The Lesbian Urge to Merge

Anne Witton 1 year ago
Blog 3 mins

There’s an old joke that goes something like this:

Q - What do lesbians bring on a second date?
A - A removal van

The ‘urge to merge’ is a stereotype associated with lesbians and characterised by a tendency to form very deep emotional connections very quickly, to move in after a short amount of time, dress the same, do everything together, and essentially become the same person. Like all stereotypes, it isn’t true of everyone, but there is some truth in it. Here’s how one secular therapist describes it:

‘Merging is when two women who have an immediate, intense, intimate physical and emotional attraction to one another start spending all of their time together. Feeling so connected and close creates such pleasure that the urge to become almost one is too tempting to deny.’1

I have definitely noticed this in my own experience of sexual relationships with women, and it’s caused me to reflect on why God’s design that sex be reserved for heterosexual marriage is a good thing. Lesbian relationships can be so intense and so overwhelming that it’s almost impossible to stop your lover becoming God to you. This has happened to me, and it’s incredibly painful to realise that I’ve been putting someone else in God’s place. It’s unfair to her, and it’s ultimately unsatisfying because no other person can meet the needs in me that only God can fulfil.

When you’re in love with another woman, you often find that you’re so similar to each other that it’s easy to lose your identity in each other. You become each other in a really unhelpful way. As I’ve sought freedom from lesbian relationships, I’ve realised that I don’t want to lose who I am to who I am with. An essential part of me is lost when I give myself to another woman in a way I was never supposed to. I stop being who God created me to be. It’s very easy for me to romanticise the idea of the happy lesbian couple – and of course there are happy gay couples – but there are also intrinsic difficulties in gay relationships which mean if we enter into them we miss out on living the best life that God wants for us.

There is less of a danger of losing your own identity or putting your spouse in God’s place in opposite-sex relationships because of the differences between men and women, and I think that’s one of the reasons why God designed sex as an important way for two very different people to bond in a godly marriage.2 As one writer who has had sexual relationships with women and men observes:

‘It is because of, and not in spite of, the tensions between the sexes that marriage works. Masculinity and femininity each have their vices and their strengths. The difficulty when you have two women or two men together is that they understand each other too well, and are thus inclined more to excuse than forgive. That frank bafflement which inevitably sets in, in any heterosexual relationship ("Why on earth would he do that? I just don't understand...") never set in throughout all of the years that my girlfriend and I were together – naturally enough. We were both women, and we chose each other because we seemed to be particularly compatible women.’3

As I reflect on my experiences of the intensity of lesbian relationships, I am thankful to God that he is freeing me from the ‘urge to merge’ with another broken human being. My prayer for myself and for all my friends who experience same-sex attraction is that our desire would be to find ourselves in Christ, united to our perfect lover forever.

‘But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ’ (Ephesians 2:13).
  1. Lauren D. Costine, Lesbian Love Addiction: Understanding the Urge to Merge and How to Heal When Things Go Wrong (Bowman & Littlefield, 2016), p.xxiv.
  2. There is of course still some danger of this and straight relationships aren’t immune from co-dependency and idolatry.
  3. Melinda Selmys, Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism (Our Sunday Visitor Inc, 2009), p.117.