Do NOT Have Sex With Another Woman Until You Know These 5 Things

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5 Things You NEED To Know Before Having Lesbian Sex

By Amy Gall

I think having sex with women is just the best. If I’m not thinking about my next meal or which stress-reducing coloring book to buy next, chances are, I’m daydreaming about a merry-go-round of vulvas circling my face.

But if you’ve never had sex with a woman, one vulva—much less a carnival ride full of them—may be a bit intimidating.  

To help you out, I consulted with several friends and exes (and as any good sex-with-women-haver will soon find out, there is a lot of overlap between these two categories) and came up with a list of the most important things to know before you dive in.

1. Be honest with her.

“I went on a Tinder date with a woman who seemed really nervous," says Jay, 28. "When I asked her about her past dating experiences, she admitted she’d never been with a woman. I wish I hadn’t had to ask her to figure it out, but it was way less awkward than finding out once I took her home."

If this is your first time, tell your potential partner before you get in bed. Maybe it’s her first time, too, and you can both discover each other’s bodies together. Or maybe she’s been with women for years and only wants sexual partners with a similar level of experience. Honesty will keep both of you from feeling blindsided.

This is also a good time to ask each other when you last got tested because women who have sex with women are just as at risk for STDs as anyone else.

Once you are in bed, tell your partner what you want and ask her what she wants.

"I hate to generalize, but mens' buttons are easier to find and push than women's," says Daisy, 30. "No two women I've f*cked have needed the same things. So giving clear signals and being ego-less and open to learning are really important.” 

If you don’t know what you want, start with what worked with your past male partners or what works with yourself when you masturbate. Communication doesn’t have to be verbal, either. It can be as simple as moving a woman’s head to a different place on your clit or putting pressure on her hand so her fingers can go deeper inside you. A well-placed moan also lets a woman know she’s in the right place. 

Related: 12 Things You Should Definitely Know About Your Clit

2. Get a manicure beforehand.

Margaret, 27, confesses that she needed a little hint about this one. “After a few dates, my first girlfriend basically handed me the clippers," she says. "I kept hurting her when I fingered her.” 

All women are different, but no one’s labia is made of concrete. Long, sharp nails are going to cut the tender skin on the inside and outside of your vulva like a knife through tissue paper.

Keep 'em short ladies, keep 'em short. 

3. Don't make it all about the orgasm.

“I was actually pretty inside my head the first time I slept with a woman," says Page, 26. "I was in awe of looking at another woman, touching her, sticking my fingers inside her, and smelling her. I kept thinking, ‘I can't believe I'm doing this finally. Do I like it? Do I not like it? How do I feel? What does this mean?' It wasn't exactly sexy the first time because I couldn't let go and be in the moment yet. It's easier to not be stuck in your head if you're just exploring and having fun.”  

All of my friends echoed this sentiment, and even though I’ve been having sex with women for a long time, the first time I have sex with any new person, I rarely have an orgasm (unless I’m the one rubbing my clit). The more I think about orgasms as the measure of sexual success, the less I enjoy myself. So just concentrate on being in the moment and experiencing whatever comes up for you.

That being said, if you are getting close, let your partner know that she should keep going. Believe me, she will. Likewise, don’t feel like a failure if your partner doesn’t orgasm. It takes trust and time to know what will help her get there.

Related: You Probably Aren't Getting All Of The STD Tests You Should Be

4. Leave your label-maker at home.

If you've only had straight sex, you might not know how to define sex beyond P-in-V action. "The answer is everything," says Aliya, 27. "Don’t think about whether this is 'sex;’ just be in it.” 

Sex can be anything from putting your mouth on a woman’s vulva to mutual masturbation to getting simultaneously penetrated vaginally and anally with a dildo in the shape of a kangaroo (and if that’s the kind of sex you’re having, call me).

Likewise, don’t worry about what having sex with a woman means about your identity. I call myself a lesbian, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have sex with a man. And just because you have sex with a woman doesn’t mean you have to call yourself a lesbian.

Related: Why Straight Women Prefer Lesbian Porn

5. Remember: she's your lover, not your therapist. 

Everyone gets nervous from time to time, so a great sex partner should be supportive if you tell her you're anxious or unsure—and you should do the same for her.

You may be wondering what your parents will think (by the way—you don't have to tell them) or how the experience made you feel about your own identity, but I'd recommend against sharing these concerns with your new partner right away. 

“A woman I slept with wanted to hash out for hours afterward whether the fact that she had gone down on me meant she was gay," says Lissette, 28. "She even texted me for a few days after until I told her I couldn’t make a decision about her sexuality for her.” 

If you're having a hard time dealing with your new sexual experiences, seek out the help of a therapist or counselor. Their unbiased advice may help guide you in better understanding who you are and what makes you happy. 

Ultimately, we all deserve to be fucked exactly the way we want, and that only happens with practice and even a little disappointment. I know some women who, after one awkward experience with a woman, decided to go back to men because it is more familiar and less vulnerable. But I promise that the more you have sex with women, the more confident and comfortable you will become.

And that’s when the real fun begins.  

This article was originally published at Women's Health. Reprinted with permission from the author.