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Should Lesbians Have Safe Sex?


Should Lesbians Have Safe Sex?

A Glyde Dam

Image (c)Glyde Dam
Question: Should Lesbians Have Safe Sex?

If two girls are virgins and then decide to have sex, do they need to worry about sexually transmitted infections? If so, is there any way to be safe?


A teen lesbian writes to the forum:

"I'm 17, female, and so is my girlfriend of 5 months. We were both virgins when we started dating, and have now had sex with each other only. Nobody has given us any information about how to be certain we are practicing "safe sex", so we've just been trusting that because we've never been with anybody else, we couldn't have caught anything. I am going to see my doctor this week to talk to him about this, but I would appreciate it if anyone on here has any ideas about how to make sure we are both safe and stay healthy when we are having sex."

It is great that you are thinking about this issue. Researching the topic and talking to your doctor are both important ways to stay safe and healthy.

Like most people out there, you have probably heard of condoms, which can be worn on the penis to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs or STIs). But while condoms are a crucial tool for some people, they just aren't as relevant for two women who want to stay safe when having sex.

But that doesn't mean that lesbians don't have to think about safe sex. In fact, this is something that anyone who is sexually active needs to consider since sexual orientation doesn't protect against infections.

So what does? Two things mainly: barriers and not having sex.

Though women who only have sex with women are generally at lower risk for HIV infection (the virus that can lead to AIDS), and other STDs which are passed though body fluids, they are still at risk that can be passed from skin-to-skin contact, like the human papilloma virus, or herpes which can be passed through oral sex.

So it is still wise to talk to a partner about her sexual history, get tested regularly and consider practising safer sex. For women that can means using dental dams for oral sex.

These days, a few companies produce dams that are specifically for oral sex. So how can you get your hands on a dam? One way it to pay a visit to your state or city health department, an STD or teen health clinic, or a college health center. You can also try your local drug store or order them through a manufacturer (for example, the Glyde Dam website). Plus a lot of GLBT community organizations stock safe sex supplies. If you still can't find a dam, you can improvise by using saran wrap.

It is also important to be careful with any sex toys you use. Your best bet is to avoid sharing toys. If you must share, make sure to cover toys with a condom between partners.

You should also know, that while you and your girlfriend might identify as virgins, experiences that you may have had in the past could still put you at risk for STDs. For example some lesbians have had sex with men but don't "count" it. Others don't realize that certain types of sex play could expose them to infections.

So rather than rely on the fact that you and your girlfriend are virgins, it is a better idea to have honest conversations about your sexual history and if anything you may have done could put you at risk.

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