All IN

At Durex, we stand for a sex positive society where everyone is supported with the freedom, knowledge and tools to be their true sexual self. In 2021, over 5000 of you shared your experiences of sex with us in our UK LGBTQ+ survey, saying that you wanted to learn about sex beyond the heteronormative curriculum.

Sex ed’ can often overlook the diverse experiences of sex, using a default setting for education that can leave LGBTQ+ people feeling less informed. So Durex has collaborated with the wonderful folks at Stonewall to give you a resource created for queer people by queer people - looking at understanding, exploration, safety and positivity. ​

Let’s start with understanding

Let’s start with understanding

Spending our formative years receiving sex education that focused on penetration and procreation has left some of us without all of the appropriate tools to make confident or safe decisions. It’s important to expand our understanding around sex, relationships and identity, both historically and today.

Exploring our identities

Here in the UK, it was illegal to talk about LGBTQ+ lives and relationships in schools until the early 21st Century, which means that many of us may have only recently begun to understand who we are and the language we use to describe our experiences.

Under the acronym LGBTQ+, we know that LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer. Whilst the ‘+’ stands for everyone that identifies outside cis-heteronormative standards. This includes people who are asexual, pansexual, non-binary, demisexual, as well as multiple other identities.

”Non-binary isn’t a middle gender. It means free from the binary – to me, gender isn’t a line, it’s a broad colourful explosion”

Prishita They/Them


“Labels can be fluid. You don’t have to fit into one label, and you can hold more than one identity.”

Jess She/Her


“Labels can also be restrictive. There’s a beauty and power in labelling yourself, but you don’t have to have one.”

Olly They/He


Understand more LGBTQ+ terms

What they don’t tell you in school

A lot of what can happen in real life sex isn't discussed. Although it has been a few years since we were at school, what they didn't teach us there means we have some catching up to do. For example, most of us didn't get the ins and outs of anal or oral sex, let alone how to do it safely. At times, experiences outside of heterosexual relationships can be overlooked and discussions of pleasure often ignored.

What we mean when we say sex

On-screen and in the classroom, sex is typically demonstrated as heteronormative and cisgender. In reality, ‘sex’ can mean many different things depending on who you’re asking. From penetration, masturbation, anal, and oral, to making out, tantric or with extra props. You decide what it means to you. Queer sex is real, pleasurable, and valid whether it’s with them, her, him, or yourself.

What sex means to me

“Sex, for me, goes beyond touching of parts that are considered sexual organs. It can include any intimate contact that me and my partners want to explore together.”

Prishita They/Them @prishita_eloise

“It doesn’t have to involve penetration. If you can get an STI from it, it’s sex.”

Phil He/Him @idiosyncraticxl

What do LGBTQ+ relationships look like?

Queerness can show us a range of human sexual experiences and relationship structures – and they’re all valid. Whilst monogamy is the preference for many, this isn’t the only option. Non-monogamy is the umbrella term for not exclusively dating or having sex with one person. Polyamory and open relationships are non-monogamous approaches to relationships, which involve consensual relationships with more than one person. Polyamorous relationships can take many different forms based on the relationship structure that suits you, whether there’s a name for it or not. Tip: there’s not just one way to do relationships.

“Queerness has allowed me to question all societal norms and interrogate how I really want to live my life; what really makes me happy. It has taught me that love is expansive and not a zero-sum game”.

Prishita They/Them @prishita_eloise

“We’re taught a relationship looks like a man, a woman, a house, a dog… We’re not taught (but should be) that it’s okay to have different relationship structures outside cis-het norms. But queerness has allowed me to explore relationships outside of these norms.”

Phil He/Him @idiosyncraticxl

Let's talk labels

Labels can be great, affirming, confusing, unhelpful, all of the above, or something in between, but they don’t define us. Your identity and sexuality are personal. Only you get to decide whether to label it. And the labels we choose don't have to stay the same throughout our lives. It's okay to keep exploring your sexuality and identity – it can be fluid and evolve as you grow and understand more about who you are.

Things to remember:

  • Sex isn't just penis-in-vagina.
  • Your relationships and sexual history don't dictate your sexuality.
  • There's no such thing as “not queer enough”.
  • It's okay to explore beyond the label you first chose.
  • You’re the only person that can label yourself.

Helpful resources


Ready to explore?

Dictating what sex should look like can be limiting for everyone. We should all feel free to explore our way, without feeling like we need to adhere to cis-heteronormative structures if that doesn’t suit us. But poor representation that can leave us feeling unsupported, unaccepted, and missing out on the “permission” to explore and experience pleasure in our own way.

Our bodies are beautiful and deserve to be welcomed, loved, and treated with respect.

Welcoming every body

When exploring sex outside the system it can be helpful to move away from gender roles and the bits you’ve got, and towards how you communicate and connect. Whether you’re figuring out strap-ons, learning what ‘side’ actually means, on a journey of physical transition, or looking for representation of disabled people having hot sex, here’s some advice from people who’ve been there.

Understanding sex often begins by exploring what makes your body feel good. If you’re exploring with someone else, communication and consent should come first. Discuss contraception – what is your preference? Chat about boundaries - is anything off limits? Anything you want to explore? Clothes on or off? There are so many things to try, and, ultimately, it’s about what brings you and your partner(s) pleasure.

Let’s talk pleasure

For many, sex is mostly thought of as penis in vagina penetration. Different types of sex, like making out, oral, fingering, massaging, mutual masturbation and butt play don’t have to be the preshow, they can be ‘the’ main show. They are all valid ways of having sex and experiencing pleasure.

“My top 3 tips for anal sex are: Communication. Relaxation. Lubrication.”

Phil He/Him @idiosyncraticx

Anal, strap-ons and pegging

If you're exploring anal play for the first time, you could start with tongues, fingers, and smaller toys like butt plugs. Remember the butt can’t lube itself so make sure you lube up. Your strap should align with your needs and desires – and if you have a partner who you’re planning to use it with, you could go shopping for a dildo together. Pegging has become a bit more mainstream, but it’s not limited by specific gender roles or what you’ve got between your legs. Pegging can be fun– no matter your identity - and if it’s not for you, that’s cool too. Here are some tips: relax into it, don’t forget about lube, don’t try to push through any pain, take breaks and most importantly have fun.

Top, bottom or switch?

Topping and bottoming is usually about letting partners know whether they want to give or receive penetration, while for others, can be more to do with control. These terms aren’t exclusively for queer men and can be descriptors used for any sexual relationship. A top is someone who wants to give penetration or may wish to have more control during sex and a bottom is someone who enjoys receiving. There are also power bottoms, who want to receive but tend to take more control, stone tops are givers not receivers and there’s more, which is why it’s important to chat about what these terms mean to your partner(s). Just saying “I'm a top” or “I’m a bottom” doesn’t always give us enough information to really know someone's likes and dislikes and turning to search engines can send you down a rabbit hole of misinformation. Ultimately, it’s all based on yours and your partners’ wants and needs. Remember, everybody enjoys different paths to pleasure. You can top and bottom with or without penetration, and with or without a penis or a strap on.

Tip: Consent is an ongoing process. Make sure you ask your partner what they’re into, what they’re not into and what their boundaries are.


Despite being featured in porn this isn’t the only way two people with vulvas have sex. Scissoring (tribbing) usually entails genital-to-genital contact, but any movement against a partner’s thigh, butt, hip, leg, arm, face, or fist works.

How it works: Two people face opposite directions with their legs spread, then shimmy together until they meet at the genitals so they can wiggle and grind in a way that is most pleasurable for them.

Finding the right spot

In the past there’s been misrepresentation and misunderstanding around the clitoris. Even now, we still don't know everything about it. Whether it's solo play or with a partner, if a technique doesn’t feel mind blowing, that’s okay. Most of us could benefit from learning more about clitoral stimulation. A great way to find out what you like is to explore, to ask your partner(s) if they can help you figure it out, or ask your partner(s) if they already know what they like. Different techniques using fingers, toys or mouths can involve switching direction, adding or taking away the pressure, speeding up, slowing down, changing the rhythm, kissing, biting or licking. You can also switch between external stimulation and vaginal penetration.

Expanding boundaries

Kink can mean a lot of things depending on who you're talking to, from exploring in your bedroom, casual hook ups, and going to sex parties, to clubs, saunas, props, supports, costumes, leather or food play. All of these kinks can help evoke yours and your partners' pleasure senses. Remember: safety and consent should always be the priority.

“I wish people would move away from kink and violence. Kink can be anything from texting someone what they should eat for breakfast to being sat in a cage in a gimp suit. It’s really broad.”

June He/Him @assignedfagatbirth

“Kink taught me safer sex. It helped me gain an understanding of what feels good and the space and language to be able to communicate that, as well as control over the dynamics I put myself in. Consent, boundaries, and respect are actually deeply ingrained in kink.”

Prishita They/Them @prishita_eloise

As you explore your sexuality, desires, and fantasies, you’ll probably enjoy some things more than others. It might even change as you grow. If you decide it isn’t for you, that’s okay! Do more of the things that feel good for you and your partner(s).

Sex isn’t the only way to be intimate

Sometimes the moments in our day to day are just as valid a form of intimacy as sex, if not more. Non-sexual intimacy can include kissing, clothes on, massages, admiring, appreciating, touching, bathing together, kissing, caressing, and hugging. All of these can help us connect on a different level and feel safe. Intimacy is all about enabling one another to feel prioritised and special.

What does aftercare look like for you?

Aftercare is how you and your partner(s) support each other and check-in after you've had sex. It can be different for different people, so just like you’ve chatted about sex, include what comes after. A cuddle and a chat about what’s good and what could be even better? Sensual touching and showering together, followed with a toasted sandwich and debrief? It’s up to you how you do it and what you want to gain from it.

“Aftercare is about making sure you look after each other – not just taking something and making sex feel like transactional experience, but taking care of each other.”

Olly They/He @d.iazepam

Things to remember:

  • You deserve pleasure.
  • Open communication is key.
  • It’s valid to have different needs.
  • No sex act is exclusive to people of a particular gender or sexual orientation.
  • Everyone deserves to explore what makes them feel good, as long as it's consensual.

Helpful resources



Okay, so early sex ed’ classes might have focused on safety. But for many people, those lessons could often be heteronormative, and for many LGBTQ+ people not a positive experience overall. Not being constrained by restrictive definitions of sex can give us the power to create our own relationship structures and sex lives tailored to the wants and needs of all those involved. So, how do we do that safely?

Let’s start by appreciating our partners and treating our minds, body and souls with kindness, compassion, and respect. This means physically and emotionally by way of clear and open communication. Because how do our partners know what each other are thinking unless we’re talking about it?

“For me, safer sex means that it’s on my terms. In a comfortable environment where we both have power. Not in a dominating way. But in a way that allows us to communicate and feel heard and respected, like either of us can consent or take it away.”

Jess She/Her @thechroniciconic

“For me, safer sex is about feeling safe and heard. It’s also about testing regularly and speaking to others about sexual health.”

Phil He/Him @idiosyncraticxl

Can we chat about consent?

For safer and more pleasurable connections, we need to understand how to talk about sex in a practical way. Get to know your boundaries. You don’t have to know everything right away, but it’s helpful to keep your partner updated as you figure things out and learn more about your needs. Check in with them too, both in and out of the bedroom.

Even if all parties give consent, a yes isn't a yes to everything. We want to know what our partner likes and to share what we like. You could try doing this is by asking, it doesn't have to be via yes or no questions. For example, you could ask: "Is this okay? Can I touch you here? I love it when you do that. Can we do more of that?" Or something like: "How do you feel about (insert something you'd like to try here)." It's all about open communication, whether you're in a casual or long-term relationship.

Create spaces that allow you and your partner(s) to feel safe enough to say how you feel, whether it's a “yes”, a hard “no”, “that's enough for me” or “just not right now”. All reasons are valid and don't need to be justified.

“You can withdraw consent at any point. It’s okay to do something once, or when you want to, and not want to do it again.”

Olly They/He @d.iazepam

If consent has been breached, here are some links to LGBTQ-inclusive support services:


Rapecrisis Scotland

Safe bodies

It’s important to know how to protect yourself and your partners from sexually transmitted infections. A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection spread through sexual contact, be it via sex toys, anal sex, vaginal sex or oral sex.

Here’s how you can help take care of your sexual health:

Use condoms

Condoms come in many shapes, sizes, colours, flavours and types. They can be used to cover a penis or sex toys, whereas femidoms are worn inside the vagina.

Try dental dams

A thin square of latex. You can put it over the penis, vagina or anus before oral sex. These are available at sexual health services, online or in pharmacies.

Use lube to reduce friction

Lube can make sex feel better for many people. It’s a gel or liquid that creates lubrication to help reduce friction. You can use lube for many types of sex, be it masturbation, oral, anal, penetration, massages, or using toys.

There are loads of lubes available, but most of them fall into one of two main categories:

Water-based lubes are safe to use with condoms and easier to wash off when you’re done, without staining the sheets or your clothes.

Silicone-based lubes Silicone-based lubricants can be used with latex condoms and last longer than water-based lubes. However, they are not great for silicone toys as they can damage them.

Clean hands before, and pee after sex

Washing your hands before sex is good manners, but it can also help protect everyone involved from what your hands have touched during the day. Peeing after sex can flush bacteria out of the urethra, helping to prevent a urinary tract infection (UTI). It may be helpful for folks with a vagina and people who are prone to UTIs.

Clean Toys

“Shared or not, keep your sex toys clean! Not just a quick rinse, wash them after each use to help avoid infections.”

Jess She/Her @thechroniciconic

Get tested

Getting tested helps to protect you and your partners. Going for an STI test or ordering one online is confidential. STIs can come with stigma and shame but you don’t need to be ashamed to talk about them. Some STIs are more common than others and testing positive doesn’t make you “dirty” – plus many of the most common STIs are curable and even the ones that aren't can be controlled with treatment so it's better to get tested and get treated before things get worse.

When should I get tested?
If you have symptoms, get tested asap. However, sometimes STIs may not show any symptoms and can go undetected. So, if you’re having sex, be it monogamous, or not you should get tested regularly.

If I have an STI, can I have sex again?
Yes, but there’s a few steps before you jump in. Let the people who you've slept with since your last STI test know. This is so they can get tested and treated if necessary. If you’ve been diagnosed with a viral STI like herpes, you should not have vaginal, anal or oral sex until the sores have gone away. It's important to communicate this to your partners, as some STIs like herpes stay in your body and can be passed on even once the initial symptoms have gone. To help reduce this risk it’s important to use a condom every time you have sex. For other STIs, such as chlamydia, it’s important to ensure both you and your partner(s) have completed treatment as instructed by a healthcare professional before having any kind of sex, even oral. This is so you don't pass it back and forth or on to someone new.

Getting tested
Whether you go in real life to the clinic or choose to do yours at home is up to you. Both are confidential, so whilst it can be useful to share this information, your GP won’t be informed without your permission.

Visiting the clinic
You can make an appointment to go to an STI clinic or you can go to a drop-in clinic (no appointment needed). How you get your results is usually up to you, text, phone or an unmarked letter. You can search on the NHS website to find your nearest clinic.

Home kits
If you choose to do a home kit, SH:24 is an online 24hr sexual health clinic. It’s free, discreet, and confidential. You fill in a form and the test are sent to you with instructions, then you send it back in the post. Your results will be delivered by a clinician or by text.

Remember: An STI diagnosis doesn’t mean that you can never have sex again. But it does mean that you should take extra precautions and follow the guidance of health care professionals to protect you and your partner(s) moving forward.

Staying safe online

The internet can be both wonderful and weird. Most of us are using it with honest intentions but some aren’t. We should be equipped to handle the risks and dangers, from sharing nudes to catfishing. When dating online it’s a good idea not to exchange personal information until you’ve met in person and feel you can trust them.


We’ve all seen the show. Vet your dates and chat for a bit to see if you have things in common. You could try Googling what you know about them and do an image search to see where else their photo has appeared. Maybe you have shared friends on socials. A basic check isn’t stalking, it’s reasonable and we’d advise them to do the same to you. You should trust your gut and be cautious until you’ve had long enough to get to know someone. And if you’re not sure, asking a friend for some advice could help.


Sharing nudes, like any intimate act, involves trust. However, figuring out how to trust someone can be tricky, and can come with risks. That’s why it’s important, if you share nudes, to ensure you’re sharing with someone you trust and they’re open to receiving them.

Queer-inclusive dating apps

Whether it's for romance, exploration, relationships, or a hook-up, some of us have met partners through dating apps. If you’re in a small town dating apps can be a good idea to help meet other people like you and if you’re unable to attend public events all the time it can help create a sense of community through local meet ups. Queer-focused dating apps or even friend apps can play a role in creating safer spaces and building our own queer communities.

“A good tip is to watermark your nudes using a code unique to whomever you’re sharing them with. That way, if something did happen, you’d be able to tell where it came from.”

Prishita They/Them @prishita_eloise

“I set my boundaries up front on my dating profile: No unprotected sex.”

June He/Him @assignedfagatbirth

Staying safe IRL

However you meet your partner(s), help keep yourself safe, for example by knowing your own and your partners’ STI status, carrying condoms and making a friend aware if you are meeting someone new for the first time.

Tip: There are plenty of apps you can use to share your location, or you can use messaging services to drop a pin and keep it on until you get home.

“My friends share their location, a picture of the person, where they’re going and check in. For some it’s a bit much but it’s what helps you feel safe too.”

Phil He/Him @idiosyncraticxl

Healthy happy emotions

Sex can feel safer when we take physical precautions, but we must also consider our emotional safety. Your feelings deserve to be protected and you deserve to feel confident in your sexuality. It’s also important to know how to treat others with respect so that they feel safer too. This can all come together through open communication. Being open and honest can deepen our bonds by giving our partners an insight into us and us them. So being able to talk openly and take care of you and your partner(s) before, during and after sex can help us feel closer and benefit everyone involved.

Things to remember:

  • It’s recommended to get tested regularly for STIs.
  • It is good practice to clean hands before sex and pee afterwards to help prevent UTIs.
  • The only way to know your STI status is to get tested.
  • Open communication is a key part of good sex and can help to create safer environments.
  • A yes doesn’t mean yes to everything, it’s important to keep communicating regularly.

Helpful resources



Sex positivity can encompass a wide range of elements but, at the centre, it involves embracing sexual diversity and an understanding that we should all feel like we have the freedom and support to have sex in the way we choose. It’s about exploring and respecting our sexuality and gender without judgment or shame. Remember, consent is a must.

In practice, sex positivity can include everything from helping to remove stigmas and eradicate shame to actually engaging with sex, in and out of the bedroom. This can help us and our partner(s) feel happier, healthier and safer.

Dissolving shame

From slut shaming to body counts, there are lots of ways sex can be stigmatised. Let’s start by dismissing some of the most common stigmas: slut shaming is not ok, someone’s body count should be insignificant, masturbation can be fun, monogamy doesn’t have to be the only way and queer sex is just as valid as any other sex.

Non-judgemental communication with partners, friends and even other generations can help us engage in discussions without shame or taboo. Talking about sex can reduce its mystery and can help make sure that we all know our rights.

Overcoming internalised shame is a journey that can help us take pride in who we are and feel more confident engaging in relationships that make us happy.

“It’s really important for people to lead with compassion instead of judgement."

Maxine she/her @maxineheron

Caring for our bodies

Talking about sex can reduce its mystery and help promote healthy and open conversation. Body positivity might seem like a buzzword, but it is actually rooted in radical body acceptance. Learning about our bodies can also expand the way we experience pleasure - whether that’s by ourselves or with others.

From flipping through celeb magazines to scrolling through fad diets, before and afters and filters, the media can play a role in us not loving our bodies as much as we should. Fatphobia, euro-centric beauty standards, gendered stereotypes and ableism can make it harder for some of us to love our bodies. We should love to love our bodies, from the hairy parts or lack of hair to the fat, the stretch marks and the scars. So how do we create a better relationship with your body?

“I realised that we’ve been comparing ourselves with unrealistic bodies. So, it helps me to shake off some of the shame others put onto us by wearing clothes and doing my hair in the ways that are authentic to me.”

Jess She/Her


“It’s important not to compare yourself against others. You can mute accounts that make you feel bad”

Phil He/Him


“When I was struggling with my self-esteem, my therapist suggested my friends write what they like about me and I stick these those positive affirmations around my mirror - it helped me reframe the way I saw myself.”

Maxine She/Her


Not everyone aligns with gender binary expectations, and that’s ok. But we know we’re not typically taught this. Unlearning these expectations of ourselves, and others can help us enjoy our bodies how we see fit. If your partner is navigating body or gender dysphoria during sex, here are some tips that might help:

“It all links to communication and boundaries – voicing what you’re comfortable with and not making assumptions.”

Olly They/He

“Before engaging in sex, you could try asking clearly if there are places that they’d like you not to touch, and if there are words to describe parts of their body that they’d prefer for you to use or not use.”

Prishita They/Them @prishita_eloise

“It’s really important to take things slow if you’re still figuring out what works for you both. If in doubt about how to continually ask for consent throughout without taking away from the moment, ask something like: ‘guide me on this, show me how this works for you – is this ok for you?’”

Maxine She/Her @maxineheron

Porn isn't real-life

With an underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ in sex ed’, it can make sense to turn to porn, right? But porn is almost always a performance, not reality. We rarely see any chat about consent, boundaries, safe words or contraception. Outside of porn, the perfect environment doesn’t just appear out of nowhere – it’s created. Open communication can help to set the mood and allow everyone to feel safe and prepared both physically and mentally. Often porn isn’t an accurate representation of what sex can be. In real life, sex can be fun and funny, it can look awkward but feel incredible and it’s okay to laugh.

Show up for yourself

Sex should be judgement-free. There should be no shame in exploring kinks, hook-ups, non-monogamy, as long as it's consensual. Equally, there should be no shame if you don’t fancy doing certain things.

“A big part of navigating dating as a trans woman is actively prioritising your own needs and making sure these are met on a basis of a zero-tolerance policy for less. We’re constantly made to feel as though we should settle, but the second we do, nobody else is watching our standards for us. We have to maintain these ourselves, to make sure every encounter can be a good one for us”

Maxine She/Her @maxineheron

“Someone might hate what you love and that’s okay, you can find other things you both love.”

June He/Him @assignedfagatbirth

“You are queer enough”

Jess She/Her @thechroniciconic

Sex isn't the everything

Sex is great, but how people treat you is more important. There’s intimacy between romantic and sexual partners, but what about friends? Community is important. It can give us a feeling of connection and an understanding between kin - a chosen family.

Looking for platonic queer friends but don’t know where to start? There are a few queer friend apps to help you meet people, queer bookstores, grassroots LGBTQ+ centres and events. Learn more

Contributors to our LGBTQ+ resource

Phil he/him


Jess she/her


Olly they/he


Maxine she/her


Prishita they/them


Things to remember:

  • A big part of sex positivity is embracing sexual diversity.
  • Every body is sexy!
  • Your body doesn’t have to align with binary gendered expectations.
  • Porn doesn’t always represent real-life sex.
  • Sex should be judgement-free.
  • Sex is great, but it isn’t everything.