2 women in bed lying back to back
We’ve all heard the phrase “lesbian bed death.”

Chasing Lesbian Desire, why we need to own our sex lives.

We’ve all heard the phrase “lesbian bed death.” But have you heard about how to avoid it—how to keep the bedroom hot and sexy, no matter how long you and your partner have been together? Sex books abound, but even lesbian sex books skirt the issue of LBD.

Mentioning LBD is like referencing some easily contractible virus that could spread to you and everyone you know via a whisper. Yet as rampant as it apparently is, many lesbians feel unable to acknowledge or discuss it.

That doesn’t make it any less real, however. Regardless of how much we adore and applaud every sex scene the film Blue Is the Warmest Color, most of us would find more candid realism in the experiences of Nic and Jules in The Kids Are All Right, or Abby and Kate in Concussion, where the lesbian couples are barely intimate.

When I first saw The Kids Are All Right, in a theatre with a large lesbian audience, the scene where Nic and Jules are watching gay male porn brought knowing guffaws from the women around me. Why? I think it’s because lesbians understand what Jules and Nic are seeking: mindless sexual excitement with a partner who is a virtual stranger.

Sex becomes an afterthought in many lesbian relationships when the initial passions wane and shared intimacy starts to move away from being physical. Yet, as sex therapists continually note, sexual intimacy is a vital part of every romantic relationship, and it deepens emotional intimacy.

Sex with a partner you love can be a mind-blowing experience. But when that sexual aspect of a relationship is no longer present, partners are more like roommates.

It’s not just lesbians who don’t have sex, of course. It’s all women. And in lesbian bed death, it’s a problem time two. And that problem is: Women don’t fuck. If that seems too bold a statement, it’s bolstered by reality—and statistics.

Whether in mainstream magazines like this one or on medical websites devoted to sexuality issues, the stories are myriad, yet the same: Women don’t have sex. And many women assert that they don’t want to have sex.

But why? We all seem to have periods of intense sexual arousal, yet that seems to fade within months of the onset of a new relationship. How do we go from being acutely passionate and unable to keep our hands off each other to barely engaging in a good-night kiss as we roll over and go to sleep?

Advertising has latched on to this reality. A few years ago, KY, the leading manufacturer of sexual lubricants, began airing commercials about what viewers recognized immediately as a real issue between real (heterosexual) women and their husbands. She has trouble achieving “the big moment,” while he has trouble getting her there.

Different scenarios illustrated the problems facing modern straight couples: jobs, kids, exhaustion, the simple fact of having been together for a long time. But a little dab of KY Hers/His and voila! Exciting sex—or even just a few minutes’ duration—makes everyone happy. Especially her.

In recent months, Trojan, the leading condom maker, debuted its own line of products with ads featuring incredibly sexy 20-somethings.

The women-not-having-sex problem isn’t solved by a trip to the drugstore for more lubrication, however. What the ads don’t say, as they show women splayed across their beds fully satisfied by mind-blowing orgasms, is that she needs more than a few quick thrusts of his penis.

And what about lesbians? Will a good lubing get us where we want to go?

Yes and no.

Lack of orgasm is the primary reason why women—all women—stop having sex. Study after study reveals the shocking reality that more than 30 per cent of women have never had an orgasm, either from sex with another person or from masturbation. This fact alone keeps some women from being sexual.

There are other problems as well. Even among millennials, who are supposed to be freer and open around issues of sexuality, women use sex as a weapon. In Concussion, Abby feels abandoned by her wife, Kate, who is preoccupied with her job. Meanwhile, Kate feels that all Abby does is complain.

Their sex life is nonexistent and in part, we begin to understand why; it’s because where intimacy once now lays resentment—like a third person in the bed between them.

In The Kids Are All Right, Jules feels adrift and unappreciated. She’s still finding her way, career-wise, while her wife, Nic, has a job—she’s a doctor. Jules’ self-esteem is in the toilet. She’s virtually a stay-at-home mom, and one whose kids are nearly grown.

Both Abby and Jules seek pleasure—and the appreciation and empowerment that go with it—elsewhere. Soon they are leading double lives.

But what if you don’t want to break up your relationship? What if you don’t have the time and energy for a double life?

Teach yourself how to be intimate again. Or teach yourself how to do it for the first time.

One of the perils of living together is that the excitement of the new has dissipated. Add in the resentments that develop in any relationship, plus women having been taught or intuiting, somehow, that withholding sex is a potent thing, and soon you’ve got a full-blown case of lesbian bed death.

It can be reversed, however. The remedy may be part hot chilli pepper lubes, but it is more likely talk and time and attention to detail.

For women, sex can go on until they die. We don’t need the little blue pill, although we do need more lubrication as menopause sets in and our vaginas are less able to produce the estrogen-fueled natural lubrication we had in our 20s, 30s, and even 40s. But we can hold on to our sexual selves into our 70s and beyond if we choose to. That means, however, that if we are always physically able to have sex, then lesbian bed death is all in our minds.

Most women were taught not to talk about sex. Millennials were taught to talk about it, but not in ways that get women where they need to go in bed. More women in their 20s have trouble achieving orgasm than women in their 50s.

We have to ask for what we want. Whether we are having a one-night stand (and we are allowed to do that) or we are on the fast track to marriage, the purpose of sex is a pleasure. Getting and giving pleasure should be the goal of every sexual encounter.

But you have to commit to that.

Most women have body issues. Too fat, too thin, too whatever we’ve been told. Society tells us to look and act and be a certain way, and even if our attitude is Fuck that sexist crap, we’ve still internalized it. Commercials advising us to shave our pubes and perfume them are actually telling us that our vaginas are a little icky and need to be pretty and sweet-smelling before they get touched.

Add to these factors the sad reality that one in four of us has been the victim of some form of sexual assault and sex becomes a minefield.

But giving up your sexuality is the last thing you should do. Sex makes us calmer, more grounded, happier. Endorphins pour into our bodies as we achieve sexual arousal. That’s like five drinks, or three Xanax, except much better for you.

If you’re one of those women who doesn’t come, learn how. Despite all the mythologies over the years, every single article or study on how to have an orgasm will point you to the same place: your clitoris.

So that’s where you start, and that’s where you direct your partner. You can have a drawer full of the hottest dildos on the planet, but the place where your orgasm starts—even if it’s not the only place it finishes—is right there.

Ask for what you want. If it’s finger penetration while you have your clitoris rubbed or licked, ask for it. If your partner doesn’t want to give you what you want, then you have to ask her why.

Talk about sex and talk during sex. Women are taught to lie there and commend their lovers on a wonderful performance as they fake an orgasm, but that just builds the resentment that leads to lesbian bed death and straying from your relationship.

If it takes your partner three minutes to come and it takes you 20, then it takes you 20. You deserve all the time you need. And if you and your partner can’t get to the place where she can make you come, then incorporate your own masturbation techniques into your lovemaking.

Play. Make time for sex. Start with kissing and stroking. In sex therapy, couples are often asked to pay attention to the partner struggling with orgasm. Additionally, couples are asked to have some kind of sex every night for a month. It may not always be orgasmic, but it is always intimate.

Don’t be afraid of your own body. Touch yourself, touch her, be free about your size (whatever it is), your scent, your taste, and your desire. Don’t apologize for your body or what you want. And if you don’t have a partner, you can still have sex. Masturbation is good for you.

We may never get rid of the lesbian U-Haul jokes, but we can rid ourselves of lesbian bed death. It’s not wrong to want sex—it’s wrong not to. Desire is essential to our well-being as women, as lesbians. Chase down your desire and capture it.