Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase…lesbian bed death. You might even wonder, is lesbian bed death a real thing?
I wrote an article a while back for Your Tango entitled: ‘Lesbian Bed Death’ Is A Myth (But Sexual Issues Can Still Happen To You).
The main reason I claimed that lesbian bed death is a myth is because I really hate the idea of pathologizing the experiences of women in general and lesbians in particular.
Plus, the idea of bed death is just upsetting to me. My brain often flips the two word term from bed death to death bed. And then it’s super weird and upsetting.
In the Your Tango article, I wrote:
Take a couple of seconds to get a picture in your mind as you focus your attention on this phrase: lesbian bed death.
Really… Close your eyes and picture it… lesbian bed death.
What picture did you get?
For me, it’s a rather macabre image. I see two, Dia de los Muertos-type skeletons lying in a bed together holding hands. Death in bed.
See why it’s so upsetting to me?
Origin of the term: Lesbian Bed Death
In her 1983 book, American Couples, Pepper Schwartz concluded that lesbian couples in committed relationships have less sex than any other type of couple. And that women in same-sex relationships generally experience less sexual intimacy the longer the relationship lasts. Dr. Schwartz coined the term lesbian bed death in her book.
There are many researchers who have since criticized Schwartz’s study and insist that the concept of lesbian bed death is mythology.
In my mind, it’s an outdated term that’s still being thrown around. And it’s insulting to lesbians.
Lesbian Bed Death Isn’t A Real Thing
In my article, ‘Lesbian Bed Death’ Is A Myth (But Sexual Issues Can Still Happen To You), I went on to say:
Don’t we (lesbian, bi-sexual, and queer women) have enough of an uphill climb when it comes to proving to the world that we are normal people? It’s time to debunk the negative stereotype and squash the insults.
I say that we stand together collectively and denounce the popular myth of lesbian bed death.
Ladies, let’s shout “Hell no!” to the idea that women in same-sex relationships unconsciously agree to a sexual suicide-pact a few months after getting together.
Here’s a reality check on the subject…
See, it happens to straight couples, too. Not just lesbians.
If you’re a woman in a same-sex relationship and you’re worried that you’ll experience bed death, I’m telling you…stop worrying.
Lesbian bed death is not a real thing. It’s not something that lesbian couples automatically go through.
Just because you’re two women in an intimate relationship does not mean that you’re destined to a sexless future.
How To Know If You Have A Sex-life Problem
If you’re worried that you have a problem in the sex department, first ask yourself (and your partner) if you’re happy with your sex-life.
Let yourself notice if you’re happy with the frequency, quality, variety, and novelty of your sex life. And ask your partner how she feels, too.
If you’re both content with your sexual relationship, then you don’t have a sexual intimacy problem. Regardless of the amount of time you spend having sex.
But if one of you is unhappy with your sex-life…
Then, sister, you have a problem on your hands. Hey, it might only be a little problem. So don’t freak out. But even a small problem is worth addressing.
Get The Sex Sizzle Back
Here are 3 simple steps you can take if your sexual intimacy needs a reboot:
1. Relax about sex
If you’ve been worried about your sex-life, I want you to stop focusing on your negative thoughts and feelings. You know the ones… fear, dread, nervousness, and not feeling adequate.
Stop thinking of sex with your partner as a life or death situation. It’s just not that dire.
If you let yourself dwell in the worry, you’ll keep amping up the tension and anxiety you have about sex. And that can lead to sexual paralysis.
The more you focus on the anxiety, the more likely you are to avoid opportunities to slide between the sheets and make love with your partner.
Instead of focusing on the worrisome things about sex, I want you to start thinking about how you’ll feel after you and your babe have a great sexual encounter.
Think about the pleasure, closeness, and relief that you’ll both feel. And how afterwards one of you will probably say, “Wow! Why don’t we do that more often?”
Another thing that will help you relax about sex is to stop thinking of it as such a special or monumental activity.
Instead, begin thinking about sex in the same way that you think about other regular (and sometimes ordinary) activities that you and your beloved do together.
Like going for a walk, cooking a meal, having dinner, working side-by-side in the garden, cuddling on the couch while binge-watching your favorite Netflix series… You get my point.
In other words, think of sex as just another fun and pleasurable way of hanging out with your favorite person on earth. Not bad!
2. Have a “Let’s talk about sex” date with your partner
Since you’re worried that something might be off in your sex-life, let your partner know you want to talk about it. Be sure to let her know that you’re not going to shame or blame her for anything.
Negotiate a plan for when and where to have this talk. Pick a time when neither of you will be too tired or stressed. And go somewhere other than your house to have this talk.
Creating a pattern-interrupt can actually help you have a more meaningful conversation.
Agree on a semi-private but public place to have this sex-talk date. Somewhere like a coffee shop or a picnic table in the park.
Hint: You’ll have a better conversation if you’re sitting across from one another. That way you can read each other’s facial expressions and reduce any feelings of threat.
Once you’re there and settled, speak your truth. Share your thoughts and feelings about your sex life with your partner. After you’ve gone over everything on your mind, ask her to tell you about her thoughts, feelings, and desires about sex. Be sure to ask each other lots of questions.
Talk with each other about all aspects of sex. For example:
- How to initiate sex in a way that works well
- Your ideal frequency for having sex
- The best time of day (or night) to do it
- Your sexual desires and fantasies
- Some of your favorite ways to give pleasure
- How you most enjoy receiving pleasure
- Ways you can both explore and experiment with novelty in the bedroom
- Recharge your sexual desire by doing a few key things
3. Recharge your sexual desire by doing a few things
In my article, ‘Lesbian Bed Death’ Is A Myth (But Sexual Issues Can Still Happen To You), I said to practice habits that increase sexual desire:
There are several activities and habits that will set the mood and increase libido in your relationship. These include:
- Both of you should exercise for 30 minutes a day
- Have a weekly date-night
- Spend at least 30 minutes having dinner together every evening with no cell phones, computers, or tv
- Each of you does something apart from one other for at least two hours every week
- Have a prolonged “See you later” and “Welcome home” hug every day
- 15 minutes of sensual (not sexual) touch every day (no breasts or genitalia)
- Try out a little sexting
- Take a bath or shower together at least once a week
You and your partner each have the power to renew your sexual relationship if you want to.
And again, if neither of you are unhappy with your sex-life, there’s no need to change a thing.
If you find yourself in the place where you want to make some changes in your relationship (whether sexual or not) but you’re feeling too disconnected and stuck, reach out to me at The Lesbian Couples Institute.
Whether you live in Denver or not, I can help you get unstuck.
If you happen to live in the mile-high city, we can work together in my Lesbian Relationship Breakthrough Program. Otherwise, consider coming to a one or two-day Lesbian Couples Retreat In Denver. And become the happiest couple you know.