When most people think of sex, a vagina and a penis come to mind. Therefore, when it comes to sex between two girls, they might know what to think at all. We can probably thank the hypersexualized images we see in the media for that (Brittana and their fondness for scissoring, anyone?), and, unsurprisingly, those images can be far from the truth.
Here are some common things you’ve probably heard about girl-on-girl sex—and why they’re totally not true at all.
1. The only way two girls can have sex is through oral sex
Since so many people think of sex in such a heteronormative, or straight, way, many people think that oral sex is the only way that two girls can get it on. However, many people fail to realize that sex isn’t just direct vaginal contact.
Sex educator and human sexuality expert Dr. Justine Shuey explains that there are a ton of ways for two girls to be intimate that don’t involve oral.
“Two women can engage in a variety of sexual behaviors not limited to oral sex, including tribadism, manual stimulation, sex toys, kink behaviors, tantric sex, anal stimulation,” Dr. Shuey says.
Whether it’s massaging, fingering, using vibrators or dildos or even kink and BDSM, the definition of sex can be expanded in many different ways. At the end of the day, sex can really be defined as simply as people pleasuring each other. It shouldn’t ever be limited or have boundaries put on it, because it really is what you make of it!\
2. Girls who have sex with only girls don't have to worry about STIs
In health class, you’re usually taught that you can get STIs by having sex with a guy. But just because you were never taught about how STIs are transmitted from girl to girl doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
“Sexually transmitted infections do not discriminate,” Dr. Shuey says. “It's not about who is having sex with who, but rather what is touching what.”
Even if you are only having oral sex, she says you are still at risk for a variety of STIs that can be found in any sort of sexual interaction.
“Individuals can get STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia from oral sex, and herpes and HPV are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact alone,” Dr. Shuey says. “It is also possible to transmit infections via shared sex toys that are porous or not properly sterilized.”
In this case, protection is still totally necessary for safe girl-on-girl sex. While dental dams have gotten a bad rap in the past due to the lack of sensation that girls claim to experience, there are tons of fun and sexy ways to use them that’ll be great for you and your partner. There is a bunch of awesome ways to manipulate the material to snap and tug at your partner during sex. Different kinds of condoms can also be fun to put on sex toys. From ribbed to icy/hot, some condoms can create incredible sensations that’ll be awesome for both you and your partner. You can find all these fun things, like condoms, dental dams and lube, in your campus health clinic or even your LGBTQ+ resource center.
3. Girls automatically know how to please each other
There’s a common misconception that because cis girls have the same parts, they know exactly how to get their partners excited. While it’s definitely important to know your own body and what turns you on, what works for you won’t necessarily work for your partner, even if you have all the same parts. Even though you might like your partner to pay more attention to your boobs, she might want you to move further south.
“People should know how to please themselves, but that doesn't mean they do,” Dr. Shuey says. “Different people like different things, so just because one person enjoys it doesn't mean the other person will enjoy the same types of stimulation.”
Just like in any sexual interaction with any other person, you need to be able to communicate with your partner efficiently in order to find exactly what she wants and vice versa. You want to be confident and know that you’re both having fun, so make sure you’re reading her body language for an awesome time!
4. Lesbians don't like penetration
Even though lesbians aren’t sexually attracted to men, that doesn’t mean they don’t like penetration. Attraction to a certain gender is a completely unrelated from the feelings that you actually want to experience in the bedroom.
“Different people enjoy different types of stimulation, and everybody is different,” Dr. Shuey says. “Some enjoy vaginal penetration; some enjoy anal penetration and stimulation. The genitals are rich with nerve endings.”
There are many lesbians who really enjoy being fingered, playing with dildos and vibrators and other forms of penetration. Just because lesbians don’t like men doesn’t mean they don’t like the feeling of something inside of them.
5. If a girl's partner wears a strap-on, she actually wants to have sex with a man
While they might not for everyone, there are many girls who find strap-ons super pleasurable for the wearer and the receiver. A lot of girls find it sexy and fun to have them around in the bedroom. However, many people think strap-ons are a replacement for sex with a man’s penis, which Dr. Shuey says is definitely not true.
“A strap-on may be similar, but is not the same as having sex with a man,” she says.
There are a bunch of different reasons why a girl might find wearing (or her partner wearing) a strap-on sexy. It can be a sort of power play in the bedroom between you and your partner. It can also be as simple as just wanting to be penetrated while looking at the beautiful woman who just happens to be penetrating you with a bright purple dildo strapped to her hips. Whatever the reason, it’s not because she wants to be with a guy.
6. Scissoring is something that happens in every girl-on-girl sexual encounter
If there is any one sexual act that is specifically used to stereotype the queer-girl community, it would probably be tribadism, or scissoring. Scissoring is the act of two girls spreading their legs opposite of each other and rubbing their genitals against each other. This myth has become increasingly popular thanks to TV shows like South Park, and for some reason people haven’t been able to let it go. While it is something that some girls do choose to take part in, the same cannot be said for every girl.
“Some lesbians enjoy tribadism, while others do not,” Dr. Shuey says. “It is about personal preference.”
Scissoring can be pretty difficult for many partners due to factors like a significant height difference. Let’s be honest; no one wants to get it on with a foot in her face.
7. Every girl is either a top or a bottom
When it comes to homosexuality and queerness in general, there’s often pressure to label everything. A lot of these things tend to be gendered, such as who is the top and who is the bottom, which can be very problematic. The bottom is usually the person receiving the sexual action, such as penetration, oral, etc., while the top is doing the action. However, each girl taking on a specific role is not the case in every queer-girl sexual encounter.
“There are very few ‘rules’ when it comes to sexual expression, and people can be as fluid as they want in their sexuality and sexual expression,” Dr. Shuey says. “Sexual orientation is about who someone is sexually and emotionally attracted [to], not about the sexual behaviors someone chooses to engage in.”
As you can probably tell from this list of myths, nothing about sexuality is completely consistent. Ranging from person to person, pleasure is completely dependent on the individual and can never be set in stone. With that being said, you should never feel like your sexuality and what you enjoy is being forced into a box or needs to look like one specific scenario. Take charge of your own sex life and make sure that it’s whatever you want it to be!