Lesbians and bi-women: healthy relationships and sexual health
Sexuality can be an important part of our identity and all sexualities should be celebrated, however for lots of people, coming to terms with or questioning their sexuality can be difficult and they deserve to be supported with this.
Everyone has the right to be safe and happy in their relationships, whoever they are and whoever they are with. It is important to respect others, and expect to be respected.
The word lesbian describes a girl or woman who is attracted, both sexually and emotionally to other girls or women. It is normal to question your sexuality and have feelings towards other women and be attracted to other women.
The word bisexual describes a person who is emotionally and/or physically attracted to people of more than one gender or regardless of gender. Historically definitions of bisexual refer to ‘an attraction towards men and women’ however many bisexual people recognise that there are more than two genders.
The word pansexual – A person who is emotionally and/or sexually attracted to people of more than one gender or regardless of gender. Some people use the term pansexual rather than bisexual in order to be more explicitly inclusive of non-binary gender identities.
The word queer – An umbrella term sometimes used for diverse sexual minorities that are not heterosexual. It may be used to challenge the idea of labels and categories such as lesbian, gay, bisexual. It is important to note that it is an in-group term, and may be considered offensive to some people.”
Everyone is different and there is no right or wrong age to recognise your sexuality. Many young women say they have known for a long time that they feel ‘different’ to other women, they recognise they are attracted to other women from a very early age. It is okay to feel like this, it is also okay to change your mind. Sexuality does not need to be fixed, but for some it will be.
It can be tough at times, lots of pressure, even from mates to behave in a certain way, get yourself a boyfriend, even if you fancy girls and it can feel hard making choices that are actually your own.
CLICK HERE for more info on healthy relationships
Everyone has the right to be safe and happy in their relationships, whoever they are and whoever they are with. It is important to respect others, and expect to be respected. You may have heard the word consent when it comes to sex and relationships, but what does it mean? You need consent for any kind of sexual activity, regardless of the gender of your partner
CLICK HERE to read more about consent
The age of consent in Scotland is 16 for everyone no matter what sexuality or gender identity. This means that if you are both over 16 and want to have any sexual contact then you will not be breaking the law.
CLICK HERE to read more about sex & the law
If you if are attracted to someone you might want to have sex. The key to good sex is feeling comfortable with your partner and understanding what each other wants. The best way to do this is by making space for one another to be honest, and taking things at your own pace.
A lot of young women who are attracted to women often have questions around virginity, often seeing the word sex to mean penetration of a penis in a heterosexual relationship and sex between two women being classed as “foreplay”. Sex isn’t just penetration with a penis, it means different things to different people.
Knowing the facts, understanding risks and protecting yourself are the key to having enjoyable safer sex.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
STIs can be passed on through exchange of bodily fluids. It is important to educate yourself about safer sex and how to protect yourself from STI’s.
- Sex between women is low risk in terms of STIs but it is important to be aware and informed about transmission. Bodily fluids include menstrual fluid, anal & vaginal secretions.
- If using sex toys it is important to put a fresh condom on the toy each time, especially if the toy is to be used on both of you.
- Women can catch STI’s such as herpes, genital warts and chlamydia when exchanging bodily fluids.
- Any one-on-one contact, such as oral sex or using the same hand when touching yourself and then your partner, can put you at risk. Two women that are both menstruating are at a higher risk. So avoiding sexual contact when menstruating and avoid not touching yourself after touching your partner and visa versa.
- Dental dams are not available through the NHS. They are not CE marked.
Young People’s Voices
We asked you to give us feedback and comments on this section before we updated it, thank you for this and we would like to share two stories from young people who filled in the survey:-
‘I’ve been bisexual ever since I started primary. I never knew what it was and because of what my grandparents had said about it I thought it was wrong and didn’t make sense considering I was only about 5. I kept it secret up until a couple years ago when I started high school. I decided to tell a few close friends and then eventually my Mum, Dad, step mum and stepdad. Then after a while, I openly posted it on my Snapchat story. Most people didn’t understand and it’s kind of a label now which is horrible. I’ve had many girl crushes, mainly over the past 5 years. If I’m being honest my mum thinks it’s a phase and that I’m just trying to be like my big sister. I think her and my stepdad don’t really agree on lesbians and gays in the family. Which honestly really hurts. Take your time to come out and make sure you definitely are lesbian/bisexual before you do.’
‘I came out to my sister in school at break. My friend brought a pride flag into school so I asked to borrow it, he let me and I walked over to my sister in the S5 & 6 area. I was shaking and ready to run off in the other direction, but I walked up to her, pride flag in hand, and said “I’m gay,” she said she didn’t care and got up to hug me, all the s5 and 6’s clapped and I just cried. It was an amazing experience that I just wish someone filmed. After, an S6 I know who’s gay took me out of my last class just to hug me and tell me he was proud, I’m so thankful he did that and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. I hope I get to do the same for other LGBT people, to make them feel as safe and accepted. This was my coming out, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.’
Sexual health clinics in Tayside CLICK HERE for info
Women’s AID also have a young people’s service for those with experience of abusive relationships CLICK HERE for info
WRASAC Dundee and Angus support any young person who has experienced sexual assault CLICK HERE for information.
RASAC Perth is available for those who live in Perth and Kinross CLICK HERE for info.