Lesbians and Scrabble: Understanding Lesbian Bed Death from a Feminist Perspective of Science

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Michael Karson, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Shelly Smith Acuña, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Julia B. Colwell, Ph.D.


Lesbian Bed Death, LBD, Psychology


The term "Lesbian Bed Death" (LBD) resulted from a landmark study that found, when compared to other types of couples, lesbians had sex less frequently at every stage of the relationship. Subsequent studies attempted to understand or disprove this finding. The current study provided the subjects of science with a voice in reacting to the psychological literature and employed the use of a focus group with four lesbians, whose comments were recorded. The themes that emerged and resulting implications are summarized. Implications for therapists include: avoiding heterocentric and phallocentric assumptions about how lesbians experience sexual satisfaction; helping couples understand how gender socialization and internalized homophobia contributes to sexual inhibition; normalizing sexual desire; and helping couples develop a sense of autonomy while staying emotionally connected.


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