There is an inherent need to feel physically and emotionally close to your romantic partner. In monogamous relationships, sex helps increase the love, commitment, and emotional connection between couples. It also helps improve the ability to express emotions, create trust, and increase confidence with your partner.
At the start of the relationship, most men and women see a heightened response in their passion, attraction, and intimacy levels. However, some of this intimacy fades with time, and many married couples end up in a sexless marriage (10 times or fewer in a year). A scientific report in 2017 showed that among participants between the ages of 18 to 89 years, 8.7% of men and 17.5% of women reported having no sex for 5 years or more.
Sexless marriages can work, depending on the partners. The answer to how to deal with a sexless marriage wholly depends on whether both partners are willing to commit to each other and improve their relationship.
A sexless marriage doesn't necessarily mean the relationship is doomed. There are several ways to improve it, and at the end of the day, what matters more is the satisfaction in the relationship. Learning how to deal with a sexless relationship is the first step to dealing with a sexless marriage.
Causes of a Sexless Relationship
Most sexless marriages usually have several reasons or causes related to the relationship, like decreased libido, stress, financial issues, family pressures, mental health concerns, medication side effects, communication issues, and hormonal changes.
Some other reasons for sexless relationships could be trust issues, possible external sexual attractions/infidelity, life transitions, childbearing, grief, job loss, betrayal, lies, and more.
When such problems arise, most men and women wonder how to survive a loveless, sexless marriage. The absence of sex from the relationship does not necessarily mean the marriage is loveless. However, if infidelity is the cause, it is best to get advice and assistance via in-person therapy or online counseling so you can start having a happy married life and move on from a sexless marriage.
To understand how to overcome a sexless marriage, it is necessary to identify the cause and have open, honest discussions with your partner. Communicating helps reduce the urge to think about when to walk away from a sexless marriage, and instead, helps bridge the gap with your partner. Doing this reintroduces trust, intimacy, and thoughtful listening and promotes an openness about the need to deal with a sexless marriage.
Is Sexless Marriage a Problem?
Sexless marriage is not a problem if both parties are happy. However, lack of sex usually poses a serious issue when the libido level of either one differs significantly. Most couples think that the result of a sexless marriage is divorce. However, since sex is not the only way to make a marriage flourish, sexless marriages evolve through other forms of physical intimacy like petting, kissing, hugging, holding hands, snuggling, and more.
Some sexless marriages could result from asexuality in either or both partners, which could lead to a loss of sexual desire. Therapy is a good option for dealing with issues and reasons that lead to feelings of asexuality.
Emotional intimacy and companionship hold more importance in expressing love and fondness than sex. Most couples that get comfortable with each other usually end up having more meaningful sexual relationships than those that do not. The sooner either partner starts discussing the reasons for the lack of sex leading to a sexless marriage, the better it is in improving the relationship and seeking help.
How to Deal With a Sexless Marriage
Fixing and dealing with a sexless marriage is not magic. It takes time, attention, and willingness from both partners. The most crucial bit to start with is changing the mindset and considering reviving the sexless marriage by rekindling the lost passion and intimacy and reconnecting with your partner.
There is no difference in how to deal with a sexless marriage as a man or a woman. Both sexes can approach this situation in the same ways. Here are some things you can try.
- Other forms of intimacy: Things like playfulness, physical affection, touching, petting, kissing, and holding hands help relieve the stress and tension of not having sex and usually lead to a heightened sense of desire that results in sexual intimacy.
- Try new things: Most people find that adding variety like some playful toys, a book about new positions, a sex game, or spicing things up with new lingerie and bedsheets also changes the mood and leads to healthy sexual relations between partners.
- Talk about sex: Couples that talk about sex tend to build anticipation throughout the day. Sharing fantasies, desires, intimate dreams, and other aspects can promote openness and a desire to rekindle a sexless marriage.
- Be spontaneous: Spontaneous partners that continue going on dates, buy small gifts for each other, and plan to do something special (bake a cake, plan a dance, cook a special meal) have excellent relationships. Many times, sexless marriages are the ones that become the most comfortable. It is essential to break free and remember how it was to date your (now) spouse. Rekindling the excitement, passion, and romance is a fantastic way to convert your sexless marriage.
- Sex by the clock: Scheduling time for sex is an excellent way to ensure intimacy that goes sideways due to hectic work schedules, stress, financial worries, and other concerns bounces back and allows you and your partner the leeway to connect even on your busiest days.
- Take the pressure off: Most men and women are stuck in sexless marriages because of the constant pressure to ensure your partner achieves orgasm. The strain of orgasming during intercourse can take the pleasure out of sex and add to the feelings of stress, anxiety, and performance issues. Instead of only orgasming during intercourse, there are other ways to ensure your partner achieves heightened pleasure. You should try alternative methods that could turn your sexless marriage around and reintroduce fun and playfulness to your routine.
- Therapy or online therapy: Therapy is a terrific way to deal with the underlying issues that affect a sexless marriage. Marriage counseling and online therapy help couples connect with each other and resolve problems – emotional and sexual.
When to Consider Therapy?
Marriage without sex can have an impact not only on the relationship itself but also on your mental health. If you are not satisfied with your sex life, you might be experiencing inadequacy, low self-esteem, feelings of being trapped, fear about infidelity, drop in body image, fights, and arguments.
If you are feeling that your marital situation is causing you distress, seeking help is a great way to improve the situation.
Therapy can help with personal issues and also help both partners communicate effectively with each other. Most sexless marriages result from misdirected communication mixed with feelings of inadequacies and vulnerabilities. Since communicating effectively can be a massive cause for sexless marriage, counseling helps remove these barriers and allows couples to air out their differences in opinion in a safe space.
However, therapy may not always be the best option for different reasons. Luckily, online therapy is a comfortable way to seek help. Couples therapy or individual therapy can be done from the comfort of your home. If you and your spouse are struggling to talk about the situation or feel embarrassed and vulnerable, online therapy can also be anonymous.
Most couples benefit from marriage counseling by reviving their sexless marriage and improving their sexual relationship.
Is It Time to Walk Away?
Deciding when to walk away from a sexless marriage is always hard. It is a heartrending, personal choice that should not be a reflection of your future. When dealing with a sexless marriage, divorce could seem like the best option.
Sometimes, partners need to decide on a path that separates them from marriage if:
- One partner does not wish to improve the marriage (despite stressing how important it is to the other).
- The sexless marriage has led to infidelity (that the other spouse cannot get over).
- Both partners have no common sexual interests and do not wish to work on their marriage any longer.
- They no longer share any love for each other.
Marriage is challenging and needs constant work. Just like anything in life, couples should remember that their sex lives will also ebb and flow throughout the course of the relationship. While sex is critical, it is not the only way to revive intimacy and trust in a marriage. Developing friendship, affection, long-term care, and enjoying each other's presence and attention can lead to a successful and fulfilling married life.
Most couples also enjoy other forms of intimacy and do not put much pressure on achieving sexual satisfaction as the only form of a successful marriage.
However, if you are not this couple, questions like how to deal with a sexless marriage, what steps you can take to improve it, and when to consider divorce can be effectively tackled with the right type of help.
If you are facing issues and want to work on your sexless marriage, it is best to contact a professional. If either of you is willing to try online therapy, DoMental is here to help. Counseling is anonymous, private, and is arranged from the comfort of your home. Moreover, the therapy and sessions are scheduled with highly trained professionals.