What is a sexless marriage and how do I get out of it?
You might be shocked to learn that the term "what is a sexless marriage" is all over search engines. Or maybe you weren't shocked at all. It seems like everyone, everywhere, is concerned that they don't have enough sex, don't want enough sex, want too much sex, or can't find a partner with a libido to match. Anyway, the internet has spoken: People are concerned about their sex lives and the amount of sex they are having (or not having). If you're concerned about your sex life, want to have more sexual activity, or just have basic questions about this topic, we've got you covered. Here's what you need to know to give yourself the happiest, healthiest sex life that meets your needs!
So, what exactly is a "sexless marriage"? It sounds quite boring. Kind of like a black-and-white scene from a 1950s movie where a married couple sleeps in two single beds, with a kiss on the cheek before the lights go out. No wonder people shy away from these kinds of labels. So let's find out what we're talking about here. First of all, you don't have to be married to have a sexless relationship. We can put that idea to bed right away. I'm going to use the term "sexless marriage" to denote all relationships that are sex light, or completely sexless.
"Sexless" doesn't always mean you're not having sex at all. “The definition of a sexless marriage is having or having sexual activity with a partner less than 6 times a year,” says Kristine D'Angelo, a certified sex therapist and sex coach. "So if you're having sex once a month, you'd be considered a sexual rut versus a sexless marriage." This is of course all quite subjective. Other experts define a sexless marriage as having sex once a year or less. Honestly, what a sexless marriage is may very well depend on what YOU consider sexless. Maybe having sex twice a month feels "sexless" to you. What matters is how you and your partner(s) feel about it.
Dealing with a sexless marriage
Lucy Rowwett, a clinical sexologist and sex coach, suggests trying to differentiate between what might be a "rut" and what actually is a sexless marriage. She suggests asking yourself the following questions: Do you communicate about your needs and desires? Are you still attracted to your partner? Are you both open to trying something new? If something has changed, slowed down, or your interest in sex has simply disappeared, it can be a drag. It's about wanting to have sex, even if you don't feel like it right now.
"I'd say a sex rut sets in when you're too busy and sex is no longer a priority. In sexual ruts, I think you still have a desire to have sex, it's just not number one on your to-do list Zachary Zane, a sex and relationship columnist at Men's Health, said. "In a sexless marriage, the desire for sex is completely gone. So you do have the time and energy, you just don't feel like sex." of course, it is usually because one person wants sex and the other(s) don't.
It is important to note that not all sexless marriages are unhappy marriages. Sex is extremely important to most people, but as with all things human, it is not exclusively so. Some asexual people do not desire sex at all and choose not to have it. Others who identify as gray-sexual or demi-sexual can sometimes feel sexual desire, but only under certain circumstances. This does not mean that they do not want a partner(s).
Some people want romantic relationships without sex, and that's quite right. If both people within a couple (or threesome, etc.) are not interested in sex, then you have no problem. What a healthy relationship is is about the needs of everyone within that individual partnership, not what society or culture dictates as healthy. Keep this in mind before making any judgments about the sexual choices of those around you. What happens between consenting adults is really none of your business—just like what happens within your own relationship, it doesn't concern anyone else.
How do you get out of a rut and when to walk away from a sexless marriage?
There's no way to say exactly when to start thinking about the health of your sex life, but rather, it's important to always think of it in the context of your relationship. Trying to hold off on a sexual rut and hope that your partner will suddenly feel desire again is unrealistic and will only leave you feeling empty and disconnected. The first thing to do is figure out what you want and how you want sex to be a part of your relationship. The sexual relationship you have with yourself is the most important of all. Rowett says spending time with just yourself — away from your partner — can help fuel the erotic flames. “Buy a new sex toy and spend time with your body and your pleasure,” she says. If you're trying to restore the sexless nature of your relationship and it doesn't work, then you need to weigh the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. That's a personal decision, but remember: you deserve happiness and you're able to recover from a breakup if you need to get out of the relationship. Then you can turn on your partner. “Go and play with your partner again. By playing I mean how can you have fun together again? Do something that gets the adrenaline pumping, play games together, flirt and tease each other. Start touching again - holding hands, hugging, massaging , small squeezing movements throughout the day”.
Make sex a priority
One of the biggest things we miss in relationships is the fact that sex has to become a priority. We have the misguided notion that sex should just "happen" spontaneously without any effort. This is a backward understanding of human desire. Most desire for sex comes after sexual stimulation has taken place, which could mean watching porn, an erotic scene in a movie, or a sexy cuddle session. Zachary says taking the time to build the fire is the best way to keep it going. We all have stress in our lives, but we need to realize that just because we're stressed doesn't mean sex isn't important. “Stress is one of the biggest libido killers. The other reason is if (you feel) you don't have time. Anyone can set aside 30 minutes of the week for something they really want to do. So the key is to make sex a priority and plan it to make sure it happens," he explains.
When should you be concerned?
Communication is the only way to get sex back on the menu. If you don't talk about it, you can't solve it. D'Angelo says it's always justified to seek outside professional help if your partner doesn't want to communicate with you about your sex life. "If you've tried several times to discuss the lack of sex in your marriage and your partner is ignoring you or ignoring your feelings, then it's time to worry and seek professional help," she says.
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