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Myths and stereotypes abound around every major group of people, including lesbian and queer women. Lesbian relationship stereotypes often come up in pop culture and mainstream media. There is always some truth to each one, but it’s not the whole truth.
For most people, a stereotype is not true and should be taken with a grain of salt. The most important thing to remember is we are all individuals with our own ideas and programming, and we can change perceptions.
With that said, here are some common stereotypes surrounding the lesbian dating scene.
Is it true? For many younger lesbians this has been true. It doesn’t happen to every lesbian. Older lesbians who have lived alone for years may prefer independence. Others look forward to bringing two lives together fully.
This stereotype is well known by us lesbians as well as the general public because it is now a familiar joke often attributed to lesbian comedian Lea DeLaria: What do lesbians bring on the second date? A U-haul!
When lesbians move in together on the second date, it’s because she brings her stuff packed in the U-Haul to move in with you. Of course, it’s because they have great sex on the first date. Tongue-in-cheek humor. That often happens with young lesbians because they are super excited to have their first live-in girlfriend and truly believe she is the one.
To be clear, a small group of lesbians move in on the second date, but they’re usually younger and still living with her parents so this would make some practical sense.
Why do lesbians get together so quickly? Most of us have no problem having sex early in the dating process because there’s no fear of getting pregnant, and we love intimacy. Once we have sex, that feeling of being connected can be intoxicating. It’s often called “the urge to merge.” Unknown to us, the “being so connected” feeling is caused by the hormone oxytocin, also called the “bonding hormone.” In pregnancy, oxytocin causes contractions and starts labor, and also triggers bonding between mother and infant. Oxytocin is released in lesbian and straight sex and causes us to believe we’re in love, so it is also called the “love” hormone.
The couple is in a state of limerence, which is feeling love without actually being in love. They have sex as often as possible, can’t get enough of each other and feel completely connected to the other person and spend all their free time together. Remember when your best lesbian friend got a new girlfriend, and you didn’t see her for months? Hot and heavy limerence.
Then, around three to six months later, they start to see the real person in front of them and may realize she is not “the one” and that they should never have jumped into bed so fast and definitely not moved in together. How many couples does this happen to? An estimated of 50% of young couples get together like this. Personally, in my two long-term relationships, moving in happened fast — but not on Date #2. Both relationships lasted many years.
Most lesbians will take three to six months or longer before they move in, once they decided the relationship has a chance to last. We all understand that it takes time to figure out if the woman we are seeing and sleeping with is the right one for us, so it is judicious to wait and see how the relationship moves before we make a move in.
As we lesbians get older and have experienced a few U-haul dates, we likely become more discerning and take our time before merging our furniture, closets, families, and our finances.
This stereotype lays out the belief that lesbians stop having sex after a few years and are in the period called “lesbian bed death” or LBD. Now that they are together, they can “nest” and feel secure in their relationship and sex is not top of mind. In reality, almost all relationships tend to progress to less exciting sex lives because the rest of life takes precedent.
There is a 1995 movie titled “Lesbian Bed Death – Myth or Epidemic?” LBD was originally coined in a 1985 book, “American Couples” written by two sexologists. They touted the idea that eventually a lesbian couple becomes friends without benefits and has less sex than any other type of couple. This myth is even perpetuated in our own lesbian culture.
According to a 2014 study by Garcia, Lloyd et al, that polled over 6,000 people, lesbians have 22% more orgasms than straight women, and their sexual encounters are longer. Even way back in 1966, sex experts Masters and Johnson suggested that straight men could learn a lot about how to guide their partners to orgasm from lesbians.
You can’t have sex 24/7 and still go to work and function. What about friends, family, and other interests? The truth is, as in all relationships, there is often a reset which occurs, and sex gets delegated to the back burner. Even hetero relationships go through dry spells when life gets complicated with other priorities. Sometimes you are just plain exhausted. In straight relationships, the man is often the driver of sex. In a lesbian relationship either partner can be the driver, but sometimes sex isn’t the priority. It may be more about the emotional connection. We enjoy cuddling and kissing and do not always go to sex. Then there are the plaguing thoughts that, if our partner does not initiate sex, they are no longer interested — and down the rabbit hole we go.
Building intimacy is the one thing that differentiates a romantic relationship from a friendship. Once you stop having sex, your relationship can quickly become less important. This can be avoided by prioritizing sex and intimacy. The initial “I can’t get enough of you” feeling starts to wane over time. It doesn’t mean you don’t still love her. Real life and all its responsibilities have crept back into the picture. Therapists will tell you that focusing on your intimate life is just as important as everything else. Plan for it, schedule it, create a date jar, add some toys to spice it up, express your fantasies and talk candidly about what’s going on for each of you.
Since clitoral orgasm is the #1 way women, in general, orgasm, the surefire way to please a woman is not just vaginal penetration. Many women including lesbians enjoy vaginal penetration with fingers, vibrators and dildoes.
Some people think that the only sex between lesbians is cunnilingus. Everything between a woman’s legs, the entire labial and vulva area that starts with the clitoris and ends with the anus is an option for pleasuring. Be creative and enjoy stimulating many areas of her body and between her legs. Although there may be a small percentage of women who do not like penetration, it is not true for every lesbian.
Some lesbians don’t like penetration, and they associate it with heterosexual sex. Whatever you enjoy is what you should be doing with your partner and communicating about it. Sex is about pleasure and not some societal norm or programming. Every woman can benefit by learning what gives her pleasure without any shame and communicate that to a willing, open partner.
We all play roles in our gay and straight relationships. The truth is, there are some lesbians, who prefer being feminine (fem), and some who prefer being more masculine, what has been called Butch or Dyke. We all have feminine and masculine energy, and we do tend to have more of one than the other. That is why our community uses labels like Lipstick Lesbian, Butch, Top, Pillow Princess. Personally I think we should just be who we are and not label ourselves.
For years I was obsessed with not being perceived as a fem. I would ask my friends around a dinner table to rate me on a scale of 1 to 10. The rating 1 is being super butch and 10 is being super fem. Most of them rated me 6-9. I would argue “but I’m athletic and strong” and …I wanted to be a 4 or 5.
Now I am what people would call a Lipstick Lesbian. I love to wear lipstick. Does it really matter? Can’t we just be who we are? Yes, we can, so let’s stop with the labels already and just be who we are.
Butch women aren’t necessarily the dominant roles in a relationship, which we might expect. Many fems are dominant in their career as well as in bed. Butch women can take care of the home and kids. Roles can be switched.
So, yes, lesbians play roles — as do heterosexual partners — but one is not the woman and one is not the man. It is more of a feminine and masculine energy experience. It usually means that, during sex and the passionate interplay that relies on contrast, one is more fem and one is more masculine in that specific encounter. At each moment there is a giving and receiving dance between the partners which creates the passion of intimacy.
Real lesbians have fathers and maybe even brothers. It is doubtful they would not like them. Some lesbians may have had a bad experience with a man or even several men, but it is a rare lesbian who hates men. Many lesbians have been with men sexually and have never considered themselves bi-sexual. They were with men before or during their coming out process. Some women who have not accepted their attraction to women keep trying to enjoy sex with men through sexual encounters. She may have tried a relationship with a man to see if this was something she could enjoy.
Just because a woman has been with a man in the past does not mean that she is bisexual. A woman may consider herself a lesbian now, but she may have thought she was straight earlier. Or maybe she was in the closet and afraid of coming out. Some women have been in several lesbian relationships and then end up with a man later. All these interplays suggest that sexual fluidity is a valid experience for many people.
Lesbian stereotypes may start with a kernel of truth, but they don’t encompass the entire rainbow of lesbian dating experiences out there. They’re just a common trope.
Each of these myths can be busted with our own personal experience. Be aware and take care to ensure that you have the experience that you desire in all of these situations and not fall prey to silly myths and stereotypes whether there is truth or not.