Stuck living in a sexless marriage or relationship?

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

What do you need - tips or therapy?

It's time to sort the problem out before it leads to a complete marital or relationship breakdown.

This series of 3 articles..

... uncovers the causes

... helps you to talk about it

... tells you when to see a doctor

... has information on what to do and...

... what not to do

You may also be interested in How to Increase Your Libido.

How do you communicate about problems your sexual relationship?

sexless marriage: woman showing shoulder, lips and hands

Good communication in a relationship is all important.

Your sexual relationship is one way of communicating your love and desire for eachother. It is also a way to just enjoy yourself and eachother's company and as well as starting a family!

However, if talking in general, let alone about sex, is a problem, then do start with my other pages on communication, such as How To Stop Arguing.

I'll be here when you come back.

What is the cause of your sexless marriage?

A sexless relationship or marriage can be due to all kinds of problems - physical and/or emotional.

Here are just a few examples, some of which you might recognise:

  • Low sex drive (libido) - male or female (see my pages on low libido - links further down)
  • Illness
  • Disability
  • General pain
  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Impotence
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Exhaustion
  • Shyness
  • Issues around gender
  • Trauma including abuse
  • Stress
  • Anxiety - generalised and performance anxiety
  • Lack of privacy
  • Affairs
  • Disgust
  • Poor hygiene (yes.. truly!)
  • Bad breath - an absolute passion killer!
  • Lack of loving feelings
  • Cultural messages
  • The two of you just aren't compatible (see my Relationship Compatibility Test)

What came first: lack of sex, or other problems?

I am a qualified and experienced couple counsellor. By the time my clients come to see me, the lack of sex may have led to all kinds of other relationship problems.

Your physical relationship is a way of expressing yourself. You communicate for example your feelings of love, lust and desire... but also potentially anger and disgust.

You can see, then, that if the two of you are having problems communicating with each other in general, this is likely to happen in the bedroom too.

How easy it is to misinterpret each other is evident in the following example from my practice as a couple counsellor. This shows the link between a breakdown in communication and the associated effects on a sexual relationship...


From my practice

Pete and Jane had not been having sex for about 8 months.

They came to see me because they felt they were drifting apart.  Nothing specifically had happened, they just felt bored and were increasingly busy with their own lives.

They found themselves arguing more often about trivial things. Trying to repair things after a nasty row, Pete would frequently make an effort to get close to Jane again by trying to touch and kiss her. Jane couldn't bear the attention whilst she was still angry and it would irritate the hell out of her!

Pete felt rejected and Jane unheard. Both became increasingly disaffected by their sexless marriage.  

The primary problem was not their sexual relationship. When we had addressed the problems they had been avoiding, they had great sex again.


Generally speaking, men more often want to have sex to feel close to their partner and, after an argument, to re-establish closeness... and this may well be misinterpreted!

Regardless of your sexual orientation or gender, a lack of sex could lead to you feeling rejected, sad, hurt, disappointed, frustrated or angry. These feelings in themselves can become a real barrier to building and maintaining a loving, satisfying sexual relationship. In other words - your perception of the problem can become a major contributing factor.

Read on to part 2 for further tips and advice for dealing with a sexless relationship.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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Image courtesy of: Rachel K