What is a sexless relationship and what can you do about it

In the field of sex therapy and couples counseling,  it is common for a client to ask “Am I in a sexless marriage?” Clients in the therapy room are often trying to understand their relationship dynamics and patterns and want to better understand their sex life. The question, “How much sex should I be having” is now slowly being replaced with “Am I in a sexless marriage?” This is a generational and societal move that is happening in America. On average, people are waiting longer to engage in sex, there are fewer unwanted pregnancies, and people are engaging in less sex overall.

By definition a sexless relationship is a relationship in which the partners engage in sex 1 or fewer times per month. However, most individuals and couples that come to therapy that are asking this question are having sex 6 or fewer times a year. This is a dynamic that causes a lot of stress for a lot of people.

Now that there is a clearer understanding of what a sexless marriage is, we can better understand what to do about it. For some a sexless relationship is not a problem. These folks may be Asexual, or may feel that they are getting their intimate needs met with non sexual touch. But for many,  a sexless relationship is very concerning to them. This dynamic causes a lot of stress, dysfunction, and can lead to dissatisfaction in the relationship. In some cases, this can be a factor in infidelity, but it by no means causes infidelity.  So what do you do if you find yourself in a sexless relationship?

The first step is to communicate with your partner. It is likely that they are also dissatisfied, and that there is something deeper going on in the relationship that is preventing intimacy. Begin by talking about your specific need, and try to be an active listener to your partner as to why it may not be happening. From here you can try to begin to increase your sexual or intimate time.
This may feel awkward at first and may require you to schedule time in. You may need to spend some time exploring each other’s bodies, and better understanding how to create pleasure in your relationship. It may be useful to understand your partner’s sexual desires so that you can meet their needs. This is a tricky and very vulnerable conversation to have. It can be useful to seek a therapist that is experienced in working with issues around sex and intimacy.


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