You started out hot and heavy and now you can’t remember the last time you got it on. Whether it’s been a few weeks, a few months, or a few years, it can be painful and confusing when sex has somehow fallen off the agenda.
Are you in a sexless marriage or partnership and wondering if there is hope?
Good news—there is! At Love Heal Grow, our sex therapists support countless couples on the path to finding their way back to each other. While it’s normal for sexual intimacy to ebb and flow over the course of a relationship, sometimes we need a little support to get things flowing again.
This article will outline what a sexless marriage or partnership is, five of the most common reasons that sex dries up in a long-term relationship—AND what you can do about it.
What is a sexless marriage or partnership?
Okay, first things first, there is no “right” amount of sex to be having or not having. If you and your partner are happy with the way things are going—great! You absolutely do not need to stress yourself out by comparing numbers and stats to other relationships. Sexual wellness is important to us at Love Heal Grow—and you get to decide what sexual wellness looks like for you and your relationship.
If, however, you are having sex less than 10 times a year AND you or your partner aren’t satisfied with where things are, you might be googling things like “am I in a sexless marriage” and ending up reading articles like this.
Now without further ado…
The 5 Common Causes and Cures for the Sexless Marriage
1. The natural drift apart…and apart…and apart…
Long-term relationships have ebbs and flows when it comes to sex. But because it can be so AWKWARD to discuss sex (even with our partners) sometimes an ebb turns into a dryspell turns into a “are we ever going to do it again?” We get all up in our heads about what’s going on and can’t find our way back to each other.
The cure: good ol’ communication. Our sex therapists are here to help you navigate the awkwardness of these conversations so you can get back to getting it on.
2. Performance Anxiety
Whether you’ve had changes in your body due to aging, illness, or having a baby; you’re having trouble with arousal, erection, or orgasm; OR you’re just generally nervous when it comes to sex…the anxiety and stress that is associated with sex right now may be causing you (and your partner) to avoid the act all together.
The cure: Not the first (or last) time you’ll hear this, but communication will help. If we’re feeling anxious about certain things performance or body-wise it can be helpful to get some reassurance from our partner. In addition to talking about it, a sex therapist has research-based methods to help decrease performance anxiety so you can feel more confident, calm, and sexy in the bedroom.
3. Painful Sex
No pain, no gain—but not in the bedroom. Pain during intercourse is common, and not discussed enough! Penetration can be painful due to body changes or size mismatch, different positions may be painful due to illness or changing bodies. Sex shouldn’t be painful, y’all—it makes sense you are avoiding it if it is.
The cure: Talk to your doctor, work with a pelvic floor therapist, use lubrication or props to help.
4. Low Desire
If you’ve noticed a dip in desire, it can be frustrating for you (and your partner). It’s confusing and you may be wondering if this is just what it’s going to be like now…even though you’d much rather have that desire back.
The cure: Our sex therapists love to help people find ways to increase their libido! Stress and a lack of prioritization are two of the culprits when you notice a dip in your desire. Our sex therapists can help you work on mindfulness and sensuality, evidence-based exercises to practice at home, and ways to increase playfulness and novelty to increase arousal.
5. Underlying Relationship Conflict
Has hurt, anger, or resentment entered your relationship? All relationships have conflict, but it there are underlying dynamics that are keeping you from feeling close and connected, this can often impact your sex life.
The cure: Increase opportunities for understanding, empathy, and connection. Our couples therapists are very skilled in helping partners get through the conflict and back to a place of closeness and love.
Hi! I'm Megan Negendank, founder and executive director of Love Heal Grow Counseling.
I help hurting, worried couples & individuals heal from pain and create thriving lives & relationships.
You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Megan