Is your mind telling you no but your body … is also telling you no? We have something to confess: if you and your spouse have been lacking in the ‘bump and grind’ department, you might be in a sexless marriage. But does the loss of regular ‘boom-boom’ spell doom-doom for a relationship? Today we seek to answer the ultimate relationship question: “Marriage without sex ... can it work?”
What is a sexless marriage?
It’s a classic story that we’ve heard time and time again: boy likes girl, boy gets girl, boy marries girl, they can’t keep their hands off each other, they have kids and then...everything just stops.
Sexless marriage is defined as when a couple has sex fewer than 10 times a year - and it’s a lot more common than you probably imagine. Know five married couples? Then the odds are that you know a couple that’s stuck in this rut. Statistics say that at least one in five couples is in a sexless marriage - so if you find yourself in this predicament, you are far from alone.
Why does it happen?
It makes sense, we get it. Real life happens as you get older - kids, mortgages, medical issues - and giving in to your horny urges ends up taking a backseat to adult responsibilities. It’s the natural progression of a mature relationship, and is incredibly common concern for a lot of marriages. In fact, the top five search results for “______ marriage” are as follows:
- Sexless - 21,090 average monthly searches
- Unhappy - 6,029 average monthly searches
- Loveless - 2,650 average monthly searches
- Sex Starved - 1,658 average monthly searches
- No Sex - 1,300 average monthly searches
That’s almost four times more searches than “unhappy marriages”!
A lot of couples stress about where they fall on the sexual scale, fearing that their sex life isn’t “normal.” But sex (or lack thereof) is only a problem if you’re finding yourself unsatisfied. Sex itself is not the sole indicator of a relationship’s health. There are plenty of couples that find themselves (and their relationships) perfectly fine in a sexless marriage. They’ve mutually agreed that sex is not the priority and find their relationship validated through other means.
The circumstances where a marriage is sexless and the couple still gets their happily ever after (just without the “happy ending”) come about by open communication and mutual agreements. Can marriage without sex work for you? It might be an option for your relationship if you are in either of two groups. If you already know that it is not working for you, go ahead and skip to the last section.
When It Can Work
Asexuals are individuals who do not experience sexual attraction. But that doesn’t mean they don’t get into (and want) relationships. The desire for intimacy, romance, and emotional connection are all there...just without the desire to take it to that physical level. If you’re asexual, or “ace,” then marriage without sex is your preferred marital status. You still find your relationship thriving under a slowing (or nonexistent) sex life.
As with any type of sexual orientation, asexuality lies on a spectrum. Some asexuals primarily masturbate to fulfill the occasional urge while some never experience feelings of arousal at all. If your partner has a considerably lower libido than you, consider the possibility that your spouse might be asexual. Knowing that “it’s not you” takes a huge burden off of the relationship and might help a sexless marriage work.
Although we already covered how sex drive doesn’t disappear with age, there can definitely be a point where sex is off the table for medical reasons. Male seniors who engage in sexual activities are at a much higher risk for heart attacks, heart failures, and strokes. (Can you really blame Gran and Gramps for not knockin’ boots anymore?) Look for other ways to express your love with public displays of affections, kissing often, and making time for dates.
When It Can’t Work
Mismatched Sexual Desire
When desire is present but satisfaction is not, finding yourself in a marriage without sex absolutely cannot work. It’s a blow to the ego and causes a negative spiral of resentment in a relationship.
The key to figuring out a solution is the same answer to all relationship problems: communication. Opening up discussions about your (nonexistent) sex life will reveal exactly how large the disparity is. And when a sexless marriage drives many to divorce, you cannot afford to miss an opportunity to fix it. Determine how much sex each is your ideal amount, and whether or not that’s something you could realistically work towards together.
Before we get you two back to running around the house like the randy teenagers you once were, we have to restore some of the spark. This sounds backwards, but you become sexually aroused when you engage in sexual activity. It’s like going to the gym: you might not want to do it at first - but when you’re finished, you’ll be glad you did (and probably want to do it again tomorrow).
So read erotic stories, watch erotic movies, and openly talk about sex to dust off cobwebs (and we’re sure a bit of sexting never did a couple any harm). You’re probably out of the habit of thinking sexually towards each other so, continuing with our workout analogies, we’ve got to flex those sexual muscles.
If your sex drives are still disconnected, libido enhancers can level the playing field. There are stimulants for men as well as stimulants for women - so there’s no excuse not to be in the mood. There’s also the option of sex toys when arousal is an issue. Even if one party isn’t in the mood, they can still participate in lovemaking by using vibrators on their partner (or even a strap-on to make up for lack of an erection).
Have you considered whether your partner’s tastes have changed? If it’s kinky o'clock, get wild renew the spark with whips, bondage, and maybe even electricity! Discover new fetishes, stay open-minded, and you just might save your sexless marriage.
Marriage without sex isn’t doomed. For some, it’s a lifestyle choice. For others, it’s a situation they find themselves stuck in and can get unstuck from. If you see your relationship is in a funk, don’t delete your “Bedroom Sex Jams” playlist just yet. Try Hustler’s tricks to get you two back on the same page and restore a suc-sex-ful relationship.