Safer Sex for Women
Lesbians have always been considered to have an unusually low risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The few studies that have been conducted show that women who have sex only with women have fewer STIs than women who have sex with men. Syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are rare among lesbians, but lesbians are at risk for getting herpes and condyloma. Therefore it is important that lesbians, like all other women, have regular gynecological exams.
Lesbians have sex in many different ways by caressing, licking or penetrating, vaginally or anally, with fingers, hands, dildos, vibrators or other sex toys. Some lesbians also practice sado-masochism (S/M). What’s most important is that both partners enjoy the experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Do not share penetrating sex toys without first cleaning them thoroughly between uses. Soap and warm water is sufficient. You can also use condoms on the toys and then change condoms between uses. Keep in mind that condoms can be damaged and break if you use, for example, Vaseline, skin cream, butter or other substances that contain oil or fat. Avoid lubricants that contain spermicide since they can cause pain and irritation.
During vaginal or anal oral sex, you should use a thin rubber sheet—a dental dam. The easiest way to make a dental dam is to cut open a condom. It’s best to use a condom that has not been pretreated with lubricant or spermicide so that it is easier to hold.
If you have sores or infections on your hands, you should use thin surgical gloves before touching yourself or your partner. Wash your hands before touching yourself after you have touched your partner or vice versa. It is also important to wash your hands between vaginal and anal sex. Keep in mind that long nails can easily damage mucous membranes.
Menstrual Blood and Other Bleeding
Besides during menstruation, bleeding can occur during different kinds of sexual contact. Avoid getting blood in your or your partner’s mouth, vagina or anus, or in open sores.
During menopause, women produce less natural lubricant and the mucous membranes become more fragile, making them more likely to be injured when there is friction. Therefore, you should use a lubricant during penetrating sex. Lubricant can easily be purchased anywhere pharmaceuticals are sold. Keep in mind that condoms can be damaged and break if you use, for example, Vaseline, skin cream, butter or other substances that contain oil or fat. Avoid lubricants that contain spermicide since they can cause pain and irritation.