It's normal for any relationship's level of physical intimacy to ebb and flow. But what happens when you find yourself in a sexless marriage?
Once the "honeymoon phase" ends and the daily stresses of everyday life begin to creep in, many marriages start to suffer from a lack of sex. Relationships take work, and maintaining a healthy sex life is a huge part of that.
What is a sexless marriage?
The difference between a close friendship and a romantic partnership is intimacy. There are two main types of intimacy when it comes to romance:
Emotional intimacy: the expression of love and sharing of feelings with the expectation that the other person will understand and empathize.
Physical intimacy: a sensual exchange between people that includes kissing, caressing, hugging, cuddling, and sexual activity.
A sexless marriage is when there is little to no sex between partners over an extended period. It is often marked by a lack of overall physical intimacy and can include a lack of emotional intimacy as well.
Generally, a marriage is considered sexless if the couple has had very infrequent or no sex for a year or more. However, a temporary period of no sexual activity does not make your marriage sexless.
Why do marriages become sexless?
There is either an emotional or biological obstacle to blame when it comes to dwindling physical intimacy between partners.
It's typical for partners to experience mismatched libidos, which quickly leads to a sexless marriage. If you have very different libidos and prefer to wait until both of you are naturally in the mood, sex can become infrequent.
From the side effects of medication to the physiological effects of aging, several health concerns can create challenges to physical intimacy. Sometimes health issues are temporary, but there may be a long-term health challenge standing in the way.
Men and women process the time after childbirth very differently. There are innumerable mental, emotional, and physical obstacles that make life feel overwhelming for women. Men sometimes struggle to understand why women might have a lower sex drive after the baby is born.
If you aren't sharing blissful emotional intimacy with your partner, there may be a communication breakdown to blame for your sexless marriage. In addition, high conflict couples engaged in frequent arguments may experience physical intimacy struggles. There are also more severe problems like infidelity and pornography addiction that can drive a wedge between couples.
Major Life Changes
Life changes like job loss, financial struggles, or the death of a loved one can cause significant problems when it comes to interest in sex. If you or your partner has experienced a recent significant life change, that could be why sexual desire has fallen to the wayside.
Mental Health Challenges
It's no secret that the pandemic has created a national mental health crisis that affects millions of people. Combined with the existing mental health issues created by genetics and traumatic experiences, the chance your sexless marriage has something to do with mental health is up there.
How do you address the issue?
Luckily, there are many ways to repair the damage that causes a sexless marriage. Try these seven simple steps to heal your relationship and invite physical intimacy back into your marriage.
1. Identify the Problem
There are so many reasons that you might notice less and less sexual activity over time, even in an otherwise healthy marriage. It could be because of a dwindling sex drive, stress at work, or busy family life. Sometimes it's a sign of other marital problems.
Either way, spend some time reflecting on why you haven't had sex. It might be helpful to keep a journal and write down how you're feeling. When you have sexual thoughts, are they about your partner? When you last had sex, how was it? How are you feeling about yourself these days? Your spouse?
Asking yourself these kinds of questions can help you be more mindful of the problems you're facing in the bedroom so you can begin to heal your sexless marriage.
Once you've put some thought into it, sit down with your partner and discuss your concerns and observations. Again, communication is the most critical part here, and there is a lot to talk about. Discuss your feelings with each other. Share your needs and express your desires.
Learning each other's love language is a great way to get the ball rolling on these conversations. Everyone expresses love differently. Learning more about each other's "style" of love is essential for healthy communication.
Emotional intimacy is the gateway to sexual intimacy, so having a candid conversation can help break down barriers and help your sexless marriage recover.
3. Schedule Sexy Time
Have you ever been so busy with life that you wake up one day and realize you haven't had sex in a while? Sometimes life really does get in the way.
If your calendar fills up every week with tons of engagements, pencil in some time in the bedroom. Having "it" on the calendar can keep sex at the forefront of your mind.
You might have to be a little methodical about this. Everyone's energy levels vary throughout the week, but if you prioritize having sex, it'll happen more and more often.
4. Stay on Top of Your To-Do List
Have you ever had so much on your mind that your libido goes quiet? Many sexless marriages are the result of built-up stress about household stuff.
Manage that anxiety by managing your time. Don't kick the can down the road on errands and chores, and be sure you're pulling your weight around the house! Research shows that sharing household chores is extremely important to a happy marriage.
Those things can build up and contribute to heightened stress levels, and nothing kills the mood more than stress!
5. Set the Mood
Prepare to turn your sexless marriage around by getting your space ready. Tidy up, light some candles, and turn on some music. It will help you get in the right mindset, and it's a cute way to express to your partner that you want them.
But even before you get to the bedroom, you can set the mood. Don't be afraid to send some sexy messages if that's your style. Flirt a little - studies suggest that flirtation is one of the hallmarks of a strong marriage.
You can also set the mood by putting some effort into your appearance. If you want things to get physical, you can signal that to your partner by sprucing yourself up a little. Shave, wear a little makeup, put on a nice outfit - anything it takes to make you feel great.
You'll feel more confident, and your partner will love that you're getting dressed up for them.
6. Be More Physical
A sexless marriage is a serious problem, but sometimes couples put a lot of pressure on themselves to have sex. Remember that there are many ways to be more physical that don't end in sex.
When was the last time you hugged your partner? Do you ever cuddle while you watch TV? What about a shoulder massage?
These simple acts of love are so meaningful. Before you pressure yourself to bust out the rose petals and candles, find some G-rated ways to get close to each other.
7. Spend Quality Time Together
Sexless marriages are usually date-less marriages too. Get a babysitter for an evening, take a day off work together, or go on vacation. However you do it, find a way to spend some time just hanging out with each other.
Scientists have found that "couple time" is a crucial factor in the longevity of a relationship.
When you remove routines and obligations from the equation, you'll probably find that your libido improves. Likewise, making more time for fun and leisure will help remind you why you fell in love.
Reviving things in the bedroom takes a lot of work, and most of that work will happen outside of the bedroom. It's all about rediscovering each other and remembering what love is all about.
If you think your problems extend beyond the scope of your sex life, you might be a good candidate for couples therapy. Marriage counseling can help you communicate more effectively and work through your difficulties so that you can live - and love - happily ever after.
Find out if couples counseling can improve your marriage.
Call 833-934-3573 for your free, no-obligation consultation. Or, click below to schedule your first appointment.