Why All Lesbian Femmes Should Buy Their Own Straps

black woman wearing a strap on dildo

Written by Zamara Perri


“Ok so my girlfriend strap is too big…. i have expressed this to her a couple times and she laughed it off and made a joke of it…..idk what to do … i thought about buying another but i don’t know how she’ll take it … advice please.”


This post on Facebook broke my heart and brought back memories of my 20s and my first time having strap on sex. It looked like so much fun in porn. But not so much in real life. My girlfriends either had no clue or had dick envy or were used to having sex with women who had children. It hurt. It didn’t matter which woman I had sex with, it felt like I was being repeatedly punched in the cervix.

For some reason my femme girlfriends only had monster dildos. It never really occurred to me that it could be too big for me.

It was uncomfortable so I just told myself that I just didn’t like strap on sex. I told my lovers, I didn’t like strap ons either.

It wasn’t until my 30s that I had a partner who had a selection of dildos of varying sizes and lengths to select from. I closed my eyes and held my breath as she penetrated me with the shortest one. It didn’t hurt and I had so much fun. That was when the light bulb went off! I had a very short vaginal canal, so 9-inch dicks were never going to be fun for me.


Your Pleasure Matters, Too

I’m assuming the letter above is from a very young woman or a newly out lesbian who just wants to please her partner.

The partner may have a dildo that she likes, but guess who it’s penetrating? I say the person who is being penetrated gets to choose not to be in pain. The partner needs a reality check. One of the privileges of being a lesbian is not being stuck with a penis that you don’t like and can’t do anything about.

My message to this young lady and pretty much all femmes on the receiving end of a dildo is this: Buy your own dildo and strap. Why? Your pleasure matters too. Plus, they are really not that expensive and will help you weed out selfish lovers.

Once you’ve figured out what kind of dildo works for you, then you and your lover are bound to have more fun. If she’s not okay with that arrangement, then who’s gon check you boo? She can bounce.

When asked for her thoughts on this, my “feminine” friend Mel, said she likes having her own strap because she can control the cleanliness, quality of the materials and comfort.

“I have always been more of the strapper than the strapee,” she says. “I am all about comfort, mine and the other person’s. Finally, I found an amazing woman who has managed to not only make me love it…but also crave it like I’ve never had before. It’s the perfect size for me and she listens to my body. She understood that I wanted to give myself completely to her, but wanted to make sure she’d take care of me, which she has done so well. * bites bottom lip*”

So yep. Date a woman who is loving enough to care about her partner’s comfort and pleasure and a woman who isn’t willing to sacrifice your comfort at the altar of her giant ego. Toys are supposed to equal fun. If one person isn’t having fun, then that person gets to say no.

Plus, having your own strap resolves that silly argument that lesbians like to have where they want their partner’s to buy new sex toys with every new partner.

Finally, it’s freaking sexy when a woman can whip out her own dildo and tell her lover: “Relax boo, I came packing my own heat.”

Masculine Not Manly, Vol 3: A Letter From a Recovering TouchMeNot Stud

queen latifah and girlfriend in set it off

Written by Bre Ukweli

Dear Lover,

I promise it isn’t your fault that you have yet to make me cum in bed. I also swear on my entire sexual life, that I’m honestly not punishing you with dryness because you’re incompetent. Sometimes I think that the pleasure gene skipped me entirely and my vagina is just there for show and unnecessary monthly messes.

Up until recently, my sexual needs  thrived off of my lovers’ wants. Their moans were like cheering sections that had me wearing my back scratches like medals. Pleasure was just a game that I played for the sake of my ego.

There comes a time in every TouchMeNot (TMN) stud’s life where our bodies inherently begins to grow jealous of watching orgasm after orgasm, from the outside. Suddenly, the feeling of someone else’s wetness isn’t enough to fuel the mental satisfaction and we begin to crave more. But, we’ve already established rules that require us to slap away your hands in the heat of the moment.

We’ve created sexual environments where it’s okay for you, as a partner, to walk away completely satisfied and leave your stud contemplating her life and sexual needs, feeling incomplete for reasons she doesn’t understand.

We’re sorry, even in silence. Trust me on this one.

Rewriting that environment is intense, but necessary, especially if you, I mean we (but mostly me), want to save our relationship; both sexually and emotionally.

You want to know the key to sex with a recovering TouchMeNot stud like me?

  1. Patience.
  2. Don’t pressure me into anything. Allow me to make the request. I know what I need and all you have to do is listen. I understand it can be difficult to wait, but I promise you that’s the best way to get me to be comfortable with you.
  3. Talk to me outside of the bedroom. Get to know me through intimate conversations. Find out not only what turns me off, but also why. The “why” is extremely important. Sometimes there’s a lot more than just a need for control that’s keeping me from enjoying sex.
  4. Lastly, be open-minded, supportive and understanding. There’s nothing worse than making me feel bad about going against your sexual (and heteronormative) expectations. What I mean is, if you get lucky enough to get me to ask to be strapped, you strap up. Simple.

Your pleasure should be my pleasure and my ecstasy should be your ecstasy. Let’s make love to each other, have fun and see how it goes.



Bre  is a 24-year-old gender-fluid person living in South Florida. She is a shade connoisseur hopelessly chasing skylines, sunsets and social justice.

Eight Years After Falling in Love With Her, My Wife Has Changed

Ayesha and Cicely model their healthy new bodies.
Cicely and Ayesha are healthier than ever.

Cicely and Ayesha have seen dramatic changes in their lives since they committed to eating better and exercising more.

Written by Ayesha Forte

I remember getting my gallbladder removed on December 25, 2010. It was a horribly painful experience, but it was the best Christmas gift I ever got. After that, I was determined to change my eating habits. My wife, Cicely, and I had been thinking about becoming vegetarians. After watching several documentaries that exposed the cruel environments that the animals lived in, that was it for us. We never looked back.

Changing our eating habits was merely part of the battle. Our ultimate goal was to completely change our lifestyle—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

First we supported each other in quitting smoking then, we took it further and became vegetarians. About a year ago, we committed to working out between four and five days a week.

So, we definitely needed healthy meals to keep these bodies moving.


We come from a family of cooks so home cooking is extremely important to us! Since becoming vegetarians three years ago, I’ve taken over the kitchen. We cook together sometimes, but truly I enjoy cooking for my family and presenting to them what I made for them. This makes me feel like a proud mother and wife.


It Wasn’t a Special Occasion

A mix of Italian and Mexican vegetarian meal.

Ayesha loves cooking for her family. This is one of her favorite meals to cook.

I remember coming home after a 10-hour workday at our shop (Glory Crown Beauty & Barber Shop) and heading straight to the kitchen. I had just bought a new cookbook and I was super excited about preparing Baked Mexican Spinach Dip with Toasted French Bread and Black Bean Lasagna Rolls.


When I was done, I served my wife. We cuddled up on the couch in our PJs and just grubbed. Did I mention that we worked all day? For my first attempt, I did pretty good and she loved the meal! It wasn’t a special occasion, but it is one of my favorite memories.


Everything Has Changed

Ayesha and Cicely model their healthy new bodies.

Ayesha and Cicely are thrilled at the changes they’ve seen on a spiritual, mental and physical level.

Since we began our journey to health three years ago, everything has changed, from our immune systems to the people we have around us. When you’ve fought to keep your peace and positive energy, you become very selective about whom you allow in your circle.

With us being entrepreneurs, time is money, but our gym time is priceless. We know that no amount of money will ever give us peace of mind. The gym is our sanctuary.

We now embrace change and will continue to motivate each other to be the best versions of ourselves. In turn, it brought us closer to one another. When you look good you can’t help but feel good!


Advice on Embracing Healthy Change as a Couple

You have to find a balance, yin and yang. As a married couple, we have to be on the same page. Sometimes Cicely has to carry the heavier load that week to make sure things get done and vice versa on my end.

For other couples looking to make a change this year, our best advice is that you hold yourself and each other accountable.

You cannot say you’re going to make a lifestyle change and only halfway clean up your act! It’s not going to be easy but that’s what makes it more rewarding. Trust the journey and go hard or not at all. Mediocrity and success is all in your perception!



Cicely and Ayesha recently celebrated their eighth anniversary in November 2015. They live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Transformation Tuesday: A Diabetes Scare Put Her on the Right Track

Sharon Hume's before and after photos.

When Sharon Hume committed to taking better care of her self she saw significant weight loss.

Sharon Hume knows a thing or two about relationships. The most important one for this single woman living in Oxon Hill, Md., is the one with herself. Sharon has committed to loving herself more by taking care of her health. Below she talks about how she loved herself to a healthier weight:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): You recently lost a significant amount of weight. How much did you lose?

Sharon: I lost around 55 pounds. It may not seem like a lot but it sure felt like it.

BL3: Had you always been overweight?

Sharon: I have always been bigger, but it’s never been to my satisfaction. The last time I’ve weighed less than 200 pounds was over 17 years ago. It’s very uncomfortable to gain weight like that, and then … life! You’re too busy to do anything about it, and the pounds continue to pile on.

BL3: I know you mentioned that you recently became single; some people say you gain weight in a relationship. Was it true for you?

Sharon: Many people gain weight in relationships. You go out, dine, drink together, and not to mention, some home cooked meals. Next thing you know, you’re 10 pounds heavier than six months ago.

BL3: Do you remember when you realized that you needed to do something about your weight gain?

Sharon: It was right after my mom passed away in 2010. My weight ballooned to 286 pounds. At my doctor’s visit, the doctor said that my A1C level (a test for diabetes) was off the charts. I had never heard of that before, but the moment she said “diabetic”, it opened my eyes. I immediately started changing my eating habits.

BL3: How did you feel being overweight? Did you feel limited in anyway?

Sharon: I felt tired all the time. I also smoked cigarettes, ate a lot of carbs, and I didn’t know it at that time, but I also had Sleep Apnea, which was contributing to the weight gain. Because my sleep pattern was interrupted when I stopped breathing periodically while sleeping, I would wake up exhausted, which would make me always hungry, for I was eating for energy.

BL3: Did being overweight negatively/positively affect your relationship?

Sharon: Most of the time, I was told that I snored loudly. Other than that, there was no impact that could be viewed as negative.

BL3: What was the first step you took towards being healthier? How difficult was that for you?

Sharon: The first thing was removing ALL complex carbs from my diet. I researched the ATKINS diet and the program said to only consume 25-30g of carbs a day for 2 weeks. That’s very strict. You’d be surprised as to what you can/cannot eat. However, I was so pleased with the results that I continued the program for six weeks. After that, I went back to the gym. When I started going to the gym, I was already down 12lbs from the diet, and the remaining came off after going to the gym.

BL3: What was your motivation for being healthier?

Sharon: I was not interested in taking insulin for the rest of my life.

BL3: What kind of support did you get from your then-partner, friends and family?

Sharon: I always received positive reinforcements. My girlfriend always made meals without carbs for me, being that I wouldn’t leave work until the evening. Friends are always supportive.

BL3: What would you like women interested in dating you to know about your new healthy lifestyle?

Sharon: I’ve always been a picky eater. It’s just a little worse … lol

BL3: Any advice to other women looking to lose weight and becoming healthier?

Sharon: The key is your eating habits. It’s 20 percent exercise and 80 percent eating habits. You must limit your carbohydrate intake and burn as many calories (if not more) than you consume. Drink lots of water. Your body needs to sweat. You also cannot go wrong with cardio. Take your time and don’t get discouraged. Once you get in the groove, you will be unstoppable!

We would love to share stories of other black lesbian women and black lesbian couples making an effort to live a healthier lifestyle. To share your story, send an email to editor@blacklesbianlovelab.com.

Loving a Black Lesbian Breast Cancer Survivor

My love and I wait at the hospital for her monthly injections.

Me and my love wait at the hospital for her monthly injections.

Written by Zamari Perri

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This means that people are asking me to donate to some breast cancer race, buy some pink ribbon products or asking me to go bra-free to raise awareness for breast cancer.

These pink October activities really piss me off because these things do so little to actually help the millions of women and their families dealing with breast cancer. They also doesn’t reflect the day-to-day reality of the women who have been through this horrible disease much less what it is like to love a survivor.

I met my partner after she completed 18 months of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Even though she completed her major cancer treatments in 2013 and is in remission, the disease still impacts our lives every day.

In an effort to begin her healing process, she started taking yoga lessons and is now a fit yoga teacher and overall positive person. Because of this, people don’t realize that she still has limitations and concerns caused by cancer. Every day she takes medications to keep the cancer away, and every month she goes to the hospital for painful injections. She will be going to the hospital every month for the next two years.

As her partner, I see her struggle every single day. I see how the treatments cause her constant pain. I see that she can’t sleep. On top of that, my partner, a black lesbian butch/stud identified woman, endured a harrowing, double mastectomy and is now sensitive about her body where she previously wasn’t.

In the year that we’ve been together, I’ve learned many lessons about loving and supporting a breast cancer survivor. Here are just a few:

  1. After being out of work for two years, her finances have been devastated. My partner went from running her own successful business to now trying to rebuild what has been lost to cancer. That means she’s a lot more cautious about how she spends her money. She’s the type of woman who would rather spend money on skydiving or travel, than on things. I’ve learned to really appreciate the simple things and enjoy the care she puts into her gifts.
  2. She is still a woman in every way. While she may still be self-conscious about the scars left behind post surgery, she still wants to be desired. Still wants passionate love making. She still wants her femininity acknowledged.
  3. Team work makes the dream work. She’s a stud and I’m a femme, but in the end, we don’t focus on roles. We focus on having each other’s backs and supporting each other through this journey called life.
  4. Compassion, not punishment. When someone has been through fire, their time and attention is precious. Instead of giving her the silent treatment as “punishment,” my partner has taught me the value of compassion and communication. She has taught me that going through breast cancer is punishment enough and she doesn’t need it in her most intimate relationships. Instead, we try to remember how fortunate we are to have each other and regularly crack each other up.
  5. Every couple needs a tribe. I really have to recognize the women who carried my love through her worst days when she was bald, throwing up, weighed 98 pounds, scared and fighting for her life. Without them, I would have never known this incredible woman. These women continue to support her and support us every day.

In 2013 alone some 27,060 African American women developed breast cancer while 6,080 died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. This means that someone you know may be going through treatments now, have survived the disease or have died from breast cancer. Please do more than wave a pink ribbon. Reach out to someone who is fighting cancer. Buy them groceries, do their laundry, be a listening ear or make a donation to an organization that directly supports patients and survivors.

Consider donating to the Cancer Support Foundation, a Maryland-based non-profit that gives 100 percent of all donations to cancer patients. They were super supportive in helping my partner get back on her feet.

How to Eat Pussy Like A Champ

Welcome to her world.

Welcome to her world.

Written by HOLAA

Eating pussy is a skill and not one that everyone has. If you’re new to eating the box or just need a refresher course, here are 15 gorgeous steps to help her walk down that path to ecstasy. But always remember, safe sex is the best sex.

No. 1: Tell her she is beautiful and mean it.

Women can be somewhat shy about their bodies. Society is not always kind to us and we aren’t always kind to ourselves. So there is nothing better than being in all our naked glory and someone saying that ‘you are just stunning.’


Sends a shiver down my spine right now.

Put her at ease and tell her how much you enjoy what you are seeing. Let her trust you enough to let you go down on her.

No. 2 Take a moment to appreciate her beautiful vagina.

Take a minute and look. Enjoy the beautiful flower in front of you. A woman’s pussy is one of the most unique things about her. They are all so different, look different, taste different, smell different. Anyone who has seen a great number of vaginas will know (we don’t judge, we applaud).

So, appreciate the one before you because it is like a snowflake, unique.

No. 3 Talk to it: Women love to speak

We love to speak and be spoken to (most of the time, some women just want to hear you moan which is amazing too).

Speaking to her will make her come. When you are stroking and touching her pussy, speak to it until it starts speaking back. It really will.

No. 4 Use the tip of your tongue on her outer lips, inner lips then search for her clit

Give it another look. Once you have gazed at it gently pull the lips apart and then have a look at her inner lips before putting your tongue to them. Just a little taste.

Women have clits in all different sizes. It doesn’t affect her ability to orgasm. All it means is more of her is hidden.

No. 5 When touching her pussy make sure your finger is moist

Sometimes you can use her juices, sometimes a little dab of lube. Or you can lick your finger. You have to make sure your finger is wet because the clit doesn’t have any of its own wetness and is very sensitive. If your finger is dry it could stick to it and this could be painful.

But you should work up to touch her clit in any case. Before she is properly turned on her clit is too delicate to handle.


Click here for steps 6 through 15.

I Don’t Like Straps: How I Cleared Up My Lesbian Sex Taboos

Written by Zamara Perri

Great sex is about much more than just opening your legs. It's about opening your mind. Photo: queenlioness.tumblr.com

Great sex is about much more than just opening your legs. It’s about opening your mind. Photo: queenlioness.tumblr.com


What is lesbian sex? My definition: Any physical activity between two or more women that results in pleasure and/or an orgasm. But I didn’t always think that way. For the longest time, I had very rigid ideas about what sex between women should look like.

So of course I almost lost my mind when one of my lesbian friends posted the following on Facebook: “Not every lesbian wants to rub pussies. Ewww.”

I thought about writing a very long post on her wall. But I decided to give some thought to why this annoyed me so much.


I realized I was annoyed because she took something that brings some lesbian couples pleasure and made it something nasty. That bothers me because there are many lesbians not having great sex because their partners or church or society or porn has dictated to them that pleasure has to look a certain way.


Guess what, whatever you and your woman do in the privacy of your own home for pleasure is really your fucking business. And whatever I do in my own home with my partner for pleasure is my fucking business.


However, I believe many black lesbians tend to be close-minded about sex just like we tend to be close-minded about gender roles. We all have sex acts that we have tried in the past and know from experience that we don’t really enjoy them. Others of us have never tried and would prefer to pass judgment.


I used to be one of those judgmental women. I’ve been lucky to have partners who were patient about my breaking my taboos. I also learned that there were things that I enjoyed doing with one partner and some things I didn’t enjoy with a different partner.


Here is how I dealt with three of my biggest taboos surrounding lesbian sex:


For the longest time, I really didn’t enjoy strap-ons while pretty much all of my girlfriends were geeked over the idea. For someone who was damn near a gold star, it was painful to say the least and since I don’t come from penetration, I thought it was pointless. Then I started dating a particular woman who had a collection of dildos. She was kind and gentle and encouraged me to try different sizes. That’s when I discovered that a smaller dildo worked best for me. I even started enjoying it especially when I discovered the joy of being on top. The funny thing about her though was that she did not want to be penetrated. Not even with a finger. She had spent so many years giving and didn’t know how to receive.


I also was not really into giving oral sex for the longest time. As a femme who dated more aggressive women, I got away with not giving for a long time. My aggressive femmes didn’t mind doing all the giving and I was safe. Then I started dating a stud who was very in touch with her feminine side and wanted reciprocation. I knew that I couldn’t continue being selfish. So I learned to please her in exactly the way she wanted me to and I ended up loving it. Frankly it came down to trust for me and once we established a trusting relationship, I truly enjoyed going down on her.


Then there was scissoring/grinding/tribbing. I actually enjoy scissoring and have ever since I was a kid. But I was so ashamed about doing this for the longest time that I rarely indulged with my girlfriends especially the ones who were focused on strapping. By the time I hit my 30s I started becoming more comfortable asking for what I wanted sexually and showing her how I liked it. Being vocal about my sexual needs made me feel so empowered and sexy. That also translated into a better sex life.


Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my girlfriends. They helped open me up mentally, physically and emotionally to understanding that the ideas I had about lesbian sex didn’t apply to every relationship. They helped break me out of my box. They showed me how to be comfortable with myself, ask for what I wanted, learn what gives ME pleasure, and how to be an equally giving partner.

Interview With A Married Black Lesbian Swinger

For one black lesbian couple, having an open marriage is about having trust.

For one black lesbian couple, having an open marriage is about having trust.

Nikki and Dee Brooks have been together for six years, married for three. When it comes to either of them having sex with outside partners, Nikki explains that the rules are simple: “All parties involved must get regular check ups and prove our results in written doctors reports. We never do anything at our home. We take turns paying for hotels. We must discuss everything with each other before making outside plans. In other words, get approval. No spending the night out.”

The Brookses may seem like a typical black lesbian couple, but their open marriage makes them a little bit unusual. We spoke to Nikki about how they opened their marriage.

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): Tell us about yourselves.

Nikki: I’m 44 and my wife, Dee is 57. We live in Michigan. I’m Muslim and go to the mosque. Dee is not religious nor spiritual and doesn’t go to church. We both love sports and each other’s energy.
BL3: Have you been in open relationships before?


Nikki: I’ve never been a faithful type of person and I let people in the past know that I like to dip, so if you can hang, stay.


BL3: How did you broach the topic with Dee? Did you make it a condition of marriage?

Nikki: When I realized our sex drives were different, I sat her down and we agreed to be open. And no, this was not a condition of marriage.


BL3: Some people may wonder why you got married, if you wanted to have other sexual partners.


Nikki: I got married to her because she stole my heart and I wanted to be hers for life. What I do on the outside has no mental or emotional connection like I have with my wife.


BL3: But you don’t have to get married to be with someone for life.

Nikki: I don’t play house with nobody and she is my soul mate.


BL3: How long has it been since you opened up your marriage?

Nikki: It’s been open for two and a half years.


BL3: Does your wife ever engage with other women?
Nikki: We play together or with separate partners. Or we swing but that’s only a couple times a year.

BL3: What are some of the positives of having an open marriage?

Nikki: We have learned a lot about each other this way. It has opened up our communication skills 100%.


I can be me with not regrets, no consequences to face.

There aren’t any insecurities between us. Having an open marriage made us trust each other more, because there’s no sneaking and hiding of anything!

Dear Channing, You Deserve Better: How to End the Cycle of Bad Relationships

Toni Fields, plays the character of Channing in the Youtube series, studville.

Toni Fields, plays the character of Channing in the Youtube series, studville.

Written by Zamara Perri

I was one of the thousands of women who eagerly awaited the return of Studville, the Atlanta-based Youtube drama/comedy that follows the lives of four black lesbians and their partners. However, I was pretty disappointed to see that Channing, one of my favorite characters, had already fallen into another crazy relationship and we were only on episode three.

SPOILER ALERT: Let’s review Channing’s dating history. In season 1, she took care of a crazy woman and her children who threw gasoline on her, refused to work or clean, then proceeded to force Channing from her own home. In season 2, Channing dated a needy, whiny white girl who ended up cheating on her by sleeping with and getting pregnant by some dude. This season, Channing has been arrested because the woman she is dating hid her cocaine stash in Channing’s car.

I started thinking that maybe the show was portraying only dysfunctional black lesbian relationships to get more viewers. (And Channing’s storyline is not the only one that I’m giving the side eye to). However, the more time I spend in our communities, the more I realize that the show is based in reality. It seems like attractive, healthy, sweet, caring, professionally employed, god-fearing black lesbians like Channing are ONLY capable of attracting crazy, violent, drug abusing women.

Like Channing, some of us consistently leave one bad relationship only to end up in another. My message is for all the Channings out there: You can put a stop to bad relationships before they even get started.

The first thing you must understand is that, no one is truly immune from bad romantic relationships. We’ve all been there and done that.

Some of us don’t know when to walk away from these bad relationships because we don’t recognize what they are until we’ve already fallen head over heels in love.

Bad relationships don’t always include the most obvious bad behaviors like lying, cheating and beating. Sometimes the signs are a little bit more subtle, but they are there if we pay close attention.

Below are several steps for breaking the cycle of a bad relationship:

Know what you want from that special someone. This means you must dive beneath the surface. It’s good to know that you like a woman who looks a certain way or makes a certain amount of money. But go deeper. How do you want her to make you feel? How do you want her to treat you?

Make a list of your deal-breakers. What are the things that you will not put up with in a partner no matter how cute she is? The list should include: bad communication skills, emotional unavailability and dismissiveness. If you raise a valid concern, instead of copping to her own bad behavior, a dismissive women will tell you that you’re crazy or being silly.

I Gave My Ex an STD

Living with an STD is  hard enough, but add in dating and it's near impossible.

Living with an STD is hard enough, but add in dating and it’s near impossible.

Written by Jaleesa West*

I have High-Risk HPV. I was diagnosed three years ago. I’ve shared my story with those closest to me.  My exes know.  At times, it feels like I’ve had to come out all over again.  It’s especially difficult to deal with because my ex recently received an abnormal pap smear. Horrified didn’t begin to describe my feelings.  Because of me, there is no longer a clean break between us. We’ll forever be tied by this.

In 2012, on my first visit with a new gynecologist, I was told I had it.  I went to get a second opinion from my regular family doctor and was told nothing showed up on the pap smear.  I assumed that this was the correct diagnosis and kept it moving.

I met my ex later that year and life went on. During my annual visit with my family doctor in 2014, she found that I did, in fact, have it. I was upset and confused. How did last year’s test miss it?  A few weeks later, a colposcopy was performed and I was diagnosed with mild cervical dysplasia (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia – CIN I).

A few months later, the ex and I parted ways. It was hard because I really wanted things to work.  We went to counseling, answered relationship questionnaires, and scheduled “us time.”  All the things you’re supposed to do to make the relationship work.  But when it’s done, it’s done. We ended it after a year.  Even after the break up, we lived together for an additional five months.

I want to provide her with some answers, but all I have is a lot of regurgitated information from the CDC, the NIH, and whoever else decides it’s the hot topic of the day. More than anything, I wish I could share with her how to live with this disease. Problem is, I haven’t figured that much out for myself.

At the moment, there is no sure fire way to avoid getting it other than abstaining.


And even then, there’s a chance of contracting it by skin to skin contact.

How will this affect my already non-existent love life?  I’m not seeing anyone. I haven’t even tried to pursue a relationship after her. Some might say that’s probably best.  Honestly, I’m not ready for the rejection. I’m not ready to have the talk.  So in the meantime, I’m looking for a cure.  I’ve had two painful biopsies and I pray there won’t be any more in my future.

Mostly, I hope that love won’t look past me because of this. I know that there will be gloves and dental dams in my future, but I can handle that.  I just hope my next lover can too.

There aren’t many stories from lesbians (black or otherwise) giving their day-to-day accounts of living with this disease, so I’ve started a Tumblr account.  I need to know how to move forward.  There’s a chance that my body will fight it off, and I am working on taking better care of my health.  But what do I do in the meantime?  As you can see, there are more questions than answers.  My hope is that we can open communication and remove the stigma, considering 80% of us either have it, have had it, or will have it at some point in our lives.

If you’ve been diagnosed with HPV and would like to share your story with me or have questions, please check out http://lifereconsidered.tumblr.com or email me at lifereconsidered@gmail.com.  All information shared will be kept confidential.

Jaleesa West is not the author’s real name. She preferred to remain anonymous.