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The Sexless Marriage

By Matty Silver, Sex Therapist on June 18, 2015 in Other

Photo: Celia Bates

Photo: Celia Bates

I see many couples who used to have good sex lives but now rarely have sex anymore, and would like this to change. It is difficult enough to talk about your sex life, but admitting you don’t have one at all is very embarrassing. These couples also often believe they are the only ones with this problem.

When they met and fell in love they had sex as often as possible. Then things gradually changed and they are left wondering what happened to the desire and passion they once had.

A sexless relationship is defined as having sex fewer than 10 times a year. In most relationships, sexual satisfaction is a measure of the entire relationship. There are some common reasons: not being satisfied with their sex life, no longer being attracted to their partner, body-image issues, sexual dysfunction, stress, depression or anxiety.

Stress has become part of our lives and has a tendency to create tension between partners. When couples don’t sort out these problems, sooner or later resentment will surface and intimacy and sex will go on the back burner.

Sometimes, when I ask my clients when they last had sex, they tell me: “I can’t remember.” Men sometimes acquire sexual dysfunction – it’s not easy when a man, for example, for whatever reason, starts having difficulties with his erections. When this happens, he may start avoiding sex, instead of addressing the issue. If he doesn’t discuss this problem with his partner they will grow apart, leaving him or her frustrated, resentful and angry.

For women, there can be different reasons for not wanting sex much anymore. There are still many women (about 70%) who don’t experience an orgasm during intercourse. I advise them not to complain but to show their partners how to give them an orgasm during foreplay or intercourse, or after, by hand, oral sex or sex toy.

Men are no mind-readers, and communicating openly is the best way to get results. There are also women who have never had an orgasm, and I suggest they should try to learn how to have one, so they know what they are missing out on.

Unlike men, women can have sex with their partners any time they want – they don’t need to be very excited, and they can choose to make love for reasons other than strong desire. They may do it because they like feeling close or emotionally connected to their partner. Sometimes they might do it to make their partner happy, as the alternative is to not have sex at all.

Now, I don’t tell my female clients to just do it, but they often tell me: “Sometimes I just don’t feel like having sex, but when I actually do it, I start enjoying it and I am happy I instigated it.”

Not all sexless relationships are doomed. It is fine, as long as both people are happy not to have sex anymore. Unfortunately, this is rare.