Marriages are, really, quite commonly almost or completely sexless. According to psychotherapists, the numbers range between 20-50%, depending on several factors, such as age, personalities, general interest in sex, concurrence between the partners in their sexual desires, and the quality of relationship in general. Yet, in short – married people don’t have as much sex as others, however contradictory that might sound. Here are four steps you need to take to deal with sexless marriage:
1. Diagnose the problem
There are many reasons why a couple might not be having sex or having it very infrequently. So, if your marriage is suffering from a lack of it, the first thing you need to do is to diagnose the problem. Ideally, you will do this together with your spouse, but if they are not willing to participate at this stage, you can do it yourself. So, you need to question four areas of potential causes of sexual inhibition in your marriage.
- A. First, see if you and your partner have all the information about sex (for example, do women need to have vaginal orgasms), and what messages you received about it when you were growing up or as an adult (for example, that sex is filthy).
- Then, question physical barriers that might be causing lack of sex in your marriage (pain, for example).
- C. Then, determine if you or your partner have any emotional inhibitions, is one of you depressed, insecure, or you use sex as a means of indirect communication of your dissatisfaction.
- D. Finally, do you or your partner use alternative outlets, does any of you have an affair, watches pornography excessively, or is a workaholic or alcoholic?
2. Talk about the problem
When you made one or several hypotheses about what’s cause behind the current state of your marriage, talk, talk and talk with your partner about it – compassionately, without using the situation to cast blame, without accusing anyone, just simply express your emotions, express your needs, express your love and your desire to fix the problem. Explain to your partner that you feel that sex is a form of intimacy that you would love to reinvigorate it in your marriage. And don’t forget to be open about your insecurities and fears in this conversation.
3. Don’t talk about the problem
Once you and your spouse are on the same page and you both want to get sex back into your marriage, stop talking about it. Many psychotherapists see this often see this happening – couples who tried to fix things by constantly talking about sex (or lack thereof). Although their intentions are pure, this puts too much pressure on the issue that is already breaking under the burden of tension surrounding it. Some therapists even “prescribe” a ban on sex! By doing so, all the pressure is lifted off the partners, and they no longer feel anxious about having to perform, having to be seductive, having to go to bed in the evening and wonder whether this night will be the same as previous ones, adding to the frustration. A ban on sex makes it more likely to happen by offering a long-needed relief.
4. Be patient
Finally – be patient, don’t push it, and just let things happen on their own. Or not. No pressure. Remember one simple truth – sex’s worst enemy is tension.
Being married seems to come with a lower frequency of sexual intercourse, that is true. And for many, this presents a great problem and often even a cause for divorce or extramarital affairs. Yet, before you succumb to panic, you might also want to consider one more thing. The media and the modern culture continuously promotes the idea that your life has to be filled with constant mind-blowing sex, from when you get into puberty until the day you die. Nonetheless, people have always been different, sexual desires have differed, and marriages have been diverse. So, the only judges to how much sex means to you and your spouse should be you and your spouse, not the media, not your friends, not the movies or TV shows. And if you really aren’t that much into sex, but you love your partner, love spending time with him or her, love expressing affection in a different manner, and feel all right with it, then our extra advice is – enjoy it and don’t stress over sex! Embrace your marriage in its uniqueness and never compare yourself with anything but your inner happiness.
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If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.