When we talk about women who have sex with women, we often do it through a lens that acts as if all women look the same. We joke that we have the same body parts, so sex takes no learning whatsoever. It’s second nature.
Though this can be funny, and an example of a less heteronormative culture, it ends up giving into a cissexism that assumes that all women have vaginas (and identical vaginas, at that), and it also makes it pretty absolutely terrifying to have sex with a woman for the first time.
All that pressure! You’re expected to be perfect, after all, and without any practice. Just because you’re a master of getting yourself off (go you!) doesn’t mean that knowledge is going to transfer over to anyone else or their body.
So what do I wish I’d known about having sex with another woman?
1. It’s okay to be scared.
Before having sex with another woman, I bought into the idea that it was going to be piece of cake. After all, she would like what I liked, and it would be spectacular, and then we’d be able to cackle about the homophobes who act like women need men in order to feel pleasure. However, I was really and truly feeling terrified when it came down to it, and I wasn’t sure where to go for reassurance. So I’m going to be that reassurance to you: It’s fine if you’re freaking out.
2. It’s okay to be baffled once you get there.
When I got down to it with another woman, I was an absolute mess. Like, how do you touch someone else’s boobs? Doing it to yourself is one thing, but doing it to someone else can feel so fumble-y and awkward. I thought of romantic comedies where some dorky guy is trying to feel up his first girlfriend and was like, oh my god, that’s me, right now. And that’s before you even get to the nether regions.
Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t two distinct types of genitalia. Not all vaginas are the same. While I’m not into the whole “vaginas are so complicated” mess that tends to serve as an excuse for heterosexual, cis men to not bother learning how to get their partners off, I do strongly believe (and, well, know) that not all vaginas look the same. Everyone is different, which is beautiful and lovely. But it does mean starting from scratch every time you get a new sexual partner.
3. It’s okay to ask questions.
If you’re having sex with some awesome human who totally respects you (which is ideal), they’ll be totally cool with the simple fact that you have to learn how their body works, what it likes, and what it doesn’t like. You may have had sex with a bajillion people in the past, but that doesn’t mean you know how this particular human likes it.
Acting like a know it all isn’t going to serve you (or your partner(s)) well. So ask questions. It’s sweet, and can be sexy. “Do you like this?” doesn’t make you a dork. It makes you someone who cares about how your partner feels. And isn’t that the whole point of sex?
4. They’re probably just as nervous as you are.
Often when people are freaking out about having sex with someone else, they’re going at it under the impression that they are this total ball of nerves while the other person (or people) is just this cool cucumber wondering why they’re such a babbling mess.
The truth is, though, sex makes lots of people nervous. Trying to get someone to a plane of ultimate pleasure is stressful! Whether they’re a seasoned expert in all things woman-to-woman sex, or this is their first time too, they’re also wondering how on earth your body works and how they can do you right. So just breathe. Get them to breathe with you. And then get to it, judgment-free.
5. There’s nothing wrong with you if you like (or don’t) like it.
A big thing I was worried about when I went from self-proclaimed straight girl to queer as heck and rolling around in bed with another woman was that I would end up being totally wrong about my desire.
Our culture is very all or nothing when it comes to sexual orientation, acting as if you’re either straight or a hardcore lesbian without considering that a) sex is a spectrum and b) there’s so much beyond and in between that binary. So just relax, and remind yourself that your identity is your own, and the things that you do (or don’t do) with your body are your own.
If stereotypical lesbian sex acts don’t call to you, there’s no reason for you to do them. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a massive variety of ways to have sex with another woman. And as long as all involved parties are into it, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. Whether this is the only time you ever have sex with another woman, whether you stop in the middle and decide it’s not for you, whether you fall head over heels with this person – your feelings are valid. Let them be your guide.
Long story short? You’re going to be fine. Chat with your partner(s) and establish a judgment-free, question-filled zone. Check in with each other. Make sure you’re all cool with what’s going down, every step of the way. Don’t worry about labels or what you’re “supposed” to be doing. Just have fun! And be safe while you’re at it.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.