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Safe sex
Safe sex

Lesbian Safer Sex: Think about your risks

Debate continues to rage in the lesbian community about our sexual practices -- bisexuality, S/M, monogamy, safer sex, and others. For too long, lesbians have assumed that we are somehow safe -- from STDs and other diseases, and even from sexual abuses.

These days it is crucial that we assess our risks when choosing to have sex. Educate yourself about lesbian safer sex practices and then enjoy yourself. Safer sex can mean hot sex so discuss with your partner beforehand what you mean by safe sex, boundaries, and rules.

As of 1990, of the 9717 cases of women with AIDS, 79 said they had sex exclusively with women; of that group, 75 were IV drug users. There have been 4 cases of woman-to-woman transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus (American Journal of Public Health, 1990).

If you have sex with a woman (or a man), be aware that she/he may carry the HIV virus. Since the HIV/AIDS virus does not discriminate by sex, class, or race you cannot predict your partner's possible risk of being HIV positive. High-risk behaviours for HIV exposure such as shooting up drugs, having unsafe sex with a man, or having rough sex that draws blood are all activities that are highly stigmatized so your partner may be reluctant to discuss her past which may put you at risk for STDs and HIV/AIDS transmission.

The only perfectly sure way to be safe from transmitting HIV/AIDS (but not other STDs) is not to exchange body fluids until both of you test HIV negative after you have been having sex with only each other for at least six months. You and your monogamous partner can be tested anonymously for HIV antibodies and other STDs at McGill Health Services. Until both of you have a clean bill of health it is wise to cut your risks and practice safer sex.

Safer sex is not "non-sex" -- it means use your imagination!

Safer sex allows you and your partner to explore freely without fear and risk. It can bring you closer together and spurs you to try new things.

As far as we know, lesbian safer sex includes:

  • Sexual contact that does not bring bodily fluids into contact with another person's genitals, mouth, or open cuts in the skin.
  • mutual masturbation,
  • rubbing the genitals against one another,
  • mouth-to-mouth kissing,
  • phone sex, etc.
  • Sex that puts a latex barrier between you and your partner's genitals and anus. This way you do not risk contact with your partner's bodily fluids that may possibly be infected.
  • Use either a dental dam, split-open unlubricated condom, or split-open latex glove when licking the vagina or anus. You can also use saran wrap but it has not been proven completely safe.
  • When fingering or fisting (inserting the hand in the vagina or rectum) the vagina or anus cover your hand with a latex glove.

Unsafe lesbian sex includes:

  • Sex in which possibly-infected blood and/or vaginal secretions come into contact with genitals, mouth, or open cuts.
  • Licking the vagina or anus without a latex barrier, especially when you have cuts or sores in your mouth. Oral sex without a barrier when the receiver has her period is also unsafe.
  • Fisting or fingering the vagina or anus without a glove when you have breaks in the skin could also result in the transmission of the HIV virus. S/M activity without safety precautions that breaks the skin or draws blood are also high risk.
  • Sex in which you can not insist on safer sex because you are either incapacitated or intimidated is especially risky. i.e. sex when you are intoxicated or on drugs, and/or non-consensual S/M sex.
  • Heterosexual sex without a condom is extremely high risk activity. Or using untested semen to impregnate yourself puts both you and the fetus at risk for HIV/AIDS.
  • Sharing vibrators, dildos, and other sex toys without cleaning them after each use puts you at risk for all types of STDs. Wash your toys in either hot water and soap or in a mixture of bleach and water. Cover dildos with a new condom for each new user.

Safer sex supplies:

Dental dams: these are 6x6 pieces of latex used by dentists. You can get your own from either your dentist, or at a sex shop.

Latex gloves: Student Health Services or any doctor's office. Any pharmacy or medical- supplies store. Note: they come in big boxes only.

Condoms: use only unlubricated ones for oral sex barriers. Lubricated condoms smell and taste awful. For heterosexual intercourse, use lubricated condoms treated with Nonoxynol-9, a spermicide. Less-expensive condoms can be purchased at Student Health Services and the Women's Union. Otherwise, any pharmacy or condom store.

Other: some women have made their own safer-sex panties by cutting out the crotch and sewing in a piece of latex purchased from a fabric store. When using a latex barrier for oral sex, a thin layer of lubricant on the bottom side of barrier will improve sensitivity. Always use a water-based lubricant -- never vaseline or oil which can damage latex as well as cause an oily build-up on the skin that can become infected. Lubricants come in a whole range of smells and tastes so try before you buy. Any sex shop.

Related Links
Lesbian.org Lesbian Interest mega site go!
WWWomen Womens Interest links and info go!
They said...
I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time". So I ordered french toast during the Renaissance. (Steven Wright)
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