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Scissoring: The Ultimate Guide To This Often Misunderstood Sex Act

So you're interested in scissoring? Well, we've put together this comprehensive guide to help you turn your fantasy into a reality.

Lexi Sylver
Erotica author and sexpert guiding you to shamelessly explore your sexuality

by Lexi Sylver 11 min read

Scissoring is probably a very evocative term for most people, either conjuring up a kinky sex act or a near urban legend.

The act of two women rubbing their vulvas together is a focal point of a lot of porn, but does it happen in reality?

If it does, do the people involved enjoy it, or is it merely a figment of the overactive sexual imagination of porn producers?

What does scissoring even mean? 

Let's dive a little deeper into the mystery of scissoring.

Quick FAQs

No, scissoring can be enjoyed by anyone with genitalia

Tribbing is typically known as the practice of rubbing or grinding your vulva or clitoris against your partner. Scissoring is actual genital to genital contact with legs interlocked and facing each other

Start by sitting up facing one another with your legs slightly spread and interlocking and move towards one another until your genitalia are touching.

There are no risk to the act of scissoring itself, but it is still possible to contract an STI or STD so the proper safety precautions should be taken.

Is Scissoring Even a Real Thing?

Different types of scissors representing different types of people that would scissor

Scissoring (and/or tribadism) is a very real, very enjoyable sex act.

While it takes some practice and effort, you might find it becomes a welcome addition to your sexual repertoire.

The act of rubbing vulvas together for sexual pleasure is hardly a new one, but due to its mysterious nature and a somewhat higher degree of difficulty, it often goes unexplored.

And it's not just people with vulvas that can engage in scissoring; the act of rubbing genitals together is pleasurable no matter what types of genitals you own.

Pro Tip: Promescent makes a great line of premium adult products that is sure to make everyone's genitals happy.

You might be wondering "how does scissoring work", and that's mostly because the only places it's talked about -- or seen -- is in porn.

Unfortunately, persistent misunderstanding and mystery surround this sex act, preventing people from experimenting with it.

Does scissoring feel good?

Yes, it can be highly pleasurable and very fun!

So, if scissoring interests you, you should learn more and give it a try.

Let’s dispel some common confusion and myths so you can include scissoring in your sexual repertoire.

What is Scissoring?

Scissoring is the act of getting into a position where your and your partner’s legs are spread out like scissors, and interlocking at the genitals so that genital-to-genital touching can happen.

Scissoring sex position illustration

The most common mental image this act conjures up is likely two lesbians rubbing their vaginas together, but it's critical to understand that:

  • Not everyone with a vagina or vulva is a woman, let alone a lesbian
  • Scissoring can be done and enjoyed by anyone with any genitals

The biggest hurdles to understanding and enjoying scissoring are preconceived notions of what it is, and being limber enough to do it.

Tips to help with scissoring

Once you and your partners have explored and mastered scissoring, there are many ways to make it even more fun with toys, lubes, and different positions.

Is Scissoring Only for Women?

Heterosexual couple about to explore scissoring

For a long time, scissoring was seen only as a lesbian sex act.

The concept of scissoring then evolved slightly as a sex position that only people with vulvas engaged in (whether they were lesbians, bisexual, pansexual, etc.).

The truth is that anyone with any genitals can perform and enjoy scissoring. 

No matter your partner, orientation, or genitals, you can find some incredible pleasure in engaging in scissoring.

Scissoring vs. Tribbing: What's the Difference?

The terms "tribadism" and "scissoring" are often used interchangeably, and while it's not unreasonable, they are distinct terms.

  • Tribbing is the act of rubbing your vulva against your partner to produce sexual pleasure. This can mean rubbing your vulva on ANY part of their body.
  • Scissoring refers specifically to genital-to-genital contact.

So, while Scissoring is a form of Tribbing, not all Tribbing is Scissoring.

How Does Scissoring Feel?

Like any other sex position, what feels enjoyable for each person can depend on so many factors, including:

  • feeling comfortable with your lover
  • being in the mood
  • physically being able to put your body into that position without pain or discomfort

Yes, scissoring CAN feel amazing if you both enjoy intentional, sexual genital stimulation.

When done correctly, and you’re both communicating what kind of contact, rhythm, and pressure feels pleasurable for each of you, you and your partner(s) can enjoy scissoring to orgasm, especially with regular practice. 

For each couple, scissoring will feel different: two people with vulvas will obviously experience different sensations than a couple where one person has a penis and the other has a vulva, or a couple where both partners have penises, and so on.

How scissoring feels

For instance, vulva-on-vulva contact can stimulate multiple parts of the anatomy and trigger multiple types of pleasure and orgasm.

Penis-to-penis contact works similarly, rubbing in ways that usually don't occur during other types of sexual play, because scissoring can stimulate the entire shaft of the penis, but without penetration.

Penis-to-vagina scissoring can also include penetration, which adds another possible layer of pleasure, but penetration doesn’t have to be the end goal. 

Two people with vulvas can also experience the feeling of penis-to-vagina scissoring by adding a strap-on dildo or sex toy to the mix.

By getting a bit creative with toys, the sexy possibilities are endless.

Two women laying in bed excited about scissoring

What Does Tribbing Feel Like?

Well, tribadism is not unlike other forms of genital pleasure, and you can control the speed, angle, and intensity of the rubbing. 

In this way, tribbing can be like masturbation but with a partner, who can also do their own thing and pleasure themselves while you get off.

They can also assist you with your pleasure and touch other parts of your body (like playing with your nipples or anus, for example), while you rub your genitals on their body.

If you're wondering how to do tribadism, you'll probably find it's easier than scissoring.

Just find a spot on your partner that feels good and rub your genitals against them!

Some people enjoy using their partners knees or thighs to rub their genitals against, because you can make out with your partner, play with their genitals and body too, or do whatever else you want from this position while pleasuring yourself.

How Do I Scissor?

Like oral or manual sexual stimulation, scissoring is just another form of sexual play. 

You can change the pace, lube it up, and add sex toys of your choosing. It's all up to you and what type of stimulation you and your partner desire and enjoy.

While orgasm shouldn’t be the goal of any type of sexual encounter, you can orgasm from scissoring with practice, communication, and patience.

While the act of scissoring itself is not overly complex, asking your partner to try it and getting into position might be more challenging.

Find a comfortable spot with enough space for you to roll around in.

A bed is likely your best bet. And make sure there's nothing around you can knock over.

Learning to scissor, while fun, is trial-and-error, and you might end up kicking over a lamp if you're not careful.

When figuring out how to scissor with your partner, keep these points in mind:

  • Don't be afraid to ask your partner to experiment with something new. Novelty can be very stimulating for everyone! They might be thinking of trying scissoring, too, or may have done it before and enjoyed it in the past.
  • Don't be worried about looking silly. Sex should be fun! Even if it takes a bit of time at first to get yourselves into position, once you both find the most comfortable and pleasurable ways to intertwine your bodies, you can just enjoy scissoring and connecting together.

How to scissor

Pleasuring yourself and your partner in new and exciting ways can boost your intimacy and connection, and discover new things about each other’s orgasmic potential.

Scissoring Positions to Try

The most common position is to start with both you and your partner face-up on the bed, with your legs spread slightly, and wiggling towards each other until your genitals are touching, legs interlocking. 

At this point, you can do whatever feels good:

  • Gyrating
  • Humping
  • Using your hands to touch each other’s bodies
  • Using toys to play with each other

Any and all of these things can help make the process feel great. Keep working at it until you find a pace and spot that feels amazing for both of you. 

What’s important is to communicate with each other about what feels good, and what each of you can do to improve the pleasure of the other person.

You might not be able to orgasm from scissoring, but if not, just enjoy the fun experience, connectedness, and sexy novelty of a hot new position with your partner. 

Once you nail this move (pun intended), then you can try other variations of scissoring.

From the basic scissoring position, you can increase your intimacy by sitting up more so that you’re more face-to-face with your partner, and can then kiss each other and make more direct eye contact, too, as you grind and gyrate together.

This closer position also allows for exchanging pleasure to your breasts and/or nipples, oral stimulation of each other’s neck and ears, and overall more skin-to-skin body contact that can stimulate other non-genital areas of your bodies.

This can also be an easier position to maintain control over the speed and intensity of your scissoring, which can be more pleasurable for some people, and even help lead to orgasm.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can also try to approach scissoring from a vertical perspective, with one of you on the ground (or bed).

The person who is lying on the ground would be placing most of their weight on their shoulders and upper back, while raising their hips up.

The other partner would stand between their legs, positioning themselves so that both sets of genitals are aligned and connecting.

Of course, this position might be more strenuous for both partners, but if you have the ability, strength and endurance, why not give it a try?

If scissoring sex positions are too daunting or physically difficult for you or your partner, you can try tribadism on another part of your / their body instead.

Tribbing against your partner’s thigh, knee, breasts, or other body part can feel fantastic, and is often easier to achieve than scissoring.

Whatever feels good for you -- go for it! 

Scissoring Tips & Tricks

Tips to try when scissoring

Now that you’re ready to get your scissoring sex on, there are some ways to enhance your and your partner’s pleasure, comfort, and enjoyment.

  • Tease and play before you scissor: Exploring each other's bodies beforehand will also increase arousal and enjoyment for both of you, so use your fingers, mouth, and tongue to build up anticipation for scissoring… all of which can also help increase the potential for orgasmic in a scissoring position.
    • Limber up: Stretch together to get the blood flowing and prevent a possible sex injury or strain.
    • Get hot and wet: Try sharing a warm shower or hot bath beforehand to get your muscles and bodies feeling supple and warmed up. That can also add extra intimacy and romance to your scissoring experience. 
    • Communicate with each other: When you've found a rhythm, angle, intensity, pressure, or spot that feels good to you, communicate with your partner to tell them how good it feels, and ensure they're enjoying it as much as you are, too. Making adjustments for each other will increase the quality of your sexual experience.
    • Use lots of lube: Scissoring is all about the glide, so don’t be shy and use lots of lubricant to keep things smooth sailing and longer-lasting for both of you.
    • Add some sex toys to the mix: Internal and external pleasure toys can be great for everyone, regardless of your genitals. Imagine sharing a vibrating toy between your genitals while you writhe in pleasure with your partner. Or, if you and your partner both have vulvas, try using a strap-on dildo or toy, or a longer internal toy that can penetrate both of you simultaneously. There are lots of toys, some of which are wearable, that can amp up both of your pleasure and keep the good vibrations going and going and going...
    • Try an arousal gel: These products work by increasing blood flow and sensitivity to the genitals, which can heighten your experience and sensations as you scissor. Promescent’s female arousal gel is perfect to achieve that enhanced, sexy feeling, and can help you increase your pleasure potential, which can also help result in orgasm.
    • Try using pillows: Add comfort to your scissoring positions by propping up some pillows under yourselves, behind your back, neck, arms, etc… whatever feels good for you and takes weight and pressure off your body. That can free you up to just enjoy the sensations!
    • Think of pubic hair: Everyone’s pubic hair removal (or not) preferences can be different. But it’s something to be mindful of especially when you’re planning on grinding your genitals on your partner’s. Having your partner’s razor-sharp stubble or pubic hair rubbing against your sensitive genitals might not make for a super enjoyable experience. So discuss this beforehand so that both of you can feel comfortable. 

    Other Things to Keep in Mind with Scissoring

    While you might be ready to just grab your partner and excitedly explain everything you learned while hopping into bed, you should consider these facts before pursuing scissoring.

    Consider stretching beforehand

    Couple stretching to get ready for scissoring 

    The fact is, exercise and stretching help keep you limber, which in turn can make sex better, easier, and longer-lasting. The same goes for scissoring sex.

    You don't have to do pilates or yoga every day, but some stretching before sex isn't a bad idea.

    It doesn't even need to be strenuous - regular walking, biking, or swimming will keep your muscles stretched and ready.

    Regular exercise and stretching can also give you the elasticity that makes scissoring -- and really, ANY sex position -- easier.

    Taking a bit of time to stretch together can also be an intimate way to get into the mood together.

    Practice Safer Scissoring Sex 

    Woman holding unused condom for scissoring

    Your genitals will be touching your partner's genitals.

    Fluid exchange is likely. And even if there’s no penetration, penetrative sex is not necessary for there to be a transmission of an STI or STD.

    And if you and your partner find yourself at a point of penetration during scissoring, pregnancy could still be a possibility, if you or your partner are able to get pregnant and the other one of you can get someone pregnant.

    It's not different from penetrative sex from any other position.

    Also remember that if ejaculation has occurred before sex, precum can also have active sperm. So talking about the need for contraception is important, too.

    As you would (and should) do with any other kinds of sexual positions and practices, it’s important to practice safe sex by talking to your partner about your STI and STD status, contraception methods, possible risks, and preferred barrier methods, all before engaging in any kind of sexual play.

    Options for barriers can include using external condoms, internal condoms, and / or dental dams.

    You can also try using an external condom or latex glove, cutting it open in half so that it is more like a sheet and covers a larger surface area between your bodies.

    If you are sexually active and not in an exclusive monogamous relationship, then getting tested regularly for STIs and STDs is crucial.

    Knowing your status is important for any type of sexual play and also a crucial part of your overall physical health. 

    The only 100% effective way of having 100% safe sex is just to abstain or have sex with yourself, but by implementing these above mentioned safer sex practices, you can know your risks and make more informed decisions for your body and your sexual and physical health -- as well as those of your partners.

    Takeaways

    Couple happy after learning how to scissor

    Scissoring can be a fun, loving, wonderful, and extremely sexy way to pleasure yourself and your partner.

    It might take some practice, but when you've got it down, you might find that scissoring can help you enjoy sex in a new and pleasurable way.

    So go ahead, try scissoring with your partner, and enjoy yourselves!

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    Lexi Sylver
    Lexi Sylver

    Lexi Sylver is the Montreal-based erotica author of "Mating Season" and "All the Queen’s Men". She is also the producer and host of "Cocktails and Erotic Tales" as well as her "Swinging 101" webinar series. As an entrepreneur, advocate, educator, podcaster, public speaker and coach for ethical non-monogamy and sexual empowerment, she regularly contributes articles about sexuality and relationships to ASN Lifestyle Magazine, SDC.com and her personal blog, among other places. Her mission is to promote empowerment and education by guiding you to shamelessly explore your sexuality. Get Lexual at lexisylver.com


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