Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 41-48

First online:

Lesbians' Sexual Activities and Efforts to Reduce Risks for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Allison L. DiamantAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, UCLA School of Medicine
  • , Janet LeverAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, California State University
  • , Mark A. SchusterAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, UCLA School of MedicineDepartment of Health Services, UCLA School of Public HealthRAND

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Introduction: Little information is available regarding the specific sexual practices of lesbians, and whether these activities may carry an associated health risk. Methods: Self-identified lesbians from all U.S. states (N = 6935) responded to a questionnaire that was printed in a national biweekly gay, lesbian and bisexual news magazine. Items included sexual practices engaged in with women during the past 1 and 5 years, past history of a sexually transmitted disease (STD), number and gender of lifetime and recent sexual partners, concerns regarding STDs, and risk reduction behaviors. Results: Lesbians engaged in a variety of sexual activities with female partners including orogenital sex, use of a dildo, and anilingus. Seventeen percent reported a lifetime diagnosis of an STD. Women with a history of an STD were more likely to be concerned about STDs, to ask questions of their new female sexual partners, and to have had an HIV test. Conclusions: Lesbians participate in a variety of sexual activities with their female partners that involve the exchange of body fluids, potential exposure to blood, and genital and anal stimulation that may put them at risk for STDs.

lesbians sexual activities STDs sexual risk reduction