Tribadism or Tribbing.

by | Apr 3, 2021 | Sex Education | 0 comments

What is tribadism, or tribbing? Chances are, like us, you may have never heard of this word before today. However, if you know what scissors sex position is, you actually do know what tribadism is – just not under that terminology. Tribadism is the act of a female rubbing her genitals on another female’s genitals, and having body contact with the other woman. This is a form of non-penetrative sex between females that encompasses many sexual positions. Tribadism can also refer to a woman grinding or rubbing her genitalia on an object such as a chair or any other surface as well for sexual pleasure and satisfaction

Where does the term tribbing or tribadism originate from?

Tribbing or tribadism seems to have originated from a Greek word, but it’s full origins are not completely clear. In ancient Greek and Roman sexuality, a tribas or tribade was someone who was a woman or intersex individual who penetrated or had sexual intercourse with another person, of any gender, using the clitoris or a dildo. This wasn’t a term used to refer to lesbianism until later on in history. Penetration was really considered to be a male-defined activity, so a tribas was considered extremely vulgar. While Greeks and Romans both recognized same-sex attraction, they also believed that they must have a penis, or a phallic item of some kind. That’s why it often was considered impossible for women to have sexual activity together. It seemed as if in ancient times, women could only have sexual enjoyment if they had phallic-shaped items or enlarged clitorises

 In the 1600’s, tribadism was mentioned in European books and texts, to refer to lesbianism. It referred to lesbian sexual pleasure and practices in general. In fact, it was actually a term that was used to refer to Marie Antoinette to ruin her image politically. Because it was considered wrong or taboo, this reference being used to speak about her created many rifts and ultimately affected the population’s total viewpoint of her at a very politically unstable time in France’s history. Once the Victorian era was upon us, tribadism was primarily considered to be a low-class activity that criminals and prostitutes took part in. 

Tribbing sex and sexual positions and practices

 While the term tribbing sex, or tribadism, is not used as often as it may have been in the past, it essentially refers to the act of vulva on vulva stimulation. This can also encompass other things than vulva on vulva, such as vulva on thigh, or other areas. Yes, scissoring is primarily the position we may imagine, or the image the word may invoke, but there are so many other tribbing sex positions that tribadism can involve and include. Modified doggy style tribbing sex position, woman on top, or even humping with vaginal contact to another part of the body is also something frequently practiced. Penetration that involves fingers, a vibrator, or a dildo can also be used, but not all people desire penetration. The full-body contact and enhanced sensuality seems to be the primary goal with tribadism. It allows for more clitoral stimulation than is typical for most clitoris owners, so it may be easier to orgasm for those who experience orgasms primarily from clitoral stimulation. 

There are so many acts that tribadism encompasses, and many lesbian and bisexual women are unaware of this term as a whole. Since tribbing and tribadism are not frequently discussed, but the act of it is frequently done, it’s difficult to pull many statistics.

 

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Tribadism and lesbian sex tribbing popular culture

Tribadism may be discussed rarely, but there are off-handed mentions of it in pop culture. Take the Scissor Sisters, for example. The name of the band is quite literally derived from the infamous lesbian sex tribbing scissoring position that frequently is used and mentioned in tribadism and lesbian tribbing sex acts. 

South Park, a popular cartoon that focuses on adult themes, has also referenced lesbian sex tribbing scissoring multiple times in it’s seasons, as well as the popular show Glee, where two characters mentioned it while making out. These two characters were both female. 

In fact, there are many movies and TV shows that reference tribadism and lesbian sex tribbing pop culture, but in a more subtle way. Since tribbing involves full-body contact, think about how many times you’ve seen a lesbian couple making out on a screen, or caressing each other. These small acts can easily be defined or grouped into tribadism or lesbian sex tribbing. There is even an animal species called the Bonobos, which are the only actively known species of primate other than humans where the females partake in genital to genital contact. 

As we can see, tribbing and tribadism are deeply rooted from as far back as the Greek and Roman time periods, to now. Even though the term itself is not used frequently, it doesn’t have to be for it to be practiced. 

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