Navigating Gender Energy Expectations in Same-Sex Relationships Navigating Gender Energy Expectations in Same-Sex Relationships
All people radiate an energy, and society stereotypes this energy according to gender. Rarely does a person's energy fall evenly between the two gender... Navigating Gender Energy Expectations in Same-Sex Relationships

All people radiate an energy, and society stereotypes this energy according to gender. Rarely does a person’s energy fall evenly between the two gender types — most people are simply more masculine or more feminine. This makes it easy for society to assign expectations for a person’s behavior. When a masculine male and a feminine female make up a couple, the expectations tend to fall in line. But what about when you have two females in a couple, where do gender energy expectations fall?

Sometimes, the expectations are not just put on a couple from the outside, but the partners may have unknowingly put them on themselves. Few lesbian couples follow traditional gender roles — the butch/femme pattern, but is it possible that you have labeled your partner in comparison to yourself? Is she more butch than you? Or more feminine? Have you unconsciously given her more of a role in a certain area of your life based on her gender energy?

Below are some core elements of life to help you decide how you view your expectations as well as different ways of navigating these areas when both of you, or neither of you, embody the gender energy.


The idea of generating a large income is traditionally assigned to a masculine energy, as is paying bills, budgeting and investing. Most partners are drawn to the things that their partner has that they in turn lack. If finances aren’t your forte, maybe they’re hers. The important thing is to discuss financial expectations so that you have a clear understanding of what you both anticipate.

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The physical protector in a relationship is typically a masculine energy, while the emotional protector is usually a feminine energy. Lesbians have an advantage in that they generally work better at protecting each other’s emotions. As for physical protection, if one of you is not as confident in protecting your home and each other, try taking a self-defense class together.


The majority of household tasks, even in the 21st century, are traditionally a feminine energy while the outdoor chores are relegated to the masculine energy. One way around this is to divide both the household and outdoor chores according to talents and preferences, or simply take turns.


Caregiving is stereotyped as a feminine energy while discipline is a masculine energy. Children respond best when both parents are equally involved in all aspects of child rearing. When one of you carried the child, this can be a tricky situation. The birthing mother may feel more maternal due to the release of the hormone oxytocin during the birthing process, so it’s important for the other parent to be equally involved so that the bonding process is just as deep. When disciplining children, be careful that one parent doesn’t demonize the other by threatening their discipline. For instance, phrases such as, “wait until your mother gets home!” can be detrimental to the child/parent bond. Though it may be hard, both parents must take a balanced part in the disciplining process.

People unknowingly assign certain expectations for behavior based on gender energy stereotypes. Being aware of these expectations and examining if and how they exist in your own relationship is one key to a healthy connection.

Kelly Winter

Kelly Winter

Kelly Winter, MS, MFTI, is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern and Certified Life Coach. She uses her life experiences and education to help people optimize transitional phases of life, specifically divorce and remarriage, thereby improving their future. She is a pop-culture junkie, fempreneur, epic TV-fandom junkie, and a raving 12 - go Seahawks! You can read more at