Has your married sex-life become a thing of the past so much that you feel like you are in a sexless marriage? Have you noticed an emotional separation corresponding to your lack of intimacy? Think that a sexless marriage is just something you just have ‘to deal with’? Or that you’re the only one of your friends with decreased action between the sheets?
Well, guess again. Sexless marriages are so common that there is actually a medical definition for it; it means a relationship in which sex occurs less than 12 times per year.
So you are definitely not alone. In fact in a recent interview on The Seth Meyers Show, Dr. Oz went so far as to say that as a nation, we are in a sexual famine! And we are having less sex now than we did in the 1950s!
So What If We’re Not Having Much Sex Anymore? What’s the Big Deal?
Potentially plenty – especially if you and your partner are not on the same page regarding just how often you should do it. We’ve previously written about the numerous physiological benefits of sex . One partner wanting sex more than the other is called desire discrepancy, and if left unaddressed can seriously impair an otherwise healthy relationship. It can become a source of stress, guilt, and/or resentment ultimately leading to an emotional separation in the marriage. Besides the obvious worst-case results of affairs or divorce, emotional separation can also show up in many little, but destructive ways each day. For example, engaging in too many trivial little arguments about things around the house; becoming unwilling to compromise; ‘snipping’ at each other rather than talking; giving the ‘cold shoulder’; not showing your children the healthy examples of affection (e.g. holding hands, giving hugs, kisses, etc…).
At best emotional separation leads to you and your spouse acting as loveless business partners collectively managing to keep the household functioning. However, what you aren’t doing is providing your children a positive example of how to maintain and nurture a loving relationship.
At its worst, the stress and resentment can build to such a level that fighting and bickering become common place, your house becomes a generally tense place, and more than likely you are well on your way to splitsville. Worst yet, you are also unwittingly imprinting within your children a set of behaviors that many experts agree will result in their own failed relationships down the road. Remember what it used to be like when you fell in love, or when you first had kids? Remember those times when you and your partner really were a great and loving and affectionate team? Don’t you want your kids to experience that as well? And don’t you want that back for yourself?
Still think a sexless marriage is not such a big deal!? I would think not!
Ok, I’m Sold, But We’ve Been This Way for So Long and I Don’t Know What To Do.
There’s no doubt that this isn’t an easy topic to bring up with your partner. Chances are that there are many factors that have led to you where you are today, and sorting them out will take a lot longer than 5 minutes of pillow talk. But you absolutely must get a conversation started if you want to get back on track.
Lack of sexual desire can have many causes, so you and your partner need to determine exactly what has led you to your current situation.
- Does your husband work long hours, travel a lot, or bring work stress home with him?
- Do you feel he doesn’t contribute enough around the house?
- Are you withholding sex out of resentment?
- Is one of you taking prescription medications that can reduce libido?
- Have the challenges of running the house and reduced hormone levels resulted in you becoming indifferent to sex?
- Do you and your husband go to bed at different times? Are you simply exhausted at the end of each night?
- Does it take you a long time to get aroused for enjoyable sex? Our film series is designed to help with that.
- Have you stopped trying to become aroused and started just gone through the motions, just to get through it?
- Are concerns about the security of your relationship killing your mojo?
Whatever the cause, it’s important to re-connect emotionally first. To really sit down and have an in-depth discussion about how things are going in your marriage both inside and outside of your bedroom. Try to come to some sort of understanding about how thing came to be where they are now, but more importantly where each partner would like them to be in the future, including in the bedroom. Be honest and clear with each other. Talk about how often each of you would like to have sex, and make sure to include the ‘why’. Explore how having an enjoyable physical experience makes you both feel. Also be clear with each other about mood killers or actions that prevent intimacy.
Having such a conversation is not easy, nor is it quick. Take a look at the embedded video link on ending a sexless marriage for a few tips to think about before you get started. Also here are a number of specific conversation starters. And more than likely it is going to be uncomfortable. But as tough as it might be, it’s also important that no one gets defensive. Remember that you got married years ago because you felt that spark and fell madly in love with each other. You’ve spent many wonderful years together, created amazing children together and still very much love each other. However, in other ways things aren’t quite the same and your sexless marriage is an issue that is not going away on its own. But regardless of how tough it might be to get the conversation started, or to openly re-hash years of behaviors that have put your bed on ice, the effort is worth it. By spending a few minutes (or perhaps even hours) talking and getting reconnected emotionally, you can enjoy the benefits of a closer and stronger relationship for decades in the future.
Remember, you’re not alone and a sexless marriage is not something that you simply need to just accept. Take the first steps toward reconnecting with your partner tonight! Good luck!