A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Gaslighting, Love Bombing & 5 Other Triggers To Call Out In Your Relationships.” A part of the reason why I did it is because I totally agree with an article that ran on TIME’s site earlier this year: “Gaslighting, Narcissist, and More Psychology Terms You're Misusing.” As a life coach, I can tell you that it can be super annoying (at times) to see folks just throw words around when it’s clear that they are just parroting what they heard someone else say.
An example? Narcissist. The more I watch people rant about how an ex in their life was a narcissist, the more I oftentimes see narcissism in that very individual. A narcissist is entitled. A narcissist has an inflated sense of self. A narcissist refuses to see someone else’s side of things, they constantly need attention and validation, and they don’t take criticism well. So no, someone isn’t a narcissist simply because things didn’t work out with you or they didn’t get on the same page as you as far as your relational expectations are concerned.
Okay, but that’s another discussion for another time. For now, what I want to talk about is another psychology term that gets worn out: toxic. While the dictionary defines it as something (or one) that is poisonous or harmful, in the world of mental health, toxic is about being an abusive type of individual — whether it’s mental, emotional, verbal, spiritual, relational, or otherwise. Someone is not toxic just because they don’t see eye to eye with you or their views differ from yours. “Toxic” is significantly detrimental to your overall health and well-being.
That said, can you have a toxic relationship with yourself? Absolutely. I’m about to share seven ways that it can manifest. And not from the casual TikTok angle either; these all can be significantly poisonous and extremely harmful if you don’t get a hold of them — even if doing so requires therapy. And sis, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. Good therapy is toxicity’s kryptonite.
Okay, so what are some signs that you truly have a toxic relationship…with you?
Identifying the Telltale Signs of a Toxic Relationship with Self
1. You Don’t Hold Your Own Self AccountableGiphy
The amount of people in my past world (including my own family) who were masters when it came to lacking personal accountability? LAWD. That’s why I make it my personal mission to hold my own self accountable. In fact, several people in my world say that I am almost too self-aware, if that’s possible (it’s possible; Aristotle once said that the excess of virtue is indeed a vice. Anything in the extreme is out of balance). I’m pretty sure that’s why I talk about it and write about it as much as possible (check out “What It Actually Means To 'Hold Yourself Accountable'”).
Personally, I find people who lack personal accountability to be dangerous to themselves and others. If you think I’m exaggerating, ponder how a lack of accountability operates. It doesn’t take responsibility for its actions. It deflects, excuses, and justifies wrong behavior. It plays the victim a lot. It finds a way to blame everyone in the world for what it does. It tends to be personally and professionally stagnant. It’s emotionally immature and superficial. Does that sound un-dangerous to you?
So, why do so many people struggle with self-accountability? If you grew up in a home where your parents, quite frankly, sucked at it, if you’re not used to people owning their stuff and apologizing to you, if you’re afraid to really deal with your areas of weakness — all of this could have a starring role. Whatever the case may be, no one can be a fully self-sufficient and thriving adult unless they are willing to take accountability for what they say and do. Folks who think otherwise — yes, on some level, they have some sort of toxic relationship with themselves.
2. You Don’t Honor Your Own BoundariesGiphy
Listen, as someone who knows what it’s like for someone to know my limits and then be like, “Girl, whatever. I’m gonna roll right over them” — I will forever be on-repeat when it comes to screaming from your rooftop and mine about how important it is to have clear and firm boundaries — not walls or barbed wire fences…boundaries. A boundary is a limit, and you have every right in the world to set the limits that you need in order to live out your life to the fullest.
So, why is this such a struggle for so many people? Fear is a huge reason. They might be scared that they will lose someone if they set a boundary. They might be afraid that other people’s boundaries in response to their own boundaries will change relational dynamics (sometimes it will, and that is okay). They might not want to deal with the consequences (or fallout) that come with setting boundaries.
When it comes to all of these, not doing what’s best for you because you’re fearful of how someone else will react? That simply isn’t a good enough reason because, as a boundaries-setting queen, I can promise you that the people who are healthy for you are going to honor your limits — and even honor you for having them.
You know, it really is true that people who are upset by another person’s boundaries are very oftentimes the ones who like to run over them or take advantage of the individual who set them in the first place. I don’t care if the boundary is with a friend, co-worker, romantic partner, or (please catch it) family member. People who respect others will get that a limit is set for that person’s own protection — and healthy people support those who do what will keep them safe and secure.
If you’re the one who keeps shifting your boundaries around to accommodate others…guess who the main culprit is when it comes to not protecting you? Yep…YOU.
3. You’re Not Living Out Your Purpose (and You Know What It Is)Giphy
When you get a chance, please check out “5 Signs You Are Living Your True Purpose” and “Please Stop Picking People Who Don't 'Fit' Your Purpose.” Y’all purpose is more than just important; PURPOSE IS PARAMOUNT because it literally means “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.” This is why I am aggressively adamant in telling singles that if you don’t know your purpose or you are dating someone who doesn’t know theirs, the last thing that you need to be thinking about is marrying them. Why? It’s because two people need to know what they were put on this planet to do first so that they’re clear on who will best complement them.
And even beyond relationships, it’s critical to know what your purpose is. Personally, I believe that’s why a lot of people are dissatisfied with their life. I mean, how can you truly be fulfilled if you don’t know what your life mission truly consists of? And if you’re not intentional and in constant pursuit of answering that question, on many levels, that is indeed toxic — because to be here without knowing why, on some levels, is harmful to your well-being.
So, how can you know that you know what your purpose actually is? Something that I advise is if you can define your purpose in three words or phrases, almost immediately, you’re probably very clear. For instance, whenever folks ask me what mine consists of — marriage, sex, and the Sabbath are my purpose. They are all covenant principles and things that I am very passionate about. In many ways, they all work together, too. I pretty much breathe them. I write and teach on them daily. Money isn’t a huge factor on whether they will be a part of my life, for the rest of my life. And supernatural insights come to me about them (folks tell me that all of the time).
What about your life can you say those things about? Whatever “it” is, there’s a huge chance that it is directly tied to your purpose. And what if you have no clue? Check out these articles here, here, and here. They all contain questions that can help you to connect some dots.
In the meantime, never be comfortable with not knowing your purpose. To stay in that kind of space, knowing that it’s the literal reason for why you’re here? That is a toxic mindset. A billion times over.
4. You Make an Olympic Sport Out of Self-DeprecationGiphy
Something that’s interesting about self-deprecation is that a lot of people think that it’s only about putting themselves down. Although that is a big part of it, self-deprecation actually has a few different layers. If you don’t know how to take compliments, that’s a manifestation of self-deprecation. If you let others take credit for the work that you’ve done, that’s a manifestation of self-deprecation. If you downplay yourself and what you bring to the table — any table — that’s a manifestation of self-deprecation. And that’s just for starters.
So, why do so many people struggle with it? If they weren’t affirmed much and/or if they received backhanded compliments throughout their childhood and adolescence, that could be one reason. Another could be if their religious experience defined humility in a very unhealthy way. Yeah, a lot of folks struggle with being humble to this day, and it’s because they think that it’s all about looking down on themselves when that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Humility is actually being so strong in your self-worth that you don’t need to hog the spotlight, announce everything that you do for other people, or always be in a mindset of competition. Humble people don’t need to be jealous or envious. Humble people can help others win. Humble people are empathetic and compassionate because they know that life isn’t all or just about them.
That’s why Scripture says things like, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11 — NKJV) and “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4 — NKJV) If you were told something different, you could think that seeing yourself as “less than” or letting others treat you that way is being humble when really — it’s self-deprecating.
And surely you can see how problematic all of this is. How can it even remotely be healthy for you to speak poorly about yourself or to approach life as if you don’t hold enough value to be a relevant and necessary voice in this world? Yeah, you can’t have a healthy relationship with yourself if you don’t see yourself in a healthy way. Not sure how else to break down this one. If this is where you struggle most, make humility the goal; let self-deprecation…GO.
5. With You, Everything Has a Negative SlantGiphy
One of my closest friends, I call her “glass half full” and she calls me “glass half empty.” Both conclusions are accurate. She almost always sees things with a mega upswing while I’m over here being slightly cynical with no hesitation or apologies. For the most part, it’s because one of my spiritual gifts is discernment (if you are a Bible follower and you’ve never taken a spiritual gifts test before, a good one is right here), and in the world we live in, discernment (which literally means “acute judgment”) is becoming a lost art and is definitely on the endangered species list. Yet, I do have to make sure that I don’t let my natural negativity bias get in the way.
A negativity bias is something that all humans naturally have. In short, it’s an automatic inclination to look for the negative or worst-case scenario of things. However, just because it’s common, that doesn’t make it “right” or beneficial. There are plenty of articles in cyberspace that address how negativity infects your health, your brain, your productivity, your sleep patterns, and 1000 percent your relationships. Hmph. There’s one woman I know who, pretty much everyone who knows her, says that she’s completely draining to be around — and that’s because she always sees things in a negative light. It’s almost like she’s unhappy if anything positive is going on. It’s bizarre.
Listen, the reason why I shared what I did about myself and my discernment gift is that it’s one thing to be practical…realistic…aware; it’s another to be out in these streets always thinking that something is too good to be true; constantly believing that everyone has an angle or agenda; making mountains out of molehills; being more problem-than-solution focused; being hypercritical; being contrary…just to be contrary; being a chronic complainer; thinking that everything that doesn’t go your way is the worst thing to ever happen to you and/or not being open to seeing things differently (than in “darkness”). If you felt triggered reading all of that, could it be because it reflects how you see a lot of the world and/or yourself? If that is indeed the case, there’s no time like the present to become a more positive person.
Get around positive people. Become proactive about your health. Be careful about the content that you take in. Get a sense of humor. Do things for other people. Respect your words more. Practice gratitude.
The thing about being negative is it takes far more than it gives. Settling for that, on any level, is definitely a toxic way to live your life.
6. Your Coping Mechanisms Are Unhealthy and/or Totally CounterproductiveGiphy
In short, anything that you do in order to manage the stress levels in your life is your coping mechanism (they are not to be confused with defense mechanisms, by the way; that’s another message for another time). By this definition, not all coping mechanisms are bad. For instance, if you meditate, unplug from social media, and go on solo dates — these are good tactics for dealing with life’s stressors.
On the other hand, if you’re a shopaholic or workaholic; you stay in unhealthy relationships (including friendships); you’re an emotional eater; you run to sex (this used to be one of mine); you sleep a lot (as a way of a mental or emotional escape); you abuse drugs or alcohol; you’re non-confrontational to your detriment (meaning, you keep letting people do and say whatever to you in order to “keep the peace”)…these are just some examples of having very unhealthy coping mechanisms — ones that are indeed toxic.
Right now, I have a friend who is realizing that she is a victim of narcissistic abuse. Her coping mechanism has been to choose men who love bomb her. It’s been a vicious cycle and, quite frankly, pretty painful to watch because, all of this time, she thought narcissism was confidence and love bombing was chivalry. Neither was the case — not by a long shot. So now…she’s in therapy trying to unlearn all of that mess. And what she’s also discovering is she hasn’t been “coping”; she’s been avoiding. For years, because all of this has been her pattern, she thought it would be easier to stay on the hamster wheel of dysfunction than to deal with some childhood traumas that are directly associated with why she does some of the things that she does.
And honestly, I think that’s why a lot of people remain in unhealthy or, at the very least, totally counterproductive coping mechanisms. They’ve built up such a tolerance to their habit of choice that they think it’s easier to remain with it than to get the help that they need to break free. And you know what? Even if the train of thought is understandable, that doesn’t make it any less — say it with me now — TOXIC. Bottom line, if you don’t deal with stress well and you seek out things that can exponentially make your life even more stress-filled (if not immediately, eventually)…that is toxic.
7. Your Relationships Lack ReciprocityGiphy
As we prepare to close this out, I think the easiest way to explain this one is, if you see your own self from a place of lack, not deserving much or having to prove your value, you will choose people who mirror all of that. I know this to be true because I used to be one of these people. Certain childhood issues definitely played a role (your own parents can raise you to become codependent if you can never do enough to please them or they are emotionally manipulative in order to control you). So did having some really poisonous female friends (bad female friends aren’t discussed enough, y’all). And so, I thought that my life was to consist of constantly overdoing for others and doing without in the process.
YES. THAT IS TOXIC.
When you do things for other people without getting anything in return, that is an act of service, a form of ministry, and that is fine. At the same time, when you give someone the title of being your friend (check out “Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone 'Friend'”) or a part of your tribe/circle, something that should automatically come with that is some freakin’ reciprocity. Yes, you should expect that they will be there for you, just like you are for them. Yes, you should expect that if you’re meeting needs, they are willing to do the same. Yes, you should expect that if you’re celebrating them, they should be celebrating you. Folks who try and tell you that you shouldn’t not just expect but require this from your “people”? Watch out for those folks…they are the ones who will drain you dry, chile.
When you have an unhealthy relationship with yourself, you don’t get how much reciprocity should be a part of your world. Oh, but the healthier “you and you” become — it’s so easy to see a relationship for what it is and then shift if it’s not really…a relationship (feel me?). Hear me when I say that reciprocity is not a “bonus” in true relationships — it’s a given.
It’s the late Eartha Kitt who once said, “It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.” So true, so true. And now that some signs of a toxic self-relationship have been shared, the good news is you have the power to change it — all of it. You don’t have to wait on anyone else to feel good about you and do right by you.
And sis, there truly is no time like the present. Gift yourself with a toxicity detox. It’s time.
PAST TIME. Don’t you think?
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Featured image by MoMo Productions/Getty Images
- How I Broke Free From A 7-Year Situationship That Wasn't Serving Me ›
- Are You Addicted To Toxic Relationships? ›
- What A Toxic Relationship Can Reveal To You About Yourself ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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A dead bedroom can kill any relationship. In all long-term, committed relationships, couples experience various phases, from the initial passion to a more complex and enduring connection. Yet, as time passes, sex may decrease, which introduces an issue often referred to as "bed death."
According to Advance Psychology Partners, 'bed death' occurs when individuals in a committed relationship experience a decline in the frequency of sexual activity and fall short of the desires of both or either partner. It is sometimes labeled a "sexless relationship" due to the infrequency of sex. In the U.S., an estimated 20 million people find themselves in such relationships.
This shift is a significant change for couples. Let’s face it: no one wants to be in a sexless marriage or relationship. But how can couples effectively confront the impact of fading physical intimacy on the overall health of their enduring partnership?
"I have found that many factors influence one's desire to dive, and it is often not a majority of just one thing. Most people assume that if they don't desire [sex], they are no longer physically attracted, but in my experience, that has little to do with it most of the time," explained Brittanni Young, LMFT, CST.
"Some of the heavy contributors that I see most often include excessive goal orientation towards orgasm, people not prioritizing their own sexuality, and the landfill of ‘should’s’ that develop from toxic sexual scripts created long ago in upbringing," she added.
Furthermore, these issues are not exclusive to any particular orientation, but it does manifest differently.
Young is a licensed marriage and family therapist, sexologist, and board-certified sex therapist who practices in Georgia and Florida. She has worked in the sexology field for over a decade. Young helps couples and individuals looking to get through challenges of all facets facing sexuality and intimacy, such as desire mismatch, over-compulsion, and dysfunctions. She recently launched a deck of intimacy connection cards called "Show Me Your Cards." Young is working on another product that helps teach children to consent and negotiate appropriate touch. She sat down with xoNecole to discuss what causes the decline in the bedroom, the myth of 'lesbian bed death,' and recommendations on overcoming "bed death."
The Decline In Intimacy
Intimacy often dwindles within relationships, a phenomenon triggered by various factors such as stress, the insidious monotony of routine, and the toxicity of unresolved conflicts, to name a few. While couples manage daily life, exchanging intimate desires and concerns may take a backseat. Sadly, this gradually erodes the closeness once shared in the relationship.
"Typically, the first thing I do when working with a couple on desire challenges is rule out medical causes by referring them to their primary care physician or other provider they are working with," Young shared. "There are times when unmanaged or mismanaged conditions factor into low desire levels. Also, many medications can wreak havoc on keeping desire levels up, such as antidepressants, SSRIs, anti-anxiety, and blood pressure medications, to name a few."
Jeff Bergen/ Getty Images
"Next, I look at the state of the relationship. If there is dissatisfaction in the relationship, then it definitely affects how close and intimate one wants to be to another. There are also plenty of individual factors one can bring into the equation, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, feelings of shame or guilt around one's own sexuality, and external life stressors that can get in the way. I find that life stressors can be a big one for folks, as once you get in the habit of not prioritizing sex, it tends to stick," she added.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent "bed death." It can involve prioritizing your wants and open communication about sexual needs.
"What tends to be effective for all couples is taking an inventory of how satisfied they are with their sexual behaviors and engagement. Being truthful in this vein can be the start of unlocking inhibitions that can keep you from seeking out and being genuinely vulnerable in intimate spaces," Young explained. "Next, I suggest opening up lines of communication around these truths. When people assume that nothing can be done, hope is lost."
The Myth Of 'Lesbian Bed Death'
The notion of "lesbian bed death" perpetuates a simplistic and inaccurate stereotype about the sexual dynamics within lesbian relationships. Contrary to the myth, the experience of a decline in intimacy is not universal among lesbian couples. The diverse spectrum of relationships among women challenges this oversimplified narrative, emphasizing that the complexities of sexual dynamics extend beyond stereotypical assumptions.
"The notion of 'lesbian bed death' is based on a research study done by Pepper Schwartz in 1983 that found that lesbian couplings fell behind in sexual frequency compared to heterosexual and gay male couplings," Young revealed.
"Several other studies [after] have replicated these findings but give very little information about sexual satisfaction. Despite there being more research needed overall in the sexuality field, more recent research did find that when it comes to the length of sexual encounters, lesbian couples had the longest duration of encounters. To that end, sexual quality over quantity is a better marker of satisfaction, and that is what I pay most attention to in my work. With that said, dissatisfaction can happen in all couplings over time," the sexologist continued.
Factors influencing reduced intimacy among lesbian couples may include communication challenges, societal pressures, and individual variations in libido. Menstruation can also play a role, with some couples navigating discomfort or hormonal changes during this period.
"There are certainly some nuances that come into play with lesbian couples that differ from heterosexual or other-oriented couples. As I stated earlier, physiological factors can factor into the rise and fall of libido. The hormone fluctuations that come from menstruation and menopause can impact desire levels, and it is double present in lesbian couples. Another nuance is the lack of a sexual script from society on lesbian sexual behavior. There are patriarchal roots to sexual research, which have created our societal norms that tend to leave out anyone who isn't heterosexual," Young stated.
Overcoming The Challenges
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While 'bed death' challenges couples, solutions are within reach. By identifying and addressing the underlying causes, couples can rekindle the flame of intimacy and ensure a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
"In the words of Esther Perel, another sexual professional in the field, 'love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery.' I recommend keeping it in the front of your mind, prioritizing, and keeping it interesting. Be open to learning more about your own sexuality every day, as well as your partner. You are always growing; what worked for you 20 years ago may not be the same today. Stay curious with one another and be open to exploring new ways to pleasure. You deserve it," Young said.
For instance, Young advised that couples should "keep sexual encounters light and playful." And not be afraid to introduce new elements, such as toys.
"Touch often in ways that are consensual and feel safe! I made 'Show Me Your Cards' to serve this purpose specifically. Just because you do not feel in the mood to go all the way does not mean you aren't in the mood to hold hands, exchange body massages, or dance together. Connecting often in any physical form, as long as it feels pleasurable, still counts as 'being in the mood,'" she said.
Overcoming the hurdles of "bed death" and debunking myths surrounding 'lesbian bed death' offers a unique perspective for couples grappling with the difficulties of sustaining a connection. Learning the proper ways to work through a sexless relationship can help foster a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
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