How to fix a sexless marriage or relationship

Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 23-09-2010 | Modified: 02-03-2019

It's time to fix your sexless marriage or relationship before it leads to a complete marital or relationship breakdown.

So, if sex with your wife, spouse or partner is just not happening, the information in this article can help you by...
... uncovering the causes,
... helping you to better communicate about it,
... telling you when to see a doctor,
... giving you all the information you need to fix a sexless marriage.

How to fix a sexless marriage or relationship

How do you communicate about problems with your sexual relationship?

Good communication is all important when you want to fix your relationship and reap the rewards by having and enjoying sex with your wife, husband or partner.

Your sexual relationship is one way of communicating your love and desire for each other. It's also a way to just enjoy each other's company 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.

Leo Buscaglia:'Only when we give joyfully without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means.'
www.professional-counselling.comThis is what you really need to keep in mind when you want to fix your sexless relationship.

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:

  • Trauma including abuse
  • Stress
  • Anxiety - generalised and performance anxiety
  • Lack of privacy
  • Affairs (see: How to survive infidelity)
  • 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
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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. It lets you communicate, for example, your feelings of love, lust and desire... but also potentially anger and disgust. In case of the latter, I can almost guarantee  that having sex with your wife, husband or partner will be out of the window.

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, in this case, 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.

What doesn't help when you're not getting any sex

Feeling frustrated, angry and rejected because you're not having sex with your wife, husband or partner?

 I totally understand!

However, none of the following is going to fix your sexless marriage and get you more sex:

  • pushing your partner into making love more often;
  • forcing your partner (rape). See: Signs of an abusive relationship;
  • manipulating the situation in some way;
  • getting obsessed by the lack of sex and becoming too emotional about it (that just stops you from discovering the real cause and finding an effective solution);
  • ignoring existing relationship problems;
  • blaming and accusing.

Infidelity might seem like a solution for your frustration. I would understand if you're tempted by cheating if you've done all you can to address the problems in your sex-starved relationship. Doubtless the constant rejection is taking its toll.

However, trust me when I say that an affair will most likely cause no end of trouble further down the line. See my article: Dealing with infidelity.

Is sexual arousal or desire a problem for one or both of you?

Sexual arousal is a very complex process (like every other function in the body) and involves:

  • your brain
  • your nervous system
  • your hormones
  • your blood vessels
  • your muscles
  • your emotions

Problems with - and imbalances in - any of these are likely to affect your sexual desire. If it's not addressed, a chronic lack of sexual desire (as well as other problems of course) can sadly lead to a virtually or even completely sexless marriage or relationship (watch the video further on for more on desire and arousal).

The process of improving your libido, first and foremost, involves ensuring overall physical, mental and emotional well-being. I know - it's disappointing that there isn't a quick fix.

However, stick with me and don't despair...

What's at the root of your sexless relationship?

If sex is the cause of your relationship problems I'd really like you to see a doctor first. We'll want to rule out any medical problems being the possible cause of the lack of sex.

Getting medical help and advice with any or all of the following can potentially help to enhance your libido...

10 Ways your doctor can help improve your libido

Your physician can...

  1. review your antidepressants (if prescribed).
  2. review your medication for high blood pressure (if prescribed).
  3. deal with any pain.
  4. find the cause of erectile dysfunction and treat it (we'll be looking at asking a psychosexual therapist for help later).
  5. find the cause and deal with ejaculatory problems.
  6. treat an illness.
  7. deal with fatigue, though there are very likely to be things you can do yourself.
  8. overcome fear of pregnancy, review contraception.
  9. deal with any traumatic experiences.
  10. deal with depression and stress.

Be aware that antidepressants are very likely to reduce feelings of connection and libido, so do read my article on treating depression without medication.

I'd now like you to watch this video for the best advice from Michele Weiner-Davis, a couple therapist, on what to do about a sex-starved relationship (btw, you might want to share it with your partner too)...

I hope you noticed what she said about desire and arousal. Do you know which comes first for you and which for your partner or spouse?

There's more to sex than penetration though...

How good is your physical relationship?

Your physical relationship involves much more than full sex with your spouse of partner. It is part of the dance of communication between two people.

Your physical relationship as part of a loving, committed couple includes enjoying:

  • any kind of fleeting loving touch,
  • stroking and massaging,
  • kissing - just a kiss of a few seconds when you leave and when you're back home can make all the difference,
  • cuddling,
  • holding, embracing.

All this can and should be part of your relationship without the expectation that it will lead to sex. This kind of physical communication should ideally be part and parcel of your everyday life.

I'd really encourage you to invest in being physical in this way and become skilful at it, particularly if it's not part of your experience now. And when you're ready to start healing your sexless marriage or relationship, you'll find foreplay so much more enjoyable.

If for any reason you can't have penetrative sex, being able to lovingly pleasure each other will help to calm the waters.

Can you have a conversation about this with your partner or spouse without it turning into an argument? Or would you rather avoid the subject completely?

Stop arguing, start talking about sex

It may be that you find talking about sex really difficult, so having a proper conversation about it within the context of a loving relationship may seem ever so daunting. Particularly so if you want to challenge your partner about your sexless marriage.

If so, I hope I can help you along a bit. Below is a list of questions that'll help you give your conversation about sex a focus.

Once you get the hang of it and you've learnt what makes your partner tick a bit better, you may feel more confident talking about whatever sexual problem is troubling you. So, here goes...

10 Questions to help you get comfortable with talking about sex

  1. How did you learn about sex?
  2. Who exactly told you what, where and when?
  3. What were your parents' attitudes to sex?
  4. Did you play any games with your siblings or friends as a child that had a sexual element?
  5. What was your first sexual experience like?
  6. Were you in love? Was it just for sex?
  7. Were you, as a teenager, able to confide in anyone about sex?
  8. What's your attitude towards your own body, hygiene, health, menstruation, pregnancy, contraception, fantasies, etc.?
  9. How does your religion prescribe what is and isn't acceptable?
  10. How bothered are you about your partner's sexual past?
How to fix your sexless marriage or relationship.
www.professional-counselling.com

How to fix your sexless marriage

Sex is a problem, but your relationship seems fine?

Contact a licensed therapist who can help you discover why it is you're no longer having sex with your spouse or partner and how you overcome the problem. For further information, see my page: Online relationship advice.

Your relationship is in trouble on other fronts too?

Consider getting some good relationship advice.

Unsure about your relationship?

Stop pretending! Have a look at my Relationship compatibility test to help you make the right decision.

Other sexual or personal problems?

I recommend self hypnosis for a huge range of emotional and sexual problems. Self-hypnosis with the aid of a professional download is an affordable, potentially very effective and user-friendly way to help yourself. For further information, see my article: Hypnosis Downloads FAQ.

Hypnosis downloads

What about gender?

Let's not forget the gay/lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, transgender issue.  

  • How do you define gender?
  • Do you suspect that your partner is bisexual, gay/lesbian or transsexual?
  • Where are you on the scale?  
  • How does your religion deal with the issue?
  • What about your family?

I can't do any better than let artist iO Tillett Wright do the talking here...

I do hope you've found this page helpful. And that you're on your way to figuring out the underlying cause of - and solution to - your sexless marriage/relationship.

Sources

1. “Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The Lowdown.” @Berkeleywellness, www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/sexual-health/article/pelvic-organ-prolapse-lowdown. Accessed 28 Feb. 2019.

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