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Tania is currently the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker and an Associate Editor at Womanista. With past writing credits as a freelance writer and journalist with Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), and NBC News' Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. As a writer by vocation and entrepreneur by nature, Tania is a life long learner who enjoys traveling and meeting new people. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley, and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and road-tripping across the great United States. She is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and studying journalism. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Can You Have a Happy Marriage Without Sex?

The stresses of modern-day living have led 1 in 5 couples down the road to a sexless marriage. Our writer explores the silent epidemic by talking to individuals in such unions, along with seeking insight from Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Melissa Risso, M.A Counseling Psychology; and Christian marriage counselors, Paul and Lori Byerly of The Marriage Bed.
Sexless Married Couple - Bed 02

Image Credit: ThinkStockPhoto

A marriage without sex is a lot like a burger without the bun. What’s the point of calling it a ‘burger’ if it isn’t exactly complete? For the past few years, social scientists have been studying sexless marriages for clues about what can go wrong in relationships and factors leading to the issue. In an article last year from the National Post, author and marital therapist, Andrew G. Marshall stated that sexless marriages have become the latest epidemic many married couples are silently facing today.

For Lucy, 30, in suburban Arkansas, sex has always been a thrill. It gave her energy for the day, brightened her mood, and connected her in rather intimate ways with her husband of thirteen years, Jeremy, 32. As the couple got married fairly young, Lucy continues to study hard in college, but often tired between school and her day job, so she heads to bed early and is usually fast asleep before her husband joins her. Lucy shares how in many ways, things started going sour in their seventh year of marriage, a condition researchers call “the seven year itch”, a psychological term suggesting that happiness in a relationship declines around year seven.

“I just felt like it was the same old routine,” she says. “I just didn’t feel too happy about it. We would have date night, go out, have fun like old times, and get frisky, but it’s just not for me anymore. With school and everything going great for me right now professionally, I don’t find it to be a priority. We haven’t had sex for four years now.”

Extensive research and studies by experts estimate that a staggering 40 million Americans are having a sexless marriage, one where there is little to no sexual intimacy or activity occurring between the two spouses. The stats have jumped in recent years from a mere 2 percent reporting in 1994, to an astounding 15 percent to 20 percent in 2003; with studies showing that 10 percent or less of the married population below the age of 50 have not had sex in the past year, and 20 percent or less reported having sex a few times per year under the age of 40.

Licensed marriage and family therapist, Melissa Risso, M.A Counseling Psychology, of San Mateo, California comments that for some couples, a sexless marriage may look understandable from the surface, but there are many key indicators for common reasons of why two spouses might head in that direction, citing children; physical concerns like disabilities, aging; STDs, AIDS, or HIV; as were past sexual abuse or trauma; lack of confidence, including low self-esteem; medical side-effects; lack of sexual desire or attraction to spouse or each other; sexual orientation concerns; or, a lack of communication or trust.

Trust was a major factor for Jennifer, 29 of rural Indiana, whose husband of 10 years had an affair with more than one woman after their third year of marriage, and was caught a little over six months ago for watching pornography.

“I don’t want to have sex with someone who watches porn and has openly cheated on me,” she says assertively. “Sure, I have learned to forgive him as per my sessions in church counselling and maybe I can blame myself for being too busy to attend his needs, but I just don’t feel connected to him any longer. A lot of my friends and family ask why I’m still with [my husband] Scott, but that’s because of my vow and promise to the church. We need to stay married.”

With such a promise upheld, it doesn’t seem like one can find their way to happiness with such a thought as a sexless marriage and other factors leading to it, and which have sometimes been cited as grounds for divorce.

Image Credit: Richard T. Nowitz/Getty Images

Can you have a happy marriage without the sex?

Risso shares how even though many couples are happy in their marriage without feeling the need to involve sex, she discloses that an estimated 1 in 5 couples today are considered sexless.

“The important piece to keep in mind is both partners need to communicate to one another as to what sex looks like within their marriage,” she says. Risso provides a list of questions couples should ask themselves and their partners:

  • How will sex play a role in our marriage?
  • What does sex mean to me and my marriage?
  • Can we be happy without sex? If not, what does sex need to look like in our marriage (frequency, acts, etc.)?
  • What are my sexual wants, needs, desires?
  • What does it look like to be sexually happy in our marriage?

“Regardless of where couples stand, having an open discussion and communication around sex can help create the happiness couples may seek or want within their marriage,” Risso says. “Sex holds many different meanings to individuals and the only people that can determine whether or not a marriage is healthy with or without sex are the couples that are in that very marriage.”

Paul and Lori Byerly of The Marriage Bed, in Deer Park, Washington, are Christians teaching married couples that sex is good and important in a devout marriage. The two share how couples should take a look at the health of a relationship as a good early warning barometer to avoid becoming another statistic in the silent epidemic. The dynamic duo believe that if the relationship is already a mess like in the case of Jennifer and Scott, not wanting sex in a marriage is an understandable reaction.

“If the relationship is decent [though], I don’t see why not wanting sex could be anything other than an indication of a problem,” Paul says; as wife, Lori adds, “I would think it is a sign that there is some problem, personally or relational.”

Lori shares that even though sex is one of the several aspects of a marriage, when you start seeing all the other areas like communication, couple time, and overall touch and other intimate attributes starting to slide, sex is not far behind.

In the case of Scott, Paul shares how heavy internet porn can become a contributing factor in a sexless marriage. “Some men reach a point of preferring porn and masturbation to real sex, while others start finding it difficult to get an erection or climax without porn,” he says.

Is sex really that important to a marriage?

While Paul and Lori both share the same sentiment that there are women and a few men who will say yes, they both believe the other spouse would disagree.

“If neither wants sex, which is rare, they may be okay,” Paul says. “[But] it will not be the same as a marriage with sex, [though] it could be happy. If the one who wants sex can get past not having it, a similar relationship is possible. But getting past that is very difficult because it feels like a personal slight.”

“If you had a choice, would you?” Lori asks. “It feels amazingly good and it builds a unique kind of intimacy.”

While many studies have been conducted around the impact sex plays in a marriage, in likeness, Risso says though sex may not be applicable to all marriages. Most research has shown couples who reported to be having sex more frequently were indeed more happier. “Whether or not this can be applied to everyone is questionable,” she says. “But, studies do support the idea that sex does correlate to happiness in the marriage.”

Risso goes on to share that many in the field of human sexuality would state that sex within a marriage allows for a couple to create deeper intimacy by connecting on an emotional and sexual level. She expands further, stating how each couple needs to ask themselves about the importance of sex in their marriage as the two parties may each view sex very differently within the marriage, with certain factors contributing to the lack, like religion, cultural expectations, age, sex drive, or how a person was raised around the topic of sex.

Both Paul and Lori echo Risso’s thoughts and agree upon the importance of sex in a marriage. “Sex does good things for our bodies, minds, emotions and our relationship. A marriage without sex has a couple of strikes against it, and less ability to deal with problems,” Paul says.

Lori continues with that thought, sharing, “I think what I see most is that regular sex can soften your feelings toward each other. It builds a sense of being a couple.”

What happens when one wants sex, but the other doesn’t?

Paul discloses the ugly side and says, “Anger, resentment, and arguments are common. Growing distant can easily happen if the situation is not resolved. There is also a temptation to look elsewhere for sex, which will also hurt the marriage.”

Risso discloses how many couples come into her office seeking sex therapy due to this very concern and shares working with the couple as to how they can communicate and trust one another on the topic of sex is crucial. “Some couples have come to the conclusion that each partner needs to compromise on certain aspects when it comes to sex.”

She goes on to say how the dynamics can change due to one or more partners not agreeing upon sex in their marriage. “This sometimes can lead to couples questioning divorce and, or, whether they can be happy.”

Image Credit: Getty Images North America

Anthony and his wife, Margot, both 32 of Elko, Nevada, have been married for 12 years this April but don’t have the best marriage as per Anthony. “We never fight, which is nice, but we don’t exactly see eye-to-eye anymore. I work at a bank, she is a homemaker, and even though we get along on a lot of things, we’re not compatible in bed,” he reveals. “We got married really young and it just felt right at that moment. I felt like it was what I was supposed to do. I wanted to marry her because I thought it would enhance me in some way, but after all these years I feel empty inside.”

Though he is discreet about it, Anthony discloses he has been having an affair with a co-worker and someone who has fast become his best friend who he admits, has intense passion for. “She’s great and the more we spend time together, the more I realize how happy she makes me feel. We have connected through sex and to be honest, I didn’t realize the importance of sex in a relationship until I met her.”

At this point, Anthony is not sure how to approach his wife and express his concerns, particularly that of a divorce in order to give his new relationship a chance.

Through our discussion, Risso stresses communication, sharing how those that tend to be happier in their marriages are the people that talk it out with their partners regarding their sex lives, as well as other aspects of their marriage. “Relationships are found to have healthier lasting outcomes when both partners discuss needs and wants while respecting their partner’s perspective as well,” she says.

Paul and Lori think otherwise, with Paul saying, “If the one who wants [sex] is willing and able to keep going, the relationship might last. Usually it does continue a good while, but the couple grows apart until they are [more] like room mates, than husband and wife.”

Lori adds, “Unless the sex hungry spouse can learn to live peaceably with the situation—which is difficult—the lack of sex is likely going to cause friction in the relationship.”

Such was the situation for Joseph, 56, of Goshen, New York. Joseph had been married for 33 years and discloses how after having their fourth child (now 26) with wife, Natalie, 52, they stopped having sex entirely.

“It was hard on me,” he says. “I felt like we drifted apart. She was so busy raising the kids and the 90s were hard on me, job-wise. We just didn’t really feel like best friends anymore. I sometimes think maybe she wasn’t my best friend at all and that we had married in a haze of momentary bliss. But I think that’s important—you need to be able to confide wholeheartedly to your spouse and feel like you can talk to them about anything; they need to be your best friend. I couldn’t tease her, grope her, and have playful dates again. Sex became a task for us, so that all stopped happening with my wife. We got divorced after my youngest became 20, and they always say to me now, ‘Dad, you and mom should have gotten divorced earlier.’ I wish I expressed how I felt earlier in and out of the bedroom, because the lack of sex is a big deal and definitely takes a lot out of one’s self-esteem. I’m only realizing that now and I’m only now finding my happiness.”

Communication in and out of the bedroom is essential for a flourishing and healthy marriage. Paul and Lori say it is absolutely necessary, with Lori adding, “You have to communicate to be understood. That doesn’t happen naturally between people with a variety of differences.”

Risso says successful communication inside and outside of the bedroom is needed in order to deepen one’s understanding of their partner and explore more about him or herself, as it builds trust and intimacy. If it does not occur, this can ultimately have a negative effect on one’s relationship.

“Studies have shown that sexual communication is directly linked to sexual satisfaction,” Risso says. “It is the idea that if one is comfortable discussing sex with their partner, then he or she would be comfortable to do so during sex.”

If neither one is communicating in the bedroom, is there hope for sexual intimacy?

Risso sees great difficulty in trying to strictly create sexual intimacy. “Understanding your partner’s wants and needs allows for a deeper connection and satisfaction to take place. Creating an open dialogue around sex can deepen trust and intimacy, and ultimately show acceptance of your partner.”

Paul and Lori agree and come to a similar thought, with Paul sharing that it is difficult to impossible when creating sexual intimacy in the bedroom. “A few couples find non-verbal ways of communicating about sex, and a few manage to just stumble along, but most couples in this situation will see a decline in their sex life over time.”

He goes on to add that though some men and a very few women are okay with “just sex”, it rarely stays that way for both spouses.

“It’s funny,” Lori starts. “But, we don’t ask that question of any other area of our marriages. Yes, we need to communicate how to raise the kids, what purchases to make, where we will vacation—and if we don’t, we understand the following misunderstandings and general fussiness. Sex isn’t any different. You have to communicate to understand each other and grow together.”

Through communication, emotional intimacy is built, something Risso says is fundamental for connecting to your spouse on a sexual level. “Many couples have come into my office expressing the importance of having an emotional connection to their partners because it has allowed them to feel understood and respected—all important for building trust and connection.”

Paul says it’s imperative to work on the sex and relationship at the same time. “Look for new ways to connect and new ways to enjoy each other both sexually and non-sexually. The biggest thing is for both spouses to commit to growth in both areas.”

Lori follows up and encourages couples to be up front about wanting to rebuild intimacy. “As Paul said, to build the marriage on all fronts—do a little in each area of your marriage and give each other something to work with in creating intimacy.”

Image Credit: Getty Images/Jelena Popic

Final Thoughts

Sex is a basic human need and one that is not to be regarded as a taboo topic. In many ways, it is an acceptable fact that couples will be involved in sex in order to grow closer with one another and build a bond. In a study nearly two years ago, scientists discovered that love and sex, though very different can overlap, ultimately turning lust to love. However, partners believe that they will be fulfilled in every way within their marriage—and that includes sex. After all, consummating the union is an essential component of getting married. Rejection in any facet can lead to enormous resentment between the two spouses, especially if one feels cheated in a seemingly healthy relationship. Such resentment can lead to all sorts of underlying issues that could create a bottle-and-cap sort of effect, leading to divorce.

From the studies concluded with the participants, one can assume that many couples who get married so young end up having such high expectations when going into the union. They end up rushing their ideals and themselves, and  choose someone for where they are currently—not where they are going. In many ways, when one begins to mature in the relationship, they wonder why the other hasn’t progressed with them, thus growing apart. The advice of Risso and the Byerlys clearly supports the belief of maintaining communication. Through communicating, you will be able to figure out where you want to go in a relationship.

Some people will live in sexless marriages for years and though they may not be complete or happy; maybe even be in denial, there is no doubt that the lack of sex will create some tension and resentment within the relationship, eventually threatening its very existence. As discussed with our panel, either one of the spouses will lose his or her sex drive, as the other continues to crave it. When this happens, the chances of divorce in the future may increase dramatically. Of course, it is difficult to decipher how many divorced couples broke up due to the lack of sex, even with other contributing factors leading up and adding into a trickle effect, but we can assume increased tensions between the couple, and overall bad feelings within the sexless relationship can bring about a separation.

From the research concluded, it seems the longer a couple goes without being intimate, both emotionally and sexually, the more doubt they will ultimately start to feel. In the cases with our participants (whose names have been changed), it seems the lack of communication will run through a cycle that will only increase the lack of trust, growing resentment and distancing, as well as emotional discomfort. By not talking about the problems a sexless couple might face, it will only damage the relationship in the long run and put a greater stress on the two involved. The unadulterated truth is that being intimate in both ways is the key to a happy and healthy relationship.

Dr. John M. Gottman of The Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington sums it up best by saying, “It’s all connected with really knowing one another, understanding one another and accepting one another and cherishing this person you love as irreplaceable.”

* * * * *

For more information on Melissa Risso, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, M.A Counseling Psychology, check out her official site, follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and her blog.

For more information on Paul and Lori Byerly of The Marriage Bed, visit them at their official siteThe XY CodeThe Generous Husband, and The Generous Wife; and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Connect with Tania Hussain on Twitter and Google+!
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41 Comments on “Can You Have a Happy Marriage Without Sex?”

  1. Komunitas October 7, 2014 at 2:01 am #

    Sex still plays important role.

  2. DonnyO October 31, 2014 at 5:20 am #

    I actually credit porn for keeping me in my marriage and under the same roof as my kids. My married sex life died 15 years ago and despite visits to a number of therapists the problem couldn’t be fixed. Rather than getting a divorce or cheating on my wife by having an affair or paying for sex I masturbate while looking at porn. It isn’t perfect but it is worth being able to live with my kids and be part of a family. Other than the sex my wife and I get along just fine so porn has been an effective and simple solution.

    I have come across many stories like mine online over the years. Men in sexless marriages who use porn as their only sexual outlet rather than seeking sex outside the home. I think porn has perhaps kept as many marriages together, if not more, than it has split them apart.

    • Bereal October 7, 2016 at 7:13 am #

      I understand your need to use porn as an outlet, but you are avoiding the problems in your marraige and eventually one of you will meet someone else if not dealt with. As soon as I got pregnant with my first child, my husband lost interest in sex and used porn for 14 years. I tried to get him to turn to me, to talk, to go out and have fun, but he always avoided intimacy. He said he didnt like to be touched and couldnt feel. Now he is leaving me for someone else after I have patiently waited, prayed, tried to understand and love him for who he is. All I ever wanted was to be close to him. To transcend this secular world and be one spiritually and in flesh. People always ask where home is. Its not a city or place, its where the heart is. He was my home and my compass for 24 years. Take my advice and deal with this head on and in a direct way or you will just grow further apart. A sexless marriage is not whole.

  3. Annie February 23, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Anthony feels empty inside ? his wife is a homemaker and probably gave up her dreams in order to be with him and be married to him and now he is playing around with a co-worker ? Did he ever think that perhaps he is emotionally absent so she has also just followed his lead? perhaps he is not interesting in and of himself and thus she is turned off? Has he perhaps tried to re-ginite some passion? He plans to divorce his wife to give his new relationship a chance ? After so many years – has he tried to give his wife and his marriage another chance ?

    men. Behind 98% of every female problem – there is a man linked to it. What a shame. If she isnt giving it to you the way she use to – you arent making her heart sing anymore. and the woman you leave her for – will soon realise who you are and give you the same.

    Kyle has been married 3 times ……..all his ex wives remarried other men and are happy. He is alone.

    Women love deeply – if a man is not cutting it – he is messing up and maybe its time they start checking in with themselves. You cant sleep with a man who acts like a kid. You cant sleep with a man who moans more than the dog. You cant sleep with a man who is more immature than your kids. You cant sleep with a man who cant take care of his responsibilities. You cant sleep with a man who constantly has no clue how to be one. You cant sleep with a man who drains your energy, You cant sleep with a man who fools around. You cant sleep with a man who forgets to tell you how beautiful he still thinks you are. Just because your penis has a mind of its own does not mean we have an off and on button. All these turn women off.

    So if the sex is gone but she was a hot eager bunny before ? go within boys. Find your inner man zone. The one you had before we lost interest.

    We love our men – they just dont love us back the same. We start out all loving and warm and fuzzy and willing to change the world for them and then they turn us into monsters.

    if a woman says no when you use to be all she ever wanted – you probably deserve it so stop complaining. Chances are – you messed up. Nobody goes from hero to yuck without work. You’ve worked your way into not getting it – so work your way back if it means anything to you.

    • D February 23, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      I was going to give a long, thoughtful reply to your post. But, after reading it several times, I realized how useless that would be.

      You are a very angry, bitter person. I hope you seek professional help.

      • Annie February 24, 2015 at 2:04 am #

        no need for a long thoughtful reply – if you are here…on this particular page ……that says it all. good luck.

    • The counselor May 10, 2015 at 1:14 am #

      Hi Annie,
      I agree with you.Sex is the glue in a marriage.It goes both ways.One spouse will have different needs.If the spouse wanting sex more is not meeting needs of his/her spouse their love tank is empty.Refer to The 5 Love languages.Porn is not the solution either, because it stops men from working on his wife’s emotional needs.

    • Nicole December 22, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

      Loved the article, loved your comments…both have great points.

    • junaki June 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      So true and what my life is about.

    • Trevor December 1, 2016 at 12:59 am #

      Most women completely turn on men after marriage and they have him by the balls legally. Mercy sex, doled out very infrequently, being mean, acting like he is a pervert for wanting sex, not appreciative of how hard he works keeping a roof over everyone’s head, everyone fed, clothed, and fun is extremely hard on men and very stressful. It’s awesome to come home to nagging, sexless, grouch, who loves to threaten to use the legal system to take the man’s children away and most of his money. After killing yourself day in and day out to keep everyone safe…… You modern women are the pits. Single guys – don’t ever get married. It is not worth it.

  4. steph February 27, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    Guys who aren’t having sex with their wives probably don’t know a thing about foreplay. That’s strike one. Guys, women don’t get erections! We need affection and attentive foreplay after working all day, cooking and/or caring for kids and housekeeping to feel like it. You don’t. That’s the way mom nature made it. She wanted men at the ready for baby-making. Women have a the biological clock and when it stops ticking, so does she. Husbands and lovers need to understand this natural occurrence. Women do lose their mojo as hormones decrease. This doesn’t happen with men because they were “created” to make babies as long as possible. It’s also why men are attracted to younger women who can procreate.
    If you love your wives, guys, give them some attention. Kiss them, put your arm around them, don’t walk ahead of them on the street, compliment things they do, etc. You know what to do. Get off the porn and use that time to “woo” your woman. Don’t be smarmy, be kind, warm and appreciative. And listen in the bedroom. If she says, “Please kiss my neck,” or “That’s the spot!” LISTEN to her! If you have a problem with those things, communicate about it as per the article.
    You guys have Viagra. We have ZIP to get us going and an unappreciated penis of a husband is not going to turn any woman on. The next relationship won’t last, neither will the next or the next. You have to be a loving, compassionate, thoughtful man to make a woman purr. And unfortunately, faking it doesn’t work, so maybe your hand will end up being your best friend.
    It’s nauseating to hear a man say that there is nothing more important than sex. If that’s true, you shouldn’t be married. Sex is important, of course, but there are other things that are just as meaningful. Figure out what they are and be more than a penis.
    Good luck. Gals, hang in there.

    • Rene D March 13, 2015 at 4:25 am #

      Steph – love it!!! ha ha haa
      sooo spot on.

      They find the “on” button in the beginning tho right???……..once married they go “autopilot” we dont do “autopilot”

      Come on guys – find the “on” button. If its really the most important thing …..then ….do what it takes to get the lights back on right?

      We love you – we’re just distracted with chores and life and sometimes the kids and the work deadlines and and and and – but if you unplugged us from that…….and refocused the attention a bit…..and left out the “autopilot” setting…….who knows?

      worth getting it right if its really THAT important I think. Sex doesnt mean the same things to a woman as it does to a man…..so herein lies a bit of a problem for us I think. To you guys its a whole big issue – to us…..its not really. We have other ways of feeling and expressing love……..

      I’m sure all you guys are loved ……its just ….busy female brain with lots of “to do’s” how about some help with the “to do” list also…….

      marriage is sacred – bring the love back…it doesnt have to be a big fight about everything – sometimes just a discussion or an initiation or ….finding the darn “on” button lolll

      if not – hand will be the best friend and porn will be the imaginary friend…….oy!!
      Good luck!

    • Matt June 13, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

      Well there are plenty of us who understand the art of foreplay. Unfortunately in my circumstance, my wife simply isn’t interested or even willing to try. So I suppose that maybe your half right. I’m a very attentive, loving husband that gives and gives and gives. And what do i get? Not a freaking thing. Explain that.

    • Robert December 30, 2015 at 5:32 am #

      My wife and I haven’t had sex for 12 years.

      Since the birth of our little boy she has complained that intercourse is painful. I have tried so many times to make her go and get it checked out but she flatly refuses, well what she actually says is yes she’ll see a doctor but then never does.

      It’s not the lack of sex that upsets me it’s the thought that she no longer finds me attractive or wants me anymore. Although I am considered quite good looking and keep myself fit, I am also 17 years her senior and I now worry that this age difference is embarrassing her.

      Prior to the birth of our boy we had a very passionate and exciting sex life instigated mainly by her, which is also confusing me.

      I believe foreplay begins at breakfast and I am always doing all I can to make my wife feel loved happy and secure.

      Although I feel lonely and insecure I have never thought about being with anyone else. I love her too much. And in every other way she loves me too.

      • Trevor December 1, 2016 at 1:01 am #

        You were bait and switched my friend. Evil modern woman….

    • Michael Dong September 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

      As men we are aware of how should we walk around wife, “we are not stupid” even a kid knows how to get their ice cream, agree? But the bottom line is men are always men and it’s often not always that women (a lot of) are very hard to satisfy! They know how to use sex as bargain chip to play with a man, and when comes to end they are able to take half of what you got.

  5. Lindsey April 23, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    Excellent read but would like to see some on Erectile Dysfunction in the marriage. No sex because of a physical inability and how no sex couples are forced into no sex relationships. Does she honor her vows through sickness and health and become celibate? The emotional distress that comes from ED and lack of sex can tear couples apart. So is sex really that important for the couple battling ED?

    • Monica March 12, 2016 at 6:12 am #

      Lindsey you are spot on. Erectile dysfunction is painful to deal with, especially when your husband is 32 years old and is not in his late forties or fifties like the commercials on TV tell you. It makes me question what I am doing wrong. Is ED the real reason he doesn’t want sexl? Or am I just not attractive enough for him. Combine that with no desire to touch or kiss or hold hands. It does a number on your self esteem. Mercifully I have an incredibly successful career or I would be a depressed mess questioning my self worth. Yes, the marriage is happy in most other ways. But it cuts into my soul to read articles like this which say men want sex all the time. Guess what, they don’t. Some men want nothing to do with sex or intimacy or anything. And women like me suffer silently. It is an ethical dilemma. Do I leave an otherwise functional marriage because of lack of sex? I after all took a vow that said in sickness or in health. But the thought of having this same ethical dilemma for the next 40 years of my life, is overwhelming. Is it possible to fight this demon everyday and not be bitter? I would love some advice from other women who have faced this and continued to stay in the marriage. Are you happy? Can I be happy? Or should I cut my loses now, call it quits after 4 years of marriage and give myself a shot at finding happiness elsewhere?
      PS: It took a lot for me to write this. Please don’t write unkind responses. I truly am seeking the advice of women who have been in happy sexless marriages for a long time.

      • Lynette March 13, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

        I guess it is nice to know that others are in the same boat but it doesn’t fill that emptiness. I keep hearing in my head, “for better or for worse, through sickness and health.” Hearing, “you deserve intimacy and I am trying to be better to deal with my issues. I want to do so many things to you and can’t, it is so frustrating,” breaks my heart and I ache for him. However, the heartache that I feel in my heart and between my legs can sometimes out weigh my love for him and not wanting to hurt him. I haven’t cheated on him, but I do daydream about sexual fantasies.
        I think of the men who get cut off from sex after a woman has just given birth and her hormones are going bonkers so she isn’t in the mood, she is too tired/exhausted from being a new mom or a mom to toddlers…we crucify men who go out and find sex elsewhere. But here we ourselves wanting sex but yet love the person we are with. I feel I love myself, respect myself, and the hogwash of “you don’t love yourself to give yourself better so you stay in a miserable relationship” is absolutely BS. All I want is an expression of love from the man I am in love with that is beyond acts of kindness, financial…I want to be able to surrender myself physically to him as he dominates my sexual soul.

      • Foerster May 13, 2016 at 11:34 pm #

        I understand your pain. I find my husband attractive, sexy, and very desirable. The medications he takes have robbed him of his sex drive. The poor man has tried the name brand medications, the injections, the pump. They have made me ache for his pain and discomfort. The poor man has leukemia. We keep it secret. I worry more about me losing him by death, but I do also ache for a physical intimate relationship. I never push. We do not discuss it unless he comes home with the latest suggestion from some Doctor. I eagerly support any new idea. Something might work once and I am stunned, if it does. But then,not again. I love my husband. I find him very desire able. What is the point in telling him, if he can’t function.

  6. Amy April 25, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    I’ve been married to a guy who only had sex with once in 47 years. I never found out the problem. Since day one he has hated sex, thought it was stupid, had no interest, it smelled and messy, no real feeling and thought sex was in human. He never slept with me, doesn’t talk to me, lives in basement and constantly works on the mid night shift. Works all holidays, weekends and never showed up any family type things. When he does have free time he works in his shop or on the wreck of a car he has. Hes retired now and looks horrible like a home less man. I’ve been sad for years had no kids, wasted my life trying to figure him out, I do have my shrink and my meds. to get me from day to day. One other thing he’s not gay or into other women. his life is him only and no one enters his world. I personally don’t care any more, just to tired to care.

  7. Jonathan July 6, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    How do I talk about sex when it’s such a hard subject. Will I ever even get to know my wife again. It’s been four years and married for 13. We did have a separation for two years of which I know nothing about her time away from me and she knows all about mine. I don’t think she loves me anymore but is all to comfortable with where we are. I find myself angry when we lie in bed and I love her deeply. Please help. Anyone. Please.

    • Lindsey July 6, 2015 at 8:06 am #

      I saw how hard it was for my boyfriend to talk about it, but either you learn to and/or learn to be intimate without having sex. I think you may be surprised at how accepting we women can be- we just need to feel loved and adored and I promise the actual act of having penetrating sex doesn’t have to be it. You men are truly the ones with the hang ups of not being able to penetrate. We want a man to look at our curves with hunger, to love our bodies with kisses, squeezes, to hold us, to want to be near us. We have always just wanted love- that’s why so many young girls USE sex to get a man because for brief moments they feel loved whereas in reality the man is just using her for sex. Sex is different for women. We truly just want to feel LOVED not to be screwed (except during ovulation when our bodies are telling us it’s time to conceive).
      You aren’t less of a man by not having sex, you will be a lonely man if you don’t face your demons head on though.

      • Trevor December 1, 2016 at 1:10 am #

        You just admitted it. Women USE sex to trick their men into marrying them and then wonder why the men who love them are crushed when the loving, horny, woman they married instantly turns into a sexless, mean, condescending, nag, very soon after marriage. Interrupted temporarily to get impregnated. The poor men think they are getting their pre-marriage woman back, but the reality is the woman wants a sperm donor. Then men want the children just as much or more. They don’t realize they are being used and after the kids are born, men can completely kiss the sex life goodbye because the wife doesn’t need it for procreation and could care less how it makes the man feel. She only leaches off the man like a parasite, giving little back in return in terms of being appreciated and all the things mentioned above.

    • Stacey July 14, 2015 at 1:46 am #

      I can help.

    • Trevor December 1, 2016 at 1:02 am #

      Do you pay for everything??? If you do, then that is the answer.

  8. Artipal December 19, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    How can a young woman live her life without sex. She gets more frustrated day n day everyday. She still loves her partner who is bit older.

    • junaki June 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      Many single mothers live without it what you talking about.

  9. Blhubbs May 30, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    Yes! Marriages can be strong, healthy and without sex! There is a tendency to make issues into diseases, and problems instead of preferences and choices.

  10. Paul December 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    I dislike sex and haven’t had it in about 35 years or so. My life is complete !!!

    • Lynette Jacobs January 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

      Out of curiosity, does your partner feel the same way? And is there is still intimacy between the two of you? Some type of affection such as cuddling, kisses, appreciation of some kind?

  11. Steven Green January 3, 2017 at 8:32 am #

    My wife rejected me sexually from the first night of our marriage. I have been trying to have sex with my wife since that night. Sometimes she allows me to be with her sexually, but she is mentally away somewhere else. She has never let me enter her heart, even while she may rarely allow me to enter her body. Foreplay? I can give her foreplay for a long time and love to give her oral sex. Her reaction is no reaction. She does tell me to hurry up and get it over even when my head is between her legs, which I love to do. Last week, I told her that she was beautiful (which she is) twice in a day. The next day she called me a liar for calling her beautiful and not believing it. I had no other motive than to compliment her beauty and let me wife know that I appreciate her. That hurt and I letter her know that I resented that. The bottom line is, she has an aversion to sex. She never wanted sex with me or anyone else ever in her life. She is my wife and I have a right to have sex with her. Over the years, I have come to accept the rare times when she lies in bed at attention and lets me know that I should finish quickly. At least I get the physical relief in that. She asks me NOT to kiss her, because it smothers her and she needs space and room to breathe. Wow! I always loved kisses. Though we did not have sex before we were married, we did have some memorable “make out” sessions in the car. Now, I can not even get what I had before we were married. I crave hugs and kisses so much. We both have our faults. I need my wife to be my lover. I will not give up. This woman has never, emotionally been there with me. I desire to take her heart as well as her body. She breaks my heart, by her rejection of affection and sex every week, but I love my wife and I will stay with her for the rest of my life. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5.)

  12. Jane February 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    I am in a marriage where I’m not satisfied he is smaller than what I need I can bearly feel him. We been married for 8 yrs I thought this wouldn’t be a big deal because he’s such a great man but I can’t just let this go on I’m unhappy and miss having a partner that is compatible. Please help.

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