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Conversations about safe sex often ignore women who have sex with other women. That’s a shame. After all, sleeping with a man is not the only way a person can contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The truth is, most STIs can affect anyone who is sexually active. Keeping that in mind, how do two women having sex protect themselves? Today, let’s explore the risks, and some practices, to help keep women safe between the sheets.
Knowing the Risks
No matter how you slice it, there are risks when you hop into bed with another person. As we mentioned, a great number of STIs can be passed between female partners.
Here are just a few infections to watch out for:
Put simply, if there is an STI that can be passed through skin contact or fluid exchange, then it’s a risk factor for lesbians and women who sleep with other women. For example, sexual activities that can potentially spread infection include fingering, oral sex, and sharing sex toys. Even if you’re absolutely sure that you are not infected, you can never be totally sure that your partner or partners are also not infected. Many people engage in high risk sexual activity, including unprotected sex.
So How Do Two Women Having Sex Protect Themselves?
Safe sex is always smart sex! First and foremost, we encourage everyone to talk honestly and openly with their sexual partners. Discuss your sexual history, concerns, and whether you have been screened for STIs. This can seem awkward, but it can also help to put your fears at ease. Contrary to what many people believe, male condoms are not the only form of protection you can use.
In this next section, here are a few tips for how two women having sex can protect themselves:
Dental Dam Protection
First of all, two women having sex are almost certainly going to be using their mouths a lot. That’s where dental dams come in. These easy-to-use condoms for your mouth are a great way to reduce risk during oral sex. They may not look pretty, but they can help to prevent the spread of infection through mouth-to-genital contact.
Menstruation and Female to Female STD Transmission
Speaking of oral sex, it is usually a good precaution to avoid going down on your partner when she is menstruating. Unfortunately, some infections are passed through blood and fluids. As you can probably guess, this happens a lot more easily during menstruation.
Protect Your Hands
Besides dental dam protection, don’t forget to protect your hands. Be sure to use latex gloves whenever inserting your fingers inside your partner.
Protect Your Toys, Too!
If you’re using sex toys, don’t forget the condoms. These sheaths can help to prevent STIs from spreading via shared sex toys. Just be sure to change the condom between partners. Condoms on sex toys should also be changed if you’re moving from vaginal to anal stimulation. It’s not protecting anyone if you share a used condom!
Only use latex condoms, since they offer the best protection. Additionally, be sure to use a new condom for each and every individual act of vaginal, anal, and oral sex. You should also always check the expiration date on a condom. Additionally, beware of expired condoms. At the worst possible time, an expired condom can easily break. Obviously, this renders it utterly useless for protection. If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately and apply a new condom to the toy.
Cleanliness is Key
While we’re on the topic of sex toys, don’t forget to clean yours before and after use. Certain bacteria can live on unsterilized surfaces longer than others. In the end, why take a chance? After a thorough cleansing, set your washed toy aside for 24 hours after use. This will help to ensure that any remaining infections or bacteria die off. For more information about safely using sex toys, we’ve written a full blog about this subject.
Open Discussion is Healthy
When it comes to safe sex, it pays to talk it out. Communication is important in any relationship. That’s especially true for partners engaging any sexual play. Having clear, open, and honest communication is key so that both partners are able to talk comfortably about expectations, sexual partners and their own experiences with STD testing.
Additionally, healthy conversation is a terrific way to establish your boundaries. We all have our limits. Some of us are wilder than others, but there’s nothing worse than being pushed further than you want to go. By speaking with your partner beforehand, you can set aside some ground rules. The best strategy is to think ahead. Before you head to bed, work out just how far you are willing to go with your partner.
For example, are you looking for sex? Are you looking to just fool around? Are you not looking for either and want to abstain from sex during the evening? Once you conclude what your intentions are, then you’ll have a solid game plan to execute and one less thing to think or stress about later on.
Take Care of Yourself
As important as open communication can be, it is even more important that you take care of yourself. At the end of the day, your health is your own responsibility. Before participating, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure safe sex. Above all, bring your own supplies. You’ll be glad you did. Besides, that gives you a perfect answer to a partner who conveniently forgot to bring their safe sex supplies.
Routine Testing is Critical
Above all, routine scheduled testing for STIs is the best way to take control of your sexual health. You’ll never know your status if you’re just guessing it. To this end, myLAB Box™ offers a variety of at-home STD testing kits, including the Love Box, a combination testing kit designed for all couples.
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