Women who have sex with women (WSW) is a term used to identify women who have sex with other women, but may or may not self-identify as lesbian or bisexual. The term is often used in medical literature to describe such women as a group for clinical study, without needing to consider the issues of sexual self-identity.

A 1990 U.S. study showed that women who had had female sexual partners in the last 5 years had an average of 10.1 partners in those 5 years, while women with only male partners had an average of 2.2 partners. [1]

They are more likely to have bacterial vaginosis,[2][3] vulvo-vaginal candidiasis[4] and a higher prevalence of hepatitis C and HIV-risk behaviours (but a lower prevalence of genital warts).[5] There has yet to be any validated and verified report of a WSW contracting HIV in the absence of any other HIV-risk activity.[6] 91% of HIV-infected WSW have at least one other risk factor, the most common of which is intravenous drug use.[6] The U.S. CDC notes that there is a small possibility that HIV could spread through WSW contact.[citation needed]

See also


  1. Laumann, Edward O. (1994). The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. University of Chicago Press, 315. 
  2. Bailey JV, Farquhar C, Owen C (November 2004). "Bacterial vaginosis in lesbians and bisexual women". Sex Transm Dis 31 (11): 691–4. doi:10.1097/01.olq.0000143093.70899.68. PMID 15502678. 
  3. Marrazzo JM, Koutsky LA, Eschenbach DA, Agnew K, Stine K, Hillier SL (May 2002). "Characterization of vaginal flora and bacterial vaginosis in women who have sex with women". J. Infect. Dis. 185 (9): 1307–13. doi:10.1086/339884. PMID 12001048. 
  4. Bailey JV, Benato R, Owen C, Kavanagh J (June 2008). "Vulvovaginal candidiasis in women who have sex with women". Sex Transm Dis 35 (6): 533–6. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31816766c2. PMID 18418293. 
  5. Fethers K, Marks C, Mindel A, Estcourt CS (October 2000). "Sexually transmitted infections and risk behaviours in women who have sex with women". Sex Transm Infect 76 (5): 345–9. doi:10.1136/sti.76.5.345. PMID 11141849. PMC:1744205. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 HIV/AIDS among Women Who Have Sex With Women, USA CDC.
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