Porn Educated (How Lesbians Have Sex)

Quick question. Did you take a sex education course? Healthy living? A talk with your parents? Whatever it was, did they talk to you about tribbing?  Strap-ons and dildos? Dental dams?

Sex ed doesn't spend much time teaching us about lesbian sex. After all, there's no risk of pregnancy, and without penetration, there's a lower risk of exchanging bodily fluids, so the risk of STIs is lower. Cracked (my favorite humor website, weirdly enough) did a surprisingly informative article about problems gay people encounter, including a lack of knowledge and education. Because they don't think they're at risk, lesbians are 10 times less likely to get routine Pap tests, but most people, including gold-star lesbians, will have an HPV infection at some point in their lives, which can lead to cervical cancer.

Orange is the New Black just started its second season (I'M SO EXCITED). For those of you that don't watch it (what's wrong with you?), a lot of the series explores the lives of lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered women in prison. So we're finally starting to talk about how lesbians have sex. Except it's not totally accurate.

My mom watched this scene over my shoulder. 
The Nerve phrases this beautifully, addressing "the misconception that all [lesbians] do is go down on each other like diving for pearls is the only activity in the lesbian sea." Seriously, I love the show, but the sex usually focuses on oral. And when we aren't taught by educators or parents, porn fills the gap. We're porn educated. Porn actor and director Jackie Strano explains, “girl-on-girl scenes focusing on oral sex are popular in mainstream porn so viewers can see more vulvas for their money.”

Nobody spoil Season 2 for me, ok?
Cunnilingus is comfortable for us. After all, it's not exclusively a lesbian act (thank god). Viewers can wrap their heads around it. We understand it. We like it. When lesbians have sex in the media or porn, that's usually what's depicted. But we need to step beyond that.

Though not with a partner, I was super pleased that OITNB (briefly) addressed penetration, in Big Boo's (portrayed by Lea DeLaria, first openly gay comic on a late-night talk-show) masturbation scene with a screwdriver, because a lot of people, even gold-star lesbians, do like penetration, regardless of how they feel about dick. The two aren't always connected.

I made a gif for you because the Internet was lacking.
And if you didn't know, tribbing (sometimes just called scissoring) is vulva-to-vulva contact, and can be done in a variety of positions, like missionary or doggy-style. The specific "scissor" position is debated, mostly because it's not accurate (also I bet people accidentally kick their partner in the face). Tribadism still has the potential to transmit STIs like HPV, pubic lice, and herpes. Though using protection isn't common (again, studies suggest it's because lesbian women feel less at risk than heterosexuals), dental dams, or condoms cut in half, can help women practice safer sex.

South Park made the term "scissoring" popular. 
Porn is not a great teacher. Gay sex comes with risks, just like everything else. Sex, for anyone, doesn't depend on a position or a tool. Remy Merritt, an author for The Daily Californian, sums it up nicely ,"It’s all about desire and what you’re attracted to, be it traditional or kinky, quiet or loud, gentle or rough. Once you find that mutual attraction with someone, that spark that everyone is searching for, the possibilities are endless for heteros, homos and everyone in between."


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