How to Have Lesbian Sex For the First Time

How do you have lesbian sex? We get asked this question all the time from lesbians of all ages who haven’t had lesbian sex and are worried they don’t know “how.” Well, listen: enjoying sex isn’t about memorizing 16 positions or knowing the best angle to fuck from, enjoying lesbian sex is half-animal half-heart and only rarely has it got anything to do with your rational brain, or cognitive reasoning, or anything a person could tell you or anything you could read on the internet.

And while it’s true that one day you’ll be more confident and experienced than you are now, it’s also true that your body was born knowing how to have sex like it was born knowing how to eat. Your first time doesn’t have to be a big deal, some of us don’t even remember our first times. Alternately, if you want it to be a big deal, it can be. But ultimately every partner is different — totally, completely, entirely different — from the next. So what could we tell you, really?

However — at the same time, many of us recall a period of time when lesbian sex felt like fumbling, or improv, trying to play a sport we didn’t understand, like badminton. Or a sport everyone thought we should be good at but we weren’t. Meanwhile, others recall hopping into bed and instinctually knowing what to do from the moment of entry. Many of us had sex with boys in our teens and didn’t bang a lady ’til our mid-to-late-twenties, and felt like rookies all over again. So we can understand how you might feel a little better knowing a little something before you take the plunge.

Women’s sexuality, let alone queer sexuality, is usually ignored by sex ed programs. And while many heteros learn about sex together in their early teens, many lesbians don’t start that early and/or aren’t peer socialized into the sexual universe like straights are, not to mention that our entire media culture is structured around and obsessed with heterosexual sex.

So we’re gonna go back to basics. However, as we write this post, we are slightly concerned that we have no fucking idea what we’re talking about. We hope to open a dialogue for commenters to share their own stories and experiences and for everyone to ask questions!

Disclaimer: This post (originally written in 2010 and largely unaltered from that time) focuses on lesbian sex between cisgender women, although is also largely applicable to sex between any two people with vulvas, and full of great advice for anybody having sex with someone who has a vulva. The language in this post, unlike the majority of our sex content, reflects that largely for SEO purposes. However, trans women are women and most certainly have lesbian sex, and you can read some of our many tips on that in these posts: How To Have Lesbian Sex With A Trans WomanF*cking Trans Women and Harnesses for Trans Women.


Pre-Game Your Lesbian Sex

muscular woman stretching, wearing black workout gear and a watch in front of a red background+

Masturbate

If you have a vulva and you wanna know how to make a person with a vulva feel good, you have the advantage of using yourself for a test subject — not that what pleases you will please your partner, but it’s a start. Probably you and your showerhead have been aware of this since childhood, but if you’re new to masturbation or new to orgasming, here’s how to masturbate like a champ. While you’re at it, here’s how to buy a vibrator.

Being an experienced masturbator will help you be a successful lover more than anything else you could ever do, ever. Not only will you know how your partner can please you, but you’ll have some idea of how to please them.

Bonus: Touching yourself with your jeans and underwear on (you can unzip your jeans, but don’t pull them down) might be very good practice for your date to Twilight Total Eclipse Of the Sun.

Note: When you’re aroused, you might feel warm or flushed. Your nipples will get erect, your clit and vulva will swell due to increased blood supply. Inside your body, the top of the vagina will expand.

Also: Check out your insides. The outside of everybody’s vulva is a brand new continent, but the insides are reasonably similar to one another, so it’s a solid sneak preview if you have one.

Self-Reflection

still from "The L Word" of women looking at their vaginas in a mirror

If you’ve got one, look at your vadge in the mirror. I know you’re going to read this and think “OH MY GOD I WOULD NEVER” and not do it. Get over yourself. Stick a fucking mirror between your legs and check out your shit!

Understand Your Vaginal Situation, If You Have One

First things first: people often use the term “vagina” when talking about the female genital region, which actually isn’t correct. The right term for your external genital region is “vulva.” The vagina is inside of you, connecting the vulva to the cervix. Here’s a great article from Teen Vogue that gets into all the details about anatomy.

Now that you’re sitting here with your mirror, let’s go over the anatomy of a cisgender woman’s vulva.

Clitoris: Your clit is made up of the glans/head (the most sensitive part with 6,000-8,000 nerve endings), the hood (which drapes over the glans) and the shaft (which is on average 1.9 cm in length). Some clits are larger than others, and almost all women can orgasm from clitoral stimulation.

Labia Majora: Them be your “pussy lips.” Then, the labia minora are the asymmetrical delicate folds of softy spongy erecticle tissue within the labia majora. Some labia minoras extend past the majoras and some are tucked away inside. The length/shape of labia minora/majoras is the first place where you’ll notice that every woman’s vagina looks different than another’s.

Vagina: Your vaginal entrance is below your clit and urethral opening (aka where the pee comes out). Vaginal tissue is elastic, you may have heard that babies come out of it and fists can go into it. Most of the nerve endings are in the outer third of the vagina (in other words: don’t worry about having small hands, it’s nbd).

so many different vulvas featured in this vagina art by jamie mccatney

G-Spot: Put a finger in your vagina. Now make a “come hither” motion towards the front wall of your vagina. Do you feel that spot with a texture unlike everything else’s texture? It’s a sponge about the size of a bean that fills with blood during arousal, directly in front of your uterus. Some women find g-spot stimulation too intense, some hate it, some like it, some can orgasm from it, and some can female ejaculate from it.

Perineum: The flat area between the pudendal cleft and the anus. Some women find this area sexually sensitive. Slangily referred to as “the taint” ’cause it ain’t the genitals and it ain’t the asshole.

Grooming for Lesbian Sex

Hair: You can do literally anything you want with your hair, although removing it entirely makes you vulnerable to infections and it can be very itchy! Here’s some statistics on your hair removal habits.

Pointers if you are gonna remove some hair:

  • If you have the money and the time, laser hair removal is the best way to get rid of your hair in that area for the long-term. It’s generally said that laser hair removal works better on lighter skin tones, but luckily that is changing.
  • For most of us, waxing is the best/cheapest way to “clean up” without ingrowns. Depending on your skin tone and sensitivity, waxing may turn your skin a lovely shade of crimson for a day, so schedule appropriately. We highly recommend getting it done by a professional, but if you wanna DIY, Sally Hansen’s are cheap and easy for beginners and so is this kit from Flamingo.
  • If you’re shaving, you could get mad serious razor burn which sometimes looks like a lot of red bumps all around your area. Bikini Zone will help you with this.
  • If you shave a day or two before hooking up, anyone who goes down on you will feel like they are sticking their face into a sheet of sandpaper.

Hands: Make sure your nails are as short as possible and smoothly filed. If you do have long nails or acrylics, here’s how to have sex safely without sacrificing them. Keeping your hands mega-extra-super-duper-clean is key. Play it extra-safe by employing some handy latex or nitrile gloves.

Vadge: You guys, your vagina smells perfect just the way it is! Do not douche or otherwise attempt to infuse your vagina with fields of marigolds. It will have a stronger smell if you haven’t showered or have gotten really sweaty, and that’s fine. (Sidenote: the lingering smell of her on your fingertips = magic). However, if your vagina smells so pungently fishy that your partner can smell it in your pants from across the room, you might have BV and should go see a gynecologist.


Doing The Lesbian Sex

To be honest, we kinda don’t want you to read this. We want you to have to figure it out for yourself, like we did! You guys, it’s so fun and you get to be naked or half-naked with another lady! Right?! Sex will be the best when you stop thinking and let your body think for you!

There are also at least 1,000 sex tips we could give you for the rest of your sex life, but today we’re gonna stay very simple and vanilla.

Communicate

lesbian couple looking at each other

Just ’cause you’re both ladies doesn’t mean what feels good to you will feel good to her. Both of you can indicate what’s working and what isn’t through words, noises, or physical response. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions or volunteer what you like. It’s like the Hot/Cold game, but naked and more slippery! Saying “what do you like” is totally a thing we do. So is laughing. We recommend lots of laughing.

Lesbian Sex Foreplay

There are a lot of things happening in the torso region for both of you to explore, like BREASTS and ears, and playing with those body parts is fun AND a good way to get lubed up before any kind of direct vaginal contact occurs (if that’s what you want). Some people can orgasm from stimulation of other body parts besides the vadge, too. (If it’s your or your partner’s first time being penetrated, don’t go for the Frankie-style jackhammer fuck within five minutes of your first tongue kiss, ease into that shit!)

Manual Clitoral Stimulation

This is a good place to begin. Fairly self-explanatory. Again, some people will want your hand to become a vibrator and some will only want to be touched with extreme delicacy. Find out by asking!

Oral Sex

Oral sex is so awesome that it almost feels like cheating. Like were mouths made to go there, or is that something humanity figured out on its own? Per always, err on the side of sensitive. This will either be “teasing” or “how she likes it,” depending on the lady. This can also be paired with fucking/g-spot stimulation, but we’re starting simple today, so, again, enjoy yourself. Sometimes if you have body image issues, being eaten out can make you feel really exposed. So close your eyes, everything is okay. And don’t forget to practice safer sex with dental dams.

Fucking 

When in doubt, start slow/soft/delicate and build up to as fast/hard as she wants it. Make sure she’s wet before attempting penetration — lube is a great way to do this. Then:

+ Start with your index finger in just a little bit, and then all the way in and then bring in a second finger if she wants. (Then a third if she wants, etc etc) Don’t go too fast, give her time to respond.

+ Pay attention to where your other fingers are! If you’ve got your index/middle fingers inside her, is your thumbnail digging into her inner thigh? Check your shit.

+ Some women don’t want to be penetrated for various reasons, including discomfort, gender identity or gender expression, and/or a preference for a particular sexual role (as in “I fuck you, you don’t fuck me.”) If that’s you and your partner gets in that area, politely move her hand and tell her where you do want to be touched (or that you’d rather touch her).

Frottage

Now, sticking your hand down her pants and up her canal might be your first instinct, or maybe it’s what you’ve seen on The L Word, but that is only one of many magical ways girls fuck other girls. You will discover 365 ways to basically dry hump (you can keep your underwear on for this, it can be easier, but please do take off your shirt, because that’s more fun). You can basically rub up on any part of her body or rub vadge-to-vadge pretty much for the rest of your life.

More Resources For Great Lesbian Sex:


The More You Know

  •  DO NOT DO NOT compare body parts. Compliments are great! But resist the urge to add an assessment of your own parts onto your compliment regarding her parts. ‘Your [part] is so much more [way of being] than mine! Waaah.’ = NO.
  • If you’re dealing with non-gender-conforming folks then it’s best to ask before hooking up what’s okay and what isn’t. Same for dealing with gender conforming folks!
  • You have a right to feel safe and comfortable, which means that consent is key and so is safer sex — please get a check-up and talk to your partner about any STIs you or she may have before jumping into bed.
  • Whether you’re 16 or 36, you’re NOT “BEHIND.” Because of the patriarchy, it’ll take you about 15 seconds to find information regarding the average age at which heterosexual women and men lose their V-Cards (16-17), but no such research exists for lesbians as far as we can tell. So we’ve done a casual survey of Team Autostraddle, which is a poor sample population because we’re all under 35 and obviously “out” enough to be on Team Autostraddle so, we imagine, probably more sexually experienced than the average lesbian bear. Regardless, by age and year of “virginity loss”:

Among our totally non-representative sample size of queer women, the average age for “our first time” is 19.4.

Relevant Lists

Body Parts that could be erogenous OR no-fly zones:

+ ears
+ neck
+ nipples
+ inner thighs
+ feet
+ hands
+ ass
+ small of the back

Some People Do and Some People Don’t:

+ want to be penetrated
+ orgasm from penetration
+ ejaculate
+ incorporate sex toys into sex
+ enjoy g-spot stimulation
+ require manual clitorial stimulation to orgasm
+ prefer clitorial stimulation AND vaginal penetration to orgasm
+ enjoy anal penetration or butt plugs or eating ass
+ use strap-ons
+ orgasm at all
+ identify as “stone”
+ fantasize during sex
+ identify as either a “bottom” or a “top
+ identify as either “butch” or “femme”
+ want to be naked during sex
+ want the lights on during sex
+ like it rough
+ have an STI
+ wanna scissor

Things That Could Happen Your First Time And Are Totally Fine:

+ Ejaculating and literally soaking your entire bed (it’s not urine, we promise) (also, it’s awesome)
+ Farting or queefing
+ Accidentally cutting/lacerating the vagina (this happens to old pros, too) (ahem)
+ Not orgasming
+ Not being wet
+ Getting injured
+ Tensing up while pentrated
+ Bleeding
+ Bleeding from hymen-breakage
+ Post-sex UTIs or yeast infections
+ Taking 30+ minutes to orgasm
+ Your arm getting tired
+ Crying
+ Laughing
+ Feelings
+ No feelings
+ Not feeling like the whole world changed
+ Feeling like the whole world changed
+ Feeling like you’re on a whole new level of intimacy with your partner
+ Not enjoying it

Try not to be too goal-oriented. Lots of people don’t come the first time — many people don’t come regularly during sex at all! If neither of you do, there’s gonna be a moment when you feel like you’re done anyhow, like the encounter is over, and that might feel weird, but it’s not weird, it happens. Stop when you’d stop any physically tiring activity — when you don’t feel like it anymore. Just laugh and maybe stay naked and kiss and talk. Cuddle! Lesbians love to cuddle. Or ask her to show you how she gets herself off and vice versa — mutual masturbation is a good backup plan for when you both want to come but can’t seem to get it this time. Plus it’s hot to watch and see what she does to herself!

the afterglow


Resources

Books:

+ The Lesbian Sex Bible: More techniques and advice for lesbian, bisexual and queer women that approaches the topic with humor and irreverence.

+ Susie Sexpert’s Lesbian Sex World: The cover of this book is so weird and 90s, but you can download it for $2.99 from Amazon and it’s — it’s just FUN. It’s super sex-positive and deserves to become a cult classic of the lesbian book world starting now.

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us, by Felice Newman: The classic. Buy it, learn it, live it, love it.

Lesbian Sex: 101 Lovemaking Positions: I bet you don’t know anything about the Joyride, Tongue and Groove, Toast Her, Gilding the Lily, Peach Gobbler, Hanky Spanky, Girl Wrap or Velvet Rope, do ya? Well you could change that.

Getting Off: A Woman’s Guide to Masturbation: From sex blogger and masturbation expert Jayme Waxman.

+ Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era: Get in touch with your womynhood.

The New Lesbian Sex Book, 3rd Edition: Interviews with REAL LIVE LESBIANS about their sex lives, has the impact of reminding you that there’s a lot of lesbians out there having sex and it’s not just you and your partner(s) in your teeny tiny village by the sea.

Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma: “The first encouraging, sex-positive guide for all women survivors of sexual assault — heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, coupled, and single — who want to reclaim their sex lives.”

Websites:

+  Betty Dodson with Carlin Ross: “Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross are two intergenerational sex positive feminists whose dialogue on sexuality and feminism entertains and educates while delving into the Politics of Women’s Sexuality.” Includes a library of “how-to” videos for various sexual acts, including “first-time lesbian sex.”

+ The-Clitoris Dot Com: “Everything you ever wanted to know about the clitoris and female sexuality.”

+ Sexuality.org: Comprehensive online library of sexuality resources from the Society for Human Sexuality.

Oh and:

Dental Dams and Latex or Nitrile Gloves and Lubricant

Okay, time to yell/ask/share in the comments! Go have fun, you crazy beavers!

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249 Comments

  1. So I’m about to be 16 and I’ve recently within the past week had sex for the first time with a girl. I am understanding everything this article is saying but I don’t know.. I’m unsure about myself I guess.. I don’t madturbate often. But when I do I’m not really sticking my fingers inside myself (lol) but when this girl does it I just don’t want her to stop! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Lol…

  2. I’m trans and loved the whole discussion, even though it’s a bit dated the material is just great and on point! I thought the article was wide ranging, in-depth enough with nicely used humor, and it didn’t make a person’s gender identity special but dealt with it when and where appropriate. For me taking the post-natal route to my womanhood isn’t all the special anymore . . . which is to say I’m no longer a transsexual; I’m just a sexual – a sexual lesbian that is.

    This site was perfect enough for me!

  3. ok i get really wet and im worried she’ll get grossed out has this happened to anyone? is there a way to not get do wet? ive had sex with a guy he didnt mind but guys like any kind of pussy….

    • She isn’t going to be grossed out by it! I also have this problem, and if anything it’s just been funny. My current girlfriend thinks it’s hilarious that I sometimes drip on things- like my feet for instance- when I was sitting on them eating her out. It opens up lots of possibilities, means that you probably won’t hurt yourself, and you won’t get dried up when you inevitably have sex for hours.

      In my experience, guys have been much pickier than the women I’ve slept with.

  4. ok i get really wet and im worried she’ll get grossed out has this happened to anyone? is there a way to not get do wet? ive had sex with a guy he didnt mind but guys like any kind of pussy…..

  5. This was so insanely helpful and reassuring!! Unfortunately i’m not planning on having sex anytime soon but my lack of knowledge of queer sex had left me pretty terrified of it. Despite being a lesbian, the idea of sex with another woman seemed hella daunting. BUT NOW IM SUPER EXCITED… man now I just need a girlfriend…

  6. Thank you for this post.
    My girlfriend has given me a lot of pleasures but I do not know how to give back. I know she’d love me to do it to her(orally) but she’s not and never complain and asked for it (I have mentioned it to her before).

  7. Hey,

    Just want to let you know that the picture of the vagina is inaccurate. The hymen should not be ‘torn’. The hymen is a thin membrane around the entrance and unlike popular belief does not completely close off the entrance (where would our periods go if it did, also how would our vaginas clean ourselves out). The hymen only tears if someone is careless when putting something large in there without stretching before hand. The hymen can tear during sports, like when you do the splits and so on. But otherwise the hymen should stay intact and it does not dis/prove virginity.

    Bronte

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  9. So, I’m 33 and never been with a woman. Having my first date with a gorgeous slightly older and much more experienced woman tomorrow. We both are in it for the physical fwb possibility so I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I honestly want to skip the silly pre sex formalities and go straight to practicing this new territory. Thanks for the article.

  10. Omg I’m so glad I found this, my gf’s been trying to initiate something and I’ve been so nervous (being a virgin) I feel better knowing somewhat what to expect and what not to be thrown off by.

  11. This was very helpful (I guess), but raised so many questions too. Am 29 and never had sex with a girl, (to my entourage am straight) just some kissing in high school and fooling around. But lately am thinking about it a lot. Subscribed to online dating sites, but damn, that’s hard to find someone who turns me on. I live on a small island (very very conservative), and finding a girl will be a real mission.
    Have yet to discuss the things I learnt here with a lesbian (didn’t know a thing about safe sex between ladies!)

    Still searching for my first, and all this will surely help when the time arrives.

  12. Can we have something like this especially for trans women? Especially trans women who are still waiting for their vagina to show up? I feel like I understand lesbian sex and have a lot of the same feelings and understandings about it, hell, I know for fact that it doesn’t feel the same as before I started hormones, but also, I know I don’t have that part yet and have no frame of reference when you say stuff like “look at your own” or “what feels good” or “masturbate”. I’ve not found any help with this, and usually when I’m with someone they they are ok with talking but usually want to get to the sexy times and not take all day talking. Most people don’t understand how much trans women WANT to understand vagina on the same level as cisgender women, but unfortunately we don’t, and maybe even with surgery never will. It’s a hard thing to reconcile when you’re gay. Articles on this just might help a little.

  13. Thank you so much for putting this info out there.

    As a -only recently out despite my age- Black, queer, disabled cis woman, I don’t ever expect info to be specifically targeted toward more than one of my identities. I love finding resources that are at all helpful. The linked article on how to perform oral sex on a person with genitalia generally assumed to be called “vulvae” is -in some ways- helpful, but I found it rather problematic. Is there a way to maybe include how heteronormative the article is, how focused on binary genders, how “pick-up-artisty” some of it seems and how it completely misses the importance of affirmative consent, in the link? Also I clicked around on the website that was linked and found some incredibly transphobic content.

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  17. Hey it’s a great article because despite accepting myself and being out 5 years (bisexual) I still haven’t had sex with a woman and I’m thinking of returning to dating and this will include women (yes I am romantically and emotionally into women personally, I’d be happy to spend my life with a woman if I met the right one, I’m not one of those who are in it just physically).

    Only issue is I feel a bit left out since terminology only mentions lesbians but we’re all here for the same thing. I just hope if I date a lesbian she doesn’t fear I’m only after one thing then bugger off with a man. I’ve heard of this and it saddens me.

    Anyway, thanks. It’s helpful. I’m nervous about the whole thing (if I’m lucky, I’m one year off 40 and hope it’s not too late).

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