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. If you’re a lesbian who feels like you’re not having enough sex, you’re not alone. Lesbian sexless relationships and sexless marraiges do happen, and lack of sex in a lesbian relationship can be a big problem.

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.

Undoubtedly, for most people, romantic relationships are enhanced and strengthened by regular sex: you’re more connected to your person (or people) and there’s an intimacy made possible by sex that just doesn’t happen elsewhere. Also, sex is fun, and having fun with your partner is always a good idea! Personally, I’ve also noticed a direct correlation between “how long it’s been since we had sex” and “the likelihood of getting into a fight.”

But damn, ladies, the odds are really stacked against us! Sometimes we should maybe congratulate ourselves on the sex we do manage to have rather than berating ourselves for the sex we don’t have… because there are a lot of reasons you might not be having it, and the death of your relationship isn’t necessarily one of them.

Top 13 Reasons Women In Same-Sex Relationships Are In Lesbian Sexless Relationships, Not Having As Much Sex As They Want To Or Think They Should Be

1. Because When You Do Have Sex, You Have It For A Long Time

“Because sex takes like 2hrs out of our day (at least) it means it doesn’t happen quite as often as I’d like.”

Lesbians may have sex less often than heterosexuals, but we also have it for longer periods of time. Real talk: sometimes having sex with a cis dude can take about five minutes and involve no great effort on the woman’s behalf. Lesbian sex can absolutely be brief as well, but it usually tends not to be. Some researchers have theorized that although lesbians have sex less often, we may not be spending less time having sex. 80% of our survey respondents usually have sex for 30 minutes or more. The average man achieves orgasm in 3-5 minutes whereas women can take 15-40 minutes to get there. Not that orgasm is the end-all be-all of sex, but it is a focus for many people, which means sex requires finding and setting aside more time.

2. You’re Depressed

“My depression kills sexual desire. I still do it for my partner, but it would be nice to have my libido back.”

Depression and anxiety can take a major toll on relationships. “Anhedonia,” a lack of interest in things once found pleasurable (like sex), is a symptom of depression. Women have higher rates of depression than men and LGBT folks have higher rates of depression than straight people, thus increasing the odds that this will come into play in your bedroom.

3. You’re Taking Anti-Depressants

“For the past several months I’ve been suffering sexual dysfunction caused by my anti-depressant. It’s horrible, frustrating, demoralising, alienating. My libido’s almost vanished, my cunt almost seems not to exist, and if I do manage to become aroused and have sex, it’s often impossible to come. This is a massive change from what I’m used to, and it’s caused a lot of strain and distance in my relationship, even though we talk about it and she’s very very supportive and accepting.”

It’s a deal with the devil! This came up more often than any other “reason for not having sex” on our lesbian sex survey — the impact of anti-depressants on sexual relationships. Women are way more likely than men to be prescribed anti-depressants (one in four women take mental health meds) and queer women suffer disproportionately from mental health issues. SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors, such as Prozac, Lexapro, Effexor and Zoloft, have sexual side effects for 30-70% of those who take them — causing vaginal dryness, lowered libido, erectile dysfunction and a harder time having orgasms. Some report lowered interest in love and affection in general. Another libido killer? Depression itself. So some relationships might experience a resurgence in desire on SSRIs when the depressive fog has lifted, even if it’s harder to climax or happens less often. For many relationships, the trade-off is well worth it. For others, the depressive might seek out alternate anti-depressants like Wellbutrin that don’t have the same sexual side effects, or try some of the techniques mentioned here, like adding other medications, waiting out the side effects and experimenting with timing.

4. You’re Dealing With Trauma

“As a survivor of sexual abuse, a free-flowing sex life has been difficult for me to achieve. I’ve been working on it.”

According to the CDC, approximately 13% of lesbians, 46% of bisexuals and 17% of heterosexuals have been raped in their lifetime. 44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexuals, compared to 35% of heterosexual women, have experienced sexual assault, physical violence and/or stalking from an intimate partner. Transgender people, however, present the most staggering statistic of all: 64% have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. This trauma can have a severe impact on how a person feels about sex, and those effects could happen directly after the assault(s) or many years later. The University of Alberta Sexual Assault Center has a really informative document on dealing with this type of PTSD and we’ve also approached it here, here, here and here.

5. You Don’t Want To Have More Sex

“I’d like less focus on mutuality. I don’t want sex that often but I like serving my partner, so I would like her to ask me to give her orgasms when she wants them.”

Although it’s odd to imagine in the era of Crash Pad Series, Babeland, The Real L Word and even Autostraddle, once upon a time, many lesbians subscribed to the idea that for same-sex female relationships, actual sex was not important. For example, lesbian separatist Barbara Lipschutz, in her 1975 essay “Nobody Needs To Get Fucked,” argued that “holding hands” and “touching lips” are “love-making,” and furthermore:

Lesbianism is, among other things, touching other women — through dancing, playing soccer, hugging, holding hands, kissing … [Lesbians need to] free the libido from the tyranny of orgasm-seeking. Sometimes hugging is nice.

Radical lesbian feminist Valerie Solanis, author of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto and attempted-killer of Andy Warhol, argued that “the female can easily — far more easily than she may think — condition away her sex drive, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthwhile relationship and activities.”

That idea, like so many posited during that moment in lesbian culture, has fallen out of favor, especially as women in general have been working in third-wave feminism to prove that many women want sex just as much as men do. Simply feeling confident enough about our sexualities to openly want sex is a fairly new development, so any betrayal of that feels retro and counterproductive. But, although there are so many exceptions to every rule, “Study after study shows that men’s sex drives are not only stronger than women’s, but much more straightforward.” Those “retro” ideas wouldn’t have thrived as much as they did if there wasn’t a solid chunk of queer women to whom sex just isn’t a priority, or something they want to have very often.

Alternately, some women are asexual, and although they still desire romantic relationships, don’t necessarily require or have interest in sexual ones.

6. You’ve Been Together For A Long Time

“Once I had a “real job” and wasn’t in college, I would definitely say I have had less sex with my partner. We’ve been together since undergrad, and there has been a decline with life, work, etc.”

There are so many sexual “bonuses” for long-term relationships, like increased comfort with experimenting and, as one long-termer said on the survey, “Sex with one partner gets better over time — you get to know each other’s bodies and likes… When I was younger I would try new things even if I wasn’t 100% confident/comfortable with doing it. Now I know what I like and what my partner likes and trust, passion and love make sex so much more enjoyable.”

Still, the biggest determinant of how much sex you’re having is the length of the relationship you’re in: 59% of relationships under a year long have sex multiple times a week or more, compared to 15% of relationships lasting over five years.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to maintain a very ambitious sex schedule as our relationships progress, worrying that a decline in sexual frequency means a decline in relationship quality. It often does. But sexual frequency drops for all couples the longer their relationship goes on, and although some of it could be waning passion, it’s also just logistics: when you’ve first fallen for somebody, having sex is a primary thing you’re gonna do together. It’s your #1 couples activity besides eating, and you feel more comfortable prioritizing sex over everything else when you’re in that high-on-life New Relationship Energy period.

The longer you’re with somebody, the more and more other activities get added to the list of Things You Do Together: hanging out with mutual friends, going on trips you’ve planned together, spending time with one another’s families, running errands, doing work or housework in a shared residence — the list goes on and on and on. When you have a home, start a family or combine finances, individual stress becomes shared stress, and partners can feel less like an “escape” and more like “tied up in your mutual problems.” But the conversation about sexual frequency has been so focused on it being a red flag regarding waning interest that many couples don’t realize the conversation about having more sex can be a practical one, not an emotional one. So talk about it: assess your respective needs — if you even want to have more sex or just feel like you should — and talk about where you can fit it in. Couples who talk about sex multiple times a week or more were twice as likely to report having sex multiple times a week or more than those who talk about sex less often than that. (Although that’s a bit of a chicken/egg situation.) Here’s a worksheet for talking to your partner about sex.

So, whereas it’s probably true that most break-ups experience a sex slow-down first, it’s not necessarily true that all sex-slow downs lead to a break-up.

7. You Have Gender Dysphoria

“I take more of a top/giving role because when my partners focus on me, it quickly turns into dysphoria and emotional pain and crying. Which tends to ruin the mood.”

This issue is obviously much more prevalent among queer and transgender folks than straight and cisgender folks. Even cisgender women can have dysphoric feelings about their bodies that impact how comfortable they feel in the bedroom and what roles they’d like to play. For transgender people, it can be even more complicated depending on so many factors including but absolutely not limited to transition status.

8. You Have Kids

“My partner and I had a baby a year ago and it has been difficult to have sex regularly because of exhaustion with being new parents.”

Taking care of children is time-consuming and exhausting. On our grown-ups survey, pretty much every open-ended answer from survey-takers who have children mentioned how tired they were. People who have kids are really busy and really tired, y’all, and it can be hard to fit in sex, especially when you’re waking up every few hours to deal with a crying baby.

9. Money Is Tight / You’re Working Too Much

“I wish I wasn’t as exhausted from working such long hours and actually had the energy to have the sex that I could be having otherwise.”

Women don’t have the same earning power as men, which means most lesbian relationships involve two wage-earners working long hours to stay above water. We’re also more likely to be cut off from family financial support and to be discriminated against in the workplace! It’s very sexy.

10. You’re Long Distance

“I’d like to live in the same place (state/timezone) as my partner! That would make it easier to have daily physical intimacy and more frequent sex.”

There are less queer people in the world than straight people, period, which means distance isn’t always a dealbreaker like it is for straights. This means a lot more long distance relationships and a lot less opportunity for having sex! Long-distance relationshippers masturbate more than anybody else.

11. You’re On Your Period

Although not all women get periods and not all people who get periods are women, the majority of pre-menopausal women do get periods on a regular basis, and not all of them like to have period sex — around 25% would rather not, according to our survey. When you’ve got two period-having people in the same bed, you’re losing twice as many no-sex days as straight cis couples are. Unless you sync up. WHICH IS ITS OWN DELIGHTFUL EXPERIENCE.

12. You’re Monogamous

Gay men are uniquely talented at avoiding bed death in their long-term relationships, and they’re also overwhelmingly more likely to be non-monogamous. Although when the entire group was considered as a whole on our survey, monogamous and non-monogamous women had sex about the same amount, that changes once you hit the 3+ year mark. In relationships over 3+ years, 35% of monogamous couples have sex once a week or more, compared to 59% of those in non-monogamous people who’d been with their primary partner for 3+ years. Again it’s a bit of a chicken/egg situation, as couples with higher sex drives or who place a higher importance on an active sex life might be more likely to consider non-monogamy, or a lack of monogamous sex might inspire them to go non-monogamous.

13. Your Sex Drives / Libidos Are Mismatched

Goddess bless the couple who’s got perfectly-matched sex drives! Here’s a useful article about ten identified “libido types.” Sometimes, you just don’t match up, and sometimes that’s a dealbreaker, sometimes that opens up the relationship to other partners (if it wasn’t already), and usually it means some kind of compromise.

Okay now, discuss! If you’ve gotten into a sexual rut and managed to get out of it, share tips! Tell all your feelings and experiences.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.



    Ha ha.

    But for reals, this is great and gives me hope for the future of my relationship(s). It’s hard not to beat yourself up over what kind / how much / etc. sex you’re having, and all of these reasons (and more) are totally legit.

  2. Oh hi #7, are you me? (Considering these answers are from a year ago and I have a mediocre memory, it actually could be.)

    But yeah. That’s a reason. That’s a thing I’m working on. Though it can be so hard and so painful–sometimes I wonder if I should just accept this is how I am and stop. Anyways, you’re not the only one!

  3. This is great thank you so much for writing this out. Expresses things I’ve been wondering about but putting them so clearly in a column, with stats, backed up by other similar experiences from queer women.. love your work

  4. Dear Riese,

    I’ve been following this website since its origins, though I got a little sidetracked in recent years. But anyway, I’ve read a couple of articles recently, and both mentioned the term “lesbian relationships”.

    As a fellow bisexual Riese, and as the brains behind a wonderful bisexual-friendly website, I really don’t understand why you’d choose to write “lesbian relationship”, when you know as well as I do that a relationship between two women (which is what you mean) can involve 2 bisexuals, a bisexual and a lesbian, or 2 lesbians, and therefore is not necessary a “lesbian” relationship –> which presumes that both partners are lesbians.

    Writing it like this may sound “easy” but in my view actually contributes to the erasure of bisexual identity and representation, which I’m quite sure Autostraddle doesn’t intend to do, because I know Autostraddle and I know Autostraddle cares about bisexuals and publishes several articles a year on bisexual representation and bisexual politics (including the wonderful Shiri Eisner).

    So I’m just leaving my comment here in case you didn’t notice what I’m noticing and that you’re willing and open to change this term. I can’t think of any logical explanation of why you’d conscientiously decide to use this term, so I’m guessing it was just a slip. That happened twice. At least twice.

    Suggestions: “woman-woman relationship”, “same-sex relationship”, “relationship between two women”, heck, even “bisexual relationship”, why not?

    Thank you.

    • I would call the relationship between two women a lesbian relationship. So would my fiancée, who is bisexual. Our relationship is a lesbian relationship, as defined by her.

    • This has been explained many times, especially recently. Here is one example. Believe me, as someone who identifies as bi/pan, I totally get it and 100% commiserate. The headline is is erasing. At the same time, they do need to make this website sustainable, and that’s why the headlines are the way they are. I appreciate that the article itself is inclusive.

      • Fellow bi/pan person reporting, agree with both these comments.

        Lesbianism is a part of bisexuality however, and I think “same-sex relationship” could be problematic for other gendered reasons.

        “Lesbian relationship” seems to be used in the survey and other articles on the survey as a term that is descriptively accurate (although at times inadecuate) without being too prescriptive about the gender or sexuality of individual partners.

      • I’m bi and definetly not in a “lesbian relationship” even though my partner is a woman. I do not consider it okay when other people in this thread don’t respect my right to define my relationship in my own terms, especially with bi invisibility being the huge problem that it is.

        Regarding the deadline I quote Brinstar, however: “This has been explained many times, especially recently. Here is one example. Believe me, as someone who identifies as bi/pan, I totally get it and 100% commiserate. The headline is is erasing. At the same time, they do need to make this website sustainable, and that’s why the headlines are the way they are.”

    • I think it’s important to distinguish between “lesbian” as a noun (ie, “I am a lesbian”) and “lesbian” as an adjective (which is how it’s used here). As I understand it, “lesbian” as an adjective describes two woman-identified people who are engaging in sexytimes/relationship times with one another. It has no implications re. any individual’s sexual orientation.

    • I gotta say… Why do people take the adjective lesbian in this case to be a descriptor of any individual’s sexuality?? I have been in heterosexual relationships, however I have never been a heterosexual person. Seems logical to me. I guess people will always disagree on this :S

      But mostly… the “wonderful” Shiri Eisner??? The Shiri Eisner who has had to apologise for bringing into widespread use the word “monosexual”, causing a huge spike of homophobia from the bisexual community and causing a rift in wlw spaces that people are still trying to mend? (The one who says that people misgender her cat?)


    • I just realised my comment looks slightly inflammatory and dismissive and I just wanted to say I think your comment raises some valid concerns and it was absolutely not my intention to dismiss it, I just got a little lost in my bafflement at seeing Eisner mentioned so casually and positively.

    • She wrote this like this because the title is about “Lesbian Relationships” !!!!!
      I was searching for this topic and am glad I found what I was looking for.
      Thanks Luicia ❤️

  5. It’s sort of bizarre to have a whole article about sex and why we’re not having as much of it as we supposedly should, and then include a small segment about “maybe you don’t want to have more sex than you do” quoting some second-wavers nobody agrees with anymore talking about how lesbians don’t need to have sex at all, and then making sure there’s a little caveat about how asexual people not wanting sex are fine, of course. You wrap it up by talking about how mismatched libidos are a reason preventing people from having more sex… but don’t relationships with mismatched libidos generally involve less sex than one partner would ideally want, but more sex than the other would ideally want?

    Libido is a spectrum. It’s not just “completely uninterested” or “dying to do it more often.” There definitely are a lot of people whose sexual needs aren’t getting met, and it’s important to address that, but there are also a lot of people feeling pressured to have more sex than they’d want for various reasons, including the cultural idea that more sex is what they should be wanting.

    Studies show wlw couples have sex less often than man/woman couples, but come on, one big reason for that is the many man/woman relationships where the woman feels pressured into having sex when she doesn’t want it but her partner does (which isn’t to say that men always have higher libidos than women or that there are no mismatched libido couples where the woman wants sex more frequently or even that women never pressure each other into sex, but let’s not forget that we live in a society that tells men to go after what they want while also telling women to be nice and compromise.) So why do we care if we’re living up to straight people’s standards of being sexual enough? Instead of laying out acceptable excuses for not having more sex, wouldn’t it be better to question sexual standards in the first place?

    The question shouldn’t be “why aren’t you having enough sex?”. It should be “how much sex do you want to be having?” or “how much sex do you think you’d want to be having if nobody judged you for it or expected anything of you either way?” For a lot of people, it’ll be “more than I’m having right now”, and that’s fine, and that’s the time to think about all the reasons that could be and be kind to yourself about meeting your own standards, and think of things you could do in the future to make your sex life more like you’d like it to be. But don’t assume everyone wants more sex. And definitely don’t assume someone has to be a weird radfem for not wanting more sex, holy shit.

    • It seems to me this article was written to show survey responses, and then try to give survey responses some context.

      Plus: “That idea, like so many posited during that moment in lesbian culture, has fallen out of favor, especially as women in general have been working in third-wave feminism to prove that many women want sex just as much as men do. Simply feeling confident enough about our sexualities to openly want sex is a fairly new development, so any betrayal of that feels retro and counterproductive.”

      Clearly, everyone is entitled to their own sexual schedule. But we can’t deny that these used to be legit theories floating about lesbian sexuality. Wholesale denial of women having sex, though, is the problem that I believe Riese was pointing out, but ymmv.

      • Yes, these were legit theories floating around (though I’m not sure if they were ever mainstream theories, or if they were sort of weird even for their time.) But this isn’t Aristotle saying men are better than women because they have more teeth. These are theories that were developed by women based on their understanding of sex and their experiences with it.

        I’m not personally familiar with Barbara Lipschutz, but the writings of Valerie Solanas (not Solanis) make a whole lot of sense in the context of her own life. Sex was not a positive thing in the life of Valerie Solanas. She was molested by her father at a young age, and when she was 17, she gave birth to a child whose father was a married adult. Her kid was then taken away. Her grandfather beat her, and throughout her life, she continued to have horrible experiences with men. After that sort of experience, it’s reasonable that she felt like she’d be happier conditioning away her sex drive. Where she went wrong was applying this to all women, but 1) she was severely mentally ill and not in the best place to deal with the atypicality of her experiences, and 2) she wrote her manifesto 50 years ago in a society that was very different than the one we have today. Sexism was much more out in the open and much easier to get away with. She absolutely didn’t live in a world where men would be expected to treat her like an equal. She also didn’t live in a world where people understood trauma or how to help her or even that adult men fucking teenage girls is very often damaging and never okay. She also didn’t live in a world where the dominant way of thinking about same-sex desire among the left was that some people are just born like that and it’s perfectly normal and natural.

        Speaking of which: I’m not sure whether Solanas still used the word “lesbian” for herself at the time of writing her manifesto, but if you actually read her manifesto, it’s pretty clear that she’s someone who tried having sex with men and didn’t find it fulfilling, and then tried having sex with women and didn’t find that fulfilling, either. She referred to herself as asexual and while she reserved her strongest hate for man/woman couples, she didn’t seem to find romance or sex very worthwhile in general. Again, probably because she experienced the worst of it.

        Solanas’ work in particular was also never treated as mainstream. She was considered a crazy person in her time. There were people who liked what she was saying, but definitely not a lot of them.

        So, why the PSA about Valerie Solanas? Because sex-critical feminism doesn’t and didn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s not just a bunch of weird prudes extending their prudishness to other people because they somehow missed the memo that other people wanted sex. Why is it appropriate to talk about Valerie Solanas’ crimes against sex positivity (and also Andy Warhol) without a single mention of the crimes committed against Valerie Solanas? Sex-critical feminism comes up because people have harmful experiences with sex. Modern sex-critical feminism, including sex-critical feminism that seeks to coexist with sex-positive feminism, still exists because people have harmful experiences with sex.

        These ideas weren’t just popular (for a given value of popularity) with some wlw because they weren’t that sexual, is what I’m saying.

        The second wave had a lot to do with that – a direct, harsh retaliation to the shittiness of life under patriarchy. It’s not just the bad, unsexy days of yore. If we’re going to talk about the second wave, let’s talk about the second wave! But it isn’t something that can be understood in a soundbite or reduced to sex-negativity without context. It was a backlash to women being sexualized by men. A lot of third-wave feminism is the backlash to the backlash – that resisting sexualization doesn’t need to mean resisting sexuality – and sex-positivity is absolutely valuable and important and good! But when we only discuss the second wave as something being reacted to, rather than itself a reaction, we lose historical context and we shift the blame somewhere it doesn’t belong.

        Anyway. These people aren’t brought up because people could potentially agree with them. They’re brought up because they’re the weird views of the past that are Obviously Wrong, and linking people who personally don’t want to have more sex with people who thought having sex at all was bad for everyone (without addressing why they thought having sex at all was bad for everyone) is… okay, for some reason? Can we at least try to consider that compulsory sexuality exists and is bad?

    • Alice, I love a lot of the points that you raise here (especially how the amount of sex in man/woman couples often stems from ingrained sexism in the relationship), including this:

      “The question shouldn’t be “why aren’t you having enough sex?”. It should be “how much sex do you want to be having?” or “how much sex do you think you’d want to be having if nobody judged you for it or expected anything of you either way?””

      Which are very true. But I’d also add that we should talk about the quality as well as the quantity of sex: what kind of sex you want to have, what makes it pleasurable, how much your satisfaction is tied to your own body experiences and how much to your partner’s, etc etc etc.

  6. Wow the libido types are wonderful and are inclusive of fetishists, asexual people, people who have anxiety or trauma or depression or who are tops or bottoms or are cool with everything. I think I switch around, especially at different times of the month.

    My big takeaway is that communication is 100% the most important part of both people enjoying sexytimes. I once had a weekend fling with a girl, and it was clearly just a hookup but we talked for 7 hours before we actually hooked up; it was perfect. That’s what I need.

    My other big takeaway is that if sometimes I want to top or I want to be a pillow princess or I just want to cuddle or I just need more time to warm up or I am in a bad mood and don’t want anything… those are all okay!!!

  7. When my wife and I first got together we had sex every day for over a month… then it dropped to a couple times a week… and now, 2 years on, we’re down to a couple times a month.

    She has bipolar and PTSD relating to childhood abuse, and is on medication to control it, as well as undergoing intensive therapy. She has severe flashbacks to that time of her life, which combined with the medication she’s on make her libido practically non-existent. When we got together, we had the thrill of a new relationship keeping us going sexually, but of course it didn’t last.

    Do I wish we had more sex? Yes, perhaps. But I understand that at this moment my role in her life is to support her as she works through the monumentous task of overcoming her demons.

    It doesn’t happen overnight. There are times when she doesn’t even want to be touched. Or there are times when all she wants is to be held at night while she waits for the sleeping tablets to kick in.

    Do I regret our relationship? Do I regret marrying her? Not at all. Because what she brings to my life, the joy and love and support in my own life… it far outweighs sex. Intimacy and love is not just about sex. Sex, for me, is an added bonus, and when it does happen, it’s amazing because the absolute trust is there and it becomes magical.

    I love my wife, not sex. I love this woman I have chosen to spend my life with. I made a vow to stand by her through everything, and she to stand by me.

    That’s all there is to it.

    • Thank you. I also needed to read this! I was feeling quite sad over the mis-match in the area of libido, but some of the reasons you mention are reasons in our relationship too. While I’d love more passion, we definitely have intimacy and love, and you’re right – those things are way more important.

    • Yes, I know! I remember having sex with a woman for the first time (which also = having sex for the first time ever for me) and being blown away that we spent 4 hours doing it…and every other time we had sex at the beginning of that long-term relationship.

      Straight culture had REALLY not prepared me for that!

  8. I’ve been with my partner for over a year now. Before we had sex multiple times a week and now twice per month. I’m pretty sure it isn’t one of the things mentioned in the article. That means my relationship is dying, right? Maybe I’m not attracted to her anymore. Maybe we’ve outgrown each other. I’m so sad. I could never break up with her. I don’t wanna hurt her.

    • I can’t tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic, but… twice a month doesn’t mean your relationship is dead unless you think it means your relationship is dead. Plenty of couples who’ve been together for a while have sex twice a month, and if you’re not satisfied with having sex twice a month, that’s not an unrecoverable situation. It’s not like going from nothing to every week – if you’re willing to talk to your partner and you’re willing to do some of the work of initiating more, there’s a pretty good chance that you can start having sex more frequently if your partner is also on board with that.

      What’s really a concern is that (again, IF this is serious) you think that the sort-of-infrequent sex means your relationship is dying. It’s also not a good sign if, when you’re considering a breakup, your most prominent reason you shouldn’t break up is “my partner would be sad if I broke up with them.” People who are happy apart from one issue generally try to point out that everything else is great.

      Think about your relationship in general apart from the sex frequency issues. Is this a relationship you want to continue being part of? Is this a relationship you want to continue being part of only if certain things change? Are these things that you could realistically work on changing (i.e. “I wish we made more time to talk” rather than “I wish I liked them more”), and would you rather stay and work on those things, or would you rather be on your own for now/try to find another relationship where those things aren’t a problem?

      And then if you want more sex, talk about having more sex.

      • I’m really sorry. I was serious. And I swear I’m usually a more reasonable person. I just kind of had an epiphany with this article. I have been feeling like things aren’t the same for a little while and I also feel very smothered in my relationship. I’m not sure if those are valid reasons to break up. I do still love her.
        Thanks for your reply! It kind of helped.

        • If it’s serious enough for you to consider breaking up over it, of course it’s a valid reason to break up. There are people who leave their partners for frivolous reasons, but they’re not the people wondering if their reasons are frivolous. If you want to break up, you absolutely have the right to. Hell, even if you did have a frivolous reason for breaking up, it would still be the right thing to do if you felt like this relationship couldn’t make you happy.

    • Its a sign for you to stop having sex with people just devote your time to god and prayer and serve the comunities.the hand that serves is holy but the lips that lick vagina is devilish.so chose to be holy.the highest form for a woman is motherhood while the lowest of the low form is being a childless lesbian,nothing is lower than a woman licking another womans vagina and thats why satan laughs at yourll.

  9. Out of curiosity, is it really a prevailing thing for lesbians not to have (especially non-penetrative) sex while on their periods? (Am I doing it wrong? ;)) I personally get horny during the first part of my period, a lot, and I think my period is much more manageable if I have sex, especially on the 1st/2nd day. I get it that some women experience extremely painful menstruation, and that might ruin the mood for everyone. But even so, does that mean “no sex for 7 days” or more of a “no sex for the first 2-3 days”? (And what about, um, one-sided enjoyment?) And what about those of us who don’t suffer that terribly? ;) I’d love to hear from a wider sample than my friends ;))

    • My girlfriend and I still have sex on our periods! And I have in the past with other girls as well- usually non-penetrative but it really depends on personal comfort level. I think it really comes down to who is comfortable with what, like I generally don’t want to on the first really heavy days, but after that is cool. And in terms of one or two sided, I think that’s another personal preference, for example I’m usually fine with giving and not receiving, but wouldn’t want to get and not receive from my gf, that would make me feel weird!

    • Many menstruating people get horny immediately before or during the first part of their period, and as someone who does have terrible period pain I have to agree that orgasms (especially from masturbation) can alleviate it.

      But with two period-experiencing people in one relationship, you increase the odds of one person having negative feelings. My ex-partner was very anti-period sex of any kind, but for her it seemed to be linked to deep body shame which made it hard for her to have sex at any time.

      • Thank you for your responses!

        I have to admit I thought with both people having periods you decreased the odds of one of them being weird about it! I mean, I expected people who don’t menstruate to be more squeamish about menstruation. Or it might just be my brother ;)

        For me sex seems to help expel the blood quicker and cleaner as well as helping with the discomfort and pain.

        (I confess my question comes from reading the Sunstone comics, which has the characters saying that they can only have sex 14 days a month because the other two weeks are periods = no sex. I was honestly flabberghasted by how “obvious” it was supposed to be that they don’t want to have sex all week when on their period.)

  10. It’s always confused me that there is a Lesbian Specific term for “we’ve been together for a really long time and our lives have become more complicated and we are no longer in our twenties and, as such, we have less sex than we did when we were Wild And Young And Without Major Life Responsibilities”

    – Because I’ve always been under the impression that this happens to almost every couple, regardless of gender.

    Also who is to say more sex is GOOD sex?

    because, for example, my neighbors in Apartment 302 have sex like four times a week (their bedroom is next to mine) and it’s v loud in a fake porn sounding way and it lasts, like, five minutes tops. Usually less.

    I can’t make eye contact with these neighbors in the elevator and I feel like her Porno Moans are disingenuous at best

  11. This was so affirming to read. Thank you for putting together all this data and doing this analysis! I feel like most of the times I worry about my girlfriend and I not having enough sex, it’s not actually because I WANT more sex. Instead, the worry is coming from external factors that convince me that everyone else is having sex all the time and it’s what life is all about. So it’s nice to hear that other people out there aren’t necessarily doing it like rabbits, for a variety of completely valid reasons.

  12. “Even binary-identified women can have dysphoric feelings about their bodies that impact how comfortable they feel in the bedroom and what roles they’d like to play.”

    I think the word you’re looking for there is cis. Plenty of trans queer women are binary-identified (hence, women), so using that term as a contrast to transgender is an odd choice at best.

    Otherwise, on point.

  13. This article is such a lovely push back against the internalized sexism & pressure to be sexual over-achievers that sometimes warps even very feminist, sex-positive spaces.

    Sometimes it feels like sex–especially for younger women like your survey group–is just another tool for capitalism, sexism, heterocentricism and a bunch of other poisons to keep us feeling miserable and compliant. But it shouldn’t be, and this is a lovely sally against that trend.

  14. I don’t identify as a woman and my partner is a trans guy, but so many of these make sense for us and this list makes me feel better because the weird expectations to have tons of sex have been stressing me out.

  15. My wife and I have been together 4 years. And sure we aren’t usually having sex 3-5 x night like we did for the first year. But still probably 2-5 x a week now. When it’s not as frequent it’s due to stress, parenting, etc. But we are still insanely attracted to each other and know that at least a quickie reduces stress and makes life better. I know women in lesbian relationships who don’t have much sex. I don’t think they’re real lesbians because they don’t seem to desire women/sex that much.

    • …what. what. your comment was going along just fine, and then you decided you need to judge who is and isn’t a “real lesbian”? maybe just don’t. not everyone has a high libido. that doesn’t negate their identity.

  16. In my opinion the issue is not gender, but the fact that the image of the sex/love is romanticized in the eyes of society. I realized this very clearly when viewed lesbi show in St. Petersburg Zavist.bar. I really laughed, because it does not look like real life, just like too romantic and esthetic movie. If you will imagine how to love your partner and draw a lot of beautiful sex pictures in your mind, you’ll get only more problems.

  17. My wife and I aren’t having sex…I don’t know what the problem is…I cry(literally) every night to sleep I feel unwanted she would tell me we will tonight but nothing happens and she thinks it’s funny and it’s not…I don’t want to end my marriage but I got a feeling it’s about to…I can’t be my happy self…can someone help me?

  18. I’m with someone who transitioned, he’s transgender (ftm) and he likes sex. The thing is he likes giving me pleasure, but he doesn’t like receiving it. We get intimate but he would rather get his pleasure on his own. Keep in mind I’ve never gotten very far with touching him and I’m having a hard time understanding that. I don’t know if I could put a label or name to it but any hints of why he’s acting this way?

    • I’m not sure if this can still help you, but are you treating him like a woman or a man? Unless he’s had SRS/phalloplasty, it sounds likely that he has bottom dysphoria. I don’t know specifically what he’d like, but I’d discuss it with him, and consider that you’re having heterosexual sex, which is a different playbook.

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