Between the Sheets: The Realities of Lesbian Sex

Between the Sheets: The Realities of Lesbian Sex

Disclaimer: This article is based on the personal experience of one individual. In this article, lesbian sex is referred to in the context of being between two AFAB (assigned female at birth) partners. Trans lesbians, we love you too.

Hello there, queer/questioning/closeted Critic reader! You know exactly who you are. Flicking through the pages of the Critic Sex Issue wondering if you’ll actually find anything relevant, and finally spotting The L Word (fantastic cultural reference there). Maybe you’re reading this alone in your room in halls, drawn in by the queer label and out of sight of any cis-het peers. This might be your first year embracing your gay side despite the scariness that can bring (trust me, I was a fresher in St Margs). If this is you, think of me as an elder gay, cutting through the jungle of sapphic mystique to break it down for you. Is this good advice? Maybe, maybe not. Either way it’s probably more useful than your high school sex-ed class.

Scissoring (Tribbing)
Scissoring, the ye olde faithful in depictions of lesbian sex. No other topic may be more divisive than this in the world of lady-on-lady loving. On one side of the fence, the scissoring nay-sayers claim it is not real and merely a product of porn. On the other side are its proponents claiming scissoring as a God-tier fucking method. In truth, the answer lies somewhere down the middle. Scissoring falls under the umbrella of ‘tribbing’, the act of partners rubbing their genitals against different parts of each others’ bodies. This could be thighs, knees, torsos, or — in the case of scissoring — another vulva. Think of it like rectangles and squares; not every trib is a scissor, but every scissor is a trib. If you spoke to an elder gay, they’d tell you that scissoring lies somewhat low on the list of tribbing positions. It still has its place — by all means give it a go, but don’t feel like a failure if it’s not for you. Besides, the thigh is right there.

This one stings a little. The vast — emphasis on VAST — majority of “lesbian porn” is made solely for men. Whether it’s the over-reliance on scissoring, long fingernails, stiletto-licking, or general uninterest from the actresses, it's not hard to tell that sapphics were not in mind in its production. Sadly, the two terms are so inextricably linked online that even Youtube kills any search with “lesbian” in it because of its ties to porn (a fantastic message to send to any closeted queers trying to find solace online, I might add). Keywords like “authentic” and “sapphic” may help yield more favourable results on larger porn sites but, overall, it’s depressing as fuck. Highly recommend seeking out smaller, private queer content creators if you can afford it. 

Sex Toys
If there were a lesbian version of the Statue of Liberty, she would hold ‘Am I a Lesbian? Master doc - free online pdf’ in one hand and a vibrator in the other. The beauty of lesbian sex is that it lies outside conventional heterosexual norms, thereby opening up a world of sexy sapphic possibilities. Sex toys are fun to use on yourself but even more fun to use on each other – just make sure to sanitise them properly. Highly recommend investing in some, shipping is 100% discrete from websites like Adult Toy Mega Store (so discrete I successfully got multiple packages delivered into St Margs). That being said, porn and the heteronormative worldview can sometimes present sex toys, specifically strap-ons, as the one way to have lesbian sex, which is blatantly untrue. Some just can’t comprehend sex without imagining a P going in a V. However, strapless strap-ons are good fun, and we’re truly in the golden age of couples sex toys. Fantastic sex can be had with or without sex toys, just make it work for you. 

Safe Sex
I’m gonna be real with you: if safe lesbian sex was a test, I’d probably get a B-. What the fuck is a dental dam? And why the hell is it called that? (Guess they couldn’t call it the Pussy Gladwrapper 9000). Gay, virginal, teenage me thought dental dams were gonna be a way bigger deal than they actually are — a bit like quicksand or the hole in the ozone layer. Personally, I’ve never seen nor used one, and have never met anyone else who has either. But that’s not to say they’re unimportant. A lot of sapphics seem to think that just because our rates of STI transmission are supposedly lower than our straight counterparts, it means all bets are off when it comes to getting down. This is a misconception – STI rates are higher in queer women than straight women. We’re less careful, but we also didn’t get sex ed. Safe sex practices are important regardless of who you sleep with. Trim those nails, wash those hands, clean and lubricate your sex toys (check out Critic’s Safe Vulva Sex guide for more). If you have access to a dental dam somehow, fucking use it. The lack of dental dams around likely reflects more on a heteronormative society than a sexually unsafe one. You can even five-minute craft your own with a pair of scissors and a condom. Nothing more erotic and sapphic than DIY, right?

Actually doing it
Surprise surprise, lesbian sex is not what it's like in the movies. I honestly thought that losing my virginity to another woman would be a lot smoother, owing to some divinely intrinsic feminine bond between us. That was not the case. Vulvas can be a bit confronting the first time around; there were vivid flashbacks to my HUBS textbook. Sure, having one of your own helps with understanding the basic layout, but communication is key at the end of the day (nothing can prepare you for your ex-girlfriend being unable to find the clit). Don’t be afraid to ask your sexual partner what feels good or what they want you to do to them. The reality is, you’re both there for one main reason. Smash your way through the patriarchy, one sapphic orgasm at a time.

Finally, just embrace that sex is always a little gross. Let’s be real – fishing out a pubic hair from the back of your throat would be hideous in all other circumstances besides sex, but that’s also what makes it so fun. Prepare yourself for some awkward noises, tentative sexual exploration, and dirty talk that sometimes just doesn’t land. You can always laugh about it later. Baby sapphics – get out there and go to town, I believe in you. And if it goes poorly, blame Critic, I guess. 

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2024.
Posted 2:54pm Saturday 23rd March 2024 by Madeline O’Leary.