How can I explore and stay safe while doing it?
November 25, 2009 2:53 PM   Subscribe

As a woman, how can I have safe sex with another woman?

I'm interested in having casual sex for the first time, ever. (I'm not a virgin, just one of those people that ended up in the same relationship during high school and college and... yeah.) I have an IUD left over from the LTR (was with a man), so it's incredibly important that I don't end up with an STD or STI.

I went the meet-women-online route in hopes I could ask for actual documentation that the woman is STD-free, but the mention of that tends to be looked down upon/laughed at. Dental dams also fall into that category, both by people in person and online. I'm not sure if this is relevant, but in case it is, I won't be having sex with men at all. Just not interested.

That being said... How the heck do I stay safe?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you want to have sex with people who are disease-free and have the same standards as you, so you might have to get over your embarassment and demand what you want.

That said, there are a lot of sexual things you can do without exchanging fluids. Watching each other, using toys on each other (and keeping them clean!! very important)
posted by kathrineg at 3:00 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lots of great info here, particularly the Q&A section (site is not commercial, though it's a .com, it's a University of WA site):
posted by tristeza at 3:14 PM on November 25, 2009

Asking people about their status and expecting an honest answer are reasonable.

If potential lovers laugh or are offended, that's probably a good sign they're not appropriate bed partners for you.

Don't feel obligated to change your standards for casual sex.
posted by bilabial at 3:53 PM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]

You might do better scaling back on the "casual" aspect of your casual sex. I say that because in my experience (and apparently yours), dental dams and gloves aren't standard in lesbian relationships (although far from unheard of), and neither are frequent JIC STD tests. And practically no one is going to go out and get a bunch of tests just for the chance to have sex with someone they don't already really know. Do you have results ready to offer? How would these women know your results were real? How would you know theirs were?

So what if you made your online ads more focused on friendship and casual dating than sex hookups, and broadened your search to real life bars and events? Then you could meet and make out with women, do whatever else you don't feel is too risky, and see if you were mutually interested enough to take it further, and then go get tested together. Maybe these women are laughing because they don't know if they even want to kiss you yet?

Please forgive me if you're actually doing it this way, it's not how I read your question.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:54 PM on November 25, 2009

One correction, I should have said:

"Do whatever else you don't feel is too risky, and/or make your safer sex needs clear, then if you were mutually interested enough to take it further and wanted to drop the barriers, you could go get tested together."

And to be extra clear (because I seem to be mangling this one), I agree with Bilabial that your limits are your limits and you should stick to them, but I think that saying "I won't do _____ without a ______ until we know each other well enough to get tested together" is likely a more practical way of setting limits than saying "looking for a partner for ______, must have proof of having no STDs". I also think that having that conversation when you're heading towards doing _____ is more likely to get you a receptive and willing partner than bringing it up during an initial conversation online or in a bar .
posted by crabintheocean at 4:37 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Using condoms on penetrative toys is not weird at all.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:17 PM on November 25, 2009

I mean, not that anything's "weird" if it works for you. But using condoms on penetrative toys was the norm the last time I was having casual sex with other women, which admittedly was more than a decade ago.

Saying things like "I'm new to dating around" and telling people that you were in a long-term fluid-bonded relationship and now you're trying to figure out what limits are reasonable are also good ideas that won't get you laughed at.

As crabintheocean says, saying "here are things I'm concerned about" is much more likely to get good and meaningful results than setting up "you must be THIS clean to ride this ride" rubrics before you've even met someone.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:20 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yes, definitely use condoms on any shared penetrative toys. And always use a clean condom if you switch between vaginal to anal penetration.

If a potential partner isn't willing to discuss her history or use a dental dam, she's probably not someone you want to be having sex with for reasons beyond STD transmission. FWIW, if a lady asked me to use a dental dam, I'd probably find it a little odd, but I wouldn't say no. Because hey, if it's have a little latex in my life or have no sex, I'll go with the latex thnx.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:17 PM on November 25, 2009

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