The first couple times you chalked it up to being tired, or she’s not feeling well, or he’s been under stress… But as the nights roll on and you and your partner sleep on the opposite sides of the bed you start to realize that you are in a sexless marriage.
What does being in a sexless marriage mean? It does not mean that you and your partner never have sex. You could be having sex a few times a year and still be classified as being in a sexless marriage. One Newsweek study estimates that 20% of couples are living without sex in their relationships.
A sexless marriage can cause depression and spell disaster for the future of your relationship.
Why sexless marriages occur
There are many reasons why a sexless marriage may occur, some problems fixable and others a little more difficult to bear.
- Long-term relationship reluctance: With some couples, a long-term relationship can make sex seem less exciting. There is no thrill of the chase because it’s always there for you. You’ve become too comfortable with one another, making sex seem “boring” and repetitive. Combat this by keeping your sex life fresh and exciting, using toys, monthly sex boxes, and new techniques with your partner.
- Cheating: If you are cheating on your partner or vice versa, sex at home doesn’t seem nearly as exciting.
- Past infidelities: A past indiscretion may cause your partner to be less inclined to open up to you physically.
- Low testosterone: Men with low testosterone have a lower sex drive than other men. This can be spurred on by stress and anxiety, as well as age. Doctors will be able to give a variety of solutions for this issue.
- Trauma: When someone goes through a trauma such as a severe sickness, car accident, violent attack or rape, it can make them hesitant to have sex or put themselves in a vulnerable situation. A trusting partner and trauma counseling will be beneficial.
Why sex is important in relationships
It goes without saying that sex is important in relationships. There is a reason why a lack of it causes depression within the marriage, and surprisingly, it isn’t all about having an orgasm.
- Bonding: When having sex, the brain releases oxytocin, often dubbed the “love drug” or “cuddle hormone”. This is located in the reward centre of the brain. It enhances trust and creates a bond between couples during sex.
- Pleasure: Sex is supposed to be the thing you do only with your marriage mate. This is a pleasure shared between the two of you that feels good both mentally and physically.
- Feeling desired: Sex is validating to both partners involved. It lets them know that they are desired, lusted after, and boosts self-esteem.
Notoriously, sex also lowers stress and anxiety, improves sleep, and lowers the risk of potential health issues such as prostate cancer. These are just some of the reasons why sex is important in relationships. Thus, a lack of it may lead to depression and a lack of connection to your partner.
Signs of depression
Being without the physical contact and reassurance of love associated with sex, your marriage may be taking a nosedive. Feeling unwanted by your spouse can cause a strong depression. This depression is usually marked by symptoms such as:
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Severe drop or gain in weight
- Reduced appetite
- Stress and anxiety
- Panic attacks
A sexless marriage causing depression can also make you want to have an affair. Lack of love and feeling desired to lead to insecurities, which you may try to fill with another person. This is extremely harmful to your marriage.
What to do about a sexless marriage
If you are in a sexless marriage and you are depressed, you need help. Depression can be a debilitating illness that can stop you from living your life and having a happy marriage. Here are some positive steps you can take to fix your marriage.
- Be honest with your partner: If initiating sex with your partner is not working, you need to have an honest conversation with your marriage mate. Without placing blame, ask them if there is anything you can do to make them excited about having sex.
- Figure out why this happened: Narrowing down when you stopped being intimate with your partner can help you pinpoint why this started. Stress from a new job? Dishonesty in the relationship? Birth of a new child? Menopause? Go from there to figure out how to get back on track.
- Couples counseling: Marriage counseling can help you both identify any underlying issues that are preventing you from having sexual intercourse or being physically intimate in other ways. Your counselor can also listen without taking sides and let you air any grievances you may have about your marriage.
- Personal therapy: If you aren’t comfortable enough to invite your mate to come with you, or aren’t ready to address the subject head-on, you may still find personal therapy helpful. This will be a great opportunity for you to verbalize your thoughts, your depression, and work out a plan for the rest of your life.
- See your doctor: If your depression is taking over your life to the point that you are having suicidal thoughts or are unable to complete daily tasks, you must see your doctor immediately. He will be able to help you and prescribe any medication you may need to cope with your illness.
- Separation: If your mate is unwilling to work on your problem, even after acknowledging that it is causing you depression and sadness, you may want to consider a trial separation. This will give each of you the opportunity to build up sexual tension and desire while taking the time apart to assess what you really want out of your marriage and whether or not you will work with one another.
It is difficult to be in a sexless marriage which is causing depression, but it doesn’t mean the end of your marriage. Use calm, open speech to communicate your issues with your partner and strive to better your love life.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.