Sexless Relationships Are More Common Than You Think

Tune into any TV or radio show, or social media feed, and the message is clear: If you’re in a relationship, you should be having hot, mind-blowing sex — all the time.

But the truth is, that’s just not the case for most Americans. In a study published in 2018 in Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers surveyed almost 18,000 U.S. adults and found that a little over 15 percent of married individuals hadn’t had sex the previous year. What’s more, 13.5 percent hadn’t had it for five years.

Those figures tend to rise as people get older (though of course this doesn’t mean that older adults don’t have sex). Another study published in May 2019 in the Journals of Gerontology surveyed 1,900 married adults aged 57 to 85 and found that 40 percent had not had sex the previous year.

Since people are often reluctant to discuss the frequency — or lack thereof — of their sexual intimacy, these numbers may actually be lower, notes Katie Gilly, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Colorado who specializes in relationships and sexual intimacy.

“It’s often taboo to talk about sex or shameful to admit to others that one is in a ‘sexless’ relationship, so we do not have a clear picture of the frequency of sexless marriages,” she says. “In my practice, of the couples that I work with, about 50 percent are in ‘sexless’ relationships.”

What ‘Sexless’ Really Means

While there is no scientific definition of a “sexless” relationship, it’s generally considered to be when a couple has not been sexually intimate for at least a month, with this frequency being the norm for at least the past six months, according to Jessica Reynoso, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Arizona who specializes in couple’s therapy.

What does that mean for your relationship? One thing is for sure — it doesn’t mean your relationship lacks love, Gilly says. “Also, as long as the couple is on the same page regarding their sex life, sex doesn’t need to be present for them to be in a happy, satisfying relationship,” she explains.

If you’re in a sexless relationship, the main thing you should ask yourself is: Are you and your partner content about not having sex?

Just Because Your Relationship Is Sex-Free Doesn’t Mean It’s a Bad Thing

It’s no secret that relationships tend to lose the sizzle over time. Both partners may have a low sex drive and choose not to have sex very often. Sometimes, however, life gets in the way: A couple’s sexual satisfaction may be disrupted by pregnancy or a new baby, health problems, or aging in general.

“Elevated stress levels, low self-esteem, sexual trauma, and lack of variety can lead to boredom between the sheets, and sexual dysfunction can all play a role in a decrease in desire for one or both partners,” Gilly says.

When there’s a physical reason behind the lack of sex, such as a health problem, and both partners have agreed that they’re okay with their rate of sexual activity as a result, they can also be happy. After all, there are other ways couples can be physically intimate, such as hug, cuddle, hold hands, and give each other back rubs, to name a few.

“It can be healthy when both individuals agree on the level of intimacy, which demonstrates communication and collaboration on how their relationship works for both of them,” says Gilly.

However, problems can occur when there’s an imbalance. This could happen if one partner has a low libido, while the other doesn’t — even if they both started out with similar sex drives. But things can change, like one partner can develop a health issue, such as incontinence, that leads them to shy away from sex, and the other partner isn’t happy with the change.

Uneven sex drives may also be the result of other relationship difficulties, such as lack of emotional intimacy and connection, resentment, frequent use of pornography, and infidelity, Reynoso says.

What Should You Do if You Want More Physical Intimacy?

While sexless relationships aren’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not something couples should aim for. Becoming sexually intimate is good for emotional bonding and great for your health and well-being, Gilly says.

There are also physical benefits to sex, as well. Since sex is a form of physical activity, it can burn around 150 calories per hour, per the Cleveland Clinic. A healthy sex life may have protective benefits for the heart, too. A study published in July 2019 in The American Journal of Medicine found that heart attack survivors who had sex more than once a week were 27 percent less likely to die over the following two decades compared with those who did not have sex at all. Earlier research showed that having sex twice a week was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in men. The oxytocin, endorphins, and dopamine (known as “happiness” hormones) released during sex can also help relieve stress and promote better sleep, Gilly says.

If you’re in a sexless relationship and want to improve your physical connection with your partner, experts emphasize the importance of honest communication.

“Be open with your partner about your desire to change your physical intimacy,” Reynoso says. “Talk about what each of your needs are regarding sex and physical intimacy, which includes nonsexual contact.”

However, as this can be a sensitive subject, it’s also important to be kind and practice empathy. Gilly advises that couples eliminate blame or labeling of each other when discussing sex.

“So often, pressure can come up when one partner feels misunderstood on what has led to them to experience a decrease in sexual desire or if they are explicitly or implicitly given the message that it is their ‘duty’ to have sex with their partner,” she says. “Sex is not a given or a right within a relationship. It is a mutually agreed upon act a couple makes to feel pleasure and connection within the relationship.”

The other alternative is getting outside help.

“Couples therapy is always advised if one or both partners are unhappy about something in their relationship and they have not felt successful in their efforts so far to make improvements,” Reynoso says. “The sooner you seek help, the easier it is to address the issues.”

If you’re concerned about the state of your sex life, get more information on therapy, treatments, and ways to spice things up in our Healthy Sex Guide.

Additional reporting by Ashley Welch.

This content was originally published here.

Can't Get enough Freebie, Subscribe

We will send you the latest digital Marketing technology and methods that should help you grow your business.

Subscribe to Our list

Custom Keto Diet




All day slimming tea


ikaria Juice


Apple Cider Vinegar Ebook Membership

More Articles