switch (meaning they do go both ways). 

It’s important to know that gender expression has nothing to do with someone’s sexual preferences. There are masc bottoms, femme tops, futch switches, kinky lesbians, vanilla lesbians, and every flavor in between. 

Now that you’ve found some new words and gender feels to chew on, it’s time to get out there and find your people. Make sure to update your dating profile on HER now with what type of lesbian you are and meet your match!

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Dusty Brandt Howard is a writer & a fighter. He is a trans masculine cultural narrator who builds worlds with words. You can follow his thirst traps on Instagram, his writing on Substack, or find him at your local queer bar in northeast LA.

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