Lesbian Sex: Your 15 Favorite Ways To Have It

How do lesbians have sex? Lesbians and the people who have sex with lesbians or who consider themselves lesbian-adjacent have sex in so many different ways, and believe it or not, we’re up to quite a bit more than just scissoring. So we went ahead and asked over 13k+ queer women, “which of these activities has been a regular part of your sex life within the last year?” and now we’ve got the answers!

The data below reflects the most popular answers given by everyone who took our survey who are in relationships (monogamous or non-monogamous) about which sex acts are most popular for their sex life.


The Top 15 Lesbian Sex Activities In Order Of Popularity

young lesbian woman looking at happy girlfriend with raised hands in modern bedroom, thinking about how lesbians have sex

1. Clitoral Stimulation

99% of our survey-takers were fans of clitoral stimulation. In 1933, Sigmund Freud famously remarked “Elimination of clitoral sexuality is a necessary precondition for the development of femininity, since it is immature and masculine in its nature.” He was dead wrong. In fact, most women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Plus, it’s the only human organ that exists exclusively for pleasure! So unsurprisingly, doing stuff to your girlfriend or theyfriend or boyfriend’s clit is a very popular activity.

2. Fingering (genitals, internal)

97.2% of lesbians sex-havers were into this activity also known as: “manual intercourse,” finger-banging, finger-blasting, finger-f*cking and, you know, “f*cking.” Generally this is the act wherein you stick a finger or four into your partner and take the tuna train to pound town. Not everybody likes being penetrated, but just about everyone on our survey was into either taking it or giving it. It’s also a misconception that all people who identify as “tops” aren’t into penetration — on our “Tops and Bottoms Survey,” 32% of self-identified tops enjoyed vaginal penetration.

3. Oral sex (genitals)

We also asked readers for their favorite sex act in an open-ended question, and oral sex easily came out on top, with 95% of our survey-takers enjoying a trip down south. Here’s some oral sex tips for first-timers.

4. Frottage/dry humping

Teenagers and lesbians: mastering the fine art of dry-humping since the dawn of time. A top player in the “non-penetrative sex” practices category with 80% of our survey-takers enjoying this practice, “frottage” is the act of rubbing your body parts against someone else’s body parts, often the genitals or other erogenous zones. It’s great foreplay but it’s also great play — and is a very safe way to engage in sexual activities with a partner.

5. Nipple play

Research has shown that nipple stimulation activates the same region of the brain as clitoral and genital stimulation. Here are ten hot things you can do to chests, breasts and nipples if you or your partner(s) are a part of the 73.1% who is so inclined to do so.

6. Strap-on play

Strap-on sex is very popular amongst lesbians, with 59% reporting themselves as fans. We’ve got a great guide for how to Have Strap-On Lesbian Sex. We get a lot of questions from readers about buying a strap-on harness and recommend, if you can afford it, a Spare Parts Joque Harness.  We’ve got a few guides to strap-on shopping:

Another 22% of y’all indicated that oral sex using a strap-on is a regular part of your sex life.

7. Vibrators

55% of lesbians on our survey use vibrators during sex — for clitoral stimulation, inside a dildo, for penetration, or for mutual masturbation. If you’re buying a vibrator for the first time there can be a lot of intimidating options out there and hard to know which vibrators are the best — and the most famous and beloved vibrator is probably the Hitachi Magic Wand, which is not technically a vibrator at all, and not necessarily the best for partner sex. (Although they recently came out with a rechargeable edition you might like!) The Womanizer has gotten a lot of positive press as well. Couples vibrators are a thing too, like The We-Vibe 4.

Fun fact: 49% of survey-takers usually use vibrators while masturbating.

8. Dildos

Dildos, chosen by 55% of our readers as a regular part of their lesbian sex life, are most often used with strap-ons, although we didn’t differentiate in the survey which may have led to confusing answers. These are the best dildos according to our lesbian sex experts. There are pros and cons to double-ended dildos . Dildos come in all shapes, styles (like the pack and play), sizes (including “VERY BIG“), and materials — glass, silicone, stainless steel, stone — many designed for stand-alone usage and many designed specifically for being used with a harness.

9. Spanking

50% of our lesbian sexperts do some spankings, and of all survey-takers who indicated being interested in kink, 58% enjoy spanking their partner and 62% enjoy getting spanked. If you’re looking to get into spanking and other impact play, try this handy guide to spanking safely and effectively.

10. Scissoring

While many have argued that scissoring isn’t a thing, lesbian scissoring is in fact definitely a thing, in so many configurations: full-body scissoring, acrobatic sitting scissoring and classic scissoring. 34% of you are ready to stand behind scissoring. What can we say about scissoring that you haven’t already said about scissoring? Very little, honestly.

11. Anal play (external)

You can do a lot with your finger besides inserting it all the way into an asshole. While 31% of our survey-takers involve external anal play in how they have lesbian sex, 20% of lesbians also indicated that they regularly participated in “rimming” (oral anal play), aka eating ass.

12. Anal penetration

While 25% of our survey-takers are all in on anal, anal penetration also was the most frequent sex act cited in our open-ended question “what is your least-favorite sex act?” Even if you’re not into anal, you really should read this review of the Njoy Pure Plug, because it’s hilarious. If you’re interested in trying anal, we have a post for how to have lesbian sex: the anal edition.

13. BDSM

The BDSM acronym represents Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission and Sadism & Masochism, and 22% of you make it part of your lesbian sex life. Our Bondage 101 post is a great place to start when looking into starting to tie people up. Some of our most popular sex posts have been related to BDSM-related activities, such as Bondage For Beginners, How to Tie Someone UpRead a F*cking Book About BDSMTop Five Ways To Consensually Hit Your Sex Partner and What We Talk About When We Talk About Flogging.

14. Other sex toy play

22% of our survey-takers use sex toys regularly during sex, and of those, 47% own four or more of them, 75% purchase them in stores and 64% have purchased sex toys online. Sex toys besides vibrators and dildos include kink-lite gear like nipple clamps, handcuffs and whips. Also popular are butt plugs (and amongst butt plugs, the NJoy Pure Plug is particularly popular), cock rings and prostate massagers.

15. Fisting (vaginal)

Finally we land here, with 18% of our survey-takers reporting regular fisting. Admittedly we were pretty surprised by how low fisting ranked! If you can take it and have the body parts necessary to do so, I cannot recommend more highly the experience of having or receiving somebody’s entire hand inside you. You can get started with this Lesbian Fisting 101 post, or trying out these five tips for aspirational fisters.


This post was originally written in 2015 based on survey data from 2015 and has been updated in March 2024. Because the majority of survey

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, 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. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.

50 Comments

  1. HAhaha more clasic contnet from autostraddle.com aka hillaryclinton.gov/all_lesbians_have_vaginas.

    Seriously* don*t pu*t aster*isks on the word trans* wo*man that*s not how it wor*ks than*k you research something please autostraddle is gross cis

    • …What? These are responses from a survey, sorted and listed based on the frequency of each response. Each response indicates a sexual act, not all of which necessitate the having of a vagina..? Using vibrators, fingering, anal play, dildos, spanking, and scissoring can all be done by/with someone without a vagina. Are you mad because 99% of the respondents said they like clitoral stimulation..? Because that isn’t actually AS’s fault (as again, these are answers of the respondents) nor is enjoying/mentioning clitoral stimulation transphobic.

      I like the URL though, nice touch.

    • I tried that link and all I got was a page asking for a $10 donation to the Lesbians with Vaginas for Hillary PAC. Apparently if you donate before midnight, you can still have your name added to the new Donor Dildo at HQ!

    • I know there is a lot of furver around this, and I certainly don’t want to speak for any trans women other than myself but I often refer to my genitals with clitoral nomenclature (Because the structures are incredibly similar differing mostly in size and position, I’d point you to a diagram of the internal structure of “female” anatomy but I’m lazy) . I may have thrown off the survey several times over. In general this kind of trolling is usually not productiove

    • Yes they absolutely do! We made a huge error when we put the survey together and didn’t ask survey-takers for the gender of their present partner. Because a lot of non-lesbian-identified women took the survey and answered based on their present relationships with men (this became clear in the open-ended responses), the only way to isolate the numbers to be 100% sure that we were only showing sex acts between women was to narrow it to lesbian-identified women (which includes both cis and trans women, obviously). I assume the numbers would be the same if it included all women in relationships with women, regardless of their orientation, but we have no way to do that because we didn’t ask that one crucial question. Luckily we had such a huge response that the results remained statistically significant even when we narrowed it down like that.

      • Am I misremembering a part where there were questions about current and past partners being MOC or FOC or masculine of me or feminine of me? There were so many and I remember that part being confusing. Was there not a male and female part for the the current partner?

        • yes, there was, but i think most people were really confused by it because the results we got did not make a ton of sense. also it specifically asked for your responses to be based on partners besides cis men, so that section didn’t give us any data relevant to this quandary.

          • We actually have a researcher who we gave the sex survey data to in exchange for her doing a few things for us, primarily extracting whatever useful data she can from that question specifically!

        • I completely, 100% understand that not all lesbians have vaginas. And I was referring to the first comment on here, sorry for the confusion. I mean, in a world where nobody wants you to talk about having female sex organs, especially when it comes to enjoying sex (especially with other women), I’d like to think that Autostraddle would be a safe place to refer to having a vagina or clitoris when talking about sex without fear of being told to shut up. And this was a survey in which thousands of queer women shared their personal experiences about their own bodies and I don’t like someone coming on here and making them feel bad about it. Anyway, the cussing was due to the fact that I was/am angry about that comment’s attack on this website/community and that I think all lesbian, bisexual, and trans women should be allowed to reference their own body parts using language that feels comfortable to them without being attacked for it.

          • It’s also true that many women with trans histories do have vaginas. I’m grateful for articles that are inclusive of all of us and all of our bodies. Talking about vaginas and clits is really helpful for me as I learn my body since bottom surgery.

  2. Could y’all make a print of some kind of that flow chart and put it in the Straddle store someday?
    Not saying it has to be a 18 x 24 poster, but some thing larger than 8 by 11 would be great. Say oh 11 by 17 maybe?

    It’d make a wonderful learning aid, just saying.

      • Once upon a time I was googling AM I A LESBIAN frantically to figure out what was happening in my brain and found that chart and it literally changed my life and convinced me to go out on a date and eventually have lady sex and the whole experience was so much less terrifying because of that chart!!! So, thank you, Autostraddle :)

  3. This is a great article!! I would be curious to know where the straight/Hetero world stood on these things (those that applied, I suppose). Are the numbers similar for straight women?

    • Somewhere out there are results on a survey or a study even on what counts as sex and orgasm rate to straight people and if I remember correctly it was pretty grim for women.

      But, ooh I’d love to study the kink factor possibly expanding the definition of sex and boosting effective communication in straight people.

  4. but srsly autostraddle fisting do you want to talk about fisting and how it’s good for the environment and increases your followers on instagram or whatever and like teaches kids to read and seriously, fisting. guys. ydy, but also, maybe nobody ever asked you so you never considered that you want to do that.

    if for nothing else that you can then make the joke that is in that later-season episode of absolutely fabulous where eddie monsoon’s career is tanking and she winds up involved in a lesbian fundraiser called fist across america, and when there are vaguely appropriate moments you cheer,”FIST ACROSS AMERICA!!!!” gf and I do this sometimes.

  5. There was talk about scissoring on one of these result articles and people talked about tribbing and omggggggggghhgggg thank you for giving us the sex ed classes we were never given as teenagers.

    So many things I like! So much to do! Many feelings. Much happy.

  6. Does anyone have any recommendations for having sex with my trans girlfriend? Her bottom dysphoria is bad enough that she keeps her pants (UK) on at all times during sex, so I’m unable to play with her genitals, which I’m okay with. Anal is also out of the question for other reasons. She enjoys it when I play with her breasts and nipples, dry hump her, and kiss/lick/bite her, as well as when I tell her what I’m going to do with her post-op, but I was wondering if anyone has any other ideas? I have one bullet vibrator, but I’m open to getting more toys in the future. She enjoys giving me oral and fingering me, but I was hoping there was some more I could do for her. We’re not particularly kinky, so kink related ideas wouldn’t really work

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