• The straight-but-curious girl's guide to having sex with a woman

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    Sex guru Alfred Kinsey claimed that by the age of 30, one woman in four had felt sexually attracted to another women. By age 40, he said, one in five had had some sort of sexual encounter with another woman.

    Kinsey, as we now know, wasn't exactly renowned for his reputable research methods, but he was certainly on to something.

    Recent reliable statistics are hard to come by but you only have to look at the amount of A-list actresses and models who've either come out as lesbian, bi-sexual or bi-curious to realise it's more mainstream now than ever before.

    I know lots of straight women who not only have some pretty hot fantasies, they claim they'd act on them if the situation arose. I figured, if they're thinking about it, chances are lots of you are too and perhaps it would be a good idea to address a few of the issues you may have.

    So here you go: this is a first timer's guide to sleeping with a woman, compiled and approved by a selection of bi-curious, bi-sexual and lesbian women.

    What's different about sleeping with a woman, compared to a man?

    The first thing you'll probably notice is how soft and smooth women feel. Doing it to someone who has what you've got feels strange but it's also comforting: you feel you've got a bit of a head start compared to the first time you slept with a man. When you're touching or licking her, knowing what it would feel like if it was being done to you is an erotic extra. Like gay men, you'll notice women switch sexual roles much more than straight couples do. You'll tend not to split into 'giver' and 'taker' - you both take turns.

    Because women take longer to orgasm than men do, you may find women are more patient and you feel less pressure to hurry up and orgasm. Oh - and you can both have lots of orgasms, rather than just one, so there's no definite 'ending' to a sex session.

    Do lesbians even like sleeping with straight women?

    This is an interesting one. While lots of gay men say they fantasise about sex with a straight guy, women aren't so keen - to the point where three of the girls I interviewed had to lie to get laid for the first time!

    "All the gay girls I know have no interest in straight women. The ones who do inevitably end up with their hearts broken", said one girl. Another friend said she 'wouldn't go there with a barge pole. They'd have to be superhot for me to take the risk. She's likely to either go back to her boyfriend or discover she's gay and want to experiment with other women - either way you can't win!"

    "You don't ever want to be anyone's first', was something I heard over and over. Others were more worried about breaking her heart. 'Women are so clingy and needy and once you've blown their minds - and you do because, let's face it, lesbian sex is the best sex out there - she's going to be all emotional and you're never going to get rid of her!" Which leaves you in a bit of a spot: if you take the advice of the people I've spoken to, you wouldn't admit you were straight or that it was your first time. You may have to lie, in other words - which some of you may not be prepared to do. The alternative is to simply say nothing and hope for the best.

    What if I'm just having sex to satisfy my curiosity? Should I tell her?

    Again, it's a damned if I do, damned if I don't thing. Most of the girls I spoke to said of course she should tell - but that also might mean they don't go there. Straight women I spoke to all said they would confess. These are the same women, incidentally, who usually have no qualms 'using' a guy just for sex. Why think twice when it's sex with a woman? It's because we perceive women to attach more feelings to sex than men do. This is quite right in a lot of cases. But anyone who's ever tuned into The L Word and watched Shane attach her lips and hips to around 10 women a week, knows there are women out there who will be very happy to sleep with you and leave you. "I sometimes just fancy someone and want to have sex with that person whether she's gay or straight," said one girl. "If she's quite an alpha female with men, she'll probably be good in bed with a girl."

    How do I suggest going to bed?

    Flirt a bit, touch a little longer and more sexually than you would usually, stand close, make lots of eye contact and... hang on, isn't this sounding a bit familiar? Dead right: it's the same way you'd show a man you were interested. Except, unlike with a man, if she knows you're straight, you're probably going to have to make all the moves. "I'd flirt a little to test the water but I'd let her make the definitive move. I wouldn't want to push her, misread the situation or be blamed for taking advantage of a weak moment," said one girl.

    If you fancy someone in a lesbian bar, it's late and there seems to be lots of snogging going on, they may assume you're gay and move in on you. So if you're going to be shocked by a forward approach (ie a possible tongue in your mouth and hand up your jumper), best speak up fairly early on. Say something like 'Hi. I'm new to all this - seems like fun though' quite early on should do it.

    Will she be able to tell if I've never slept with a woman before?

    Five of the girls I interviewed said they'd pretended to be experienced with their first female lover - and got away with it. "It can be done. If you like sex generally and are into it, it probably won't be a problem." So long as you're adventurous and assertive, most women probably wouldn't be able to tell you're a 'virgin'. But they might well figure it out afterwards. "I'd spot it immediately by her emotional reaction - first-timers are often overemotional after the sex is over."

    How do I make sure I perform well in bed?

    Don't commit the classic first-timer's mistake of assuming you'll know exactly what she likes just because she's got what you've got. We're all individual and what makes your eyes roll back in ecstasy, could make her roll her eyes to the ceiling in boredom or frustration.

    On the other hand, if you're stuck for inspiration, think about what turns you on. After all, all that's happening is you're on a different side to all the techniques guys used on you. If you're really nervous, simply say 'I don't know what to do. Will you take charge?' and lie back and enjoy (though not for long - 'lazy girls' aren't a huge hit with lesbians!) Practice makes perfect, but it wouldn't hurt to do a bit of Googling to read up a little on the topic of lesbian sex. But don't get too caught up in needing to be 'good in bed'. As the saying goes, 'Sex is perfectly natural, it is not naturally perfect'.

    Generally, there's a lot more foreplay before you actually get to the bedroom because women are more tactile and touchy-feely than men. Once you're into it, there's a heavy concentration on kissing, lots of breast play and fingering and (you guessed it) tons of oral sex. Scissoring - rubbing your crotch area up against each other - sometimes features, vibrators generally don't. ('Women are better at giving other women orgasms, so there's no need').

    Depending on whether you're with a 'vanilla' lesbian or a person who's into hardcore sex, fisting is unlikely to feature first-time round - though a strap-on dildo might.

    Does it mean I'm gay if I want a repeat performance?

    Almost all the women I spoke with said that the second you sleep with a woman you know if you're really gay. It's an entirely different feeling than simply enjoying it. Some women insist occasional lesbians are 'in denial', but lots agree there are women who are mainly straight but enjoy the odd dabble. You probably will think about it a lot though, either way. Just as your first time with a man affects you deeply, so does your first time with a woman. Your connection with this girl will be strong. You may feel guilty if you've cheated on a boyfriend or weird if you liked it. If you liked it more than you like sex with men and felt a sense of relief or like you'd 'come home' you might want to do a bit more research into lesbian coming out stories to see if you identify with them. There's lots of support out there if you do decide you're gay - search 'lesbian support groups' on Google and you'll find plenty.

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