A lesbian can be generally defined as a woman who experiences romantic and/or sexual attraction to other women.
As an identity, it is differentiated from bisexuality by referring to women who exclusively experience same-sex attraction; however, the term can be used as a self-identification by those who choose to form romantic relationships only with women but continue to have sexual relations with people of other genders or any number of variations, sometimes as a purely political identity.
How do lesbians have sex?
There appears to be a pre-occupation within both the LGBTUA+ and non-LGBTUA+ communities of what exactly constitutes ‘lesbian sex’. Many misconceptions still exist about whether it has to involve certain sex acts/positions/sex toys but generally it is easiest to view lesbian sex as the intent by either party to bring about sexual pleasure. Crucially, lesbian sex doesn’t involve defining sex in the hetero-normative or cis-normative sense of the word so it is free to be defined by the individual parties involved!
Do lesbians need to worry with safe sex?
Without the risk of unplanned pregnancy, it is often easy for lesbians to forget about the dangers of STIs and safe sex. However, that does not mean we are free from risk! STIs can be transmitted in many ways e.g. through oral sex, genital to genital contact and the sharing of sex toys. It is important to remember that lesbians also need to get tested regularly, particularly when starting up with a new partner, as well as to consider the use of dental dams (during oral sex) and the use of condoms when using certain sex toys. Our welfare officer will be able to sort you out with all of these!
Another point that is important to remember is that trans women can and do identify as lesbians. These groups are often ignored and their safe sex concerns are sometimes different, but they are valid and should not be ignored.
Are all lesbians butch or femme?
Many stereotypes exist around what a typical lesbian looks or acts like, not helped by mainstream culture. Many Lesbians choose to use labels like ‘butch’ or ‘femme’ to tie into their gender identity within their sexuality; however lesbianism isn’t confined to the heteronormative binary of masculine and feminine traits. Same-sex coupling comes in all manner of variation and there is no binary of having one butch and one femme member of a couple. Many lesbians reject these identifiers because of the way in which they are used to reinforce negative stereotypes and it would be wrong to assume that all lesbians can be categorised within these two positions.