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How do I have sex with another woman without a vibrator?

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Lesbian asks:

I am a 14 year old bisexual girl. I would like to know how to have sex with a girl and NOT use a vibrator. I want it to be just me and her no object between us. I would like to know how to move my tongue when I am licking her. And I would like to know if it is possible to get on top of her and rub her with my own body and give her and myself pleasure all at the same time? Can you help me?

Heather Corinna replies:

It's important to remember that partnered sex isn't just about your preferences and wants, it's also about the preferences and wants of your partner. Partnered sex isn't a solo: it's a duet, and what you're going for is harmony.

You're going to find those wants and preferences out by experimenting and communicating together: no one can tell you in advance what works or what's worked for a given partner you may have unless they've actually been with that partner themselves. Not only is it unlikely I've slept with your partner, given our substantial age difference, even if I had, I'd still only know what worked for the two of us, not what will work and be exciting for the two of you.

Some women can only get off with a vibrator or other sex toy. Some women prefer to. Some women just really like vibrators or dildos included sometimes. Some women, like you, prefer not using them, or sometimes don't want to use them. So, you've clearly got your own preference, and the next step is to see how it meshes with what your partner wants and needs.

Does she also want to have sex without one, or without one sometimes? Bonus: you've got an easy shared want there, so you don't use one. They're not needed for plenty of people for sex. Most women who use vibes are using them for clitoral stimulation, but we can stimulate the clitoris with our fingers, hands, mouths and even other parts of our bodies. You asked if it was possible for you to get on top of her and rub your body on hers while also experiencing pleasure and it certainly is. Some female pairs do this by positioning themselves vulva-to-vulva, others by each slipping a thigh under the others vulva and rubbing on top of one another that way. There are a lot of ways to put bodies together that feel good, no matter the gender of partners involved, and there really is little lesbians can't do which male-male or male-female couples can: everyone can engage in making out, petting, massage, frottage (sometimes called dry sex or, with women in particular, tribbing), mutual masturbation, manual sex (fingering), oral sex, forms of anal sex and, when a female partner is involved, forms of vaginal intercourse (which for lesbian couples, is usually done with manual sex -- hands and fingers -- or a dildo). The idea that female couples are limited in sexual activities or can't have "real sex," is false.

So, what if she prefers using a vibrator, or just gets more excited that way then any other and wants to use one? Then you two work it out. You might agree to use one sometimes and to go without other times. Or, you might see how excited she gets with her vibe and change your tune when it comes to vibrators, and she might see how excited you get when you go without and change her tune. But chances are, you're just not going to have the same kind of sex every time, or be married to any one thing: you'll both, ideally, get to explore a myriad of things you enjoy. But what you're going for is to find middle ground between you and a partner: ways that you both can do what you enjoy together, without any one partner's preferences dominating the partnership.

I'm not going to be able to tell you what your partner likes and prefers when it comes to oral sex, either: she's the expert on that one. Some women prefer sucking to licking. Some women like fast movements of the tongue, others long strokes. Some like to have parts of the vulva circled with the tongue, and most will have a few movements or specific areas of sensitivity that really make them go kooky, and then plenty of variations which they also enjoy mixed in. Plus, what we like isn't static: we can prefer one thing one day and something different the next.

So, what you're going to do with a partner is start by doing what feels good to you, on your mouth, tongue and lips, and then take some pauses to ask her if she's liking what you're doing. She can also just keep you clued in throughout by letting you know when to move up or down, to the left or right, faster or slower, to do more sucking or more licking, if she likes her labia licked as well as her clitoris, if she wants fingers at work at the same time, and if she wants you to keep on doing what you are or stop and switch up to something else, what have you. Often, when we see sex presented in books or films people don't do much talking, but in real life, couples having sex tend to talk to each other, letting one another know what's working and what isn't, when they'd do anything to assure that you don't stop doing what you are because it's just feeling that good, or when something that usually feels great just isn't cutting the mustard that day. But we can't walk into any new sexual partnership and magically know what to do, because we're all so different. We learn, over time, with a partner what she likes, and that process of experimentation and finding new things is part of what makes sex fun, intimate and interesting. If we were all the same and we worked people like we work a machine, and there were no surprises involved, so new discoveries, it'd get pretty darn boring pretty darn quick.

Wat you can do to prepare for being with a partner without talking to them about what they like yet are things like read up on the basics of their sexual anatomy and the basics of sexual response. As you're dating, develop solid, open communication between you. Talk about your fantasies together and things you've enjoyed in the past, or think you might enjoy in the present or future. And for the love of Pete, enjoy the ride. I know it can seem daunting to feel like you're going into any kind of partnered sex blind, but again, discovering a partner as something brand new and experimenting shouldn't be a drag: if you really like someone, like being with them, have good chemistry, exploring their body they're willing to share with you should be very pleasurable in and of itself. And every now and then, any two partners are going to try things that just don't work, or come off more sexy than silly: not only is that okay, those moments become some of the in-jokes and hilarious moments partners have together that's part of what makes any couple unique and special. Plus, partners that walk into sex with others thinking they know exactly what to do or doing something that worked for one or two other partners and feeling that worked so well for them that it MUST work with their new partner can tend to be too inflexible to be great partners. Fantastic sex partners are people who are responsive listeners, honest communicators, who are adaptive, inventive and creative and who are enthusiastic about the process of finding out what uniquely works for us, not just once, but every day we're together.

Just remember that while the risks of most sexually transmitted infections do tend to be lower between female partners than male partners, or male and female partners, there are still risks involved. The greatest STI risks between female partners tend to be Herpes (oral and/or genital), HPV and Bacterial Vaginosis, but other STIs can still be spread between women. So, when you're with a new partner, in order to safeguard the health of both of you, you may have to have an "object" between the two of you sometimes: a latex barrier. If you're using and sharing sex toys, you can use condoms or finger cots to cover those. If you're going bare vulva-to-vulva, you can slip a dental dam between you (saran wrap/cling film also works just fine as a barrier), and you'll also want to consider using one for oral sex. Once the two of you have been together monogamously for six months, with at least one (but preferably two) STI screenings each with negative results, you can talk about ditching those barriers if you're both okay with that.

Here are some links to that basic information for you, as well as a few more to grow on:

written 11 May 2008 . updated 11 May 2008

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