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Tribadism

Updated: MARCH 16, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff

Tribadism, or tribbing, is a form of non-penetrative sex, or outercourse, that involves rubbing the genitals on a partner's body for sexual stimulation. The word comes from the Greek word "tribas," which translates as "rub." The word has a relatively long history dating back to ancient Greek and roman sexuality, although its meaning has changed considerably over time.

While in this position, partners can rub their genitals together, or one partner can rub their genitals on another part of their partner's body, such as the leg or stomach. A variety of sex positions can be used for tribbing, including scissoring or missionary.

The term has been criticized as being homophobic because it assumes that sex play between same sex couples should merely mimic positions used by heterosexuals. It has also been argued that scenes involving tribadism in media and pornography are designed more to look good than to portray an act that would be pleasurable for one or both parties.

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Although tribadism can be used by heterosexual couples, it's more commonly associated with lesbian relationships.

More About Tribadism

Although not a commonly used term, tribadism has made a number of appearances in popular culture, including in episodes of "South Park" and "Glee," as well as a few films.

When engaging in tribbing, the use of lubricant is highly recommended. Sex toys can also be used to add additional clitoral stimulation.

It is also important to note that tribbing carries sexual health risks because it involves genital-to-genital contact, although the risks are lower because less bodily fluid is being shared. Even so, HPV, herpes and other STIs can be spread this way. Because tribbing makes using a barrier method difficult, it is important to get tested regularly for STIs and to engage in it only with trusted partners who do the same.

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