Okay, But…How Do Lesbians Have Sex?

Every lesbian has heard this question before. Like, a lot. Often from straight guys, but not exclusively. The idea of having sex when neither party has a dick blows people’s fucking minds.

If you don’t think lesbians have real sex, their orgasms say something different. A survey was done to measure how often people had orgasms when they had sex. For comparison, 95% of straight men say they usually or always got there during sex. This isn’t particularly surprising, since a lot of straight sex starts and stops depending on whether the guy has come yet. (It doesn’t have to be this way, but that’s another article.) <could include link to outercourse article if it’s published first.

Only 65% of straight women said they could always or usually get off while having sex.  Bisexual women were at 66%. On the other hand, 86% of lesbians said they usually or always had an orgasm. That’s a pretty big improvement.

It seems like women get off more when they’re with other women. If you’re getting off while touching each other’s genitals, what else should you call it other than sex? Did we answer your questions?

Okay, so things might still be a little murky. We can let you into the wonderful world of lesbian sex where you can get all your answers. (Even if you think you know them because you’ve watched a crapton of lesbian porn, that really, really isn’t giving you the full picture.)

A quick clarification on terms

There’s a lot of nuance to what we’re talking about here. First, when we say lesbian sex in this context, we’re talking about two people who have vaginas who identify with being woman or woman-aligned in some way having sex. 

This doesn’t mean that trans, intersex, or AMAB nonbinary lesbians are invalid. Honestly, we’re using the term as it’s the easiest one for straight people to understand. You’re also more likely to Google “lesbian sex” than anything else. 

We might refer to sapphic sex or use other terms, but again, not trying to erase anybody. Some of this info is probably very relevant to bisexual or pansexual people, but we’re focusing on the lesbian identity for now, as they’re more likely to get questions about the mechanics of sex from randos.

Now, on with the show.

Why do lesbians get asked this question so much?

Well for one thing, unless you live in a super liberal place, your sex ed probably barely mentioned anyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. While you probably learned to put a condom on a banana and learned about different birth control options, gay and lesbian sex never came up.

And again, part of it is that our society can’t wrap its head around sex without a penis. Who’s the man and who’s the woman? But...who has the dick? And when do they stop, if it’s not dictated by the guy coming?

Straight people think they are entitled to ask queer people all sorts of TMI questions about their lives based on stereotypes. Lesbians get questions like:

  • Who’s the man in your relationship?
  • Why do you hate men?
  • Would you be down for a threesome with me and my girlfriend?
  • Do you use a strap on? How big is it?
  • Are you gay because you have a shitty relationship with your dad?
  • Are your parents cool with you being *whispers* gay?
  • If you hate men, why do you want to look like one?

And if the queer girl reacts negatively, she gets reactions like “I’m just asking questions” and “I didn’t mean to offend you.” Barf.

Just a piece of advice: if you wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a straight person something, you shouldn’t ask a queer person, either. You can’t cross this boundary with someone just because you’re curious. You can Google it, which is maybe what brought you here!

Actually, I know what lesbian sex looks like. I’ve seen it in porn!

Here’s the thing. Straight men love watching lesbian porn. Even lots of straight women watch lesbian porn! 

Lesbian porn is PornHub’s top category, with lady lovin’ videos making up 7% of their content. “Lesbian” was the third most searched for term on the site in 2019, only outranking “japanese” and “hentai.” 

However, the audience for this stuff isn’t usually lesbians. Lesbians actually have a tendency to watch gay porn, because it’s still queer but more authentic, as it’s easier to find actually gay porn stars. Lesbians might also watch more fetish stuff, like pants wetting or erotic humiliation. They turn to this stuff because of how hard it is to find lesbian porn that actually speaks to them.

A lot of the audience for lesbian porn is straight men, but a surprising number of viewers are actually straight women.

“Lesbian” was the top search term for women in 2019 on PornHub. It’s only the 8th most popular term for men. Maybe guys should consider that when it comes to their technique in the boudoir. 

But again, most lesbians aren’t watching it, and there’s a reason why. Lesbian porn is almost always unrealistic, overproduced garbage that doesn’t ring true to the real lesbian experience at all.

Things lesbian porn gets wrong

One of the main issues with lesbian porn is that it’s so rarely made with the involvement of any queer women whatsoever. Most “lesbian porn stars” are straight stars who want to make some extra money doing lesbian porn. It’s a lucrative industry, so this is understandable.

Lesbians in lesbian porn don’t look like lesbians, to start out with. That’s not to say that some lesbians aren’t femme or that you can tell someone’s sexuality by looking at them. But the frizzy blonde dried out hair and the cheerleading costumes get a little old. There’s rarely any butch action in lesbian porn, which is a crying shame.

Another big gripe: what is it with lesbians in porn having long fingernails?? Have you ever tried sticking a french manicure into someone’s orifice? Unless you carefully pad it with a glove with some cotton balls, it’s going to be very uncomfortable.

Plus, lesbian porn will tell you that all lesbians shave or wax their pussies. It’s kind of weird that everyone thinks they do just because they’ve seen it in porn.

Lesbian porn tends to be either too hard or too slow. Sometimes, a woman is jackhammering a girl with her fingers in a way that doesn’t seem pleasant. On the other side of the coin, two girls kind of rub up against each other slowly, looking very, very bored.

And then there’s the stuff they do in the videos.

Lesbian sex is mostly scissoring, right?

If you asked most straight people, the #1 lesbian sex act they can think of is scissoring.

For one, it’s in all the lesbian porn. For another, it’s the most similar to hetero sex, possibly disregarding using a strap on. 

Lesbians have a super complex relationship with scissoring. It’s kind of controversial, because some queer women hate it and never do it, and for some people it’s their favorite sex act. 

In case you’re not familiar, scissoring is when two partners interlock their spread legs (sort of like a pair of scissors) and grind together until they orgasm. There are several scissoring positions that require different amounts of acrobatics, but a lot of them don’t look very comfortable.

Scissoring can be hard because the clit isn’t exactly the biggest bullseye in the world. Trying to get two clits to rub together juuuuuust right is definitely more difficult than it looks in porn. What might be more realistic is showing a wand vibrator in the middle of them to give them some traction. Probably not as porny, but definitely more effective.

Scissoring isn’t easy, and many lesbian couples just can’t do it in a way that’s pleasurable. And that’s okay! For some, it’s only sort of meh. Luckily, there are lots of other ways that gay women have sex with each other.

The 10 most common lesbian sex acts

The lesbian wesbite Autostraddle conducted the Ultimate Lesbian Sex Survey, which compiled over 13,000 responses by queer women about what kind of sex they most enjoy. This was the first time queer women were asked this by a real study, so it’s pretty groundbreaking, and we can learn a lot from it. 

Here are the top 10 sex acts queer women said they enjoyed in that study.

1. Clitoral stimulation (99%)

Basically every woman who likes women said that they like having their clit played with. 

This makes sense, as the clitoris is the primary anatomical feature for female orgasm. One study found that only 20% of women can orgasm from P in V sex alone. This is why clit stimulation is so important.

Clit stimulation can mean many things. It can mean rubbing a hand or finger against it or grinding up against someone’s thigh. It can mean using a wand vibrator or getting eaten out. Basically, the clit just has to be part of the show for things to start heating up.

2. Fingering (97.2%)

When people think about what lesbians put in their vaginas, they’re probably focusing most on enormous strap ons. However, fingering is one of the main lesbian sex acts.

It’s intimate, for one thing. Plus, it’s easy and doesn’t involve searching around for your harness. Although most women don’t come from P in V coitus, they come a lot easier from finger banging.

This is at least mostly because it’s much, much easier to hit someone’s G-spot with your fingers than it is with a dick. The come hither motion does wonders. Also, since you have two hands, you can rub her clit at the same time for double action.

3. Oral sex (95.2%)

Lesbians are definitely into oral. It’s amazing to see how someone tastes, to feel them buck under you. This is probably the thing you see in porn that is completely accurate.

Although a lot of straight men turn their nose up at eating pussy, the lesbians are happy to clean your plate for you.

4. Frottage/dry humping (79.6%)

If you’ve never heard the term “frottage,” you probably know it by its more middle school name: dry humping. Many people associate this act with teens who are horny in one of their parents’ basements, but it can be extremely sexy if done right.

The clitoris feels good when it rubs against stuff, and this can bring you to an orgasm. Therefore, rubbing against your partner, whether it be clothed or unclothed, can get you off.

During foreplay, this can mean grinding with pants on and sitting in each other’s laps. During sex, it might just mean grinding against the closest part of your partner’s body that’s near you, often their thigh. This allows both of you to get off and can be surprisingly sexy.

5. Nipple play (73.1%)

It’s almost impossible not to want to touch your partner’s breasts and play with them, which is why so many lesbians enjoy nipple play.

A study found that nipple play activates the same part of the brain as clitoral stimulation and vaginal stimulation. Plus, you can even have an orgasm from having your nipples played with. The more types of orgasms, the better.

6. Strap on play (58.8%)

You might find it surprising that strap ons are so far down on this list. However, a lot of lesbians get by without them.

Using a strap on can be super hot, both for the wearer and their partner. The wearer can even start to feel like the dildo is an extension of them, and they can enjoy things like blowjobs. Strap ons are a novel, fun way to play.

Some lesbians completely disavow the use of dildos of any kind in their bedroom, especially realistic looking ones. They’re not into penises, even if they’re made of rubber. This doesn’t seem to be the vast majority, but it’s just another reason that not all lesbians use these things.

Mastering a strap on takes a lot of practice. It uses muscles you didn’t even know you had. And it’s weird to use an appendage that you can’t feel, so you have to try extra hard to fuck your partner how they like it. Add that in with figuring out the right size (for the dildo and the harness) and some couples just don’t find it worth the effort. 

And no, wanting to fuck someone with a strap on doesn’t make a lesbian a man. Wanting to be fucked by a girl with a strap on does not make a lesbian straight. That’s just not how it works.

7. Vibrators (55.5%)

It’s actually really wild that vibrators are this low on the list! The Ultimate Lesbian Sex Survey came out in 2015, so maybe things have changed since sex toys have become more normalized.

Vibrators are ideal for lesbian couples. If you’re into clit stimulation, all you need to do is pop one on and make things happen. This doesn’t mean that using a vibrator during sex is lazy, but it might be a good break for orgasm #5 while your wrist and neck are resting. (That is one thing that porn gets right, too. Lesbians can go for a long time, and have so many orgasms they lose track.)

Plus, vibrators make great masturbation tools. Your partner’s not always around, and sometimes you want an orgasm to help you drift off to sleep. There’s a vibe for that.

Need help picking out a vibrator? We made a list of the best vibes to take into 2020.

8. Dildos (55%)

You might be wondering why these dildos are separate from the strap on dildos. Most people don’t use dildos attached to a harness. They’re often even easier to use manually. 

While fingers are amazing, there are feelings that you can’t really get unless you use a real cock or a dildo. Unless you’re fisting, you’ll get a fuller feeling from a large dildo. Also, fingers are only so long, so they won’t usually be able to hit your cervix, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.

Plus, double ended dildos are a thing! They’re just what they sound like, and they can be really great for lesbian couples when both parties are very into penetration. There’s examples like the Fun Factory Share, which bills itself as a strapless strap on. Generally, it’s pretty difficult to make this happen, as it can slide out at inconvenient times. However, if you can figure out a way to make it work for you, double ended dildos are great. The Tantus Feeldoe Slim works the same way, but it has a removable vibrator that can give some extra chutzpah. 

9. Spanking (50%)

Now it’s time to get a little kinky! In the survey takers who said they were into kink, 58% enjoy spanking their partner and 62% enjoy being spanked.

Spanking is pretty tame, but 22.2% of these queer women say they’re into BDSM. Remember that LGBTQ+ people can be kinky, too!

10. Scissoring (34%)

See how far down scissoring is on this list? Sure, it’s in the top 10 lesbian sex acts above items like anal and fisting, but it’s still a pretty low percentage of lesbians who enjoy it. It’s not a universal experience.

Lesbian bed death!!!!

Since we’re here, we wanted to cover one more quick myth about lesbian sex: lesbian bed death.

You’ve probably heard of this. It’s the concept that, once two lesbians have been together for a long time, they either mostly or completely stop having sex. Well, it’s bullshit, or at least mostly bullshit.

Let’s turn to the Autostraddle survey for another data point. They asked queer women how often they were having sex, and 89% of their survey respondents were ages 19-36, so it’s not like they’re all college freshman having sex with half their dorm or anything.

The largest percentage of queer women (28.78%) said they have sex multiple times a week. Only 1.25% said they boned more than once a day, while 21.37% said they got it on less often than once a month.

So there are lesbians who aren’t having sex super often. However, when the study asked  monogamous couples about their sex lives, they found lesbians are having sex as often or more often than hetero couples. 35.6% of coupled lesbians had sex multiple times per week. Compare that to 35.6% of straight married couples (age 25-29) and 28.7% of partnered straight couples.

It’s no secret that many relationships get less sexual as they continue. Things come up, like babies, long hours at work, sickness, and even relationship troubles. But everyone experiences this.

Lesbians aren’t hypersexual until they get married, at which point they become celibate BFFs. Not how it works. Not how any of this works.

How to unlearn what porn taught you

Okay, so you know what lesbian sex isn’t. But what does that mean going forward?

First, it’s never a bad idea to be more educated on queer issues. Knowing about LGBTQ+ issues doesn’t make you gay; it makes you an empathetic person who lives in the world and is informed. 

For queer lady fiction novels, try out The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth, I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Alison Raskin, or Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. (Some of the women in these books are bisexual or queer in other ways, but that’s okay.)

If you’re looking for nonfiction, The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us by Felice Newman is a wonderful place to go. You might even learn something from it that you can incorporate into your own sex life. Other options include Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon & KD Diamond, as well as Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.

Another option is to actually get to know some lesbians! This DOESN’T mean ask random lesbians on the street how they have sex. It means making friends more widely and going to new places. Eventually, you’ll probably find that one of your friends is a lesbian!

Getting new perspectives in your daily life is amazing. A lesbian friend can let you know when something is totally a product of the patriarchy, and also whether you can pull off that floral button down. You’d be lucky to have them.

Lastly, if you enjoy lesbian porn, you can watch more authentic, feminist porn that’s actually produced and starred in by queer women. You won’t find these videos by searching “lesbian” on PornHub, unfortunately.

This is going to involve paying for porn. Many people are hesitant to do this, but remember that porn stars need to get paid just like everyone else, and they’re providing you with a service. Many videos on sites like redtube and PornHub are stolen, so the people you’re watching never get a penny.

The gold standard for authentic sapphic porn is the Crash Pad series. While they’re mostlty a lesbian porn site, they have actors of all genders, including trans and cis men. They aim to cast all over the spectrum of races, genders, body types, and abilities. Their videos are all super hot, and it’s good to know that the lesbians in the scene are actually into what’s happening.

Queer Porn TV is another cool option. Their content includes queer porn stars, and is feminist as fuck. Their scenes will have you reaching for your vibrator (or however else you want to get off)!

It’s okay to learn that you don’t know as much about lesbians as you thought. But now you can go through the world, being nice to every queer girl you see...and never asking anyone how they have sex ever again.