Scientific Explanation for Lesbian Bed Death?
By no_I_am_zoe on June 26, 2008
BlogHer Original Post
I recently found a really interesting post, Lesbian Bed Death Explained, by Susan Kuchinskas at Scientific Blogging, that I couldn't resist sharing. And by I found, I mean one of my favorite bloggers, Syd, at Adrenaline's Shadow (blog may not be safe for work), who is a master at finding this kind of stuff, wrote about it in her post Lesbian Bed Death or Danger...you choose. Since sex is my favorite topic, and I have a strong need to know how everything works, I immediately clicked the link to read the explanation.
To give a brief summary, Lesbian Bed Death Explained talks about how during sex and orgasm the brain produces oxytocin and dopamine. The two neurochemicals interact to create the feeling of love, which helps bond the partners. Estrogen seems to enhance the effects of oxytocin, which can be felt for days after, while testosterone seems to diminish the effects. It speculates that we, lesbians, are constantly breathing in each others pheromones and swapping neurochemicals for an extra dose of estrogen and oxytocin every time we hug or kiss or touch, which reinforces the bonded feeling leaving us with out the strong need or desire for sex because the neurochemical pathways are already buzzing. The end of the post suggests the antidote for oxytocin is adrenaline. So if you're in a rut and you need a little jump start, do something that will give you an adrenaline rush.
I am always fascinated by articles about lesbian bed death (LBD), why it happens and how to avoid it. I dont' know why either. I guess the concept of not having sex with the person you love is so, I don't even know the right word for it, strange, foreign, ridiculous, that I have to try to understand why a couple would live like that. And you don't have to wait too long to see an article about LBD in any lesbian publication. While I think the post, Lesbian Bed Death Explained, offers an excellent explanation that makes me think, "yeah, that makes perfect sense," I refuse that believe that LBD is real, or maybe I should say inevitable and/or exclusive to lesbians. I find this particular explanation interesting because when I think of the couples we know, Betty Please and I are probably a lot more bonded than most, and the oxytocin explanation sounds like good reasoning for this.
While I have known a few couples to suffer from bed death, their ultimate problem was that they were not right for each other and they should have split up years before. In the end they did break up. I think, it's probably not uncommon for the sex to disappear a bad relationship, but why in a good one. So why has this term, lesbian bed death, inserted itself into our vernacular, become that butt of our jokes, and brought with it a fear of what "inevitably" lies ahead in a long term relationship. I don't buy it, and I'm not alone. Deb of Let Me Go On and On writes about LBD and cheating in her post My Short Lived Resignation.
I recently came across an article in this month's addition of Curve Magazine about LBD (Lesbian Bed Death). This upsets me a great deal because they focus on LESBIAN bed death. I mean, I know many heterosexuals that are chewing on ice and waking up with morning wood. Why are we just focused on the lesbian community not getting some in the bedroom? Can't we safely say that all of us are at risk for BD (bed death), gay or straight? Baffles me. We've pigeonholed ourselves into this category of sexually deprived lesbian women.
I do believe it is natural and normal for sex in a relationship to die down a bit after a few years. Geeze, if it didn't no one would ever get anything done. After a few years of "bonding", a couple should be pretty secure in the relationship and shouldn't need constant reassurance, but maybe a little reminder once or twice a week. I think it's very easy for us all, not just lesbians, to get caught up in our busy lives and I think, no scratch that, I know, a lot of people put their sex lives at the bottom, or close to it, on their list of priorities. And that's not even with kids thrown into the mix. Add kids and now you're operating at a whole new level of hecticness and exhaustion.
Melissa Doak, a columnist at The Imperfect Parent writes about how kids affect her sex life in her post Not Your Average Fairy Tale, In Search of Romance.
I've spent some serious money on avoiding lesbian bed death in the last six years, and all of it has had to do with removing the kids from the scene. (Okay, well, most of it... I did drop some dough at that store in San Francisco....) It's no accident that in our family budget breakdown, I'm responsible for the vacations. First there are the hotel rooms. They run $150 to $300 a pop. Because God knows there is nothing sexy about a Super 8. And usually we need more than a night at one of these swanky establishments -- it takes us a couple of days to forget we're parents... oops, remember we're lovers... before we can get in the mood.
Reading things like that makes me worry about my relationship as we are getting ready to start trying to conceive. I know kids will change us in ways we can't imagine, but I hope we don't lose us and that we will still prioritize time to enjoy each other.
Another reason for the speedy demise of romance among lesbians, may be their penchant for collecting cats. The bed becomes laden with cats (dogs, ferrets, parakeets, peeves and resentments), making sex close to impossible without disturbing something.
OK, so I threw that one in for fun, but I am all too familiar with animals wanting to be on the bed. I'll be the first to admit, it's just plain creepy. And it does take a certain level of concentration to be able to ignore a cat who desperately wants your attention, or a dog who wants to curl up next to you and rest their chin on your hip at the most inopportune time. But we never let that stop us. And let's just say, I have friends, straight friends, who suffer from this same problem with their animals, so this is not specific to lesbians.
Perhaps I am wrong, and lesbian bed death does really exist, specific to us. The magazines and television shows would have you think so. But I don't think it does. What do think? Is it real?
Also check out:
Cherry Bomb: Episode 1 "Commitment Issues" at AfterEllen
Sugarbutch's Second Aniversery, at Sugarbutch Chronicles(probably not safe for work)
The Big Lie: Lesbian Bed Death, by Suzanne Iasenza, Ph.D. at Fridae
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