Yup, this gets a whole page on its own. Because there’s LOTS to say about lesbian and bisexual safer sex practices. And there will always be new ideas and new information and better ways to say what’s already being said. So we plan on keeping this updated.
While it is commonly accepted that women having sex with women are at a lower risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in particular and STIs in general, this does not mean that sex between women is always safe, but rather that we should be informed about the kinds of sexual practices of the parties involved and have access to information on how to make sex safer. This brings us to the distinction made between “safe sex” and “safer sex” – the former is defined as an activity in which there is NO RISK of becoming infected with an STI (including HIV/AIDS). This means avoiding exchanges of bodily fluids (blood, vaginal fluids, breast milk and fecal matter) as well as most skin to skin contact, especially around the genital area.
As you can see, this definition won’t be particularly practical for our purposes here, so instead we’ll refer to the term “safer sex” where the risks of becoming infected by an STI is minimized. Women having sex with women can minimize infection by ensuring that potentially infected or infected fluids do not come into contact with/enter the body during sex (broadly defined).
Women having sex with women can do this by:
– not sharing sex toys
– putting condoms on toys and changing them between partners; washing toys with soap and warm water helps to keep the base clean before putting on a fresh condom
– getting tested regularly *relative to how many partners you have and what types of sexual activity you are engaged in
– using barriers such as gloves, finger cots and dams, all of which come in both latex and polyurethane
– being flexible and context-driven with your safer sex practices i.e. using gloves if you have a cut on your hand or a dental dam if your sexual partner is menstruating
– not brushing your teeth or shaving your pubic area up to an hour before having sex as small cuts can escape the eye or invisible cuts will avoid detection; if your breath needs a little freshening, suck on a mint or use mouthwash rather than brushing your teeth
– upping your safer sex practices during rough sex, which can lead to bleeding and cuts along the skin and/or breaks in the lining of the vagina and anus
– use a dental dam for rimming
– find a good lubricant that is compatible with your toys and with your body and use it abundantly
Toronto’s Hassle Free has a women and trans clinic for walk-in STI testing, as well as anonymous HIV/AIDS testing and various counselling programs.
Here’s a link to a UK site for lesbians and bisexual women on STI risks (scroll down to the bottom for my favourite one).
Click here for Babeland’s site on toy care and cleaning.