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Sexless Marriage: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

  • What causes sexless marriage?
  • How does it affect the relationship?
  • How could this problem be solved?

No-sex marriage could be a huge problem in relationships. According to statistics, 15% have no physical intimacy in marriage. When you’ve concluded that you’re in a sexless marriage, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You might even feel embarrassed about your sex life.

However, sexless marriage can be fixed! Overcoming this lack of sex struggle can give you a spark. This spark can relight your intimate fire of sexual desire.

This article will share the most common sexless relationship causes and effects. We’ll also discuss what constitutes a healthy sex life so you can move forward quickly. Additionally, we’ll work to answer all of your questions and concerns about sexless marriage causes and effects.

To be in a happy and healthy romantic relationship, you must feel physically and emotionally close to your partner. Unfortunately, sometimes you may experience an unexpected bout where you and your partner cannot connect physically. This is where your sexual frequency drops.

Some key signs can help determine if you fall into a sexless relationship.

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

The most significant 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 more 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 realizing that you’re in a sexless relationship, one of the first things you’ll likely wonder is how you got there. Every couple is indeed unique regarding 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 significantly impact our happiness and overall health. It’s common to notice decreased sexual needs during significant 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

Sexless marriage

One of the most common causes of a no-sex 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.

The person experiencing a low libido may feel guilty that they do not desire their partner on a physical intimacy level. They may feel unloved and rejected by your diminishing sex life. These related feelings can result in further intimacy issues and emotional distancing.

Lack of Communication

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

A lack of communication can be in general conversations throughout your day or specific to the bedroom. Many people find it difficult to tell their partner what they desire in the bedroom.

Couples often fall into a manual routine of similar sex that they find unsatisfying and eventually stop participating.

Hormonal Changes

Various hormones create 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 decreased sexual desire due to an inability to be vulnerable around your partner. Without vulnerability, it’s challenging to engage in sexual activity.

Mental Health Issues

A person’s mental health dramatically impacts their libido and ability to become sexually aroused. When mental health issues arise, they can alter a person’s brain chemistry. Various mental health issues 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, that’s not always the case. If a lack of sexual activity isn’t a problem for either partner, it’s not considered an issue.

Nevertheless, if you or your partner are not happy with your sexless relationship, then it’s different. You must understand the causes of your lack of sex to address and overcome them.

Sexless Marriage Effect

Sexless married couple

A sexless relationship can be a real problem when one or more partners are unhappy with their intimacy level. Apart from the apparent lack of sexual activity, a sexless relationship can affect 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 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 effectively. Since you no longer have that closeness, you’ll discover that your conversations center around life’s bare essentials.

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

Seeking Out Flings

A common trend developing over recent years is that those involved in a sexless marriage will seek out app-based flings. This helps them to connect on an emotional level that they find challenging to do with their partner.

While these app-based flings may seem harmless and just a way to seek emotional intimacy, they can be seen as 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 unique desires, it can damage 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

Low self-esteem can hinder a person’s performance and desires in all areas of life. Many partners rely on their other half as a foundational aspect of their self-esteem.

When experienced, a consistent turn down of their sexual advances toward their partner 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.

Sexless Marriage for Women

While both men and women experience some of the same effects of no sex in marriage, there are some notable differences. Women are likelier 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.

Sexless Marriage 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. Instead, they’re more likely to seek other sources to meet their physical intimacy needs, whether through healthy channels or infidelity and app-based flings.

How to Improve a Sexless Marriage

Sexless marriage

Once you understand the causes of a sexually inactive marriage and what it feels like for you and your partner, it’s time to think about how you will improve your sex life.

The first and most crucial step in enhancing your sexless marriage is to talk openly with your partner about the issue.

It would be best if you approached 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 it.

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 openly and honestly 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

Realize that sexual intimacy starts outside of your bedroom. One key attribute that tends to be true about partners in a sexless marriage is that they lack physical touch outside of the bedroom.

Make it a habit to reconnect daily with gentle touches to enhance physical closeness. This could be a kiss goodbye, a hug hello, and similar physical actions.

Carve Out Sexual Time

When 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 you don’t have to set high expectations for these sexual times. Instead, you 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 no-sex marriage long, overcoming the challenges that set you apart can be difficult.

Fortunately, there are options that professional sex therapists use that can assist you both in regaining your physical connection through thoughtful and practical processes.

Physical intimacy plays a huge role in marriage. You can fix it! The professional can go into more detail about sexless marriage causes and effects individually.

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Lana Smith

I am a relationship coach. My passion is helping couples make their relationships work. I earned my bachelor's degree and hold a Master of Science in Education. I take my inspiration from watching and listening to people every day. . I do extensive research and love to compare the opinions of experts to help form my own. I have spent years learning about the dynamics of relationships and what makes them work. My goal is to apply what I have learned in the classroom and through experience to help others.