Tribadism and safer sex

Tribadism (pronounced /ˈtrɪ bæd ɪzm/) or tribbing, also known by the slang term scissoring, is a form of non-penetrative sex in which a woman rubs her vulva against her partner’s body for sexual stimulation. This may involve female-to-female genital contact or a female rubbing her vulva against her partner’s thigh, arm or stomach; it can also refer to a masturbation technique in which a woman rubs her vulva against an inanimate object such as a bolster, in an effort to achieve orgasm.

The term is most often used in the context of lesbian sex, but is not exclusive to lesbians.

History
In the sexuality of the ancient Romans, a tribas was a woman who wanted to be an active partner or “top” in intercourse. The Romans did not classify according to homosexuality and heterosexuality. They instead had words for who was the active partner and who was the “bottom”.

Until the 20th century, the term was used to refer to lesbian sexual practices in general. Therefore, lesbians were occasionally called tribades.

This position is not exclusive to humans. Females of the bonobo species, found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also engage in female-female genital sex, usually known as GG rubbing (genito-genital).

Safe sex issues
As with any exchange of bodily fluids during sexual activities, tribadism has the potential to transfer sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if those are present in one or more of the partners. Participants have the option of safe sex practices.

Tribadism in popular culture
The glam pop band Scissor Sisters derived their name from the scissoring position.
Bands named after tribadism include Scissorfight and the lesbian punk band Tribe
Genital-genital tribadism was depicted three times during the “D-Yikes!” episode of the cartoon South Park, referred to in that episode as “scissoring”.
Australian band Rocksteady pay homage to tribadism with their song “Scissoring”.

SEE: Bonobo Sex and Society
The behavior of a close relative challenges assumptions about male supremacy in human evolution

Remember HIV OK:
It infects CD4 cells and uses them to make new copies of HIV, which go on to infect more cells. The lower a person’s CD4 count, the weaker their immune system will be.

Very low risk but NOT No risk
HIV is transmitted when blood, vaginal fluids (including menstrual blood), breast milk or semen from an HIV+ person enters your bloodstream.

It is true that instances of female-to-female HIV transmissions that have been documented are far less than the other modes of transmission mainly unprotected heterosexual and homosexual penetrative sex. The route possibly being sex toys, used vigorously enough to cause exchange of blood-tinged body fluids.

Lesbians are fortunate enough to be in the lowest risk and it’s very rare for women to transmit HIV to each other sexually.

Each woman must assess the risks for herself and decide how she’s going to conduct her sex life. Many of us consider monogamy to offer all the ‘safety’ we need sexually. Although it can’t protect against HIV if someone already carries the virus.

Sexual identity does not necessarily predict behaviour. Just stay aware and enjoy what and who you do!

Safety first
Safer sex for women who have sex with women is a personal choice. If you are concerned you may want to follow the following tips:

Use protection during oral sex. Dental dams, cut up condoms, or cling film can be used to minimise contact with fluids during oral sex
Don’t share sex toys, or if you chose to, make sure you use a new condom every time it enters a new hole!
Cuts on hands create risk during vaginal masturbation/ fisting so you may want to use latex gloves
Rough sex is safe if there is no blood involved
If you are piercing each other then disinfect the needle and body areas
If shaving the vaginal area, do not share razors.

Frottage (rubbing bodies together) is better and recommended by most experts in HIV as the risks as outlined briefly above can pass HIV and other STIs if the action is rigid and there is contact with blood and other bodily fluids to blood.

Peace and tolerance

H

Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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