How do lesbians have sex?

Bea Mitchell June 22, 2017
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samira wiley and lauren morelli

Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli

Lesbians have sex, much like straight people and gay men.

Unlike straight people and gay men, lesbians usually don’t have a penis.

Sadly, the lack of a dangling dong seemingly causes some confusion as to what lesbians actually do.

“How does sex work without the male member?” “Is one person ‘the man’?” “Is the sex great because women understand the female body?”

Let’s answer those pressing questions.

Is one person ‘the man’?


Why? Because we’re both women. Simple, isn’t it?

ellen and portia de rossi

And what does this question even mean? Does it mean: “Who’s on top?” or “Who’s more dominant?”

Well, look to straight couples for the answer – is the man always on top, and always dominant? No?

Lesbian couples are the same. We switch things up too. Next!

Is the sex great because women understand each other’s bodies?

Again – no. Everyone is different; no two women are the same.

Cara Delevingne and Annie Clark
Cara Delevingne and Annie Clark (Getty)

It’s all about practice, and learning which buttons to press.

How does sex work without the – erm – phallus?

Well, much like straight people and gay men and everyone else on the spectrum, lesbians do lots of different things. The sex is varied, and different people enjoy different things.

A guide to lesbian sex (918Evgenij)
A guide to lesbian sex (918Evgenij)

The following list is a general guide lesbian sex, because we haven’t met and interviewed every sapphist in existence, and we can’t include every single sex-thing girls do together. (Also, some of it is not everyone’s cup of tea, obviously.)

What is humping?

Yep, it’s back-to-basics with humping, which is as you’d imagine it to be: one on top, one underneath, moving back and forth.

A happy lesbian couple (Rawpixel)
A happy lesbian couple (Rawpixel)

It’s like the military position but with no penis, and can be very pleasurable and result in orgasm. Also known as ‘rub-a-bit’.

What is scissoring?

Scissoring, aka tribbing, is not a myth. It’s essentially genital-to-genital contact, and can be done in different positions. Mr Garrison does it in South Park, but there are far easier/ more pleasurable / less hilarious poses.

Edward Scissorhands
Ahem (20th Century Fox)

What is oral sex?

Yep, this is something many lesbians do. Some prefer giving, some prefer receiving, some like both equally.

Some prefer giving, some prefer receiving (Max Pixel)
Lipstick mouth (Maxpixel)

It’s like a blowjob – another staple of sex – but without the penis. Duh.

What is fingering?

Fingering is an obvious inclusion. You can finger the outside, the clitoris, the inside or the G-spot.

Beach volleyball
A handy way of doing things (Max Pixel)

You can use more than one finger, you can use all your fingers – whatever you like.

What are strap-ons?

Some lesbians use strap-ons – which are fake penises which you, you know, strap on – and some don’t. Some use them occasionally, some use them more regularly.

Two Japanese Women Make Love (Wikimedia Commons)
Two Japanese Women Make Love (Wikimedia Commons)

Some enjoy penetration, some don’t. As previously mentioned, you learn what your partner enjoys with a bit of practice and chat.

What are dildos/vibrators?

See above…and then see below.

What are sex toys?

Sex toys, including dildos, are obviously extremely pleasurable – and they don’t have to be used for penetration if that’s not your thing.

Fun factory sex toys
Fun factory (Morderska)

Toys – used inside, outside, wherever – are also a useful aid in helping women to achieve orgasm, which can be a struggle for some.

What about porn? Is lesbian sex like that?

Erm, no – not really. Watch lesbian porn for five minutes and you’ll see that lesbians have very long nails, both look like versions of Blake Lively, make loads of sexy noises (seriously, there’s so much moaning) and spit on each other a lot.

Blake Lively looking all sexy in Gossip Girl
Blake Lively looking all sexy in Gossip Girl (The CW)

Continue watching for another five minutes and you’ll find that lesbians also love massive dildos and aggressive fingering (imagine trying to rub a stubborn stain off an old sheet with your hands), as well as forcefully smashing each other’s vaginas together.

Oh, and then you’ll notice the actual vaginas – that is, clean shaven, glistening pink, designer vaginas.

That said, is any porn truly representative and genuine? Nah, not really.

And now that you know all of the above…

Can women who have sex with women get STIs?

According to NHS and Stonewall, yes – women who have sex with other women can indeed get STIs.

A doctor giving the uncomfortable news (stevanovicigor)
A doctor giving the uncomfortable news (stevanovicigor)

“Women can catch STIs such as herpes, genital warts and chlamydia when exchanging bodily fluids,” says Stonewall chief exec Ruth Hunt.

“Any one-on-one contact, such as oral sex or using the same hand when touching yourself and then your partner, can put you at risk. Two women who are both menstruating are at a higher risk, too.”

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself (via NHS):

A latex dental dam
A latex dental dam (inga)

– Use a new condom on sex toys, and change the condom for each partner or each penetration of different orifices. Wash sex toys with soap and water after use.
– Avoid giving oral sex if you have any cuts or sores in the mouth or on the lips. Alternatively, use a dental dam – a latex square that can be used to cover the genitals.
– Infections can be transmitted via hands, fingers and genital contact – wash hands before and after sex.
For vaginal and anal fisting, wear latex gloves and use a water-based lubricant.

More: explainer, lesbian, lesbians, scissoring, Sex, sexually transmitted infections, STI

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