rebelraising: (homosamurai)
[personal profile] rebelraising
I thought I should really just post to note that just as I sat down to plan our consultation on the Sexual Health Strategy, look what came on my random playlist!

Hmm. So I'm trying to devise a questionnaire about where queer women get their information and advice from. And it occurs to me that there are several such women on my friends list. So: tell me.

Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?

And, just as an injoke for those of us who've spent days reading this document: would you use a dental dam if you were in prison, but not otherwise?

I do actually want to know, by the way - both because I'm interested generally in other people's experiences, and because I need to put some shape to this consultation I'm planning. So: talk about sex! Now!

Date: 2004-01-21 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] riarambles.livejournal.com
Want me to bring this to the notice of non-UK people who could fill it in for you, or is it just for the UK?

Date: 2004-01-21 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cangetmad.livejournal.com
Oh, not just UK-ers, by any means! It's a scoping study (hee! That sounds rather self-important) - I just want to work out what questions to ask for the final thing, which will be Scotland-focussed.

I've unlocked this, so spread the word all you like.

(Unless, [livejournal.com profile] biascut, you want me to leave it locked, as you were the only person who posted under the friends-lock.)

Date: 2004-01-21 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] biascut.livejournal.com
Oh no, I'm fine. Nothing particularly confidential about what I've posted.

Very interesting questions, by the way! I shall be interested to see what turns up.

Date: 2004-01-21 09:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] biascut.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
1. On safe sex: From my friends and my ex-girlfriend - after I'd slept with her. Most of my friends were involved in university welfare type things or HIV awareness education. And, having learnt everything I know off my mates, I seem to be better informed than any nurse or doctor that I've ever spoken to. Isn't that appalling?
2. On the mechanics and What Is It Lesbians Actually Do, Anyway: I knew about the oral sex, and the rest ... kind of just came naturally. Surprisingly so. *sly grin*

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Er - probably just using dental dams for oral sex unless you're in a monogamous relationship. Or clingfilm, but only non-microwaveable clingfilm because microwaveable clingfilm is porous to let steam escape, and the holes are big enough for the HIV virus to pass through. And it's important to get tested if you're monogamous and to use barriers if you're not because, dude, you can get gonorrhea in your throat. (Quoting the ex-girlfriend here: for some reason, that sentence stuck with me. Ewwww.)

And I've heard vague rumours about using gloves for digital/genital contact, but, um, no, I wouldn't. Also, I've only ever once seen dental dams being given out free after a club.

What I always find odd is that there aren't many things that gay women can do that are exclusive to gay women, but I've never heard anyone recommending that straight couple use dental dams for cunnilingus or gloves for digital/genital contact. That's kind of odd.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
Local urino-genital clinic. Nice nurses, mainly female doctors, and they've seen and heard it all before. And I know where it is, too!

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
I tend not to. Probably LJ, at a push. In terms of relationship or pre-marriage counselling for the two of you, if it were with my ex-girlfriend I think we'd look for a friendly rabbi who wasn't scared of lesbians.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
LJ people and a few RL friends. But it's so not an issue at the moment!

Date: 2004-01-21 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] biascut.livejournal.com
Oops, I forgot the last one. In an ideal world, I would have known as much about safe sex and the sexual health issues surrounding oral/genital contact or vibrator/genital contact as I do about the sexual health issues surrounding penis/vaginal sex (even if I wasn't gay myself, because, you know, Cunnilingus Is Not Just For Lesbians.) How come I memorised all the safe sex stuff in Just Seventeen from the age of about thirteen, and could probably quote the relative rates of pregnancy on the pill and the condom when I was seventeen but I'd never heard of dental dams until I was 21 and at university? That's crap!

Also, I have never seen dental dams for sale, anywhere. And that's including having got behind the curtain in Libertas. I do actually know where i could go to get dental dams at the moment, but only because I'm on a university campus and tons of my friends are/were involved in university welfare services, so dental dam jokes are pretty commonplace. Unlike condoms, though, they're not actually given out in first year packs or anything. (The university LGB society gives out a pack which includes an extra-strong condom. Cue all the girls: Well, gee, that's going to come in useful!)

Off the university campus, I don't have the first clue where I should go. Stock up on the non-microwaveable clingfilm!

Date: 2004-01-21 10:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saraslash.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
Initially from fanfic, I suppose, at least when I was younger. This past semester, I took a sexual information/sex ed class here at college, which sort of fleshed out the info base. Ideally, we would have gotten the info along with the straight sex ed (as well as more sex ed in general) in high school.

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Not sharing toys, dental dam/Saran Wrap for oral sex if it's with a partner you're worried about catching something from.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
The sexual info center on campus (student run). This is an ideal situation for me, but in general it would be better if something like this were avaliable to the general public.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
My friends, either in RL or online. If it was something really serious that for some reason I didn't feel I could talk to my friends about, potentially the counseling center on campus.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
Friends.

Date: 2004-01-21 11:39 am (UTC)
ext_2918: (queergecko)
From: [identity profile] therealjae.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?

My sex education mostly talked about particular acts, not orientations. So more "if you do this, it's safe, if you do that, it's not" than "if you're straight, do this, if you're gay, do this." That said, it was definitely implicitly heterocentric, and I had to do some extrapolation.

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?

I always think of safer sex as a continuum -- the only completely safe sex is no sex -- but certainly acts involving bare genitalia are less safe than acts not involving them. Covering them with some sort of latex increases the safety. I think every relationship needs to make those decisions for themselves, though.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

My doctor.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

I don't generally ask for relationship advice. Probably my closest friends, in a pinch.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

My partners.

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?

Pretty much the same, though the sex education would have been less heterocentric.

-J

Date: 2004-01-21 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yonmei.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?

Um... hands-on experience? ;-) It sounds like a joke, but I was thinking about it and it's really not. I don't think I read a graphic description of sex between women, or heard it discussed, till years after the first time I had sex with another woman. (Not many years, admittedly. One or two.) All the lesbian novels I read were really fairly ungraphic. I had a friend who bought a copy of The Joy Of Lesbian Sex, which I borrowed and read, but I'm fairly sure that wasn't till I was 19. And I was older than that before I read a fictional or autobiographical graphic description of two women having sex (that was written from a lesbian POV, that is: not that I think only a lesbian can write woman/woman sex scenes, but I had read several graphic woman/woman sex scenes where the point was evidently to have two women mimic heterosexual missionary position intercourse as far as human ingenuity enabled them: and I just dismissed this as absolutely nothing to do with me.)

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?

Means having sex in such a way as to avoid, as far as reasonably convenient, all the nasty bugs that two women can transmit to each other. Herpes is the obvious one that's easily transmissible: HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhea are less likely, but feasible depending what activities you take part in: genital warts, crabs, etc.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

Probably the local Well Woman clinic, though if I were worried about HIV, I'd probably get an anonymous test done at the GUM clinic at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, first. But I've been to the Well Woman clinic before and I like the attitude there.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

Friends.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

Friends, and sometimes random acquaintances online, and sexual partners.

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?

In an ideal world I'd be happy about going to see my GP about any sexual health issues I might have. I'm not, at least not as a first step, and that's partly because I don't like one of the partners at the practice I go to, and I'm not comfortable talking about sexual issues with two out of the remaining four.

In an ideal world, I think all adolescents (or even younger children) would get to watch volunteers having sex as part of their sex education - people of all ages, pairings and triplets and quadruplets of all combinations. People would grow up without the straitjacket idea that sex=intercourse, that in order to have sex at least one person has to have an erect cock or a simulacrum thereof. And in an ideal world, I don't think that people would have to figure out what their sexuality was.

I was sixteen before I figured out I was a lesbian. It took at least two years from discovering that lesbians existed (source: an article in Spare Rib, as I remember) to when I realised/accepted that the feelings I had for other girls were real, even if completely unacknowledged, and that I didn't have any feeling like that for boys. It wasn't really until I first met other lesbians that I could accept that my feelings were real, and weren't going to disappear.

In an ideal world, I wouldn't have had a problem figuring out that my feelings were real, because I would have known that of course women are attracted to other women, just as a matter of normal growing up. But I think in an ideal world it might have taken me just as long - if not longer - to figure out that I am exclusively attracted to women. It's not that I think in an ideal world we'd all be bisexual: I think that in an ideal world, bisexuality would be assumed the norm as heterosexuality is now, though without deviations from the assumed norm being persecuted or discriminated against.


Date: 2004-01-21 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yonmei.livejournal.com
Ah, and I should add: 37, born and brought up in Edinburgh. ;-)

Date: 2004-01-21 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
19, born and bred in South East England, first year at university.

Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?

The Little Red School Book and the relevant page of an A-level biology text book (one left accidentally-on-purpose in my bookshelf by my parents, the other read in the library as soon as I was old enough to go there alone) taught me the basics. The rest I gleaned from popular culture, articles in The Guardian, the internet and various girlfriends. Sex ed at school was mainly reproduction focused until I was 14. Then it was all about sexual health and contraception. No one mentioned dental damns.

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?

No fluid transfer other than saliva. Dental dams, condoms on shared sex toys, etc.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

My GP or the nearby student clinic, depending whether this was during the holidays or term time.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

My RL friends and/or my online friends. But probably no one.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

My own - just my closest friends, if anyone.
In general - other slashers and some of my RL friends.

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?

Sex ed would've taught me the basics about non-reproductive sex. Section 28 wouldn't have existed and so wouldn't have coloured the lessons. I'm pretty happy with how things turned out for me, and I wish everyone had such positive experiences.

Date: 2004-01-21 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, and here via [livejournal.com profile] yonmei

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

And, of course, my girlfriend(s).

Date: 2004-01-21 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pinguin.livejournal.com
Does this help? Given that I'm a non-practising queer?

Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
BLOGS. Basically. Some websites, mostly US.
What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Hmm... *really* safe sex means no sharing of fluids. A measure of safety I would probably be happy with (given that I walk up big mountains and drive in the south east) is no blood contact.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

GUM clinic, probably need to be London now. When I was younger I used to go to the doctor but soon realised this was a mistake as the doctors were pretty judgemental, assumed I was straight and lied about the availability of certain theings (eg birth control: if it's not available in Glasgow, on the NHS, then it doeasn't exist).

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

Friends? Actually I don't ask anyone for advice on these things, I feel it would be a bit of a betrayal to take problems outside the relationship. Not that I think other people are bad when they seek outside help, just that it would kind of change the basis for our "thing".

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

Um, the GUM/FP clinic, the boy and LJ!

Date: 2004-01-21 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valarltd.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?

You'll laugh at me. The Hite Report on Female Sexuality. Shere Hite instructed me in many, many interesting things.


What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?

Don't do it when I have a cold sore. Using dental dams, which I've heard of for a decade, but never seen.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

My general practitioner.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

I don't. I believe in my own intuition on a situation, so much pondering.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
Anyone and everyone who will listen! I'm a vocal bi with experience on both sides of the street. I played guru at [livejournal.com profile] sextips for a while.

Date: 2004-01-21 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moireach.livejournal.com
Me = 21, bi, American-living-in-the-UK

Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
In the most basic sense, from my mother, who I asked about gay sex when I was 12 or 13 and got a one sentence response about female fingering and male anal penetration. In more detail, from dirty stories online, pretty much. And, later, once I'd become sexually active, more educational websites. Also, uh, hands-on experience. <g>

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Using a dental dam for oral sex, although I've been looking for years and never seen them sold anywhere. (They were being given out at the AIDS Walk in Central Park, NYC a few years ago, in Pussy Packs. Hee.) Ohterwise making sure both partners have been tested for STDs and, ideally, are aware of each other's sexual history. I actually considered myself fairly well-educated as far as safe sex goes, but I've already learned a lot from your comments, so. (For the record, I was educated at home and in Christian schools so the subject was NEVER addressed for me in any kind of formal way, it's all been self-taught, pretty much.)

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
Now that I'm in the UK, to my GP, I suppose.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
LJ, really, or in the past friends/roommates.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
In the past friends/roommates. Lately not so much anyone.

As far as an ideal world goes, I'd definitely have answered the last two differently; it would be nice if people in general were more open about sexual discussions, especially queer ones. But I think that's a given.

Date: 2004-01-21 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fosfomifira.livejournal.com
I'm not exactly sure if my answering this will be useful (given that I'm Chilean and bisexual), but I hope it won't do any harm.

1- Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
Through an American friend on a mailing list. He's a sex counsellor at his university. Neither my family or my school thought I could use more specific information than "don't have sex, go on the pill, use condoms". My mother's idea (feminist that she is, oddly enough) of sex ed was to give me a book on women's health and puberty when I was 10 or so. Other than that, she'd say "don't do anything stupid" every 17 months or so. She was far more worried about me doing drugs, but I was never interested.

2- What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
I've heard about dental dams, but I've never seen any. I don't even know how they're called in Spanish. Other than that, make sure that neither my partner or myself have any STDs and condoms on sex toys, and monogamy.

3- Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
My GP, and I'd ask her for a referral to a gynecologist.

4- Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
Nowhere. If it's too much, I'd have to go to my friends, but I'd avoid it as much as possible. LJ would be a better option.

5- Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
No one. Most of my offline friends are either asexual or celibate, or are not telling. If I had to ask, I'd use LJ - certain people on my friends list-, and my GP.

As to how I would have answered this questions in an ideal world, I've no idea. My school would have had proper sex-ed counsellors, same at the uni, not so focused on heterosexuality. Good, anonymous* information, that would have done the trick.

_______________________
* meaning that the shy ones of the world - like yours truly - would feel comfortable asking. No one knows who I am, no one asks my name, just offers information and advice.

Date: 2004-01-21 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] croupier.livejournal.com
1.) Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
Lesbian sex manuals (age 16), the queer alliance at University (age 18)

2.) What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Gloves, dental dams, condoms on sex toys, short fingernails. For me, it also means knowing my partner's STD status.

3.) Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
MY GYNECOLOGIST RULES THE WORLD. No, really. Last year I got a pap smear for $5. In the US, that's bloody cheap. She's smart and cool and will run as many tests as I ask her to.

4.) Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
I usually try to work it out with my partner; or, if I'm single and need to talk about such things, my best friend.

5.) Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
My partner, my doctors.

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?
In an ideal world, I would have had sex ed before age fourteen and learned about all kinds of safe sex there.

And yes, I have used dental dams. I have a box of them beneath my bed right now, actually.

Date: 2004-01-21 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phoenixw.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
First: reading books (pre-internet)
Later: experience and experimentation
Still later: internet - there are a lot of good resources with good information about sex between women

Considering I started this journey more than 20 years ago and I learned something new just last year, I don't think I'm "done" with my sex education. :-)

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
Using a barrier for oral sex (dental dam, plastic wrap), using condoms with shared sex toys, avoiding exposure to body fluids. Frankly, while I've played with a dental dam once I have no idea where to get them on a regular basis, so I'd probably use plastic wrap instead.


Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
My doctor.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
My friends or a professional counselor.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
Everyone I meet. (I'm not exaggerating much.)

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?
Just like this.

Date: 2004-01-22 01:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frightened.livejournal.com
Hello. Wandered over from [livejournal.com profile] yonmei's journal. I'm 20 and from Birmingham, if that helps.

Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?

Pretty much picked it up as I went along. Plus, the 'what do they actually do' is sort of obvious (unless I'm missing something really crucial!). "If I like the idea of this, maybe she will". Reading various magazines - primarily G3 and Diva, but that just confirmed what I already thought, really. Quite a bit carried over from when I thought I liked blokes, in which case I picked up a lot from teen magazines. For the BDSM, I read books by people like Jay Wiseman, but I suppose that's outside the scope of this survey.

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?

Trying to avoid transmitting STIs. Which I suppose means either knowing your partner's disease-free or using condoms on toys and dental dams for cunnilingus.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

GUM clinic or doctor.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

I don't, really. I mean, I talk to my close friends about stuff, but I don't tend to seek out advice. I tend to talk to her before anything else.

Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

See above, really.

And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?

Well, there should have been a lot more information available when I was a lot younger. Telling me all about the Pill in school's sex ed? Not actually much use.

survey

Date: 2004-01-25 05:19 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?
hands on experience. two partners.
What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?
latex,clean toys,body awareness.
Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?
general practitioner.
Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?
my friend linda has 4 girls.
Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?
my partner.
And, in an ideal world, how would you have answered those questions?
the same.
would you use a dental dam if you were in prison, but not otherwise?
i use a dental dam.

Very interesting...

Date: 2004-02-15 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] missstephanie.livejournal.com
Where did you get your sex education about sex between women?

I was blessed to attend an all-women's university, so I received most of my information there. Until then, the sexual education I'd received had all been about heterosex.

What do you think "safer sex" means, between women?

I think safest-sex (aside from abstaining) to mean dental dams and latex gloves. Honest discussions regarding past sexual histories and STD testing is also an important tool.

Where do/ would you go for help with a sexual health problem?

When I lived in the states, I would go to an NP whom I had a great relationship with and worked under for a few years. In the UK, I have no idea. I would have to do some research.

Where do/ would you go for relationship advice?

Friends, mostly.


Who do you talk to about sex and sexual health?

Anyone who will listen, generally.

From: (Anonymous)
Hey brandnewgun, i sometimes listen to Hall Artiste as well... is a new cd coming out soon?
The Passion of The Christ (http://www.ThePassionOfTheChrist.com) is in theaters soon - this week on Wednesday.. what do you think about this movie? I'm going to see it for sure - the trailers (http://www.thepassion.tv) were enough to convince me. I read somewhere that it's the widest opening ever for a subtitled movie; I have a feeling subtitles won't detract from the full effect of this movie though. After looking at the trailers which have no subtitles or english at all, it was reinforced for me that lack of spoken english in this film won't hurt one bit. To sum up my impression of The Passion: it's a work of art.
Good Website (http://www.passion-movie.com)
Another fascinating aspect to this movie is all the controversy that has been generated about it.
Some people, not really representative of Jewish people, but rather self appointed Jewish spokespeople, such as Abraham Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League, seem to have been attempting to denounce this film for months as being anti-Semitic. The news reported that they even stole the script last year! But here's what some Jews say (Jews who don't make it their job to tear apart other people): by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.

Nice to see some people speaking rationally.

So what do you think of all this?

*** Kyle

Date: 2004-04-08 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maju01.livejournal.com
I know it's too late to answer any of those questions, but I, in my middle age, learnt some useful things from reading other people's answers. I had very naively assumed that sex between women is automatically safe.

Date: 2004-07-06 11:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diotina.livejournal.com
Mind if I friend you? I swear I can punctuate and have excellent grammar, in spite of using friend as a verb. :)

Date: 2004-07-06 11:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cangetmad.livejournal.com
Go ahead! Reciprocated. And, damn it, it's nice and succint, if a little evil, as a verb.

Date: 2004-08-24 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/puzzle_/
I was journal hopping and came across your page, I was going to say I could post this to the local Bi List, but then I noticed you had posted this way back in January!

So may be a weee bit out of date, hope you found interesting findings.

Date: 2004-09-09 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aphrodite.livejournal.com
Hi! stringy recommended you as a friend, so I added you, hope thats ok!

Date: 2004-09-13 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeejeen.livejournal.com
Hello! I keep running into you on biascut's and glitzfrau's journals, so I thought I'd add you. If you'd like to add me back, I'd enjoy reading you, I think!

Date: 2004-09-13 11:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cangetmad.livejournal.com
Hello! I should warn you that [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau and [livejournal.com profile] biascut tend to make me sound more intelligent and less ranty than I often am.

No Dental Dams? Split Condoms!

Date: 2004-11-09 10:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nelc.livejournal.com
Hi! Was reading your entry on the US election (from a link in Teresa Neilsen Hayden's Making Light), then browsed down to see what was what, and my eye was caught by this entry (I'm a heterosexual male; draw your own stereotype here). I'm not going to mock you by answering your questions*, I just wanted to mention something I saw or read somewhere recently, forget where, that is either so obvious it makes you wonder why you never thought of it, or there's something wrong with it.

If you can't find dental dams, buy some condoms and cut them open to make a flat rubber rectangle. Voila, dental dam! A bit Blue Peter, perhaps....

Date: 2008-07-01 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jinxremoving.livejournal.com
Why, fancy meeting you here!

I'm at work and I just did a search for "clingfilm oral sex non-microwaveable". I love that your journal appeared in the first page of results.
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