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June 22, 2023

How Lesbian Sex Therapy could have saved my Relationship.

*This is part one of a three-article series. 

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My Lesbian Bed Death Story

I lay in bed, hoping and willing myself to get turned on.

My spouse, the woman I loved, was  doing her best to touch me in the ways I had asked for. But nothing was happening. I couldn’t get out of my head. I couldn’t feel her.

We’d been together 11 years, off and on. At one point, we’d parted for a year because we couldn’t work out “the sex thing,” but our love and connection had drawn us back together. At the time, I’d felt hopeful. We had moved to the country and even started a business together. But sex was still our weak link, just as it always had been.

Some lesbian couples struggle with sex because of emotional hurt, unresolved fights, unspoken needs. But that wasn’t the case with us. We had great communication, and we felt chemistry when we touched outside the bedroom. We were often affectionate with each other. We would kiss in the kitchen, but then, when we tried to take it into bed it just…fizzled.

Now we hardly ever even tried anymore. I had seen “Go to bed with Ruth” on one of her to-do lists. We tried to schedule sex time in advance because she thought that might help her get in the mood. But what was the point?

For my spouse, sex felt like a chore, something she wanted to enjoy but didn’t. She was doing it because I wanted it. She was doing it to try to save our lesbian marriage.

Meanwhile, I desperately wanted sex, because I remembered how much pleasure, joy, and connection it had brought me in the past. But now it seemed like a Garden of Eden from which I—my spouse and I—were somehow barred from entering.

I lay there, trying to feel her touch for a little while more. Then I found myself starting to write an email in my head, telling a friend how hopeless this sexual relationship was. Then I gently removed my partner’s hands. “It’s just not working,” I said.

What Is Lesbian Bed Death?

Lesbian Bed Death. That’s what they call it when a lesbian couple loses their spark. It started as a joke, kind of a play on Crib Death, which is when an infant dies without apparent explanation. But it struck a nerve in the lesbian community—lesbians’ sexual relationships seemed to be dying without explanation, too. So it stuck.

I searched online to get us help, but the therapists and coaches I found just looked so…straight. I couldn’t imagine how they could help us.

Even the lesbian therapists looked so feminine. So I found a queer sex coach who was gender non-conforming and butch or masculine of center, just like my spouse. I hoped that would create better rapport.

At the time, I thought anyone who worked with sex would be equally equipped to help us. But of course, in lesbian sex therapy, just as in any other field, there are all kinds of sub-specialties. It turned out that our queer sex coach was trained in hands-on work with individuals, not Zoom calls with couples.

Over time, it became clear that they didn’t know how to help us. They worked 1:1 with my partner for a while, since she was the “identified patient” who didn’t want sex. I felt left out of the process, and as far as I could tell, nothing had changed.

Once, they gave my partner an energy exercise for us to do. It was cool breathing into my heart and out from my pussy, and having her breathe in through her pussy and out through her heart back to me, in an energetic circle. Another time, the coach told my partner to imagine she had eyes on her fingertips when she touched me. That felt kind of interesting to me, but it required great mental effort for my partner, so we didn’t do it for long.

Our Queer Coaching Sex Fail

We had gone to the coach to help us have sex, and months later, nothing had happened in that department. In despair, I asked to speak to the coach myself. They told me kindly, “I think you should find other lovers.”

Our coach was poly, so this was a good solution for them. It’s a good solution for many people, actually—but not for a fundamentally monogamous person who longs to have sex with the person she loves most in the world!

“I just want to have sex with my spouse,” I cried. “That’s a normal thing to want!”

When I thought about finding a lover, I pictured myself driving down the long dirt road that led to our country home on the river, having empty sex with someone, and then driving back. It felt so lonely.

The other image that came to my mind was of finding a lover whom I actually liked, and swimming in a state of desire, pleasure, and connection with her—and then having to leave her to drive back down the long dirt road to my spouse. I wouldn’t want to do that, either.

So we quit working with that sex coach, and I searched online for someone else to help us—a lesbian sex therapist or coach, a better one. There has to be someone, I thought grimly. My partner felt helpless about it all. If anyone was going to take action, it had to be me.

But by the time I found a promising new sex coach who worked in an experiential modality called Somatica, it was too late for us. “I think I may be asexual,” my partner told me sadly. “I’m not sure I ever want to have sex again.”

~

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