There are a couple of things that should never be revealed to another and your 3 am internet search history about queefing is one of them. Not because the questions are taboo, but because by the time you are sexually active, these details should become common knowledge. This is easier said than done given the sorry state of sex education in our country. And the lack of spaces where you can pour your heart out and ask even the most embarrassing questions adds to the struggle of opening up about our sexual wellness, desires and doubts. We wish to offer you that space, and have gone ahead and picked some of the most common questions that people are often too shy to ask. Here’s what the experts have to say!
Dr Varuna Srinivasan, MBBS MPH FRSPH, and Founder of Tara Health
1. Do you need to use protection during lesbian sex?
Varuna: Absolutely, especially if it is with someone new! Practice informed consent, use a dental dam and always get tested. Protection is the best way to protect yourself against STIs especially when you are engaging in oral and anal sex.
In the case of anal oral foreplay, it’s important to clean the anal area before rimming, wash with soap and water, and use a dental dam between the mouth and anus to prevent any spread of STIs and other infections.
2. Can a female condom (internal) get stuck in my vagina?
Varuna: It’s possible. IF it does, no reason to panic. Wash your hands, insert your fingers, sweep the vagina and search for the condom to pull out – make sure your fingernails are short. If you still can’t find a piece of the condom to hold onto and pull out – go to the doctor immediately as the condom is a foreign object and can cause irritation and possible infection if left in for a long period of time.
3. I get STIs too often. What do I do about them?
Varuna: Well, you definitely want to get tested every year at least once, more if you have multiple sex partners and use external contraception sparingly. You also always want to use a condom 100% of the time. Recurrent STIs have severe complications like pelvic adhesions, infertility, and genital deformation.
4. How do I get started with sex toys?
Varuna: Start by choosing something simple like a bullet vibrator. It’s a cylindrical external vibrator, and you want something that pairs well with a water-based lube. They don’t need much upkeep either. Work your way up from there to butt plugs, dildos, and other forms of sex toys.
5. Will period sex lead to an infection?
Varuna: In most cases, not peeing after sex and not maintaining proper hygiene during your period (meaning washing the vulva with water, inserting objects inside the vagina for a prolonged period of time or even douching) can lead to infections. There are certain STIs like hepatitis, HIV and syphilis that do spread via the blood.
6. Is there a way to control my gag reflex while engaging in oral sex?
Varuna: I believe in most cases, you can use a lidocaine oral spray that doctors use in the clinic for endoscopic procedures. I would use this sparingly. It’s best to engage in oral sex in a way that is not harmful or painful to you/your partner, if you find yourself gagging, pull back and try back in again. Do not force your partner’s head down and definitely don’t think that you can overcome the gag reflex, it usually ends in a vomiting spree.
Leeza Mangaldas, Digital Creator and Sexual Health Expert
7. How do I approach and achieve positivity around vaginal odour?
Leeza: Vaginas are supposed to smell like vaginas. They’re not meant to smell of strawberries or roses. As long as you’re able to maintain regular personal hygiene such as having a shower daily and washing your external genitals— (you only need to wash your pubic hair, labia etc— not inside the vaginal canal, as the vagina is an internal part of the body that is self-cleaning) — you don’t have to worry about how you smell. Even right after a shower, vaginas have their own natural scent and taste and it isn’t a “bad” scent or taste, it just is what it is. Once you and your partner wrap your heads around the fact that genitals are supposed to taste and smell like genitals you may realise they can really be quite delicious.
8. Can I use coconut oil as lube?
Leeza: Oil-based lube is a major lube category and if you like the texture of oil you can use pure coconut oil that you might already have at home. It’s also great for giving yourself or your partner a body massage. Please note however that popular coconut hair oil brands often have other ingredients along with the coconut oil that is not safe for internal use since they are intended for use on the hair— so make sure the coconut oil you’re using is pure coconut oil. Keep in mind that oil can break down latex so oil-based lube is not usually condom compatible.
9. Why do I, a straight woman, get turned on by lesbian porn?
Leeza: Lesbian porn often showcases women’s pleasure far more attentively than regular mainstream heterosexual porn that tends to cater largely to the male gaze and focus largely on men’s pleasure— so even for heterosexual women, lesbian porn is often a favourite genre as the sex taking place often seems far more sensual, pleasurable, and orgasmic for the women in the scenes.
10. What’s the deal with queefing?
Leeza: Queefing is simply air that gets trapped in the vagina due to the in and out movements of vigorous activities like sex, or even something like inverted positions during yoga—finding its way back out. It’s really not something to worry about at all— have a laugh instead.