A sexless marriage is like a flightless bird, or an eggless omelette, or a rose without scent… It just doesn’t seem right, and it’s not. And this is not something you can really talk about either. In this sex-crazed society, most people would think you were joking or exaggerating. But for those who know what it’s like, it is certainly no joke. If you are a wife who has a sexless marriage, you are no doubt sadly familiar with the feelings of frustration, rejection and confusion which your husband’s lack of passion and desire has caused for you. If it is any comfort, please know that you are not alone – there are many women who are suffering in a similar way.
There are always options for you to consider, and this article will seek to help you think through your situation in order to reach a decision on the best way forward for you and your husband. But firstly, let us define the term “sexless marriage” and how it applies in your context:
What exactly is a sexless marriage?
This definition is not as simple as it may sound, and different couples have different thresholds of what they consider to be a normal amount of sex. Some couples may be satisfied with making love ten times per year, or once a month maximum. Some experts consider less than ten times per year as being “sexless”. Then there are the couples who can’t even remember when the last time was that they were passionate. Whatever the scenario, it seems that sexless marriages are becoming more of a phenomenon nowadays than previously, or perhaps it is because people are starting to speak up (or write) about it more openly. And apparently it doesn’t just affect a certain age group or sector of society – it can happen to anyone. But of course, it probably didn’t start out like that – so what really causes a sexless marriage?
What causes a sexless marriage?
The reasons that cause a couple to stop having sex are many and varied and are usually of a very personal nature. It could be that your partner had his feelings hurt, or got turned down. Hectically busy schedules and a stressful lifestyle are also infamous libido killers. This can be especially true if you have one or more very young children to care for. Then there is just the general lack of desire, which may be combined with a communication problem of some sort. It may be a combination of reasons, so it is not always easy to identify the root cause. But whatever the reason, the result is obvious and painful, and the question you are really faced with is what can you do?
What can you do?
- Don’t take on false guilt and blame
Ask yourself what your role has been in this sad state of affairs. Have you communicated your feelings clearly to your husband? Have you resolved any issues between you that may have caused a blockage in your love flow? It is important that you do not absorb all the blame and beat yourself up, thinking that it’s your fault he doesn’t want to have sex with you. This can easily happen when you are feeling unwanted and rejected, but it is counterproductive to resolving the impasse. Rather step back and realize that whether or not your man is initiating sex does not indicate how sexy you are. It may mean that he is struggling with some kind of erectile dysfunction which he is ashamed to let you know about so he would rather just abstain. Keep showing him affection and letting him know how much you still love and want him.
- Determine whether it is a passing season
Every marriage goes through dry patches as the seasons of life roll around. Maybe you have a newborn in the family and life is just exhausting. Or perhaps it is a particularly stressful season in yours and your husband’s careers. As your ages creep up this may also affect the sex drive. So with regard to the lack of sex in your relationship, determine whether it is due to a particular passing season which could change in the near future, or is it something that is pervasive and unlikely to change?
It is always advisable to get professional help if a problem is ongoing without any breakthrough in sight. Ask your spouse if he is willing to visit a medical doctor to see if there are any physical causes which can be effectively treated. Marriage counselling or therapy can also be a helpful option for you both to gain clarity about your relationship, and what the reasons may be behind the lack of intimacy that you are experiencing. Bringing an objective third party into the situation can have the dual effect of acknowledging the seriousness of your struggle, as well as accessing the help that is available.
Having a good sex life takes time and effort, so if you want intimacy to be a priority, you may need to free up some of your busy schedule. Mark your diary with those weekly date nights and try doing some of the things you used to enjoy together when you were first dating. Take the time to share quiet moments, simply holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes and talking about your feelings while you kiss and cuddle together. Remember, there is a lot more to true intimacy than actual sex.
What is the way forward?
Basically there are two main scenarios which can result from following the steps described above:
- You get help and your love life is rekindled slowly but surely and you no longer describe your marriage as sexless
- Your husband is not willing to acknowledge that there is a problem, or that there is anything to work on, and you continue to experience the frustration of a sexless marriage.
Wherever your particular situation lies on the continuum of these two outcomes, you will need to ask yourself whether there is sufficient progress being made to give you hope for a happier future. If you cannot see any progress at all, then the question is whether you are willing to accept and resign yourself to a sexless marriage indefinitely, or whether you will decide to move on.
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.