Safer Lesbian Sex: What Does It Look Like And How Do I Do It

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Say the words “safe sex” among a group of gay and queer ladies and you’ll probably get a lot of laughs and probably a few skeptical snorts. Most of the queer girls I went to school with and hung out with treated “safe lesbian sex” as a joke. Why? Well, for one thing, when you’re having lesbian sex, you really don’t have to worry about things like getting pregnant. That’s one huge motivating factor for practicing safe sex.

The other reasons for all the laughter and eye rolling? Well, when’s the last time any heterosexual couple used gloves or dental dams to have oral sex or engage in finger play? Pretty much never. It just doesn’t exactly bring to mind a very sexy or appealing image. Licking a dental dam? One queer sex advice columnist said using one was, “like licking an inner tube”. Not that appealing, huh?

Nonetheless, it is important to practice safer lesbian sex as long as you’re having it. And, there are many ways to implement safer practices, not all of which involve the dreaded dental dam. Although you should probably have those on hand just in case your partner insists on using them– you should always anticipate someone else having a different comfort level than you in any given sexual situation and have the goods to make them comfortable.

One way to practice safer sex is to use condoms whenever you’re using toys in the bedroom. We’ve talked a lot on galore about using strap ons to engage in anal play or vaginal penetration during lesbian sex. If you’re using a strap on and having casual sex, use condoms and regularly wash and sanitize your toys between partners and sessions.

You should also be going to your gynecologist regularly for check ups and STI testing. Regular testing can keep you informed about what is going on with your body and prevent you from putting the people you’re sleeping with at risk. Although a lot of queer girls seem to think that we can’t get STIs because of the type of sex we have, and because of the population of people we have sex with, according to this autostraddle article, “at least 75% of women who identify as lesbians have had sexual intercourse with men and approximately two-thirds of the time, those women were engaging in unprotected sex“. So if you’re partner is also having or has had unprotected (no condom) sex with dudes (perhaps it was a former long term relationship) then you’re at risk for contracting STIs, at a rate that is comparable to that of a heterosexual woman.

So what’s the best way to have safer lesbian sex?

Be aware that you have options such as using dental dams, latex gloves, and condoms with your toys during lesbian sex. Switch or take off the condom before sticking a toy that has been inside your partner inside you. Get tested regularly, and encourage your partner(s) to get tested regularly as well. And, it’s probably best to have a conversation with your partner about sexual history before hopping into bed with them. Of course, we all know that a conversation like that is unlikely to happen in the context of a casual hook up.

Those are the cases in which using protection like dental dams, latex gloves, and condoms make the most sense. I’ll be honest, as a queer woman whose had sex with men, I’ve never used a dental dam or latex gloves. I’m well aware of the resistance and unappealing nature of licking what feels (and probably tastes like) a strip of saran wrap instead of a vagina. And, while I don’t anticipate using a dental dam anytime soon, it’s still important to  have them on hand just in case.

Have questions about practicing safer sex, lesbian or otherwise? E-mail me at [email protected] and I’ll discuss and answer your questions next week on Galore!

Gimme More Sex + Dating

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