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Can a Sexless Marriage Survive?

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12 May 2023

menopause and sexless marriage - couple holding hands tenderly

Is sex necessary for a happy marriage?

People can be in loving, healthy, happy relationships and not have sex with each other. It really depends on the people who are in the relationship. Sex is meaningful to different degrees and in different ways for each individual person. It isn’t uncommon or weird for sex to hold little meaning to an individual. For these folks, sex is not what fuels the marriage or relationship. 

Where a sexless marriage is “OK,” is for the people inside the relationship to determine. They can consider if not having sex is something that hinders the relationship or sustains the relationship.

So, how do you determine if sex is just not that important to you, and whether this works for your marriage? If you’re curious about this, consider if you’re happy with sex not being a part of your relationship or if you’d like something to be different. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Am I wanting to express my sexuality in a way that I am not able to in my current relationship? 
  • Am I thinking about exploring that and not sure where to start? 
  • Am I in a relationship with someone who would like to have sex or have sex more often?
  • Do my partner and I hold different meanings and importance for sex?

If both you and your partner are satisfied with not having sex, that’s great! 

If you’re interested in desiring sex more and having more sex, you can consider the following:

 Can a sexless marriage survive - older same sex couple having a deep, emotional conversation

Not on the same page? If one partner is not satisfied in a sexless relationship and the other partner does not find enjoyment or meaning in sex, you might consider the following:

  • Talk about ways you can share physical contact and touch. Maybe you’re not interested in penetrative sex or being touched, but would you be interested in touching and stimulating your partner through oral, fingering, or a handjob?
  • Consider opening the relationship and exploring non-monogamy. Many couples have found opening the marriage to be very beneficial to sustaining the relationship when one person desires sex and the other person does not and is not interested in building their desire. 

Factors that can make a relationship feel sexless:

Sometimes couples can go through life transitions that tank sexual desire. For example, disability, illness, erectile dysfunction, and menopause. The relationship can feel “sexless” and this can be alarming if the couple collectively found a lot of meaning and importance in their sexual relationship with each other. It’s important to understand that changes in the body as we age can impact desire, but if there is a want to want to be sexual, there are always new strategies and shifts in perspectives that can help bring sex back into the relationship. For example, there are ways to manage chronic pain and sex if that is an issue. 

Sometimes, menopause and a sexless marriage are related. Menopause impacts a woman’s hormone production, lubrication, and can decrease sexual desire. Read libido and menopause to learn more about some ways to get back sexual desire, how to communicate with your partner about the changes you are experiencing, and learn some sex positions that may help.

The big takeaway is to understand where you are with sex.

  1. Are you ok not having it?
  2. Do you want to have more sex?
  3. Do you want to want to have more sex?

These three questions can give you a lot of information for your next steps! 

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