Is there such a thing as Lesbian Bed Death? Many of my lesbian sisters would answer that question with a not so subtle “Yes!” The term has become a catch phrase among lesbians everywhere, much like “merging” was in the not to distant past.
I’m not so sure I’m a believer. I see this more as more of an issue of unavoidable changes in sex during long term relationships. It’s not a lesbian problem; it’s something common in heterosexual marriages and even gay relationships between males.
There are differences between heterosexual and lesbian sexual practices. According to Masters and Johnson, lesbian couples take more time having sex. With lesbians, sexual interaction begins with whole body contact, and continues with 10 to 15 minutes of kissing, hugging, holding, and touching before breast or genital contact is made. When a penis is involved, this time is cut down to a mere 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Remember, we’re speaking of people involved in long term relationships here.) On the average, the performance oriented, orgasmic preoccupied sex act between heterosexual couples lasts about 8 minutes. Between lesbians, the time is usually 30 minutes or more.
Oftentimes, lesbians will start the process only to fall asleep comfortably in each other’s arms after about 10 minutes or so. Did they have sex or does sex require someone to reach an orgasm? Does this type of experience count when you’re asked, “How many times did you have sex last month?”
Research shows that lesbians are more satisfied with the quality of their sexual lives than heterosexual women. We’re also more assertive, arousable, communicative, and orgasmic. So what’s the problem?
There may not really be a problem. Most lesbians agree that there is a great diversity in sexual desire and activity that exists among us. Many of us draw on physical affection, intimacy, friendship, and spiritual, emotional or intellectual connections as bonding methods. This is not a replacement for genital sexuality, nor is it a passive form of initiating sex. It is simply who we are as women.
Research also shows that familiarity and the sameness of day to day living can put sex on the back burner in a long term relationship – especially since the female gender identity is not based on sexual performance. This leads to a certain tolerance to sexual infrequency between two women. Realizing this plays a factor in transforming the situation.
People tend to stop “dating” the longer they are together. Dating again can put the spark back into a long term relationship. It gets couples out of the norm and puts them into a place where they can more easily recognize the traits that made their partner appealing to them in the first place. Scheduling “together time” away from the house and outside of performing routine chores like going food shopping or a making a trip to the laundromat will stimulate intimacy and touch those areas of your relationship that will enhance the desire to sexually relate.
Some people enjoy injecting a bit of imagination into their “together time” by arriving at a scheduled place at different times and attempting to pick each other up as if they didn’t already know one another. This type of role playing can work wonders in eliminating the boredom of everyday existence. It can also bring out invigorating sides of your relationship that have disappeared over the years.
The bottom line is, don’t let the idea of Lesbian Bed Death scare you into thinking there is something wrong with you and your partner. It’s perfectly normal in any long term relationship. Acknowledge it, talk to each other about it, and, if necessary, spice up your relationship with some new “together time.” In any event, enjoy each other for the wonder that your relationship obviously is.
©2004 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre