"Is this normal? Shouldn't we be having just as much sex as we had at the beginning of our relationship?" The questions are endless, and they keep you up at night. You think your marriage needs more intimacy and more excitement in the bedroom.
Could you be living in a sexless marriage? Truth be told, the only person who can answer this question is you. And if your marriage IS sexless, is that ok? Again, it is something you need to determine for yourself.
But if you feel lonely in your marriage and there is very little intimacy or are wondering if you are alone in this issue, you might find it helpful to learn about what is considered a sexless marriage. In this article, we will delve into living in a sexless marriage, how you feel and what you can do about it.
What Determines A Sexless Marriage And What Can You Do About It?
There is a standard definition of living in a sexless marriage, but whether or not it applies to your situation has a less defined answer. According to marital psychologists from Psychology Today, the average married couples have sex, on average, about 54 times a year. However, that's not to say every couple is the same, and there are many influencing factors related to sex or the lack thereof in a relationship.
Is once a month sexless marriage?
It depends on many different factors. For some couples, yes, the definition of once-a-month sexless marriage applies. However, a more appropriate definition for what is considered a sexless marriage is having sex less than once a month, only having sex during special occasions, or no longer having any sexual intimacy.
Still, couples might have difficulty using this statistic to define a sexless marriage because the topic is very subjective, and there are many reasons for the lack of sex in a marriage.
What can be considered living in a sexless marriage?
In short, a sexless marriage means that one or both partners no longer feel fulfilled and satisfied with their love life. You might have no sex at all, feel undesired by your partner due to a lack of it, or simply have less sex than before. Another definition, however, is that you no longer feel connected, and you lack intimacy, even when there is sex.
At any rate, knowing where you stand means having a clear picture of your current sex life, being able to compare it to the one before your marriage, and understanding what you want from your current relationship. Of course, the quality of your sex life will also depend on whether other areas of your marriage are working well and whether you and your partner have other issues you need to address.
How much sex should we be having?
According to Everyday Health:
- Almost 30% of men in their 40s and 34% in their 50s have a relationship where they hadn't had sex for a year.
- For women in their 50s, about 21% reported having a dry marriage or not having sex with their partners.
The truth is that sexless marriages affect many couples, and they too live in a once-a-month sexless marriage. It may ruin your relationship at some point, especially if you have started feeling isolated and depressed.
There is no right number of times to be having sex per day, week, month, or year. Some people have naturally low libidos, and some have high – they cannot consider the same number a "norm." Still, it is crucial to determine what it is for you and your partner in order to have a healthy relationship.
Reasons For A Sexless Marriage
A variety of factors can cause sexually incompatible marriages. A common misconception is that someone's significant other is cheating on them, has fallen out of love, or simply that they no longer find their partner attractive. In some cases, this is the reason for the dry marriage, but there are other common reasons for the lack of intimacy in marriage.
Stress and Anxiety in Marriage
Stress and anxiety can also cause problems in the bedroom. If you or your spouse are under stressful situations at work, have money problems, or even have unresolved marital conflicts, you could experience anxiety in marriage.
This excessive anxiety leads to a lower sex drive and causes one partner to not place as much value on sex as they once did. However, the partner may feel they compensate for this by offering financial and emotional security, friendship, and other aspects.
When there is anxiety in a marriage, couples should talk about the problem and make an effort to remove the factor causing the anxiety or alleviate it.
People are different, and while one person may have a high sex drive, the other may have a lower one. These different sex drives can wreak havoc on a marriage if they are not acknowledged and dealt with. A couple needs to learn to satisfy each other's needs without pushing the partner into physical intimacy when they do not want it.
It is important to remember that many couples or partners begin to let sex go and do not attach so much significance to it as the marriage progresses. If you start to experience a sexless marriage due to your mismatched libidos in the first few years of marriage, your relationship may slowly decline.
Mental Health Issues
Life can throw obstacles into a relationship; unfortunately, mental health issues can be one of those insurmountable problems, and they can occur at any point in life. Depression and isolation can affect the other person in the relationship, often giving them feelings of guilt and fault. Mental illness and marriage are difficult to deal with and may cause one of the partners to reevaluate their needs.
The illness does affect the unaffected partner and leads to depressed marriage problems both suffer from. When a person has a mental disorder or loses interest in life, it affects their desire for intimacy, among many other aspects. At this point, the best recourse is to seek necessary medical attention. A sexless marriage is just one of the consequences the couple suffers, and others may be much more severe.
Unrealistic Expectations About Sex
When a couple gets married, they often have different expectations from the marriage. Unrealistic expectations of sex and intimacy are often unspoken topics between couples and can cause a falling out. Some people marry hoping to have children, others for love and companionship, or simply because they see something in the other person.
If your relationship expectations are not resolved, you can fall out of love with your partner. At this point, you need to sit down and analyze your sex expectations vs. reality. Is what you expect realistic?
Some people have unrealistic expectations of sex later in marriage and think their partner will continue to be as romantic as when the relationship started. But children may arrive, and the marriage may settle into a predictable pattern. You will have additional responsibilities and will need to make time for your relationship.
Sometimes, it will require a concentrated effort, and you will both need to decide on how you can resolve the issues with intimacy. Remember that a sexless marriage can fall apart simply because a couple is unwilling to address these problems. If it is difficult to talk it out, you might want to consider seeing a marriage counselor to help open the communication paths with your partner.
Bored From Each Other
Another reason for intimacy to dwindle is because one or both partners are bored in marriage. The best thing to do in this situation is to sit down and discuss the problems. It may not be that your boring spouse is so blah. You may need to spend time together, talk about things, go out and enjoy each other's company as you did at the beginning of the relationship.
Remember that a key factor in bringing back the spice in your marriage is to stick to your word. So, if you commit to making your marriage an important part of your life, you need to make a commitment and keep your promises. You must make an effort to build up the trust in your relationship and expect the same from your partner. You may not be able to pick up where you left off when you first started the relationship, but you can still spice things up in the bedroom.
Marriage is a long-term commitment; sometimes, health issues like menopause or prostate problems can affect intimacy. Many people ask, "how are marriage and health related?" In truth, marriage and health go hand in hand, and erectile dysfunction or menopause can significantly affect sex.
For some couples, this can be a problem that is too big to overcome, while others take marriage and health issues in stride. They deal with the problem, talk about it and find a way to resolve the issue for their partner.
Some couples find that low sex drive or erectile dysfunction does not have to hinder intimacy when certain techniques are used. It is always best to contact a sex therapist or marriage counselor if the marriage is worth the effort.
Communication Issues in Relationships
A relationship communication problem can put significant stress on your desire to be intimate with your partner. Relationship communication issues always tend to filter into the bedroom and cause a lack of intimacy in the marriage. These issues don't necessarily lead to conflict or fights. It could be as simple as not being able to express your sexual desires or having a lower sex drive. It is important to communicate in general and about the problem with intimacy specifically to bring back the spark.
If you or your partner have had past negative experiences relating to sex, such as sexual abuse, it can be very difficult to discuss with the other partner. However, it is crucial to do, as there will only be more marriage stress, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and preemptive decision-making if the discussion doesn’t happen.
Neglecting Intimacy and Pleasure in General
It is sad, but some men and women neglect their partners. They treat friends, family, and business associates respectfully but don't show their partners the same courtesy.
In addition, some spouses never keep their promises and commitments to their partners. This lack of respect can cause a falling out of love and a lack of intimate sex. Romance and sexual intimacy are important. These two factors add excitement and zest to the partnership and help both spouses remain faithful and loving.
When the relationship is intimate, it creates benevolent feelings and strengthens the romance. It means your spouse will message you at work, call you to share something, or come home in a good mood. Most people want a partner that will keep intimacy exciting, someone who knows how to show affection, but when a partner neglects sexual intimacy, the other one can lose interest and fall out of love.
History of Abuse
When sexual or emotional abuse has been a part of the life of one of the partners, you want to talk through it. Past sexual or emotional abuse may have caused trauma, so one partner may have negative feelings toward sex.
In addition, if there is a current abusive relationship, sex will be the first thing to go. Fear will dominate, and the abused person will no longer enjoy sex. It may even be used to control or emotionally affect one of the partners.
At the start of a relationship, people go through the honeymoon phase, but things change, and at some point, one partner may want to control the other. They may try abusive behavior, shouting, disrespect, derogatory comments, and more. This situation will often lead to low self-esteem in one of the partners, and sexual interest will wane.
Being So Busy that Sex is Deprioritized
As the relationship becomes older, partners may place less emphasis on sex. They may see the lack of money or the need for security as more important. It is not that they have stopped loving their spouse, but they no longer make sex a priority and instead place other things higher on the value scale.
It is important to learn how to make sex better and prioritize their life without losing the original connection and reasons for getting married. Partners need to keep their spouse’s interests in mind and make sex one of the priorities in their lives. This problem can often be resolved by talking about it. Often one of the spouses may forget about the need for intimacy and will need to be reminded of how important it is to their partner.
How to Survive a Loveless Sexless Marriage
Can your relationship survive without sexual intimacy? Learning how to be happy in a loveless marriage or a marriage where there is no sex is difficult. When one partner is no longer sexually interested in the relationship, the other partner can feel like they are surviving a loveless marriage, which is not necessarily true. Still, it brings on feelings of sadness and loneliness and creates a vulnerable atmosphere in the relationship.
If you are wondering what you should do, you should first know that cheating will almost certainly worsen the problem. This solution is no solution and only ends up hurting everyone involved, including yourself.
Rekindling the fire takes effort, affection, and caressing, requiring both partners to focus on the problem. In some cases, especially when the problem stems from health issues, rebuilding intimacy in marriage requires learning new techniques and understanding your partner's dilemma.
Accepting a sexless marriage
Some marriages cannot find a simple solution and understand that there are many other benefits to their marriage. They decide to remain in the sexless marriage because they have a close bond with their partner. The benefits of companionship far outweigh the lack of sex.
However, that is not to say that partners cannot work to bring back the desire. They may need to learn to be intimate without sexual intercourse and appreciate and show affection by kissing and touching. In this case, the solution is to seek the help of a sex therapist or marriage counselor.
What Percentage of Sexless Marriages End in Divorce?
While all married people want their relationship to work out, it isn't always possible. After all, there are two people in the relationship, and each person's opinion and feelings need to be respected. Unfortunately, sex can be a critical element of marriage for some people. In these cases, sometimes, the easiest solution is divorce, especially if you have tried other options.
Experts say the sexless marriage divorce rate is 50%. But there are several determining factors here. There may not be an issue if both partners experience a lower sex drive. But if one partner feels left out and lonely, it may be time to consider leaving a sexless marriage.
Determining what to do next requires you to talk to your partner, express your needs and sometimes even seek help to find a solution. However, if, after a discussion, your spouse makes no commitment to find a solution or is unwilling to seek new ways of finding intimacy, it may be time to think about leaving a sexless marriage.
Sometimes the sexual issues are only the tip of the iceberg. If other problems plaguing your marriage, like financial disagreements, childcare, power issues, constant fighting, or different types of abuse, your only recourse might be divorce.
The point is the situation is a personal one. Your marriage is not something you may not want to give up on quickly or easily. Get help, and seek counseling, but if you are the only one making an effort, there may be no other recourse other than divorce.
Feel free to pass our “are you in a sexless marriage” quiz first to determine if your marriage is indeed lacking intimacy.