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The Naked Truth: Lesbian Bed Death

The Naked Truth: Lesbian Bed Death

Lesbian Bed Death might just be three most dreaded words in a gay girl's life but writers Tracey Stevens and Kathy Wunder offer up some solutions to help fan the flames.

Even if you haven't heard of "IT," you most likely have experienced it. Lesbian Bed Death is a phrase coined by Pepper Schwartz and Phillip Blumstein in 1983 from a study they conducted on diminished sexual activity in long-term relationships. Basically, it’s the term used to describe the death knell of the monogamous sex life of a couple. Their study included monogamous lesbian, gay and heterosexual couples.

First things first… Is Lesbian Bed Death a real issue, and if so, can it be fixed?

The bad news is that Lesbian Bed Death does happen. The good news is that you can nurture your sex life back to health. In this two-part article, we’ll look at LBD and things you can do to resurrect the S-E-X part of your relationship.

There are women who are content with their relationships excluding sexual intimacy. Many feel they have a full connection emotionally and are therefore fine with companionship in whatever form that may take, and also happy with having a rich emotional life with their partners. They do not feel that sex is a necessary part of their relationships.

Intimacy without sex includes cuddling, doing outside activities together, reading together, and talking about how deeply they feel about things in and out of the relationship, plus touching including foot massages and back rubs. The point being, there are many ways to be intimate and not all of them include sex. LBD is only an issue if one or both of the women in the relationship feel that it is.

If you are in this category, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, it is your relationship, and if you are happy and content it is no one’s business other than your own. LBD is only an issue if one or both of the women in the relationship feel it is a problem.

Emotionally romantic relationships between women that do not include sex are not a new idea. To provide some background on the matter, there is historic precedence for these types of relationships, called Boston Marriages, or romantic unions between women that were usually monogamous but not necessarily sexual. Boston Marriages flourished in the late nineteenth century. The term was coined in New, England, around the time that numerous women's colleges such as Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley and Mount Holyoke emerged.” Information on Boston Marriages can be found at a site called "glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture." It’s a great research tool.

Now, back to LBD. There has been some criticism over the definition of what a healthy sex life is. The main criticisms leveled at studies are the definition of sexual contact orgasm oriented genital contact. Criticisms have been leveled against twists concerning the definition of sex. For instance, why can't a definition include both partners having some form of physical contact that would include things like: masturbating with a partner in different situations, or holding your partner and caressing and kissing her while she masturbates?

The truth about diminished libido is that it’s not just a phenomenon of the lesbian community. The issue affects heterosexual and gay male relationships as well. Research has also shown that there is just as much -- or little -- sexual contact happening for lesbians as for heterosexual women.

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The reality is, if you are in a long-term relationship, eventually even the sex can get routine and feel like a chore. It can get boring, just like doing anything by rote. It’s fun and great at first, but then you eventually aren’t as stimulated as you once were. Again, part of this is going through the stages of a relationship—including the neurochemistry and hormones -- and part of it is human nature. We continually seek new experiences in exciting and stimulating ways.

What causes LBD? There is much debate over this on the topic, including scientific explanations around the hormone oxytoxin, explained thoroughly in "Lesbian Bed Death Explained” by Susan Kuchinskas, which can be found on her blog Hug the Monkey.  

If you have been in a relationship and your sex life was great, but suddenly changed, it could be a physical issue. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, there can be many reasons for this including: medications, peri-menopause, menopause, decreased levels of testosterone, and adrenal stress. Mental health issues like Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, or stress or depression from life circumstances can all contribute to a decrease or can cause your sex drive to perform a disappearing act.

If there are any changes to your libido, go to a medical practitioner to make sure everything is working correctly. Always advocate for yourself and educate yourself on treatment options before agreeing to any type of treatment. Our previous article “The Amazing Shrinking Sex Drive," which initially ran on LesbiaNation, chronicles changes in libido.

If there are no physical issues and you are in the relationship phase after the first bloom fades, LBD can start. The truth of the matter is that the infatuation stage of a relationship -- also known as limerance -- is not truly a "love at first sight" type of thing after all. It is a neurochemical response. Please read our article in the LesbiaNation archives, “Lust vs Love” for the specifics of how hormones and neurochemicals affect our libido and why this occurs.

There are remedies for LBD, but it does take work at making your sex life one of your priorities again. In the second part of this article, we will take a look at different ideas on how to take the labia by the lips and work to bring our sex lives back to life.

Tracey Stevens and Kathy Wunder are the co-authors ofLesbian Sex Tips: A Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Bring Pleasure to the Woman She (Or He) Loves and How to be a Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide. Their website,, provides more than 1,500 free community services for lesbian and bisexual women worldwide. Contact Tracey & Kathy at

Miss the last "Naked Truth"? Read it here.

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