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What Causes a Sexless Marriage and How to Go About It, According to Experts

By on March 29, 2021 0

Chances are, when you and your partner got together you had sex regularly, if not more often than today. But busy schedules and stress have a funny way of burning your libido. So, it’s not uncommon to suddenly wonder if you might be in a sexless marriage because things have calmed down in the bedroom lately.

FWIW, you’re not the only one going through this. “It’s very common,” says Ramani Durvasula, PhD, author of Should I stay or should I go?. Jess O’Reilly, PhD, facilitator of Podcast @SexWithDrJess, Okay. “I don’t know of any couple who don’t experience a desire gap or a drop in frequency at some point,” she says.

It makes sense when you really think about it, says O’Reilly. “Sexual desire fluctuates throughout your life and throughout a relationship,” she explains. “In long-term relationships, if we wait for the desire to arise spontaneously, you may never have sex.”

Excitement can be a complicated thing, says O’Reilly. It’s something that has to happen both mentally and physically. This can be difficult to achieve when you are constantly exhausted from work and mentally overwhelmed at the end of a long day.

But, a short-term dry spell does not necessarily equate to a dead room. There is a big difference between having a week off from what you consider to be your normally active sex life and actually being in a sexless marriage. If you’re worried about slipping into totally asexual territory, it’s worth thinking about. Coming up, what it really means to be in a sexless marriage, and how to shake things up so that you can.

What exactly does a sexless marriage look like?

There is actually no fixed definition of a sexless marriage, says O’Reilly. This can range from having sex only a few times a year to not having sex at all. Some experts suggest that “six months without sex is a marriage without sex,” she says, although for some people only having sex once a month is worrying.

It all comes down to how often you think you should having sex and how you feel about your absence. “Perception can be as important as the raw data itself,” says O’Reilly. “If you believe that sex is essential to a happy relationship, but also believe that your marriage is sexless, you are more likely to consider breaking up.”

For the record: Being in a sexless marriage doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your partner are unhappy with each other. “A genderless marriage can be like any marriage – some can be healthy in all respects, others can be strained and strewn with conflict. It depends, ”says Durvasula.

How do sexless marriages happen?

Every couple is different, but Durvsula says there are generally two main ways for a sexless marriage. “In some cases, an event can happen that ends the sex,” she says – think about the loss and the financial strain. “In others it is just a slow evolution. It keeps putting off and one day the person looks up and realizes that it has been a long time since they have had sex. .

The latter tends to be the most common, says O’Reilly. “Most couples start to have sex less and less over the months, then years,” she adds. Some couples who find themselves in this situation start having sex on a regular basis, but things like kids, deadlines, travel, mental health issues, and life in general can spoil the desire – and it can keep going. away, said Durvasula.

And sleep, believe it or not, is a big deal too:

How can you rebuild things if you are in a sexless marriage?

Just because you aren’t having sex now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it in the future. But it takes a little effort on everyone’s part.

First, try to understand how you got to this place. “Talk about it,” Durvasula said. “You might both be on the same page about how you got there, or not, but the only way to know is to communicate about it. Tell your partner that even if you are not sure how in this location, it is important for you that the two of you sit down together, find it, and find possible solutions. “And if you can’t communicate about it, then you’ve got bigger problems than sex.” Durvasula adds.

“These aren’t just one-off conversations and they can be difficult,” says O’Reilly. It can be helpful to have the support of a therapist or counselor to guide you, if both of you are up for it, she adds.

Once you can identify what’s behind your sexless marriage, Durvasula recommends trying to address those factors. If it’s stress-induced, try to figure out what the two of you can do to turn the clock back, whether that’s talking to your boss about managing your load or choosing an activity that’s just right for you during the day. where you can relax. If there is a mental health issue at stake, do what you can to seek care or support your partner who seeks care.

At one point, O’Reilly says it’s important to figure out how often you’re likely to have sex, in a perfect world scenario. Do you want to have sex once a month? Once a week? Do you want to make a difference in the way you have sex? These are all crucial things to review, she says.

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Then slowly increase your privacy. “It doesn’t have to be zero to 60,” says Durvasula. “A couple may need to gradually develop their intimacy – touching, cuddling, holding, kissing, restoring physical intimacy in life.” Eventually, real sex should follow, she says.

If, after doing your best, your sexless marriage is still bothering you and you feel like you need help, Durvasula recommends bringing in a mental health professional. “A professional may not always be necessary if communication can facilitate intimacy, but if that doesn’t seem to move the needle, it may be necessary to speak to one or more professionals,” she says.

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