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Sexless Marriage: Causes and Effects

When you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re in a sexless marriage, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You might even feel embarrassed about your sex life. However, the thought of overcoming this lack of sex struggle can give you a spark. This spark can relight your intimate fire of sexual desire. In this article, we’re going to share with you the most common sexless relationship causes and effects. Additionally, we’ll work to answer all of your questions and concerns about sexless marriage causes and effects. We’ll also discuss what constitutes a healthy sex life so that you can move forward with ease.

To be in a happy and healthy romantic relationship, you need to feel both physically and emotionally close to your partner. Unfortunately, sometimes you may experience an unexpected bout where you and your partner are unable to connect physically. This is where your sexual frequency drops. There are some key signs that can help you to determine if you fall into a sexless relationship.

  • Having sexual activity 10 times or less per year
  • Lack of physical and emotional intimacy

The biggest indicator of a lack of sex in your marriage is noticing a lack of sexual frequency each month. If you’re having sex once a month or less, it’s clear that your sex life is non-existent. There are many sexless marriage causes and effects that can result in a decline in your sex life. For example, sexual dysfunction can be a real problem. You’ll want to learn about these sexless marriage causes and effects so that you can address your issues head-on.

Common Causes of a Sexless Marriage

When it comes to realizing that you’re in a sexless relationship, one of the first things that you’ll likely wonder is how you got there. It’s very true that every couple is unique in regard to their sex life. However, there are some common sexless marriage causes and effects that many couples notate as the reason for creating their sexless relationships.

Health Issues

Health issues crop up throughout a lifetime. When these problems happen, you can find yourself physically unable to have sex with your partner and vice versa. Some common medical conditions that can reduce a person’s libido and result in sexual dysfunction include diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It’s important to note that some medical conditions can even make it painful or difficult to have sexual activity.

Major Life Transitions

As we go through milestones in life, they can greatly impact our happiness and overall health. It’s not uncommon to notice a decrease in sexual needs during major life transitions. You’ll find yourself focusing more on your struggles ahead and re-establishing a balance in your life. Some common examples of life transitions that can damage your sex life include:

  • High Stress
  • Childbirth
  • Grief
  • Job Loss
  • Financial Issues
  • Infertility
  • Menopause

Low Sex Drives

One of the most common causes of a sexless relationship is a low sex drive. This can happen to both partners or just one. The lack of desire to have sex with your partner can have a rolling effect on their mental well-being. They may feel unloved and rejected by your diminishing sex life. The person experiencing a low libido may notice feelings of guilt that they do not desire their partner on a physical intimacy level. All of these related feelings can result in further intimacy issues and emotional distancing.

Lack of Communication

A big killer of intimate closeness between lovers is a lack of communication. If you and your partner find it difficult to communicate with each other, that emotional disconnect is going to make it extremely difficult to have sex. This is because an emotional connection is a necessity for sexual contact.

A lack of communication can be in general conversations throughout your day, or it may be specific to the bedroom. Many people find it difficult to tell their partner what they desire in the bedroom. Many times, couples fall into a manual routine of similar sex that they both find unsatisfying and eventually stop participating in.

Hormonal Changes

There are various hormones that go into creating the effect of the sexual need that the human body feels. These include testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. When there is an imbalance of one or more of these hormones, it can lead to a decline in sexual desire. This is also known as low libido. Some common reasons for bodily hormone fluctuations that can alter sexual desire include:

  • Prescription Medications
  • Stress
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Menopause
  • Environment

Relationships Issues

Being in a relationship comes with its own set of struggles. When you experience an issue with infidelity, addiction, betrayals, emotional affairs, or simply feeling alone, it can seem impossible to match your partner on a sexually intimate level. Most relationship issues start with a violation of trust. This leads to a decrease in sexual desire due to an inability to be vulnerable around your partner. Without vulnerability, it’s difficult to engage in sexual activity.

Mental Health Issues

A person’s mental health has a large impact on their libido and ability to become sexually aroused. When mental health issues arise, they can alter a person’s brain chemistry. There are various mental health issues that can impact a person’s sexual well-being, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders
  • Eating Disorders

While a sexless relationship may feel like it has a negative connotation with it, that’s not always the case. If a lack of sexual activity isn’t a problem for either partner, then it’s not really considered to be an issue. However, if you or your partner are not happy with your sexless relationship, then it’s different. You need to understand the causes of your lack of sex so that you can address them fully and overcome them.

The Many Effects That a Sexless Marriage Can Have

A sexless relationship can be a real problem when one or more partners in the relationship are unhappy with their intimacy level. Apart from the obvious lack of sexual activity, a sexless relationship can have a plethora of effects on both partners’ lives.

Increased Irritability

One of the most commonly experienced effects of a sexless marriage is increased irritability. One of the best ways to describe this effect is having an itch that you simply cannot scratch. One or both partners will experience irritability and frustration that can lead to lashing out at one another. Unfortunately, this lashing out can be emotionally damaging and further distance partners.


Missing that intimate connection that you once had with your partner can lead to a spiral of mental depression. Many note a sense of helplessness, feeling unmotivated, and pessimistic thought patterns.

Poor Communication

As you and your partner lack the intimacy you once had, it becomes harder to communicate on an effective level. Since you no longer have that closeness, you’ll discover that your conversations tend to center around the bare essentials of life.

These include topics like bills, utilities, social plans, groceries, and other mundane topics. It will continue to grow harder to create conversations about romantic topics. And it will be even more difficult to open up about emotional topics where you have to show your vulnerabilities to your partner.

Seeking Out Flings

A common trend that has been developing over recent years is that those involved in a sexless marriage will seek out app-based flings. This helps them to connect with one another on an emotional level that they find difficult to do with their partner. While these app-based flings may seem harmless and just a way to seek out emotional intimacy, they can be seen as a form of emotional cheating between married partners.

Resorting to Pornography

While adding some pornography to a marriage can be a great way to introduce a new level of intimacy and achieve new desires, it can be damaging to a sexless marriage. Those who have an active sex drive and are in a sexless relationship may seek refuge in pornography as a way to fulfill their sexual urges. While this may be helpful in the short term, it can lead to a long-term addiction that can further distance the couple.

Low Self-Esteem

Many partners rely on their other half as a foundational aspect of their self-esteem. When they experience a consistent turn down of their sexual advances toward their partner, it can shake that foundation and lead to low self-esteem. Even worse, if their partner mocks them and makes them feel guilty for wanting sex, this can further damage their self-esteem. Low self-esteem can hinder a person’s performance and desires in all areas of life.

What is a Sexless Marriage Like for Women

While both men and women experience some of the same effects of a sexless marriage, there are some notable differences. Women are more likely to talk openly about their partner’s unwillingness to have sex.

Coined as vengefulness, this behavior leads women to create shamefulness in their partner by openly telling those in their social circle about their partner’s inadequacies. This can lead their partner to feel a violation of trust due to the airing of their ‘dirty laundry’ per se.

What is a Sexless Marriage Like for Men?

Men tend to notice the effects of a sexually inactive marriage more physically than emotionally. Men aren’t as likely to discuss their partner’s low libido. Rather, they’re more likely to seek out other sources for meeting their physical intimacy needs, whether this is through healthy channels or infidelity and app-based flings.

How to Improve a Sexless Marriage

Once you understand the causes of a sexually inactive marriage and what it feels like for both you and your partner, it’s time to think about how you’re going to improve your sex life. The first and most important step in trying to enhance your sexless marriage is to talk openly with your partner about the issue.

It’s imperative that you approach your partner in a non-confrontation manner. Avoid criticism and speak gently. You don’t want your partner to feel at fault for the issue as they will put themselves mentally off-limits for discussing the issue. Once you’ve talked with your partner and have agreed that enhancing your sexual closeness is an essential need to rebuild your relationship, it’s time to move forward.

Start by Talking Outside of the Bedroom

Make it a must to talk about sex outside of your bedroom. Speak about your sexual likes and desires in an open and honest manner with your partner. You could do this while watching television or driving in the car. By being out of the bedroom, you can take some of the sexual pressure off.

Boost Your Physical Affection

One key attribute that tends to be true about partners in a sexless marriage is that they lack physical touch outside of the bedroom. Realize that sexual intimacy starts outside of your bedroom. Make it a habit to reconnect throughout your day-to-day with gentle touches to enhance your physical closeness. This could be a kiss goodbye, a hug hello, and similar physical actions.

Carve Out Sexual Time

When your life gets busy, it can be hard to carve out time to have sex with your partner. However, you need to think of your sexual intimacy as being just as important as going to work and feeding your children. Realize that you don’t have to set high expectations for these sexual times. Rather, you just want to commit time to be physically close to your partner, regardless of the outcome of orgasm or not.

Consider a Professional Sex Therapist

If you’ve been in a sexless marriage for a long time, it can be difficult to overcome the challenges that set you apart. Fortunately, there are options that professional sex therapists use that can assist you both in regaining your physical connection through thoughtful and effective processes.