Campus

Dahlonega

Publication date

1-29-2021

Publisher

Culture, Health & Sexuality

Keywords

lesbian, bisexual, narrative, safer sex, biphobia

Abstract

This paper explores the way in which some lesbians rely on culturally circulated narratives about identity to assess safer sex and their potential risk of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV. A well-established narrative within the literature about lesbian safer sex is that STI risk is non-existent. The implications of this are important because they demonstrate the perception of lesbian identity and notions of safety. This study focuses on how gender and sexuality contextualise an assessment of risk and safety for lesbians. This is vital to understand because there is still a lack of language about lesbian safer sex practices and techniques. Lesbians narrate their assessments of STI and HIV risk through the lenses of gender and sexuality – locating ‘risk’ in gay men and bisexual women. Using narrative analysis, I find that lesbians assess their risk by constructing characters from culturally circulated narratives steeped in homophobia and biphobia of the sensible lesbian, the risky gay man and the uncertain bisexual.

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‘I never realised that sex between two women was not safe’: narratives of lesbian safer sex

This paper explores the way in which some lesbians rely on culturally circulated narratives about identity to assess safer sex and their potential risk of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV. A well-established narrative within the literature about lesbian safer sex is that STI risk is non-existent. The implications of this are important because they demonstrate the perception of lesbian identity and notions of safety. This study focuses on how gender and sexuality contextualise an assessment of risk and safety for lesbians. This is vital to understand because there is still a lack of language about lesbian safer sex practices and techniques. Lesbians narrate their assessments of STI and HIV risk through the lenses of gender and sexuality – locating ‘risk’ in gay men and bisexual women. Using narrative analysis, I find that lesbians assess their risk by constructing characters from culturally circulated narratives steeped in homophobia and biphobia of the sensible lesbian, the risky gay man and the uncertain bisexual.