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Not Having Sex? 6 Possible Reasons for a Sexless Marriage

You Are Not Having Sex.

At least that is what the statistics report.

Married couples are simply not having sex.

A marriage is considered sexless if the couple is only having sex on average once a month or less. By some reports, 15% to 20% of marriages are sexless.

It isn’t just the women who are saying no, either. There seem to be plenty of men who are avoiding physical intimacy with their wives. 20 to 30 percent of men and 30 to 50 percent of women say they have little or no sex drive. — USA Today

Married Couples are Not Having Sex

The “low sex” category is even greater.

This means having sex once or twice a month.

While there is no specific guideline on how much sex is the right amount, couples who have it on average of once a week seem to report the greatest levels of satisfaction in their marriages.

I work with couples every week, and I’m amazed at how many of them are going months and years without sex. Years!

I just don’t think we are talking enough about this problem.

These types of marriages can go on this way until the partner who wants to have sex has had enough, and gives the ultimatum that the relationship is over unless the problem is dealt with. That’s usually what it takes to get the lower desire partner in my office.

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There are many reasons why a couple is not having sex.

A low sex drive can certainly have a physical and biochemical component. Hormones play a huge part in how much you want sex. Some women have problems with painful sex as well. But honestly, physical reasons are rarely the cause for the sexless marriages I see in my office.

Sometimes it is an undisclosed affair or emotional infatuation with someone else. But most often, it is something going wrong in the relationship dynamics of daily living. Here I’ve listed the ones I come across most often.

6 reasons couples are not having sex

Six Possible Reasons Why You Are Not Having Sex

Number One: You’re too busy and too tired

Sex comes from abundance. When you are depleted, there is nothing left to give. Some spouses are parents, students, volunteers and employees. There simply isn’t enough energy for sex and that is a problem. If this is your situation, you may have to be strict in protecting your time and resources and become a master at saying “no.”

I’m the worst at self-care, so I get it, but I also know when I don’t leave enough margin in my life for relaxation, I usually hit a wall that forces me to slow down. So these days, I’m forcing myself to have down time.

Number Two: There is resentment in the marriage

I see this one a lot. If your spouse isn’t wanting sex, ask yourself this question: “What has my spouse been wanting or needing from me that I am not giving?”

Does your wife want you to help more around the house?

Does your husband want you to curb your spending?

Resentment can start with the little things, and if they aren’t dealt with openly, the resentment will eat away at passion. Trust me on this one.

Just because it isn’t a big deal for you, doesn’t mean your spouse isn’t upset.

I just met with a client who now wants a divorce because he doesn’t feel in love with his wife. She really hurt his feelings 10 years ago, and he never worked it out with her. He never even told her his feelings were hurt. He built up so much resentment he shut her out emotionally. Resentment kills relationships! Don’t let it happen to yours.

Avoid resentment with two simple techniques:

1. Talk about it.

Do not expect your spouse to read your mind, pick up on cues, or just know what you are needing or feeling.

Relationships are about constant negotiation.

If something isn’t working for you, re-negotiate!

2. Put action behind requests.

If your spouse isn’t willing to meet you in the middle, stop settling for less and getting angry about your position. Learn how to set limits without being controlling that will actually protect the relationship.

Number 3: Criticism and Complaints

I see a lot of critical spouses.

When women are critical of men, it almost always kills the men’s sex drives.

Men have so much performance anxiety anyway. If a man feels heavily criticized by his mate, he will shut down. Besides, who wants to take their clothes off around someone who is never satisfied?

If you are in a sexless marriage, pay attention to how much complaining or criticizing you are doing.

Don’t approach your partner from a position of complaint which focuses on what they are doing wrong or not doing well. Instead, focus on what you like and ask for more of that.

For example, if your spouse is coming home late without a heads up, instead of saying “You never let me know when you are coming home!” Instead say “When you call me and let me know you are running late, it tells me you value my time, and that makes me feel loved by you.”

Number Four: Bad technique

I’ve said this a hundred times and I’ll say it again:

For a man to have good sex, he just requires a woman who looks and acts like she is enjoying it.

For women to have good sex, she requires good technique.

Great books on sex to explore:

Number Five: Porn Addiction

Porn is often linked with lower sex drives. The irony here is that it is often used by couple to enhance their sex lives, and in the beginning it sure seems to do just that. But this is a danger zone. Marriage doesn’t solve pornography use, but pornography can destroy a marriage.

Curious to know what happens when you look at porn? Click here to learn more about the studies being done on Your Brain On Porn.

Number Six: A Needy Partner

When a partner is emotionally needy, it drains the relationship quickly.

If you are depending on your partner to bolster your self-esteem, to frequently reassure you that you are ok, or to help you manage your own emotions on a regular basis, you are too needy.

It is very likely that you and your partner are co-dependent and that is a big problem. Co-dependence creates addictive relationships that can become toxic. I recommend Pia Mellody’s Facing Codependence.

Are you in a sexless marriage? Time to make a change.

Sex is important.

If you or your partner feels you aren’t getting enough of it, something needs to be done.

I’ve never yet met a couple where the high desire spouse wasn’t feeling resentful and angry about all the sex he or she wasn’t getting.

The low desire spouse has all the control, and it doesn’t feel good to be constantly rejected.

Then all non-sexual physical touch also goes away.

The low desire spouse is afraid to cuddle because they don’t want it to lead to sex. They are afraid a back rub will “lead to something else,” so you wind up in a marriage without any physical affection!

I’ve seen many couples where one of them really doesn’t care to ever have sex again. If this is your partner, it may be time to give them an ultimatum.

Do it before you don’t care anymore.

I’ve seen too many times when the rejected spouse put up with it, until they finally decided they wanted out and nothing could persuade them to try again.

There simply was too much hurt and rejection.

And the irony is the lower desire spouse almost always says, “I didn’t know it was that painful for you. If you had told me years ago, I would have changed something”.

If you are in a sexless marriage, and you are unhappy about it, raise the alarm and do it LOUDLY!

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Contact us and let us work with you to help you build a healthy sexual relationship. If you aren’t local, our coaches can work with you over the phone – which some clients prefer because it feels more anonymous to them.

Just stop ignoring the fact you are not having sex!

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I Love You But…Getting Friend Zoned In Your Marriage

I love you not in love with you

I love you but I’m not IN love with you.

I doubt there is a marriage counselor anywhere who hasn’t heard the “I love you but…” statement more times than they could count.  Some days I think it is epidemic.

In my practice, I find more women come in with this complaint than men, but there have been several men as well.  It saddens me because I can tell from their body language they care for each other.  They are sitting close or facing each other.  The one who says it doesn’t want to hurt their spouse, so this person is reluctant to explain why.

The spouse is often devastated and can’t seem to get any answers to the questions of why or how or when.  It is really important to see each spouse alone so I can actually find out what is going on.  The “I love you but…” spouse usually isn’t going to be openly honest until I do.

It all boils down to this one thing

I’d like to tell you there is a quick and easy fix for this situation but it is a tough one to deal with–for both partners and often for the counselor as well. I will tell you that I have found in my experience it usually boils down to one thing: passion.

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Now that sounds simple enough.  But there are many factors that influence desire and most people aren’t aware of them.  Some of you are very practical in your approach to love and marriage.

You made a commitment and as long as there isn’t a lot of pain or abuse, you will see that commitment to the end.  You may not have even considered asking yourself whether you are happy or fulfilled.  But some of you are deep feelers.

You need to feel emotionally connected in a very intimate way and when that is lacking, you question whether or not the marriage is working.  Practical people often find themselves linked with feelers and that is the perfect mix for trouble in the bedroom.

Common roots of the “I Love You But…” Issues

If you or your spouse is feeling the “I love you but…” phenomenon, you need to figure out the root of the problem.  Here are just a few possible scenarios for you to consider as a place to start.

1.  The most common reason I’ve found for this situation is lack of emotional intimacy.

That is why we preach so heavily at The Marriage Place for couples to get in the habit of spending time together talking and connecting.  I simply cannot emphasize the importance enough.

The problem with this one is that the partner who is inattentive, unobservant or unavailable is usually not aware they are leaving their spouse feeling rejected and alone.

It’s hard to explain to your spouse when you feel you are a low priority.

You may say you feel lonely or unappreciated.

You may express your feelings as complaints for more quality time.

This may change your spouse’s behavior for a short period of time, but it likely won’t bring about permanent results.  This can leave you feeling hopeless.  The friendship dies.

Eventually, you will stop having romantic feelings for your spouse.  Too much of this and desire for your mate will be gone completely.  By the time some of these couples come to counseling, passion has been missing for so long they are convinced they will never be able to find that desire again or they aren’t sure they want to try.

Check out this article for a more detailed explanation of just how this can happen in a marriage.

2.  One spouse is not a good lover.

This reason for lack of passion is a simple fix, but no one wants to talk about.    I love working with these couples because it is usually a fairly easy fix, all things considered.

There are some wonderful books and resources available to help you become an expert in the art of lovemaking.  Too many people remain silent because they are embarrassed or afraid to hurt their partner’s ego.

Face it!  Most of us aren’t taught how to be good lovers.  But trust me, it is worth the effort to learn!  A few sessions with the right therapist can completely rock your world in this regard.

3.  Pornography is another romance killer.

Viewing porn is not harmless and it is never healthy.  Some couples have been encouraged to view porn together to spice things up.

It may give the desired results for a brief period of time, but I’ve never seen it be a healthy activity for any marriage.  I’ve only seen it damage relationships.

Porn can kill a man’s desire for his wife.  Some women are so devastated when they find their husbands have viewed porn, they actually consider divorce.

It is addictive and like any addiction, it will require more exposure to more graphic images to get the desired results.  This isn’t only a warning for men.  Women view porn as well.  Romance novels (what I call female porn) can create a delusional desire for something that cannot exist in the real world.  My advice…stay away from either one.

4.  Losing respect for your spouse can kill your sex drive quite efficiently.

Women lose respect for men who are conflict-avoidant.

Some men are not cut out for confrontation.  They would rather remain silent than cause a problem.

But if these men are married to strong, independent women, it can be a problem that affects bedroom activity.  A woman may view a conflict-avoidant husband as weak and this is so “not sexy”.

If this your situation, don’t feel hopeless!  There are many ways to change this dynamic.

5.  Confusing limerence with lasting love.

Limerence is the thrill of a new relationship.  Passion peaks to an all time high.  You are obsessed with spending time together and you daydream or fantasize when you are apart.

Limerence is better than any drug and it feels really good.  But when it is confused with love, look out.

You cannot sustain limerence with anyone.  The expiration date on those intense passions is anywhere from 6 months to 3 years with the average being 18 months.  It is Fool’s Gold.

The Troublesome Part about “I love you, but…”

The troublesome thing about this statement is that passion isn’t sustainable without ceasing in any relationship.  Over time, we all go through peaks and valleys with respect to our desire.  A marriage consists of “I love you” and “I’m in love with you,” but often not together.

Honestly, if I had to choose between a passionate relationship and living with my best friend, I’d choose my best friend every time.  After being married almost 25 years, I can tell I have weathered many threats to passion in my own marriage.  The key to surviving is staying put, evaluating the threat and working to remove it.  Over and over again.

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At The Marriage Place, we believe marriage is a sacred covenant.  We are saving marriages!  If you feel your marriage could use a new perspective, call us.  We would love to work with you.

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