Trying Something New: Can girls give other girls STDs?

Dear Sexpert,

I just got out of a long-term relationship with a guy and I am looking to experiment with girls. I don’t think I am a lesbian, but I think college is as good a time as any to broaden my horizons. My boyfriend and I used a condom in the beginning, but once we got serious and I went on the pill, we stopped using one, because both of us had been tested and we’re both clean. Since I plan on only engaging in sexual activity with other girls, I don’t need to worry about protection right? I mean, I’m obviously not going to get pregnant, and my friend told me girls can’t catch anything from each other.

–Ready to Try Something New

 

Dear Ready,

That is great that you got tested previously—knowing your STI status is always a good thing, especially when engaging with a new partner. While you are right that you do not have risk of pregnancy with other women, there is still risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, your level of risk varies depending upon what kind of activities you and your partner engage in.

Low risk activities include french kissing, massages, frotting, mutual masturbation, fingering (insertion of fingers into the vaginal canal) and performing oral sex on another woman through a protective barrier, like a dental dam.

Moderate and higher risk activities then include oral sex or rimming without a dental dam, fisting, and sharing dildos or other toys without thoroughly disinfecting between uses.

Fortunately, both UHS and the LGBT Center have a number of different protection implements available. Condoms are the most common method of protection, and they are available at McCosh for free. You may not think you need to use a condom if you are not engaging in sexual activities with a man, but you can use them on sex toys such as dildos to prevent the transmission of STIs and other infections. Latex condoms are most effective for the prevention of STIs, but if you or your partner has an allergy, polyurethane condoms are also available.

The Reality Condom, or internal condom, is available at the LGBT Center. Made of polyurethane, it can be inserted several hours before use. This can protect you and your partner from STI-transmission during fingering, fisting, and similar activities.

Latex gloves and finger cots are a good form of protection for activities where your fingers or hands come into contact with your partner’s bodily fluids, and vice versa. Cuts, lesions, and any other breaking of the skin can that comes into contact with your partner’s bodily fluids puts you at risk for infection.

For both vaginal-oral sex and anal-oral sex, the best form of protection is the dental dam. Dental dams are available at both McCosh and the LGBT Center. In a pinch you can use non-microwavable Saran Wrap (check the label), for protection during these activities, but latex or polyurethane dams provide the best protection.

While abstinence is the only way to ensure protection against STIs and pregnancy, the barrier methods I just mentioned are the best forms of protection available.  So have fun trying them out and finding what works best for you and your partner.

~The Sexpert

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