In September 2018, the Supreme Court of India legalised consensual gay sex. And yet, here we are, after a year, still not talking about same-sex relationships the way we should. It is essential for women who are in same sex relationships to have conversations regarding safe practices.
Why the need to discuss?
Firstly, talking about sex, especially for women, has always been a taboo. So, people have many misconceptions and misunderstandings, as well as lack of information. When it comes to lesbian women, these are even more.
In addition, women have largely dismissed the risks of unprotected sex with other women, since the fear of pregnancy is eliminated from the scene. But, in the process, they have also dismissed the possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
How STIs can be contracted
Women can contract STIs from other women through one-on-one contacts like oral, anal, or vaginal sex or skin-to-skin contact, exchange of toys, exchange of bodily fluids, etc. In fact, there’s a higher risk of contracting STIs if both women are menstruating.
Kinds of STIs in lesbian women
Remember that the risk of STIs in homosexual or bisexual women is the same as that in heterosexual women, if not more. Experts once held the belief that the chances of contracting HIV among women in same sex relationships are much less. However, they have changed their stance.
Besides HIV, other common infections that you can catch from your partner include gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C, herpes, etc. These demonstrate the common symptoms like redness, swelling, warts and sores, vaginal discharge, irritability, odour, etc.
It is essential to get tested, to detect the presence of such conditions and treat them in time. Because of the lack of information about STIs, many women may not even know that they have contracted one. Plus, the symptoms are not always visible, as the conditions may stay dormant.
So, it is important to get yourself and your partner tested regularly. Regular health checkups are even more important if you are in an open relationship and have multiple partners. STIs can be harmful if left untreated. Besides, it’s important to start treatment in time to control symptoms.
One of the best ways to prevent STDs and STIs, besides getting tested frequently, is vaccination. Getting vaccinated can strengthen your immunity system against diseases like Hep A and B, which can save your liver. If you’re less than 26 years of age, you can get the HPV vaccine, too.
In case of anal sex, as well as for using sex toys, don’t skip the step of using lubricants. In fact, use lots of the product, so that there is absolutely no friction during penetration, with a toy or with the hands. This will reduce the chances of cuts and bruises.
A dental dam is nothing but a thin barrier, like a condom. It can be put over the vulva and anus to maintain safety during oral or hand stimulation. In India, these are rare to find and less used. You can make a DIY dental dam using a condom or even gloves.
This one is very important, as most women in same-sex relationships use sex toys for heightened pleasure. It’s essential to wash the toys and keep them clean, especially if you share the toys. Also, avoid using the toys of new partners, since you don’t know about their hygiene practices.
You need to find yourself a good gynecologist who will not ask intrusive questions and will be able to help you without judging you. One of the biggest problems with doctors, especially in India, is that they are often interested in giving a moral science class.
So, a considerate doctor who only does nothing but provides medical advice is important, to ensure that you are, in fact, leading a healthy, safe sex life. They can guide you about the best practices, as well as preventions and vaccinations.
In addition to being careful about your sexual health and hygiene, you also need to have open conversations to discuss your likes and dislikes. Respect each other’s boundaries, and be open about them. Communication is the key.
Remember not to force yourself into consenting to something you’re uneasy about. Be it in terms of a risky position or a new toy, your fetishes or your areas of discomfort, a discussion is important. If necessary, take the help of a therapist.
From health and hygiene to safety measures, everything needs to be maintained properly if you want to have an active and healthy sex life. Considering both you and your partner are both females, there should be less miscommunication and more transparency in discussing sexual issues.