Usually when I hear information about teen pregnancy and STD prevention, I see images of straight couples (like MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant). I was thinking that it gives the illusion that LGBT-identified youth don’t need to worry about the same issues.
The truth is, all sexually active women need to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Here are some tips on how you and your partner can stay sexually healthy, and reduce the risk of getting pregnant.
Safe Sex for Teen Girls who Have Sex with Other Girls
Sometimes lesbians or women who have sex with women (WSW) think they are safer because they are not having sex with men. However, lesbians and WSW are still at risk for pregnancy, STDs, and HIV/AIDS. Here is why:
- Studies show that lesbians or WSW will have sex with a man at least once in their life, and that lesbian-identified women are more likely to have unprotected sex with a man than heterosexual women. Just one experience of unprotected sex with a guy puts you at risk.
- Some STDs like Herpes, Gonorrhea, or genital warts (HPV) are passed through skin contact. This means they can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex, which makes lesbians and bisexual women vulnerable too.
- Lesbians or WSW can have partners who may have had sex with other men. Not all WSW identify as lesbians, and getting tested protects you from possible STD transmission.
What you can do to protect yourself:
- Get tested, and know your partner’s status. Even if you are both in an exclusive relationship, you still should get tested to know your status. You know that saying, “it’s not just about who you sleep with, it’s about who they’ve slept with”? This is especially true for people who have had sex with men. To read more about how STDs may be passed from woman to woman, click here.
- Use protection when having sex. Did you know you can use a dental dam? A dental dam is a small piece of latex that you can place on the vagina or anus to protect you and your partner from STDs. Click here to read Paige’s experience on the importance of a dental dam. To read more details about what a dental dam is, visit Sexetc.org’s dental dam fact sheet.
- Be safe when using sex toys. If you and your partner want to use sex toys, make sure they are clean, and try not to share. If you do share, make sure to use a condom.
Engage in lower-risk sexual behavior. Some sexual behavior is considered to be at lower risk for contracting and spreading STDs, such as massaging, cuddling, and masturbation.