Are you in a sexless marriage?
You aren’t alone. According to a study by the Georgia State University, about 15% of all marriages are sexless (meaning, the marriage hasn’t seen any action in 6 months or more).
A lot of couples who are in sexless marriages may think it’s normal. The longer you stay with someone, the less sex you’re likely to have. But, there are ways to keep the sex alive, if you’re willing to work on and break down the barriers that have stopped you having sex with your partner in the first place.
Let’s dive into the realities of a sexless marriage, and what you need to work on to get sex back on the menu in your relationship.
The Reality (and Science) of a Sexless Marriage
Google knows a lot about our marriage problems. And the biggest problem the search engine is asked to find answers for? Sexless marriages.
The number of people Googling “sexless marriage” are three and a half times the number of people searching for “unhappy marriage” and eight times more than “loveless marriage” searches.
In a 2017 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, figures showed the average adult enjoys sex 54 times a year.
A sexless marriage develops for a lot of reasons (and not all of them are linked to sex itself).
Think about the beginning of a new relationship. It’s often fuelled by excitement and sex, and there is a scientific reason behind this, too.
An NCBI study found a new relationship and the excitement it brings actually activates reward centers in the brain. This boosts a person’s state of euphoria and also increases their pain tolerance. The study also found partners become emotionally dependent on their partner and crave being close to them.
But then, life kicks in, and the honeymoon phase starts to wear off. And this is where some couples start drifting apart.
Maybe, You’ve Emotionally Checked Out
When a couple starts to drift apart, it’s only natural that they begin to lose their connection as well (both physically and mentally). This can set off a whole chain of events that have adverse effects on the relationship.
Before you know it, you begin taking each other for granted, and resentment starts to build between you and your partner. This emotional detachment then has a knock-on effect into the bedroom, and a couple’s sex life can become non-existent.
If you’ve emotionally checked out, your libido will check out with you. A person’s libido can be affected by a bunch of things, like depression and stress. But relationship dissatisfaction is also a big killer.
Maybe, the Sex Isn’t Actually Enjoyable
Okay, this is an awkward one. How do you break it to your partner that your sex life, isn’t really doing it for you? If the reason you’ve stopped having sex is strictly about you not enjoying sex with each other, then it’s time to rekindle what you both used to enjoy.
Surprisingly, sometimes it’s the men who are losing interest in sex. But again, science has an explanation. A recent study found testosterone has been falling steadily in men for decades, so that could at least partially explain why your man has lost his mojo. The most important thing to remember about a sexless marriage is that it is fixable – with some work.
The first step in overcoming a sexless marriage is to find out the core reason why you’ve stopped having sex, and how long drought has lasted.
How to Find Your Sex Again
To fix a sexless marriage, you need to dig deep and find out what root cause is that’s stopped you having sex. The first step is figuring out if the lack of sex is physical or mental?
And to figure this out, you need to be as open and honest with your partner as possible. This means laying all of your cards out on the table and having a frank, honest conversation about your sex life.
Leave all the bad feelings and resentment at the door—a respectful conversation is the only way you’ll be able to start your journey of getting your sex back.
Stomping around in your house in a passive-aggressive manner, moaning about a lack of sex is only going to make the problem worse. Here are a few core issues you’ll need to tackle in your conversations with your partner.
Find Out What You Both Want From the Relationship Sexually
A lot of relationships have partners who have different sex drives. One might want to have sex every day, while the other only wants to have sex once a week.
This is normal, but you need to know where you both stand with your sex drives, so you don’t resent each other. If your sex drives used to match up, but now one partner has stopped wanting to have sex, talk about it. Try remembering what sex was like before, when things changed and what was going on around that time.
Ask each other:
- Are you happy with how things are?
- If you could change something, what would it be?
Once you’ve scratched the surface of what you both want from each other, sexually, start making time to focus on each other.
Have fun with each other, make an effort to bond, and throw some cheeky flirting in! Don’t be afraid to try new things and set new goals together.
A positive mindset is one of the most powerful weapons you can use to get your sex life back on track.
Don’t Make It All About Sex
It’s possible that your lack of action in the bedroom may be because you’re jumping between your day-to-day lives to the sex itself.
If you don’t show each other any affection in your daily life, how can you expect your sex life to be on fire?
We aren’t talking about heavy PDA sessions here. Something as small as holding hands while you’re walking down the street or giving each other a hug when you get home from work is sometimes all it takes. Without these small intimate gestures, sex might feel uncomfortable or even forced for both of you.
Tackle this head-on and try increasing the physical intimacy in the relationship. Start small. Instead of jumping immediately to sex, give your partner a kiss when you walk in the front door from work. Or reach out and hold their hand while you’re out at dinner or on a walk. Don’t underestimate the importance of human touch.
(Hey, you might find that kissing and cuddling can be just as enjoyable as sex!)
Stop Comparing Your Relationship to Everyone Else’s
Be honest with yourself! When was the last time you compared your sex life to your friends? Or your favorite Netflix show? Maybe a movie? Or a magazine article?
Comparing your sex life to someone else’s is toxic. Remember, there is no “normal” amount of times you should be having sex with your partner.
In social circles, people are frequently asked about the “right number” of times to have sex a month, but what’s important is it’s the right number for you, as a couple. Way too often, when we’re talking to our friends, we’re let to believe that everyone has crazy busy sex lives. And yours should be too.
If you and your partner are having sex once a fortnight and that works for you, that’s all that matters. Repeat: Don’t compare. It won’t do anything for you or your sexual relationship with your partner.
If Nothing Else Works, Remember – You Haven’t Failed
If the first three tips don’t bring back your sex, it might be time to do some soul searching and make some tough decisions about the future of the relationship.
It’s important to remember that a sexless marriage doesn’t make you or your partner failures. Sexless marriages are common, and most of the time they can be fixed, but even if it’s beyond repair, don’t label it a failure.
As we’ve discovered, sexless marriages are often caused by deep-rooted physical or emotional issues, either within the relationship or within yourself.
If you and your partner don’t see a way forward and you haven’t been able to get your sex (or your relationship spark) back, one option you might want to look at is conscious uncoupling.
Conscious uncoupling is a way to thank each other for the time you’ve spent together, and end your marriage in a way that is positive for both of you. It’s a way to move forward and wish each other the best in life while remaining friends.
If your marriage involves kids, this is one of the best ways to break up without causing too much damage. We put together an article about “When to End a Relationship”.
Sexless Marriages Are Common – and Survivable
It’s time to break down the stigma that surrounds sexless marriages. After all, 15% of the world’s population are currently in one. It’s important how you approach the situation and deal with it and with your partner that will either make or break your relationship.
Having open, honest conversations with each other and finding the root of why your sex life has dried up is the best way to move forward and overcome a sexless marriage.
Approaching it in a passive-aggressive way and avoiding the problem all together won’t do anything for your sex life – or your relationship.