How Women Actually Have Sex With Women
There's no doubt sex is one of life's greatest pleasures. Yet, women's sex lives remain shrouded in mystery, doubly true for women who have sex with other women. (Since this category includes more than just lesbians, we'll be referring to these women as WLWs going forward: women who love women.)
Women may already feel as if they're not empowered to know what good sex should look and feel like, and WLWs are at an even greater disadvantage, as almost all sex ed programs leave them out, limiting their educational resources to porn and titillating works of film (looking at you, "Blue Is the Warmest Color".)
But, and a big shocker here, sex onscreen isn't a reality for anyone, especially for WLWs, whose scenes are normally engineered to capture a male gaze. What's a girl to do when she's got another girl to please?
What goes on between the sheets
Before you pull up lesbian porn, let's give you the facts.
The truth about scissoring
You've probably heard (or, let's be real, seen examples) of scissoring and its contested prevalence within the lesbian community. We're here to tell you scissoring is real—to an extent. There are different versions of scissoring.
What you might have seen on your adult film streaming site of choice is a more intense variation. Make a peace sign with both hands and interlock the gaps: that's likely what comes to mind when you think of scissoring, involving direct vulva-to-vulva contact. And it's not that WLWs don't do or enjoy this position—there's just a milder version that's more common.
Think of how you might normally clasp your hands, with fingers interlocking. This is more akin to the scissoring women really do: One or both partners puts their thigh between the legs of the other to give friction to the clitoris. This is an intuitive way for two bodies to fit together and involves a lot less accidental face-kicking.
Another hot item on the WLW menu is oral sex, which goes by too many names to list, but trust us, you can get creative with it. A starting outline: One partner uses her mouth on the other's genitals, stimulating the vulva, clitoris and more. This can happen in all sorts of positions, and both partners might do it at the same time in the classic 69, though most stick to one at a time.
Often, though, it's not just the tongue and lips involved in cunnilingus, as manual stimulation is a popular side dish, with anything from fingertips to vibrators.
Fingers and toys
The fingers are the best tool a WLW wields. A woman can use her fingers to gently rub her partner's clitoris, part and gently massage her labia, and, of course, insert her fingers into the vagina. It's important to note that not every woman enjoys penetration—only a reported 18 percent of women orgasm from intercourse alone. However, the chance of orgasm increases with each additional sex act, so for some, penetration is a helpful stepping stone.
Beyond fingers, WLWs pretty much own the game (with exceptions) on strap-ons, which carry a world of various gender connotations, as well as being a great means to the happiest of endings. And, of course, a vibrator here and there never hurt anyone.
A note on safety
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don't only move from vagina to penis or penis to vagina. Most STIs are spread through genital contact, exchange of bodily fluids or even skin-to-skin contact. This means you can get an infection from a female partner even as a woman. The Mayo Clinic calls out risks for human papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis in particular.
The solution: Keep things clean and wrapped up. Sex toys, including strap-ons, should be thoroughly cleaned after every use, and you should use a condom on them just as you would expect a male partner to wear a condom. For oral sex, go for a dental dam, and if fingers are involved, you might even consider latex gloves (or an allergy-safe alternative).
Similarly, STI testing for WLWs is just as important as it is for any other women, as are regular OB-GYN visits.
Prepare for a marathon
Oftentimes, sex is more about the journey than the destination, but sex between two women often leads to a pretty long journey with multiple destinations. Women tend to have a shorter or completely absent recovery period in between orgasms, so we can keep going and going until we're bored with it...and then keep going again.
Of course, this doesn't mean you have to. There's no real expectation for how long sex should last, in any relationship. Sex is different for every pair (or more) of women. Some sex sessions between women can last for less than an hour, while others can go on from dusk till dawn—not an exaggeration. It's up to you, your partner and your personal schedules.
In fact, the whole thing is up to you. Sex is still sex, no matter the gender of your partner, which means having a good time comes down to respecting boundaries, going with the flow and doing what feels good, no matter what porn, Hollywood sex scenes or a little online article tells you.