My Sexless Marriage Is Killing Me. What Should I Do?

by Alexandra CraciunJuly 2, 2021

Your marriage has become sexless, and it is killing you, driving you crazy.

Abstinence from sex has become all too commonplace for middle-aged couples, and sexlessness is something that could be slowly killing your relationship off.

Nearly 15 percent of married couples are in a sexless relationship. This includes spouses that have not had sex in at least six months. So how can you know whether your sexless marriage is fixable?

Chances are I’m talking to couples who are either in the midst of a sexless marriage or partners who suspect or know their sex lives are somewhere below “normal.”

 If you are looking for help, you may feel lost, hurt, confused, pitiful, or angry.

You are probably left wondering why you don’t have a connection anymore and what you could do to get back the intimacy, passion, and romance you once had.

It’s easy to think that a lack of sex might be the reason for the deadness in the relationship. However, most of the time, the reasons are varied.

I wholeheartedly believe that a good relationship is a solid foundation for a good life. The quality of our relationships affects every aspect of our life.

And that includes a strong friendship and good intimacy. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel like your sexless marriage is killing you.

Note: Alexandra is a professional Psychotherapist with specialized knowledge in relationships.

– Worried Lovers

5 Possible reasons why this might happen

1. Your partner may feel like they are not attracted to you.

This is a bummer to hear, but let me explain further. Loss of attraction doesn’t usually happen because you are not attractive.

The good news is, more often than not – it happens because other things are missing in the relationship.

2. The birth of a child

You used to have that young couple glow, a passion for life, and overall happiness when in each other’s company. Then everything changed when you decided to have children.

All aboard the parenthood ship!

3. Losing trust because of other reasons

Abuse from your partner, infidelity, feeling like you are alone in a relationship. or outside influences that are beyond control are all factors that contribute to trust issues inside the relationship.

4. Body image issues

Your partner may be seeing themselves as non-attractive. Our bodies change over time, and everyone knows how it is to feel like this once in a while.

It’s not unusual that this affects sexual engagement, as shame often accompanies it.

5. Health issues

Erectile dysfunction, depression, medication, and pain while having sex are just a couple of things that affect libido.

7 Ways to rekindle desire:

1. Taking the pressure off of sex.

There are no RULES or obligations in sex – other than consent, of course.

Women, in particular, have a very selfless view of sex, especially after years and years of marriage. They feel that they have a duty to give themselves to their husbands.

It’s no surprise that this kills desire and leaves no room for intimacy.

Let’s leave our preconceptions about sex on the side for a while.

You can be turned on even after an orgasm; sex doesn’t just mean penetration; there is no specific way to “do it,” and there’s more to sexual exploration than you might think.

You don’t have to have crazy sexual desires and be open to everything, but you must be able to communicate your needs in a relationship – and that includes sex.

It’s important to express your sexual desires in a non-judgemental way while also knowing that it is not all about performance!

2. Dealing with conflict.

In every successful relationship, it’s only a matter of time before an issue will test how well the couple can communicate, compromise, and reach a mutually satisfying resolution.

This is because all relationships go through ups and downs, like sea waves.

While most couples will experience this on some level, the key is not to allow these instances to define your relationship.

It’s important to establish healthy ways of dealing with conflict so you can help prevent minor issues from becoming big ones with long-lasting consequences.

So the only choice you have is to dive deep into the emotional aspect.

To nurture a sense of belonging in your relationship and get to know your partner’s way of fighting and respond in a way that brings resolution (not drama).

If you’re having issues along these lines or a combination of anything listed so far, therapy may be a good option to bridge the gap that these problems have created.

Here’s an article discussing how therapy can possibly save your relationship.

3. Intimacy is a prerequisite for sex.

Before we look at sexless relationships, why don’t we check out an area that most people have problems with?

Intimacy.

Even when it comes to sex, quality trumps quantity. And quality comes from the connection.

It isn’t just like pizza (I hate that analogy); you don’t just feel happy because sex is “happening” or because “it exists.”

There are so many sides to sexuality; it’s hard to even encompass everything in this post.

Intimacy means touching, not just having sex. It also means getting close and knowing your partner deeply, fostering meaningful conversations, as well as being present.

Moreover, shared activities and values increase intimacy. These are all factors that build a strong friendship! And believe it or not, that is precisely what you need!

4. Talk about sex with your partner.

There is a profound discomfort to talk about sex in general. Even if it’s a thing most of us experience. It’s just generally seen as a taboo subject.

I always like to look at every reason behind an issue to cut the problem from its roots.

Try to get to the bottom of the lack of sex together with your spouse.

The conversation about sex is never easy, and couples have a hard time opening up about the subject.

That’s because we often see sex as a performance when we should see it as a way to feel good together with our partner and a form of expression.

5. Sex is intentional.

There are so many myths about sex.

It’s assumed that we all have to know how to have sex without saying anything, just by reading each other’s minds. Like it’s an innate ability.

It’s not surprising that this eliminates desire and needs from the equation.

So much of our languages talk only about what’s on the surface of people’s sexual problems.

It’s universal that we want to feel wanted. So let’s try to reflect more on how to show interest in the other person during intercourse, not just getting it done with already. 

You shouldn’t just wait to see the end of it. There’s so much more to sex.

6. Avoid criticism and demandingness.

There’s an excellent way to approach the subject of your sex life without criticizing your partner. That’s not the assertive way to express your needs.

Instead of telling your partner how bad they are in bed, say how you’ve been feeling about the situation, how your sexless marriage is killing you.

Don’t assert that your partner owes you sex or issue threats if they don’t.

Pressure is no way to get back to pleasure; it just straight up kills any connection – which is the bridge to a satisfying sex life, intimately and emotionally.

Revisit the good history you have, and make way for even more conversations about intimacy.

7. Don’t numb your emotions.

Your partner denying you sex can bring to light fears of rejection or inadequacy – feelings that so many of us have experienced.

Rejection affects everyone; it’s completely normal, and it’s part of life. Therefore, we must experience it, accept that it is there, and find ways to replace it with something else.

Express those feelings of shame or guilt and let them pave a new way.

Dynamics in sex – men vs. women

Most of the research on the lack of sex is done on women, which is extremely archaic.

Men have these issues as well, even if it happens less frequently.

For men, sex is an action that is done to prove their inherent masculinity. There is also a hidden thought that they must want it, and often!

Which explains why a sexless marriage can feel like it’s killing them.

For women, there is still that belief that they should always give it to their partner, no matter how they feel about it.

Other than that, women don’t see themselves as attractive or sexual anymore over time.

In such a dynamic, it’s no wonder sex has become such a power game. One partner demands (because they have to, right?), and the other complies. It’s not fun!

The problems that arise come as a response to these pressures.

It can be performance anxiety for men, whereas, for women, it can be the feeling that their needs don’t matter.

Change of perspective

Don’t do the same things you’ve been doing until now, especially if you see that they’re not working. If that’s the case, you must challenge your perspective and try something else.

Recovering the passion is often a very daunting task and one that brings anxiety.

Conclusion

The question of whether we are having sex in a better or a worse way is still up for debate. The problem is not “how much,” but rather “how.”

It’s completely normal to feel like a sexless marriage is killing you. We’re all sexual in nature, after all.

But remember, it’s not ok to cheat if you’re in a sexless marriage. It never is.

Working on a satisfying sex life can be so healing and has many benefits that it would be a pity not to try.

Recommended: What Is Couples Therapy & Is It Right For You?

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