Lesbian Couples Quickies: Validation, Not Education

Lesbian Couples Quickies: Validation, Not Education

LESBIAN COUPLES QUICKIES:  VALIDATION, NOT EDUCATION

 

When your girl expresses a concern, need or frustration in her life (not about you), do not mistake this as her request for you to fix the situation, or fix her. If you are someone who often responds by telling her what you think, and what she should do, this quickie is especially for you.

In general, when we are hurting and we go to our spouse / partner with a painful situation, we are not asking for solutions, we are asking for support. We want to feel less alone with our pain. Often, we just want reassurance that we are okay.

lesbian couples, validation, validate, listen

Here’s a roadmap for those of you who are unsure how this might sound:

Let her talk. Don’t interrupt. Keep your questions to a minimum.

 

1. Let her know you’ve heard her.

“It sounds like … <repeat the highlights that you heard her share so she knows you were listening – don’t add your opinions or thoughts, just reflect back to her what you heard>”
 

2. Validate her feelings.

Let her know that when you look at the situation the way she’s looking at it (not the way you are), her feelings make sense (even if you disagree).

“Based on how you’ve described things, it makes sense that you feel <insert how she says she is feeling>, because <insert meaningful points she has shared that let her know that you were listening and validate why she’s feeling the way she is>…
 

3. Reassure her. 

Remind her that you are here for her. Reinforce that you are a safe person for her to talk with when she is struggling, and that even if you see things differently, your ultimate goal is to be a safe and supportive person for her to talk to.
 

“I see this situation a little differently than you do, but what matters to me the most is how I can be here for you, and make you feel supported.”

4. Inquire if she wants your perspective.

 

“Would you like to know my thoughts about this, or is it best for me to just listen?”

5. Share with her consent.

IF she says she wants your perspective, THEN, and only THEN, share your perspective.

 

“How I see this situation is … “

Focus more on understanding, less on being “right.” Remember, she has come to you to feel better, not worse.

Got Questions?

1 + 6 =

ABOUT Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.

Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 83.75% on my own "How Lesbian Are You" test,  don't let that fool you. Since returning to school in the '90s for my MSW, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: help lesbian couples grow love. 

I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships and women loving women. For fun, I do things like create online quizzes at asklesbians.com, to learn more about real lesbians. Or I write books. like, "Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship," to give couples an easy way to communicate. (www.1000question.app) And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats and The Lesbian Roadshow throughout the U.S. in awesome destinations where our motto is, "love out loud" with Adventures in Love.  You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

A Feel Good Coming Out to Parents Story

 Coming Out to Parents

 

 

 

On Christmas Eve, 1988, I was home from college for winter break.  Like every other Christmas Eve, I was gathering inspiration and ideas to begin my holiday shopping.  Yes, begin.  My mom turned to me and asked, “How are things going at school?”  Though innocent enough, this was the kind of question that only seemed subtle.  I could sense something was up, I just didn’t know what.  I replied, “Great, why?”  Quickly, the subtle was no longer so, when she said, “Your father has been worried about you.  He tells me you seem more and more distant when you two talk.” 

I felt my stomach flip, then sink.  I think I know where this is headed. Coming out to parents is a terrifying experience for most of us, and I had the sneaky suspicion that my mom was rolling out the red carpet for me to finally say to her, I’m gay.

Testing the waters, I responded with, “Well what if I am just choosing to share less, because I don’t feel like dad will approve of what I am doing, or what I have to say, even if there’s nothing wrong with it?”  Unrelenting, my mom asks, “Like what?”

Suddenly I feel as though I am driving full-speed ahead toward an innocent animal trying to cross the road.  Gripping the steering wheel, eyes closed, I pray that no one gets hurt, including me.  I swerve, asking, “What if I am dating a man who is not Caucasian?”  Knowing that she would not have an issue if this were true, but my dad might, I give her yet another out, another path to safety for both of us.  I explain, “I don’t think dad would approve, but there’s nothing wrong with it, so why would I want to share that with him?”

Is the road clear?  You know that feeling, like you’ve done your best to avoid the vulnerable animal darting across the road, with the lingering guilt of not knowing.  Persisting, my  mom says, “Are you dating someone of a different ethnicity?”  Afraid to look in my rear view mirror, I move forward, feeling as though I may just vomit.  I muster up the courage to blurt out, “What if I am not dating men at all?”  There.  I said it.  Sort of.  Please let her know what I am saying because I can’t say those three words, I can not say, I am gay.

The dance is over.  My mom has managed to position herself perfectly to ask me the question she really wanted to ask when she started this conversation.  Without the slightest change in her demeanor, she simply asks me, “Are you gay?”  And I begin to cry.  Still unchanged, her silence is kind and patient, inviting my response.  Eventually, I managed to say, “Yes, I’m gay, and I’m sorry.  I am so sorry.  I never wanted you to know. I didn’t want to be, and I am so sorry to disappoint you.” 

All this time later, still etched in my mind, is her most amazing response. I quote: “Michele, you have nothing to apologize for.  You have done nothing wrong.”  I have my mom to thank for helping me unwrap the gift of freedom that Christmas.  A gift I’ll never exchange. 

If you are contemplating coming out to parents, here are some other articles that may interest you:

Coming Out Stages

Coming Out in Heterosexual Relationships

Coming Out

Being Out

Coming Out to Parents

 

Got Questions?

14 + 10 =

ABOUT 

 Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D. is an expert lesbian relationship coach and psychotherapist with a comfortable obsession with all things related to love and relationships between women. She is particularly fascinated by lesbian couples in blended families, issues of infidelity, lesbian sexuality, lesbian premarital care, loving out loud, and recovery from lesbian breakups. She is the author of Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship, which is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, as well as an app on Itunes /Google play. As a side-hobby, she operates a quirky site called "AskLesbians.com" where she randomly polls lesbians to satisfy the quirkiest of curiosities. Lastly, she and her wife Kristen host Lesbian Couples Retreats in various destinations. So far lesbian retreat destinations have included: Nebraska, Texas, North Carolina,Tennessee and New Mexico.You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co. This article is an adaption of Chapter Six of a dissertation written by Michele O'Mara, PhD. Tap here to read the entire dissertation in a pdf format. 

When to end a relationship? Do These 10 things first.

When to end a relationship?

Do these 10 Things to Do Before You Breakup.

 

Great relationships require hard work, useful information, and a lot of discipline. If you are wondering how to know when to end a relationship, or whether you should end your relationship, these 10 steps are for you.

1. If in doubt, stay. 
If you question whether you should break-up, chances are you are in the perfect position to heal old wounds and develop new skills to feel better about yourself, your relationship and your life. Ambivalence is a sign that you have more to learn. 

If you are 100% certain it’s time to end the relationship, move to number two. If you have doubt, you need to find the answer to this question: 

What do I need to know to feel confident about staying or about leaving? 

Most people leave a relationship before learning what they need to learn to be more successful in future relationships. 

2. Identify the reason(s) you want to leave (be specific)
Discernment Counseling is a clarification process (read more here) designed to help couples know when to end a relationship and when to keep trying. Usually, one partner is leaning out (wants to end things) and the other is leaning in (wants to work on things).

The three forks in the road are:

  1. End the relationship
  2. Commit to 6 months of intensive relationship work – going all in
  3. Choose to keep things the way they are (which can be a powerful recognition that you are indeed in this unhappy place by choice).

The discernment model describes “hard” and “soft” reasons to break up. Hard reasons to end a relationship include: ongoing affairs, physical abuse, addiction, and emotional cruelty. “Soft” reasons to end a relationship are things like, growing apart, lack of communication, and falling out of love. 

To move in any direction with certainty about your relationship, be sure you can identify what you are feeling and name the source of your pain as specifically as possible. “Hard reasons” do not require the same level of reflection or discernment as “soft reasons.” Knowing when to end a relationship is much easier with hard reasons than it is with soft reasons, but it still isn’t “easy!”


3. Close Exits.
Agree to close all exits. An exit is anything that takes you out of your relationship, despite the fact you haven’t left. These are things like drinking, excessive food intake, unhealthy relationships or friendships, and family relationships that encourage you to leave (for non-“hard” reasons). It is impossible to know when to end a relationship if you have a constant and intense distraction. You must cut all contact with any outside party when there is an emotional distraction, affair, or attraction that is negatively impacting your relationship. You can not fan the flames of a new love interest and expect to have the energy, interest, and motivation to re-ignite a fire with your existing one. I heard it described once that comparing a new love interest to your existing love interest is like comparing the joyful freedom of horseback ride in wide open, unexplored terrain to that of cleaning out the barn and grooming and feeding the horse. 


4. More Responsibility, Less Blame
Move your focus away from your questions about if or when to end your relationship. Suspend your thoughts about whether she offers you what you want and need. Instead, focus entirely on yourself with specific emphasis on what you want in your life, what your dreams and hopes are, and where you want your life to lead. This may require extensive self-examination through journaling, conversations with friends, spiritual leaders or associates, counseling, and meditation. 

5. Reality Check 
Once you can see the vision you hold for your own life, begin to explore whether you can make that vision a reality in the context of this relationship. Share your vision for your life, for your relationship, with your partner and have her do the same. Take an honest look at whether you can achieve those goals together and whether you are willing to work on a shared purpose that works for both of you.

6. Identify and Name the Obstacles 
If you feel you cannot reach your life dreams and goals in the context of this relationship, then turn your focus to the real obstacles. Name the actual barriers that are preventing you from reaching your dreams. For example, if a part of your life dream is to be an aquamarine scientist that requires you to live near an ocean, and your partner wants to stay in her landlocked hometown near her family, this may be an obstacle to your life dream. Be confident that it is the relationship which prevents you from realizing your vision for your life, and not something else. Are you limiting yourself in some way? 

7. Ask yourself the right questions. 
As you identify the obstacles to living the life you desire, experiencing the relationship you want, or achieving any goal, be sure you don’t stop at the obstacle. For every obstacle, ask yourself a “How..” question. If in the example about the aquamarine scientist, you need to be near an ocean and your partner is settled in her land-locked hometown, the question would be: “How can I pursue my dream of being an aquamarine scientist without my wife having to move away from her hometown.” When we focus on obstacles, we lose the creativity and openness necessary to identify solutions.


7. Notice What’s Already Great
It’s no secret that gratitude is a natural healer for most things. When you experience discomfort in a relationship it is natural to want relief. Unfortunately, for everything that feels bad in a relationship, we need five things to feel good to maintain a stable (not even happy) relationship. For a happy relationship, we need to find 20 things good for every one thing that feels bad. If you feel bad, chances are, there is significantly more that works than you realize because of the 20:1 ratio!

When something feels bad, we are more inclined to find evidence to validate the bad feeling, than we are to look for opposing evidence that much more is actually great. You wouldn’t be in this relationship if there isn’t some good somewhere. Chances are if you have 5 complaints about your relationship, you likely have 20 positives that you have stopped noticing.

8. Check your Stories
Most people end relationships because of beliefs they develop over time. “I’m not a priority,” “She doesn’t love me,” “I’m not good enough,” “Nothing I do is ever enough,” “She just wants to control me,” “She’s never happy with me,” “I don’t make her happy,” etc… Identify the stories you relate to. Once you have them, ask yourself this, “What do I feel in this relationship that I also felt as a child?” If you can relate to feeling in ways that are familiar to how you felt as a child, then your “imago” is alive and kicking and it is important to identify how much of your feelings are related to how you’ve always felt, and how much of your feelings are related to this specific relationship. Here is a quick imago quiz to familiarize you with this concept. (It’s relationship changing stuff, people!) 

9. Seek Understanding, Not Proof
Most couples who are considering a breakup do not understand one another. Many people lack the skills to deeply understand the behaviors, comments, and actions of others; and worse yet, are the false understandings which are worse than a lack of understanding.

  • It is easier to judge than it is to understand, seek understanding anyway. 
  • It is easier to criticize than it is to remain curious, be curious anyway.
  • It is easier to assume than it is to gather facts, gather facts anyway.


Most people who exit a relationship have a generic story, a surface understanding of their pain, and an interpretation of their relationship that has been thought for so long that they begin to believe it is true. Do not end your relationship because of stories, assumptions, false interpretations and lack of understanding. Get facts, be curious, lose judgment, and seek understanding.

10. Email me or Schedule with Me (the phone is not my favorite) 
Reach out to me, or another couple’s therapist who has at least one additional credential in couples counseling (Imago, Gottman, EFT, Discernment, etc). Put your relationship in a safe container and commit to doing the work needed to determine whether to work it out or break up. If you are not comfortable going to couple’s counseling with your partner (or she is not willing to go with you), consider going alone with the goal of organizing your thoughts and feelings. Though together is better, when one partner is in therapy, both partners can benefit.
 

Got Questions?

2 + 2 =

ABOUT Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.

Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 83.75% on my own "How Lesbian Are You" test,  don't let that fool you. Since returning to school in the '90s for my MSW, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: help lesbian couples grow love. 

I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships and women loving women. For fun, I do things like create online quizzes at asklesbians.com, to learn more about real lesbians. Or I write books. like, "Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship," to give couples an easy way to communicate. (www.1000question.app) And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats and The Lesbian Roadshow throughout the U.S. in awesome destinations where our motto is, "love out loud" with Adventures in Love.  You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

Lesbians and Dog Custody: What happens to the dog when lesbians break up?

Lesbians and Dogs: Shared Custody With Ex’s?

 

Survey Visits: 389

Survey’s Completed: 159

The lesbians and dogs custody survey was reader-suggested. For this great topic, we are looking at the relationship between lesbians and their dogs.

For starters, the lesbians and dog custody survey inquired about how many lesbian couples adopted, purchased or acquired a dog with a female partner. A whoooping 74% said yes, and only 26% said no.

According to the 159 lesbians who complerted our survey, 26% report they got a dog with their female partner within the first year of their relationship. The majority (39%) of survey respondents report getting a dog together between years one and three. Twenty-six percent indicate they do not get a dog together.

What was the reason you wanted to adopt or purchase a dog with your partner?

      • My partner wanted one ~ 28%
      • I wanted one ~ 14%
      • We both wanted one ~ 50%
      • To feel like we “own” something together ~ 8%

In years one through three, 58% of lesbians report getting a dog because they both wanted one. This seems to be the most common reason and the most frequently reported time frame for getting one.

Interestingly, 18% of women who state the reason they got a dog was because their partner wanted one say they have kept, or will keep, the dog in the event of a separation, with 60% stating the partner wanting the dog keeps the dog, and 17% report joint custody of the dog. When asked how many different relationships lesbians aquired a new dog, only 27% indicate that they got a dog with a partner in more than one relationship. 

Who retained custody of the dogs, or will retain custody of the dog, if there is a break up?

  • I will keep, or have kept the dog ~ 24%
  • She will keep, or has kept, the dog ~ 25%
  • WE would have, or do have, joint custody 11%
  • I have experienced both situations where have gotten the dog, and I have lost the dog ~ 12%
  • Break up? We are in it for the U-Haul…I mean the long haul ~ 28%

Interesting observation: of those reporting they are in it for the long haul, 18% are in their first relationship, 27% are in their second relationship, 43% are in their 3rd to 5th relationship, 9% are in their 6th to 10th relationship and 2% are in their 11th or more relationship. Relationship optimism seems most prevalent among those in their 3rd to 5th relationship.

At what point in your relationship did you get dogs?

  • 0-3 months ~ 3%
  • 4-6 months ~ 9%
  • 7 -11 months ~ 14%
  • 1-3 years ~ 39%
  • 4+ years ~ 9%
  • Does not apply ~ 25%

What was the reason you wanted to adopt or purchase dogs with your partner?

  • My partner wanted one ~ 28%
  • I wanted one ~ 14%
  • We both wanted one ~ 50%
  • To feel like we “own” something together ~ 8%

 In years one through three, 58% of lesbians report getting a dog because they both wanted one. This seems to be the most common reason and the most frequently reported time frame for getting one.

Interestingly, 18% of women who state the reason they got a dog was because their partner wanted one say they have kept, or will keep, the dog in the event of a separation, with 60% stating the partner wanting the dog keeps the dog, and 17% report joint custody of the dog.

    In how many different relationships have you acquired new dogs with a female partner?

        • 0 ~ 35%
        • 1 ~ 39%
        • 2 ~ 22%
        • 3 ~ 4%
        • 4+ ~ 1%

    Who retained custody of the dogs, or will retain custody of the dogs, if there is a break up?

    • I will keep, or have kept the dog ~ 24%
    • She will keep, or has kept, the dog ~ 25%
    • WE would have, or do have, joint custody 11%
    • I have experienced both situations where have gotten the dog, and I have lost the dog ~ 12%
    • Break up? We are in it for the U-Haul…I mean the long haul ~ 28%

    Interesting observation: of those reporting they are in it for the long haul, 18% are in their first relationship, 27% are in their second relationship, 43% are in their 3rd to 5th relationship, 9% are in their 6th to 10th relationship and 2% are in their 11th or more relationship. Relationship optimism seems most prevalent among those in their 3rd to 5th relationship.

    How many lesbian relationships have you had?

    • 0 ~ 0%
    • 1 ~ 11%
    • 2 ~ 16%
    • 3-5 ~ 55%
    • 6-10 ~ 16%
    • 11+ ~ 3%

    What is your age?

    • 18-24 ~ 18%
    • 25-34 ~ 18%
    • 35-44 ~ 23%
    • 45-54 ~ 30%
    • 55+ ~ 10%

    ABOUT Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.

    Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 83.75% on my own "How Lesbian Are You" test,  don't let that fool you. Since returning to school in the '90s for my MSW, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: help lesbian couples grow love. 

    I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships and women loving women. For fun, I do things like create online quizzes at asklesbians.com, to learn more about real lesbians. Or I write books. like, "Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship," to give couples an easy way to communicate. (www.1000question.app) And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats and The Lesbian Roadshow throughout the U.S. in awesome destinations where our motto is, "love out loud" with Adventures in Love.  You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

    #1 Desire in Lesbian Relationships is to Feel Loved

    #1 Desire in Lesbian Relationships is to Feel Loved


    to feel loved
    Survey says that above all else, feeling loved is most important to lesbians. In a very brief, no-nonsense survey on asklesbians.com, lesbians were asked not only about how important it is to feel loved, but also to rate 13 other aspects of a relationship according to importance. The scale was 1-5, with one being very low importance, and 5 being the highest importance.

    Twenty four lesbians completed the survey. Their ages ranged from age from 18 to over 54 with the majority falling into two age groups:

    • 38% ages 18-24
    • 29% ages 35-44

    The bulk of women completing the survey identify as cis-gender female (which means they were assigned female at birth and this gender assignment suits them just fine). Four participants did not identify as cis (one transfemale, and three non-binary).

    The following scores represent the weighted scores for each variable on the survey. The higher the number, the more important this variable is to the lesbians who completed the survey.

    • 4.25 Feeling Loved
    • 4.17 Feeling Understood
    • 4.09 Humor
    • 4.08 Overall Relationship Satisfaction
    • 4.04 Sexual Chemistry
    • 3.92 Emotional Connection
    • 3.92 Emotional Safety and Security
    • 3.88 Fidelity/Faithfulness
    • 3.83 Intellectual Connection
    • 3.71 Pleasure from Sex
    • 3.46 Social Compatibility
    • 3.33 Frequency of Sex
    • 2.96 Spiritual Connection
    • 2.5 Financial Security

    What surprised me most about these results is that Safety and Security weren’t higher. Granted, the survey sample is small. I’m also curious about what makes financial security so low. I find myself wondering if that is a reflection of not wanting to place the value of money above the value of love? However, for this survey, you can have both (rate them both a 5), so it’s curious to me if there is a rejection of or disinterest in financial security?

    The top four make sense to me. Except, again, it’s curious to me that feeling loved doesn’t ring in at a solid 5. Does this mean that there are a couple of lesbians that find that to feel loved is overrated? Or feeling understood is only generally important, but not always important?

    • 4.25 Feeling Loved
    • 4.17 Feeling Understood
    • 4.09 Humor
    • 4.08 Overall Relationship Satisfaction

    These surveys always leave me even more curious. How about you? What do you think about these results? Do you agree it’s most important to feel loved in your relationship?

    ABOUT Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.

    Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 83.75% on my own "How Lesbian Are You" test,  don't let that fool you. Since returning to school in the '90s for my MSW, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: help lesbian couples grow love. 

    I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships and women loving women. For fun, I do things like create online quizzes at asklesbians.com, to learn more about real lesbians. Or I write books. like, "Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship," to give couples an easy way to communicate. (www.1000question.app) And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats and The Lesbian Roadshow throughout the U.S. in awesome destinations where our motto is, "love out loud" with Adventures in Love.  You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

    Lesbians Dogs and Divorces

    Lesbians Dogs and Divorces

    Lesbians Dogs: Who gets Custody if There’s a Breakup

     

    Survey Visits: 389

    Survey’s Completed: 159

    The lesbians dogs custody survey was reader-suggested. For this great topic, we are looking at the relationship between lesbians and their dogs. 

    For starters, the lesbians dogs custody survey inquired about how many lesbian couples adopted, purchased or acquired a dog with a female partner. A whoooping 74% said yes, and only 26% said no. 

    At what point in your relationship did you get a dog?

    • 0-3 months ~ 3%
    • 4-6 months ~ 9%
    • 7 -11 months ~ 14%
    • 1-3 years ~ 39%
    • 4+ years ~ 9%
    • Does not apply ~ 25%

    What this means is that in less than one year, 26% of lesbians who completed the lesbians dogs custody survey got a dog with their new partner. This may lend some credence to the uhaul lesbians effect discussed here.

     

    In how many different relationships have you acquired a new dog with a female partner?

    • 0 ~ 35%
    • 1 ~ 39%
    • 2 ~ 22%
    • 3 ~ 4%
    • 4+ ~ 1%

    It seems that after trying this once, (39%) the interest in accumulating a dog with a partner diminishes. Perhaps this is because one or both already have a dog, or maybe it is because they  are still with the dog’s co-mom. However, in the lesbians dogs custody survey only 27% report adding a dog to a new relationship more than once.

    What was the reason you wanted to adopt or purchase a dog with your partner?

    • My partner wanted one ~ 28%
    • I wanted one ~ 14%
    • We both wanted one ~ 50%
    • To feel like we “own” something together ~ 8%

     In years one through three, 58% of lesbians report getting a dog because they both wanted one. This seems to be the most common reason and the most frequently reported time frame for getting one.

    Interestingly, 18% of women who completed the lesbians dogs custody survey say they have kept, or will keep, the dog in the event of a separation, even though it was their partner’s idea to get one. There are 60% of women stating the partner wanting the dog keeps the dog, and 17% report joint custody of the dog.

      Who retained custody of the dog, or will retain custody of the dog, if there is a break up?

      • I will keep, or have kept the dog ~ 24%
      • She will keep, or has kept, the dog ~ 25%
      • WE would have, or do have, joint custody 11%
      • I have experienced both situations where have gotten the dog, and I have lost the dog ~ 12%
      • Break up? We are in it for the U-Haul…I mean the long haul ~ 28%

      Interesting observation: of those reporting they are in it for the long haul, 18% are in their first relationship, 27% are in their second relationship, 43% are in their 3rd to 5th relationship, 9% are in their 6th to 10th relationship and 2% are in their 11th or more relationship. Relationship optimism seems most prevalent among those in their 3rd to 5th relationship.

      What is your age?

      • 18-24 ~ 18%
      • 25-34 ~ 18%
      • 35-44 ~ 23%
      • 45-54 ~ 30%
      • 55+ ~ 10%

      How many lesbian relationships have you had?

      • 0 ~ 0%
      • 1 ~ 11%
      • 2 ~ 16%
      • 3-5 ~ 55%
      • 6-10 ~ 16%
      • 11+ ~ 3%

      Do you have a lesbian date? How many dates before you commit?

      Do you have a lesbian date? How many dates before you commit?

      Should I commit after one lesbian date?

       

      Survey visits: 404 

      Completed  the lesbian date survey:  105 

       

      One of the most common jokes about lesbians, ever, is:

       Question: What does a lesbian bring on their second date? 

      Answer: A U-Haul

       (Full disclosure, we are guilty of keeping this alive by selling a t-shirt about this at our lesbiangift.store) 

      lesbian date, u-haulResearchers have come up with terms to describe the rapid bonding that occurs between women in love, such as, the urge to merge, fusion, and lack of individuation, etc. What this means in everyday terms is that women who love women are prone to moving quickly, bonding deeply, and the stereotype that may or may not be true, is that women lose themselves in their relationships with other women in no time at all.

      In research conducted by Charlene Yvette Senn (2010), points out that “given the strength of this fundamental assumption about fusion in writing by and about women in same-sex couples, there has been little research demonstrating problematic levels of closeness, merger, and/or fusion in their relationships.” She also shares that “Some authors have suggested that there may be pathological components to closeness or fusion if the relationship lacks boundaries or is characterized by excessive appeasement and conflict avoidance, but that a high degree of closeness itself is not pathological (Ackbar & Senn, 2010; Kitzinger, 1996).

      Anecdotally, it has been my experience in working with female same-sex couples that it is precisely the desire to AVOID CONFLICT, and I would add FOSTER SECURITY/ATTACHMENT (rather than closeness, per se), that moves women toward each other in ways that cause challenges in relationship.

      How long do you date before committing?

       

      1-4 dates: 40%

      5-10 dates: 46%

      11-20 dates: 11%

      21-60 dates: 2%

      60 or more dates: 2%

      As you can see, the survey participants on the lesbian date survey reveal that 86% of lesbians commit to a relationship between 1 and 10 dates. What is curious to me is, what motivates women to move in together so quickly? If it isn’t the desire to be super close, super fast (the urge to merge, or fusion), might it help foster security and attachment? This is what makes sense to me. What are your thoughts?

      Just to give you insight about who completed the lesbian date survey, here are the stats on their dating activity, dating history, age and relationship status and history. 

      With how many women have you had at least one date where there was physical contact (at least kissing or more)?

      None ~ 6%

      1 ~ 11%

      2-4 ~36%

      5-10 ~ 28%

      11-20 ~ 11%

      20-30 ~ 4%

      30+ ~ 6%

      With how many women have you had at least one date in your lifetime?

      None ~ 0

      1 ~ 10%

      2-4 ~37%

      5-10 ~ 31%

      11-20 ~ 11%

      20-30 ~ 4%

      30+ ~ 7%

      How many committed, intimate relationships with woman have you had?

      1 ~ 17%

      2 ~ 27%

      3-5 ~ 47%

      6-10 ~ 8%

      11+ ~ 2%

      How old are you?

      18-24 ~ 21%

       24-29 ~ 11%

       29-30 ~ 2%

       31-35 ~ 11%

       36-40 ~ 12%

       41-50 ~ 25%

       50+ 19%

      ABOUT Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.

      Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 83.75% on my own "How Lesbian Are You" test,  don't let that fool you. Since returning to school in the '90s for my MSW, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: help lesbian couples grow love. 

      I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships and women loving women. For fun, I do things like create online quizzes at asklesbians.com, to learn more about real lesbians. Or I write books. like, "Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship," to give couples an easy way to communicate. (www.1000question.app) And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats and The Lesbian Roadshow throughout the U.S. in awesome destinations where our motto is, "love out loud" with Adventures in Love.  You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

      Uhaul Lesbians and their Dating Behavior

      Uhaul Lesbians and their Dating Behavior

      Uhaul Lesbians Dating Behavior

      This is a quick summary of the feedback for our survey on how quickly lesbians move from dating to committing, to see if there is any merit to the Uhaul joke, about “what does a lesbian bring on a second date?” … “A u-haul.”

      We had 404 Visits to the survey. Of those visitors, 105 brave lesbians completed the questions. Here’s how they responded.

      How long have you been dating women?

      To get an idea of who the uhaul lesbians are in this survey, we have inquired about how long women have been dating lesbians. The majority of women (92%) have been dating women, in general, for at least one year. And 76% have been dating women for over 3 years.

      • <1 year ~ 8%
      • 1-3 years ~ 16%
      • 4-9 years ~ 21%
      • 10-20 years ~ 31%
      • 21+ years ~ 24%

      On average, how long do you date a woman before committing to be exclusive with another woman?

      To verify whether or not uhaul lesbians still exist, we are asking one simple question. How long do you date before you commit? Of course, this does not mean that the couples move in together, as the Uhaul suggestions, but it does indicate how quickly women commit to one another which is certainly a part of the uhaul lesbians phenomenon.

      Of the women who completed this survey, 86% commit to a woman between 1-10 dates. In fact, 40% of women report having committed to being exclusive with a woman after only one to four dates.

      • 1-4 dates ~ 40%
      • 5-10 dates ~ 46%
      • 11-20 dates ~ 11%
      • 21-60 dates ~ 2%
      • 60 or more dates ~ 2%

      With how many women have you had at least one date (mutually agreed upon time spent together to get to know each other in a romantic context – which does not require physical contact to qualify as a date) in your lifetime?

      • None ~ 0
      • 1 ~ 10%
      • 2-4 ~37%
      • 5-10 ~ 31%
      • 11-20 ~ 11%
      • 20-30 ~ 4%
      • 30+ ~ 7%

      With how many women have you had at least one date where there was physical contact (at least kissing or more)?

      • None ~ 6%
      • 1 ~ 11%
      • 2-4 ~36%
      • 5-10 ~ 28%
      • 11-20 ~ 11%
      • 20-30 ~ 4%
      • 30+ ~ 6%

      How old are you?

      • 18-24 ~ 21%
      • 24-29 ~ 11%
      • 29-30 ~ 2%
      • 31-35 ~ 11%
      • 36-40 ~ 12%
      • 41-50 ~ 25%
      • 50+ 19%

      How many committed, intimate relationships with a woman have you had?

      • 1 ~ 17%
      • 2 ~ 27%
      • 3-5 ~ 47%
      • 6-10 ~ 8%
      • 11+ ~ 2%

      It seems there continues to be some merit to the idea of uhaul lesbians that move quickly when they fall for a woman. Eight-six percent of women report they commit to becoming exclusive at some point between one and ten dates. Forty-percent of these women say they commit in less than 5 dates.

      What happens to the dogs when lesbians break up?

       

      Lesbian Scissoring, Tribadism, or Oral Sex: What do gay women like?

      Lesbian Scissoring, Tribadism, or Oral Sex: What do gay women like?

      Lesbian Scissoring, Tribadism, or Oral Sex:  What do lesbians like most?

      Of all the various sexual actvities between women, scissoring seems to get the most attention. It is increasingly visible in movies such as Blue Is the Warmest Color, Handmaiden, and Orange is the New Black.  It would be natural to assume that this is a regular sexual activity of lesbians, given the coverage it has been receiving on screen.

      In an effort to see if the media representation of lesbian scissoring is accurate, we created a survey of 130 female-identified women who report attraction to women, 12 sexual activities (listed below) were ranked in order of  satisfaction, frequency, and displeasure.

      The following lesbian sexual activities were included in the survey:  Clitoral Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or finger, Oral Sex (Receiving), Oral Sex (Giving), Clitoral Stimulation by Vibrator  or Toy, Penetrative Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or Finger, Penetrative Stimulation by Vibrator or other Toy, Tribadism (stimulating clitoris by rubbing it against some part of your partner’s body), Breast Stimulation by partner’s hand, Mutual Masturbation (we pleasure ourselves at the same time), Scissoring (mutual stimulation of clitoris against partner’s clitoris at the same time), Anal Sex (Receiving), and Anal Sex (Giving).

      The verdict is in:  lesbian scissoring is not a preferred sexual activity of most lesbians.

      Here’s what we learned about the most preferred lesbian sex.

      The top MOST SATISFYING LESBIAN SEXUAL ACTIVITIES (as defined by either leading to orgasm or if non-orgasmic, providing maximum pleasure) are:

      • Clitoral stimulation by partner’s hand (67%)
      • Receiving oral sex (64%)
      • Clitoral stimulation by vibrator or toy (55%)
      • Penetrative stimulation by partners hand or fingers (54%)

      The top four sexual activities MOST FREQUENTLY engaged in by lesbians are:

      • Clitoral stimulation by partner’s hand (76%)
      • Penetrative stimulation by partner’s hand or fingers (71%)
      • Giving oral sex (68%)
      • Receiving oral sex (60%)

      The LEAST ENJOYED sexual activity by lesbians are:

      • receiving anal sex (70%)
      • giving anal sex (58%)
      • lesbian scissoring (33%)

      The following survey results are provided for those seeking detailed information about the responses.

      Most Satisfying Lesbian Sexual Activities

      lesbian scissoring

      • 67% Clitoral Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or finger
      • 64% Oral Sex (Receiving)
      • 55% Clitoral Stimulation by Vibrator  or Toy
      • 54% Penetrative Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or Finger
      • 39% Oral Sex (Giving)
      • 31% Penetrative Stimulation by Vibrator or other Toy
      • 28% Tribadism (stimulating clitoris by rubbing it against some part of your partner’s body)
      • 25% Breast Stimulation by partner’s hand
      • 21% Mutual Masturbation (we pleasure ourselves at the same time)
      • 15% Scissoring (mutual stimulation of clitoris against partner’s clitoris at the same time)
      • 8% Anal Sex (Receiving)
      • 6% Anal Sex (Giving)
      • 4% Other – oral breast stimulation

      Sexual Behaviors that Lesbians Report Almost Always Engaging In

      • 75% Clitoral Stimulation by Vibrator  or Toy
      • 70% Penetrative Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or Finger
      • 69% Clitoral Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or finger
      • 68% Oral Sex (Giving)
      • 60% Oral Sex (Receiving)
      • 55% Breast Stimulation by partner’s hand
      • 36% Tribadism (stimulating clitoris by rubbing it against some part of your partner’s body)
      • 20% Penetrative Stimulation by Vibrator or other Toy
      • 10% Scissoring (mutual stimulation of clitoris against partner’s clitoris at the same time)
      • 6% Mutual Masturbation (we pleasure ourselves at the same time)
      • 6% Anal Sex (Receiving)
      • 5% Anal Sex (Giving)
      • OTHER activities noted in the blank text box:
        • Oral stimulation to the breast by a partner (which was an oversight, and meant to be included with “by hand”)
        • Spanking, slapping, and fisting
        • Kissing
        • Oral stimulation all over the body
        • Massage
        • Nibbles

      Sexual Activity that Lesbians Report Engaging in Occasionally, but not Regularly

      • 46% Clitoral Stimulation by Vibrator  or Toy
      • 38% Penetrative Stimulation by Vibrator or other Toy
      • 34% Mutual Masturbation (we pleasure ourselves at the same time)
      • 32% Tribadism (stimulating clitoris by rubbing it against some part of your partner’s body)
      • 28% Oral Sex (Receiving)
      • 25% Scissoring (mutual stimulation of clitoris against partner’s clitoris at the same time)
      • 22% Oral Sex (Giving)
      • 19% Penetrative Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or Finger
      • 18% Breast Stimulation by partner’s hand
      • 18% Anal Sex (Giving)
      • 16% Clitoral Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or finger
      • 14% Anal Sex (Receiving)

      Sexual Activity that Lesbians Report They Do Not Enjoy

      • 10% Clitoral Stimulation by Vibrator  or Toy
      • 10% Penetrative Stimulation by Vibrator or other Toy
      • 15% Mutual Masturbation (we pleasure ourselves at the same time)
      • 12% Tribadism (stimulating clitoris by rubbing it against some part of your partner’s body)
      • 8% Oral Sex (Receiving)
      • 33% Scissoring (mutual stimulation of clitoris against partner’s clitoris at the same time)
      • 5% Oral Sex (Giving)
      • 19% Penetrative Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or Finger
      • 10% Breast Stimulation by partner’s hand
      • 58% Anal Sex (Giving)
      • 5% Clitoral Stimulation by Partner’s Hand or finger
      • 69% Anal Sex (Receiving)
      • 10% Report NO dislikes

      The age of survey respondents

       

      Self Identify 

      Percentage of Participants Who Experience Orgasm

      Got Questions?

      2 + 13 =

      ABOUT Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D.

      Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 83.75% on my own "How Lesbian Are You" test,  don't let that fool you. Since returning to school in the '90s for my MSW, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: help lesbian couples grow love. 

      I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships and women loving women. For fun, I do things like create online quizzes at asklesbians.com, to learn more about real lesbians. Or I write books. like, "Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship," to give couples an easy way to communicate. (www.1000question.app) And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats and The Lesbian Roadshow throughout the U.S. in awesome destinations where our motto is, "love out loud" with Adventures in Love.  You can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

      Lesbian Bed Death Meaning and History

      Lesbian Bed Death Meaning and History

      Lesbian Bed Death Meaning and History

      Is the death bed really a thing for lesbian couples?

       

      lesbian bed death, death bed, lesbian sex quiz, lesbian death bedWhat is lesbian bed death?

      When I first heard this term, I associated its meaning with violence (like a lesbian killing her partner in bed) and death (or a lesbian dying in bed). Yes, pretty concrete of me. I share this in case you have had a similar thought run through your head. Fortunately, lesbian bed death has nothing to do with lesbians killing or lesbians dying in bed.

      It’s a strange, but sticky phrase that dates back to the ’80s. While it is not clear when and precisely where or by whom the term was created, there is a long and winding journey (which I traced while working on my Ph.D. dissertation on lesbian sexuality) that reveals the history and development of this phrase.

      Admittedly, for some, this part of this article will be too much (boring) information and you may wish to skip to learning how often lesbians report having sex.

      Quick Links to Article Content

       

      Where it all started

      In 1983, a research study was published that identified lesbian couples as the least sexual couple pairing (Pepper Schwartz and Phillip Blumstein). This research led to more research which further confirmed that lesbians were not only having less sex than other couples, they were also experiencing a more rapid and dramatic drop in sexual frequency as their relationships continued (Loulan 1984). Soon, these statistics were broadcast in the media and just like that, a narrative of lesbians as non-sexual started to coalesce in our culture. And, it still lingers in our collective conscience today.

      The three-word phrase that captured the essence of this emerging concept of lesbians having infrequent sexual activity, combined with a rapid decline in sexual frequency in long-term relationships is lesbian bed death (LBD).

      |

      Lesbian Bed Death Meaning

      Lesbian Bed Death describes a phenomenon in which lesbian couples experience a comparatively lower rate of sexual frequency as well as a rapid decline in sexual frequency the longer they are coupled.

      Who coined the phrase lesbian bed death?

       Three women are most commonly credited for the phrase, lesbian bed death: researcher and co-author of the book American Couples, Pepper Schwartz;  author of Lesbian Sex  (1984) Joann Loulan; and famous lesbian comedian Kate Clinton.  

      When American Couples was published in 1983, it provided a credible source to describe lesbians as less sexually active than other couple pairs. How they arrived at this conclusion was through a massive study of 12,000 couples, in which Schwartz and Blumstein explored the behaviors of four couple pairings: married, co-habitating (heterosexuals), gay males and lesbian couples. Lesbians were identified as the pairing with the lowest rates of sexual frequency. When I asked Dr. Schwartz if she coined the phrase lesbian bed death in response to their research, she said, “It is attributed to me—people I know say I said it—but I never wrote it. Sadly, I have no memory about it—so I can’t deny or confirm!”

      LESBIAN TEST – HOW LESBIAN ARE YOU?

       

      Shortly after American Couples was published, Joann Loulan authored Lesbian Sex in 1984. In a conversation with Loulan, she shared with me, “I did not coin the phrase Lesbian Bed Death.” She explained, “I used it frequently, but of course my life was (and is) trying to make that change within the lesbian community and make sex sexy again.” 

      The last source credited for this phrase, Kate Clinton, also denied creating this unflattering narrative. She did, however, joke that rather than a same-sex relationship, she often joked that lesbians have a “some sex relationship.” Clinton led me to LGBT advocate Sue Hyde and her partner Jade McGleughlin. Sue Hyde thought her partner, Jade McGleughlin, was the one who captured the “entire phenomenon of decreasing lesbian sex activity in long term couples” into the well-known phrase in 1985 or so.  In a conversation with Jade McGleughlin, however, she said she believed the phrase “coalesced spontaneously among a group of lesbians for whom it captured an experience particular to that moment.”

      This is consistent with Sue Moir, another lesbian whose name surfaced during my search for the roots of LBD, who said she heard this phrase “at a dyke gabfest in Newton,” and shared it with McGleughlin. McGleughlin was working on a Master’s thesis at the time on the topic of lesbian bed death. While she didn’t coin the phrase, she said she viewed herslf as a messenger. During the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, McGleughlin gave a speech during the Sex and Politics Forum. Sue Moir was there, and Moir said, “I can tell you it was the first time that the audience had heard it [lesbian bed death].”

      The timing of McGleughlin’s speech also coincided with the lesbian sexuality research (Schwartz and Blumstein 1983, Loulan 1984, 1987) at the time, which became an accelerant for the spread of the LBD message. Ultimately, Lesbian Bed Death took on a new and unintended meaning that gave shape to lesbian sexuality as inferior, and in some way doomed. McGleughlin expressed regret about the impact of this phrase. In her opinion, the phrase “collapsed the complexity of lesbian sexuality,” and what might otherwise have been a historical phenomenon became a “condensation” and “condemnation” of lesbian sexuality. Ultimately, it took a village of lesbians to create a shared narrative about the experience of declining sexual activity in lesbian relationships and this message spread like wildfire across the United States.

      Three women are commonly credited with the phrase lesbian bed death.

      Pepper Schwartz, Co-Author of American Couples

      “It is attributed to me—people I know say I said it—but I never wrote it. Sadly, I have no memory about it—so I can’t deny or confirm!”

      Joann Loulan, author of Lesbian Sex

      “I did not coin the phrase Lesbian Bed Death.” She admitted, “I used it frequently, but of course my life was (and is) trying to make that change within the lesbian community and make sex sexy again.”

      Kate Clinton, Lesbian Comedian

      Always the comedian, Clinton joked that lesbians aren’t in a same-sex relationships, they are in a “some-sex relationships.”

      Sexual Frequency of Lesbians

      Until the 80’s lesbians were judged negatively if they had sex with women. Therefore, as lesbian bed death gained some traction, and the collective conscious shifted, it was an ironic flip of the script when lesbians were being judged for not having enough sex with women. Go figure! Most of the research between the 80’s and 2010 (when I conducted my own research) was consistently reporting lower levels of sexual frequency for lesbians than other couple pairings. 

      I was also seeing lesbian couples in my private practice who were reporting low levels of sexual activity. Same-sex female couples would report having minimal and sometimes no sexual activity for years. This was a key motivation for my return to school in 2010 to get my PhD in Clinical Sexology. I wanted to understand lesbian sexuality better, therefore, the focus of my research was lesbian sexual frequency and how this affects lesbian relationship satisfaction.

      I conducted my research with 498 lesbians. Using a snowball approach to finding lesbians, I started with the large sample of lesbians I knew from providing same-sex couples counseling to females for over a decade. With the help of social media, the initial group of lebians I contacted were able to then reach out to other lesbians across the United States to create a wider-reaching sample. Lesbians from most states were represented, and 

      This is what I learned:

      • 12% reported having no sex in the last six months
      • 37% reported having sex once or less per month
      • 20% report having sex 2-3 x’s per month
      • 27% report having sex 1- 3 x’s weekly
      • 5% report having sex 5 or more times weekly

      Sexual Frequency of Lesbians Based on Age

      Age

      4+ x’s
      Per Week

      1-3 x’s
      Per Week

      2-3 x’s
      Per Month

      1x Monthly
      or Less

      1x weekly or more

      < 21 Years (n=6)

      17%

      17%

      33%

      33%

      34%

      21-30 Years (n=50)

      10%

      38%

      18%

      34%

      48%

      31-40 Years (n=127)

      6%

      28%

      20%

      47%d

      34%

      41-50 Years (n=169)

      4%

      27%

      24%

      44%

      31%

      51-60 Years (n=72)

      6%

      15%

      17%

      63%

      21%

      60 + Years (n=15)

      7%

      7%

      13%

      73%

      14%

      (Percentages reflect sexual frequencies per age group and n=lesbians per age )

      Summary of Sexual Frequency of Lesbians Based on Age

      As might be expected, lesbians in their 20’s report the greatest frequency of sexual activity, followed by women in their 30’s. There is a minimal decline in reported sexual frequency for women in their 40’s and the most significant drop occurs with lesbians once they turn 50. Because 51 is the average age of menopause, and menopause is known to affect women’s libido, the 10% drop in sexual frequency that is reported by women in their 50’s is not a shocking discovery. 

      What is important about sexual frequency is whether or not you are happy and satisfied with your sexual relationship with your partner. There is no right amount of sex that anyone “should” be having, regardless of your sexual orientation. Sex is personal, and it plays a different role in the lives of different women. The key is to understand what sex means to you, what sex means to your partner or wife, and to maintain open communication about your respective needs, and how each of you can get your needs met in your relationship. 

      UPCOMING LESBIAN
      COUPLES RETREATS

      august, 2019

      Nashville Lesbians Couples Retreat: SEPTEMBER 4-8, 2019Lesbian Couples Retreat 4 Nights: Nashville, TennesseeYear Around Event (2019) EST Nasvhille, TennesseeClasses:LESBIAN COUPLES RETREATS

      THE LESBIAN ROADSHOW - INDIANAPOLIS, INA Ted Talk Meets Speed Dating Meets Lesbian Couples Education all Wrapped Up in One Power Packed Evening.Year Around Event (2019) EST The Lesbian Roadshow - Indianapolis, INClasses:EVENTS,LESBIAN COUPLES RETREATS

      Got Questions?

      8 + 15 =

      ABOUT THE AUTHOR

      Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D. is an expert lesbian relationship coach and psychotherapist with a comfortable obsession with all things related to love and relationships between women. She is particularly fascinated by lesbian couples in blended families, issues of infidelity, lesbian sexuality, and recovery from lesbian breakups. She is the author of Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship, which is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, as well as an app on Itunes /Google play. As a side-hobby, she operates a quirky site called “AskLesbians.com” where she randomly polls lesbians to satisfy the quirkiest of curiosities. Lastly, she and her wife Kristen host Lesbian Couples Retreats in various destinations, and you can learn more about those at lesbiancouples.co.

      This article is an adaption of Chapter Six of a dissertation written by Michele O'Mara, PhD. Tap here t read the entire dissertation in a pdf format.

      X