Sexless Marriage – Advice for No Sex Marriage or Relationship

A woman in s sexless marriage sitting at bed disappointed from her husband

For some couples a sexless marriage can be a serious problem which can often lead to a breakup or divorce. In this article we will talk about the common causes and try to give some advice to couples who are looking for help.

But first, what is a sexless marriage? Well, a sexless marriage is defined as “couples who aren’t engaging in sexual activity or are having minimal sexual encounters.” The problem with this definition is the word “minimal. So:

How many times a year is considered a sexless marriage?

Some experts define a sexless marriage as having sex less than 10 times a year. In comparison, a study of over 26,000 Americans found that on average married couples have sex 51 times a year.

But what matters more is how happy are you and your partner with the number of times you have sex? If you are having problems in your relationship, not having sex can by a sign of a serious problem. But if you are in a stressful time in your life but are still very much in love, there’s nothing to be worried about.

How common are sexless marriages?

More common than you might think. A study about sexless marriages found that 16% of couple’s reported not having sex over the last month. Another sign of how common are sexless marriages is the DeadBedrooms community on Reddit which is one of the biggest and most active communities on the site.

Another study of 6,777 women found that 27% reported having mismatched libidos in their relationship.


Sexless marriages are usually caused by one of the following reasons:

Sexual dysfunctions

One of the most common reasons for sexless marriages or relationships are sexual dysfunctions. Sexual difficulties such as these can lead to lack of physical intimacy:

If you or your partner are suffering from a sexual dysfunction the chances of being sexually intimate with your partner significantly decrease.

Life changes

Major life changes that lead to stress, anxiety, depression or fatigue can hurt sexual intimacy. Mental health issues are one of the leading causes for loss of sexual desire in both men and women.

It’s important to remember that it is normal for desire to eb and flow. For example, it is completely normal for couples rising young children to have less desire for sex. Illnesses, grief, financial worries, can also make sex less likely.

Experiencing body changes could lead to body images issues or low self-esteem. Some couples don’t like having sex during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Aging could also lead to insecurities about your body which can lead to sexual performance anxiety.

Menopause can lead to hormonal changes that can cause low libido in women.

Relationship issues

Early on in the relationship, there is a special excitement from the chase that makes both partners have a strong urge for sex. You both idealize each other. You enjoy feeling attractive and attracted and there is a lot of novelty.

But with time, sexual urges and hunger lessen. In long-term relationship, sexual urges are not the main motivation for sex.

A study of 235 factors found that for in a relationship women ”love and intimacy” was the most dominant factor.

For women, Intimacy is vital but not enough. There needs to be a sexual stimulation for them to be turned on, but context is as important. Women need caring and attentive behavior from their partner throughout the day. Without it, the sexual attempts from their partner later on will not be effective in turning them on.

For men to have desire in a relationship they need to feel “welcomed”. Visual stimulation is not enough. The woman’s body is where sex “happens”. When a man sees his partner disappointed or unhappy this tends to make him lose desire.

When men feel criticized or unaccepted, they close up. Culturally, men can’t cry or complain. They are supposed to be leaders. So, they adopt a though pose. This creates distance in the relationship. Criticized men eventually withdraw. This only makes their partner angry and more critical and a vicious cycle is formed.

Resentment in Relationships is a recipe for problems. Some couples use sex as a tool for punishment. This kind of passive-aggressive behavior usually sends things spiraling. When someone feels rejected, he or she are much less likely to initiate sex.   

Can a sexless relationship survive?

Yes! Sexless marriages can survive. For example, a marriage of two asexual partners can work wonderful. But, in many cases a sexless marriage signs a disconnect that is growing in the relationship.

It’s important to understand the dangers of a sexless marriage. If you are the partner who doesn’t want to have sex, know that sexless marriages can have devastating effects on the husband or the wife. Your partner has sexual needs. He or she are craving for physical intimacy. These needs can’t be dismissed or easily ignored, even if you don’t share them.

If you’re seeing your partner is growing a part or develop resentment it might be a sign that you should think about treating this issue.

Left untreated sexless marriages can often lead to affairs and divorces. For the partner who wants and needs sex, a sexless marriage is a very serious problem.

How to fix a sexless marriage

Talk about it

The first step in fixing a sexless marriage is communication. Try talking about what bothers you with your partner without being critical or judgmental. The goal should be to try and figure out to root cause or causes that are preventing sexual intimacy in your relationship.

Once you figure out the cause, you can find ways to deal with it.

Sex therapy

If you are your partner are dealing with a sexual dysfunction, it might be the time to treat it. Problems like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and painful sex often lead to low sexual desire.

Trying a self-help program or speaking with a sex therapist can help. You’d be surprised but most sexual difficulties can be resolved within a few weeks.

It’s important to know that certain medications and contraceptive can lead to low desire in both men and women. So, if you’re taking any medications and you’re experiencing low libido consider speaking with your doctor.

Man having online telehealth consultation with a sex therapist
If you need professional advice, our highly trained sex therapists are here to support you.

Improve intimacy

For many couples, sex has become less of a priority because of how busy life can be. If that’s the case for you, try scheduling time for you and your partner to do romantic activities. Remind yourself of how you felt during better times in your relationship.

You’d be surprised of how effective going on dates with your partner can be in igniting intimacy and passion.

Couple’s counseling

Having less sex can be a symptom of problems in the relationship. If you’re feeling like even addressing the issue can bring up emotions of anger and resentment it might be a good idea to ask your partner to go to couple’s counseling.

Couples in a happy relationship are much more likely to have sex. Solving relationship problems can often reverse a sexless marriage.

We offer online relationship counseling to individuals and couples with relationship difficulties.

About Dr. Michael Stokes

Mental Health Counselor and Sex Therapist

Dr. Michael Stokes is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist in Rhode Island and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Connecticut who has a Doctorate in Professional Counseling and Supervision.

Dr. Stokes serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic. He is available for online teletherapy sessions. He also writes and reviews professional materials and articles.

In his private clinic, Dr. Stokes enjoys working with individuals and couples of all genders and sexual orientations who need additional support. He has years of experience providing sex therapy and can treat an array of sexual and intimacy disorders.