Consider yourself lucky if you haven’t heard of “lesbian bed death.” As Urban Dictionary describes it, lesbian bed death is “when sexual relations between a lesbian couple have virtually ceased, yet the companionship remains.” In other words, it means when a lesbian couple is not having sex anymore.
“As you read this,” Mary Emily O’Hara writes in the blog The Daily Dot, “a lesbian couple somewhere is celebrating a two-year anniversary and bemoaning the inclement approach of bed death. It’s a specter in our bedrooms.” But while lesbian bed death may be common jargon in the LGBT community, but new survey data from Autostraddle proves, well, it doesn’t actually exist.
Autostraddle’s Ultimate Lesbian Sex Survey (For Lady Types Who Sleep With Lady Types) did a deep dive into sex that “something that could, in the most general sense, be called… same-sex activity between two women.” Of their 8,566 responses, most were from women under age 36. As O’Hara points out, studies have shown that sex doesn’t decline for heterosexual married couples until age 39, so the age of respondents could be skewing the data. Keeping that in mind, Autostraddle’s survey found that monogamous lesbian couples have sex as much or more than married heterosexual couples: 35.6% of monogamous lesbians aged 25-29 reported having sex “multiple times per week,” essentially the same as the 35.2% of married heteros who do the same. Those stats are pretty damn close – yet lesbians have an entire rumor called “lesbian bed death.” (Although married men on sitcoms have been joking about notgetting any from their wives for what feels like centuries.)
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As sex coach and author of The Whole Lesbian Sex Book Felice Newman put it to The Daily Dot:
“Lesbian Bed Death is the greatest disservice we ever did to our community. We really screwed ourselves with that one, but not in a good way. Because in fact the statistics don’t vary that much. If you’re straight or you’re gay, long term relationships can be challenging when it comes to sex.”
But it’s not all bad for lesbians. Some of it is… well: “Lesbians don’t just have sex for longer periods of time–they also get more out of it. A study published by Indiana University in 2014 showed that lesbians have more orgasms than straight of bisexual women.” Damn.
Newman’s advice: If you want to have better sex, start with an honest conversation.