At the start of the relationships, couples often go through the honeymoon phase. It almost feels like being “high” on love. Everything is new and exciting, there is a lot of passion, and the desire is through the roof. However, as this phase comes to an end, the sex drive lowers, the excitement seems gone, and certain couples start experiencing problems in their bedrooms.
Some people get married during this phrase, and some do after.
Regardless of that, over time, many couples tend to attach less weight to their sex life. While it is common for spouses to become less intimate with each other within the first few years of their marriage, no physical intimacy at all may be a sign that the relationship is in trouble.
Is divorce inevitable if you and your spouse do not have an active sex life? This article will attempt to answer questions that bother most married couples experiencing issues in their sexual relations.
Are you in a sexless marriage?
There are many ways a sexless partnership can be defined, most of which put a lot of focus on the regularity of physical intimacy in one’s life. In reality, it is more about the significance of the mismatch in the desire of both partners.
If one spouse wants to be physically intimate every single night, and their better half does not feel like doing it more than two or three times a week, such marriage cannot be called sexless.
However, if one partner wants to have sex daily and the other one only a few times a year or once a month, at least one of the spouses will likely view the marriage as lacking physical intimacy.
How to deal with a sexless marriage?
If you cannot say for sure if your partnership is sexless, it does not necessarily mean it is.
Still, as this aspect concerns you a lot, it is important to understand that there are likely issues in your sex life that you need to deal with, and it is important to talk to your spouse about them.
Common Reasons for a Sexless Marriage
So, can a marriage survive without intimacy?
Lack of sexuality in marriage or low sex drive is an issue that couples worldwide face.
However, the reasons why spouses stop being physically intimate with each other vary. It is common for people to believe that their significant other is not interested in sex because they fell out of love, are cheating, or do not find their partner attractive.
While this is the case, it is sometimes essential to consider these common reasons and sexless marriage consequences.
Different or Low Sex Drives
It is rare for partners’ sex drives to be a perfect match. If both spouses experience a loss of libido or simply don’t value sex as much as their friendship, feeling of emotional security, and other aspects of their marriage, it can still work out no matter how sexually active they are.
Yet, for couples whose sexual drives are mismatched, finding a fine line between satisfying each other’s needs and not pushing them to be physically intimate when they do not want to may be problematic.
Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that couples facing sex issues have reached the point of no return.
Truth be told, if they are willing to save their relationship, it is crucial to be open to having tough conversations and consulting a sexologist or a therapist.
Childbirth and Menopause
Some physicians recommend abstaining from having intercourse for about a month or two after having a baby. Caring for a child is always stressful, and this stress, along with body changes, fatigue, and decreased hormonal levels, affects women’s sex drive a lot.
During such periods, it is crucial to remember that while sex may be barely on the table, it does not mean that spouses should give up on showing each other affection in other ways to make sure they both feel wanted and valued.
These are not necessarily fights or conflicts. Everything might be as simple (and at the same time as hard) as a failure to voice one’s own sexual desires. When one or both spouses are no longer satisfied with the process, and there is a need for a change, making sure the other half knows about it is of utmost importance.
Moreover, suppose any of you had negative experiences, such as sexual abuse. In that case, the partner must understand how difficult this was to go through, and how to approach physical intimacy, not traumatize the affected person.
Many spouses end up in a sexless marriage due to medical conditions, and impotence is one of them. When men struggle with erection, they are very likely to become anxious and confused, which affects their self-esteem and a desire to be physically intimate. The reasons why impotence occurs vary, and they may range from having a heart disease to suffering from mental health problems and stress.
Another cause of a sexless marriage is depression. When a person loses interest in life and feels hopeless or restless, it takes a toll on their relationships. Whether the health issues you or your spouse experience are physical or mental, it is necessary to seek medical attention. In this case, lack of sex in a marriage should be the least of your concerns as, without professional help, any of these conditions might lead to devastating consequences.
Side Effects of Drugs
Many are surprised to find out that many prescribed medications come with side effects that may harm their sexual activity. Suppose there is a reason to believe that your medication seriously affects your sex drive, and you find that uncomfortable or unbearable. In that case, it is best to consult your physician to see if you are right about your suspicions and if there are alternatives that can be prescribed instead.
Overall, if you have found yourself coping with a sexless marriage, it does not mean that you or your spouse should necessarily separate or that any of you want it at all. If you believe that there are problems with physical intimacy in your relationships, having an honest conversation about it is the first step. It is crucial to voice your wants and needs without criticizing your significant other. After all, talking about sex, most people feel very vulnerable, and it may take a few poorly chosen words to offend your partner.
A divorce might become a part of such a conversation, and you need to listen to yourself and your partner to understand whether this is something either of you considers to be the best option. If at least one of the spouses wants out of the relationships and has already made up their mind, the other person needs to think if trying to “make it work” is worth their time and energy.
When to walk away from sexless marriage?
During my counseling years, a lot of couples asked me how many sexless marriages end in divorce.
Some of them wanted to know that numbers are on their side, while others were looking for a reason to separate. Overall, reviewing the sexless marriage statistics will not help you decide whether to divorce or not and help analyze how long do sexless marriages last.
However, there are some questions you may answer to understand where your marriage stands.
1. Are you and your spouse ready to try counseling to work on your relationships?
If both of you are, it is a good sign. Even if not, in case the partner who refuses to go to therapy together offers some alternatives, likely, they did not give up on your marriage.
2. Do you feel resentment or hostility that you believe will not go away?
Strong negative feelings are often hard to get rid of. If you firmly believe you cannot, do you think your partnership will remain satisfactory to both of you?
3. Are you staying together only because of children?
While divorce does affect kids, having unhappy parents may do even more damage. If you have nothing in common but the children and “date nights” or “together alone” time does not change that, it is not a good sign.
In the video below, Mel Robbins discusses how it is important for kids to see their parents as happy individuals, able to deal with something scary, and make a big change for a better future. That is why, the decision to leave should be an empowering one.
4. Do both of you care enough to stay in the relationships?
Sometimes, people grow apart, and having no physical intimacy might just be one of the multiple signs. If it is not hard for you to see yourself waking up alone or with another person, you might already be over your spouse.
When facing sexual problems, there is nothing worse than putting a blind eye to the issues or feeling ashamed of discussing them. To save a marriage, both spouses should be open to dialogue to address the problems before they lead to mutual hostility and a divorce.
However, if a partner who experiences a loss of sexual desire refuses to make any effort to come to a resolution, there is little chance that such marriage will work.
Ignoring another partner’s sexual needs can and will very likely have a detrimental impact on a relationship. After all, this is not just about physical intimacy but also honesty, openness, and trust.
When all of this is lost, and only a one-sided effort is being made to find a solution, a divorce might be the option to consider.
Is No Sex in Marriage Grounds for Divorce?
In the eyes of the law, it might be. However, not all states recognize it as grounds for divorce, specifically because the no-fault option is the only one available. Moreover, if no sex is the only reason you would like to call it quits, there is a chance that it can be changed.
Most spouses need different amounts of intimacy to fulfill their needs. While some are convinced that they have a healthy love life, their partners may feel like something is lacking.
One of the hardest parts of being in the relationships is communicating your needs and finding out the ones your partner has.
Therefore, it is best if you and your significant other talk everything over before one of you starts preparing for divorce due to sexless marriage.
As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango,” so understanding why your sex life has changed to become what it is now will either help you save your marriage or realize what you should do differently in your future relationships.
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.
Virginia M. Duke has 7+ years of experience in a marriage counselling and post-divorce traumas therapy. She is also a content creator for various online platforms, such as Parenting.com, MetroFamily, AllAboutFamily and many others. In her articles she discloses practical advice on matters related towards marriage life tips and efficient parenting ideas.