Lesbian Bed Death: Fact or Fiction

Photo credit: www.psychologytoday.com

Photo credit: www.psychologytoday.com

Okay, so this is an article I have wanted to write for a long time, but as you can imagine with a title of “Lesbian Bed Death”, it has taken me some time to gather the courage to actually write it. So you might ask, “Then why even write it?”.  You have an argument, except for the fact that when I have these ideas churning around in my head (this one for years), I have to eventually get it out!

I first heard the term “Lesbian Bed Death” aka LBD when I was 18. Women would mention it and say that is was real, and it happened to women after they had been in monogamous relationships for many years.  I was never worried because I was quite young and was not in a monogamous relationship, so I didn’t even give it a thought.

Fast forward to me at age 38.  I was back in a relationship with a woman after being married to a man for 9 years, and having had two babies.  I met my partner while I was in the Navy and we were best friends for over a year.  Then one day I woke up and realized I was in love with her and lucky for me she was in  love with me as well.

I was single and therefore available for a relationship, and this one flourished! When our relationship started we were both on the verge of turning 40, and there was definitely NO LBD in our lives.  We lived apart (she in Pennsylvania, me in Virginia) for the first two years of our relationship so the lack of physical contact definitely lowered our ability to be intimate, but the desire was not lacking.

Then my partner developed cervical cancer.  It was sudden and shocking and she had to undergo a radical hysterectomy.  She had her uterus removed, and the surgeon said she was left with only one functional ovary.  She recovered well, and is currently 6 years cancer free!

However, she had a physical consequence to the surgery that saved her life.  Due to the fact that she only had one viable ovary her hormones were lowered, and as a result she entered Peri-menopause. When this happened her libido dropped tremendously.  It wasn’t that she no longer loved me, or was no longer attracted to me, there was just a decreased interest in sexual intimacy due to her hormone levels being low.  She was 41 at that time. Then the next shoe dropped.  I entered Peri-menopause, and my hormones also changed.  I was 43, and began experiencing hot flashes, mood changes, difficulty sleeping and loss of libido.

As these changes affected our lives, and I noticed our intimacy getting less and less frequent the though of LBD returned to me.  But I suddenly realized LBD isn’t about not loving your partner or lack of desire for your partner, or even the sexual intimacy not being up to snuff.  It had to do with hormones and loss of libido.  It all made perfect sense to me.  LBD was never talked about with young women, it was always said to happen to women who had been together for “a long time” because they had become bored with each other and therefore the sex stopped.  I now know from personal experience this is untrue.

I think there is another reason for LBD.  It has been my experience  that women in relationships with women have deep emotional intimacy.  I have been in relationships with men and women.  The ones with women have always had a deeper emotional connection.  It is my opinion that the deeper emotional connections can at times preclude the need for physical intimacy required to make a connection.

When I did some research on this topic, I found that others also believed hormone fluctuation was the cause for lesbian bed death.  I am 48.  Most of my friends are in heterosexual relationships and most are approximately my age.  They talk about “not being in the mood” as often as their husbands/boyfriends.  This is because men do not have the same hormone fluctuations as women do.  This would also account for the fact that we don’t hear about gay men having a “bed death”.  Think about it, if the female half of a a heterosexual partnership is less interested in sex, what do you think happens when both partners are women?  The libido drop due to hormonal changes is 100% in the relationship.  Hence Lesbian Bed Death.

Lesbian Bed Death is not a myth, it is a fact.  However, the reason why I was told it occurs was not accurate. Interestingly there have been many studies done and articles written about LBD and I was fascinated with one theory about why women in lesbian relationships have sex less frequently.

A survey conducted by the Institute for Personal Growth (IPG) in New Jersey with 104 self described lesbians and 89 heterosexual women found that although lesbian couples did have fewer sexual experiences than the heterosexual women, the lesbian women reported fewer sexual problems than the hetero women, and  90% of the lesbian women stated they achieved orgasm during their sexual encounters as compared to 73% of the heterosexual women.  In addition, the lesbian women not only achieved a high rate of orgasm, they experienced multiple orgasm most of the time they had sex.  Also, the sexual encounters lasted 30-60 minutes while the heterosexual encounters were generally 10-30 minutes.

So while hormone fluctuations can definitely account for a percentage of why Lesbian Bed Death is a reality in lesbian relationships, maybe another part of the reason for this phenomenon is that women in lesbian relationships may have such excellent sexual experiences (encounters lasting longer, higher percentage of orgasm, and multiple orgasm) that the relationship is more healthy and IPG significantly linked these facts to the women being more satisfied with the sexual,emotional, and affectionate aspects of the relationship.

Therefore it is entirely possible that as a lesbian relationship lasts through the years, although lesbian women have some hormonal issues that stand in the way of sexual encounters, overall they are quite satisfied with their relationships, and one could even argue that since the sexual encounters they do experience are so satisfying the need for them is lessened.  When one looks at it that way, we should be proud of Lesbian Bed Death, not afraid of it.

We are raising Entitled Teens. Are we ruining the next generation??

I have 4 children.  2 of them are Karol’s kids, and so they are my “step children”, and 2 of them are my biological children.  The “step kids” are 22 and 19.  The bio kids are 17 and 15. So we have had some experience raising teens.

More and more I am seeing stories about teenagers and young adults who feel they are “entitled” to things.  I read about Generation Y and how they feel as though society and their parents “owe” them jobs, opportunities, etc.  They don’t feel they have to work for things.

Case in point the story I read in Huffington Post today about a mom who got into an argument with her son.  He asked her what she had ever done for their family.  He was complaining because their family was financially strapped and he blamed the mom because she is a writer and he asked her when she was going to get a “real” job. My first reaction when reading this post was, “Why did she stand there and allow her teenager to talk to her like that?”  I know I would have sat my child down FAST and explained ad nauseum every thing I had done for him throughout his life, ad then pointed out everything I had bought for him that he didn’t “need”.  How my obligation to him is to provide him with basic necessities and that anything else he gets is a GIFT!

verucca

Then I read an article about a teenager in New Jersey who sued, yes I said SUED her parents for college tuition. She claimed her parents kicked her out of her family home when she turned 18 and refused to pay tuition for her private high school and future college education.  The parents claim she left of her own accord because she did not want to abide by their rules.  Ok, so yes there is a little he said she said going on here, but in all actuality where does it say a parent is obligated to pay for a child’s college education??

I go to college at Old Dominion University.  There are plenty of students there with parents who pay for their education, room and board.  I have a friend whose daughter just send her the tuition bills and she just “takes care” of it.  However, there are many many students who are working while going to school, and taking out loans they have no idea how they will pay back.  In fact I took a statistics class last semester, and we had to have a “clicker” that we could use to answer questions on a powerpoint in class.  These questions were worth extra credit points.  The girl sitting next to me never answered the questions.  When I asked her why she said she just couldn’t afford the clicker.  She had been in another class with me and I knew she was working her way through school.  I went to the book store and bought her a clicker and gave it to her the next class.  She was so grateful she almost cried.  She said she would pay me back, and I said, “No, just pay it forward.  Someday when you are okay financially and you know someone needs some help, just help them.  That is all the payback I need.”

However, there was also a girl in a lab class I had who said she always got A’s because she didn’t have to work.  Her parents paid her tuition, and took out the loans for her.  All she had to do was make good grades in school.  What?? That girl bears NO accountability for her education.  What kind of life skills is she learning?  Just do a good job and someone will take care of you?? That is not reality. I read these articles and just shake my head.  I hear the comments come out of the mouths of my college peers and I am appalled.

I know there are entitled teens out there.  I know teens who are given cars for their 16th birthdays, or when they get their licenses.  These teens don’t help pay for their insurance.  Many teens I know don’t have jobs, and some parents I have spoken to have told me , “I don’t want my teen to have a job, all they need to do is work hard in school and get good grades.”  Okay, so how does your teen learn about how to navigate a job?  Or how to deal with a boss? Or even how to pay for their own things?

entitled teen

However, on the flip side, many of the parents I am friends with DO make their kids get jobs.  They have their kids go to Community College so tuition is more affordable, and the young adults help with tuition.  They make their kids pay their own phone bills, or car insurance, or pay for driving school.

But I am loathe to admit that more of the parents in my generation do NOT do these things.  How do they expect their kids to be self sufficient or able to take car of themselves, or hell, even be grateful for what they get???? I want to say to them, “Do you know you are raising an entitled kid?”  I worry about how these kids, (some of whom I know personally) will live their lives as adults.  Will they understand they have to work hard to get the things they want?  Will they just expect society as a whole to take care of them?  Will they know what hard work looks like, what it feels like?  Will they know how to deal with disappointment or rejection?  We are not equipping our teens to be able to handle life on life’s terms if we don’t teach them how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep trying.   And we don’t teach them how to do that when we always pick them up when they fall and fix their problems for them.

Karol and I have always worked hard to try and give our kids the tools to be able to deal with situations on their own.  We do provide guidance, but we don’t swoop in and fix everything for them.  We help them with little things, but allow them to navigate their way through the big things with our advice (if they ask for it).  They make mistakes.  Our oldest son co-signed a loan for an unreliable person.  His credit may be messed up for awhile when this person doesn’t pay the bill, but he has learned a valuable lesson about how to protect his credit and who he can and can’t trust.  The second son has a job to pay for his own car insurance and phone bill.  He does have a car (I put aside some child support money every month for a “car fund”), and recently when he was hit I made him deal with the insurance company and he had to pay the $200.00 deductible.  (25% in savings helped with that)  The youngest son at 15 has to pay for his expenses when he goes to Busch Gardens, and pays his phone bill.  (He does get allowance for chores, but that stops when he turns 16 and can get a job).  We only pay allowance up until age 16 in this house.  If they want money they need to get a job!

I know in THIS household these are the rules:

1) If you want a phone, you need to be able to afford to pay the bill.  If you can’t pay your phone bill, your phone gets turned in to the moms, or shut off on the Verizon website.

2) When you turn 16 you will get a job.

3) Which you will definitely need because in order to have a license in this house you will need to pay for your insurance.

4) Once you have a job you will put 25% of your earnings into a savings account so you have money for college, or emergencies.

5) If you can’t be grateful for what you are given, you will be given nothing.

All 4 of our kids know that we only have to provide them with shelter, food, medical and dental care, clothing, and school supplies.  iPads, iPods, phones, cars, electronic gadgets and game systems, etc. are a gift that can be taken away at any moment.

Our kids do chores around the house for which they are not always paid, because they live in a family, and families are a community that needs to take out the trash, clean the kitchen, put away dishes, etc in order for the community to function.  Being part of a community means working together to make your community be a place you actually want to live. Not a place filled with trash and dirty dishes.

All of us (minus the oldest who didn't want to be in the picture) on our first spring break vacation to Massanutten 2007.

All of us (minus the oldest who didn’t want to be in the picture) on our first spring break vacation to Massanutten 2007.

So Karol and I are doing our part to raise self reliant, responsible, respectable, adults who know how to work for what they want.  Of course they will have disappointments, and make mistakes.  That is what being an adult is about,  but hopefully we have given them the tools to be able to handle it, and know how to get it right the next time.

You are welcome society, for a few less entitled kids in the mix!

When did my nerdy kid become an athlete?

I was not an athlete when I was in high school.  I did run track my freshman and sophomore year, but that was it for athletics for me.  I was the nerdy kid.  I was in the marching band.  And the concert band.  I played the clarinet my entire high school career. My older brother was on the football team, and he was pretty good as I remember.  Not the star, he played defense, but he played for all 4 years.  My younger brother also did not play a sport.  He was a nerd like me, and was into Boy Scouts and was a member of the Children of the American Revolution. (maybe more of a nerd than me…..)

Memorial Day parade garb. Circa 1980.

Memorial Day parade garb. Circa 1980.

My ex-husband was also not an athlete, nor were his siblings.  So sports and our genetics are not a match.

To round out the non athletic people in our family, my partner Karol was also NOT an athlete in school, nor were her two children.  Brandon did try out for soccer, but quickly lost interest when he didn’t make the team his first try, and although he was very good at baseball when he played in the local Pony league, as he got older and it became a much more expensive sport, we had to bow out because: 4 kids.

Joe Cool played baseball as an elementary kid, but his less than stellar eye hand coordination did not help him at home plate and he became discouraged since the bat did not often make contact with the ball.  The day he was hit in the mouth with a ground ball (he didn’t field well) at practice and busted his lip so badly that he bled all over his brand new Sponge-Bob t-shirt (he was in 5th grade) was the final straw for him, and he was done with baseball.

Then he discovered swimming. He swam on the neighborhood summer swim team, and also swam for high school.  However, his non athletic traits kicked in, (sorry kid), and he enjoyed swim team mostly because he could socialize with his friends during meets.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t capable, in his own words, “I am just too lazy to kick any harder mom.”  okaayyy….  At least I can’t fault his honesty…..

Then we have the youngest child in our family, The Genius.  He has always been the nerdiest kid in the family.

Straight A (occasional B) grades.  LOVES science, reading, Dr Who, and Minecraft! And he actually enjoys hanging out with his parents.  Can’t get much nerdier than that!

He was also on the summer swim team in our neighborhood and did okay, but never really won many races.  He was usually third place, sometimes second.

Then he went to high school. Surprisingly to me, he asked to join the high school swim team last year.  I was quite happy he wanted to swim for his school.  It is less expensive than the summer league and it gives him a well rounded high school experience.  Then something amazing happened.

His first High School Swim Meet 2013.

His first High School Swim Meet 2013.

He started winning.

He came in second against juniors and seniors!  He beat most of the kids his own age.  And he LOVED it!  He loved swimming, and as he did better his confidence improved, and his times got even better!

He even decided to swim the long distance race, the 400 meter race.  That is 16 lengths of the pool!! He actually did quite well.  He came in third on his team, but the first place kid was a kid who swims year round and has been since he was 6 and the other kid was a senior!  Not bad for a freshman!!

When his high school went to District championships, he did so well he almost made it to Regionals!!  The top 8 kids went to Regionals, and he was number 9!  But he was only behind by 3 seconds, and the kid who was in 8th place was a junior!

I think he will do well this year!  He is taller, stronger and older.

I have been amazed by this kid!  When I wasn’t looking my nerdy, silly, goofy, kid became an athlete.