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Comp Het or Compulsory Heterosexuality is a phrase that has been raging throughout the internet like fire these past few months, but what does it mean? Well to put simply, Comp Het is the feeling that because everything is heteronormative in our society, you are as well. It is basically convincing yourself you are straight because that is what you see in the media and reflected in the world around you. Comp Het can affect any gender, however, it is mostly talked about in terms of women/lesbians. Now that we know what it means, let’s look at some signs that you are experiencing Comp Het.


  1. When you see a guy, instead of thinking “he’s cute” you instead think “I hope he likes me”. This is part of the patriarchal desire instilled in us to believe that we need male validation. Oftentimes this happens simply with a man who according to society's standards we should be attracted to because we think in order to be desired at all, we must first be desired by the most desired man.
  2. If when you have a date with a guy you feel a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach leading up to it. Oftentimes for people experiencing Comp Het, this sinking feeling can be brushed off and thought to be classic butterflies. However, when you are about to go on a date with someone the excitement you feel is more of the type of being a kid and being extremely excited and expectant about going on a field trip.
  3. Another way to tell is if you only ever find yourself attracted to unattainable/fictional men. No man will ever live up to your expectations of these men because you are in fact not interested in these men or any real-life men.
  4. The way you care about your boyfriend vs your female best friend can also be an indicator of how you truly feel. If you would constantly find yourself going to the ends of the earth for her rather than him, there are two possible reasons. One is that you are only in this relationship due to Comp Het and fear of rejection, or two, you just need a new man.
  5. Finally, when you finally start to question if you are experiencing Comp Het and look back at former relationships, you may notice that when you broke up with previous boyfriends you felt a sense of relief at not having to be with them out of obligation anymore. 


While some of these alone are not enough to officially be able to tell if what you are experiencing is Comp Het, more than three could be a sign that maybe you need to ask yourself some hard questions. However, remember sexuality is a spectrum and you do not need a label to be valid in loving who you love. This is only intended to help people who are questioning and is in no way meant to tell anyone how they feel. 

Her Campus CWU Writer Current Junior at Central Washington University Majoring in Liberal Studies with a Business minor A yellow enthusiast through and through
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