Physical intimacy is a crucial factor that distinguishes a romantic relationship from a platonic friendship. However, some couples may find themselves falling into a pattern where the physical aspect of their marriage diminishes, especially in the early years of marriage, which is common, particularly when children enter the picture. In such cases, if both partners are content with this type of relationship, there may be no cause for concern. However, often, one or both partners become frustrated or hurt by the loss of physical intimacy and sex, signaling a problem that needs addressing.
In this article, we delve into the various reasons behind a sexless marriage and offer strategies for addressing this issue with your partner, rekindling the physical aspects of your relationship.
What Is a Sexless Marriage?
A sexless marriage is characterized by little to no sexual activity between the partners. Some experts consider a marriage sexless if sexual intimacy is absent for a year or more, while others define it as a marriage in which partners haven't engaged in sexual intercourse for one month.
Many couples go through periods of higher and lower sexual activity, which doesn't necessarily categorize the marriage as "sexless." Whether being in a sexless relationship is a problem depends on the couple, but if the lack of sex and physical intimacy is causing distress, it's essential to identify the underlying causes.
Common Reasons for a Sexless Marriage
Numerous factors can lead to a sexless marriage, encompassing health issues, differences in libido, the aftermath of childbirth, stress, communication problems, conflicts, infidelity, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, medication side effects, mental health issues, a history of abuse, and various life circumstances.
How to Address a Sexless Marriage
Addressing a sexless marriage involves several steps. First, you need to determine whether the lack of sex is a problem in your relationship. It's essential not to compare your marriage to others because every relationship is unique, and what's most important is maintaining physical and emotional intimacy and mutual satisfaction.
If you find that the lack of sex is indeed an issue, consider the following steps:
Initiate an open and honest conversation with your partner about the issue. Use "I" statements to express your feelings and concerns, avoiding blaming or accusatory language.
If you both agree to have more sex, consider scheduling it, which can add an element of anticipation and commitment to your physical relationship. Remember that physical intimacy goes beyond just sex and includes activities that strengthen emotional connections.
Depending on the underlying causes, consider seeking outside help. This may involve marriage retreats, workshops, or counseling to improve communication and connection. Consult healthcare providers for medical conditions, and seek support from mental health professionals for emotional issues affecting your intimacy.
Will a Sexless Marriage Lead to Divorce?
While older studies have shown associations between lower sexual satisfaction and the risk of divorce, the lack of sex itself isn't necessarily the problem; rather, it's the dissatisfaction associated with it. The decision to end a marriage is complex and depends on various factors.
If your partner doesn't acknowledge the problem or is unwilling to make changes, you'll have to decide whether a low- or no-sex marriage is a dealbreaker for you.
In conclusion, whether a sexless marriage is a dealbreaker depends on the couple. If you're dissatisfied with your sexual intimacy, the first step is to communicate with your partner and explore ways to find the intimacy you both need to feel fulfilled. Many reasons behind a sexless marriage are treatable, and you don't have to face these issues alone.