Could I Survive In A Sexless Marriage?

Could you?

Michelle Brown
Sep 10 · 4 min read
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There are many reasons why a couple may not be having sex.

I recently had a friend tell me that she and her husband had not been intimate for 3 years.

It took me a few days to process that information and really digest it.

This is the kind of couple who are both attractive people, seem happily content together, and who have created a wonderful family with a lovely home. I don’t know all of the reasons as to why they haven’t had sex in so long. The reasons are probably quite complicated.

I suppose I just assumed that their sex life was all good — fine — ‘normal’.

But what does a ‘normal’ sex life look like for any given couple? Most of us can only guess or simply use our own sex lives as a reference.

What goes on behind closed doors will always be elusive to those who are on the outside.

To some couples, having sex once a month is adequate but to other couples having sex once a week simply isn’t enough. Every couple is unique. However, when discussing a complete lack of sex within a marriage or long-term relationship we walk into a whole different ballgame.

Do sexless marriages start off slow in the sex department or do they wane off over time? Is it usually just one partner who loses interest for whatever reason or do both partners mutually stop wanting sex with their partner?

According to data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in 2015, Google searches for ‘sexless marriage’ are three and a half times more common than ‘unhappy marriage’ and eight times more common than ‘loveless marriage,’ making it the most-searched marriage complaint. In 2009, The New York Times reported that about 15 percent of married couples had not had sex in 6 months to a year which — for many people — constitutes a sexless marriage.

There are many reasons why a couple may not be having sex. There could be infidelity issues going on which affects trust and intimacy within a relationship, as well as mental health issues, medication side effects, mismatched libidos, erectile dysfunction, childbirth, or stress.

There are probably many more reasons for sex being absent in a relationship that only people who have experienced this problem could give me.

It is incredibly difficult for me to imagine not going longer than a week or two without being intimate with my own partner. When I try to imagine 6 months to 1 year — or even 3 years! That is a considerable amount of time for me.

I’m not sure how long I would be able to wait out the landscape of a sexless marriage. I’m not sure how long my partner would be able to last either. Sex is a very important aspect of our relationship and we definitely notice when it’s been more than a week without sex even after many years of being together.

My friend, the one who has not been intimate with her partner for 3 years, once told me that she felt like a cat on a hot tin roof or a caged animal. She told me that she feels embarrassed to even get undressed in front of her partner because she doesn’t feel sexually desired by him anymore. I can only imagine what that feels like.

Not feeling desired by the person you’ve committed your life to within a long-term relationship and/or marriage must be absolute torture.

Desperation can make people crazy. Sexual frustration can make people even crazier.

I try to conceive an idea in my mind of how my partner and I would cope if — for some reason — we were not sexually intimate for quite some time. Would we last as a couple? Would we begin to resent one another? I guess it depends on the reason. If my partner had a medical problem that prevented him from being successfully intimate with me I think I would try my very best to endure it — and I’d like to think it would be vice versa for him.

In the end, within any close relationship or marriage, there needs to be trust, intimacy, and effort. I’d like to think that I could survive in a sexless marriage with my partner if the circumstances were extenuating. However, one never knows.

The couple who seem to have everything on the outside could be struggling in ways we couldn’t even fathom on the inside. Appearances are consistently deceiving — and that is the lesson I keep learning over and over again.

More from Michelle: The One True Thing I Can Tell You About Divorce

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Michelle Brown

Written by

Top Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there.

Heart Affairs

Love and lust can be messy.

Michelle Brown

Written by

Top Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there.

Heart Affairs

Love and lust can be messy.

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