Apparently, the first thing you have to do when you’re initiated into the secret lesbian society, after cutting your hair into a faux-hawk, attending a Tegan & Sara concert and applying to Smith, is make funeral arrangements for your bed.
Popular rumor and flawed “social science” will tell you: any bed owned by a lesbian couple is doomed to die. For those severely out of the loop, Lesbian Bed Death (LBD) is a “condition” that was “discovered” in the ’80s by Pepper Schwartz who, clearly, was neither gay nor sexually satisfied.
After asking straight, gay male and lesbian couples the vague question “How many times did you have sex last year?” Dr. Pepper declared in her book American Couples that the longer us lezzies are together in a romantic relationship, the less and less we knock the Doc Martens. Lo and behold, the lesbian bed was sentenced to imminent death!
Let’s not be dramatic. LBD is simply a fatalistic and sometimes homophobic catchphrase for what is really just a natural ebb in the regular ebb and flow all couples (straight or gay) experience in their respective sacks. Affairs, climbing divorce rates, Viagra and the dreaded premature ejaculation all tell me that the lesbian bed isn’t the only one with a short lifespan. So why has our bed death taken on such a “reality” that even lesbian and queer women themselves buy it?
The only thing that makes the lesbian bed different than the straight one is that there are two ladies screwing in it (well, unless it’s your birthday). Though this difference won’t murder our bed on our 20th anniversary, it does make our sex lives look different than heterosexual ones.
With two women in the mix, we’ve got double the hormone fluctuations that can lead to low sex drive; two periods or two menopauses; and a longer average amount of time to get us both to climax. The absence of a biological penis means that his stamina and (on average higher) sex drive isn’t dictating the sexual interaction. Though penile/vaginal penetration is a convenient sexual act that can work toward getting both partners off simultaneously, this also means that without an average 8-minute male ejaculation, our sexy time easily clocks in at an average of 30-60 minutes. Throw in strap-ons, vibrators and “taking turns” getting off and the lesbian sexual interaction can be a lot more daunting after work, dinner, dishes and bills.
Though this may result in a smaller number of sex times to report to Dr. Pepper, it also means that lesbian couples, in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts, are more focused on quality of sexual interaction, not quantity.
In fact, a 1979 Masters and Johnson study on lesbian sexual practices found just this, reporting that lesbian sex featured more full-body sexual contact rather than genital-focused contact, less orgasm anxiety, more sexual assertiveness and communication about sexual needs, longer-lasting sexual encounters and greater satisfaction with the overall quality of one’s sexual life.
Hush, now, hetero couples. I know that you, too, can have long-lasting, satisfying sex lives that don’t simply focus on making babies for us to adopt. I’m simply defending the lesbian bed, whose death can also create and perpetuate harmful stereotypes that can lead the loving, long-term, lesbian couple to think that a normal dry spell equals an unavoidable sex-life doom that they had coming simply for being gay.
From the get-go, the LBD myth was flawed as Dr. Pepper failed to consider that in 1983, “sex” was largely defined as penis-vagina and therefore more likely to be misreported by her lesbian subjects. Since then, LBD has been regularly peddled as an insult, stemming from stereotypes like “How do lesbians have sex?” and “Without a steaming hunk of manhood involved, they can only possibly entertain themselves for so long, anyway.”
Well, if two drunk, gay-for-pay girls making out topless in Cancun for their boyfriends is considered “lesbian” or “wild,” then, yes, I will get a headstone made for my bed. Until then, I’d recommend renting a Crash Pad porn to see the real reasons why lesbian beds die. Those Ikea bed frames can just be so flimsy!