A Complete Beginner's Guide to Scissoring

Scissoring is also known as tribadism or tribbing, and consists of two partners with vulvas rubbing their genitals against each other for stimulation. It’s commonly known as a lesbian sex position and sex act, although partners of any gender or sexuality can technically scissor.

A few things to keep in mind re: scissoring. Like with any sex position, your anatomy may impact how pleasurable you find it. Marla Renee Stewart, MA, sexpert for Lovers, explains that folks who have more front-facing vulvas may find the position more pleasurable than those with back-facing vulvas. “The reason for this,” she explains, is “when your vulva is facing downward, it’s harder to get leverage,” That’s not to say those with back-facing vulvas can’t enjoy scissoring, though! Stewart adds that using a sex wedge like the Jaz Motion Wedge can help someone with a back-facing vulva rock back and forth more comfortably. Imani Johann, owner of Decadent D’Vices also sings praises for the Jaz Motion pillow and says it can be great for accommodating all body types to further enjoy scissoring.

Another tip: find a good sex toy to add to you and your partner’s pleasure. Johann recommends the Mimic+ by Clandestine Devices (a Cosmo favorite, btw) as she says it can fit in the grooves between bodies while scissoring, making it an ideal scissor-friendly toy. We like the Mimic+ because it’s also very powerful, rechargeable, waterproof, and lasts a really long time. Other slim profile toys like the Je Joue Mimi Soft, the Lelo Lily, or the Cute Little F*ckers Starsi vibrator could also work here.

For more helpful info on scissoring and how to scissor, here are some valuable tips from writer Tafisha Edwards:

My most memorable scissoring experience went a little something like this: my girlfriend and I took a trip to New York after a few hectic weeks. Until our trip, our sex life consisted of us falling asleep mid-cowgirl. To prep for our trip, I watched a lot of porn to dream up ideas of everything we could possibly want to try. And scissoring, a proper, extended bout of scissoring, was on the top of my agenda.

Once we got to the hotel, I put my knowledge to the test. We negotiated our way onto our sides with our legs intertwined. We squirmed. We jostled. We started to pant because we were tired. We took frequent water breaks. Once we found a delicious pace my girlfriend yelled a lot and so I did. I had an orgasm, she had an orgasm…and also a charlie horse. Neither of us were prepared for that. (She was fine afterwards, I promise.) But in the spirit of unexpected lessons, here’s everything you need to know about how to scissor.

1. Get in formation.

First off, make a peace sign with your left hand and right hand. Then go “snip snip” with your fingers (kidding!). But actually, orient your fingers so the two pairs of scissors interlock. There we have the glorious tangle of limbs generally known as scissoring. This is a pretty typical version of the position, which involves two bodies reclining on their sides and grinding, swiveling, and rubbing pelvic bones, ideally until you orgasm.

2. There’s more than one way to do it.

Scissoring is a wonderfully customizable position. And even though it’s most often associated with same-sex women couples, you can try it with whatever parts you’re working with. For some that’s two vulvas, for some that’s a vulva and a penis, for some that’s a penis and a penis, or literally any other combo. Saida Agostini, a Baltimore-based social worker and activist working to end rape culture explains, “It can be amazing rubbing genital to genital. But another thing that can be amazing is rubbing against a leg or chest. It can be missionary, it can be one person on top, doggy style, or penetration can be involved. As long as it’s consensual there is no wrong way.” For example, you can try straddling your partner while they lie on their back. Putting one leg between theirs, try slowly rubbing your vulva on their thigh. So standing, kneeling, face to face, back to back, with or without toys you, you do you and change things up as necessary.

3. Stretch first. Seriously.

Anyone attempting to scissor shouldn’t be alarmed to find it’s an active position. You’ll be rubbing—NOT POUNDING, PLEASE THINK OF YOUR POOR PELVIC BONES!—against one another, which means searching for leverage, finding it, and moving your bodies until you find a fantastic rhythm. You will use your arms, legs, torso, head, shoulders, knees, and toes (okay maybe not all of that). Agostini gently advises, “It can be a lot of effort. So usually it is helpful to have someone who is a little bit flexible guide the work.” But even if you are both new, take a few minutes to stretch your legs and arms. charlie horses kinda kill the mood.

4. Oh, by the way.

Scissoring is not the only way queer women have sex. Scissoring is not the only way queer people have sex. Scissoring is not the only way bon-binary people have sex. Scissoring is not a queer-only position. Straight people may also scissor. Just in case that wasn’t abundantly clear already.

5. Gentle reminder: lube exists.

If you’re rubbing against a surface that has hair, like genitals, a chest, a leg, etc, you might want to add some lube to reduce any unwanted pulling or chafing. Try any of these luxurious lubes.

6. Protection, please.

Yes, it is absolutely possible to contract or transfer an STI or STD while scissoring. You can minimize risk by using a dental dam during sex, avoiding menstrual blood (yours and/or your partner’s) as well as visible genital lesions. Also remember: underwear is not a protective barrier. “Things to consider: [is there a] decision between partners to only exchange bodily fluids with one another even if they have sex with other partners?” asks Agostini. “Or are you having sex with other people? Whatever the situation is, it’s important to have really honest conversations about testing and the last time you had sex with others.”

7. It might get awkward. Lean in!

Sometimes watching porn can open your mind to new positions and ideas, but it’s definitely not a representation of IRL sex. Scissoring, like pretty much all sex positions, can get awkward. Between dry skin, queefing, the occasional fart, struggling to find the rhythms that make your neurons light up. It’s all going down. Sex can be a tremendously funny, gross and weird experience. Having the right partner means someone who can take the occasional kicks as they come, check to see if their teeth are intact, then keep grinding on.

4 Sex Toys That Will Give You the Best Orgasm

The Lelo Sona uses mighty vibration to hit your clitoris deeeeep into the nerve endings you might not otherwise be able to reach. It’s so good, in fact, one of our editors said it gave her a “totally new type of orgasm.” Good luck resisting this one. 

This silicone clitoral vibrator might not look like much, but trust—it’s actually amazing. The cupped tip fits perfectly over your vulva, and it won’t get in the way with a partner (yes, even during intercourse). The toy also features rumbly waves (no cheap buzzy vibrations here) that are so powerful, you’ll wonder how you ever had sex without it. 

Where regs Rabbit-style vibrators (meaning: they have both internal and external stimulators) just vibrate and shake in place, the Lelo Ina Wave actually moves back and forth in a come-hither motion for a sensation so realistic, it feels like actual intercourse, but better. It’s also rechargeable and waterproof, so it’s perfect for solo bath or shower fun.

This 24kt gold necklace not only looks chic, it’s also a very strong bullet vibe. It has an easy, one-button turn-on feature, and the charge lasts forever. Unsuspecting people will have no idea that it’s actually your NSFW plaything, but you’ll probably want to wear it all the time anyways because it’s so damn pretty. 

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