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%

Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D., that's me. Third-person "about me's" are too impersonal. It's like saying, "You are loved," when what I really mean is, "I love you." Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 96% 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. While my fantasy to be in the WNBA, and my dream of joining the Peace Corp, or my desire to have twelve children, has faded with time, my fixation on helping lesbians grow love remains. I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships. For fun, I do things like create online quiz's 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. (Shameless plug - you can get this on Kindle on Amazon, as well as an app on Itunes /Google play). And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats 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 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 + 10 =

Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D., that's me. Third-person "about me's" are too impersonal. It's like saying, "You are loved," when what I really mean is, "I love you." Relationships are my thing. Some would say, my obsession. While I only scored an 96% 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. While my fantasy to be in the WNBA, and my dream of joining the Peace Corp, or my desire to have twelve children, has faded with time, my fixation on helping lesbians grow love remains. I am that person who has built her life around one thing: lesbian relationships. For fun, I do things like create online quiz's 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. (Shameless plug - you can get this on Kindle on Amazon, as well as an app on Itunes /Google play). And, now that our boys are young men, my love, and my wife, Kristen, and I are growing lesbian love through Lesbian Couples Retreats 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.

 

Survey Answers: How Do Lesbians Have Sex | Fisting | Threesomes | and More

Survey Answers: How Do Lesbians Have Sex | Fisting | Threesomes | and More

Lesbians answer the question: How do lesbians have sex and other personal questions 

how do lesbians have sex

It is not uncommon for lesbians to field random and often very personal questions, such as, “How do lesbians have sex?” I wonder how many heterosexual couples have been asked, “so, how do you two have sex?”  You might assume this is because everyone knows how heterosexuals have sex, but is that true? There is the obvious penis-in-vagina method, but does that mean that is all heterosexuals do and what they prefer? For the 75% of women who can not orgasm from the ole penis-in-vagina method of sex, I hope it’s not all there is to heterosexual sex! This question is just one of many that lesbians find themselves asked on a regular basis, so I created a survey to put these questions to rest!

The Survey Questions

  1.  How do lesbians have sex?
  2.  Is one woman “the man” in your sex life?
  3. If you are attracted to women, why do you have sex with women that look like men? (If this applies to you)
  4. How do you flirt with another woman? (i.e. How would I know if you are attracted to me?)
  5. Do you rely on toys for a satisfying sex life?
  6. Do you engage in fisting?
  7. Do you have threesomes with your partner and another person?
  8. On average, when you are having partner sex (not masturbation) what is the typical time of clitoral stimulation (or your preferred stimulation) necessary to achieve an orgasm?

About the Survey Responders

Of the 132 women who have completed this survey, the majority of responders are between the ages of 35-54 (66%), followed by 22% ages 25-34, 9% over 55 years of age, and 3% ages 18-24. Of these women, 64% report they are exclusively attracted to women, 20% state they are mostly attracted to women and some men, with 14% stating they are generally drawn to people, not genders, with 2% reporting they are primarily attracted to men and some women. All but one woman reports they are orgasmic. In general, research indicates that 10% of the female population is not orgasmic, so either the non-orgasmic lesbians shied away from this survey, or lesbians have special superpowers when it comes to orgasms. (I like to think it’s the later).

Question One: How do lesbians have sex?

The first, and probably most commonly asked question for lesbians is: How do lesbians have sex?  There are 132 answers to this question listed here for your reference. A loose summary of these individual responses reveals a common theme about how lesbians describe their own sexual activity. In general, the most prevalent response (58%) indicates the use of hands and fingers for touching and clitoral stimulation. A tie for the second most commonly reported answer to the question, “How do lesbians have sex?” is the use of sex aids (45%) and oral sex (45%). Penetration shows up less, with 20% indicating the use of fingers and sexual aids for penetration. Of note, 6% of lesbians said they simply do “what feels good,” and there were similar reports of communication, passion, and breast play. Very few (3%) included scissoring in their definition of lesbian sex, and even less (2%) included anal play.

Also, of note, a couple responders expressed disgust with the question, a few referenced that it’s the same as sex with a man, without the penis, and a handful simply stated their frequency of sexual activity rather than what they actually considered sex. My favorite response to the question, “How do lesbians have sex?” was simply: “very well, thanks.”

Question Two:  Is one woman “the man” in your sex life?

The majority of women (72%) indicate “no,” there is no “man” in our sex life. Some (14%) indicate that on occasion there is, and very few (4%) state that yes, there is. Clearly, how this question is interpreted can affect the way it is answered. There were a few people (10%) who preferred to explain their feelings about this question. The explanations seem to translate “the man” to mean a more masculine and/or dominant role in one’s sex life or the one who penetrates. Among those who expanded on their answers, there is still a little endorsement of the idea that one is “the man,” and my favorite answer of all is: “That’s like asking a pair of chopsticks which one is the fork and which one is the spoon. No, we are both women. Period.”

Question 3: If you are attracted to women, why do you have sex with women that look like men? (If this applies to you)

The majority of survey responders (47%) report that they do not have sex with women that look like men. As for those who do, (20%) selected the option that they “prefer women who appear more masculine, just as some men are more attracted to more masculine women,” and (16%) state that it is not about the gender presentation that they are attracted to, it’s the personality and other characteristics about her that she’s drawn to.

From the additional comments, it’s also important to note that many women are aware of the reality that gender presentation is a human-made concept and that in reality, as one woman said: “Those ‘looks’ are not exclusive to men. Just as women don’t OWN the rights to make up.”

As for the original question, then, “If you are attracted to women, why do you have sex with women that look like men,” it seems the answer has little to do with “looking like men,” in that only 20% of women report that they are expressly attracted to women with a masculine presentation. The remaining responders who do not deny attractions to more masculine men suggest that while a woman may have a masculine presentation, that is not the variable to which they are most drawn.  

4: How do you flirt with another woman? (i.e., How would I know if you are attracted to me?)

Sometimes it is assumed that if a woman is gay, she is romantically attracted to all women. Or at least that is the fear for some heterosexual women who might also be found saying something like, “I don’t care if she’s a lesbian as long as she doesn’t like me that way.” Fear has a way of impairing logic, not that lesbians don’t have a knack for also finding heterosexual women attractive. The point is, being a lesbian does not mean you will automatically fall in love with any and all women.  It simply means that when you do find “the one,” it will be a woman.

If you are wondering if she likes you, here’s what the women in this survey said about how they will let you know. Roughly half of the women (46%) will seek more time, conversation and interaction with you, and the other half (42%) will be more affectionate, complimentary, and use more eye contact. A small percent (4%) admit they are likely to be shy and withdrawn.

Some responders added additional comments. Two mentioned using humor, one likes to talk about sex, a couple others said they are very direct, one explaining that, “I don’t beat around the bush,” which gave me a good chuckle as I thought to myself, that’s probably a good idea, because someone might get hurt flirting like that, besides, how would you know if she even has a bush? (Ba-Dum-Dump)  One survey responder says she first becomes friends with her. Two others shared that it’s the “same as flirting with guys,” and two lesbians said they don’t flirt because they are married.  Though one of the married women did endorse flirting with her wife, “by smacking her on the ass and telling her how hot she is.” Lastly, one responder confessed, “I actually do not know how to flirt with women, or even tell if they are interested.”

5: Do you rely on toys for a satisfying sex life?

Sex toys, or as some prefer, sexual aids, are not an essential part of the lesbian sexual diet for 89% of the women responding to this survey. Only 11% report using sexual aids consistently during their sexual activity. The majority (52%) report using aids occasionally, 27% use them rarely and 8% do not use them at all. No additional insights about this were gathered from the comments.

6: Do you engage in lesbian fisting?

What is lesbian fisting? It is easy to visualize anything that involves a fist as being violent. However, in the case of lesbian fisting, this is a sexual practice where an entire hand is inserted either vaginally or anally. While many people associate fisting with lesbian sexual activity, only 76% of survey responders endorse ever having engaged in this practice. There are 16% of women who report that they do engage in lesbian fisting. Another 2% share they do not know what this fisting is. Some of the “other” responses include women who have been a giver but not a receiver, used to in a past relationship but not now or are “working up to it!” as one woman shared.

Before you set out to explore lesbian fisting, be sure to have a lot of lube on hand (pun intended), and position all of your fingers in a pointed position, pinched together (which is not the same as an entire fist inserted at once), and go slowly. 

7: Do you have lesbian threesomes with your partner and another person?

When it comes to threesomes, it seems that this is not a big draw for partnered lesbians. Among the responders to this survey, only 6% of women report that they have had a lesbian threesome with her partner, or with her partner and a man (it was not specified)  on more than one occasion and only 5% report that they have had a lesbian threesome (or a threesome with her partner and a man) once. If you add the lesbians who report having had a threesome while single, the total jumps to 31% of lesbians who have ever had a threesome under any circumstances.  A solid 58% of responders stated that they have not had a threesome with their lesbian partner and another person, and they would rather not. This leaves 8% of survey responders who have “not had a threesome, but would like to.” One responder added the comment, “we did once, and it was a disaster,” and another explained that she was in a relationship with a couple.

If you are wondering if that cute lesbian couple you just met wants to join you for a threesome, the odds are mighty slim according to this survey that you are going to get a “yes.”

8. On average, when you are having partner sex (not masturbation) what is the typical time of clitoral stimulation (or your preferred stimulation) necessary to achieve an orgasm?

The responses from lesbians completing this survey suggest that most women (34%) indicate that they need an average of 10-20 minutes of clitoral stimulation (or preferred stimulation) by one’s partner (not including masturbation) to reach an orgasm, and similar amounts of women (32%) state they can reach orgasm with 5-10 minutes of clitoral stimulation or other preferred stimulation. A few responders (7%) report needing more than 20 minutes. There is an impressive 23% of responders who report reaching climax with less than 5 minutes of partner stimulation.

Some women are self-conscious about the length of time it takes to climax, especially if she is partnered with someone who comes quickly. This bonus question is designed to validate the wide-ranging length of stimulation required for climax during partner sex. Most women can self-pleasure much more rapidly than they can with partner sex. Your responses may also vary from partner to partner, depending on different techniques and accessories used for stimulation.

As one woman commented, “Ok, this is not up to me…she can get me to orgasm in a few minutes or make me wait 15, 20, 30 minutes. She is in complete control and knows EXACTLY which buttons to push to drive me wild.”  Other responders clarified that they are indicating the length of time it takes for their first orgasm, but that they continue to have additional orgasms for another hour, and one woman shared that she continues to have orgasms for five or more hours after her first one.

Do you identify as a lesbian? Do you want to add your voice to #asklesbians?  Take the current survey here.

Got Questions?

15 + 10 =

Survey Results: Most Important Lesbian Relationship Goals

Survey Results: Most Important Lesbian Relationship Goals

lesbian relationship goals

Lesbian Relationship Goals

 

When it comes to lesbian relationship goals, our survey says that above all else, feeling loved is most important. 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).

 

Lesbian Relationship Goals

The following numbers represent the weighted scores for each variable on the survey. The numbers are on a scale of 1-5, and the higher the number, the more important this variable is to the lesbians who completed the survey. This list is in order of the most important lesbian relationship goals to least important:

  • 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 were not identified as a more important lesbian relationship goal than it was (3.92 out of 5). 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 most important lesbian relationship goals make sense to me. Although, it is 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

What are your thoughts about these results? Do you agree it’s most important to feel loved in your relationship? Do any of the findings surprise you, when it comes to what lesbians are saying are the most important goals in their relationships?

Three Essential Lesbian Relationship Goals for Lesbian Couples

Three Essential Lesbian Relationship Goals for Lesbian Couples

lesbian relationship goals, lesbian couple goals, lesbian goals

THREE ESSENTIAL LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP GOALS

FOR LESBIAN COUPLES

 

Start your relationship on the right foot with these three essential lesbian relationship goals. Much of what we learn in relationships comes from trial and error. However, there are also some great strategies that you can intentionally practice to increase your odds of a happy and satisfying relationship. These three lesbian relationship goals will get you headed in the right direction.

1. Seek Security Within Before Expecting it From a Relationship

Security is the result of accurately predicting what to expect from your partner and responding effectively to that which you are not anticipating. You will know that you are secure in your relationship with yourself when you have faith that no matter what life brings you, you will be able to make the next right choice to move you into a better place. Sometimes we are unable to predict what our partner will do, say, think or how she will behave because many variables in life are out of control for both of us. An unexpected accident on the interstate could make her late coming home from work. A canceled flight could prevent her from making it back in time for your birthday party. The key to finding security within is to have generally accurate predictions about what you can expect from your partner, and to allow room for logical and believable explanations when your predictions are off, or to respond with confidence when explanations are not believable.

On the other hand, when there is a lack of security within your self and within your relationship, the confidence that you can predict what to expect is replaced by expectations, demands, and a need for her to be a certain way, and do and say certain things, in order for you to feel safe with her. When you approach relationships from this perspective, you will notice yourself feeling more reactive, panicky, worried and angry when things do not go as you want. 

The best way to improve your sense of security is to recognize what is your business, or “in your lane,” and what is not. The only thing in this life that you can control or influence is that which is in your lane. Byron Katie, the author of Loving What Is, says all things in life fall in one of three categories: your business (what you can control), my business (what I can control), and the business of the universe or God (what is not controlled by humans).  When you get good at recognizing what is “my business,” you will feel increasingly more secure in this world. Insecurity stems from trying to control the uncontrollable. 

 

2. Maintain Your Interests, Hobbies, and Friendships

Maintaining friendships (with the exception of your ex), hobbies and interests are the second of three essential lesbian relationship goals. Because security is one of the most important things to women (not just lesbians) in relationships, women will often trade their independence for a sense of security. When this happens, the differentiation of who I am, and who you are, begin to breakdown and lesbian couples begin to think and operate very similarly, even if it is not authentically how each of them feels. This is referred to as “fusion,” or “merging,” and one of the adverse side effects of this is that there is not enough distance between partners to create the feeling of longing or desire. 

At the start of a relationship, you have the opportunity to see your partner from a distance, with more objectivity and curiosity. She is someone you want to know better. You are literally drawn to her, eager to move closer, closing the gap that exists when we do not know someone well.  You see her in HER environrment, doing her thing, being who she is – separate from you. I call this the desire gap. The desire gap is created by the independence you express in your relationship that produces enough distance, but not too much, between partners to generate a desire and longing for closeness. 

The instinct for lesbians is to bond rapidly, commit quickly, settle in and nest with her new partner, and to stop nurturing self-interests, hobbies, and friendships that are not shared. In time, this begins to close the desire gap, leaving little to no distance necessary for desire and longing. There must be a “you,” and there must be a “her,” separately, for you to experience desire for one another. It is difficult to generate longing and desire for a “we.”

If you are already in a relationship and have allowed your interests to fall away, you can make a movement toward this lesbian relationship goal by slowly returning to your natural interests and nurturing your friendships and hobbies. While you may be met with some resistance, suspicion or even anxiety at first, the benefits to you and your relationship, in the long run, are worth the discomfort involved in getting to this point. 

 

3. Allowing Emotional Wiggle Room

The third of three essential lesbian relationship goals is allowing. I call this giving one another the emotional wiggle room to have feelings without having to process and rid oneself of them immediately. In my work with lesbian couples over the past two decades, I have noticed a recurring pattern of aversion to any form of negative emotion among lesbians, whether it is directed toward a partner or elsewhere. 

In the presence of strong negative emotions, lesbian partners will often respond in one of two ways:

1) efforts to minimize or fix the negative feelings by acquiescing to what she believes her partner wants; or defensiveness and;

2) personalization of the negative emotions that can result in an extended conflict, brooding by one partner, or a hard withdrawal by both partners.

None of these responses offers the partner with the original feelings the time or space to process her experience and allow her emotions to run their course, or the opportunity to be understood by her partner for how she is feeling.

Interestingly, commonly cited research, by John Gottman, reports that during fights gay and lesbian couples take things less personally than heterosexual couples. This is not consistent with my experience in working with lesbian couples for the past two decades. In fact, it is quite common for women in relationships with women to take very personally all of the comments made by her partner, and for the two of them to spend countless hours processing these hurt feelings. I am inclined to think that the sample of only 12 lesbian couples in Gottman’s study is not large enough to accurately describe the common lesbian relationship experience. 

Women are emotionally attuned to one another more intensely than other couple pairings that involve men (gay or heterosexual). While emotional awareness and attunement to one another is generally a very positive relationship characteristic, there are times when it can create obstacles and limit emotional wiggle room in the context of relationships. To strengthen your ability to allow your partner emotional wiggle room, begin to notice when you are responding to her mood and not her words. If you find yourself wanting to ask, “what’s wrong?” or to “fix” her mood by pleasing her, instead, extend an invitation to talk when and if she wishes to. You might say, “Seems like something’s on your mind. I’m here if you want to talk about it.” If she says, “I’m fine,” and her body language screams “My mouth is saying I am fine, but I am not fine,” it is important to honor her words and let her come to you if she decides to. Your anxiety will make this difficult. Tend to your own feelings in these moments instead of hers, and see what a difference that makes.

More article by Michele O’Mara, PhD, LCSW

How to make relationships work when you have no common interests

5 Common Issues for Lesbian Couples

How to learn what your relationship imago is

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❤️ Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D. is an expert lesbian relationship coach 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. Lastly, she and her wife Kristen host Lesbian Couples Retreats in various destinations, and you can learn more about those here.

36 Questions To Fall in Love went viral, but does it work?

36 Questions To Fall in Love went viral, but does it work?

36 Questions To Fall in Love went viral, but does it work?

By now you have probably heard that there are 36 questions to fall in love with anyone. This idea was given a public platform January 9, 2015, in a New York Times article titled, To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This, by Mandy Len Catron. This idea went viral. It’s not surprising in our culture of quick fixes and fast solutions, that a 36-Question guarantee to fall in love would spread like wildfire. Who wouldn’t want to have that sort of love potion, with ingredients accessible to every last one of us…by simply asking 36 questions to fall in love, or make someone fall in love with us.

If you missed the original article by Mandy Len Catron, here’s a brief backstory that will help put this in perspective. In the article, Catron explained that she would occasionally run into a “university acquaintance” while at the climbing gym. In one of her random encounters with the climbing-gym-aquaintance, the two struck up a conversation. To her readers, she confessed to having had a pre-existing curiosity about him, saying she wondered, “what if?” after having “a glimpse into his days on Instagram.”

Wittingly, Catron found a way to weave into her conversation with this fellow-climber, a story about a research study she had read by Dr. Arthur Aron. The study, she explained to him, “tried making people fall in love” by having research participants ask and answer 36 questions. This study was published in 1997, and it is the original home of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love. Next she explained to fellow-climber, “I’ve always wanted to try it.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider this some pretty advanced-level flirting. I’m impressed.

Predictably, fellow-climber-guy took the bait, and responded by suggesting that they try the questions together. They met at a local bar over drinks. With iPhone in hand, Mandy cued up the 36 questions, and they passed the phone back and forth, taking turns answering each one. By design, the questions progress from less revealing to more and more personal. Clearly, doing this experiment over drinks at a bar, with someone you have an existing curiosity about, is significantly different than the lab research by Dr. Aron.  However, the spirit of the research is kept alive, as Catron observes, “We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative.” She alludes to how the questions forced her out of her safe zone where she could manage how she was being perceived, and took her into territories that required greater vulnerability.  As the questions intensify, the road ahead becomes less familiar, and this 36 questions adventure invites more and more self-disclosure.

Taking much longer than the 45 minutes allotted for Dr. Aron’s research participants, Catron and her climber-guy decide to do a suggested activity involving 4 silent minutes of eye contact with one another at the conclusion of asking and answering all 36 questions. Preferring more privacy than the bar allowed, they decide to walk to a nearby bridge, stand on the highest point, and exchange four minutes of silent eye contact. As Catron brings her story to a close, she reveals that she and climber-guy started dating after that night, and as of last report, they are still dating.

While it’s a more fun to think Cupid’s arrow was built with these 36 Questions, a quick look at the facts tells us we are going to need more than 36 questions to fall in love (and though I have 1,000 more questions if you wish to ask them, I’m not talking about more questions. There are great lessons we can learn from Catron, though, about how we can effectively improve our own search for love, as well as our efforts to nourish the love we have. What strikes me as important pieces of Catron and fellow-climber-now-boyfriend’s love story are these things:

  • Curiosity.  This is how all real connection begins – having an interest in someone.
  • Reciprocation.  When curiosity is reciprocated, the potential for a spark exists. It doesn’t work if it’s only one-way.
  • Vulnerability.  This is the risk-taking part, that opens us to hurt, yet also forms a foundation of trust and intimacy for a relationship to grow.
  • Take action.  To build love we must do something.  Love isn’t a thing we have, it’s a thing we do – so to find it, grow it, and maintain it, we must take action.  Love is a practice that never ends, because love is the practice and the practice is the love.36 questions to fall in love

If you want to be an epic sparkster (spark starter) like Catron, here’s a challenge that will give you the perfect opportunity to take a risk to get to know someone better (or to better your knowing of someone you love) – THE 36 QUESTIONS CHALLENGE.

Speaking of practicing love, this recent Style video from the New York Times Modern Love video series, is a perfect ending to this post. Enjoy this quick video that highlights three long-term couples who ask one another the 36 questions to fall in love. Their experiences are captured in this touching video. You will see the unfolding of exactly how curiosity and vulnerability combine to make the perfect intimacy cocktail, and their answers highlight the fact that love is a practice, a thing we do.

 

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