13 Reasons Women In Lesbian Relationships Aren’t Having (More) Sex

Lesbian, bisexual and queer women spend a lot of time fretting over disproving certain stereotypes about our depraved lifestyles: that we U-Haul too quickly, that we process our feelings obsessively, that we jam to lesbian folk-rock music, that we still think cargo pants are cool. And, of course, that our relationships are so frumpy and sexless that they deserve their own macabre moniker: Lesbian Bed Death.

Lesbian Bed Death is usually discussed as an oft-ignored sign of a dull or dysfunctional relationship, one that has possibly passed its expiration date yet continues existing due to inertia and co-dependence. Yet all long-term monogamous relationships that involve women, even straight ones, are prone to some kind of so-called “bed death.” As Emily Nagoski explicates in this piece about the difference between responsive and spontaneous desire, “when you use male standards to assess ALL sexuality, shit goes to hell.”

So, “lesbian bed death” does happen. But it doesn’t happen for the reasons you think it does, and it’s not necessarily the problem you think it is. 

88% of our Sex Survey respondents said that in an ideal world, they’d be having sex multiple times a week or more. In reality, only 38.8% of those in relationships are having sex that much. We also found that only 8% of respondents having sex once a month or less were unhappy in their relationships. Yes, 40% of that group were some degree of unsatisfied with their sex life, but obviously that dissatisfaction had less of an impact on their overall relationship happiness than you’d expect. Couples having more sex were more likely to report being “ecstatic” — the highest option offered on the relationship satisfaction matrix — in their relationship, but there wasn’t a huge correlation between couples who were “happy” (the second-highest option) and couples who had more sex.


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