While I don’t regret my marriage, I do wish I had gotten out earlier so that I could have had more years of great sex! Most relationships start with love and passion. But routine coupled with boredom often replace those feelings and lead to sexless marriages. When couples stop having sex, it weakens the marriage. Yet, a sexless marriage feels like an insurmountable problem for couples. They might not even be sure how or why the sex stopped and feel embarrassed and depressed about the situation. Never fear: you can learn how to fix a sexless marriage.
SEXLESS MARRIAGES HURT WOMEN, TOO
When you think of a sexless marriage, you probably think of a man complaining about his wife. Maybe she stays home to take care of the kids, and he works hard, hoping for a little TLC when he gets home at the end of the day. But he gets nothing. It’s a stereotype as old as time. In fact, it’s so pervasive that we expect people to change in certain ways during a marriage, which can lead to some pretty negative opinions about the whole institution.
While it is generally true that men have higher sex drive than women , it’s not always true. There is lots of variation in the level and type of sex drive that women can experience. In fact, we have an entire post on how to increase your sex drive if you’re a woman.
Coming to terms with the fact that you have the higher sex drive or that your man isn’t always ready or willing to have sex at the drop of a hat can be difficult. It might feel like a blow to your ego. We often base our perceived worth on how much our partners want us. But your world changes when you realize that sometimes it’s a man who isn’t in the mood.
All of this is to say, that sometimes it’s often women who complain about their sexless marriages and not men. It’s the woman who wants more or better quality sex, but her man isn’t able or willing to make an effort behind bedroom doors.
In fact, when we put out a survey asking people about their experiences with sexlessness in their marriage or relationship and advice for people who might be in this situation, many women complained about their lack of sex.
Note: Now, it could be that readers of the Bad Girls Bible, who are mostly women, are more likely to be highly sexual and our survey attracted responses from women who wanted more sex, but that their partners do not necessarily suffer from low sex drive. The opinions from those women who aren’t visiting the site (and their partners) might be quite different from the responses that we received. For example, they might be more content in their marriages and less likely to suggest divorce.
All this to say: it’s not just a man’s problem. But even when it’s afflicting a husband more negatively than a wife, a marriage without sex is an issue that you both must work together to fix. To start, you must determine why you’re not having sex with your spouse.
REASONS FOR A SEXLESS MARRIAGE
Sex can stop in a marriage for many reasons. Maybe you and your husband don’t get any private time together anymore because you fear others in the house will hear you. Or maybe you work opposite hours. Maybe no one is initiating sex because the other partner said “no” one too many times. There are many reasons for a sexless marriage. Learning the reasons is the first step to changing the problem.
1. SEX-NEGATIVE ATTITUDES
The attitudes we learn about as we’re growing and entering relationships can be killer for our sex lives in the long term. For example, some people might have been taught that sex is bad or evil when they were children and have a difficult time having sex as a result, even after marriage. Some people’s religious beliefs teach that sex is for procreation only. They might have been taught that sex is sinful except for procreation. That thinking can lead to a sexless marriage if you aren’t trying to have kids.
The idea that there is a correct time and method to have sex can lead to boring sex lives from which people check out because they need something else to really enjoy sex. Sex-negativity also hinders talking about sex, which is crucial to asking for and getting the sex you desire. Alternatively, repressing your sexuality can cause you to deny your urges only to act out in unhealthy and potentially unsafe ways later.
One of our commenters mentioned how she only had sex five times in the first year after her marriage. While she had originally ignored red flags, she soon realized that her husband was likely gay, and this was the cause of their sexless marriage. Of course, there’s nothing she could have done to solve the issue, but if her husband had been able to be honest with himself — and her — from the beginning, they never would have entered into a sexless marriage.
2. HEALTH AND MEDICATION ISSUES
Health problems and the medications prescribed for these problems often lead to a drop in sex drive that results in a sexless marriage . Some of the most common illnesses that cause sex to end are lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Drugs used to treat those conditions could also hinder sex drive (blood pressure medication makes it difficult to get aroused, for example ), as can drugs prescribed for depression and birth control.
One respondent, a doctor, even cautioned that hypothyroidism could affect libido. She also mentioned how sleep is a major detriment to sex drive, which may be at the root of many dead bedrooms.
Psst, read this to learn what to do if you have no sex drive.
Several of the women who replied to our query about sexless marriages mentioned hormone replacement therapy. Testosterone can help increase libido and the ability to obtain an erection in men while hormones can similarly benefit women [4, 5, 6, 7]. Some women swear by it!
I then found a doctor that provides bio identical pellet hormone replacement therapy that is inserted in the hip. WOW, what a difference that has made. I cannot get enough sex with my husband. I have never experienced anything quite like this. My husband is over the moon with how sexual I have become. I recommend HRT to anyone having a lull in their libido. It has awakened my fantasies as well as released my sexual inhibitions.
Women who mentioned hormone therapy in their responses were often around menopause age or married to men of a similar age who were experiencing an age-related drop in sex hormones. However, a drop in estrogen and testosterone can even affect younger people or potentially be caused by another condition. Pregnancy and breastfeeding both alter your body’s hormones.
Of course, health issues can make it difficult or even impossible to get and maintain an erection, which can lead to a sexless marriage. If your husband hasn’t agreed to sex in a while, it could be that he’s hiding his shame and ED.
3. PAST TRAUMA
A past trauma involving sex can disrupt any sexual feelings you might now have , which can lead to a sexless marriage. If you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse and never were properly treated for it, you can be suffering from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder — all of which can make it difficult for you to want to have sex.
It’s often particularly difficult to maintain a healthy sex life if you suffer from PTSD, which may be caused by prior (sexual) abuse [9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18]. PTSD causes withdrawal, recreating the event in your mind and avoiding any circumstances that remind you of the abuse.
If you were a victim of assault or abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) for immediate assistance and advice.
4. EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS WITHIN THE MARRIAGE
The quality of your sex life might indicate problems in your relationship . If you and your husband aren’t getting along, it’s difficult to want to have sex. If you are always irritable with each other, judgmental toward each other, critical of each other or blame each other whenever there’s a problem, you won’t feel much like having sex, and you might find yourself in a sexless marriage in no time.
It seems like many of our readers realize this because responses to our survey question often touched on relationship issues at the root of a sexless marriage. Some people view the state of their sex life as a measuring stick of the relationship overall. One of our readers described it as a “barometer,” and went on to say:
If a couple is not emotionally connected, then their sex life will reflect this, I believe this works the same for men too.
Another woman said that she thought if “a couple is going for a long period without sex, there is something seriously wrong with their relationship, and lack of sex is symptomatic of a deeper loss of intimacy.”
Yet another woman discussed with her friends and
found out that a lot of them whose marriage was on the rocks were also in sexless marriages.
Finally, we have the following quote.
My theory is to have a successful sex life you need to both understand each other emotionally.
These are just several of many responses along the same lines. If you’ve got trouble bubbling just below the surface of your relationship, you may find yourself not having as much sex as you once did, or any at all! If you want to work on issues inside the bedroom, you need to open that door and work in things outside the door.
Sometimes the lack of sex within a marriage is on purpose: people withhold sex as a power play in the relationship, or they do so in a passive-aggressive way to punish the spouse for something. So a sexless marriage could indicate that one partner is actively upset with the other and is trying to punish them rather than work it out (or simply ending the marriage).
5. PORN ADDICTION
Porn addiction sometimes causes sexless marriages. It’s one thing if you or your guy watches porn sometimes, either alone or together, and another altogether when one of you becomes so addicted to porn that it affects your everyday life and your relationship.
Note that makeup sex happens when you have an active sex life and are happy with each other but have had a fight about something. This differs from chronic feelings of hostility, which may indicate a love-hate relationship.
People who are addicted to porn want to stop watching it, but they can’t. The urge is just too great for them to control. This can hurt a partner in a marriage, making that partner feel rejected, not good enough or even unloved. That makes it difficult for two people to have sex.
6. ALCOHOL OR DRUG PROBLEMS
If one partner has a substance abuse problem, the marriage will probably suffer, and so will the sex. When one partner abuses drugs or alcohol, the marriage is probably an unhappy one, and the couple usually experiences an emotional distance. There are often fights about the substance abuse and things related to the substance abuse, such as money problems, trust issues, and anger at the substance abuser for neglecting responsibilities. There might even be physical fighting.
If you or your spouse has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the problem won’t go away on its own. It will probably get worse without treatment.
Cheating often leads to sexless marriages. Even spouses who are happy in their marriages sometimes cheat, but there’s often a big price to pay. If a spouse is caught cheating, it’s very difficult for a marriage to stay together, and it’s sure to suffer. The person who was cheated on may not trust cheater or want to have sex with them. Alternatively, someone who is cheating may no longer have sex with their husband or wife, leading to a dead bedroom.
8. SEXUAL BOREDOM
One of the recurring themes of our survey answers could be summed up with the following words: You’re bored. Sex had become stale and routine, so one or both partners weren’t really interested, and the frequency greatly decreases. More than one woman described using tips from Princess Fantasy to seduce her husband and treat him to sex like he’d never had before. Our readers told us that doing so often kickstarted their own desire to have sex.
Furthermore, trying new things in bed helped readers finally have their first orgasm (“I thought because I was wet I had [an orgasm]. Lol no wonder I never wanted sex.”), discover sex that could be enjoyable, and move away from sex that was always painful or too short. We’ll discuss what you can do to alleviate boredom in the next section about fixing your sexless marriage.