Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DYNAMIC DUOS
Putting 'Lesbian Bed Death' to Bed For Good
by Paula Walowitz
2001-12-19

This article shared 935 times since Wed Dec 19, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Zelda had been in a few short-lived live-in relationships with women before she became smitten with Amy. Amy was newly out and recently divorced from her husband of nine years. She was swept away by Zelda's take-charge attitude, both in and out of bed, and filled with enthusiasm about being a lesbian. Being new to the wide-ranging cultures and communities of lesbians, Amy approached all of it with great zeal.

The two had been living together for about a year when, on her day off, Amy was flipping through pages at her local women's bookstore and she came upon a discussion of "lesbian bed death." A chill ran down her spine as she realized how much less frequently she and Zelda had actually had sex over the past few months.

How could this "bed death" thing have happened to them? They had been so passionate, so consumed with lovemaking when they first got together. Now, they would often kiss and cuddle, even make out. But orgasms had dwindled, and genital contact had become rare.

Before stumbling upon the disturbing term, Amy hadn't minded that the passion had cooled. It had seemed like a normal phase, which she assumed would be followed by other, more sexually active phases. But now, Amy was worried. She didn't want to be "bed-dead." She walked home briskly, lit some candles, put on a k.d. lang CD and a very touchable T-shirt, and waited patiently for her honey.

When Zelda finally got home after a tough day at the office, she appreciated the music and the candlelight. She gave Amy a long, slow kiss, lovingly touched her touchable T-shirt, and then exhaustedly walked off to collapse in front of the television. Clearly, Zelda wasn't "seduce-able" tonight. Amy worried some more. She tried to talk to Zelda about it, but Zelda just chuckled and tried to be reassuring.

While snuggling with her lover in front of the TV, Amy remembered that, early on, when they were first sharing stories about their previous love lives, Zelda had admitted that part of the reason her other relationships ended was that the sex had waned. Amy's worrying was quickly becoming a full-fledged panic.

_____

"Lesbian bed death" is a deadly, thoroughly unhelpful notion. Sure, as "bed death" proponents say, we've been conditioned to know what "good girls" do and don't do. We've learned what is "pretty" and "sexy," and that we don't measure up unless we lose more weight, drink the right soda pop, and wear the right makeup. Add to that the number of women who have suffered sexual trauma as children or adults.

As a result of all this negativity connected to sexual feelings and experiences, many women...straight, gay, or otherwise...have trouble initiating or even discussing sex, suffer low self-esteem and shame about their bodies and their sexual desires, and may "protect" themselves with an inhibited sexual drive.

However, the "bed death" hypothesis stretches these truthful contentions to maintain that a same-sex lesbian couple will run out of sexual steam faster and more profoundly than either a gay male or a heterosexual couple.

Liar, liar, pants on fire. Probably because this nasty myth contains a few particles of truth, it took hold among lesbians with a vengeance. We laugh about it in groups, secretly fear it in private, and are quick to remember it when our lover doesn't want to have sex when we do. The "bed death" notion also coincides with our internalized homophobia, which tells us that two women making love are "missing something" ( i.e., a penis ) .

The idea got an extra boost from a 1983 book called American Couples by Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz. Their study showed that lesbian couples have less sex than any other type of couple, i.e., gay male and heterosexual married or unmarried. The study asked couples, "About how often during the last year have you and your partner had sexual relations?" Not to get all Clintonesque about it, but nobody defined "sexual relations" for study participants. Nobody measured duration or asked about pleasure.

If they had, lesbians would probably come out on top. A more recent study, the 1995 Advocate Survey of Lesbian Sexuality and Relationships, showed that lesbian women have more enjoyable sex than most American women. This is consistent with several previous studies, which showed that lesbians tend to be "more sexually assertive, arousable, and communicative about sexual needs than non-lesbian women, and more generally satisfied with the quality of their sexual lives." [ From "The Big Lie: Lesbian Bed Death," by Suzanne Iasenza, Ph.D., In the Family, April 1999. ]

Even in the Blumstein and Schwartz study, interviews showed that lesbian couples valued non-genital contact ( e.g., touching, hugging ) not only as foreplay but as an end in itself. In other words, lesbian sex doesn't always have to lead to orgasm. All that touching and kissing that Zelda and Amy are engaged in...it matters. It counts.

Plus, according to this study along with many others, including analyses of brain chemistry and the facts you'd get from honest friends in couples, it is completely normal for sexual frequency to drop off in long-term relationships, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. People have demanding lives, they get tired, they get accustomed to each other, they forget to make love.

That said, psychological blocks can still be a factor if a person is experiencing true sexual aversion. And couples are a "system" of two people who may be unconsciously using sex as an arena to do their battles in. Therapy can be useful in these cases.

But Amy and Zelda? They seem to be just fine, that is, provided Amy starts adding a grain of salt ( or maybe a whole shaker ) to whatever she reads about lesbian relationships.


This article shared 935 times since Wed Dec 19, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

OP-ED The Black church was one of R. Kelly's enablers 2021-10-13
- The long-awaited justice for R. Kelly's survivors finally came last month when a New York federal jury found him guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking. For nearly 30 years, underage Black girls and their families have ...


Gay News

VIEWS Finding the Crossroads 2021-10-08
By Martha Miller - The first time I saw a psychic, I was 19 and my friend Sandy and I drove to Jacksonville to see an old woman who read cards. We were young and it was fun going to her old house where a ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Conde Nast readers select The Gwen as Chicago's best hotel 2021-10-05
- Conde Nast Traveler's readers have spoken—and their views of Chicago's hotels are distinctly different from those of another top travel publication. While Viceroy Chicago topped Travel + Leisure's readers' list of local spots to stay, ...


Gay News

SAVOR South Branch Tavern & Grille 2021-08-19
- Before taking a bite of anything at South Branch Tavern & Grille (100 S. Wacker Dr.; https://www.southbranchchicago.com/), patrons are likely to be impressed. The reason lies in the picturesque views surrounding the spot. Ensconced near some ...


Gay News

VIEWS U.S. Senators: It's time to act against anti-LGBTQ discrimination 2021-07-28
- Georgia has had the eyes of the nation on it for some time now. It's just over five years since people across Georgia braced themselves as lawmakers sent sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation to the desk of then-Governor ...


Gay News

OP-ED Foreign drug pricing puts America's most vulnerable patients last 2021-07-03
By Guy Anthony - It's no coincidence that American companies led the charge to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Numerous policies—from strong patent protections to a welcoming immigration system—help ensure that the world's smartest scientists can ...


Gay News

Op-Ed: Elevating 'T' in LGBTQ: State government, transgender equity in 21st century 2021-06-28
By Illinois state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz - In recent decades, our laws, pop culture and morality have shifted dramatically for same-sex couples. Our LGBTQ+ neighbors are interwoven into the fabric of our communities now more than ever. We celebrate this recognition and indeed ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Pride at work 2021-06-23
- Pride Month is a chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people to be proud and visible in a world that tells us not to be. Pride Month is a chance to celebrate and ...


Gay News

LETTER: Pride, a time for hope 2021-06-12
- Pride is so much more than a parade, a march or even a demonstration for the LGBTQAI community. In other words, this is an opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity among our various communities, and ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Tulsa Race Massacre reparations would begin the healing 2021-05-31
- When HBO's 2019 Watchmen series opened with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, and HBO's 2020 Lovecraft Country series closed with scenes from the riots, most Americans had never heard of the event—even Tulsans. On May 19, ...


Gay News

Illinois Holocaust Museum makes statement on anti-Semitic attacks 2021-05-28
--From a press release - Dear Museum Community, At Illinois Holocaust Museum, we are appalled at the recent rise in worldwide anti-Semitic incidences. We cannot stand by while Jews and synagogues are violently attacked, including in Skokie, New York, Los Angeles, ...


Gay News

LETTER A matter of race 2021-05-20
- I applaud Mayor Lori Lightfoot's courageous statement on only giving one-on-one interviews to journalists of color. She obviously wants to see a public dialogue on this matter. White privilege is a topic we must look at ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail Notes from a Homebody 2021-05-19
- 's finally here. The end of total lockdown. Am I ready? Absolutely not. I like my burrow. I don't wanna play with others. We've fashioned a comfortable little routine. Week days, work. Evenings, spend time alone ...


Gay News

Illinois Latino Agenda issues statement on shooting of Adam Toledo 2021-04-15
--From a press release - On March 29, 2021, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. Since the shooting, there have been different narratives formed of who Adam Toledo was. Various media have made allegations saying ...


Gay News

Pastor Donnie McClurkin's struggle with sexuality mirrors the Black church's 2021-04-13
- The most significant factor that keeps the Black church on the down low are closeted, homophobic ministers. Pastor Donnie McClurkin—a three-time Gospel Grammy winner and the former poster boy for ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.