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A Lesbian Safe Sex Guide

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

By Emily Zawadzki

In most safe sex discussions — whether they took place in a classroom or elsewhere — lesbians, bisexual women, and really any vulva owner who engages in sexual activity with other vulva owners are often a forgotten about group. Typically, sex ed references the idea of being “safe” only when it comes to heterosexual sex, or even just sexual activity where a penis is present.

Discussions about barrier methods like condoms and how to prevent pregnancy is about as far as most basic sexual health education goes, if even that. Since queer sex is often missing completely from traditional education, in my experiences, many queer vulva owners especially are simply unaware that there are ways for them to practice safe sex as well.

Even without a penis present or a risk of pregnancy, two people can still transmit bacteria and STIs. Two individuals with a vulva can have “sex” in a multitude of ways, and no matter how they decide to get down, it can be done safely to minimize the risk of an STI or any other infections.


Clean your fingernails, keep them trimmed, and always be washing your hands, especially before sex! Think about everything you touch, do, and encounter in a day. Respect your partner’s body by ensuring none of those germs end up on or inside of them.

If you know that finger play is likely to be involved in your sexual encounter, think about using finger cots and/or gloves. Finger cots kind of look like a condom for your finger, as it covers from the tip all the way down to where it stops on the finger, usually at the knuckle. Gloves cover the whole hand; including the palm as well as all fingers and the thumb.

Especially great for fisting (the act of inserting your whole fist into another person’s orifice), or for those who have acrylics/fake nails, gloves and finger cots act as barriers to prevent the transmission of bacteria as well as avoid any accidental tears inside the body via your nails.

Since they are also used medically, a variety of gloves and finger cots can be found at general drug stores as well as online.

Condoms (& Toys)

Condoms!? With a vulva? That’s right! Not just for penises, condoms still create a barrier between two things and can still be used by vulva owners to have safer sex. Dildos, vibrators, and strap-on pieces can all be covered with a condom — and not to mention it helps with the clean-up — just take it off and throw it out when done.

That being said, if sex toys are a part of your sexual repertoire, it’s important to keep them clean as well. Properly washing your toys before and after use will help to rid them of any lingering bacteria before getting all up in your bits.

Dental Dams

Similar to condoms, dental dams are intended to create a barrier between skin-to-skin contact, whether it be a tongue, fingers, etc. A flat piece of latex is placed over the vulva (the whole entire area — not just the vaginal opening) and a partner can hold it in place or it can be held in place with underwear, a harness, etc. It can also be used to perform oral sex on the anus (analinugus).

Some common dental dam brands are Sanctuary Labs and Pamco, however dental dams can be expensive and/or harder to come by so try making one out of a condom! Simply cut off the tip and cut up the side, so that it opens up into a rectangular shape. This can then be placed over the vulva/anus.

There is also a new brand called Lorals, that has created the first oral sex wearable! Designed to fit and look like a pair of panties, Lorals are single-use and made of latex. They are ultra-thin so that you can still feel all of the stimulation and offer up a vanilla flavour to anyone who wants to take a lick! Although they have not quite yet been FDA approved as a proven barrier method against STIs, Lorals are still great to use for a multitude of other reasons such as; a cushion from facial hair, oral sex during your period, and for aesthetic purposes!

The Big Test

It’s important to get tested regularly for STI’s and to have that conversation with potential partners before any sexual activity actually occurs. Be sure to check out your local clinic (like a Planned Parenthood) or a family doctor for confidential and often free testing.

For vulva owners who have sex with other vulva owners, it’s just as important for us to be considering our sexual health even though it is not as widely educated about. No one will take care of your health for you, so it is up to you to take care of yourself!


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Emily is a Canadian-based, femme lesbian feminist who goes by she/her pronouns. With a passion for sex education, she is an educator and website administrator for an adult retailer by day, writes & runs a sex education blog by night, and is a support worker for kids with disabilities just for fun! Her work has also appeared on the Future of Sex and Tickle.Life. When she’s not working, she can be found drinking coffee, snuggling her chihuahua-terrier Miska, and watching a movie.


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