Home  >  My Life  >  Relationships

Sexless Relationship: Why Sex Matters & How to Spark Passion in Marriage Again

Are you in a sexless relationship? Is it possible to be happy in one? Sex is important to a relationship, so here are some ways to deal with it.

sexless relationship

There are multiple reasons why many married couples wind up in a sexless relationship. Whether it is for weeks, months, or years on end, there is no denying that not having sex takes a negative toll on both parties’ mental and physical health.

If you are in a committed relationship and aren’t getting laid, you are undoubtedly in a sexual rut. It is not okay to neglect sex in a marriage, regardless of how long you have been together or how busy you are. 

As bad as this seems, a sexless marriage is a glaring indication of a dying or dead marriage. You have to speak to your partner about this and make some much-needed changes if you want to improve your overall life. [Read: 15 real reasons why your man doesn’t want to have sex]

What is a sexless relationship?

It’s easy to define this – a sexless relationship is one where the two partners don’t engage in sexual activities with each other. But as easy as the definition is, it only gets more complicated because we’re all human and different.

There are two kinds of sexless relationships. One, where both partners voluntarily choose to avoid having sex, and are perfectly happy with each other. 

Take, for example, asexuals, who would much rather prefer a romance that’s based on romantic attraction and compatibility than anything else. [Read: How to have a difficult conversation without losing your nerve]

On the other hand, we have a sexless relationship where both partners did enjoy having sex with each other, to begin with. But somewhere along the way, one or both of them just stopped enjoying sex with the other person. 

It could be voluntary or totally unintentional. 

But with this second kind of sexless relationship, chances are, one or both partners would start to feel sexually dissatisfied, and frustrated with the relationship as a whole. [Read: 20 sexual problems you can easily avoid in a relationship and feel happy again]

What causes a sexless relationship?

Most people think that sex just comes naturally in a romantic relationship. However, while that is true for some couples, it’s not true for others. Here are some causes of a sexless relationship.

1. Health issues

There are endless kinds of health issues that can affect someone’s sex life. It could be a mental health issue like depression or a physical issue such as a disability, anything can affect either someone’s desire or their ability to have sex.

2. Mismatched libidos

Some people have very high sex drives and some people have next to zero. [Read: How to get your partner to talk about sex and feel horny as they do it]

So, if one person wants sex all the time but the other one has no libido at all, then they are going to struggle with their sex life. They are just not compatible. 

3. Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth are hard on a woman’s body. After nine months of pregnancy and then the trauma of giving birth, her body has a lot of recovering to do after the baby is born. 

In addition to that, she also has a screaming baby to take care of 24/7 and sleep deprivation to deal with. [Read: Sex during early pregnancy – 15 must-know facts to play it safe]

4. Stress

Many people have stressful lives. Most people have some combination of work, school, children, financial problems, family stress, and even more. 

All of these daily stressors can take someone’s attention away from their sex drive. At this point, having a good sex life becomes more of a luxury instead of a necessity.

5. Communication issues

No relationship is perfect, and many struggle with communication problems. [Read: 31 communication exercises and games for couples and secrets to feel closer]

If two people can’t work through their issues effectively, that can affect how they feel about each other – including their level of physical attraction.

6. Conflicts and arguments

Conflict is inevitable in a relationship, and it can even be healthy. However, if it’s not handled properly, it can destroy a partnership. 

Yelling, screaming, and name-calling will not make your significant other hot for you. It just pushes them away. [Read: How to resolve conflict – the 15 best ways to cut out the drama]

7. Negative feelings

Everyone has their quirks and bad habits. Sometimes they are tolerable, and sometimes they’re not. So, if one or both of the partners have things about the other that they feel resentful about, these negative feelings can prevent them from wanting sex.

8. Punitive or passive-aggressive behaviors

If there are controlling behaviors in the relationship, that is not healthy. If one person feels like they have to punish the other one overtly or engage in passive-aggressive behavior to get their way, that is toxic. This can completely ruin sexual desire too.

9. Infidelity

When someone cheats on their partner, that does not usually make the cheated-on partner want to be intimate with the cheater. Instead, there is usually disgust and resentment toward them. [Read: Cheating spouse – 18 signs you MUST watch for if you don’t want to be hurt]

The emotional and sexual bond between the two of them is usually destroyed – sometimes forever.

10. Power struggles

There are always power dynamics in every relationship. Some couples are equals, but others might have two people struggling to claim power from the other person. 

Power struggles aren’t very sexy, so it’s no surprise that this could affect a couple’s sex life too. [Read: Power struggles in a relationship – 19 signs and ways to overcome it]

Erectile Dysfunction and a sexless relationship

One of the health issues that can negatively impact someone’s sex life is erectile dysfunction. There are a lot of reasons that a man can develop this condition.

1. Low sex drive

Testosterone plays a big role in not only a man’s sex drive but his ability to get and maintain an erection. So, if he has low testosterone, it can affect his libido and his ability to perform. 

And if he has a low sex drive, then sex most likely won’t happen very often, and maybe not at all. [Read: Safe and natural ways to increase your libido]

2. Medication side effects

There are a lot of medications that can cause erectile dysfunction. For example, some high blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and diabetic medications can cause a man not be able to get an erection. 

3. Mental health issues

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can affect someone’s desire to have sex. If you’re not happy with yourself and life in general, your mood and energy levels are going to be quite low. And that’s not good for getting an erection.

4. History of abuse

Abuse comes in many forms – from sexual to abuse of alcohol or drugs. [Read: True sex talk – alcohol’s effects on your libido]

If a man was sexually abused as a child, it could affect his ability to get an erection. And if he’s drinking heavily or participating in illegal drug use, that can affect it as well.

5. Life issues

Life is complicated and stressful for many people. Stressful jobs, loss of jobs, financial insecurities, and any other thing that life throws your way can affect a man’s erectile ability. If there is a lot going on in his life, it can definitely affect his sexual performance.

Why do we think that sex is important?

Because it is! But, it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s entirely possible to have a relationship without sex and be perfectly happy. [Read: How important is sex in a relationship? The truth revealed]

It just comes down to the individual and what they want and expect from the relationship. It could be that you’re asexual and in that case, sex just isn’t something you want to engage in. 

Finding a partner who understands and accepts that may be difficult but once you do, you can concentrate on building a connection beyond the physical.

If you find yourself in a sexless relationship, you first need to ask yourself how you feel about it. Is it fine with you? How about your partner, do they feel fine about it? [Read: 15 signs you’re asexual and don’t like getting laid as much as others]

Communicate and work out where you both stand on the subject. If you’re both happy focusing on quality time together then maybe that’s just how your relationship is going to be. 

However, if you find yourself in a relationship without sex and it does bother you, that’s when you need to make some changes.

Reasons sex important in a relationship

While each relationship and each person is different, for most people, sex is important. But why? Here are some common reasons. [Read: Sex in a relationship – What it means to a woman]

1. Sex brings you closer

There’s a bond that is unlike anything else when you have sex. 

You can spend as much time as you want going to the movies and cuddling with someone, but it will never amount to how beneficial sex is.

2. It makes you empathetic toward the other person 

When you get intimate in a way that involves sex, it’s really difficult not to feel what the other person is feeling when it comes to your emotions. [Read: Sexless marriage – how erotica saved my life]

Therefore, having sex can make you more empathetic toward your partner.

3. It reduces stress and tension 

We all know how much stress and tension can add to the downfall of a relationship. 

Stress leads to outbursts that may cause harm to the other person’s feelings, and that can get bottled up until they no longer want to be with you. [Read: Incredible benefits of sex that’ll make you want more]

4. It can increase your self-esteem 

Having confidence and high self-esteem in a relationship is an extremely vital part of making a relationship last because it stops jealousy and accusations.

When you have sex with your partner, it makes you feel loved, and good about yourself, and you feel as if they really care about you. [Read: When your partner isn’t interested in sex anymore]

5. It creates affection 

How long do you think a relationship can last without affection? When your partner doesn’t walk up to you, give you a hug or a kiss on the forehead, or tell you how much you mean to them, the relationship is likely to fizzle out pretty quickly.

Sex can make that affection happen. When you sleep with someone, you automatically feel affectionate toward them. [Read: Emotional intimacy or sexual intimacy – the chicken or the egg?]

6. But, know that sex isn’t love

Having sex with someone doesn’t translate to you loving them. You can be completely in love with someone and never even touch them in a sexual way.

Therefore, you can definitely have a relationship based entirely on love if you both have the mindset that sex isn’t something you even want to do to show your love. 

That is one case when a sexless relationship may work. [Read: Panromantic asexual – what it is and what it isn’t]

7. Not having sex can make you question their feelings 

If you don’t have sex with your partner, it can be hard to remember how passionately they feel about you. There’s really nothing that’s reinforcing the fact that they find you attractive, sexy, or even that they like you.

When you don’t have sex, it can be really easy to forget how someone feels about you – especially if they’re not good at showing their feelings in the first place. 

8. Sex makes you feel like a unit 

One of the most important things regarding making a relationship last is acting as though you’re a unit. You have to be connected with someone in a way that feels like you’re just one complete package. [Read: How to create sexual chemistry and make it stay]

9. Not having sex also gets rid of the pressure 

There is a good part about not having sex, though, that can make a sexless relationship worth a try. 

When you don’t have sex, you get rid of all that pressure to perform well, please your partner sexually, and even groom yourself to look good for their liking. [Read: Reasons why passionate love can be the strongest love of all]

Effects of a sexless marriage

There are a lot of negative effects of a sexless marriage, both on the husband’s and the wife’s side. So, let’s look at what they are, starting with the husband’s point of view.


Having a sexless relationship can damage a man’s emotional masculinity. Here are a few ways.

1. Feeling like a failure

Living in a sexless marriage can make a man feel inadequate. It will make him feel insecure and like a failure. 

A lot of men pride themselves on having sexual prowess and pleasing their wives. So, if he can’t have sex with his wife or thinks she doesn’t want him, he will feel like a failure. [Read: Feeling like a failure? 23 truths to stop feeling defeated and find your way]

2. Damaged self-esteem

Another negative thing that happens is that it can decrease his self-esteem. Most men don’t express their emotions very well, but they do think things like, “What’s wrong with me?” He might think he’s unattractive or that he’s not good enough.

3. Anger and resentment

He might get very resentful and angry that his wife doesn’t want to have sex with him. It could even turn into hostility which can create conflict and unnecessary arguments. 

But this only makes the sexless problem worse, not better. He might even resort to cheating or even divorce. [Read: How to release anger – 20 ways to focus on the positives in life]

4. Humiliation

It’s not uncommon for women to talk to their friends about their sex life – or lack thereof. 

If he knows – or even suspects – that his wife is talking to other people about their issues in the bedroom, he might feel humiliated. She might not think it’s as big of a deal as he does, but he will feel disgraced and ridiculed.

5. Irritability

In most people, sex increases hormones that make us feel good and happier. So, if a man isn’t having sex very often, it can result in both partners being more irritable and grumpy. 

For some people, it can even lead to depression and an overall sense of disconnection in the relationship. [Read: Why am I so emotional? Emotional stability and 27 secrets to balance life]


Just like a husband can emotionally suffer from a sexless marriage, a wife can too. Here is how.

1. Feeling not good enough

Most women think that all men have a high sex drive. There is a stereotype of men wanting sex all the time. So, if a woman’s husband doesn’t want to have sex with her, she thinks that he still wants sex from someone else. Therefore, she’s not good enough for him.

2. Loneliness

A sexless marriage commonly begins when communication between spouses stops. It can be a normal progression from physical distance to emotional distance. 

And since many women connect sex and love, this can lead to feelings of deep loneliness for the wife. [Read: How not to feel lonely – 30 ways to chase the lonely blues away]

3. Not worthy of sex

Many women have self-esteem problems. They think they’re too fat, too lazy, or don’t have a good enough personality, or “too” anything else for their husband to be attracted to them anymore. 

So, they might not feel sexy or even worthy of having sex. This can spiral out of control too. The more she feels this way, the less sex they have. [Read: Low self-worth – steps to see yourself in a better light]

4. Guilt

If the woman is the one with the low sex drive and the man has a high one, then she might feel guilty for not fulfilling his sexual needs. Her hormones or anything else might be affecting her low libido. But regardless of the reason, she still might feel guilty for it.

5. Ashamed of her body and unattractive

Many women also are ashamed of their bodies. The media puts unrealistic images of beauty into people’s heads, and most normal women can’t live up to those. 

So, she might become ashamed of her body and unattractive – especially if she thinks she gained weight or her body has changed in some other way. [Read: How to look hot – 24 sexy tips to go from boring to irresistibly desirable!]

Can a sexless marriage survive? 

For many couples, it’s not easy to live in a sexless marriage. However, that doesn’t mean that the marriage is necessarily doomed. There are certain circumstances where a sexless marriage can survive.

For example, if neither partner is bothered by the fact that they aren’t having sex, then it won’t be a problem. Some people just don’t put sex high on their priority list.

Or if both partners have naturally low libidos but are still emotionally connected, then the relationship might end up being as happy as another couple who has a regular sex life. [Read: 30 innocent-sounding but very naughty questions to ask your partner and get the sexual sparks flying]

Perhaps the people are even asexual and don’t like having sex or feel no physical attraction, then that could work in that situation too.

Finally, if one – or both – partners have a health issue that affects their sex drive or performance, then the marriage could survive. In that case, the couple isn’t having sex for a reason, and so neither of the partners takes it personally.

How to be happy in a sexless marriage

If you’re not happy that your marriage is sexless but you love your spouse and don’t want a divorce, how can you be happy? Well, it’s not easy, but it can be done. Here are some things you can do. [Read: 30 subtly naughty questions to keep the sexual spark alive in love]

1. Evaluate your priorities

While you might really love sex, if you think about it, having sex takes up a small amount of people’s actual time compared to other life activities. So, it’s all about mindset and viewpoint. Evaluate how much you really think sex is important to you.

2. Work on communication and emotional intimacy

Just because you aren’t having sex with your spouse doesn’t mean that you can’t talk and build on your emotional intimacy. Have deep conversations with each other, cuddle, hold hands, and stay “physically” and emotionally intimate in other ways. 

3. Focus on other joys in life

There is a lot more in life to enjoy besides sex and even a romantic relationship. [Read: How to be happy in a relationship – simple steps]

There are family, children, entertainment, and other things you can enjoy in your life. The more you focus on your sexless marriage, the more it will bother you. So, focus on other things you love about life.

How to turn your sexless marriage around

If you do not know what to do or where to start, here are possible options for you to try out. Keep in mind that several of the ideas are really out there, but when push comes to shove, there is no harm in giving extreme methods a go.

1. Speak to your partner

Broaching the topic of having more sex is not an easy one but you have to build up the courage to do so. Do not treat it like a taboo. [Read: Ways to get your partner to open up about sex]

You can give it a gentle yet honest go by starting with, “You know how much I love you but there is something we need to discuss.” 

Once you get over the initial hurdle of broaching the topic, the words, and hopefully actions, will flow easier.

2. Go for therapy

If you have spoken to your partner about this and still see no change, then it is time to bust out the big guns. There is no shame in getting help from a third party, and in this case, it is speaking to a professional sex therapist. [Read: Big signs you need sex therapy and how to face it]

He or she will be very familiar with the problem you are facing and can offer a safe and private outlet from which to express emotions and get back on the road to a healthy sex life. 

3. Resolve to look great

Looking and feeling great is a big factor when it comes to how active your sex life can be. When you are out of shape and do not feel sexy, your libido significantly falls and you are not very compelled to get it on. 

Your embarrassment at being unattractive and not fit enough for a romp can be quashed if you just do something about it. [Read: How to look great in bed all the time]

4. Have date nights

Another way to reintroduce sex into your marriage is to start going on dates again. Perhaps one of the reasons why the sex has fizzled out is because there is a lack of intimacy between you two. 

Whether it is going to a movie together, having a fancy dinner, or just heading out for a quick frozen yogurt treat, make the effort to spend time and experience things together. 

Hold hands, talk about your day, and work on the connection that you once had with your spouse. [Read: Romantic date night ideas]

5. Give each other permission to fantasize

If the aforementioned tips fail, try resorting to fantasizing about others in bed. Many couples and psychologists will argue that this will do more harm than good, and is categorized as a form of cheating. 

However, at the end of the day, if both parties consent and if it can help reignite your sex life, then why not give it a shot? [Read: How to fantasize about someone else in bed]

6. Invite a third party in

Perhaps the reason you have a sexless marriage is because you are both bored with the way things are. Short of indulging in extramarital affairs, why not invite a third party into your bed?

As unconventional as this may seem, more people are jumping on this bandwagon. [Read: 20 things to know before getting into a threesome]

7. Communicate with each other

When you’re in a sexless marriage, it’s easy to grow apart emotionally too. And if you aren’t emotionally connected, it can be difficult to talk to each other about your problems. 

Even if you can talk about them, maybe you’re not doing it effectively. But you at least need to try. Talk to your partner about how you feel about your sexless marriage.

Let them know that it bothers you and maybe even that it makes you feel unattractive. They need to hear your point of view if you’re going to fix it. [Read: How to communicate with your spouse without resentment or fighting]

8. Let yourself be vulnerable

If you’re the one with a low sex drive or if you have erectile dysfunction, you might not want to talk about it because it’s sensitive. You don’t want to be criticized, and it’s painful to open up about your problems. But you need to be vulnerable.

Even if you’re the one with the higher sex drive, you still need to be vulnerable too. Let your partner know how their lack of interest in sex with you is affecting you emotionally. 

The only way to fix a sexless relationship is to have both of you have empathy for each other’s perspectives. [Read: How to be vulnerable in a relationship, open up, and 28 secrets to grow closer]

9. Open marriage

Finally, you have the option to turn your monogamous marriage into an open one. Simply put, an open marriage means that both parties consent to their partner having sexual relations with other people. 

If you can rein in your jealousy, the great thing about this is that you get to make up your own rules. You can make it clear that neither of you is allowed to sleep with friends, can only do it once a month, can never bring a sexual partner home, and so on.

When to walk away from a sexless marriage

How long should you continue to fight for a marriage or relationship when it’s sexless? [Read: Should we break up? 35 signs it’s over and past the point of no return]

Well, there is no magic answer. But there are some things that you should consider if you’re thinking of walking away to help you decide.

1. Your partner is not willing to work on the issues

If you are the one who wants sex and your partner doesn’t, then that is definitely a problem for you. If you have talked to them about it and tried to address and fix the issue, but they don’t want to work on it, then you’re fighting a losing battle.

2. You have tried, but your efforts are futile

If talking about the problem and trying to fix it wasn’t working, but you’ve tried to initiate sex a lot and you’ve gotten rejected, then your efforts are futile. There is probably not going to be any positive change in the future. [Read: Reasons couple’s therapy isn’t working for you]

3. Sex issues are the tip of the iceberg

A lack of sex doesn’t always come in isolation. If a couple is sexless, then there are probably a lot of other negative issues affecting the relationship as well. So, if you don’t think that any of those problems can be solved, then maybe it’s time to call it quits.

4. You both have different sexual preferences and drives

A difference in sex drive is difficult enough to overcome. But if you also have different sexual preferences and styles, that’s really a bad thing. For example, if one of you prefers kinky sex and the other is barely even vanilla, then it’s not going to work.

5. Infidelity is involved

Cheating in a relationship erodes trust. And trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. [Read: What is considered cheating? The painful types and ways to set boundaries]

Without it, the partnership is probably doomed. So, if one or both of the partners are cheating, then it’s not likely that the relationship will survive.

6. Partner is withholding sex to exercise control

There are many controlling people in the world. And while there are many different tactics that these people can use on their partners, withholding sex is one of them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the man or woman doing the withholding. Either way, it’s toxic.

7. There’s a lack of love

When you get married or fall in love, you think that the love will last forever. But in many cases, that’s not true. [Read: The indirect signs of a loveless unhappy marriage and how it begins]

Resentment can build up and people can fall out of love or feel ambivalent. So, if there is no more love left between two people, then it’s not going to work.

8. You want sex, but not with your spouse

It’s not uncommon for people to let themselves go after they have been married or in a relationship for a while. 

So, maybe someone doesn’t look as good as when they first met. You might want sex, but maybe you’re just not attracted to your spouse or partner anymore.

9. Therapy isn’t working

Perhaps you’ve even tried to go to therapy to work not only on your sexless relationship but also on your other issues too. If you have been going to see a professional but only one of you is trying *or many neither of you*, then you will probably never revive your sex life.

[Read: Open relationships – the new fidelity in love?]

All in all, whether or not a sexless relationship can last is completely up to the couple and what they value in a relationship. However, you can’t ignore the benefits of having sex in your relationship.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...