Recently, an eighteen year old queer female friend of mine was telling me how excited she was to have casual sex with her tinder matches. As the mom friend, my immediate response was something along the lines of, “That’s great! Be sure to use protection.”
To which she replied,
“We don’t need protection, they’re all girls.”
Ummm. No. Following this, we had a very in-depth conversation about STDs. I discovered the need for conversation about queer-centric protection for women. We even made her an appointment to go get tested at her gynecologist. This conversation with a friend of mine who is legally an adult, made me see how thoroughly sex education in schools has failed queer kids. Especially queer women like myself.
That being said, sex education may be blush-worthy, and possibly make you shift in your seat but it’s incredibly important. I would go as far as saying it is essential, and unfortunately young queer women like myself find out most of their information via trial and error, or the internet.
The first most important thing I can tell you about queer sex, or sex in any form, would be consent.
No matter the sexuality, gender, or various body parts involved, consent is essential. Being open to talking during intimate situations is necessary because it opens the doorway to talk about consent. Not only consent but also things like whether or not you and your partner have been tested, need protection, or if there are simply things that you or your partner aren’t comfortable doing.
This open doorway created by a conversation about consent leads to a sanctuary of openness and honesty. A great foundation whether you are having casual sex or it’s your hundredth time with your committed partner. After consent, protection should be the second thing you talk about.
I find that the easiest way for me to start this conversation is to tell my partner that I have been tested and I am “clean”. Meaning that a professional has examined/tested for any sexually transmitted diseases or infections. Putting yourself out there will often prompt your partner to tell you whether or not they have been tested recently. If they don’t follow suit it is important to ask them when the last time they were tested is.
Following this conversation, you and your partner can decide whether or not you need or want to use protection.
Something nobody really tells you about sex with a person who has the same genitalia is that even if you are both clean, and obviously neither of you can get pregnant, one or both parties may still want to use protection. This is normal and you shouldn’t be afraid to voice your concerns or needs.
When it comes to protection, most everyone is familiar with a condom. However if you want more information or do not know how to put one on, this article from Planned Parenthood is a fantastic educational resource. Be warned though, it is a bit heterosexual-centric. Contrary to popular belief, condoms are not just for penises. Many queer people use condoms to keep sex toys clean.
In conjunction with this line of thought, there are two other forms of protection that you probably didn’t hear about in your gym class sex education class. They are finger cots and dental dams. Just because you’ve never heard of them or don’t know how they work, it does not mean they are any less important than a traditional condom. It is never too late to learn.
To begin, a finger cot (also referred to as a finger condom) is essentially like the finger part of a latex glove. It covers one finger and is meant to be used during penetration using the fingers. This helps protect both parties from STDs/STIs as well as protect any small cuts that might be on the fingers. Latex gloves are also an alternative if you need more coverage. That being said both can be bought at your local drug store and some grocery stores.
Next we move on to a dental dam. A dental dam is a flat latex sheet, typically non-lubricated, used to cover the external female sex organs or the anus. It is to be used during oral sex and is often flavored. Remember though, it is important to not use anything flavored inside of the vagina or anus due to risk of yeast or bacterial infection. A dental dam is not to be used internally.
For a tutorial on how to safely use one, as well as a more visual explanation of everything gone over in this article, I find this video by BuzzFeed Boldly to be incredibly helpful and tastefully silly. They even have more resources for safe sex in the description box of the video.
When it comes to safe sex, you can never really be too informed.
Unfortunately, many queer teens and young adults learn about safe sex once it’s already too late. However if the school system refuses to acknowledge queer sex (and sometimes safe sex at all), you have options! You can always talk to an adult you trust, your doctor, or find educational resources online.
Also published on Medium.