Are You Living in a Sexless Marriage?

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Is there less sex than you want in your marriage? A sexless marriage is one in which a spouse feels there isn’t enough sex or there is no sex at all.

But wait: If you want sex every night and your spouse only wants sex three times a week, you are not living in a sexless marriage. To clarify, if you want sex every night or three times a week and your spouse wants sex once every three months, you are living in a sexless marriage.

What Is a Sexless Marriage?

A sexless marriage is a marital union in which little or no sexual activity occurs between the two spouses.

Your spouse may disagree. Having sex once a month or once every three months may fulfill their need for sex. In their mind, they are not living in a sexless marriage because their sexual needs are being met.

The problem lies when there is a huge difference in the sexual needs of two spouses. The definition of a sexless marriage is not dependent upon whether or not there is no sex in the marriage but on the effects of differing sex drives in the marriage.

Real-world Example

For example, Jay couldn't care less about sex. He had even told Janice, his wife that he didn’t know “what the big deal was about sex.” Jay was quite happy and content having sex every three months.

Janice, on the other hand, fully understood what the “big deal” was. Janice had a healthy sexual appetite and meeting her sexual needs meant sex at least three times a week, not every three months.

Janice had no control over getting her needs met though because when it came to sex, Jay was calling all the shots. Sex was on his terms because in his mind they had a healthy sex life. After all, his needs were met and to him, that meant there were no problems.

Don't Take the Blame

Situations like the one above are not uncommon. It is estimated that one out of five marriages is “sexless.” Imagine being trapped in Janice’s marriage, one in which a husband withholds sex.

Maybe you are familiar with feeling undesirable, unattractive, and unwanted by your spouse. If so, the first thing you have to do is not internalize your spouse’s low libido or lack of interest in sex. Do not make it about your level of attractiveness or desirability. It is not about you, it is about your spouse.

Is there a way to fix a sexless marriage? Maybe, or maybe not. Being able to fix the problem depends on what is causing the problem. Identifying what is causing the lack of sex is your first step; secondly, you must take steps to find solutions for the causes. Most importantly, though, both spouses have to be on board with working on the intimacy problems in the marriage. 

No Time for Sex

Working, paying the bills, household chores, and parenting responsibilities can wear both spouses down. These are the most common reasons one or both spouses spend less time thinking about and engaging in sex.

The cure is to make time for rest and relaxation. Understand that if there is no intimate and emotional bond between you and your spouse, all that hard work is for nothing. We often work very hard at maintaining our lifestyle but so readily put off working on maintaining our relationships. In the end, the lifestyle you are working so hard to maintain means nothing if you lose the relationship.

No one marries with the intent of becoming nothing more than roommates with their spouse. The keyword here is "intent." It takes intentionally working on keeping an emotional bond with your spouse to keep the everyday responsibilities of life from breaking that bond. 

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Lack of Communication

Couples often don’t talk about sex. It’s as if we believe sex is an action you take but not a subject you discuss. It is healthy to let your spouse know what you do and don’t like when it comes to sex. It is also healthy to let your partner know if you are less than satisfied with your sexual relationship. More sex talk can lead to more sex in the marriage!

Communication, in general, is key. Even when you aren't communicating about sex, a spouse who feels listened to is more likely to feel respected which leads to a spouse being more open to intimacy in the relationship.

When communicating with each other, show you are listening, that you understand, and are willing to see things from your spouse's perspective.


Lack of sex or lost sex drive can be caused by depression. There are many reasons why your spouse may feel depressed. If your spouse is dealing with depression let them know that you are there to support them and will work through the depression together.

Insist on going to a professional. Offer your support but make it clear that you will not accept your spouse ignoring their condition and avoiding help. Depression isn't something people "just get over." For your spouse to recover, you will need to validate their depression and encourage them to take proactive steps to treat it. 

Childhood Sexual Abuse

Consider Jay who was sexually molested as a young boy. As a result, Jay developed a skewed view of sex and intimacy. Neither is safe ground and until Jay deals with the molestation he suffered as a child, his marriage will suffer.

If you are in such a situation, it is important to understand that your spouse needs your support. But if they refuse to acknowledge and deal with the problem, you have a choice to make. Either learn to live with the lack of sex in your marriage or divorce.

Lack of Attraction for One’s Spouse

It would hurt to hear your spouse say they do not find you attractive. But just because your spouse does not find you attractive does not mean you aren't desirable.

The chemistry we feel for our spouse can ebb and flow. It is not unusual in a marriage to go through periods where we feel a lack of desire for our spouse. What you have to do when faced with this issue is determine if there is still love present.

If your spouse loves you but is going through a phase and not feeling that old spark, work at rekindling the spark. Work together as a couple to bring back a little romance and connect both emotionally and physically.

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