If you rarely – or never – have sex with your partner, you’re not alone. “It’s a very common issue,” says Wall Street Journal reporter and relationships columnist Elizabeth Bernstein. “Of course, a sexless marriage can signal that something is wrong in the relationship – but it can also be quite normal for busy people with kids, money worries, and just the daily grind.”
Talking about the issue with your partner can be daunting – but it is possible to come through a dry spell and re-establish a satisfying sex life.
The importance of sex
“Research shows that sex makes a better relationship, we’re happier and more gratified both in the relationship and individually,” says Bernstein.
While sex isn’t necessarily the thing that binds couples together, it plays an important role – energizing a relationship, making each person feel desired and desirable, and acting as a buffer against trials and difficulties. According to Barry W. McCarthy, Pd.D a psychologist and certified sex therapist, when a couple avoids or is conflicted about sex, the disconnection can have a negative impact on the relationship. The good news is that if you repair the sexual bond, the relationship improves as well.
What counts as a no-sex marriage?
According to Dr. McCarthy, a no-sex marriage does not mean total abstinence. Instead it refers to couples who have sex less than 10 times a year. Around one-in-five married couples are believed to fall into the category, while a third have a low-sex marriage – ie they have sex less than every other week, so fewer than 25 times a year.
People don’t plan to have a sexless marriage, it’s a pattern they fall into. “The couples falls into the cycle of anticipatory anxiety, negative experiences, and eventually, sexual avoidance… The longer the couple avoids sexual contact, the harder it is to break the cycle,” he explains.
Dr McCarthy adds that while confronting avoidance and inhibitions is more difficult for the couple that has stopped being affectionate, the good news is that motivated couples are able to re-establish touching, desire, arousal, and intercourse. Whether you’ve haven’t had sex for six months or six years, his strategy for change is the same. “Renew intimacy, engage in non-demand pleasuring, and add erotic scenarios and techniques.”
If you would like to talk about sex with our sex therapist, give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.