You’ve probably heard the myth of lesbian bed death. It’s almost as popular as the joke about lesbians showing up for a first date with a U-Haul. Except, with bed death, it’s the exact opposite of that untamed passion. Lesbian bed death is when the couple settles into monogamous relationship life and stops having sex. Their regular intimacy is the casualty of commitment. As it turns out, bed death isn’t just a lesbian thing. It can happen to anyone (yes!).
Gay bed death might seem like more of a myth than its lesbian counterpart. After all, aren’t we gay men known for our raging sex drives and promiscuous sexual behavior? Maybe that describes some of us. That could also describe some lesbians and some straight people. Being the multifaceted human beings that we are, gay men can also find themselves in boring, sexless relationships. Gay bed death isn’t just some psychological buzzword. It’s real.
What Causes Bed Death?
How does it happen, you’re wondering? How do two perfectly healthy, attractive gay men fall madly in love and then stop having sex? Well, there are tons of ways for this to happen.
The Gay Love Coach interviewed psychiatrist William L. Maurice to gain a deeper understanding of how gay bed death happens. The core issue is inhibited sexual desire, and there are three types. There’s lifelong or generalized inhibited sexual desire. These men have never been interested in sexual activity with anyone (poor guys). There’s acquired or situational inhibited sexual desire. Here, men either prioritize solo play or only find their libido rising when true intimacy is absent. And lastly, there’s acquired or generalized inhibited sexual desire. These men have lost their sexual appetite due to factors they can’t control like medical problems, aging and decreases in testosterone.
Aside from inhibited desire, there’s a host of other issues that can cause a drop in your libido. Internalized homophobia, side effects of medication, stress, grief, infidelity within the relationship and mental health conditions are just a few of the many possible causes.
Gay bed death could be a result of one partner’s problems or a combination of disturbances within the relationship. If it seems like your honey has a migraine every time you want to get it on, it’s time to dig deeper.
How Bed Death Affects You
To some, it may seem like there are worse problems than a lackluster sex life. But for the men trapped in a sexless relationship or marriage, it can be damaging to their self-esteem and their ability to love.
Take the case of a Salon reader, known only as What Have I Become. He wrote in to resident advice columnist Cary Tennis to seek help for his sexless love life. The 49-year-old man had abandoned his promising career to run his partner’s business. After doing so, he felt trapped in a version of his life that was led by his partner’s desires. Those desires didn’t include sex.
Cary’s advice to him? He needed to dig deep to figure out how he’d ended up in this situation. Why did he feel helpless and unable to take action to change his relationship’s trajectory? Surely, this case of gay bed death was one caused by both relationship issues and the personal plight of our advice seeker.
There are other sexless men (and women too) taking to the web to share their war stories of a sexless life. Online community Yuku was once a popular gathering spot for people trapped in sexless marriages, and their stories sounded more like the scripts of a dark Nicholas Sparks novel. One user wrote, “I feel…like I die more every day.” Wow. “The man that loved me is dead. He is like a zombie,” this anonymous user continued.
A lack of sex is more than just a lack of sex. A partner who isn’t sexually desired feels undervalued and unattractive. Part of their self-confidence comes from feeling desired and when a partner either gets lost in other activities or turns to artificial sexual stimulation like porn, it can leave the other partner feeling depressed.
Gay bed death can result in the death of more than a sex life. It can kill a relationship.
Start Talking About Gay Bed Death
To stop gay bed death from continuing, you must first understand how you got there. Ask yourself and your partner why you stopped having sex. It could be as simple as mismatched sex drives or as difficult as erectile dysfunction. You could spend all day listing the possibilities. But to truly understand what’s happening, it’s time to open the lines of communication.
Next, ask yourself if a sexless relationship bothers you. Some couples out there (none of which seem to be gay) are happy without sex. They find intimacy in little kisses, caresses and quality time spent together. Does this sound like you or your partner? If so, ramping up your sex frequency may not be the answer to your problem.
Think about whether or not your problem can be fixed. Also consider if you want it fixed. If the problem is emotional or mental, it may take time, but it can be repaired. If it’s physical, there might be some more extensive work involved. If you’ve found yourself suffering from gay bed death, it’s time to start talking.
How to Spice Things Up
If you’ve decided to course correct and get your sex life back on track, you have a lot of options to choose from. Before you start prioritizing the bedroom, start prioritizing each other. Date nights seem like a silly, stereotypical couple thing to do but they serve a greater purpose. Date nights help you and your partner show each other that you’re invested. You have a dedicated time to connect and explore each other. If you can’t get together for dinner, how will you ever make time for physical intimacy?
Perhaps you should start trying to woo your partner again. Remember those first days when you were eager to impress him? The clothes you wore, the restaurants you picked, the notes you wrote. Rediscover that magic by pulling a couple pages from your old book. You’ll be surprised what a little old school charm can do to get you both engaged again.
Sexting might seem like something reserved for 18-year-olds who communicate solely through Snapchat but it could work for you, too. Sending each other filthy messages and photos can bring back an air of flirtation and adventure to your sex life. It can make you crave the interaction in advance, making the payoff worthwhile.
Most important, communicate. Show your partner more respect than telling him you have a headache or that you’re tired. If you have reservations, discuss them. Who’s to say he won’t understand or identify with your issues? Maybe he feels the same way? Great sex can only happen when you let go of your baggage, however big or small it is.
Gay men are subject to all the relationship problems as their straight and lesbian peers, inclusive of boring or nonexistent sex lives. To turn things around, it’s time to communicate openly, experiment and put each other first. Once you admit you have a problem, you can start fixing it. Plus, you’ll have a great time exploring the solutions.