I was at a seminar recently where half the married couples in attendance confessed that they were in sexless marriages. Some said they have had sex only once or twice this year. Some said just once in the past six months. Some had not even had sex this year at all.
I thought marriage is the licence you get to have as much sex as you please. Yet couples are not having sex.
It is worrisome. I wasn’t surprised because I have heard a lot of such cases, but I am worried that it is becoming the order of the day.
I understand that sex can be tricky in a long term relationship like marriage because the couple have been together for long and have become complacent. Still it shouldn’t be. Sex is a connector, a bonding tool. When it is lost in a relationship, it begins to affect other parts of a relationship.
So let’s find out. What exactly is a sexless relationship?
A sexless relationship often refers to a relationship where there’s little to no sexual activity occurring between the couple. There’s no exact way to quantify what counts as a sexless relationship as different people have different expectations and desires for sex.
However, having sex 10 times a year or less is usually considered a sexless relationship. Still it’s very dependent on the individuals. For instance, some people are perfectly happy with sex about once a month, whereas for others, that might feel infrequent enough to consider it a sexless relationship. In general, it’s common for sex in long-term relationships to fluctuate in frequency and quality.
A lot of factors can contribute to the emergence of a sexless relationship. Although each case is unique, here are some common causes:
1. Stress and Work Life Balance: The contemporary lifestyles we live now come with high levels of stress due to work responsibilities, financial burdens or family obligations. These are stressors that can negatively affect a person’s libido, leading to a decrease in sexual desire.
2. Lack of Communication: Communication breakdown is a significant cause of a lot of relationship issues, which also affects their sexual experience. If partners don’t discuss their desires, needs, concerns or changes in regards to sex, it can lead to misunderstandings and unresolved conflicts.
3. Emotional Disconnect: An emotional disconnect between partners can be a result of unresolved conflicts, resentments or a lack of emotional support. This disconnect can gradually diminish the desire for sexual intimacy.
4. Medical or Physical Conditions: Some medical or physical conditions can severely impact an individual’s ability or desire to engage in sexual activity. These conditions may include hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, erectile dysfunction, or side effects of medications.
5. Past Traumatic Experience: Past traumas such as sexual abuse or assault can significantly affect an individual’s comfort or willingness to engage in sexual activities. These experiences can lead to fear, anxiety or aversion towards sex.
So what are the effects of a sexless marriage?
A sexless relationship may not necessarily harm the overall health of the relationship if the people involved are happy without sex (or infrequent sex). It becomes a problem when it causes distress. If one or both partners are unhappy with their sex life, it can cause negative feelings that can bubble up in other areas of their life and taint the rest of the relationship. When sexlessness becomes a problem it can cause:
– Feelings like loneliness, resentment, frustration, guilt, rejection and inadequacy
– Negative feelings and pressure around sex, triggering a sexual avoidance cycle
– Less openness and connection between couples
– Less patience with each other.
Be that as it may, hope is not lost. If both parties are willing to put in effort to save the relationship. It is possible to rekindle lost passion.
Like I mentioned earlier, each situation is unique and the effectiveness of these remedies may also vary. Nevertheless, here are a few possible remedies:
1. Open Communication: Communication is a vital key in relationships. Honest and open communication about desires, fears, and concerns between partners is important, if not necessary. Discussing sexual needs, boundaries and expectations creates an opportunity for partners to better understand each other.
2. Seek Professional Help: Some cases are beyond surface level and may require the assistance of a trained therapist or counsellor who specialises in relationship or sexual issues. Professional guidance can help identify the root causes and provide effective strategies to rekindle intimacy.
3. Focus on Emotional Connection: Building emotional intimacy and connection is vital to restoring a healthy sexual relationship. Engaging in activities that promote emotional bonding such as date nights, shared hobbies or open conversations about feelings can help reestablish emotional closeness.
4. Address Medical or Physical Factors: If a medical or physical condition is impacting sexual desire or function, seeking appropriate medical attention is crucial. Consultation with healthcare professionals, specialists or therapists who deal with sexual health can provide guidance and potential solutions.
5. Explore Alternative Intimacy: Sexual intimacy is not limited to intercourse alone. Couples can explore alternative ways to express affection, closeness and intimacy without necessarily focusing on penetrative sex. This may include engaging in sensual activities, massage, cuddling or fostering emotional connections through non-sexual means.
6. Invest in Self-care: Prioritising self-care, reducing stress levels and maintaining overall well-being can contribute to a healthier sexual relationship. Engaging in activities such as exercise, relaxation techniques, quality sleep and managing work-life balance can positively impact one’s sexual desire and overall relationship satisfaction.
It is however important to understand that solving the issue of a sexless relationship depends on the willingness of both partners to address the problem and work towards a solution together. Patience, understanding and support for each other are essential in navigating these challenges successfully.
In conclusion, a sexless relationship can absolutely be healthy. Some people are perfectly happy without sex. And even when sex is a problem, the rest of the relationship can be healthy. It all depends on the couple, what each person’s individual needs are, and how they communicate and tend to each other’s needs.
Whether you should stay in a sexless relationship depends on how important sex is to you personally. While sex is one way to bring pleasure into a relationship, it’s not the only way. And for some, it is not the most important way to connect with one another.
The decision to stay in a sexless relationship also depends on how willing you both are to working on creating a mutually satisfying sex life together. If you are in a sexless relationship and feeling unsatisfied, it is time to discuss your dissatisfaction with your partner and come up with possible solutions.
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