Sex between women: how to do it better and safer
When it comes to prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), everything tends to focus on sex between a man and a woman. A second group of concern is men who have sex with men, but the conversation usually ends there.
This discourse that does not mention women who have relationships with other women seems to say, implicitly, that they are not at risk of contracting STIs, when the reality is not that at all.
Lesbian women can also have infections and pass them on, but the good news is that they can still protect themselves from these infections and have a full and safe sex life.
There are numerous viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that are transmitted during non-penetrative sexual contact (either with a penis or a sex toy).
Nobody wants these “guests” at their party, so the first step in taking care of yourself is being aware that they may arrive. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, herpes, molluscum contagiosum, and crab lice can be transmitted through sex between women.
There is even some risk of transmitting HIV, as the presence of the virus in vaginal fluids and menstrual blood is well documented. There are no published scientific studies on this subject, but some cases of transmission between women have been recorded.
Remember that, although some of these infections have symptoms such as yellowish, whitish or greenish discharge, or lesions on the skin of the genital area, this does not always happen, or sexual intercourse does not always occur when the other person shows clear symptoms.
And since a visual inspection of your partner’s genitals isn’t a surefire “diagnosis” method, it’s best to consider protection as part of the sexual relationship from the start.
Five steps to protection
The strategies that you can use to avoid an STI are quite simple to follow, so they can be summarized as follows:
1) Use latex barriers. When you and your partner engage in vagina or anal oral sex, put up a barrier. This can be a dental dam or condom cut lengthwise, and place the material over the area to be stimulated.
2) Wear gloves. Especially if you are going to insert fingers into the vagina or anus, latex gloves are a good protection to avoid carrying germs and even to prevent scratches in those very delicate parts.
3) Clean your sex toys before and after using them. Since sex toys come into contact with mucous membranes, and these are easily pierced tissues, cleaning the toys before use will prevent germs from being carried into those organs. Washing them after use is a basic hygiene measure.
4) Wash your hands well. To avoid carrying germs into your partner’s body, it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands, including the area under your fingernails. You can do this with a special brush or a toothbrush that you use for that use only.
5) Use a condom on your sex toys. If you share toys with your partner, you need to put on a new condom every time the toy changes hands or every time it moves from one part of the body to another (for example, from the anus to the vagina).
If this is a topic you’ve discussed with your partner, it’s always a good time to start. It is not about complaints or accusations, but about ensuring a pleasant and safer security for both.
If you want to get free condoms or get a free HIV test, don’t hesitate to approach the services we offer you at AHF Latin America and the Caribbean. Locate our nearest office in your country and we will gladly assist you.