How to Survive a Sexless Marriage

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A sexless marriage is when a committed couple no longer has sex, or only very infrequently (low-sex marriage). The term sexless marriage is generally used to indicate that one or both partners are unhappy with the lack or amount of sex.

Can a Sexless Marriage Survive?

A sexless marriage does not necessarily mean the couple is having problems in other parts of their relationship, or that they aren’t in love. But can a sexless marriage survive? To answer that, we need to look at the reasons why people end up in a sexless marriage in the first place:

      1. The decline of the honeymoon: The beginning of a relationship – the first 6-18 months – is often referred to as the “honeymoon phase”. During this early phase of the relationship, there are many things that make sex more likely.
        First, there is distance and uncertainty, which can lead to longing and passion. If you don’t know whether someone wants to be with you in the long-term, to have sex over and over is a form of reassurance and bonding. Once you make that firm commitment, the need for reassurance goes down and with it your level of sexual desire.
        Second – most people don’t really know their partner before they start dating, making it possible to project all sorts of positive qualities onto them. Which, in turn, makes that person very sexually attractive. Over time however the attraction  declines as you begin to see who the person actually is – and realize there are some not so wonderful and amazing things about them.
        Third – the simple fact that someone is new can make sex hot. In a long-term relationship, the newness factor wears off and you can find you are less sexually compatible than you thought.
        And finally – at the beginning of a relationship you were dressing up, making fun plans, and planning for sex (even though it seemed like it happened spontaneously). Once out of the dating phase, you are more likely to fall into the habit of staying home, not dressing up, and not planning for sex – and the amount of sex decreases drastically.
      2. Lack of sexual skills: While you may have a good emotional connection with your partner, the skills needed to actually maintain a sexual connection aren’t the same as those you used to initially develop it. Most couples also don’t talk about the kind of sex they want, or teach each other how to do it just so. If a partner has a lack of sexual skill, the act can become unfulfilling, and slows down or stops altogether.
      3. Differing desires: There are two ways couples can differ sexually from each other which ultimately leads o a sexless marriage: frequency and turn-ons.
        Often, a big discrepancy in desire revolves around frequency of sex. If one person wants sex a lot more than the other, they can get into an obligation/scarcity vortex. One person has sex out of obligation instead of really wanting it, and the other feels like they aren’t getting enough. Over time, the obligated person might shut down and stop having sex. The other partner will feel rejected and often responds with anger.
        Sometimes, a couple also has different turn-ons. They don’t talk about their turn-ons out of fear they might offend or disgust their partner. Even if both people communicate, but the turn-ons are very different, they may not know how to bridge them. And maybe one person’s turn-on is not arousing to their partner, making them less likely to want to engage in sex altogether.
      4. Not prioritizing sex: Unfortunately, most cultures don’t think of sex is a high life priority and can treat it as trivial, unimportant or even dirty. Growing up in these cultural conditions, it’s easy to put sex on the back burner in the relationship, and  instead focus on family or career. The lack of prioritization often leads couples to eventually stop having sex.
      5. Resentment in other areas of the relationship: While a sexless marriage may not be an indicator of problems, it’s sometimes the result of built up anger or resentment from other areas of the relationship. One partner might feel like they are doing all of the housework, or earn all of the money, and consequently feel resentful and unappreciated. Also, fighting a lot about other relationship aspects might leave very little time to feel connected and open to sex.
      6. Having children: Children are often the root cause for a lack of sex. Right after a couple has a baby, a woman’s body needs recovery time and both parents are generally exhausted, which lowers sex drive. Once a couple gets out of the habit of having sex, they might have trouble getting back into the habit. Ongoing management of children – especially a breastfeeding child or multiple young children – can make a woman feel stuck in a caretaking role. If sex isn’t particularly positive or satisfying for them, it might just feel like another caretaking chore. Finally, sometimes the idea of a woman becoming a mother can desexualize her in her own eyes or those of her partner. Either partner might feel hesitant to engage in adventurous sex society thinks unbecoming of a mother, making their sex less hot and lowering sexual motivation.

      How a Sex Coach Can Help You Survive Your Sexless Marriage

      Many approaches to fixing a sexless marriage only scratch the surface of the issues, and start and end with suggesting date nights, vacations, better emotional connection, or a combination of them. Unfortunately, just setting aside time and trying to “spice it up” without really knowing about what things are most arousing and what makes sex hot, is just not going to be enough.

    1. Frequently, the psychological effects of a sexless marriage can also be quite devastating – which need to be addressed in therapy.
    1. A sex coach, and especially an experiential sex coach, can be extremely effective in helping you address your sexless marriage and find solutions that work for both partners. A Somatica coach has extensive training in sexual dynamics so they are  able to uncover and help you understand the exact reasons you lack sex in your marriage.
    1. It’s also important to remember that sex isn’t the only thing that bonds a couple together. If your sexual connection is no longer there, it doesn’t mean the two of you can’t be together. It’s helpful to discuss all options with a sex coach who can assist in finding the relationship structure that can give you both lasting happiness and pleasure.
    1. Find a Sex Coach

Find a professional sex coach near you or by expertise now.

Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel
Dr. Danielle Harel is the the co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the co-founder of the Somatica® Institute. She has a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality (DHS), a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW), and a Bachelors (BA) degree in Psychology and Educational Counseling.

As a somatic sexologist, professor, and author, Danielle has devoted the last 20 years to resolving her client’s sexual challenges, training sex & relationship coaches, and empowering people. Harnessing her extensive training in sexology, psychology, and body-based modalities like Hakomi, attachment theory, character theory, and neuro-patterning, she guides people in reaching their fullest personal, professional, and sexual potential.

In addition to being faculty at Esalen and teaching the Advanced Somatica Training and Mastery Classes, Danielle has most recently embraced the adventure of co-producing the TV series Here She Comes – an episodic based on the Somatica Method (currently in production).

Before that, she published original research on Orgasmic Birth, and co-authored 3 books with Celeste Hirschman: Cockfidence, Making Love Real, and Coming Together.

She has also written extensively on sex, relationships, and dating, and is frequently quoted as an expert resource in publications.

To everything she does, Danielle brings her unparalleled passion, depth, intuition, and magnetizing personality.

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