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LESBIAN BED DEATH
QMy girl and I have been together three years. This is my first long-
term relationship. I feel her sexual interest is waning. Is this the
beginning of 'lesbian bed death'?
AI have a feeling that the whole theory of 'lesbian bed death' may be the
product of a male, heterosexist take on what constitutes 'sex'. Having
worked in women's health for a couple of decades, believe me, there
are plenty of older straight women praying for their partner to experience 'bed
death' -- of one kind or another! Viagra and testosterone patches are NOT
what these women want. They may have a 'sex life', but one devoid of both
physical and emotional intimacy, two things which long-term lesbian
relationships usually have in bucket loads.
Let's look at the differences between straight and lesbian sex in long-term
relationships. Masters and Johnson told us a lesbian sex act takes around 30
minutes or more, with foreplay lasting up to half that time. Orgasm-oriented
straight sex lasts around eight minutes and the time from initiation to
penetration may be as short as 30 seconds to one minute. Think about that
for 30 seconds or so and decide whose team you'd rather bat for!
What is 'sex' anyway? If you kiss and cuddle and touch for ten minutes before
falling asleep but neither partner orgasms, is that sex? Is mutual masturbation
sex, or only if there is some kind of penetration? See the problem? If you start
trying to apply heterosexual definitions of sex to lesbian activities some of us
may never have had 'sex', but that doesn't mean we are unhappy with our
'sex life' as defined by us.
Waning sexual interest over time is not exclusive to lesbian relationships. All
relationships, straight or gay, experience a reduction in sexual frequency after
the first heady days of passion. In long-term relationships reality bites when
the 'honeymoon' is over: jobs, mortgages, family commitments, tiredness, ill
health, fluctuating libido, normal ageing. People who tell you they are having
sex every day are often lying or may have a partner who feels compromised
The essential ingredient to a successful long-term relationship and a mutually
satisfying sex life is good communication. Staying open and sensitive to your
partner's needs and being honest about your own are both important.
Remember to take time out from the humdrum from time to time to reconnect
with the things that brought you together in the first place. That could be the
whole romantic getaway or as simple as a spontaneous full-moon picnic.
Don't fall into the trap of assuming 'lesbian bed death' is inevitable. That may
become a self-fulfilling prophecy you don't want. Talk to your girl. If you sense
a relationship-based problem, couples counselling may help. If the problem is
just a period of mismatched libido, be respectful, love her in ways she likes
and wants and the next three years will be even better.
LOTL's health columnist is a lesbian GP on the NSW north coast. The
opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and are not
intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have concerns about
your health please consult your health practitioner.
"Masters and Johnson told us a lesbian sex
act takes around 30 minutes or more, with
foreplay lasting up to half that time.
Orgasm-oriented straight sex lasts around
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