“Americans in Bed” has a lesbian couple talking sex and softball

Tonight on HBO the documentary Americans in Bed follows 10 couples from the U.S. as they discuss their relationships and how sex fits into them. One of the pairings is a lesbian couple from L.A. named Linda and Margie. As they sit in their bed, wearing nightgowns, sharing memories of meeting and falling in love, Linda gets teary-eyed and talks about how she feels about Margie:

“I feel like I’ve met my soulmate, the person that completes me, you know? I had a hole in my chest and when I met her, that hole is filled and I feel like a whole person now and not a part of a person, being with her.”

Both Linda and Margie were married to men previously, and they tell their individual stories. For Linda, friends suggested she tried to find love with a woman after her divorce because she had dated one in her past. She signed up for a dating site, and that’s where she met Margie, who was still married to a man who allowed her to sleep with women on the side. Margie said it was like “a birthday gift to go and explore,” which she found both “exciting and scary.” But when she had a strong connection with Linda, she said she had to make a choice: “I was torn.”

Obviously they decided to give their relationship a go and it has been a success like those of the other nine couples in the film. Director Phillipa Robinson found couples of all kinds, spawning conversations on polyamory and faithfulness, how changing physically can also change your relationship, and how to balance professional lives with personal lives so it doesn’t take a huge toll on your marriage. The lesbian couple (and gay couple of George and Farid) fit perfectly into the conversations, with their sexualities not being the focus of the discussion as much as a side note to the relevancy of when they could get legally married. (George and Farid are married in New York, where they live with twins from a surrogate while Margie and Linda plan on getting married this winter.)

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“We just happen to be two women,” Linda says in the film. “Big deal! We’re a couple—a loving couple.”

Margie attends the baseball games Linda umpires, which means a lot to Linda (“No one had ever come to watch me umpire before.” ) and they also touch on something that lesbians are familiar with, although they don’t actually mention the words “Lesbian Bed Death.”

“The sex is just the icing,” Margie said. “I just feel so safe with this woman. I don’t want to say I don’t need that physical release…” Sex to them has become less important since it was in the beginning, when Linda said Margie just touching her arm “made her crazy.” But it seems to be a trend among most of the couples, and not relegated to the two women. To them, sex is a plus, not the focus, while with other couples, sex is of the utmost importance.

In an interview on HBO.com, Phillipa explains why she included the gay couples:
“It was very important to me to show that no matter what your age, orientation or race, every person’s relationship is as important and as valid as everyone else’s. Margie and Linda’s relationship is one of the most loving I have ever come across. When you’re in their apartment with them, you just get a really, really good feeling. They’re getting married in December now that things have changed in California.”

One person you might recognize is musician/DJ Hesta Prynn (nee Julie Potash) whose husband, Randy, is a filmmaker. Julie said sex is very important to their relationship and she’d have it every day if she could. The biggest strain on their marriage thusfar is the amount of traveling either one of them would have to do for their careers. It causes tension between them and is visible on camera.

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An older straight couple discusses how they have “Sexual Sunday” when their kids are in bed, but their dog still wants to be in the room. Another couple discusses the hardship they faced when the woman found illicit text messages from her husband to another woman’s phone, and why she decided to stay with him. And one other wife expresses the guilt she feels from having been with her husband while he was still married to his ex-wife.

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Overall, the love these couples share is evident, but love is not without problems, and lesbian and gay couples are not without these issues either. Americans in Bed does a great job of showing that delicate balance of tough subjects and loving words. The couples open up, although some will pause a few times to ask their partners if it’s OK that they mentioned something or check in to make sure they are fine with heading into certain territory. It seems that they trust Phillipa (who has done a British version of the film as well) and likely found out some things about themselves along with the camera.

Americans in Bed premieres tonight at 9 p.m. EST on HBO.

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