Women who have sex with women (WSW) are women who engage in sexual activities with other women, whether or not they identify themselves as lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or dispense with sexual identification altogether.The term WSW is often used in medical literature to describe such women as a group for clinical study, without needing to consider sexual self-identity.
In terms of medical issues with regard to lesbian sexual practices, the sexual identification of women who consult a medical professional is usually not sought nor volunteered, due to the misconceptions and assumptions about sexuality and the hesitancy of some women in disclosing their accurate sexual histories even to a physician.Lack of differentiation between lesbians and heterosexual women in medical studies that concentrate on health issues for women skews results for lesbians and non-lesbian women. Many women who do not participate in heterosexual activity do not go to see a physician because they do not require birth control, which is the initiating factor for most women to seek consultation with a gynecologist when they become sexually active. As a result, these women are not screened regularly with pap smears because they have a lower perceived risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection or types of cancer. Lesbians are less likely than their heterosexual and bisexual counterparts to get screened for cervical cancer, with some being refused screenings by medical professionals.
The lower rate of lesbians tested by regular pap smears makes it more difficult to detect cervical cancer at early stages in lesbians. The risk factors for developing ovarian cancer rates are higher in lesbians than in heterosexual women, perhaps because many lesbians lack protective factors of pregnancy, abortion, contraceptives, breastfeeding, and miscarriages.
A factor which leads to lesbians neglecting to seek medical screening in the United States is a lack of health insurance offered by employers for same-sex domestic partners.When women do seek medical attention, medical professionals often fail to take a complete medical history. In a recent study of 2,345 lesbian and bisexual women, only 9.3% had claimed they had ever been asked their sexual orientation by a physician. A third of the respondents believed disclosing their sexual history would result in a negative reaction, and 30% had received a negative reaction from a medical professional after identifying themselves as lesbian or bisexual.
A patient's complete history helps medical professionals identify higher risk areas and corrects assumptions about the personal histories of women. In a similar survey of 6,935 lesbians, 77% had had sexual contact with one or more male partners, and 6% had that contact within the previous year.
Some STIs are communicable between women, including human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis, syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), bacterial vaginosis (BV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV). Transmission of specific sexually transmitted diseases among women who have sex with women depends on the sexual practices women engage in. Any object that comes in contact with cervical secretions, vaginal mucosa, or menstrual blood, including fingers or penetrative objects may transmit sexually transmitted diseases.Oral-genital contact may indicate a higher risk of acquiring HSV, even among women who have had no prior sex with men. Bacterial vaginosis occurs more often in lesbians, but it is unclear if BV is transmitted by sexual contact; it occurs in celibate as well as sexually active women. BV often occurs in both partners in a lesbian relationship; a recent study of women with BV found that 81% had partners with BV. Lesbians are not included in a category of frequency of HIV transmission, although transmission is possible through vaginal and cervical fluids and secretions; the highest rate of transmission of HIV from women to women is among those who have sexual intercourse with men, or participate in intravenous drug use.
Many doctors consider sex between women to have negligible risk for transmission of STIsand fail to offer any information on prevention of STI transmission for sex involving two women. Although lesbians have a lower risk of contracting STIs than their heterosexual and bisexual counterparts, the risk still exists. Additionally, most WSW have had sex with men at some point in their lifetime, which significantly increases the risk of infection. Yearly pelvic exams are encouraged for WSW to contain the complications of STIs.
There are various ways for WSW to protect against the contraction of STIs during sex, though these methods are not well studied. Dental dams, condoms on sex toys, gloves, and cling wraps are all used as protection during various forms of sex. Most WSW do not use protection during sex, due to misconceptions that a lower risk of STI transmission means that barriers are not needed.Engaging in oral sex without the use of a dental dam or condom is considered a high risk sexual behavior.
The CDC recommends using a dental dam during oral sex.Additionally, HIV prevention organizations distribute dental dams along with condoms and other safe sex supplies. The FDA has not evaluated dental dams or other barriers for their effectiveness in preventing the spread STIs. Health educators widely encourage their use during cunnilingus or anilingus, but dental dams are not widely used by WSW, and are not made with STI prevention in mind. Dental dams are commonly found at STI clinics and on the Internet but may be difficult to find at drugstores where condoms are normally sold. Dental dams may also be made by cutting open a latex condom. Latex condoms are known to be impermeable to pathogens which can cause STIs.
Similarly to condoms, a new dental dam is used for each instance of oral sex to reduce the risk of STI transmission. Dams are placed over the vaginal or anal opening before the start of any sexual activities and not be removed until activities are concluded.To ensure no tears or rips occur, water or silicon based lubricant can be used. Additionally, dams are not stretched out as this could lead to tears. Dental dams are stored in a cool and dry location, and never be used after their printed expiration date.
While condoms may not be applicable to many WSW sexual encounters, they are still useful when sex toys are involved. Toys that are shared between partners can spread pathogens even when cleaned. The use of condoms in addition to thorough cleaning can help reduce the risk of transmission via sex toys.
In the event of any open sores or wounds on the hands, latex gloves can be used to prevent infection while fingering or fisting. Gloves are placed over the hand before sexual activity ensues and kept on through the duration of the activity.
Cling wrap is often posed as an alternative to dental dams, but not widely recommended. Cling wrap is used in the same way as dental dams, and much more cost effective. No studies currently exist on the permeability of cling wrap to STI causing pathogens, but it is known to be waterproof.
Since medical literature began to describe homosexuality, it has often been approached from a view that sought to find an inherent psychopathology as the root cause. Much literature on mental health and lesbians centered on their depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Although these issues exist among lesbians, discussion about their causes shifted after homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1973. Instead, social ostracism, legal discrimination, internalization of negative stereotypes, and limited support structures indicate factors homosexuals face in Western societies that often adversely affect their mental health.Women who identify as lesbian report feeling significantly different and isolated during adolescence; these emotions have been cited as appearing on average at 15 years old in lesbians and 18 years old in women who identify as bisexual. On the whole, women tend to work through developing a self-concept internally, or with other women with whom they are intimate. Women (heterosexual or otherwise) also limit who they divulge their sexual identities to and more often see being lesbian as a choice, as opposed to gay men, who work more externally and see being gay as outside their control.
Anxiety disorders and depression are the most common mental health issues for women. Depression is reported among lesbians at a rate similar to heterosexual women.It is a more significant problem among women who feel they must hide their sexual orientation from friends and family, experience compounded ethnic or religious discrimination, or experience relationship difficulties with no support system. More than half the respondents to a 1994 survey of health issues in lesbians reported they had suicidal thoughts, and 18% had attempted suicide.
A population-based study completed by the National Alcohol Research Center found that women who identify as lesbian or bisexual are less likely to abstain from alcohol. Lesbians and bisexual women have a higher likelihood of reporting problems with alcohol, as well as not being satisfied with treatment for substance abuse programs.Many lesbian communities are centered in bars, and drinking is an activity that correlates to community participation for lesbians and bisexual women.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) encompasses any form of abuse, such as physical or psychological abuse, stalking, or sexual violence, perpetrated by an intimate partner.WSW are more likely than heterosexual women to have suffered IPV of any form from their partner, with bisexual women having a higher prevalence than lesbian women. Bisexual women are twice as likely as heterosexual women to experience stalking or intimate partner rape.
It can be difficult to draw robust and wide reaching conclusions about WSW, since many studies fail to specifically include this group.Little scholarly research is done on WSW relative to other sexual minority groups. Research on sexual health is generally about pregnancy and heterosexual sex, with the needs of WSW largely ignored. Studies on intimate partner violence often fail to report the sex of the perpetrator or the sexual orientation of the victim, making it difficult to study the prevalence in WSW communities.
Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV. "Safe sex" is also sometimes referred to as safer sex or protected sex to indicate that some safe sex practices do not completely eliminate STI risks. It is also sometimes used colloquially to describe methods aimed at preventing pregnancy that may or may not also lower STI risks.
Tribadism or tribbing, commonly known by its scissoring position, is a lesbian sexual practice in which a woman rubs her vulva against her partner's body for sexual stimulation, especially for stimulation of the clitoris. This may involve vulva-to-vulva contact or rubbing the vulva against the partner's thigh, stomach, buttocks, arm, or other body part. A variety of sex positions are practiced, including the missionary position.
Cervicitis is inflammation of the uterine cervix. Cervicitis in women has many features in common with urethritis in men and many cases are caused by sexually transmitted infections. Non-infectious causes of cervicitis can include intrauterine devices, contraceptive diaphragms, and allergic reactions to spermicides or latex condoms. Cervicitis affects over half of all women during their adult life.
Down-low is an African American slang term that typically refers to a subculture of black men who usually identify as heterosexual, but who have sex with men; some avoid sharing this information even if they have female sexual partner(s), they are married, or they are single. The term is also used to refer to a related sexual identity. Down-low has been viewed as "a type of impression management that some of the informants use to present themselves in a manner that is consistent with perceived norms about masculine attribute, attitudes, and behavior".
Men who have sex with men (MSM), also known as males who have sex with males, are male persons who engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, regardless of how they identify themselves. They may identify as gay, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or heterosexual; or dispense with sexual identification altogether.
Bareback sex is physical sexual activity, especially sexual penetration, without the use of a condom. The topic primarily concerns anal sex between men who have sex with men without the use of a condom, and may be distinguished from unprotected sex because bareback sex denotes the deliberate act of forgoing condom use.
Dry sex is the sexual practice of having sexual intercourse without vaginal lubrication. Vaginal lubrication can be removed by using herbal aphrodisiacs, household detergents, antiseptics, by wiping out the vagina, or by placing leaves in the vagina besides other methods. Dry sex is associated with increased health risks.
Oral sex, sometimes referred to as oral intercourse, is sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia of a person by another person using the mouth and the throat. Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on the vulva or vagina, while fellatio is oral sex performed on the penis. Anilingus, another form of oral sex, is oral stimulation of the anus. Oral stimulation of other parts of the body, such as by kissing or licking, is not considered oral sex.
Lesbian sexual practices are sexual activities involving women who have sex with women, regardless of their sexual orientation. A woman who has sex with another woman may identify as a lesbian if she is exclusively sexually attracted to women, or bisexual if she is not exclusively sexually attracted to women, or dispense with sexual identification altogether. The term may also be applied to a heterosexual or asexual woman who is unsure of or is exploring her sexuality.
Condom effectiveness is how effective condoms are at preventing STDs and pregnancy. Correctly using male condoms and other barriers like female condoms and dental dams, every time, can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis. They can also provide protection against other diseases that may be transmitted through sex like Zika and Ebola. Using male or female condoms correctly, every time, can also help prevent pregnancy.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections that are commonly spread by sexual activity, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. STIs often do not initially cause symptoms, which results in a greater risk of passing the disease on to others. Symptoms and signs of STIs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, ulcers on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. STIs can be transmitted to an infant before or during childbirth, which can result in the death of the infant. Some STIs can cause infertility.
Cases of HIV/AIDS in Peru are considered to have reached the level of a concentrated epidemic. According to a population-based survey conducted in Peru’s 24 largest cities in 2002, adult HIV prevalence was estimated to be less than 1 percent. The survey demonstrated that cases are unevenly distributed in the country, affecting mostly young people between the ages of 25 and 34. As of July 2010, the cumulative reported number of persons infected with HIV was 41,638, and there were 26,566 cases of AIDS, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the male/female ratio for AIDS diagnoses in 2009 was 3.02 to 1. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates 76,000 Peruvians are HIV-positive, meaning that many people at risk do not know their status. There were 3,300 deaths due to AIDS in Peru in 2007, down from 5,600 deaths in 2005.
According to the Global Fund, Honduras is the Central American country most adversely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As of 1998, Honduras had the highest prevalence of HIV out of all seven Central American countries according to a study published by the office of the Honduran Secretary of Public Health. As of that same year, Hondurans made up only 17% of the Central American population, yet Honduras contained 50% of the initial AIDS cases in Central America and 60% of all Central American cases in 2001. In more recent years, new HIV infections have decreased by 29% since 2010 while AIDS-related deaths have increased by 11% since then. HIV/AIDS heavily affects the young, active, working population in Honduras, and HIV/AIDS deaths account for 10% of the overall national mortality rate. As of 2008, AIDS was the leading cause of death among Honduran women of childbearing age and the second-leading cause of hospitalization among both men and women. Sexually transmitted infections are common, and condom use in risky sexual encounters is sporadic and variable. HIV remains a mainly heterosexual epidemic in Honduras, as 90% of emerging infections are attributed to heterosexual transmission. It is estimated that the prevalence of HIV among Honduran adults is 1.5%.
LGBT topics in medicine are those that relate to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's health disparities, issues and access to health services. According to the US Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), besides HIV/AIDS, issues related to LGBT health include breast and cervical cancer, hepatitis, mental health, substance abuse, tobacco use, depression, access to care for transgender persons, issues surrounding marriage and family recognition, conversion therapy, refusal clause legislation, and laws that are intended to "immunize health care professionals from liability for discriminating against persons of whom they disapprove."
Cunnilingus is an oral sex act performed by a person on the vulva or vagina of another person. The clitoris is the most sexually sensitive part of the human female genitalia, and its stimulation may result in a woman becoming sexually aroused or achieving orgasm.
HIV prevention refers to practices that aim to prevent the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV prevention practices may be undertaken by individuals to protect their own health and the health of those in their community, or may be instituted by governments and community-based organizations as public health policies.
Since reports of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) began to emerge in the United States in the 1980s, the HIV epidemic has frequently been linked to gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) by epidemiologists and medical professionals. The first official report on the virus was published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on June 5, 1981 and detailed the cases of five young gay men who were hospitalized with serious infections. A month later, The New York Times reported that 41 homosexuals had been diagnosed with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, and eight had died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made. By 1982, the condition was referred to in the medical community as Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID), "gay cancer," and "gay compromise syndrome." It was not until July 1982 that the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was suggested to replace GRID, and even then it was not until September that the CDC first used the AIDS acronym in an official report.
Gay sexual practices are sexual activities involving men who have sex with men (MSM), regardless of their sexual orientation or sexual identity. Evidence shows that sex between men is significantly underreported in surveys due to social desirability bias.
Domestic violence in same-sex relationships is a pattern of violence or abuse that occurs within same-sex relationships. Domestic violence is an issue that affects people of any sexuality, but there are issues that affect victims of same-sex domestic violence specifically. These issues include homophobia, HIV and AIDS stigma, STD risk and other health issues, lack of legal support, and the violence they face being considered less serious than heterosexual domestic violence. Moreover, the issue of domestic violence in same-sex relationships has not been studied as comprehensively as domestic violence in heterosexual relationships. However, there are legal changes being made to help victims of domestic violence in same-sex relationships, as well as organizations that cater specifically to victims of domestic violence in same-sex relationships.
A transgender sex worker is a transgender person who works in the sex industry or performs sexual services in exchange for money or other forms of payment. The term transgender refers to an individual whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. A transgender woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth and a transgender man is a man who was assigned female at birth.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gay sex .|