One night, Dawn sat talking with her girlfriends when the conversation turned to sex. Surprisingly, they all talked about how they wish they had more sex with their husbands.
It just seemed that they were always too tired, or something else got in the way. One friend started cribbing about sexless marriage and complained that she hadn’t had sex in two weeks.
After a while, they noticed Dawn hadn’t said much.
Finally, she said, “My husband and I haven’t had sex since last year.” Blank stares. As it turned out, since Dawn and her husband had experienced infertility for many years—but had since been able to have two children—unfortunately, sex had become all about trying for a baby and less about connection and fun.
At the moment, they were both okay with the long break. Eventually, she added, things will change. But for now, they were fine. So, if you are wondering, what to do if you are in a sexless marriage, you are not alone.
According to Newsweek magazine, somewhere between 15-20 percent of couples may be having a “sexless marriage,” which some say is having sex less than ten times per year. In 1994, the US National Health and Society Life Survey reported that 2 percent of married couples had no sex in the previous year.
Why? The reasons are quite varied. Perhaps a significant life event or disability has caused changes in the sexual routine.
Perhaps you both just aren’t in the mood anymore, for either physical or emotional reasons. If you are both okay with the current lack of sex in your marriage, then just make sure to keep the lines of communication open in case those feelings change.
However, if your sexless marriage does bother one or both of you, then here are some effective ways of dealing with a sexless marriage and rebuilding intimacy in marriage.
Have the conversation
If you and your spouse haven’t discussed the lack of sex in your marriage yet, set up a time to do so.
It may feel awkward, but it’s a conversation you need to have. Avoiding the subject will not make the issue go away. So if you are thinking about how to bring back intimacy in a marriage, sit down, just the two of you, and talk about it.
Maybe you both have talked about sex until you are blue in the face, and it hasn’t done any good. Perhaps you need to approach it in a different way.
Sex is an emotional act, so it’s no wonder that talking about it can bring out a lot of emotions as well. The important part of talking about it is to try to understand where you are both coming from.
If you are having trouble knowing how to get started, each of you try to answer these questions honestly:
Are you happy with the current level of sex in your marriage?
What would be an ideal amount of sex per week?
Why do you think there is a lack of sex right now?
Any outside factors contributing to that?
What are your beliefs about sex?
How do you feel about sex overall?
Go for marriage counseling
If it’s been several months or longer that you and your spouse have had a “sexless marriage,” then go see a marriage counselor, to spice up your sexless marriage. The sooner, the better.
If you let pent up frustrations build for a long time, they may become harder and harder to unravel.
A good marriage counselor will help each of you talk openly about sex and get to the root cause of why there is no sex. For many, it can be hard to talk about. It’s such a personal subject.
But it’s important to discuss things in order to face the issue and work through restoring intimacy in marriage. A good marriage therapist can help you get past old hurts or beliefs that are standing in the way of a better sexual experience.
Have realistic expectations
If you are fretting over how to deal with a sexless relationship or how to rekindle the sexless marriage, realize that it is no magic and that you need to set up realistic goals.
As you go on this journey, you may want to know what is “normal” with other couples while it can be comforting to know that other couples are going through similar issues, seeing those who have more sex than you can put a damper on your progress.
So try not to worry about what other people are doing. Your relationship is unique. Don’t expect things to be a certain way. You have each gone through your own trials, and you each have different wants and needs.
Work with your spouse day by day and try to be realistic. Maybe you both want more sex, but that doesn’t mean it’ll automatically happen. Give each other time to get back in the swing of things. Realize that sometimes there will be setbacks. Be patient and loving along the way.
You and your spouse must be on the same page while working on a sexless marriage solution. Talking about ‘sex problems in relationships’ and going to therapy are great options, but you need more.
You both need to develop a game plan and act on it, rather than ruminating over ‘how to fix a sexless marriage.’
Get out a piece of paper and write down your ideas. Weekly dates are a good idea—not only do they help you connect more, you can hold hands and kiss and develop the bond that can eventually rekindle a sexless marriage.
If sex is difficult due to scheduling, then schedule it! There is no shame in that. If sex is not happening because you are both exhausted, then take a sleep test, take naps, or have sex in the morning. Sometimes, these things take extra planning—and that’s okay.
Sex is an essential component of marriage. It helps us feel closer, and it also relieves stress. If you are experiencing a lack of sex in your marriage and it bothers one or both of you, then don’t wait. Address the issue now.
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.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.