Sex ed is hella heteronormative. Because the subject of safe sex for queer women is rarely on the syllabus of most high school sex ed programs, young queer ladies are often stuck fending for themselves — or using the internet to get informed. In a new BuzzFeed video, women talk about what safe sex means when you're a queer woman, and how they learned the ropes.
When I was 15, I remember being told by a friend that I could avoid STDs my whole life if I only slept with women because queer ladies are just lucky like that. Oh how wrong she was. Unfortunately, studies have shown that one in four women who sleep with women will contract an STI in their lifetimes, and that bacterial vaginosis is more common in women couples. You can also get HPV and herpes through giving and receiving oral sex, and can pass along a yeast infection that way, too. There is still much to learn statistically about how queer women across the country handle their sexual health, however, because there aren't nearly enough studies on the subject.
Here are four things queer women deal with when trying to get busy and stay safe:
1. Sex Ed Is Geared Towards Straight Folks
Most sex ed is woefully unprepared to deal with queer women's experiences. One woman in the BuzzFeed short notes that hers was just like the movies and tailored towards heterosexual relationships, starring a teacher with a banana and a condom.
2. STI Myths Persist
Many young queer women think that you can't transmit STIs through having sex with women, which is definitely not true. However, there are more queer-friendly, and queer-driven sex ed programs trying to counter this culture of misinformation, like IMPACT.
3. Dental Dams Don't Get The Attention Condoms Do
Condoms are passed out by the pound around the country, while dental dams remain far more elusive. One study showed that less than 10 percent of women had ever used a dental dam, and less than two percent regularly use one.
4. Having To Make Your Own Dental Dams
If you can't easily get a dental dam and want to use one with your partner, cutting up a condom is an option. Although it can feel kinda like a slimy mess, you will be preventing STIs, so it kinda works out.
Check out the BuzzFeed video here to learn more.