How to Have Sex With a Woman: A Guide to Vulva Owner-Vulva Owner Action
Sexual Wellness

How to Have Sex With a Woman: A Guide to Vulva Owner-Vulva Owner Action

10/06/2023

If you’re a woman or vulva owner thinking about experimenting with other people with vulvas, it’s understandable to feel a bit nervous. Even though some people say that having a vulva automatically equips you to please people with the same anatomy, everybody is different, and partnered sex can feel very different from self-pleasure. So, it’s great that you’re already reading up on how to be the best sexual partner you can be, and future partners will thank you for it.

Now, let’s get down to business. Here’s what you need to know before entering into a sexual interaction with another vulva owner.

1. Forget about what you’ve seen in porn

Even if you’ve been watching lesbian porn, it may not have provided an accurate depiction of what sex between two vulva owners is like. “The vast majority of porn is an unrealistic portrayal of sexual intimacy that's made for the cis-het male gaze,” explains sex educator Lilith Foxx. “This is especially true for any ‘lesbian’ porn. I say it in quotes because you'll likely just get plain incorrect information and inaccurate representations of vulva-owner intimacy.” 

Feminist, queer, and ethical porn will provide better inspiration for your sex life. But no matter what kind of porn you’re watching, you shouldn’t expect things to go exactly the same as they do in the videos you’re watching. Check in with your partner about what they like and how their body works, and avoid making assumptions.

2. Be present

Being a good lover isn’t about memorizing moves and replicating them; it’s about being in the moment so that you can tune in and listen to your partner’s body. Of course, this is easier said than done. If you find that there are thoughts distracting you from being present during sex, do your best to bring your mind back to the feelings you’re experiencing. “You can try to focus on the sensations of your partner touching you, like how their tongue feels against yours,” says Rhiannon John, a sexologist at Bedbible.

Foxx recommends creating the space for your partner to be present as well. “You can do this by focusing on the sensations and creating an experience,” she says. “Kiss their inner thighs, caress one another, and ease into the sensations and play. Pay attention to their reactions to see what kinds of sensations they enjoy.”

3. Communicate before, during, and after the experience

Talking to your partner and asking them what they like can be a way to engage in dirty talk — or foreplay before you even reach the bedroom — while gaining valuable information. “You can ask them things like ‘how does that feel?’ or ‘tell me how good that tongue feels,’” says Foxx. “It also has the added bonus of an ego boost for you!”

Ideally, this kind of communication should begin before sex. “I also recommend, during initial communication, discussing limits and boundaries with regards to what kinds of touch and play they prefer, and what words they may or may not want their vulva or other parts of their body referred to,” Foxx adds.

4. Experiment with different forms of touch, acts, and sensations

Even if your partner really enjoys a certain type of touch, that sensation may become overwhelming when sustained over time. It’s also just fun to try different techniques and see which ones your partner likes best. “Try various methods of stimulation, such as oral, manual, or using sex toys, and pay attention to your partner's reactions to determine what feels best for them,” Foxx advises.

5. Talk about barriers 

Just because there isn’t the possibility of pregnancy doesn’t mean discussions of safer sex are not important. During oral sex with a vulva owner, for instance, you can use dental dams or Lorals — underwear that is thin enough to wear during oral sex — to protect against STIs. Foxx recommends discussing these barrier methods and/or getting tested to put any worries about STIs to rest. You might also consider using condoms over sex toys (if they’ll be used on more than one person) or latex, rubber, or nitrile gloves for fingering, says John.

6. Have discussions about consent, safety, and triggers

“Most women have had experiences of sexual violence,” says sex educator Ariadne Wolf. “Many of us have experienced profound betrayal from someone we trusted, and often, that betrayal ended in domestic violence or sexual assault.” Because of this, conversations about consent, trust, boundaries, and safety are extremely important. These discussions might include what you and/or your partner may find triggering as well as what will help each of you feel safe.

“You need to be thinking in terms of what's going to calm your nervous system and what's going to signal safety to you both, not simply what feels romantic or seems sensual,” says Wolf. In addition, many vulva owners have health conditions that may cause pain during sex, so it’s also vital to talk about what might trigger pain and how it can be avoided. “We need, and our partners need, space to process all the feelings that arise when we have sex that's not dissociated, sex that's not distracted, sex that genuinely feels connected and safe,” Wolf adds.

7. Explore your own body

Every vulva is different, so don’t assume your partner’s will be like yours. Still, getting to know your body will give you ideas for what to try with your partner. “Exploring your own body and what feels pleasurable will not only help you pleasure your partner, but also help them pleasure you, as you can communicate just how you like to be touched,” says John.

8. Style your nails thoughtfully 

If you’re touching someone’s vulva, sharp nails can cause discomfort, John points out. The easiest way to avoid this is to keep your nails trimmed, but if you want them to be longer, some ways of styling them are better than others. “Gel and acrylic nails are thicker and often cause less pain, especially if they're not extremely long,” says John. “If you have long nails, ensure you get your partner's consent before using them, and check in with them while pleasuring them to ensure they are comfortable.”

9. Engage in aftercare

Having sex with a vulva owner for the first time can be an amazing and vulnerable experience, so taking time to process and wind down from what’s just happened — an act known as aftercare — may be especially important. 

“Aftercare refers to the practice of taking care of yourself and your partner after sexual activity, both physically and emotionally,” says John. “It can include activities such as cuddling, talking, offering water or snacks, checking in with each other's emotional state, or just taking a nap together.” This is also a great time to let your partner know what you appreciated about them and the experience and, if you’d like, talk about what you’d like to do next time!

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