What I Wish I’d Known About Sex as a Bisexual Woman
Okay, it’s bisexual awareness month, and I am going to make you all Aware of the fact that I am Bisexual. Job done. Article’s over. Carry on with your day.
Nah, but actually, I would like to talk a little bit about something I wish I had been a little more aware of when I first came out as bisexual, and that’s what safe sex looks like for bi women. When I was a teenager, safe sex conversations mostly revolved around condoms and penises and, unwaveringly, men – which, you know, yes, that was something that I needed, given that I have had and do have sex with guys, but there seemed to be this assumption that, because I Touched the Men, any discussion of sex with women was irrelevant. Which left me with a bit of a hole to fill (no giggling at the back) when it came to safe sex in my sexual experiences with women – and what sex actually looked like and meant as a bisexual (and cis) woman, specifically.
Look, I’ll be honest with you: the first time that I hooked up with a woman who pulled out a dental dam, I had no fucking idea what was going on and assumed she just had a very specific kind of latex fetish that only came in small, rectangular form. I didn’t even know that you could catch STDs off oral sex with a woman with a vagina. I was woefully unprepared when it came to safely banging other chicks (and yes, scientifically, that’s the worst way I could have put that), and was lucky enough to get away with any health issues as a result. I learned on the fly with the women I slept with, who were luckily more experienced and informed than me, but that’s really not how I want anyone else to have to figure this stuff out. So! From the battlefields of being a slutty bisexual, let me share with you all the things I wish I’d known about having safe and enjoyable sex with those who have matching genitals to mine.
- Protecting Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases
There’s this notion that penises are the harbingers of all STDs to sexual encounters, but if you’ve got two pussies in the mix, there’s still a decent chance that you can pass any active STDs to your partner.
They can be transmitted via physical genital-to-genital contact (like scissoring), giving or receiving oral sex, and fingering/fisting can also be a risk if you use the same unprotected hand to touch your genitals shortly after your partner’s. Latex gloves or finger condoms (exactly what they sound like – small condoms that fit over the tips of your fingers) can protect against this, but need to be disposed of immediately after use. And, of course, when it comes to oral sex, you’ve got dental dams, which brings me to…
2. A Dental Dam How-To
Dental dams are essentially thin squares of latex that can be draped over the receiving partner’s vagina during oral sex to protect against the direct contact with the genitals with the mouth. It’s best to get a made-for-purpose one if possible, but if you’re in a pinch, you can make one out of a condom – snip the tip of the condom (and then put the scissors away) and unfold it, and place the lubed side of the condom against the vagina and hold it in place as you go to town. If it’s a flavoured condom, make sure that the flavoured side is facing up, because oh my God does that noxious flavouring juice irritate the fuck out of a vagina when it’s just slapped up on it like that.
3. Sexual Healthcare
Just because you’re bothering to educate yourself doesn’t mean that everyone is. I encountered quite a few doctors who seemed baffled that I would need to get STD checks when I was exclusively having sex with women, but, if you’re unlucky enough to encounter the same, ignore that shit and keep pushing for testing, and, if possible, seek out providers who are explicitly LGBTQ friendly to avoid having to go back to basics with pussy-function for someone who was meant to study this stuff.
4. The Sexiest Toys
Obviously, sex toys are not exclusive to lesbian sex, but they have, in my experience, tended to make a bit more of an appearance than in PIV encounters. And they’re great! Thoroughly recommend. I also thoroughly recommend learning how to have safe sex with them, too, because even though they might not be producing any fluids of their own (for the most part), they can act as vectors for passing on nasties like STDs and yeast infections and what have you.
Best way to protect against that is to cover your sex toys where at all possible; use condoms that you switch out between partners (I’ve found that finger condoms work pretty well for smaller toys like bullet vibrators and the like for the same purpose) and clean them after every use with hot water and a little soap (because my vagina likes to throw tantrums at everything ever, I use unscented, anti-bacterial stuff on mine, and it’s saved me precisely one thousand UTIs so far). If you’re using strap-ons, make sure that the strap is easily washed, too.
5. Bisexuality is Not Defined By Who You’re Currently Having Sex With
This one is maybe the biggest for me – when it came to bisexuality, I felt like I was constantly having to prove myself – gay enough to have sex with women, straight enough to have sex with men. Interrogating my sexual experiences to try and unfurl some actual universal truth about my REAL sexuality, because bi couldn’t just be it, could it? People seemed to judge my sexuality based on who I had last been with, and so, I did, as well – I just didn’t really believe, deep down in my heart, that I could really be “that way”, that I must be faking my attraction to at least one gender. But honestly – I’m still as bisexual as I ever was, still attracted to people across the gender spectrum, still very much not defined by who I last slept with, and I wish I could go back in time and assure the baby-bi version of me that I am, actually, just bisexual – and that I don’t need to have a crisis every time I sleep with someone new about what I really am.
If you’re a queer person looking for more help with your sexual health, Stonewall has a great list of places you can start in educating yourself. And if you liked this article and want to show your appreciation, please consider donating a few bucks to MindOut, a UK charity dedicated to improving the mental health of LGBTQ people.
If you’d like to read more of my writing on sexuality, take a gander at the links below, and please consider supporting me on Patreon!
Hot Bisexuals, the Safety of Sexiness, and the Fetishization of Queer Women
Through a Glee, Darkly: Transphobia, Biphobia, and the LGBT Community
In and Out of the Closet: Bisexuality and Me
TV’s problem with the word “bisexual”
Inhumanity, Bisexuality, and American Horror Story: Hotel
Greey, Lying, or Slutty: Straight-Passing and Bi-Erasure
Ha. I can remember exactly the first time I saw a dental dam, which was in 1996, during my teacher training course, when a guest lecturer came in to train us all in how to teach The Sex Ed (should we end up working in schools that required form tutors to do this) and brought full kit. I still have a mental image of our middle-aged male course tutor picking up the dam and awkwardly playing around with it in a mock-bewildered manner, which he clearly thought was highly amusing and covered his discomfort with the subject. It wasn’t and didn’t, but I guess it did at least stick in my memory.
PS If you ever do come by a means of time travel, please also stop off in the 80s and deliver your baby-bi message to young me?