Health Sex and sexual health Sex Casual sex for queer women It’s completely normal for women to have casual sex with other women, and there should be no shame about wanting that type of relationship Queer women often get overshadowed while other parts of the community dominate the conversation. The dialogue around relationships between LBTQ+ women is so difficult to access, that often any mention of these relationships is portrayed as a magical, romantic experience. While that can be true, just like any other relationship, sometimes women just want to have sex with other women, and it is time to talk about it. Believe it or not, women can like sex just as much as men do – and the same goes for non-binary people. When two men have casual sex, it is seen as normal, and almost expected. Men having sex with one another is a common discussion topic in the media, regardless of whether or not every gay man is partaking in casual sex. With queer women, these discussions are hard to find. Usually the public discourse about women’s relationships with other women is all about how women move in together too quickly. It’s all sunshine and rainbows, “gal pals,” and romance – rarely will you hear about women having casual sex. But it’s completely normal for women to have casual sex with other women, and there should be no shame about wanting that type of relationship. Since casual sex between women is going to occur just as often as it does with men, we need to start talking about ways for queer women to do this safely. Having safe casual sex If you’re going to have casual sex, you’ll want to make sure that your mental, physical, and sexual health remain safe. Making sure that you are setting boundaries within a casual relationship is just as important as it is with any other relationship. Let’s talk about some boundaries that will help keep you safe while having sex with someone you’re not in a relationship with. Consent First and foremost, every person involved needs to consent to every sexual act taking place. Communicating what sexual acts you are interested in or willing to try with a sexual partner is one way to establish boundaries, and they should be able to communicate the same to you (plus, you get to tell them what you like, making the experience way more exciting!). This includes respect of preferred use of dental dams, or any other protective measure. If someone does not consent, the activity shouldn’t happen. If someone does something without your consent, get out of the situation as soon as possible. Galop may be able to help you if this has happened to you. Getting Tested If you are sexually active, it is smart to get tested for STIs frequently, especially if you or anyone you are having sex with are having sex with multiple partners. It’s easy to get tested, and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home. You own your sexual health and it’s your responsibility to take care of it. Using Protection Using dental dams with your sexual partners is a great way to prevent STIs. For more about STIs that may affect you, and how to take care of your sexual health, check out Safe Sex and STIs - a guide for lesbians. Washing sex toys before and after use can also help prevent acquiring an STI. Knowing Your Worth Just because you may not be looking for a long term arrangement, that doesn’t mean your sexual partners get to treat you as less than you are. You deserve to be treated like the person you know you are, not the person someone else wants you to be. For Trans and Non-Binary People Don’t let the fear of transphobia stop you from enjoying casual sex like anybody else. The most important thing is that you feel safe, and respected. So long as a sexual partner respects your body and gender as they would with any other person, you should be good to go. For more advice on dating, check out Dating as a trans or non-binary person. Remember to Have Fun Remember to enjoy yourself too! Having casual sex is something you should do for yourself, what’s the point in having sex if you’re not having a good time? Even if you’re only engaging in a one-time arrangement, it might be worth it to tell your sexual partner what feels good for you, and ask what feels good for them too. This way, everyone involved is having a good time, even if you never see them again. What Next? SUPPORT If you would like to speak with someone about your sexual health or need help accessing local services, you can contact THT Direct at 0808 802 1221 between 10am and 8pm, Monday through Friday. If you would like to speak with someone about LGBTQ+ issues, call Switchboard at 0300 330 0630 between 10am-10pm, email [email protected], or access their web text chat here. If you would like to speak to someone about coming out, family problems, sexual health, or training for your company or provider, contact Support U at 0118 321 9111. Check out our LGBT HERO Forums for a safe and non-judgmental space where LGBTQ+ people can talk to one another about their issues and life experience.