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

6 reasons you're 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.

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 youre not having sex - ewl

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!

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!

Transform your life: Our New Breaking Free Workshop

Breaking Free Workshop (2)Do you frequently feel anxious or depressed?

Do you struggle with anger and resentment?

Does your life feel unreasonably hard or unmanageable?

At The Marriage Place, we have discovered that traditional talk therapy alone doesn’t always help couples improve their relationship. Sometimes, you have to go deeper and look at how childhood experiences have shaped the way you view yourself and the world.

Breaking Free From Our Pasts

Many people were never taught the skills they need to learn how to be in functional, healthy relationships with themselves. As a result, they look to other people to help them feel whole and happy. Invariably, those relationships don’t work in the long term because happiness comes from within us.

Maya Angelou said “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’…There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

We cannot love someone else in a mature way if we don’t love ourselves. Our partners cannot fill the emptiness that comes from not loving ourselves.

If we don’t have a good sense of who we are and what we need, we try to get this validation from others.

Certain Patterns Create Chaos

All this wanting and needing creates patterns of chaos that are often unbearably painful to endure. These patterns include frequent arguing and fighting, control issues and a combination of clinging and abandoning behaviors. We do all of these things in an attempt to get the love we need. Oftentimes, other elements are added in to alleviate the misery of feeling so unhappy.

Those other elements might include:

  • Drugs & alcohol
  • Pornography
  • Affairs (emotional & physical)
  • Gaming and computer time
  • Shopping
  • Gambling
  • Food Addictions
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts

Once these elements are added, life can get completely out of control very quickly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can learn how to live your life in a way that empowers you to love and be loved by others–functionally, with maturity and grace.

You can overcome feelings of shame and worthlessness.

You can learn how to live authentically without hiding behind walls and masks.

You can control your anger so others aren’t intimidated by you.

About the Breaking Free Workshop

The Marriage Place is now offering a three-day intensive we call the Breaking Free Workshop. We call it that because our clients who have gone through this tell us they feel they have broken free of childhood wounds that have caused them to feel stuck, insecure and uncertain about themselves.

Here are some of the situations of clients who have benefited the most from our workshop.

(Names have been changed for privacy. )

Jerry is often angry and defensive.

His wife and kids walk on eggshells around him, but he just thinks they are overly sensitive. After the workshop, Jerry has a clear understanding of where all his anger comes from and exactly how it affects his family today.

He is now working on making amends to his family and is showing up very differently in his marriage.

Sam feels alone in his marriage.

His wife is very opinionated, and Sam often gives in to avoid an argument. He just doesn’t feel it’s worth it to say how he feels or what he wants. But this silence has created a sense of deadness in his marriage, and his wife feels alone. She wants Sam to participate in their life together and to be more present.

Sam came to the Breaking Free Workshop to learn why he struggles with asking for what he needs. He realized his parents had a lot of big worries to deal with because one of his siblings had physical challenges. Sam felt selfish for needing any attention or help. He learned how to be needless and without wants so he wouldn’t be a burden to anyone else. Now Sam is learning how to speak up for himself. He knows now that healthy relationships have appropriate levels of giving and taking.

Marcia apologizes for everything.

She is always worried that she has upset someone or done something wrong. Her anxiety keeps her up at night as she ruminates on the day and all the things she wishes she had said or done differently. Marcia’s husband and kids don’t treat her very well. She just wants to make everyone happy, but it seems no one is happy with her and she doesn’t understand why. She feels defective and broken. Marcia’s mother could be extremely critical and sometimes cruel.

Marcia learned that she needed to earn love and approval, and she has been following that template her whole life. Now she is learning how to love herself. She is learning when and how to say “no” to those who are taking advantage of her.

Amy struggles with depression and feelings of suicide.

She has tried a number of medications and therapy, but nothing seems to work very well. In her darkest moments, she hates herself. She feels broken and defective. Amy grew up in a home where she was frequently shamed and criticized. She internalized those messages until they became part of her self narrative.

After attending the workshop, Amy knows the shame she feels isn’t her hers to carry any longer. She was able to give back those feelings of worthlessness to the people who passed them along to her. Today, she is doing so much better and feels more hopeful about her future. Even her family and co-workers have noticed a “lightness” about her.

Do you resonate with any of these stories?

We all carry messages we were given as children into our adult lives. These messages become internalized and form the lens with which we view the world and ourselves. If that lens is distorted, we often go through life with an emotional limp.

Our workshop will help you break free from those distortions and see yourself authentically. Once you change your narrative, hang on for a wild ride – your life with endless possibilities!

For more information on our Breaking Free Workshop, click here, Or contact us here to sign up today!