Lesbian bed death. Lesbian bed death. LESBIAN BED DEATH.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the term. I was 16 and had recently been completely obsessed with learning about everything lesbian. I was on a summer vacation to Provincetown, visiting my childhood best friend Suzie who had moved there full-time. I was fresh off a short-lived camp affair with a girl and had a sneaking suspicion that I just might be a full-time dyke.
If a teenage girl thinks she might be gay but isn’t quite sure, send her to Provincetown for two weeks. Any lingering sexual confusion will be cleared up right away.
It was the early 2000s and P-Town was positively teeming with hot dykes. The ’90s might have been long and gone, but clearly the lesbians had yet to receive the memo. I felt like I had time-traveled and was living inside of a Nirvana concert! Except it wasn’t longhaired boys wrapped in flannel, it was short-haired girls. Purr. And instead of a sweaty music venue in Seattle, there was a postcard-worthy seaside town in New England with a shimmery ocean! I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven! I might’ve had long hair in lieu of a buzzcut, but I was a punk-ass who wore patent leather Dr. Marten boots in the thick of August, so I fit in swimmingly. (In hindsight, I probably felt so at home because I was bursting with baby gay energy and was among my people for the first time ever).
One afternoon, while Suzie was hanging out with her boyfriend at the beach, I chose to stomp around town in my suffocatingly hot boots. Who needs fresh air when you could sweat and gaze at hot women?
At some point in my wandering, I just so happened to stumble into a “woman’s” bookstore that was full of books about the dyke life I was so secretly besotted with. In a famished haze, I swept up a heap of books and marched over to the register in a full-blast lesbian-content-overload blackout. I came home with a sustainable shopping bag full of novels, a handful of books with titles like “The 8 Best Femme/Butch Love Stories!,” and of course ’90s style erotica (this is how I nobly learned the ins and outs of bondage, sadomasochism, and strap-on sex).
One of the novels explained lesbian bed death. I wasn’t even completely out of the closet to myself yet, but I was instantly offended. This sounds like a myth! I thought protectively. It sounded like yet another ploy to discourage sexually charged young women from being gay.
And while 15 years later I’m a little less freaked out by the concept, I still take issue with lesbian bed death as a term — namely because I don’t think it’s an issue that solely affects the lesbian community. I think all kinds of couples engage in a slaughtering of the ol’ sex drive from time to time. Shouldn’t it just be called “bed death?” Why do you always have to single out the lesbian community like that, bro?
But because I happen to be a lesbian sex and dating writer, I get a lot of questions about lesbian bed death; for the sake of keeping it clean and consistent, I’ll reluctantly refer to it as such. I don’t make up the rules, babe.
Anyway, if I got a lot of questions about how to “cure” lesbian bed death pre-quarantine, I can safely say that an already ample number has tripled. Single people might think that quarantine is sexy. If I was single, I’d probably think bitterly to myself that all these lesbian couples are just using this time inside to have sex all day long. Those lucky bitches.
But as someone who is currently wifed up, I can safely say that has hardly been the case. As GO’s managing editor Dayna Troisi observed in this article, there is nothing sexy about quarantine. Unless you’re newly-cuffed, I think it’s fair to assume that most of us aren’t feeling very sexy right now. A global pandemic doesn’t exactly wet the lesbian loins, you know?
However, the fact of the matter is that not having sex at all with your partner can kick up a bevy of resentment! And through my extensive decade-long research and interviewing top sex psychologists and relationship experts, I’ve learned one truly golden nugget of truth: the longer you go without sex, the less you want it. After all, the body wants what you give it.
Which is step number one in my plan to help you revive your dead lesbian bed:
Your new mantra: the body wants what you give it.
I think this little mantra applies to everything in life. If you feed your body whole foods plucked from the earth, your body is going to crave whole foods plucked from the earth. If you feed your body endless glasses of rosé (like I tend to do in the summer), your body is going to crave endless glasses of rosé. (I’m craving that sugary pink alcoholic liquid this second.)
If you’re having loads of sex, you’re going to be a highly sexual human who craves sex incessantly. If you haven’t had sex in a few months, you sort of forget about sex, you know? It starts to feel like a hassle. You’d rather read a rag mag or watch reality television than partake in the exhausting, messy process that is sex.
But the truth is, sex is a lot like going to the gym. Do you ever really feel steeped in regret after a workout? No, honey, you don’t. You feel rejuvenated and high from all the endorphins twirling through that active body of yours. You remember why you used to love working out! It feels good to get that heart rate going. The body is designed to move — just like it’s designed to f*ck.
So write down “the body wants what you give it” on a post-it and tape that shit to your bathroom mirror. I’m a big believer in bathroom mirror notes. If the first thing you see in the morning is an empowering message to yourself, it will crawl deep inside of your bones and stay with you on a visceral level.
Get down and dirty with yourself.
If you haven’t been feeling sexual as of late, and getting hot and heavy with your partner feels a little intense at the moment, it’s time to dust off that ol’ vibrator that’s been trapped in your underwear drawer for the past year. Plug that bad girl in and get ~freaky~ with yourself. Don’t have a vibrator? Shame on you. Just kidding! Your hands work beautifully. No one has the dexterity of a dyke. You got this.
If you’re having trouble heating things up for yourself, I say crank up the sex volume and devour some erotica! Erotica is so fabulous because it guides you toward sexy scenes but still forces you to utilize your imagination-muscles. You don’t want a weak imagination; that won’t help your sex life in the slightest. Sex and creativity are very much intertwined. And if they’re both neglected for too long, they’ll grow too frail to function.
Also, this point really just piggybacks off the body wants what you give it mantra. If you give your body orgasms they’ll crave orgasms. And you need to start craving sex more than anything right now. The first step to healing lesbian bed death is to start wanting sex.
Don’t get so in your head! Sexuality isn’t intellectual.
My name is Zara, and I’m the reigning queen of getting too in my head about EVERYTHING. If I begin to obsess over how little sex I’m having with my wife, I’ll turn it into a big, terrifying monster that I’m too scared to confront. I’ll start creating narratives that don’t exist. My wife isn’t attracted to me anymore. I’ve lost my sexuality. If you tend to be a dramatic over-thinker like yours truly, you can really talk yourself into something that simply isn’t rooted in reality. My wife isn’t put off by me; we just haven’t had sex in a week because we’ve been stressed and tired! I haven’t lost my sexuality! Not in the slightest; i’ve just been ignoring her. That doesn’t mean she’s gone.
So the most glittery gem of sex advice I’m going to give you is this: Get Out of Your Head™.
Oh f*cking great advice, Zara, but HOW?
I’ll tell you how! Force yourself to recklessly dive in! Don’t think — do. And you *do* by *doing.* Grab your partner by their shoulders and kiss them right on the mouth! Chances are they’ll be blown away and you’ll start passionately making out! And making out is the hottest thing in the world; it makes me think about all of those fiery high school kisses — those tender moments I had when I first started hooking up with women, and would just kiss them for hours. Everything was new and exciting and kissing felt shiny and euphoric.
What if I get rejected, Zara? I can’t handle rejection.
Oh, babe. You’re preaching to the choir. I am more afraid of rejection than I am of the dead, quiet suburbs come nightfall. But you know what? Sometimes it’s good to get rejected in that way. It will force you and your partner to truly confront this sex-starved elephant named Lesbian Bed Death that’s sucking the air out of the room.
In fact, it happened to me recently.
A few weeks ago, I put my ego aside and took a stab at being ~sexy~ for my wife. And she rejected me.
“Babe, I’m busy,” she said, hastily.
I felt like a fool. So you know what I did? I told her. Communication is everything when it comes to sex.
I said, “That really hurt my feelings. I haven’t been feeling very confident in my body lately and that took courage. I feel like a fool.”
“Oh, shit, you’re right. I’m sorry. I have been so caught up in work, I think I’ve forgotten I have a body. I just feel like one giant brain!” my wife confessed. “It has nothing to do with you. You are so hot. I’m going to work on it.”
And guess what? She did. And likely, your partner will too, so long as you allow yourself to be vulnerable and transparent about your feelings.
What if they just invalidate me and make me feel like further shit?
Well, then, darling, you have a *real* problem. If your partner invalidates your feelings and is nasty and harsh with you when you’re being vulnerable, that’s a deeper issue. One that surpasses temporary lesbian bed death. If this is the case, it might be time to either get a couple’s therapist or truly think about what kind of relationship you ~want~ to be in.
And I’m going to be completely honest with you, babe. Sometimes sex is representative of a larger issue. And sometimes we avoid bringing it up because we don’t want to look into the mirror and make eye contact with the ugly truth. But you know what? The longer you keep stuffing your issues deep down inside, the bigger they grow. And sometimes those unresolved issues get so big they wrap their demonic arms around you and hold you hostage. Then you wake up one morning 15 years down the road and realize you’ve been living in a lie (the demon is always a surefire lie).
As your lesbian big sister, I don’t want that for you! I want you to be in a healthy relationship, both sexually and emotionally. So let’s confront this and look at the beautiful truth of our lives! If there is one thing I’ve learned in quarantine, it’s that our time on earth might be shorter than we think. Crazy shit is happening every damn day. Let’s make the most of our time on this unpredictable planet, because you never know when the rug is going to pulled from beneath your sexy feet.