I remember my first sexual encounter with a woman like it was yesterday. I was in college and, cliché as it sounds, it just kinda happened. I’d already been sexually active, and while I felt confident in my skills with men, I wasn’t exactly sure if I could pleasure a woman. I allowed my instinct to guide me and basically focused on doing to her what I would have wanted done to me. I was also sure to pay attention to her responses and tailor my touches (and licks) to her liking. I’d been attracted to women for as long as I’d been attracted to men, so to finally experience sex with one was an awakening for me; it was amazing

Most sex writing tends to focus on sex between men and women, but there are many women either in same sex relationships or simply enjoying sexy sessions with other single women. I spoke with a few about their experiences and found the feedback fascinating and helpful.  Whether you identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or something else, I have some tips on spicing up your sex life and having some of the best sex possible if you’re a woman who enjoys sex with women.

You Don’t Have to Mimic Sex With Men

If adult movies are any indication, “girl-on-girl” sex is simply a replication of sex between men and women, with one woman taking on the stereotypical male role. This isn’t always the case, and women I spoke with all agree that what we see in typical “girl-on-girl” scenes aren’t true representations of how sex goes down.

“I find that some lesbians who identify very strongly with labels—butch, femme, stud, dom, etc.—do tend to have sex that mimics heterosexual sex,” says Aryka, a self-identified lesbian who’s had sex with men in the past. She points out that there isn’t the same sense of a beginning and an “end” when women have sex with each other, at least not how we think about sex between a man and woman.

In my own experiences, I’ve focused a lot on bringing women to orgasm. I wouldn’t stop what I was doing until she at least appeared to be satiated, orgasm or not. I realize now that I often rely on maneuvers that men have used with me, and the women seem to enjoy them. Does that mean that they really preferred men? Not exactly. “[Sex between women] tends to be more about exploration of bodies,” Aryka concludes.

“I know for some the use of a strap-on is similar to heterosexual sex, but I don’t personally see it as that,” agrees Tiffany, who also identifies as a lesbian. “To me it’s just another way to bring pleasure to you and your partner, and it’s not a requirement each time I have sex.”

To Use Toys or Not to Use Toys?

The “strap-on” is a sex toy that connects a dildo (penis replica) to a harness worn by one woman and used to penetrate the other woman. It’s a popular toy in adult videos, but is it necessary during sex? Courtney enjoys using her strap-on when she has sex and prefers it, especially when dealing with bottom-heavy women. “I feel like I have so much control over the woman [when using a strap-on] and it usually makes them feel really good,” she says. Like Courtney, I enjoy the dominant feeling I have when using a strap-on with a woman. There are questions about what the woman using the “strap” gets from it. I offer that it’s more of an aroused response to the woman’s enjoyment and from watching her experience the pleasure.

Not every woman feels penetration with other women is necessary, regardless of whether or not she has had sex with men in the past or currently has sex with men. In Lesbian Sex: 101 Lovemaking Positions, author Jude Schell offers several options for positions women can use during sex that don’t involve any toys at all.

The “dutch tulip,” for example, encourages the women go down on each other while lounging on their sides, using their extended lower legs as headrests. Tiffany prefers “tribbing,” which is when two women rub their vaginas against each other, stimulating the nerves in the clitoris and labia. She says that when it’s done while kissing, “being completely connected and wrapped up in her” sends her over the edge. Arykah enjoys focusing on using her fingers to bring her partner to orgasm while performing oral sex, and she loves the way a woman’s body tightens and releases when she makes her orgasm with this technique.

Tiffany says that if you want to keep things spicy in the bedroom, “you need to be willing to talk to your partner about what you like or no longer like, and figure out what you’d like to try.” Arykah says the key is to “get to know your partner in a different way, by concentrating on a sense other than touch.” Communication about and during sex is so important, as is making the mental connection—and that goes for people having any type of sex. Courtney advises that women not limit themselves in the bed, thinking they can’t do something because there are two women involved.

You can shop around for some new toys, add music or food to stimulate other senses, or even try some of the things women do in the girl-on-girl adult video flicks. I encourage all of the ladies out there to commit to trying at least one new position or technique the next time you find yourself intertwined with another sexy woman, and keep those toes curling!

Feminista Jones is a sex-positive Black feminist, social worker and blogger from New York City. She writes about gender, race, politics, mental health and sexuality at FeministaJones.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FeministaJones.