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The Scarlet & Black

SHIC describes ins and outs of safe lesbian sex


Hey! I’m a girl, who likes having sex with other girls. How do I have safe lesbian sex? I mean, I know I can’t get pregnant, but I’m confused about how girls give each other Sexually Transmitted Infections. Also, what’s up with these dental dam things?



First of all, there are many different kinds of “lesbian sex” that aren’t even specifically for lesbians. The good news about penis-free sex is no pregnancy. The bad news is that you can still get Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). STIs can be transmitted through vaginal fluid, blood, breast milk, mucus and semen. Before having sex, the best way to be safe is for each partner to get tested for STIs. Some can be treated and cleared up right away, and others stay around but the symptoms can be reduced. To prevent the spread of STIs, there are various methods for different kinds of sex.

STIs can be transmitted through oral sex. Herpes, for example, can be genital or oral and these can transfer between the two. So you might think you have a cold-sore on your lip and go down on someone…and they could get genital herpes, which is treatable but irreversible. The same is also true the other way around—if you go down on your partner and they have genital herpes, you are considered at risk for getting it, too.
SO! Dental Dams! The good thing about females is that it’s easier to get latex action for vaginas. Not only can you buy dental dams—$0.25 from SHIC—but you can also use non-microwavable saran wrap. Other alternatives include cutting up a condom, or even a latex glove.

Before fingering someone, wash your hands- you don’t want to get bacteria in vaginas because that can cause yeast infections and urinary tract infections. You can also use latex gloves. When transferring from your partner to yourself make sure to wash your hands or change gloves to prevent spreading of STIs. The same goes for anal to vaginal. Any time you transition between the two you need to change gloves or wash your hands. Doing this will decrease the chances of infection.

If you and your partner use sex toys, you have to make sure there’s no exchange of vaginal fluids from one partner to the other. Some sex toys can be washed with soap and water, in the dishwasher, or boiled, but if they’re made out of rubber then you have to use condoms or dental dams to prevent the transmission of STIs. This is because rubber has large holes that can absorb dirt easily. You could also get a toy for each partner and not share.

As far as scissoring and dry humping, those fluids are pretty hard to contain. If your partner has or might have an STI, the safest way to do this would be with pants on. Also, don’t use oil-based lube when using condoms or dental dams, because that will degrade the latex. Use water based lubes—$0.10 at SHIC.

The most important part of safe sex in any kind of relationship is communication—both about STIs and what you’re comfortable with. When sex feels comfortable for both parties, it’s way more fun!

The Sexual Health Information Center is a student-run resource center located on the first floor of Main Hall. SHIC offers confidential one-on-one peer education sessions and also sells condoms (more than 20 kinds!), dental dams, lube, pregnancy tests and more for affordable prices.

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