The Five Myths of Lesbian Sex

Disclaimer: We cannot possibly hope to speak for all lesbians when it comes to their sexual practices and what they consider to be sex; the aim of this piece is to debunk some common myths based on our contributor’s own personal experience… so enjoy!

100% Gay

When I was fresh out of college a couple of years ago, struggling to figure out what to do with my English degree, I snatched up a cocktail waitress job at a popular beach bar hangout in Venice, CA to make some extra cash. It was everything you would expect from a cocktail server job: I had to wear tiny shorts and/or skirts, work late into the night, wear full makeup and styled hair every shift, transform my diet to include jalapeño poppers and endless tacos (yet stay thin due to long hours of hustling around the bar), and fend off daily, relentless sexual offers and phone numbers from drunk men. Oh, and I’m 100% gay – did I mention that?

By the time I started that job, I was in a long-term relationship with the woman of my dreams. We had met in college, both “straight” as far as our limited perspective, and the world, was concerned. That is, until we could no longer deny the obvious attraction and sexual tension and give into our strongest desires – and greatest fears.

Even though I had known I was gay for years, at that point I had only ever slept with men (and so had she), so when we started hooking up and dating, we had no idea what was technically considered lesbian sex. I was a virgin in the straight sense until age nineteen. At that point, I finally gave up waiting to feel attracted to men; I just wanted to experience sex, so I had the hetero-version of sex (read: penis-in-vagina sex) with my then-boyfriend.

Three years later when my now-girlfriend and I were tentatively exploring our mutual attraction, I was thrilled to finally be with a woman, but found myself in very unfamiliar territory – yet everything we did in those first six months felt right, not to mention amazing. Most importantly, on a very instinctive level, we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we were doing with each other could only be described as hot, sensual, nirvana-inducing sex. If people ask me now, I say I lost my virginity twice: once when I was nineteen and then again when I was twenty-one. There is just no way to compare the two experiences.

“How do you girls do it?”

Yet to much of the world, the phrase “lesbian sex” is an oxymoron, or at the very least elicits many more questions than answers in the average uninitiated person’s mind. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to field the question, “How do you girls, you know, do it?” We live in a world run by dicks, after all, so anything that does not directly involve them hovers in a shadow realm; the ocean deep.  We as a society know little about sexual expression outside of the hetero norm, and that is what I intend to change today.

There was a brief period during my stint as a cocktail waitress where I stopped inventing boyfriends and would politely decline offers from men with the truth: “Sorry I am not going to give you my number, I have a girlfriend.” However, this would almost always morph into a 45-minute question and answer session in which I was grilled on everything gay as if I were the Queen of Lesbians, and I eventually gave up outing myself because it was just too damn exhausting.

However, in my day-to-day life, nothing much has changed. Unlike race or gender which is usually written on a person’s face, sexuality can be hidden. If I could have a big rainbow stamped on my forehead to save everyone some confusion, I would do it, but since I don’t “look like a lesbian” (wtf? what are we supposed to look like?) I literally have to come out almost every single day. You might think this sounds excessive, but you would be surprised how much assumed heterosexuality informs everyday discourse.
Consider the following scenario: my roommate invites one of his guy friends over to the house. I’ve never met said guy friend and am hanging out in my roommate’s room when he shows up. We all have small talk and he asks me what I do, where I went to school, etc. Fifteen minutes later my girlfriend comes home from a jog and says hello to everyone before heading to the shower. My roommate’s friend casually inquires if I have a boyfriend to which I reply, “You just met her.”

And this is where the questions start – questions which inevitably veer into sexual realms. I strongly suspect that a butch girl would not be subjected to the same persistent questions about how they have sex with women. I think this is because when straight men find out I’m gay, they automatically think of lesbian porn because the girls in those are always femme (and usually not gay, fyi). I’m sure you are probably wondering why I patiently sit and answer these types of questions all the time (“what is so hard about lying or using the word ‘boyfriend’?”) but the truth is I don’t want to lie anymore.

I read a recent article about a girl both celebrating and lamenting her role as a “lesbian ambassador” because she is the only gay person any of her friends know, and I feel the same. At this point in my life, I’m sick of doing the awkward pronoun dance when talking about my girlfriend (“Oh yeah, I am dating someone, they are great”), and if it means I have to educate a few thousand people, then that’s fine – I’m a teacher by nature anyway. So without further ado (I know you guys have been waiting the entire article for this) I’m going to present five myths about lesbian sex and tell you the truth instead.

The Myth: Lesbian sex isn’t “real” sex because it doesn’t involve penetration with a penis.

The Truth: Women can, and do fuck each other without the help of a penis—it is a real thing, you guys.

It is no secret that many women love and crave penetration, but the world has a very limited perspective when it comes to what objects deserve to do the penetrating. There is no way to explain with words why my girlfriend fucking me with her fingers feels completely different from a guy fingering me (notice how I used two different terms?), but I’d venture to guess that the motive has something to do with it. Straight couples view fingering, oral, etc. as foreplay— just a build up to the main event when the guy can stick it in. Lesbians don’t. For us, any or all of these acts can be “the main event” and since many girls can come over and over and switch off pleasuring one another, there isn’t just one climax anyway.

When a girl is inside of me and thrusting with her hand (two fingersmiddle and index – are an accepted standard), it feels fucking incredible. Not to mention, she has absolute control over her hands and so can press on different spots or change her angle to find my pleasure centers. A typical index finger is about three inches long from tip to base, but women can get at least another two inches inside each other by angling their hands properly. Any deeper than five or six inches risks banging against (and seriously hurting) a girl’s cervix anyway – well-endowed guys know this and often leave a couple of inches outside the girl’s body so they don’t miss all the good spots and don’t hit the bad ones.

Case in point: hands and fingers (and sometimes fists if that is what she wants) get the job done and are no less powerful or pleasurable than a dick. Women can, and do, fuck each other, and they don’t need an extra appendage between their legs, or even toys, to be able to do so successfully. Speaking of toys…

The Myth: All lesbians use strap-ons, and strap ons are the only things that can give them pleasure

The Truth: Not all lesbians use strap ons, and there are plenty of other effective ways to please a woman

Now, I know half of you just jumped out of your chairs screaming, “But strap-ons are totally compensating because they look like dicks!” and to that I reply, regardless of aesthetics, strap-ons are simply not dicks. As one of my lesbo friends so gracefully put it: “Strap-ons are shaped like penises because penises fit into vaginas – what do you expect them to look like, a battle axe?!” One other woman said, “I don’t remember the last time I saw a purple dick” and, “sure they are a phallic symbol, but so is a finger right?” A third woman explained: “It’s not about the strap-on, it’s the feeling of the penetration while looking at a beautiful woman on top of me.” Strap-ons are just tools for penetration, they are not men or penises. I can assure you that what is attached to the phallic object is much more important than the object itself, and using a strap on does NOT feel like having sex with a man.

And strap-ons are certainly not the only option for us, far from it (I certainly don’t feel like I’m missing something without one). Lesbians have existed as a small-but-stable percentage of the population since the dawn of humanity – how do you think girls fucked in prehistoric societies before the invention of the dildo? Like I addressed in the first myth, there are a variety of things lesbians can do with fingers and tongues that do not involve toys at all.

Sure there are some women who enjoy strapping it on every once in awhile to spice things up or have a good laugh over how ridiculous they can look. There are even masculine-identified women who wear prosthetic penises under their jeans (but this is more of a gender topic than a sexuality one, and since I’m don’t identify as masculine or a stone butch, I don’t feel qualified to discuss these women).

The point though, is that the use and frequency of strap-ons falls over a large range, from women who do it all the time, to girls who used it once then hid it in a backpack forever (ahem), to girls who have never bought one and don’t care to try it. When I bought one for my girlfriend as a (sort of) joke, we tried it out for like a week and it usually ended up on me. I liked the control and being able to have both my hands free, and it was certainly a learning experience, but it isn’t something I need in my daily life. I’d rather feel her skin than a piece of plastic anyway.

The Myth: All lesbians adhere to the butch/femme dynamic where one is always a masculine top and one is always a feminine bottom during sex

The Truth: the kind of woman another woman is attracted to can run the gamut from butch to femme to androgynous to tomboyish to somewhat girly and back again. And there is also a lot of switching off and role reversing that can take place during sex.

As I mentioned before, I have never self-identified as butch/top or been with a self-identified butch/top woman, so I cannot speak for them. HOWEVER, what I do know is that there are a lot of lesbian pairings in which both partners participate equally in the giving and receiving ends of sex. I call this the Katie’s Dual Rule of Horniness, and it goes as follows:

Lesbian women in a lesbian relationship in which both partners give and receive will experience two distinct types of horniness: the desire to fuck and the desire to be fucked.

You see, in many girl-on-girl pairings there is no assigned “top” (person who does the fucking) and “bottom” (person who is penetrated), lesbians can switch it up all they want (if they so desire). In all actuality, any couple can switch up topping and bottoming one another. There’s a porn film out there somewhere called Bend Over Boyfriend about straight girls fucking their male partners with a strap on, and I’ve heard it is pretty wild, but I think I can safely guess that for personal and societal reasons, many straight guys do not like being the “fuck-ee.” Yes, there are also plenty of lesbians who cringe at the thought of being penetrated and want to exclusively penetrate their partners, but they are certainly not the only type of lesbian in existence. Some girls love to fuck and be fucked completely equally and find other girls who are the same. It makes me wonder how many straight women out there wish they could do the fucking for a change, but you’ll have to weigh in on that in the comments.

The Myth: Lesbians scissor constantly; it’s all they do.

The Truth: Some lesbians scissor sometimes, but there are a lot of women who think it is awkward, unsafe, or simply ineffective at getting them off.

Scissoring is one of those myths that just won’t die. For the uninitiated: scissoring is a form of tribadism which involves two women rubbing their vadges together. First of all, I would like to thank the creators of South Park for perpetuating this particular myth. (Matt and Trey—I love the show, I love it, but do some research on lesbian sex for God’s sake!). Second, I think the general population has a bizarre visual image of what scissoring entails, and it involves two women lying down with their heads on opposite ends of the bed and their feet in each other’s faces. This is not how it’s done. It actually involves a lot of positioning (and a lot of flexibility) and for some women that shit just ain’t happening. Yes, if you can manage to get into a good position it can feel amazing and be a huge turn-on and I think that a huge part of achieving an orgasm from scissoring is mental because of what is being done. Be prepared for a lot of soreness in the coming days, however.

Another reason scissoring is not the norm is because it is extremely unsafe, probably among the most dangerous things lesbians can do in terms of STD risks. Unless you’re going to put some Saran-wrap in between you and your partner, I wouldn’t recommend scissoring unless you are with a girlfriend and you both have been tested. I don’t know any lesbians who have scissored on a one-night-stand or other casual hookup situation. Even oral is pushing it. If you don’t want to catch anything, finger-fucking is the best way to go. Just remember to wash your hands.

And finally…

The Myth: Lesbian porn is an accurate portrayal of lesbian sex.

The Truth: Lesbian porn, by and large, is a complete waste of time.

I chose to debunk this myth last because I think all the other myths can be either partially or completely attributed to lesbian porn and what it shows us. I once had to do a very long and very thorough research paper on lesbian porn, which inevitably led to a lot of viewing parties. All my gay girl friends who came over to see it were equally disgusted, amused, and confused by what they saw on screen: they think that is what we do? Are they serious??

Now when I say “lesbian porn” I’m referring to mainstream lesbian porn, you know, the stuff that shows up on Skinimax late at night and always involves fake boobs and bleached hair. I would guess that the average straight male viewer isn’t interested in buying porn that shows a really butch women fucking an androgynous girl covered in tattoos, but that kind of porn exists—it is just so rare that it is almost impossible to find.

But back to the mainstream stuff, a few initial problems:

– The fingernails. Lesbians do. not. have. long. fingernails. If you don’t know why, go back and re-read this article.

– The girls in lesbian porn are usually not lesbians. I google image-searched some of the names of the actresses and every picture was them sucking a giant cock. Sooo…there’s that.

– They do not fuck each other in lesbian porn. There’s a lot of gentle caressing, complimenting each other’s hair, maybe some petting, and some very sweet and soft one-finger penetration, but that’s it. I kept waiting for someone to do something, but it never happened. (Sidenote: I think this is partially because it may intimidate men to see women doing stuff to each other that they are traditionally supposed to do, but that’s a whole other discussion).

– Lesbian porn is insufferably contrived and not genuine. What struck me about the girls in these porns was how obviously they were acting, and badly acting at that. Now I know you’re going to say, “well porn is acting” and this is true, but whenever I’ve seen straight porn, the girl at least acts like she is feeling something and somewhat enjoying herself. Maybe this has to do with #3, that the women don’t fuck each other, because if that was happening to me I don’t think I’d act very enthusiastic either.

So there you have it guys, the five myths of lesbian sex debunked. If you have any further questions or want some clarification, comment away.


In sum, the working definition of sex (the one they teach you in health class) is far too narrow to encompass the myriad degrees of human experience, especially same-sex interactions. I realized that lesbians, by lacking a penis, have been forced to redefine sex in our own terms and we are living proof that there is so much more to what constitutes sex than penis-in-vagina penetration. Over and over again when speaking with lesbians on this topic, despite the way they defined lesbian sex, I heard the same response from different women: “You know when you have had sex with somebody.” There is something deep that happens between two women; something ethereal and perhaps beyond the range of written language, or even abstract thought. Lesbian sex is as unique and elusive as an orgasm—you can only truly understand it if you have experienced it yourself.

L’Agent Goodies…