Many women enter college knowing if they are straight or lesbians, while others may be questioning and enjoy the chance to explore and experiment. Young lesbian, bisexual, and questioning women often assume that sexual activity between two women holds no risk of disease or STI’s. However, there are risks that need to be considered, depending on what you do.

ORAL – Oral-genital sex can put one at risk of Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, HPV, Herpes, and in some cases HIV. Dental dams or cut open condoms can be used as a protective barrier during oral sex. Even household plastic wrap can work, but use a couple layers. (BTW, for the guys reading this, plastic wrap is not recommended for penile sex.  Get a condom.)

ANAL – Oral-anal sex can put the “giver” at risk of Hepatitis A and intestinal parasites, along with the STI’s just mentioned. Latex or plastic barriers are a good idea here, too, along with cleaning the area before you start.

FINGERS AND TOYS – Penetrative sex can include the use of fingers or sex toys, and when used on both the vagina and the anus, can result in bacteria passing from anus to vagina, which can cause a vaginal infection.  This can also spread STI’s . So, wear latex gloves, and cover up your toys with latex gloves or condoms and change to fresh ones when moving from the anus to the vagina, or when sharing between partners.

So have fun, but don’t assume that lesbian sex is equal to safer sex. Take some precautions!

Alison Sauers, BA

Roger Miller, MD for BuckMD