The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Sexless Marriage

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The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Sexless Marriage

If you are reading this post then there is a good chance you agree with me, that sexless marriage is a real problem for many people. Perhaps it’s you.

The subject of sex and marriage is often a very taboo subject. Beyond that, the idea of a sexless marriage is even more out of bounds, perhaps because of embarrassment or shame.

However, if it cannot be openly discussed within the marriage relationship, then it will result in friction and sexual frustration. Having a healthy marriage means working through these things together before it becomes a crisis.


In this article, you will discover the following:

  • What constitutes a sexless marriage.
  • The reasons for a sexless marriage.
  • The potential damage of sexless marriage.
  • The psychological effects of sexless marriage.
  • Ideas for coping with a sexless marriage, and how to survive a sexless marriage.
  • Ideas on how to fix a sexless marriage, and how to save a sexless relationship.

Infographic: Mobile Phones Are More Important Than Sex | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

It’s a sad reality really, but according to the above statistics – food, your car, internet access, your mobile phone, your laptop, and television, are all more important than sex on average for a significant number American adults.

You or your spouse might be one of them.

I am not saying that having a sexless marriage is a good thing, I am simply saying that it is a real thing and a common thing.

What Constitutes a Sexless Marriage?

A “sexless marriage” does not actually mean – NO SEX!

Let’s consider for a moment what constitutes a sexless marriage. Defining what a sexless marriage is can be a little bit more difficult.

It is really a matter of defining variables, but on average a married couple that has sex once a month, or a total of 12 times or less per year, has been suggested by some experts and would be considered the parameters of a sexless marriage.

The reason that defining what constitutes a sexless marriage is considered a variable is that it is really defined by the person within a marriage that feels they are being neglected sexually.

One couple may be perfectly comfortable having sex once a month or so, while someone within another marriage may be desiring sex on a weekly basis, or even several times each week.

The problem of a sexless marriage really arises when one person in the marriage feels sexually neglected while the other spouse has little to no interest in improving the sexual relationship.

Here is an insightful Ted Talk on Sexless Marriage

There was a study done by YouGov that might just blow your mind. 1146 American adults were surveyed and asked if they would consider having sex with a robot, and whether or not they would consider that to be cheating on their partner.

I don’t know about you but I found it a little shocking that a study like that was even done, but the results were even more shocking to me.

Here is the study:Infographic: Would You Have Sex With A Robot? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

I guess with the exponential increase in the technological interaction of most people in America, it’s no wonder that the idea of a non-human but human-like sex object would become more and more acceptable in the minds of some people. What does that say about sexless marriage? Is that a viable alternative? I hope not!

The Reasons for a Sexless Marriage

You might think that the reasons for a sexless marriage are primarily caused by a lack of interest, or perhaps just a low libido. That can certainly be a big factor, but before you jump to conclusions on the reasons for a sexless marriage, consider that this is a problem that has permeated our population.

Here are a few suggested reasons for a sexless marriage:

  • Soldiers returning from combat with PTSD, and/or permanent physical injuries.
  • Past sexual abuse/rape, and the resulting psychological effects.
  • Complicated health due to a physical injury resulting in obesity.
  • Obesity in general.
  • Pre-menopause or menopause.
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Stress, depression, anxiety.
  • Life-altering surgeries
  • Significantly prolonged illness
  • Dysfunctional marriage relationship needing counseling.

As you can see there are some pretty complicated matters that can lead to a sexless marriage. While living in a sexless marriage can be a very difficult thing to grapple with, consider that the person you love may be seriously hurting emotionally, or have complicated physical issues that cannot be helped.

Of course, we have only listed a few suggested scenarios that may lead to a sexless marriage, there are numerous other things, and it would be impossible to list them all here.

You should remember that your relationship was forged with love, and often times compassion should be the preferred virtue when a loved one is going through something like this.

Sexless marriage

The Potential Damage of Sexless Marriage

As you consider the potential damage of sexless marriage, keep in mind that there are many ways in which a lack of sexual engagement in a relationship can take a big toll.

One of the biggest and most important aspects of a healthy relationship is the intimate physical interaction of a couple.

When a couple does not have a healthy level of physical intimacy then the damage can actually play out in their physical health. Consider some of the health benefits of sex.

According to WebMD, there are 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex.

  1. It keeps your immune system humming.
  2. It boosts your libido.
  3. It improves women’s bladder control.
  4. It lowers your blood pressure.
  5. It counts as exercise.
  6. It lowers heart attack risk.
  7. It lessens pain.
  8. It may make prostate cancer less likely.
  9. It improves sleep.
  10. It eases stress.

So as you think about the potential damage of sexless marriage, keep in mind that the less sex you have, the less you benefit from it. The actual damage that occurs really depends on the people in the marriage being effected, and how they respond to the situation.

The Psychological Effects of Sexless Marriage

Can a sexless marriage lead to low self-confidence, discouragement, depression, or divorce? The answer is yes. It doesn’t have too, but it sure can.

There are many factors that can play into the inventory of psychological effects of sexless marriage.

If we take into consideration that withholding sex is sometimes used as leverage when couples fight, or that a person’s perception of their own body image in a culture that is full of body shaming, the psychological effects can become quite complicated.

Some people are prone to mental frailty, and facing a reduction in sex to the point of what is considered sexless (12 times or less per year), can be devastating.

On the other hand, other people have a more robust love and commitment to each other, and their joy is derived from a variety of positive sources in their life. In cases like that there is a tender patience that approaches their sex life with compassion and understanding, and with that comes a healthier mental attitude.

sexless marriage 2

Ideas for coping with a sexless marriage, and how to survive a sexless marriage.

Remember that a sexless marriage is considered to be a marriage that engages in sexual activity twelve times a year or less. However, there are some that are literally without sex at all, and some that have somewhere between zero and twelve. So learning to live in whatever situation you are in and coping with a sexless marriage from whatever your starting point is matters.

Someone that is looking for a reason to get divorced will easily use this situation as their justification, forgetting the vows that many of them made to each other, “in sickness and in health”.

Stress might be a major factor!Infographic: Life's most stressful events in one chart | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Here are some ideas on coping and surviving a sexless marriage:

When it comes to coping and surviving a sexless marriage the starting point is that the partner which feels sexually neglected must truly desire for the marriage to not only last but to improve. After all you are in this together, right?

The old saying is true regarding marriage, that you will only get out of it what you put into it. Christian marriage is never about self, it is about the both of you being one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31 “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

If there is going to be an improvement in the sexual relationship it begins with empathy and understanding for the spouse that is suffering from a lack of interest. Honest care for them and wanting to understand what they are going through will increase trust and show compassion. Those are the building blocks of intimacy.

Consider that the spouse which feels neglected could put themselves in their mate’s shoes, and imagine what it would be like if the roles were reversed. 

Once an approach with love and tenderness has been started, the process of trying to discover cause and effects can possibly begin. Are there some health problems that need to be addressed by a doctor? Is it time to get some counseling from your pastor, or some other trusted source?

It would be a good idea to get the ball rolling on seeing what could possibly be causing the lack of sexual interest. The list of possible causes is far too long to cover in this article, but a solution cannot be found if you don’t try to find it.

Fighting about it will only make it worse, making insensitive comments about it will only exaggerate the issue, and ignoring it will only prolong the problem.

It’s a good idea during a struggle like this for a couple to purposely and significantly increase the non-sexual physical affection in the marriage. That will provide some of the mental and physical health benefits that result from the positive skin to skin physical interaction. In fact, it may lead to more sexual intimacy in time because it takes some of the sexual pressure off.

The key here is working together with patience and understanding to find whatever improvement might be possible. 

Ideas on how to fix a sexless marriage, and how to save a sexless relationship.

Let’s now consider some Ideas on how to fix a sexless marriage, and how to save a sexless relationship. Much of this was talked about in the previous section on coping with a sexless marriage.

  • Talk about it with your spouse, and seek to understand where they are coming from.
  • Talk about it with your doctor, it could be health related and curable.
  • Talk about it with your pastor, or a trusted counselor, it may be mental or emotional.

If there has been infidelity in the marriage, you should read our article, “The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Infidelity

It would also be a good idea to read, “How to Rekindle a Relationship

Final Thoughts

Nobody thinks when they get married that they will someday face one of the more complicated relationship issues like a so-called “sexless marriage”. But it is a real problem for many couples. If you are one of those couples you are not alone.

Hopefully, this article has been helpful and will provide the motivation and direction needed to work through these issues together, with grace and wisdom.


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