Ask Dr. LauraColumns

Ask Dr. Laura: The Truth About Lesbians And ‘Scissoring’

Share with your friends










Submit

Dear Readers,

Thank you for being part of our monthly column. Your participation in the continuation of this column is vital. Please email any questions you have about relationships or sexual health to [email protected].

Dear Dr. Laura,

Is scissoring a real thing for lesbians?

Dear Scissoring Sisters,

Oh scissoring! Such a divisive topic. Is it real? Is it fake? Who decides? Many queer vulva owners feel split on the term and topic because it is largely misrepresented when it is shown on heteronormative mainstream pornography. Oftentimes cis women are depicted as only having sex in this fashion because it most closely resembles heterosexual intercourse and thus may be more palatable to straight male audiences who can’t imagine people with vulvas enjoying sex in any other way. Because of this, many queer people feel put off by something that is very much a part of LGBTQ sexuality when depicted accurately.

Ask Dr. Laura
By Dr. Laura McGuire

First things first: What is scissoring? The term scissoring is used for the sex act of two people with vulvas (often cisgender women) rubbing their genitals together for sexual enjoyment. Since their legs would spread apart and their vulvas are touching, the image of two pairs of open scissors touching at their base created the term that is most often used today. Scissors are sharp and not something many people want near their genitals, so let’s use the proper sexological term: tribadism.

Tribadism comes from the ancient Roman texts that describe a masculine, dominant, woman who seduces and penetrates other women. These butch women of the ancient world were called Tribas and thus the term was born. Tribadism both excited and terrified men of the ancient and more modern world as they feared a woman who could stimulate another woman might do so better than they could—and possibly steal away their brides and mistresses. Oh, cisgender, heterosexual men and their delicate egos! Tribadism has been discussed since ancient Greek and Roman times and also shows up in texts from Islamic scholars in the same era. In animals, the Bonobo primates are masters is tribbing and have been shown to prefer it to any sex act with any gender in their communities. In Bonobo communities, it is referred to as GG-rubbing and is used as a tool for communication and to ease tension in disagreements, making Bonobos the most peaceful and conflict-resistant of all primate species. Yay scissoring for conflict resolution!

So is scissoring or tribadism real? Yes! Do all women/lesbians/vulva owners do it? No. All sex acts vary from person to person and couple to couple, and real-life tribadism is much more nuanced and intimate than porn would have you believe.

In sex positivity,

Dr. Laura

Dear Dr. Laura,

Is it normal for people to experience cramps after orgasming? Because it’s happening to me and it’s painful!

Dear Friend,

Thank your reaching out! What you are describing is actually far more common than you might think. The term most commonly used for pain during orgasm is dysorgasmia, which is a fancy-sounding word for a not-so-fancy-free phenomena. All genders/sexes can experience it, and as common as it can be, there is not a ton of really solid research on it. The best thing to do is to consult with a doctor or midwife that you trust and feel comfortable with so that they can run some tests and check things out for you. In the meantime, here are some possible causes to talk to your primary care provider about:

• Surgery or medication: The first thing you will find around painful orgasms is a lot of info on cis men’s sexual disfunction. The main body of the topic revolves around prostate problems and complications after surgery. If you’ve had a recent surgery in your groin or genital area, this could be a side effect. Additionally, certain medications can have similar reactions in the body. Our lovely bits are very sensitive, and when we alter things, even when it’s good and necessary, we can accidentally upset the balance in one area to heal another.

• Cysts, endometriosis, and menopause: All of these conditions can be related to painful orgasms in people with uteruses. When a person with a uterus orgasms, the uterus as a smooth muscle contracts. Most of the time these contractions are unnoticeable, but sometimes they can feel like period cramps or even something close to labor pains. If there is something on or near the uterus, or if the body is going through major changes such as menopause, this can cause uncomfortable side effects.

• Trauma: When our bodies go through sexually traumatic experiences, even after the scars or bruises heal, our minds and hearts are still left with the pain and memories of what has occurred. I have met with a number of clients who had nothing physically wrong but were still experiencing pain during sex after trauma. This can be from recent or decades-old experiences. It does NOT mean you are “crazy” or “only imaging things.” Our minds are incredibly powerful and are always trying to tell us what we need. If the pain is related to emotional scars, talking to a sex therapist who specializes in trauma recovery can be an awesome tool.

Remember that sex should never be undesirably painful, and that pain is our bodies way of telling us something isn’t right. Listen to it! Seek providers who are compassionate, open, and affirming so the you can find the cause and work toward making things better.

In sex positivity,

Dr. Laura

Comments

comments

Share with your friends










Submit

Laura McGuire

Dr. Laura McGuire is certified as a sexuality educator through the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists.
Show More

Related Articles