If you’re not familiar with the term, lesbian bed death is the phenomenon that is said to occur between long term lesbian couples where their sex life essentially comes to a screeching halt.
When I first heard about the possibility of lesbian bed death, I took a personal vow to do what ever could so that it wouldn’t happen to my wife and I, and since then I have learned a lot about it.
The term “lesbian bed death” itself was coined by sociologist Pepper Schwartz in her 1983 book “American Couples”. According to Schwartz, lesbians have less sex than any other type of couple, and they generally experience less sexual intimacy the longer the relationship lasts.
If you are a sexual person, and sexual intimacy is important to you in a relationship, lesbian bed death can be a bummer. I’ve found that with some lesbians I have talked to however that it’s not really a big deal to them and they are okay without having the pressure to perform or the need to be naked with their partner. Regardless of the personal preferences of each couple, the actual reality of lesbian bed death is something that many lesbians face, and it’s not just because we’re gay.
Aging plays a big part in the reduction of sexual intimacy between all couples both gay and straight. So does life in general… it’s hard to wind down and not think about work, bills and everything else. Couples with children have to be more creative about getting together and are prone to have sex less frequently as their children age.
Many couples face struggle when one has different ideas of what intimacy means than the other. One might be satisfied with cuddling in bed, another might desire a more comprehensive encounter. Timing is a factor as well. We don’t as a society ask the person we are dating what time of day they enjoy having sex in the first conversation we have. It can take a long time with your partner before you have the full scope of them sexually; including their likes, dislikes and response to your particular sexual personality. This is true for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Aside from all of the factors above, I think a big factor in lesbian bed death could actually be hormonal.
There is a study showing that 80% of lesbians have poly-cystic ovaries, and 38% of them have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Having PCOS myself, I know personally the effects that fluctuating hormones can have on a person. Even if you didn’t have the syndrome, having cysts on your ovaries affects your hormones. You can have elevated levels of any of the major sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. It’s easy to talk about these things in passing, but estrogen and testosterone have major implications in how our bodies work affecting our body and mood, and even our personality to some degree. Just think about a women who is going through PMS, or a man who has been taking steroids and you might understand what I mean.
Men do not experience the dramatic fluctuations in hormones that women do, and thus why you wouldn’t have “gay bed death”.
This is also why in heterosexual relationships where the sex life has died it is usually the woman whose interest in sex has declined and the man who is left complaining that his wife is ‘frigid’ because she’s never in “the mood”. This has led some to attribute lesbian bed death (and the lack of gay bed death) to the fact that there are now two potentially ‘frigid’ women in a relationship who are never in “the mood”.
I completely beg to differ.
True there are two women in a relationship who are not in “the mood”, but not because they are ‘frigid’. If you follow the rationale that lesbian bed death can be attributed to hormonal factors, you will see that women really are sometimes just not in “the mood” physically. Fluctuating hormones can make you feel all kinds of things (nasueaus, grumpy, achy, depressed, anxious, fatigued, etc.), and for some women feeling sexual is not a regular occurrence. This makes it hard to find the right moment for a partner to approach their wife to be intimate, but now imagine if the partner is also a woman, who approaches their wife less frequently because they are not always feeling sexual themselves.
Overcoming this obstacle in any relationship is going to take some work.
Many suggest spicing up your love life with toys, lingerie, and other excitements. I think those are icing on the cake and should be used as incentives for good behavior, but that’s just me. My personal suggestions for overcoming lesbian bed death (and bed death in general) is to start with communication. You have to talk about it. You have to get to know what the other person likes, dislikes, etc.
Another thing to work on is your willingness. What are you willing to experience and what is your partner willing to experience?
Then have some compassion. Has your partner had a long day at work? Has it been a while since you two have been intimate? Do you have an un-resolved issue between you two? Whatever the case be sure you are compassionate to what is going on in each others lives and consider if being intimate is the right thing for both of you before you make your move.
When you have the chance to be intimate with your partner, infuse the moment with passion.
Don’t show up to this moment with half hearted intentions. Show each other why you are the one that each other has chosen to share these moments with. Passion between lovers is unparalleled, and those moments can give you something to reflect on afterward until your next time together.
When its all said and done, show each other some gratitude. Be grateful you have a partner to share intimate moments with no matter how few or far between. Don’t be afraid to leave each other thank you notes or express your gratitude in other ways.
Other things you can do to help your partner get in the mood if you suspect that hormonal fluctuations are playing a part in your bed death…
Remember, by no means am I an expert, just a gay girl with a view on the subject, so if you feel that you are facing a serious problem, I truly endorse visiting a professional in the field.
If you have any ideas or insights on lesbian bed death, please feel free to share them in our comments section below.