Part 1: The Lesbian Sex Edition
As a queer person and a doctor, I’ve always wanted to write about safe sex practices among the LGBTQ+ community because unlike heterosexual relationships, safe queer sex is not discussed as openly or as informatively. Not to mention, medically accurate information is hard to come by. People mostly go off of misleading Google search results at this point, and I’d like to change that. So I’ve tried to write about it as simply and as informatively as I can. To encourage further conversation around this topic, constructive criticism is warmly welcome. And I promise I’ll try to make it sound less technical and more enjoyable. Well, knowledgeable.
In this episode, I’m gonna talk about safe sex practices between women. Next would be between men, and so on and so forth.
So, safe sex practice mainly means avoiding contracting any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and other bacterial or fungal infections that not only affect our genitalia but our whole body.
In the case of two women, most people assume sexual relationships are less risky and that there are lower chances of getting an STI. Although this is true in most cases, if sex is not practised safely or while taking proper precautions even between women, there are high probabilities of getting STIs and developing other sexual problems. So, here I am discussing some of the most common sexual practices between women and how to do it safely.
This actually goes for oral sex with any partner, and not exclusively between two women. Oral sex has a higher risk of transmitting STI than penetrative sex because it has more risk of affecting both partners — both from mouth to genitalia and genitalia to mouth. Because most mouth and throat infections are contagious, you can easily transfer it to your partner’s genitalia. In the same way, if your partner has an STI, it can spread to your mouth very easily.
So, to avoid that, the first thing you can do is have an open conversation with your partner about having any sexual or physical disease, or any abnormalities they might be suspecting. Another important things is to be open about if you had multiple sexual partners or if there was short gap between your previous and current sexual relationship. The best solution for this, if you can afford it, is for both partners to get tested before becoming sexually intimate. For those of us that can’t afford it, here are some signs to look out for before you engage in any sexual interaction with someone.
Abnormal vaginal discharge:
- Thick, curdy discharge from the vagina with complaints of itching can indicate vaginal candidiasis, which is a contagious yeast infection easily spread to your partner’s mouth; it can cause oral candidiasis.
- Greenish/Yellow/Whitish discharge with swollen glands on the genital area associated with abdominal pain might be symptoms of gonorrhea in women.
- If there is any foul-smelling discharge from the vagina, with or without itching or burning, one should immediately seek gynecological consultation.
Any cold sores or infection of the mouth, itching, white-coated tongue, or sore throat pose a risk of transferring STIs to the recipient’s vagina as most oral infections show basic symptoms of cold but can be just as contagious.
Penetrative sex (Fingering or Sex toys)
Some women like penetration and some women don’t — it’s completely fine either way. For those who do like it, fingering is the easiest and most common way to have penetrative sex. It is the safest option ,too. The risk of transferring STIs is really low if it is done properly, and for that the most important thing to remember is washing your hand(s) before having sex; hands contain the most germs from touching everything. Imagine if you didn’t wash your hands after eating naga wings and got down straight to business. I’m gonna leave the rest to your imagination.
Another important factor in fingering is keeping clean, short nails with no edges. Otherwise, it can scratch the inner walls of your vagina and cause micro-tears and bleeding, which make the experience painful. It also makes you more susceptible to STIs.
The safest way would always be wearing gloves, but that can be uncomfortable and less pleasurable.
In case of sex toys, the first thing to remember is to always wash it thoroughly before and after use. Also, avoid using the same toy on both partners without cleaning it after using it once. Otherwise, it increases the risk of STIs travelling from one partner’s genitalia to another’s. And the best way to avoid that is putting a new condom on the sex toy before using it on each partner.
I would recommend using lube on the toy because it makes the experience better. Also, buy a toy that is easily washable, such as silicone, steel, etc. and avoid using latex or rubber because they are harder to clean and germs reside in their dents and creases.
Scissoring is one of the most preferable and common sexual acts between two women. However, it also has a higher risk of transferring STIs, as there is a direct transfer of genital fluid. The best way to avoid this is to make sure both partners are free from any genital infections, or by getting tested.
Last but not least, the most important point is always peeing after having sex. This decreases your risks of getting any urinary tract infection (UTI) to lower than 50%. During sex, a lot of germs come in contact from the genitals to the urinary tract, which can cause a UTI.
Q: Why do my stomach and genitalia hurt after penetrative sex?
A: There are several reasons it can happen:
- If you are not wet enough or aroused enough, the friction might be painful and rough on the vaginal wall. I suggest using a vaginal lube to ease the situation.
- If you have UTIs or STIs, penetrative sex might sometimes hurt.
- When you are having sex but you don’t reach orgasm, blood rushing to the genital area gets congested and it hurts for a while.
- Fibroid or Endometriosis are two uterine disorders in women that also cause heavy bleeding and pain during and after sex.
Q: I don’t like penetrative sex. Is it normal?
A: It’s perfectly okay to not enjoy penetration — a lot of women don’t. Sometimes, internal anxiety about penetration might be the reason. Some anxiety medication or relaxation exercises might help with that.
There is also a condition called vaginismus that makes penetration really painful. It is also associated with anxiety. Therapy and pelvic floor exercises can be beneficial to relieve this condition.
Q: I have a lot of vaginal discharge when I am aroused. Is that bad?
A: No, vaginal discharge or rather lubrication during sex is not bad at all. However, if you experience painful, thick, or smelly discharge, even when you are not aroused, I would suggest going to a gynaecologist immediately.
There are many other ways of having sex between women. And, maybe in the future, we’ll get to talk about all of them. For now, if you have any observations or questions, practise safe conversation with your partners and reach out to your friendly neighborhood queer doctors, or any doctor, really. They took an oath to help you, which no one tells you. Go in with all your questions, people.
Be well informed.