What do you associate the idea of a sexless marriage with – Failure? Shame? Hopelessness? Apathy? The fact that these are the thoughts and feelings elicited by the topic means that we often shy away from addressing it. Many people struggle in a sexless marriage. It’s not an easy topic to talk about but it’s important and needs to be discussed for people to understand what’s happening and know how to deal with it in healthy, constructive ways.
Some people think that sex dies once you are married or have kids. Others might also believe that if you and your spouse go through a period of little to no sex, there’s something wrong with you or your relationship. You might think that once the “spark” is gone, it will never come back. The good news is that all of those beliefs, as common as they are, are misconceptions about sex in marriage.
According to licensed clinical psychologist and world-renown sex and marriage therapist, Dr. David Schnarch, holding onto the false belief that sex dies in a marriage, can unnecessarily result in creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. People give up on pursuing and maintaining an active sexual relationship with their spouse because they don’t think it’s possible. This results in a sexless relationship that, in turn, reinforces the faulty belief. He also reassured his readers that even if the “spark” has gone out of a marriage, it doesn’t mean doom for a couple’s sex life. It is possible to rekindle sexual desire although it may take time and intentional effort. If the thought of initiating this process feels daunting to you, here are some tips that can help you get back on track:
Tips to Improve a Sexless Marriage
Practice good self-care.
Taking care of your body with good nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can help increase your mood, energy level, and self-confidence – all of which are factors that make a difference in your sex life.
Make an effort to connect with your spouse in other ways.
Go for a walk together. Hold hands. Massage each other’s feet. Curl up on the couch and read a book to each other. Attend a destination couples retreat. These simple acts are often the most powerful ones and can make a huge difference in sparking desires that may have been dormant for a while.
Create a relaxing and romantic atmosphere in your home.
Keep some candles lit, and have some soft music playing while you cook and eat dinner. Buy some nice-smelling essential oils and a diffuser. Clear the clutter off the countertop, your bed, or anywhere else it tends to accumulate. These things are simple and require very little effort, yet can have a significant impact on your mood and shift you out of the mindless, routine of daily life that we all can easily fall into.
Just do it.
Some people experience spontaneous desire. This means they can think about their spouse while they are at work, get excited, and want to have sex. Others experience responsive desire which means they don’t think much about sex or desire sex until they are already involved in the act. Neither way is wrong but determining which type you are can help you understand how you desire your partner. If you experience responsive desire, if you don’t engage in sexual activities, you may rarely feel desire which can leave you and your partner frustrated. Sometimes you should just go for it. Put the laundry or bills aside and be intimate with your partner; you may find you enjoy it more than you thought you would!
Talk about anything that’s on your mind or is bothering you about life or your relationship. If you are experiencing stress or unhappiness with any part of your relationship, it is going to be a struggle to bury those feelings and want to be intimate. Often couples report they feel closer to one another after they talk about a problem. Even if it’s not pleasant to hear our partner has a problem with us, it helps us feel closer to them because they trusted us enough to talk to us about it. Emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy go hand in hand. To help your conversation with your partner, check out our blog, 10 questions to instantly improve your sex life.
In reality, there are myriad reasons why couples, at various stages in their relationship, go through extended periods without sex. Times of crisis, health problems, when they have new children, prolonged separation due to having to live in different cities for work, deployment, fatigue, or just lack of time, are just some of the reasons why sex lives dwindle in relationships. If you’re going through a season of marriage where little to no sex is happening, it is by no means that you are a failure, or that something is “wrong” with you. Maintaining a healthy sex life still takes work even when things are good. A sexless marriage does not have to remain your reality.
Often multiple factors get in the way of successfully dealing with intimacy issues on your own. You deserve to have a healthy relationship and sex life with your spouse. These are the important things in life that are worth investing in. Call or book an appointment online today with one of our therapists. We would love to help guide you toward satisfaction and fulfillment in every aspect of your relationship.