First of all, if you've landed on this article, I want you to take a deep breath because you are not in this alone. If you're here because the amount of sex you have now is different than what it used to be, consider what has happened in last year: a global pandemic, an economic crisis, racial tension, etc.
It's hard to feel "in the mood" when the world is falling apart. But even if the state of the world isn't what's causing the lack of sex, we have some answers for you too. Let's dive into it.
What is a sexless marriage?
Relationship expert Sophie Mona Pagès explains that being in a sexless marriage means that you have little or no sexual activity with your partner. But this doesn't necessarily have to mean there's a problem. “Sex is not essential for a marriage to work,” says Pagès. “Happy loving sexless marriages exist," she confirms.
The reality is that all relationships—especially marriages—look different, and there is no "normal amount" of sex to be having. But because of how "happy marriages" are portrayed on TV, social media, and movies, if your relationship doesn't look exactly like that, you may think you must be doing something wrong. (You're not.)
At the end of the day, some people in marriages are having sex, and some people aren’t. Both types of marriages are okay.
When is a sexless marriage a problem?
If you and your partner are both perfectly happy in your sexless marriage, go ahead and close out this article because you are absolutely fine. “The only reason to be worried about being in a sexless marriage is if one of the partners feels hurt from not having their sexual needs met,” Pagès explains.
Do not spend your time browsing through Reddit forums or texting your BFFs about how often they have sex with their partners because, again, there is no normal. What works for you and your partner is the only thing that matters.
But if you find that you aren’t satisfied with your sex life, don’t give up hope. There are ways to figure out what’s going on and possibly bring intimacy back into your relationship.
Keep in mind that the following could be contributing to why you or your partner's sexual desire is low:
- Mental health issues. If your partner is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it could be affecting their libido or ability to have sex.
- Personal issues. Whether it’s issues with family or with their own body, sometimes the internal things we’re dealing with can heavily affect our sex lives.
- Stress. Sometimes life is a lot. And when you have a million things on your mind, it makes sense that sex isn’t.
How you can help fix a sexless marriage
One thing you can do is focus on communicating, says Pagés. You can start by acknowledging that both you and your partner want to deal with the situation. It’s also important to emphasize that you two should maintain a judgement-free communication channel where you both can be vulnerable. Once that’s established, it’s time to figure out why this is happening.
“Define what sex means to you two to share a common understanding of each other points of view,” Pages says. “Look back at when and why it started. Are there things unsaid? Is there shame? How does a happy sexual life look like for each of you? What's the common ground here?” Asking these questions can help you get to the deeper root of the issue, if there is one, or help you maneuver how to bring sex back into your marriage.
Sometimes, the issue is a matter of disconnection. And in order to reconnect with your partner, you’re going to want to reconnect with yourself first. Pages suggests rediscovering your body through masturbation and eventually masturbating with your partner.
“Note that reconnecting your partner is not necessarily sexual at first, it can start with sharing quality time, words of affirmation, cute memes, etc.” Pages says. “Figuring out and using your respective love languages is a great start.”
Licensed psychologist and sexologist Nikki Coleman, PsyD, suggests getting a little help along the way if it’s needed. She emphasizes that couples therapy can be a great place to work through significant barriers and disconnects in the marriage.
“Sexual desire changes over the lifetime and in the course of a marriage,” Dr. Coleman says. “Just because you’re not having the best sex of your life right now doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. Seek therapy or coaching to help move you through to the sexy spouse you are.”
Through it all, just remember that there is no “normal” when it comes to what a marriage looks like—especially when it involves what happens between the sheets. So long as both of you keep the communication constant and continue to put in effort, you’ll be able to see the changes you want.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.
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