In various partnerships, sex can play a distinct function. If you’re in a sexless relationship, you’re probably asking yourself a lot of things. What causes a sexless relationship to develop? Is it possible to have a good sexless relationship? Should you stay in a sexless relationship? This is maybe the scariest question to ask yourself, especially if you’ve been in this relationship for a long time and genuinely love the person you’re with. Here are all the answers you’re looking for, straight from therapists who specialize in sex and marriage.
A sexless relationship is one in which there is little or no sexual interaction between the partners. Because various people have varied sex expectations and needs, there is no perfect method to measure what constitutes a sexless relationship. According to AASECT-certified sex therapist Jessa Zimmerman, having sex 10 times a year or fewer is commonly considered a sexless relationship. However, it is very dependant on the individual. Some people, for example, are quite content having sex once a month, whilst others may consider it infrequent enough to be considered a sexless relationship.
Statistics on Sexless Relationship
About 19 percent of the 659 married adults who revealed details about their sexual frequency in the 2018 U.S. General Social Survey were in sexless relationships, having had sex “once or twice” or “not at all” in the previous year. In comparison, approximately 35% of married persons had sex one to three times per month, 25% had sex weekly, and 21% had sex many times each week.
What Causes Sexless Relationships.
There is rarely a single obvious cause for sexless relationships; rather, a variety of circumstances play a role in how a relationship becomes sexless over time. According to Brown-James and sex therapist Vanessa Marin, LMFT, there are a few significant contributing factors:
- Neither of them is really interested in sex.
- Being overworked to the point of neglecting sex
- Ignoring intimacy and pleasure as a whole
- Disconnection from the relationship due to conflict
- Health Concerns (e.g., sexual pain, dysfunction, aging-related changes, etc.)
- One or both partners are sexually incompatible.
- Sexual trauma has occurred in one or both couples, making sex more difficult or less enticing.
- Incompatibility in libido or other forms of desire
“There’s also a lot of misinformation about sex out there, which can lead to people having unhealthy relationships with it. For instance, if you believe sex should always be spontaneous, “Marin continues.
Sexless Relationship Depression
If there is no intimacy between the parties, the relationship may be in a relationship. Living in a sexless relationship or without physical contact can be harmful to a relationship since sex provides confirmation of love. Depression can be brought on by feeling unloved by your spouse or dealing with a sexless relationship. Symptoms of this type of depression typically include:
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Loss of appetite
- Anxiety and stress
- Panic attacks
A depressing sexless relationship can also make you desire to have an affair. Insecurity can be caused by a lack of affection and want to be desired, which you may try to satisfy with another person. Your relationship will suffer greatly as a result of this.
Loving Sexless Relationship
If you are depressed and in a love sexless relationship, get treatment. Depression is a crippling illness that can prevent you from living your life to the fullest. Here are some positive things you can do to improve and reduce sexless in your relationship.
1. Be truthful to your partner.
If initiating sex with your partner isn’t working, you’ll need to establish an open and honest relationship with your partner. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to get them interested in having sex without blaming them.
2. Determine why this occurred.
If you can pinpoint when you stopped being intimate with your partner, you’ll be able to figure out why this started. Is your new job causing you stress? Did you notice dishonesty in your relationship? Is a new child on the way? Menopause? Figure out how to get back on track from there.
3. Attend a couples counseling session
Counseling can assist you in identifying any underlying difficulties that are limiting you from having sexual intercourse or engaging in other forms of physical intimacy. Your counselor can also listen without taking sides, allowing you to vent whatever concerns you have about your relationship.
4. Try individual counseling.
If you aren’t ready to invite your partner to come with you, or if you aren’t ready to confront the issue head-on, personal counseling may still be beneficial. This will be an excellent time for you to express your feelings, deal with your despair, and devise a strategy for the remainder of your life.
5. Consult your physician
If your depression has taken over your life to the point where you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are unable to do daily duties, you should get medical help as soon as possible. They will be able to assist you and will be able to prescribe any medicines you may require to manage your illness.
6. If everything else fails, go for separation.
You may want to explore a trial separation if your partner refuses to work on your problem, even after realizing that it is causing you depression and unhappiness. This will allow each of you to develop sexual tension and desire while taking time apart to consider what you truly want from your marriage and whether or not you will work together.
Sexless Relationship Effects
A sexless relationship will not necessarily impair the couple’s overall health. “There is no problem if both people are content without sex (or with infrequent sex). It’s an issue when it causes distress, much like so much else in our sex lives “Zimmerman elucidates. However, she warns that if one or both partners are unhappy with their sexual lives, bad feelings may arise in other parts of their lives, tainting the remainder of the relationship. She claims that when one or both partners are unhappy with the sexlessness, the following are some of the possible consequences:
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- Loneliness, bitterness, frustration, remorse, rejection, and inadequacy are examples of negative feelings.
- Negative feelings and pressure associated with sex, leading to a sexual avoidance cycle.
- There is a lack of transparency and connection.
- There is a lack of compassion and kindness.
- Less tolerance for one another
What is a Sexless Relationship called
What does it mean to be in a sexless relationship? This does not rule out the possibility of sex between you and your partner. Even if you have sex a few times a year, you’re still considered to be in a sexless relationship. According to a Newsweek report, 20% of couples do not have sexual intimacy in their relationship.
A sexless relationship can lead to sadness, sexual frustration, and ruin your partnership’s future. Let’s have a look at the reasons behind this disease before we go into more detail about them.
Why do sexless relationship occur?
A relationship might become sexless for a variety of reasons. Some issues can be resolved, while others are more difficult to bear.
1. Aversion to a long-term relationship
A long-term relationship might make sex less exciting for some couples. Because it’s always there for you, there’s no excitement in the chase. You’ve grown too accustomed to each other, making sex feel “boring” and monotonous. To combat this, use toys, monthly sex boxes, and new ways with your partner to keep your sex life fresh and exciting.
When you’re cheating on your lover or vice versa, sex at home isn’t as stimulating.
3. Infidelity in the past
A previous indiscretion may cause your partner to withhold sex in a relationship and be less willing to physically open up to you.
4. Abnormally low testosterone levels
The sex drive of guys with low testosterone is lower than that of other men. Stress and anxiety, as well as age, might contribute to this. Doctors will be able to provide a number of options for dealing with this problem.
Intimacy concerns can arise after a traumatic event such as a serious illness, a vehicle accident, a violent attack, or rape. They may be cautious to have sex or place themselves in a vulnerable position as a result of the trauma. It will be useful to have a trustworthy companion and to get trauma counseling.
How to Spice up Sexless Relationship
If you’re having trouble spicing up a sexless relationship, we’ve got some tried-and-true ideas for you. It’s important to remember that this isn’t the end of the world or your relationship. This is certainly something you can work out with a little honesty and effort. Continue reading to learn how.
1. Effective communication is essential.
Communication is essential for your relationship to develop. Remember that a lack of sex does not have to be a source of contention. “I was wondering how come we don’t have sex as often as we used to,” rather than “Why don’t you have sex with me anymore,” should be the starting point of the conversation. An accusatory tone won’t help a sexless relationship that’s already on the rocks.
2. Selecting the Appropriate Time
You may be married or in a live-in relationship, which is wonderful; but, do not bring it up casually. When it’s time to start talking, you’ll know. You can’t begin when your partner comes in the front door exhausted and grumpy from a long day at work. To process and think about it, they must be in the correct frame of mind. This isn’t about the grocery list; it’s about a major problem.
3. Pay close attention to what is being said.
The majority of individuals are poor listeners. So, instead of thinking about your response while your spouse is speaking, it is healthier to completely listen, processes it in your thoughts, and then reply as you see fit when you sit down to talk about it.
4. Indulge in non-sexual activities.
Perhaps your partner is experiencing the same lack of sex but is unable to express it owing to his or her busy schedule. Effective communication will help you reclaim your intimacy. If it’s due to your partner’s lack of sexual desire, there are things you may do to assist them.
Can a Sexless Relationship Survive
Without intimacy, a relationship can survive, as can sexless unions. A relationship without intimacy, on the other hand, is not the same as one without sex. Some people may not engage in a lot of sexual activity and are unconcerned about it, especially if they engage in other forms of closeness such as emotional and spiritual intimacy.
However, if you have no sorts of intimacy in your relationship, it’s a different issue that may or may not be related to the absence of sex.
“Empty love” is defined as a relationship that lacks intimacy and passion but only has a commitment, according to Brown-James, citing psychologist Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love. “These relationships can last, although couples may appear to be more like roommates than lovers. Marriages without passion can endure and prosper under one condition. When love is lacking, relationships, where friendship and commitment are the foundation of connection, survive and thrive.”
How to Fix Sexless Relationship
Consider consulting with a sexuality professional if you’re in a sexless relationship and are having trouble getting your sex life to a place where it feels pleasant for both people. Bringing in a helpful, unbiased third party can often help clear the air and get you back on track. In her own words, here are five more tips from Zimmerman:
1. Have a conversation about it.
Have a different kind of discussion, one that will get you working on it as a team; as allies committed to a win-win situation. Most couples in this position believe their interests are diametrically opposed (more sex/less sex), but it’s critical that they work together to create a sex life that benefits both of them. That needs to be reflected in the talks. And you must bring up the subject on a regular basis, not just once a year.
2. Locate the stumbling blocks.
What’s gotten in the way of a good night’s sleep? Instead of becoming angry that you aren’t obtaining what you want, create curiosity about why your partner is having trouble. Many factors can obstruct your progress, including relationship concerns, power dynamics, the meaning of sex in your relationship, the sex itself, and so on. You need to figure out what’s getting in the way and work together to improve it.
3. Come up with a new paradigm.
Expectations about sex should be questioned. Find out how it works. Re-define it such that it isn’t tied to specific actions or consequences. Create more options for how you can share your sexuality. Learn how sexual desire works in reality, and approach sex with an openness to play rather than a set of success criteria.
4. Treat sex as a “playground” with no expectations of a positive outcome.
Create space for “maybe” rather than a binary yes/no (as so many people do). Let’s get this party started and see what transpires. Create those opportunities and enjoy them with your partner, whether or not it results in “sex” in the traditional sense. This is how you can relieve stress: learn to play and enjoy yourself; build a manner of engagement in which there is no risk of failing.
5. Make it a top priority.
Make plans to visit this playground, this “maybe.” Make it a habit to be physically affectionate in some way on a regular basis, without feeling obligated to do any specific act (s). Also, keep speaking!
Communication is essential for resolving any issues in a relationship. All you have to do now is take the initial step and bring it up in conversation. If you’re wondering how to spice up a sexless relationship when things aren’t working out, seeing a couple’s therapist might help. Keep an optimistic attitude and an open mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a sexless relationship normal?
“Most people can agree that if you or your spouse haven’t had sex in the last year or haven’t had sex in the last six months, you’re in a sexless relationship,” she says. “When it comes to sex, there is no such thing as normal.”
What happens in a sexless relationship?
There is apprehension and/or avoidance of initiating physical contact, either out of fear of rejection or the risk of unwanted sex. Touching, love languages and other forms of intimacy are also lacking in your relationship. You don’t feel connected to your partner.