the concept that lesbian couples experience a decrease in sexual activity after two or so years of being in a relationship. It is based on findings made on a survey in the early 1980s by Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz. The survey claimed that those in same-sex female relationships tended to follow a pattern that the longer the relationship continued, the less sexual activity was experienced, when compared to other couples, including same-sex male couples, opposite-sex couples co-habitating and opposite-sex couples that are married.
However, the study has been criticised as it surrounds ideas about what constitutes as “having sex“, particularly as at the time, and even today, modern discussions surrounding what sex is are usually limited to acts of penetration (that is, vaginal or anal intercourse), and may not have taken into account the vast variety of other sexual or intimate behaviours that take place between couples, and may conflict with studies surrounding differences in female sex satisfaction and orgasms in opposite-sex and same-sex couples (raising the question of whether same-sex female couples outperformed on a “quality vs quantity” basis), or that the results do not extend to considering factors like negative self-esteem and internalised homophobia.
Despite this, lesbian bed death soon became well-known in the Queer lexicon as the subject of dismay and intense debate in lesbian communities, and mockery elsewhere. Some have argued that the pervasive myth around lesbian bed death is due, in part, to lesbophobia.
Originally published: 11th December, 2020
Last modified: 11th December, 2020