Lezzies Advice Column 7
for Lesbians On The Loose
Online Magazine in Australia:
Question: Three year relationship, but no sex. Is this lesbian Bed Death?
I've been with my girlfriend for just over three years and while
our relationship is loving and affectionate, our sex life is almost non-existent.
It wasn't always this way; when we first met we couldn't keep our hands off each
other. I know that it is common for long-term relationships to lose some of their
spark and it takes work to keep it- there are lots of things that I have tried-
seduction, trying to spend more quality time together, waiting for her to make
the first move, you name it.
I've talked to my girlfriend about how losing
that sexual connection with her has made me feel sad and I miss it but, although
she listened, she said nothing about how she felt and nothing has been resolved.
I don't know what to do anymore. Please help.
(Please keep my name anonymous)
You are right, what you describe is very common. The reality
is that the romantic love phase between two people starts to fade
and is gone around one and a half to two years into their relationship. This is
due to the hormones settling down and the brain chemical PEA (that is only active
during this phase of the relationship continuum) fading away.
also right when you say that it takes work to keep the romance and sex going in
a relationship once you go beyond this phase. It takes the things you mentioned--seductions,
spending more quality time together, writing love notes, to keep your romance
I can imagine that because your girlfriend didnt respond
to you when you talked to her about your concerns, you must have felt like she
didnt care, or that she has pulled away from you on some level.
It could be she feels just as badly about this problem, but doesnt know
how to change whatever it is that is going on for her; or may not know how to
say how she is feeling about the situation. She may also be having other issues
that have nothing to do with you, and doesnt know how to talk to you about
them. She could also have some physical condition that has affected her sex drive
and may want to be checked out by a physician to rule out a medical cause.
The only thing that will begin to solve this problem is if you can talk to
her about your concerns, and she is willing to be open and frank about hers and
why she has shut down her sexuality.
There are levels to sex drives.
Some of us have high, some middle of the road and some low. At the beginning phases
of a relationship, the hormones and brain chemistry create a matched sex drive
between the two people. As the chemistry wanes, the sex drives fall back to what
they normally would be--either in the high, middle or low categories. If you have
a high or mid-level sex drive and your partner has a low, you can be left wondering,
When you change from stage one of a relationship
to stage two, the Power Struggle, sex and sexual intimacy usually start to pay
the price. This is where the glow is gone and things start to get on your nerves.
The things you once found cute are now annoying, and you feel the other person
is trying to get control of you in some way. It is also the place where the persons
true sex drive returns. Again, the person with a high or mid level sex drive paired
with someone with a low sex drive makes it hard on both partners.
of abuse (mental, emotional or sexual) can also affect the relationship once it
moves out of the Romantic Phase. Childhood trauma can affect a persons willingness
to be intimate as things between you continue to grow. It is also possible that
your girlfriend may be unaware if she is seeking to emotionally protect herself,
at least in regard to why she is not moving to change the lack of sexual intimacy
you are going through. It can be from the more obvious fears of being sexually
abused, to the less obvious of expecting abandonment because one, or both, of
her parents abandoned her in childhood. This can even include one of the parents
just disappearing for a period of time, or being physically present but emotionally
checked-out for any reason, to the more extreme physical abuse. This often creates
a situation where an unconscious expectation that significant people in her life
will eventually disappear, so there is withdrawal from her partner to protect
from the expected abandonment.
It also could be something that you inadvertently
said or did that she thought shed let go of, but just can t get by,
and now doesnt know how to talk to you because so much time has passed.
There are two keys in this situation. One is your girlfriend being willing
to be open and honest, and tell you what she feels is going on, and what she feels
she needs to do, have, know, or see in order to move back to a more sexually intimate
relationship. That may include what she needs to feel emotionally safe. You can
make as many efforts as you want but until you talk to her, you wont know
what she needs. The other key is the willingness of both of you to be as open
and nonjudgmental as you possibly can concerning what each of you has to say,
and let that be the way to open an ongoing dialogue.
may have a fear of sharing what she is feeling, and that she is vulnerable to
rejection or being made fun of, or it could be a fear of hurting you that keeps
It will take both of you working together to solve this.
Open communication and willingness to push beyond the areas where you both are
comfortable in regard to communicating are what will help with this. If you two
find that you cant be open with communication, or if you are but things
are staying the same with little or no change, then you need to get couples counseling.
Find a good LGBT friendly couples therapist and go see that person together.
Ask people you know that have been to therapy for the names of therapists they
saw and if they liked them or not. There may even be a resource guide in your
area that lists these therapists. Make sure that you both feel comfortable with
the person before committing to ongoing therapy. Remember, counseling relationships
are like any other--youll either click with the therapist or not. If, as
a couple, you are on your third (or more) therapist because one of you keeps finding
fault with whom you find, then there is reluctance to commit to therapy and this
must be addressed by a therapist that you are seeing.
The advice in this column is the opinion of the writers and is not intended
substitute for medical or psychological treatment from a health care
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