41 Feelings You Had About Scissoring

In February 2015, Autostraddle launched The Ultimate Lesbian Sex Survey, open to all women who sleep with women. We garnered over 8,566 complete responses and now we’re sharing the results with you, bit by bit. Previously: How Often Do Queer Women Have Sex?, 100 Gayest Places You’ve Had Sex, The Masturbation Habits of Queer Women, 50 Really Fascinating Things You Wanted Us To Know About How You Have Sex and 26 Bits of Solid Sex Advice.


brittana-scissoringQueer women are generally obsessed with the world’s obsession with the idea that all lesbians do in bed is scissor like wild Fiskars. It was a running joke on Glee, it’s a wildly successful line of Autostraddle merch and it’s a thing many humans enjoy doing. It’s also a thing many humans don’t do or don’t enjoy. It’s also a thing many humans think is not real. This is an issue we have confronted head-on in So, You Need Help: What’s The Deal With Scissoring?

Here’s the deal, ladies: 40.7% of the 8,556 women who completed our Ultimate Lesbian Sex Survey (open to all women who sleep with women) said scissoring was a regular part of their sex lives, including 43.98% of lesbian-identified survey-takers and 43.48% of survey-takers in a relationship. So, needless to say, it’s real.

Scissoring also came up repeatedly in many open-ended questions, however: it came up when talking about your favorite and least favorite sex acts, it came up when talking about your questions about sex, it came up when you were asked if there was anything to share about how you f*ck. Y’all had so much to say about scissoring! Here are some of those things:

1. Has anyone ever actually orgasmed from scissoring? I mean it’s hot and I like it, but….

2. Scissoring is my favorite sexual act, which means I must not really exist. “I scissor therefore I am not.”

3. We scissor all the time and its FUCKING GREAT.

4. SCISSORING IS TOO MUCH EFFORT

5. SCISSORING GETS SUCH A BAD RAP! But it’s so fun. So there’s that.

6. Do people actually scissor? I mean, I’ve never met any lesbians who scissor. We’ve all tried it and can’t figure out how it could possibly be enjoyable.

7. I’m actually a lesbian that loves scissoring. We exist. We are real.

8. Scissoring is too much core work

9. I hate that people think certain types of sex don’t happen at all just because they don’t do it. This is especially troubling when “celebrities” like Lea Delaria say that ” scissoring isn’t a thing” because she herself doesn’t do it.

10. SCISSORING DOES NOT WORK, ARE LESBIANS REALLY DOING THIS? WHY DO PEOPLE THINK WE ARE

11. Scissoring .. that shit is weird

12. My least favorite sexual act is scissoring. Only because of all the arm aches in holding myself at the correct angle!

13. I wish that we were one of the magical lesbian couples for whom scissoring works! It has worked like once, maybe, but requires some yoga-origami type shit that does not happen organically

14.  Scissoring is my least favorite sexual act because I’m not a contortionist (although I think I now understand why lesbians like yoga so much).

15. 69-ing is fun. Not everyone’s hips allow for good scissoring.

16. SCISSORING DOES NOT WORK UNLESS YOU DO NOT HAVE LIMBS.

17. I’ve had partners where we could scissor in all kinds of positions and others where the mere IDEA thereof was physically impossible.

18. My girlfriend and I didn’t believe in scissoring until we quite literally slipped in just the right way.

19. I can’t seem to understand how scissoring is supposed to work, but I always want to try it/have an urge to do it. But it doesn’t seem to work anatomically.

20.  My girlfriend and I just can’t make scissoring work but for some reason we keep trying.

21. Tribbing — what was once referred to in an autostraddle article as “the full body scissor” — is one of my favorite things of all time, in life, generally.

22. According to Orange is the New Black it’s ‘not a thing,’ but I like the scissor — or sort of modified version. That’s almost guaranteed to get me off.

23. Scissoring and 69 are alive and well and it’s annoying when famous dykes make sweeping statements that no one actually has sex that way.

24. Scissoring is a joke. There are so many different positions that are better.

25. Why do people think that lesbians scissor? It is not easy to do and it’s not fun. It’s what straight girls in porn do when fucking another women!

26. I like scissoring and I hate that others assume “real” lesbians don’t really do that.

27. Why the hell does the scissoring myth live on?

28. Right now my wife and I are really getting into scissoring (yes, we’re THAT cliche) and I’m really enjoying that.

29. Not all lesbians scissor — it just creates horrible friction!

30. Why is everyone always dissing scissoring and saying it doesn’t exist…?

31. I think a lot of the times theres many stigmas about scissoring. It’s definitely not the main sex act but I think most lesbians maybe don’t scissor the way people do in porn, but they do rub and touch pussies more than they like to admit.

32. I have only ever attempted ‘ scissoring ‘ once in my life and it utterly failed it didn’t feel like particularly anything, and me and my partner switched back to eating each other out and fingering again.

33. Hilariously, I love scissoring and enjoy it, but don’t do it often.

34. I find the term “scissoring” inaccurate thus use “tribbing” to describe my favorite way to orgasm. I use the term “tribbing” to describe any sort of clitoral rubbing that doesn’t involve hands, e.g. her straddling me while grinding her clit against my pelvis, me grinding my clit against her a$$ from behind. 90% of the time I hook up with a female this type of phenomenon takes place. It’s very easy for me to orgasm this way and very sexy to have someone grinding against me in this manner, which leads me to believe it might just be a pretty common thing that people don’t talk about enough. Tumblr and some porn sites are sources for seeing the term “tribbing” used to describe the queer sex act I’m describing.

35. I guess of the things I’ve done, scissoring proved entertaining but not all that effective.

36. I tried scissoring once with one of my girlfriends and it ended in laughter.

37. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! No jk, but does scissoring actually get anyone off? I cannot figure that out.

38. Is scissoring real and is fisting as common as the internet makes it seem because I don’t think it is?

39. Scissoring is real and possible and when done right it’s awesome.

40. Why do so many lesbians think scissoring isn’t real? It’s real

41. Scissoring exists, and it’s great.


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Riese is the 36-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2536 articles for us.

75 Comments

  1. “So did you two scissor?!” is common phrase/long running joke uttered by my straight male friends when I mention having relations with a woman (Did that just make me sound like Bill Clinton?). Of course, being the good lesbian that I am I explained that scissoring is this made up maneuver created by the fine folks in the San Fernando Valley. Scissoring is simply for porn stars and unicorns (Or unicorn porn stars).

    Then, I tried it. Eh….let’s just say I’m a tiny top and this girl had legs longer than my entire body. This activity lasted all of 2 seconds. Tribbing is really hot though, but that is neither here nor there.

    So I’m chatting with one of my straight male friends and he does the long running joke, “So did you two scissor?!” I took a sip of my drink and simply replied, “Yes.” He choked on his drink.

  2. This one time I was at a party and getting really tired of straight people asking me how lesbians have sex, so I told this one girl that “first you draw a pentacle on the floor and then you put the girl you wanna have sex with in the middle, then dance around her while chanting a spell and make a blood sacrifice”

  3. My girl and I took this survey side by side and discussed a lot of our answers. We both had “huh?” comments regarding scissoring, most of our questions stemming from how to get the best thrust capacity. This led to a very important discussion about how to have sex in zero G because any thrusting movement would presumably just send your partner floating away.

    Bottom line: no scissoring in space. Always scissor near gravity.

    • Gotta think of all the possibilities. Cause like what if you become the queer lady representatives of the human colony to another planet or something? You gotta plan how to have sex in space.

    • My ex-engineer friend has informed me that sex in space is unlikely because testosterone production in the human body depends on gravity for some reason. The class she learned this in was more concerned with erections, but since T is important in everyone’s arousal it might apply—heh—universally.

  4. I think people may be using different definitions of the word? Like I totally get tribbing and I could see how doing an interlocking leg version of that could be classified as scissoring, and maybe the people who don’t get it are using a stricter definition where your legs literally look like scissors fighting each other and your getting off just by rubbing junk to junk. But then again maybe some people like the scissors-fighting-each-other pose. Who is to say!

    I’m really regretting not filling in more detail in the response boxes, I gotta say.

    (also, are any other poly people feeling slight guilty about throwing off statistics? cause I am married but in a long distance relationship with my wife and also living with a partner *and* sleeping around *and* seeing somebody in a more serious way but they also aren’t an official partner yet. So how does one account for that in stats talking about how often people in various kinds of relationships get laid? My partners are all different kinds of genders and transition statuses too, v. confusing. Sorry Riese.)

    • well the statistics from my first post about the survey — the one on how often queer women have sex —non-monogs and monogs came out almost exactly the same (like one percentage part away) — so you’re not throwing anything off!

    • I agree with you completely on the definition thing. I think that if there were a definition given in the question the answer would drastically change. I don’t think tribbing with interlocked legs is scissoring, but if other people do think it is, the number is probably artificially high.

  5. If you can’t figure out how to do it and don’t mind glancing at some porn, go watch Sinn Sage in darn near any scene she’s done and she’ll teach you almost all you need to know.

  6. Has anyone figured out a barrier method for scissoring?

    Just wondering…. I think I’d do it more if it didn’t involve direct genital to genital contact.

  7. My girl and I tried to scissor in the bath once. It was cramped and she was bumping up against the tap and I had awkward stubble which was scratchy.

    We got out of the bath and haven’t tried again. Maybe we should.

  8. I didn’t think scissoring was a thing until I hooked up with a girl who did this (or maybe, more accurately it was tribbing?) exclusively. But it wasn’t in the fiskar fight position, rather with her on top of me and I had to be um…shall we say, very flexible.

    This experience overall has led me to believe that it obviously exists and it’s some people’s jam. Just not mine!

  9. I am always so confused about scissoring!
    If the tribbing with interlocking legs position counts as scissoring then my wife and I totally scissor pretty much every time we fuck.
    However one time we tried to be adventurous and attempt something more like what the scissors look like on the AS tee and we failed miserably ending up in a world of discomfort and exasperated laughter! Have not attempted again since!

  10. Um what is the difference between scissoring and tribbing?
    (isn’t that splitting hairs and not focussing on the joy to be had?)
    I have a feeling the answer may make me do a major eye roll and determine that I haven’t been missing out on anything, after all, but indulge me… (in case I have been missing out)

    • To my mind, tribbing is rubbing your clitoris on any body part, and scissoring is rubbing one clitoris against the other. Which is way, way harder to coordinate, which is why I advocate the method I’ve drawn out (below).

  11. So I can’t sleep and now you guys get to know how I scissor. Mostly, this was spurred by people who say it’s not a thing, and that lesbians are making this up to perpetrate some sort of hetero-jokesterism. Fuck you is my initial reaction, but I realize that makes me small minded and petty. So here, educate yourselves! Colour coded for your convenience. The only tip I can really add is to rock heavily on your heel. Your girlfriend will thank me.

    First, the bottom.

    Then the top:

    Put ’em together, and what have we got?

    I don’t think it’s a good time to try bondage for the first time, but if you already do, it’s a good time to try scissoring for the first time… in a non-advice-giving kind of way 😉

    • The face on your final stick-person bottom really takes the cake of this whole series.

      But yes, I have scissored (exclusively as a top), and being a leprechaunishly sized human, this is how I do it and it works with people (bottoms) from leprechaunish size to moderately average human size. With gumans of larger size (I had a partner who was 5’10” and maybe 160-170)… I have found unsuccessful scissor outcomes, because my hip flexors or whatever other muscle that’s involved in this position, just can’t deal.

      Thanks for the nice drawing! And that O-face especially!

      • It’s funny cause I noticed that I drew myself as a short person, and the bottom as a tall person. Freudian slip? 😉 I’m a guman – 5’10”, weight undisclosed, but you can use your imagination at size 20. Your statement really convinces me further that this message of scissoring needs to be brought to lesbians everywhere – anyone can do it with just about anyone else!!!

        This is troubleshooting advice, (and kind of a guess) for your short top/guman bottom issue: use pillows on the other side of her body to raise the level of the bed so your hip doesn’t have to stretch. In that way, your heel will be in pillows, not the bed. If you like it enough, you can wrap a sheet around the pillows and she can lay on top of the end of the sheet to hold the pillows in place (or else that rocking will push them away?)

        Also, internet high five because we’re awesome and body-positive and stuff!

        • Wow, you just solved the great scissoring mystery for me! I’ve tried it with my sexual partners before, and I’ve never even gotten close to it working. Like we literally can’t get our bits to even touch each other. So I’ve never understood how it could work. But I just realized reading your comment that I think it’s this height issue. I’m 6’0 and my partners have always been average to short. I’ll have to try your modification and see if it works with my GF! Thanks!

      • No no, as a top you actually have really good body mechanics in this position. I have a pinched nerve in my back, two active foot injuries, a sprained knee history, and chronic bursitis in my hips, and this is easy peasy lemon squeezy!

        • Now with that list of injuries (I have similar back/knee issues) you have sold me. I actually got down and practiced top scissor position at home and yes with practice,(in private, ok) I can be a top scissor player, too.

          With Riese’s permission and blessing, I would like to nominate you for Scissorism’s Golden Scissor Award in recognition of your outstanding contribution to lifetime Lesbian Quality of Life Advancement.

          Thank you so much for going to the effort to make a very simple drawing to further advance the:

          – Professional development, continuing education, quality of life and satisfaction of Women loving Women everywhere

          – Research findings advancing the knowledge of Stick Figures. Exciting unseen footage of the emotional range of Stick Figure Subculture. Stick Figures: They are just like us.

          Seriously, thank you. I didn’t realise I’ve been a tribber and a wannabe Scissorer. I’m aiming higher.

  12. Am I being a lost little queermo because I assumed when most people refer to scissoring, they’re talking about the kind of tribbing where both of you have your legs wrapped together and are grinding your bits on whatever pieces of your partner is within reach?

  13. I am EXTREMELY proud to have introduced scissoring successfully to people who had never tried it before and are now converts. Hopefully, scissoring will continue to spread all over the world in a gay sex version of pay-it-forward.

  14. The only type of scissoring I’m doing right now is craft related. Just like the act itself, using my fiskars requires consent and inspection, before any act takes place.

    Really hoping that one day I’ll learn the OTHER craft…

  15. Scissoring works, and it feels amazing. Just work it! Find your groove, though sometimes hips (larger) get involved, it’s a bit uncomfy but never a dull moment. Don’t stress just find another way to do it. It’ll be great 🙂

  16. I am so torn. Like the fun part about it is the direct-genital contact (which I always avoided like the plague when I was in relationships with cis guys). On the other hand, it’s not very…orgasmic. My BF likes it a lot but I’m kind of meh.

    The diagram someone drew was interesting! We do it more like actual scissors, with our heads at opposite side of the bed…

  17. Fun fact: when I was a young’n (like ten years ago) and didn’t understand the concept of an erection, I assumed straight people scissored – or well I recognize now that I was picturing scissoring – to make a baby. So there’s that.

  18. I think it really depends on how your body and your partner’s body fit together – sometimes it works great, and sometimes it’s a disaster.

    With a pregnant belly? So far, so difficult… I think it’s going to be a while before we get that back.

  19. True story my sestras:

    One day in all girls Catholic high school I explained all the lady lovin’ types of sex including scissoring which got some wheels turning as to what the appeal of sex with women could be. Relying on one another to get off, rather than just hope you’ll get yours after the “main event” or as a milestone to it.
    I don’t remember what prompted me to explain things or exactly when the whole class gathered round my desk. Just that it happened, wheels got turned during scissoring/tribbing portion and the disappointment on our teacher’s face…who was married to our deacon.

    • Hmm… New proof may exist for the first time ever, but it’s well known that a woman can contract HIV from another woman in various sex acts, and as things go, HIV would be more easily transmitted than, say, chlamydia or gonnorrhea.

  20. Is the scissoring sweatshirt going to be made into a scissoring tank top for summer?? Because that’s the kind of Autostraddle merch I need in my life. 🙂

    Go fighting fiskars!

  21. I can’t believe people have the nerve to say scissoring isn’t real just because they can’t do it or don’t like it. I’ve been with women my entire life and have only ever “scissored.” Growing up watching movies with only straight missionary sex, is was only natural for me to want to scissor when I first became sexually active. I’m no way in shape, and not flexible at all, and its very easy to do. My wife and I orgasm at the same every time we have sex. It’s beautiful. I just don’t understand my own community telling me what I do isn’t a thing.

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