Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor, Symmetry Counseling
There are many married couples that think their marriage can withstand anything, but can it withstand a sexless marriage? A sexless marriage is defined as a marital union in which little to no sexual activity occurs between the two partners (fewer than 10 times per year) and Newsweek magazine estimates that around 15-20% of couples fall in this category. While there tends to be a sexual drop off within the first few years of marriage, especially when children arrive, many couples fall into a negative pattern of neglecting the physical aspect of their marriage.
Physical intimacy is important to healthy relationships and marriages, however, there are some married couples that see their sexless marriage as secure and healthy. The more common outcome is that one or both partners are significantly frustrated and feel insecure, undesired, and ashamed. When this happens, there tends to be an underlying issue in the marriage that extends far beyond sex alone. Once you have noticed a lack of sex in your marriage, it is time to take action to address those underlying issues in your marriage before infidelity or divorce becomes the resolution. At this point you may be asking yourself, “Can my sexless marriage survive?” The answer is, yes it can! Below are a few steps you can take towards better understanding and possibly saving your marriage.
1. Recognize The Signs
Most married couples move through the stages of marriage and settling down without ever considering the changes in their physical intimacy. Sexless marriages can develop from a range of possible causes and life events, but it can be difficult to identify when lack of sex is an issue. Some signs to be aware of include sex becoming very infrequent, sex has become a chore, there is no adventure in your love life, or one partner shows no interest in sex at all. It is also important to see your medical doctor to address any underlying health conditions that may be contributing to your sexless marriage. By identifying the signs of lack of sex in your marriage, you are coming to terms with a problem in your marriage before it is too late.
Once you have noticed physical intimacy has been neglected, it is important to communicate your concerns with your spouse. Talking about sex can be very uncomfortable and even scary at times, but it is necessary in order to get to the root of the problem. Start by validating your love for your spouse while expressing there is something you need to discuss. Delicately starting the conversation opens it up in a comforting manner rather than coming across blameful and critical. If your partner doesn’t see your sexless marriage as a problem and refuses to change, you may have to determine if a sexless marriage is a deal breaker for you.
3. Make Your Relationship a Priority
Many people find themselves so wrapped up in the routine of work or family that they make their relationship with their partner low on the priority list. Begin to nurture your relationship more by spending quality time with your spouse. Whether it is date night once per week or spending an hour per week talking about your day, make a significant effort to re-connect with your spouse. As you spend more time together and are vulnerable with each other, some physical intimacy may begin to resurface. You may hold hands again, hug more frequently, or begin kissing more often. These are all positive signs that lead to rekindling the physical intimacy back into your marriage.
If you think you may be in a sexless marriage and would like some guidance, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!