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Someone asked us:
I’m a lesbian teenager who is not currently sexually active. However, I’ve never really had any exposure to gay sex-ed, and was wondering what the basics are for when I do become sexually active?
It’s truly excellent that you’re the be-prepared type. And yes, a lot of sex ed out there is deeply heteronormative and cissexist — which are big words for “not relevant for people who are LGBTQ.”
As you know, everyone — regardless of gender or sexual orientation — needs to protect themselves from STDs if they’re sexually active. While girl-on-girl sex isn’t very likely to pass HIV, there are plenty of other STDs to watch out for. Infections like herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can be spread from sexual skin-to-skin contact (like a mouth on a vulva, or bare genital rubbing), and through exposure to each other’s vaginal fluids. Using a Sheer Glyde dam for oral sex, and condoms on any sex toys you share, will help prevent STDs. Some people also use rubber gloves to protect their hands and avoid passing vaginal fluids. And sexually active folks should be tested for STDs at least once a year (but note that Pap tests don’t screen for STDs — if you want to be tested, make sure to ask).
Never put anything in a vagina, like fingers or sex toys, that’s been in the back door, because anal germs can cause vaginal infections. Another note on the butt: ALWAYS use lube if you’re going to put anything in there. The anus doesn’t self-lubricate the way the vagina does, and anal penetration with fingers or toys can cause irritation and tears that may increase your STD risk. Now might also be a good time to remind you and any potential partners to wash your hands before and after touching each other’s genitals.
And you know, being safety-conscious starts with having open dialogue with your partner(s). It may seem a little awkward to ask a new girlfriend about their STD status, when they were last tested, what protection they want to use, etc., but it’s all just a part of being a safe and responsible sexually active person. And really — if you’re going to get naked with someone, how hard can having a convo about health be? A lot of people never ask, roll the dice, and hope for the best. Don’t be that gal. Talking openly protects you AND your partners.
While this is a pretty solid start to safe lesbian sex, remember that being sexually active isn’t just about avoiding STDs. Good sex is about pleasure, consent, and learning about your body, so keep reading and keep asking questions. It’ll come in handy whenever you decide you’re ready!
- Calvin and Maureen at QueerTips