Marriage And Intimacy

A Marriage without Sex

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"A Marriage without Sex"
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A marriage without sex is a sign that something is seriously wrong with the marriage. This is a more common problem than you might think, because this isn't something that most people want to talk about to coworkers, or even to very close friends. How common is this problem? Type "sexless marriage" into your search engine, and look at just how many links pop up! This is happening to lots of married people. If you are living in a marriage without sex, realize that you are not the only person in the world who is having this difficulty.

Intimacy is a huge part of a marriage. Sex is a celebration of the love between two people. Sex is a way to reconnect, to strengthen emotional bonds, to reaffirm that you are loved. Sex is a way to nurture and be nurtured. People who are deeply religious might decide to not have sex at all until after they are married. Sex is a very important part of a marriage! If you are living together, sharing a home and income, and dividing up the household tasks, but have no sexual intimacy whatsoever, then you have basically become "friends" or "roommates" despite being married to each other. One could argue that a marriage without sex is no longer really a marriage. This is especially true for married couples who have gone years and years without having much intimacy with each other.

What causes a marriage to be without sex? There are many reasons that could be contributing to this problem.

(1)Health Problems

Sometimes the problem is a medical one. There are many diseases that can cause someone to lose their desire to have sex. A variety of medications (both prescription and non prescription) can also kill someone's libido. Birth control medications, oddly enough, can cause some women to lose their sex drives, or to have difficulty having sex. It's not always obvious. If you are in a sexless marriage, one thing you can do is get to a doctor, (or get your spouse to a doctor), and be honest. Tell the doctor that you and your spouse are not having sex anymore, and ask the doctor if this is due to a medical reason. Perhaps the doctor can find out the cause, and then offer some solutions.

(2)Past Trauma

If you, or your spouse, experienced sexual abuse in the past, this can create problems in your sex life today. Even if the abuse happened years, or even decades ago, if the person has not dealt with all of the emotions and physical responses that sexual abuse survivors experience, then he or she is not going to be ready to be sexual with the person he or she married. It could be sexual abuse that happened to a person as a child, or a rape that happened to a person in college. It doesn't matter that your relationship is wonderful now. This is going to take some work. Perhaps a psychologist or therapist can offer some help.

(3)Anger and Passive Aggression

As petty as it sounds, the truth is that some people will choose to withhold sex because they are angry with their spouse. A person can choose to withhold sex as a "punishment" for when their spouse makes them unhappy. Or, a person can choose to withhold sex as a way of gaining leverage to get something else they want their spouse to do, or buy, or create for them. Sexuality becomes a way to get one's way. If this turns out to be the reason why two married people are not having sex, then heaven help you! This indicates that there are entire undiscovered realms of problems lurking within this relationship.


You are one sex, and your spouse is the other, and you two have been married for a while. Unfortunately, this statement in and of itself is no guarantee that both of you are, in fact, heterosexual. It is not unheard of for one person to "come out of the closet" after being married, (and often after having children with their spouse). Dina Matos McGreevey wrote a book called "Silent Partner" that talks about her marriage to Senator James McGreevey, who "came out" in a public speech, after being married to Dina for years, having a child with her, and having a previous wife whom he had a child with as well! Some people repress their own sexuality for religious reasons, or in an effort to avoid disapproval from their families, friends, or the general public. They marry someone of the opposite sex because "that is how things are done", or "to not be gay". If you think you are in a marriage without sex because your spouse is homosexual, there are resources on the Internet that can help you deal with it. Type the words "straight spouse" into your search engine to find some links.

(5)Lack of Trust

It's hard to want to be sexual with someone you no longer trust. If one spouse is an addict, the roller coaster of "good days" and "bad days" can cause a lack of trust between two married people. If one, or both, spouses have a history of cheating on each other, at some point the trust between them is broken. If the marriage includes abuse, then there can be no trust. This marriage might be over already.

(6)Plain old exhaustion

Most people work long hours, and come home tired. If you have children, then your attentions and energy are divided even further. If you and your spouse are completely drained of energy each time you are together, then of course you won't be having sex! If this is the problem, the solution might be to find a way to set aside some time to be together. It doesn't have to be a month long vacation to a tropical isle. Something simple, like a weekly date night might solve the problem. Get a babysitter, and write the date on your calendar.

I am sure there are other contributing factors that I have not written about. A marriage without sex could be due to one of these reasons, a few of them, or all of them. What is true in every marriage without sex is that someone is not getting their needs met. It can be extremely painful to be the spouse that wants to have sex, and is being denied. Are you in a sexless marriage? There are resources and support groups out there to help you deal with this, and figure out what you need to do about it. You might also consider finding a good marriage councilor, or at least a therapist for you to talk to without your spouse. Realize that you are not the only one having this incredibly frustrating problem with your marriage. Sadly, there are many marriages that exist completely without sex.


More about this author: Jen Thorpe