Can a Marriage Without Intimacy Be Saved?

Can a Marriage Without Intimacy Be Saved

One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to married life is, “What can I do to improve intimacy in my marriage?”  First, if you are asking this question, you need to know that a decrease, or even a lack of, physical intimacy is a somewhat normal occurrence in marriage, and there is no need to panic provided it is not an ongoing problem. Especially true after a number of years together, after creating a family, and during times of high stress, romantic activities may be temporarily placed on the back burner. As a fact of life, married people, in pursuit of business, domestic, and family activities, will make less time for their partners. Life events like childbirth, grief, or changes in employment may also get in the way of romantic routines.

Sexuality and marital intimacy are crucial components of a lasting romance. Notice that we’ve placed these in separate categories. That is because most people do not realize that sex and intimacy are different, that there are different forms of expression. Components of intimacy must work together and properly align, to form happy marriages.

Understanding different scenarios

As such, partners sometimes feel that their relationships lack intimacy, or, they sense something is lacking but they are not able to put their finger on it. Let’s say your partner no longer seems interested in foreplay, or the sex does not seem as rewarding as it did five years ago. Or, your partner is confused because regular sex is happening and yet, something feels different.   In this case it’s not the frequency of sex or the physical component that’s missing;  it’s the emotional component.  That is the type of touching, kissing, caressing, and pillow talk that promotes a sense of closeness – it is the type of gushy stuff you probably did when you first got together.  So what’s changed?

The answer is everything. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but you were working hard on your relationship during courtship, putting forth lots of energy to attain and keep your mate interested. Now that you’re married, you’re probably resting on your laurels as we have a tendency to do. But, therein is the error.  Just as plants need watering, your relationship needs continuous nourishment to keep it healthy and strong. Marriage certificates do not provide the nourishment and effort a relationship needs; therefore it does not end when the wedding takes place.

Communication kickstarts intimacy

In conclusion, if a partner communicates a desire to improve intimacy, it is a consideration both should take seriously. Being able to communicate around these issues –to be sensitive and supportive to your partner’s wishes and needs, and to continually water the plant of your relationship– is very necessary. In its most basic stages, communication kickstarts intimacy. So practice talking honestly about what you currently enjoy, and would enjoy more of, in sex with your partner. Compromise, if necessary. Remember to put forth your expression of love, appreciation, and romance, and the intimacy should fall naturally into place.


A marriage without intimacy, truly, can never be a happy one.

Kelli H
Social Worker
Kelli Hastings is a writer, social worker, and proud advocate for women. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of Oregon in 2007 and worked as a behavior support specialist and program manager. She is inspired to support couples,
teach them skills that lead to healthy, happy and romantic partnerships. Her interests include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, visualization practice, and related therapies.

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