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When most people think of marriage, they don’t think of the word celibacy. However, many marriages today are mostly or completely sexless. It’s estimated that nearly twenty percent of marriages are celibate. So, why are many marriages sexless when no one wants a sexless marriage?
There are many reasons why marriages become sexless, such as loss of attraction, contempt, resentment, health problems and sex drive incompatibilities. In this article, we are going to go over five common causes of sexless marriages and how to overcome them.
1. Loss of Attraction
The first cause of a sexless marriage is also one of the most upsetting ones. In many cases, partners may lose attraction towards one another over the years. Specifically, we are talking about physical attraction for this first reason. Many couples, both partners, or individually, may let ‘themselves go.’ This may mean gaining weight, no longer bothering to dress well, hygiene problems and not caring about one’s appearance.
When people are married for several years, it’s easy to fall into the trap that you no longer have to ‘win over’ your partner. That because you’ve both signed that dotted line that you no longer need to work for your partner. However, for a long successful and happy marriage, you never stop working for your partner, this includes continuing to look great for them.
Many times partners will be offended if their significant other no longer finds the forty-pounds they put on as attractive. Often this will be emboldened by ego battles such as ‘I don’t have time to work out’ or “I have to work all day or take care of the kids” or “I don’t have to look good for you, that’s unreasonable!” However, it’s essential to overcome the ego and realize that when you got married, part of the deal is making your partner happy, and that includes being attractive to them. If you’re monogamous, your partner only gets to have sex with YOU. Refusing to work on your appearance for them is selfish. Also, improving your appearance is good for your confidence and marital happiness!
- Working out doesn’t have to take a long time. 30-minutes three times a week is usually enough for an effective workout program. Don’t have 30 minutes? You can find it somewhere. Cut out television or Facebook for example. There are also many free diet plans online that only take 3-minutes to print out and follow.
- Dressing better is easy. Just buy some new clothes and put in a bit more effort!
- Work on hygiene by regularly showering, grooming, shaving and taking care of yourself.
- Take notice of what your partner finds attractive and incorporate those things. Don’t be afraid to ask what your partner likes!
2. Familiarity Breeds Contempt
When you’ve spent years together, it’s easy to take each other for granted. You may have had sex hundreds of times up until now. However, sometimes this constant togetherness, bickering and day-to-day drudge can kill the romance. It’s important to breath new air into a marriage on a regular basis by mixing things up. This doesn’t mean one partner continually tries to ‘bribe’ the other into having sex. For example, some partners will jump through endless hoops to get the other one ‘in the mood,’ while the other partner sets impossible expectations in return for sex. That’s a very unhealthy and unproductive way to ‘spice up’ a marriage.
Mixing up the relationship means both partners should change it up. Both partners need to make an effort to break up the day-to-day drudgery of marriage. The point of mixing it up should not be as an effort to ‘get sex.’ It should be an effort to make the individuals and the relationship more interesting first and foremost- with sex being a side-effect.
- Focus on changing yourself first before expecting your partner to change. Consider ‘mixing it up’ as a form of self-improvement. Look for things that you can do to make yourself more interested in YOUR life.
- Some suggestions for mixing it up can include travel, new hobbies, sport, learning a new language, exercising, arts and music.
- Remember to focus on doing things that you find interesting, or your partner finds interesting. That these improvements are not purely to increase your odds of getting sex but to have a more interesting and enjoyable life.
3. Health Issues
Health issues are tricky but often lead to a miserable sex life. If one partner has a physical or mental ailment, it can be a significant barrier to overcome, if it’s even possible. However, many partners will cite ‘health problems’ when that’s not the cause. There is often another issue such as loss of attraction, contempt, naturally low sex drive or resentment. If your partner always has a ‘headache,’ that might be a sign they are just placating you. Although, if your partner has a history of serious, diagnosable illness, that’s a whole different story.
If your partner does have a severe illness, communication and trying new things in the bedroom might resolve the issue. This requires trusting and open communication to find ways that sex will work for the partner with the health issue. This could be trying different positions or routines to make sex more enjoyable.
- Talk openly with your partner about their health issues. If it feels like a brush-off-problem, like a ‘headache,’ tell your partner that you want to know how they really feel. Be open, honest and non-judgemental.
- If it’s a severe health problem talk about ways to make sex more comfortable or more enjoyable to compensate for the problem. Ask your partner if they are open to talking to their doctor about making sex more enjoyable.
4. Resentment & Hangups
Baggage has an incredible way of destroying the spark needed for sexual desire. Over many years of being married, it’s easy to get a ‘laundry list’ of resentments. These resentments may be from a variety of things such as money problems, cheating, lies, feeling unappreciated and many other possible past issues. Some of these resentments may be impossible to overcome if they are bad enough. However, most prior resentments CAN be overcome with open communication and honesty. We are all humans, we all have faults, and we all have failures. Understanding the humanity in each other is the first step to overcoming resentment.
- Acknowledge that you are both humans and both make mistakes.
- Most resentments are over petty things, that only may be overcome by honesty and communication.
- For a relationship to become better, both partners need to be able to let go of the past and look forward. Keeping baggage around only ensures the future will be as bad as the past.
5. Sex Drive Incompatibility
If your relationship has always been somewhat ‘sexless,’ it’s possible that you and you’re partner have different sex drives. Some partners may have a high sex drive while others have a low sex drive. Naturally, when you take a high sex drive partner and pair them up with a low sex drive partner, problems will naturally arise. This disparity in sex drive will cause one person to feel neglected while another partner will feel pressured.
In some cases, sex drive disparity is not something that can be solved. It may lead to a disintegration of the relationship or cheating. However, there are ways to improve the low sex drive partners desire.
- The low drive partner may try Viagra, or female forms of Viagra and other naturally libido stimulating activities and foods.
- The low drive partner should consider an exercise routine, foods, supplements and drugs that may increase libido.
- Look for triggers that increase the libido of your partner. Even if they are low sex drive, almost everyone has little things that make them turned on.
- Discuss ways to help the high drive partner, such as assisted masturbation or porn.
- Understand the high drive partner has needs even if the low drive partner does not.
It’s also important to remember that for many people sex isn’t just about physical pleasure or ‘hedonistic greed.’ Sex is a form of intimacy, affection, and validation that most people need in a relationship to feel fully satisfied and loved. Constant sexual rejection is just that, constant rejection.
No matter the cause of your sexless marriage, it’s never an easy problem to overcome. However, two partners that love each other are also partners who are willing to find a solution. The most significant concern you should have is if your partner doesn’t want to help solve the problem. A lack of desire to solve a problem is much more severe than a lack of sex drive.