How a Sexless Marriage Makes You Feel
For anyone in a long term relationship, we all know that sex ebbs and flows. We have periods where it amps up. Other times, it’s like we’re in a sexual drought.
As in, not a single, solitary, sexy thought enters your head or the head of your partner.
The ebb and flow are normal.
But when a lack of sex becomes chronic, meaning, having sex less than 12 times per year (yes, that’s considered a sexless marriage), a whole host of feelings begins to set in.
Think about it. When sex is abundant, fun, and satisfying, you feel like you’re on top of the world, right?
You can conquer anything! You have a skip in your step!
Why? When you enjoy sex with your partner, you activate all the right “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Everything from oxytocin to dopamine to endorphins, that send your body singing.
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So naturally, the feelings associated with this include things like:
- Bonded, committed, attractive.
- Playful, energized, happy.
- Hopeful. Loyal. Invincible.
- Desired. Close. Awesome.
This is probably similar to how you felt in the early phase of your relationship, when sex is typically more abundant.
It’s no wonder you had no problem reprioritizing “all the things” in life to spend time together, to have sex spontaneously and often.
Who doesn’t want to feel all of those good feelings?
But when sex slows down and you live in a sexless marriage, it can send your feelings in an entirely different direction.
They may include things like:
- Depressed, frustrated and hopeless.
- Dissatisfied, unattractive, neglected.
- Resentful, disconnected, sad.
- Rejected, unimportant, empty.
The contrast between how you can feel when you’re having sex with your partner versus how you can feel when sex stops happening is quite startling.
The thing is, in committed relationships or in marriage, it’s not about having tons of sex.
It IS about having sex.
And even more importantly, it’s about having good sex.
Sex that feels satisfying, inviting, erotic and connecting.
It’s about creating a sex life that’s worth wanting more of.
Research tells us that when sex winds down, it has less to do with “busyness”(althought that can be an influence too) and more to do with sexual dissatisfaction.
Not that the sex is bad. But after awhile, it becomes “just ok”.
Don’t panic! Lack of satisfaction doesn’t necessarily mean that you or your partner is a bad lover. Sure, maybe ya’ll can use a “skills” tune up. Everyone can from time to time.
Many factors contribute to sexual satisfaction.
While this list is not exhaustive, some of the reasons can include:
- Relationship dissatisfaction
- Body changes
- Inability to relax (a big one)
- Lack of presence and attunement
- Sheer exhaustion
- Not asking for what you want
And when sex becomes less frequent, those uncomfortable, unwelcome feelings start to set in. So, how do you fix your sexless marriage?
Here are 4 steps to help you jumpstart satisfying sex again.
1. Recall a Positive Sexual Experience With Your Partner
Think back to a specific time where you and your partner had fantastic sex. Try to recall all of the details of that time. Think about the scene, your mood, the energy of that day, how you felt in your body, the initiation of sex, the kiss, the smells, the tastes, the touch exchanged. Savor all of the details from this experience, thinking of as many details as possible. Notice how your body feels as you recall those details.
2. Share the Memory With Your Partner
Pick a time to share the memory with your partner.
Set aside all electronic devices and share all of the details that you remember.
Make sure to include what you remember specifically about yourself, how you participated in that experience, as well as what you remember about them.
Say all of the words out loud.
3. Talk About What Feels Different Now
Explore together how and why sex might feel less satisfying than before.
- What feels different?
- What’s different about you?
- What’s different about your partner?
- What’s different about your bodies?
- What’s different about the life you share together?
Be sure to include both what feels positive now as well as what might feel more challenging when it comes to sex.
4. Commit to One Small Step
Rather than try to set a goal of immediate earth shattering sex, ask yourself, ‘What one small thing can we do to start moving back towards each other again?”.
Remember, you don’t have to move in leaps. You can start by making one small change to shift the sexual energy in your relationship.
It can include things like:
- Make the time to talk about our sex life once per week
- Go to bed earlier so that we have time for touch
- Take advantage of sexy time when the kids aren’t home (bye bye chore list)
- Unplug entirely one evening per week so that we can focus on each other
- Buy a sexy book and read it together
Sometimes, the idea of “working on our sex life” can feel overwhelming. But when you only have to focus on one small step, it’s much more doable.
Set reasonable expectations, take things slowly and see if you can get excited about the prospect of having more consistent, frequent, satisfying sexy time together.
Remember, it’s not about having tons of sex 24/7. It’s about creating sex worth wanting, again and again.