Marriage Counseling Self-help

Dangers Of Sexless Marriage and 5 Tips to Keep Your Sex Life Healthy


Dangers of a sexless marriage — are you at risk?

Sexless Marriage or Committed Relationship

Sex? You hint, plead, and complain… but nothing helps… still NO sex!

If this is true for you, then I know what you’re going through… and you are not alone. Sadly, many couples suffer from a sexless marriage or committed relationship. 

Thousands upon thousands of healthy men and women are sex-starved. There’s nothing worse than living closely with another person, yet feeling distant and alone.

A sexless marriage is an incomplete relationship

Being sexually intimate is a central part of a marriage or committed relationship. It is not the icing on the cake — it is the essence of the relationship itself.

Sexual intimacy is the deepest way two mature adults can express their love for one another.

On the other hand, a sexless marriage is an unhealthy relationship and is in danger of failing.

5 tips to keep your sex life healthy and avoid the dangers of a sexless marriage

Great sex is dependent on your brain more than your genitalia!

You heard that right! Great sex depends on “thinking,” not “performing.”

How you and your partner ‘think’ about each other determines how you ‘feel’ about each other, and this will then influence the ‘quality’ of your sexual union. 

Here is what you need to do for increased passion, romance, and sexual enjoyment (and it’s all about “thinking” and not “performing).”

  1. Great sex requires that you establish an emotional bond. This comes from getting to know one another through spending time together, talking, and enjoying shared experiences. Courtship and dating are love ingredients that never expire. Whether it is a vacation at an exotic resort or a quick trip to the local shopping mall, spending time together will maintain your closeness. 
  2. Anger kills sex. Positive regard for each other can only occur when your relationship is peaceful and harmonious. If anger is expressed, positive feelings for each other are impossible, and your libido — your sexual energy and desire — and that of your partner, will drop like a paperweight in water. If anger is in your relationship, step #1 is to learn how to reduce or eliminate it. You may need to get some specialized training in anger management.
  3. When it comes to sex — ‘peacefulness’ is more important than ‘perfection.’ For example, if you have an opportunity to say something positive to your partner or to correct them because you find something imperfect in what they have said or done, choose peace, choose the “positive comment.” Peace and positive regard are essential foundations upon which sexual passions rest.
  4. Sex without passion is lifeless. Casual sex, forced sex, pity sex — none of this produces the quality of love that two committed and caring adults generate when they are physically intimate with one another. Money, gifts, a beautiful home — none of this can replace or compensate for the lack of mutually satisfying sex! Great sex requires love, positive regard, commitment, feeling safe, and adventure.
  5. Sex is a powerful love tonic. Nothing can compete with the love generated by a sexual union between two committed partners. Being physically and emotionally passionate leads to mutually positive sexual experiences and infuses your marriage with a very pure and powerful love. Nothing can replace the power of a sexual union to build and maintain a healthy marriage or committed relationship. 

Understanding the above and integrating it into your life opens the door wide to a healthy, respectful, and long-lasting relationship. 

A true story of sexual rejuvenation

Sue and Tom were clients of mine. They had been married for 11 years.

As the years passed, their sexual relationship gradually became nonexistent, and they knew as a couple they were in trouble.

Sue and Tom were in their 30s and the prospect of living the rest of their lives together in a sexless relationship terrified both of them.

When I met them, they both felt distant from each other. Even when they were both home together, they rarely spoke.

They didn’t know what to do about their sex-starved marriage and their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

I gave Sue and Tom three simple suggestions:

  1. Each day mention two or three things you like about each other.
  2. Make a date night once a week and go out and have fun.
  3. If your partner is doing something that you don’t like, convert it into a positive request. Don’t say what you ‘don’t want,’ rather say what you ‘do want.’

When I saw Sue and Tom several weeks later, they were like a new couple. They were relaxed and upbeat, and they radiated positive regard for one another.

A few months later, they shared the good news. Sue was pregnant. This was proof positive that their sexless marriage was no more!

This story emphasizes the point above. Great sex depends primarily on “thinking,” not “performing.” 

As their professional therapist, my contribution to their marriage was helping them ‘think’ differently about one another. And when they did that — when they thought positively about one another — their sex life blossomed.

The sexual technique enhances the sexual experience. However, without ‘passion,’ sexual technique alone has little power to build and sustain a relationship.

Real Q & A about a sexless relationship and its dangers:

I have no desire for my husband. What should I do? Take a piece of paper and write down the reasons that you believe you have no desire to have sex with your husband. After each one of these reasons, try to find a solution that would reduce or eliminate the reasons you have no desire for your husband. For example, if one of the items on your list is that he doesn’t satisfy you, figure out how to communicate to him what your needs are. Or perhaps, you need him to take a shower before lovemaking to increase your comfort. Once you know the reasons for not wanting to be with your husband, you can begin to seek solutions. You may have to do some research, talk to a trusted friend or professional, or speak to your husband about it. One way or another, if you are to have a healthy relationship, you and your partner both need to desire sexual closeness.

What are the side effects in males when they don’t have sex for a long time? The answer is very simple. When a man is unsuccessful in his efforts to have sexual intimacy with his partner, he feels unloved. For a man, the pleasure of sexual touch can operate independently of emotional feelings. This is why a man does not naturally understand how important feelings are to a woman regarding romance and sex. As a woman, you likely do not understand how important physical contact is for a man. Your man seeks to be physically close to you even when the two of you are not getting along. Lovemaking for a man confirms that he is loved and wanted. Without lovemaking, your husband or boyfriend will devalue his relationship with you — he may even get to a point where he no longer wants to be with you.

I have no sex drive and my husband is mad? Although you and your husband have many things in common regarding sex, there are also some pronounced differences. For many women, sex is a great pleasure and release that enhances her health and feelings that she belongs with her husband and that he is prepared to take care of her. On the other hand, for many men, sex represents to them proof that their female partner loves them. If a man does not have sex for a long time, he feels unwanted and not needed. And even though it may not be true, you do want him, and you do love him, you just don’t have the desire to have sex with him. He is still going to be mad, because for him, sex is a natural reward, the profit from all of his hard work and commitment. This is just one of the reasons why a sexless marriage puts a relationship at risk. Your man feels that there is less benefit to being with you. He may even feel it is unfair that his sexual passions go unfulfilled. If you are not able to find a way to increase your sex drive, the least you can do is empathize with your husband for feeling incomplete because of your lack of sexual interest in him. Acknowledge how hard it is for him and that you’re sorry it is like this. Certainly, do not judge him for wanting to have sex with you. Sex is healthy and wonderful and good for your relationship. When you take this attitude, this will help him accept his fate.

What happens when a woman is not sexually satisfied? There are two parts to a woman’s sexuality. 1. Being physically close to her husband or partner is emotionally very meaningful and satisfying to her, and 2. A woman has sex drives just like a man and has the capacity to experience orgasms and thereby feel fulfilled and alive. Thus, even though a woman may not experience orgasm and other sexual peak experiences, being close to her man can still be very meaningful to her. On the other hand, when a woman is not sexually satisfied, her emotional and physical needs for sexual release and fulfillment are lacking. She is left feeling frustrated and perhaps even resentful.

No sex in a relationship means what for my wife? In the above question, “What happens when a woman is not sexually satisfied?” I explained that a woman has physical and emotional sexual needs. In this question, “No sex in a relationship means what for my wife?” implies that she is being neglected. In this case, not only are her physical and emotional needs unfulfilled, but she also feels unwanted by her partner. Feeling like this, your wife will be devastated. A woman needs to feel that each day her husband or boyfriend chooses to be her partner. Courtship is not an event. For a woman, courtship is a necessary ingredient to a healthy relationship and should occur repeatedly throughout the week. Courtship culminates naturally with the desire for sexual intimacy. Without that, your wife or any woman in an intimate relationship with a man is left unsure of her husband or a boyfriend’s love and care for her — which devastates her.

What are the dangers of a sexless marriage? In a sexless marriage, the expressions of love and care are compromised. Often, couples have understandable and natural disputes with one another. Sometimes, it becomes open conflict, and sometimes being in a sexless marriage embeds itself within the person as disappointment, resentment, or frustration. In a sexless marriage, the opportunity to rebalance with one another with love and care is lacking, and the negatives tend to overwhelm and define the relationship. When people make consensual and passionate love, they never fight with one another. The biology of love-making overwhelms negative emotions and replaces them with positive ones. In addition to all of this, both men and women have a natural emotional and biological need for sexual fulfillment. When this is lacking, for whatever reason, partners outside the relationship may be sought. This opens the relationship to all types of injuries and breakdowns.

When to walk away from a sexless marriage? This question, “When to walk away from a sexless marriage,” is not easy to answer. The importance of sexual fulfillment varies from person to person. Some people cannot live without sexual fulfillment, and other people have a colder nature and don’t require as much physical touch. Also, if the couple has children, the decision to leave one another becomes much more complex, with the outcome having a far greater impact. Rather than try to answer this question,  “When to walk away from a sexless marriage,” as if one-size-fits-all, I suggest if you’re in this situation and wondering when to walk away from sexless marriage, you first address it with your partner, and if that doesn’t lead to a solution, seek a caring professional who can help you find a way out of this difficult situation. Regardless of how you answer this question, “When to walk away from a sexless marriage?” know that not having sex for a long time has many side effects in males and females. Having a mutually satisfying sexual relationship with a loving partner is required for a person, male or female, to get the physical and emotional nutrients they need.

Are there intimacy worksheets for couples (sex therapy worksheets)? Yes. See below.

Eliminate the dangers of a sexless marriage

Maintaining sexual intimacy protects against the dangers of a sexless marriage or sexless committed relationship.

Sexual intimacy is necessary if you are to have a healthy marriage or committed relationship. It’s not enough to be ‘connected’ in other areas of your lives and live in a sexually starved marriage.

A sexless marriage is at risk of many different maladies. Accepting a sexless marriage or committed relationship can lead to infidelity, anger, resentment, and even divorce.

Regardless of how long you’ve been married, it is essential that you keep your physically intimate life healthy, vibrant, and loving. If sexual problems arise, they must be taken seriously, and solutions must be found.

As it is said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” your best strategy is to keep your sexual health strong.

husband and wife cuddling on the couch

Intimacy worksheets for couples for a healthy sexual relationship

Intimacy is different for each person. Each person is excited sexually in different ways. Combining the sensitivities and needs of two different individuals creates unique requirements for each couple. 

Knowing what ‘turns you on’ and what ‘turns your partner on’ is essential information for a satisfying and loving sexual relationship.

You need to know how to approach your partner, how to share your sexual needs, feelings, and sensitivities, and how to overcome sexual difficulties should they arise.

The following couples sex therapy worksheets will help you gain the knowledge, skills, and expectations that will contribute to a healthy, satisfying, and mutually enjoyable sexual relationship with your partner. After each topic is discussed, write down your thoughts or answers. You may want to print this couple’s sex worksheet exercise for ease of use.

1. Spend time together — it is good for your sex life

As a couple, it is essential that you spend time together. Without doing activities together, you cannot build and maintain intimacy — emotional or physical. It’s just like money in a bank. If you don’t first make deposits, you cannot later make a withdrawal. The same is true with your relationship. If you don’t spend time with your partner, you cannot expect to have at a later time a passionate and intimate sexual relationship.

Examples of how to spend time with your partner: Make a date night, participate in a hobby or sport, go for a walk, or go on a holiday.

List some of the activities that you and your partner can do together. Include things you have done in the past and things that you could do in the future:

2. Get physical — sex requires touch

Being sexual requires that you have physical contact with each other. There is no other way.

Don’t assume that what you like is what your partner likes.

There are many good books and articles written about how to excite your partner so they will respond to your romantic and sexual advances. If you need to learn more about how to get your partner aroused so he or she will seek your sexual affections, read them.

Communicating about sexual needs and preferences is essential to a healthy sexual relationship.

Describe a few ways that you can increase the likelihood of your partner wanting to be intimate with you and a few ways that your partner can try to increase the likelihood that you will want to be intimate with them:

3. Be gender informed — you can only sexually excite your partner when you know what he or she wants

Men and women are very different in how they approach sex. Many women seek romance, whereas many men seek sexual adventure. In addition to these generalizations, there are many individual preferences. And as long as they are consensual, then they are healthy.

Since great sex is based on both of you pleasing one another, it is essential that you understand what your partner requires to get “turned on” sexually so they are satisfied.

If you are a man, sex with your wife begins hours before you actually touch each other.

You need to be kind, sensitive, and positive.

Tell her how much you appreciate her and how attractive she is. This will turn her on, and she will be more inclined to join you on a sexual adventure.

If you are a woman, be aware that your husband gets very turned on when you touch him. When you agree with his touching you, it tells him he is valued and loved.

On the other hand, when a man’s sexual advances are rebuffed, he may become depressed, feeling he is not wanted and unloved. 

Describe some ways you approach sexuality and how your partner approaches sexuality. Include ways that you are similar and ways in which you are different:

4. Be vulnerable and share your sexual passions and desires

It may not be easy to share your sexual desires with your partner, but it is important because feeling physically close to each other and sexually satisfied is of critical importance to the overall health of your relationship. That is why you should communicate your wants and needs with your partner. When you both do this, you increase the likelihood that you will both be sexually satisfied.

Right or wrong, in our culture, talking about sex in a respectful and sensitive way is often difficult. It might be easier for you to write down what you like and don’t like on a piece of paper and share this information with your partner.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to focus on what you like rather than what you don’t like — however, there will be exceptions when you need to tell your partner what you do not like. As well, encourage your partner to share with you what he or she likes.

Being graphic about your sexual desires is okay. You are in a committed relationship, and consensual sex is healthy and respectful. When you share intimate details about yourself, if handled sensitively and respectfully, it can bring the two of you close to each other.

Write down five things that you would want your partner to know about your sexual passions, desires, and needs:


5. Solve sexual problems

In a healthy marriage, ‘sex’ should permeate your relationship — even when you and your partner are apart!

Sex is like the opposite poles of a magnet. Even when the polls are not touching, they are still looking to pull together. The same is true in a healthy relationship. Your sexual energies should seek to pull together, even when you are apart. Sexual energy must keep the two of you interested in one another. Without sexual passion, your marriage or committed relationship will become stale, cold, and lifeless — and perhaps even unwanted!

If you have a sexless relationship, seek and find solutions to this problem. If you need help, find a competent and caring relationship specialist to assist you. Don’t let sexual problems become like an infection that spreads from one part of your body to the next until your entire relationship is overcome with illness.

If you have any sexual problems, write them down followed by a proposed solution:

Are you ‘choosing’ to have a sexless relationship?

Whatever relationship problem you were trying to solve, or whatever point you are trying to make, by withholding romance and sex and creating a sexless marriage or committed relationship, the result will cause additional harm to your relationship!

Yes, you need to be true to your feelings, and if you don’t feel close to your partner and you don’t feel that you can be intimate with him or her — don’t have sex.

However, don’t settle for a sexless marriage.

If need be, solve your outstanding relationship problems that are creating obstacles to your natural desire to be sexually intimate with your partner. If you can’t do it on your own, seek help from qualified relationship specialists.

Encourage yourself or get past your initial inhibitions to be with your partner when possible. Although sex with your partner may start out slowly and without much feeling, participate and allow yourself to become sexually aroused. Doing so is a wonderful contribution to increasing your relationship’s cooperation, love, and vitality.

Without sex, the natural attraction between you and your partner will die! And with the death of attraction, so too goes the desire to connect emotionally with one another.

If you are deliberately withholding sex from your partner, ask yourself, would you withhold food from him or her if they were hungry? Hopefully, your answer is “no.”

Would you make your partner sleep on the floor if you were mad at him or her? No, you would not.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking, “When I deliberately say no to sex, I am NOT really hurting my partner!”

The truth is, withholding sex is an act of aggression, an act of hostility.

When you are deliberately withholding sex and romance, you are preventing your partner from having essential physical and emotional nutrients. And at the same time, by withholding sex, you are injuring yourself by injuring your relationship.

Overcome natural reasons for a sexless marriage

There are understandable reasons why you may not want to have sex with your partner.

Many things will reduce your sex drive. For example, conflict in your relationship, exhaustion, stress, and lack of physical attraction for your partner.

Even though you may be upset, stressed, or mad at your partner — having sex with him or her will likely help you become more centered, energized, and hopeful for the future.

Giving sexual pleasure to your partner and allowing him or her to do the same with you, may actually help solve some other conflicts in your relationship. Sex with your partner, even when you are not excited to do so, will certainly prevent you from creating an additional problem — an unhealthy, sexless relationship. The dangers of sexless marriage are many!

Most people push themselves to exercise to keep their bodies strong and healthy, even when they don’t feel like doing so. They overcome their initial resistance and get moving (and often they enjoy the exercises once they get going). They exercise knowing that doing so will lead to a positive result — it is an investment in future health. So too, when possible, push yourself to be sexually active with your partner. The benefits of doing so will far outweigh whatever the inhibitions there may be. Being sexual is an investment in your relationship’s well-being and future.

Sex with your committed partner is healthy in every way — just do it!

Wishing you and your family the best,

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abe kass

Abe has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families for twenty-five-plus years. When it comes to relationship expertise — Abe is the real deal and can be trusted!

abe kassProfessional Therapist Abe Kass MA RSW RMFT

Abe has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families for twenty-five-plus years. When it comes to relationship expertise — Abe is the real deal and can be trusted!