On Sex // The Myth of Lesbian Bed Death

 Photo by  A Lovely Photo

This article first appeared on H&H Weddings, a resource for same sex coupes

Hi! Kate Schaefer here, I’m the EIC at H&H Weddings! A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram, asking whether a Love & Sex column was something that you’d be into. Judging by all the thumbs up emojis, I’ll take that as a resounding “yes!”

The problem is this — there is not much out there in the way of information on LGBTQ+ relationships, especially when it comes to sex. There is no lesbian version of Cosmo on newsstands with headlines like “What Are Her Deepest Desires: 5 Things That Will Drive Her Wild!” (That is, like, an eerily accurate headline considering I made it up on the spot…) But that doesn’t mean that queer relationships don’t need some guidance, too. Let’s take lesbian bed death for instance. Is it real? Who even knows! Actually, that’s a lie. I do know, and I will be covering that very topic soon! But the point is, we have a bunch of stereotypes to base our relationships off of! Gay men are sluts and never make it to the second date, lesbians U-Haul and stop having sex in long-term relationships. WTF? That’s not helpful.

I’m not an expert, but I am a person who has been in a few different types of relationships, and I consider myself generally well-rounded in the world of sex and relationships. I am hoping we can make this a Q&A sort of thing. What do you want to know? Any feedback? Something got stuck where?! I want to hear it! So, you can send me an email at bonjour@handhweddings.com, and I will gladly answer your burning questions.

Today, I want to talk about lesbian bed death (LBD) because it’s something that I hear about a lot. It was also something that a few of you sent DMs about when I asked what topics you were into.

So, the age-old question: Is lesbian bed death real?

The answer? It’s really not. Lesbian bed death is a term coined by University of Washington sociologist Pepper Schwartz in her 1983 book American Couples. According to Schwartz, lesbian couples in committed relationships have less sex than any other type of couple, and they generally experience less sexual intimacy the longer the relationship lasts. This study and term have been criticized by many people for obvious reasons.

Firstly, show me one relationship in which frequency of sex doesn’t diminish over time. No matter how passionate your relationship starts, at some point, you have to go to work, and you have to do the dishes. I don’t care if you're gay, straight, etc., the white hot heat won’t last forever.

Secondly, the amount of time that it takes for two lesbians to have sex is significantly longer than any other set of people. The average male can orgasm within 5 minutes, while the average female takes 20. So, strictly based on numbers, lesbian sex just takes longer. Our sex is time-consuming, and let’s be honest, it’s hard to make time once the realities of adulthood settle in, and your all night sex romps come to an end for the sake of your sleep schedule and overall health.

My last point is this—we, as lesbians, have very few examples of hot, long-term relationships. If you have watched tv and movies over the past 10-15 years, there have been a very limited number of happy, healthy, sexually active relationships to look up to. Typically, it’s a steamy, explicit, “don’t let my husband and kids find out,” sort of affair. And what message does that send to the community at large? Unless it’s risqué, it’s not hot. There’s not much in the way of one partner coming home to do the laundry and the other jumping her bones. But that’s real life. I think that, sooner than later, this issue is going to be resolved. We are much more visible in mainstream media than we were, even five years ago.

I don’t care what your orientation is, if you’re in a sexual, intimate relationship, it’s always going to be work to keep that facet of the relationship alive and well. What’s unfortunate is that, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, we have so much work to do to overcome the stereotypes that have been placed on us. However, I have faith that, as we all evolve, we will figure out the best path for happy, healthy, sexually active relationships. (If that’s what you want!)  

Kate Schaefer is the founder and editor of H&H Weddings, an LGBT wedding resource and blog. Her goal is to be the Emily Post of LGBT nuptials. And to be on Ellen.