Q: My new partner and I are slowly getting into more adventurous activities, and something she would really like to try is sex with another woman. We’re a little worried about the safe sex stuff with girl/girl sex, there is so little information about it, and it’s the main reason she hasn’t taken that step yet. Can you help? How do two girls keep themselves safe?
A. This is a really important, and not often asked, question. While the safe sex message is pretty commonly known when it comes to heterosexual and male homosexual sex, there’s little spoken about safe sex when it’s two women.
It’s a pretty common misconception that girl on girl action is safe from risk, and even if in some cases the danger of STI infection is significantly lower, there are still risks. STIs such as herpes, crabs, syphilis and chlamydia are all really nasty things to catch, and all of them are just as easy to contract through Sapphic pleasure as they are through sex that involves a penis.
There are a few things you can do to minimise the risks, however please be aware that no form of protection (unless you abstain from sexual contact altogether) is 100%.
The two most used protection devices are gloves and dams. Latex gloves (no- powdered) can be bought from practically any supermarket or chemist and are a great way to help protect you. Not only will they stop the transference of bodily fluids into your bloodstream (you could have a ripped cuticle or little cuts you’re not ever really aware of) it also helps protect the person you’re touching from the germs and stuff on our hands. Dams (also known as dental dams) are a large square of latex that can be stretched over the vulva/anus to protect you both while you’re giving oral sex. They can be a little fiddly and tricky to get used to, and nowhere near as easy as condoms to find and buy, but they’re a good way to protect yourself if you’re worried. If you’re finding dams hard to source, you can always cut a condom into a flat shape and use that. Don’t use stuff like cling-wrap and other plastic sheeting, just as you wouldn’t wrap a penis in it.
Another really important and easy way to minimise cross contact with nasties is to always use condoms on sex toys you are using, and remember to change condoms for each person who is using it. (It’s also a good idea to change condoms between anal and vaginal sex with toys, as the bacteria from your anus can really stuff up the balance of your vagina and cause all sorts of problems)
Clean and Hygiene
If you don’t want to use gloves and dams etc, it’s really important to make sure you’re aware that it isn’t risk free. There are a few little things you can do to help keep yourself safe. Make sure your hands are clean. Wash with antibacterial soap and get right under your fingernails too. Speaking of fingernails, if you’re going the way of lady-loving you really need to make sure they are neatly trimmed, with no sharp or jagged edges that could possible scratch or cut your partner.
As much as I’m sure you’ll want fresh breath and a sparkling smile, it’s a really good idea not to brush your teeth before engaging in unprotected oral sex. Brushing your teeth can result in heaps of tiny, almost invisible cuts inside your mouth, which exposes your bloodstream to germs and infections. Use mouthwash if you’re worried about bad breath.
Anyone who engages in sexual activity, especially if you or your partner also have other partners, should get themselves regularly tested for STIs. You can get this done at your local GP or a sexual health clinic and it’s usually free. It’s important to be open about your experiences with partners and explain to them that you’re sleeping with other people and to take both yours and their health seriously.
I hope this answers your questions and your partner’s world of experiences can open up to include some awesome girl/girl fun!
Be safe, have fun, and enjoy!