Let’s get the first thing out of the way right now: most couples aren’t going at it like jackrabbits every single day. It’s perfectly natural for weeks to slip by without getting it on, and sometimes stress, a significant life event, or a sickness can put a damper on your sex life.
When this happens, it’s no big deal.
But what if you and your partner end up not having sex for months at a time, and even years? What if you can’t remember the last time you had sex in the past year? You can’t blame the housework anymore.
These instances are a little more serious, and can mean something is going on “behind the scenes” that’s causing a breakdown in your sex life — and in your relationship.
By the end of this article, you’ll know whether you’re actually in a sexless relationship or not and you’ll learn how to address it with your spouse so you can have a sexual relationship again.
Hopefully this will also offer a fresh perspective and healthy outlook on your relationship, for both dating couples and married couples … because when it comes to physical intimacy and sex, there is no such thing as “normal”.
Table of Contents
What Constitutes a “Sexless” Relationship or Marriage?
Just because it’s been a month since you had sex doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a sexless relationship.
A sexless relationship is one in which the couple rarely engages in sexual activity … or if they’re having minimal sexual encounters.
Dr. Rachel Becker-Warner, a relationship and sex therapist from the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, defines it for Healthline as “any partnership where sexual intimacy occurs 10 times or less within a year period.”
She continues to say, “I think a sexless partnership is better defined as a conscious or unconscious avoidance of pleasure-based physical contact between partners.”
So, if you’re not having sex with your spouse and you’re both 100% okay with that, you have nothing to worry about.
You can have a happy marriage without intercourse.
But if the lack of sex starts bothering one of the partners, something needs to change, or the relationship will be put at risk.
Why is Sex All That Important Anyways?
Did you ever get it on with your college roommate Mike, who cooked with a table top George Foreman Grill and drank protein powder?
Chances are, you guys were just buddies — drinking beers together and complaining about midterms.
Sex is what separates a romantic relationship from, say, your best friend or roommate.
Sex is what strengthens the emotional connection between you and your spouse, and what keeps you both on a pedestal in each other’s lives — you’re special to each other because you love each other, yes, but you share each other’s bodies and provide emotional intimacy, physical connection, closeness.
In fact, a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2017 reports that more frequent sex causes more frequent incidences of affection in a relationship, which, in turn, leads to more sex.
The same researchers wrote, “Sex seems not only beneficial because of its physiological or hedonic effects … but because it promotes a stronger and more positive connection with the partner”.
When your relationship suffers from a lack of intimacy and low desire, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your partner. You might feel alone, even when she’s next to you. You might even start to realize that you’re starting to have more neutral — or negative — interactions with your partner more often than positive ones. Maybe you feel like you’ve lost sexual interest in your partner, or vice versa.
And when sexual frustration, resentment, and feelings of rejection start piling up, you have a problem on your hands.
Sex and Intimacy can be essential to happiness in your relationship.
Let me start off by saying there are plenty of romantic relationships that don’t involve sex. Some people want to date a while before having sex with the person they’re seeing. Others want to wait until they’re married to have sex. Others are asexual and don’t desire sex — and don’t need sex — in order to have a happy romantic relationship.
These people don’t consider sex all that important for relationship compatibility.
However, if you who DO consider sex an integral part of your love life, the quality and quantity of sexual connection with your spouse matters.
There’s a reason you have a spring in your step the day after you get laid: a healthy sex life has been found to boost happiness and feelings of wellbeing.
That same 2017 study I mentioned earlier reports that individuals experience higher levels of well-being when they have an active and satisfying sex life. …the results of previous research demonstrated that “the size of the difference in well-being for people having sex once a week, compared with those having sex less than once a month, was greater than the size of the difference in well-being for those making US$75,000 compared with US$25,000 a year”
And let’s face it — when you’re a happier human, it’s easier to have a happier relationship.
In fact, according to Healthline, sex can also be an important part of your relationship because it offers a chance to:
- Improve the emotional bond with your partner through physical intimacy
- Show your partner love and affection
- Feel more secure in your relationship
- Enjoy pleasure, arousal and fun with your partner.
As a sex coach, I might be biased, but if this isn’t all a recipe for love, affection, and ultimate happiness, I don’t know what is.
How this Article Might be Able to Help Your sex life
The most important thing to consider is: why aren’t you having sex?
Once you understand the “why”, you can decide if the lack of sex is a long-term issue for you or not — and whether it’s ultimately going to be a relationship deal breaker.
After reading this article, you’ll learn:
- Why you might not be having sex with your partner
- How to eloquently and lovingly approach her about the lack of sex in your life, and finally
- You’ll be able to decide for yourself if this is going to be a major cause of unhappiness in the long run.
Just because on average, married people have sex once a week, doesn’t mean it’s normal — or even healthy — for you to have sex that often.
Once again, there is no such thing as normal, my dudes. This article is going to help you get to the bottom of your unique relationship, your unique needs, and what you might want to do about the lack of sex, if anything.
When a Sexless Marriage Becomes a Problem
Just because you find yourself in a sexless relationship doesn’t mean you necessarily have a problem on your hands.
In fact, I always avoid the term “normal” when it comes to sex and relationships. There is no normal. There is no rulebook.
It’s all about what feels normal — and good — for you and your partner.
In fact, some studies say that as many as 20% of marriages are sexless. It’s possible that some of these relationships are happy, while others suffer.
When you look at divorce statistics, a 2012 study found the most common reasons are growing apart (55 percent), poor communication (53 percent), and finances (40 percent). Infidelity or extramarital affairs are also a common cause.
So, research doesn’t point to sexless marriages as a direct cause of divorce, but it can certainly be a factor.
Just keep in mind that sexlessness isn’t the ONLY factor that leads to breakups. Sexlessness is often a symptom of another problem.
In the words of Kenedy Singer when he writes “A Man’s View: How Important is Sex in a Relationship?”,
“My ex is a lovely woman, whom I still love dearly. However, we had many challenges in our marriage. One of the byproducts of all that (though some might argue it to actually be the cause) is that we quit having sex. The effect of this on me was challenging. Often, I’d feel sexually frustrated and felt resentment towards my ex because we weren’t being intimate.
The implications of all these factors are big because sex is a deep and powerful form of intimacy. It bonds and connects two people in ways that few other things can. It’s beyond the mind. It’s beyond the body, too. There is a deep energetic connection that bonds two people when they make love.
It’s not just the intermingling of juices. It’s not even that two people shared an act of love with someone, that they most likely hold sacred. What’s really happened is that there has been a union between two people that transcends time and space. And we know it. Yet it’s very hard to quantify. Right? We all know how close we feel to someone after we have sex. That doesn’t mean it’s the magical elixir for all that might be off or dysfunctional in a relationship.
But, heck, it sure does mean that it helps bring us together.”
How sexless couples can reclaim their sex lives
A lot of articles I’ve read about sexless relationships dive into the reasons behind sexless marriages, but they often gloss over — or leave out entirely — how to break out of the sexless script.
If you’re not in the habit of having sex, but at least one partner expresses an interest in HAVING more sex, there are steps you can take to boost the frequency of sex in your relationship.
Furthermore, a lot of articles also forget to mention how couples with different libidos can get back into the swing of sexual desire. It’s common for two people with mismatching libidos to forego sex for months — waiting for the low sex drive partner to “feel like having sex”.
In this article, we’re going to dive into how to bring sexy back.
The 9 Essential Steps to Bringing Sexy Back
- Identify if a sexless relationship is actually a problem for you.
- Communicate with your partner
- Identify the underlying cause
- Date your partner, flirt, and make her feel special
- understand that sex is more than just penetration
- Throw away the myths that sex has to be a certain way
- Just do it.
- Get professional help
- Consider if this is the right relationship for you.
Identify if a sexless relationship is actually a problem for you.
If you’re not sure whether to be alarmed or not by the lack of sex in your relationship, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you and your spouse openly talking about the root of the problem behind why you’re having less sex? Are you both working to fix it?
- Are you enjoying intimacy in other ways? Hand holding, snuggling, kissing, hugging? Playing a spirited game of ass-grab in the kitchen?
- Do you feel dissatisfied with the amount of sex you’re having with your partner?
- Are you experiencing a lack of desire from your partner?
- Are you starting to feel resentful and frustrated, and even angry, that you’re not having the amount of sex that feels right for you?
- If you’re not having sex, but you’re not worried about it, you can chill. It’s fine. Really.
There is no “correct amount” of sex to have. This is entirely subjective. It’s 100% about how you feel and what you need.
But if you’re in struggle town, keep reading.
Prioritize open communication with your partner.
Every single issue a couple faces cannot be solved without honest communication. Scary? You bet. Necessary? Absolutely.
The problem is, sex is possibly one of the most difficult things to talk about with your partner.
Talking about sex brings up intense feelings of vulnerability, self-esteem, body image, and sexual desire. Which is probably why your palms are sweaty just reading this.
In fact, for many couples, it can feel easier to hide away and avoid the subject altogether, until the issue blows up in your face.
It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to speak candidly about your own sexual experience, and sometimes it can feel like a minefield when there’s an issue to iron out.
That’s why it’s essential to broach the subject in a loving, compassionate manner.
You could say something like, “This relationship matters to me. You matter to me, and I love you. That’s why I want to talk about how we haven’t been having sex lately, because I want to feel closer to you, and I want to see if there’s anything I can do to help us get back to a place where we’re experiencing regular intimacy together again.”
If you’re not sure how to handle this conversation, it might be a good idea to go to a couple of therapy sessions. A trained counselor can help you both communicate in an open, loving, and trusting way that creates inroads for improvement, not barbs of anger, criticism, and resentment.
Identify the underlying cause behind the loss of sexual desire
As I previously mentioned, the cause of why you’re not having sex is the most important aspect of any sexless marriage or relationship. A number of factors can be at play, here.
If you’re not having sex because your wife was just diagnosed with cancer, you’re going to have a much different journey, than say, if one of you has completely lost sexual attraction for the other.
The “cause” behind sexlessness informs your path forward to bringing sexy back.
What Causes a Sexless Relationship or Marriage?
Depending on the reason behind a lack of sex, you might not have anything to worry about. Many of these reasons below are fixable, if not temporary.
Major life events (had a new baby? Lost a job?)
Most doctors suggest that a woman should abstain from sex at least six weeks after childbirth, to give her body time to recover after pushing a baby the size of a watermelon out of her vaginal canal. This is understandable. If this is the case, be patient, man! Enjoy a nice masturbation session!
Other major life events can get in the way too. Did you recently start a new job? Did you recently lose a job? Did a close friend or family member recently pass away?
Life throws curveballs sometimes, and sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back, take a breath, and allow ourselves to heal. Which brings us to our next point.
Issues with mental health — including chronic stressors – can put a real damper on libido.
It doesn’t help that medications like antidepressants can cause sexual dysfunction, along weight gain and a loss of interest in sex.
It’s understandable that when your brain is dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression, you naturally won’t prioritize sex. Which is a shame, because studies show that sex is good for mental health: regular sex decreases anxiety, and even leads to cell growth in the hippocampus, the emotion center of the brain in rodents.
Evidence suggests that regular sex lowers stress-related blood pressure, boosts the happiness hormone dopamine, releases endorphins (or body’s natural pain and stress fighters), and triggers feelings of compassion for yourself and your partner.
Herein lies the catch 22: if you’re dealing with psychological problems or personal distress, you might not be having sex. But if you’re not having sex, your mental health might suffer.
If you or your partner are dealing with any major medical conditions — including a cancer diagnosis, menopause, chronic pain, or chronic fatigue syndrome, it’s understandable that sexual frequency would significantly decline, at least for a while.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Education and Health Promotion reports “there is a positive relationship between physical fitness and sexual health.” A healthy, active body supports positive sexual functioning.
On the flip side, you can expect a lack of libido if you have low t-levels (testosterone), if you’re going through chemotherapy, chronic pain, or any other chronic illness.
Realizing you’re sexually incompatible with your partner can be incredibly frustrating, if not scary.
According to Seth Meyers Psy.D., “If you’re the one who wants more sexual activity, you might find yourself doing any of the following: constantly pushing for more sex; taking your partner’s lack of interest in having sex with you personally; or looking outside of the relationship to meet your sexual needs.”
None of these options lead to a healthy sex life.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a healthier way to deal with mismatched libidos. We’ll get into this in just a minute.
Sexual trauma or pain during sex
Sexual abuse is serious, guys. It can cause major sexual dysfunction and intimacy problems, including chronic sexual pain, problems achieving erection and/or orgasm, and low sexual desire.
But if you’re already struggling with erectile dysfunction, it can start feeling easier to avoid sexual intercourse altogether.
If you can’t get it up, you’re not alone. Some studies show that as many as 75% of all men experience Erectile dysfunction at some point throughout the course of their lives. If you struggle with this, be sure to fill out my 1:1 coaching application to start seeing positive results and gaining control over your erections.
Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual problem in men, and much like erectile dysfunction, it can start to feel easier to simply avoid sex altogether.
When you’re getting to a point where your woman would rather reach for the vibrator than try to have sex with you, there’s a problem waiting to happen. Go check out my Come When You Want Course, which has been proven to be 98% effective in helping men manage premature ejaculation.
Interestingly, a 2015 study shows that porn addiction causes low sexual desire and lower sexual satisfaction in dudes with real partners at home.
Why could this be?
The world of pornography offers infinite possibility, variety, novelty, and extreme material. All this can be incredibly arousing, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with indulging in some fantasies by watching porn.
But when porn becomes a problem, the woman in bed next to you might not seem as exciting after a while, and this can cause a major sexual rift.
So no matter what the underlying cause is, let’s talk more about how to fix the problem.
Date your partner and make her feel special
No matter the reason behind your sexless marriage — whether that be mental or physical health, a porn addiction, sexual dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or mismatched libido, you don’t have to throw in the towel and accept a sexless existence.
Hear me out.
There’s a simple way to start having more sex, no matter what your situation is: start dating again. No matter how many years of marriage have passed.
The issue is, when couples end up getting comfortable with each other, they can start to take each other for granted.
If you’re at the point in your relationship where you go to the bathroom with the door open more than you bring her flowers, you’re in a certain…. phase… of your relationship.
I urge you: don’t get too comfortable. Don’t take her for granted. I don’t care if you’ve been married for forty years, you need to treat your woman like she’s the most beautiful woman in the world, like you can’t believe you’re lucky enough for her to be in your life, and like she’ll evaporate any minute if you don’t zap her with super love.
Because you shouldn’t treat your woman well only on her birthday. Emotional closeness that leads to sexual health requires positive relationship activities: whether that’s just a night at the wine bar or a day of skydiving.
When you do fun things together, you’re avoiding turning into each other’s roommate, and lighting the spark that can boost your sexual relationship.. No matter how many years of marriage have passed.
Here are some ideas on how to keep dating your partner, no matter how long it’s been since that first kiss:
- Do something new and different together. Studies show that partners who regularly share new experiences report greater boosts in marital happiness than those who simply share pleasant but familiar experiences.
- Bring her little presents sometimes: flowers and chocolates are fast ways to a woman’s heart (but especially chocolate. Gummy bears are excellent too.)
- When you see your partner at the end of a long day at work, give her a long hug. Take her in your arms, breathe in the smell of her hair, and count to three. Make this last.
- Kiss her slow.
- Tell her to get gussied up and take her to her favorite restaurant. Tell her to order whatever she wants off the menu.
- Establish a special night each week where you send the kids to grandma’s and you spend a night of intimacy together — snuggle up on the sofa, hold hands, spoon, and enjoy each other’s company.
- Praise her. Tell her how beautiful she is. Tell her how important she is in your life. Tell her you love her.
It’s also important to keep in mind: one date won’t cut it. You have to make this a regular habit, or the spark will begin to fade.
Understand that sex is more than just penetration (start small with touching and flirting)
Don’t get it twisted: sex is more than playing “hide the sausage” with your penis.
In fact, your joystick doesn’t even have to be involved in order to have a happy, active sex life. Sex is not necessarily “intercourse”.
For many couples, the frequency of sex will naturally rise if they start small. Focus on playfulness and flirting, touching, slow, relaxing massages, kissing, and snuggling.
When life happens – whether that be a new baby, symptoms of depression, a stressful job, or poor body image — sex can feel exhausting. When life is busy, it can feel easier for an active sex life to go by the wayside, so you can get a few more minutes of sleep each night.
This can lead to feelings of rejection among the partner whose sexual needs are not being met, and can actually make the stressors pile on.
I beg of you: start with a physical connection. Spark that physical intimacy. Flirt, kiss her first thing in the morning, cuddle with her as you fall asleep, and give her the close emotional connection and companionship she needs. Get in a good place, with honest conversations and hints of desire.
Touching leads to kissing, which can lead to oral sex and beyond. Just believe in the power of emotional intimacy.
Throw away the myths that sex has to be a certain way
Orgasms are like the pizza of the sex world. Everyone loves them.
But you need to stop worrying about giving her an orgasm every single time. Heck, stop worrying about whether you’ll have an orgasm every single time.
Amazing, mind-blowing sex doesn’t have to include orgasms.
Amazing, mind-blowing sex doesn’t have to include erections.
Amazing, mind-blowing sex doesn’t have to include penetrative sex.
Bottom line: Sex can look and feel however you want it to. There are no rules. Los Angeles-based sex therapist Moushumi Ghose tells Huffington Post, “Sex can be as simple as a heavy make-out session in the nude, some time together in the bath or even a massage. Encouraging other types of intimacy, that are less intimidating and have less pressure can ease the couple back into great sex.”
Let go of expectations. You don’t need to get perfectly hard. You don’t need to last four hours. She doesn’t have to reach a mind-melting orgasm.
The goal: to provide pleasure to yourself and to your partner. Simple as that.
Just do it.
It’s a mistake to wait until you’re horny to have sex.
Hear me out.
Psychology Today hit the nail on the head when they said “If you don’t stir the pot of your sexual being, you can become dormant like a hibernating bear.”
Healthline agrees, “Thanks to your hormones, the more you have (good) sex, the more your body craves it.”
It’s like your body’s way of saying “More of THAT please!”
Hell to the yes.
Which means one simple thing…
Even if you’re dealing with a low libido or low sex drive — if you just dive into foreplay, chances are, you’ll achieve arousal pretty quickly.
Sex, as it turns out, can be a “mind over matter” activity… just do it, and then you’ll want to do it more and more and more. Your sex drive will literally rise.
But how do you get to the practical point where you’re actually having more sex? Check out these two helpful blog articles: one is about how to prioritize more sexy time in your life, and the other is about how to optimize your bedroom so you have more sex.
Because sometimes you just have to cut through the bullshit and get it on (with consent from your partner, of course.)
Get professional help
When it comes to relationships, sex is one of the hardest things to navigate for couples.
And when there’s a lack of sex in a romantic relationship, it can often be because of underlying issues like a loss of intimacy, resentment, or boredom.
Don’t feel like you have to navigate these issues alone. In fact, you’ll get further if you talk to an experienced therapist who is well-versed in how to walk couples through the valley of sexual dryspells.
Licensed Marriage and Family therapist Elizabeth Mandel Goldberg tells Fatherly, “Couples must practice talking openly about their needs so they don’t act out passive-aggressively and cause a ton of damage.”
Indeed, a good therapist can help you break down what’s causing the issue, and how each couple can get their needs met, especially if those needs seem to conflict.
Consider if this is the right relationship for you.
Sometimes you try everything and you realize that your partner has a different mindset around sex.
Maybe you come to the conclusion that you think sex is incredibly important in a relationship. And maybe your partner doesn’t want sex to be a central role. Maybe she doesn’t want sex to have much of a role at all.
In this situation, you’ll have to consider if this is the right relationship for you. As a red-blooded human being, it’s perfectly natural — and healthy — to have sexual needs and desires.
If you are not sexually compatible with your partner, this might become a central issue in your long term relationship.
If you keep trying to get your needs (even partially met), and your partner is not interested in meeting your sexual needs, you have a big question to ask yourself.
Are you okay with living the rest of your life in a relationship with someone that doesn’t prioritize your needs?
If you feel as if your partner doesn’t desire you and isn’t sexually attracted to you, you need to ask yourself if this is deal breaker.
It’s okay if it is. A breakup is not a sign of failure. It’s a sign that you’re trying to live your best life, and trying to find someone that IS sexually compatible.
What does it mean to be sexually compatible with your partner?
Sexual compatibility means you and your partner (more or less) agree on what sex is, how often you should have sex, what turns you on or off, and whether your beliefs about sex align or not.
Now, you don’t have to be perfectly compatible with your partner in order to have a strong, healthy relationship.
It all boils down to compromise and communication. Both you and your partner need to put in the effort to meet half way.
Bring Sexy Back For a Stronger, Healthier Relationship
If one partner doesn’t feel right about the lack of sex in a relationship, theres a problem that needs to be addressed.
Thankfully, many couples have come out of their long dry-spells hornier and sexier than EVER.
If you and your partner are trying to navigate some sexual issues and you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Whether you need some help communicating with your partner, overcoming erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or any other issue in the sack, you are not alone.
I’ve helped hundreds of men in your exact situation.
If you’ve been in a sexless marriage, you don’t have any more time to spare. Click here to fill out my coaching application today to see if you’re a good fit for private coaching.