The US National Health and Social Life Survey in 1994 (Laumann et al. 1994) found that 2 percent of the married respondents reported no sexual intimacy in the past year. The definition of a nonsexual marriage is often broadened to include those where sexual intimacy occurs less than ten times per year
Is sex that important? Can a marriage be healthy without it?
Well, I’m not an expert about marriage…or sex… But I am married and I love sex…( and besides, this is my blog, so I can talk about it if I wanna, so, Nyah.) I’ve been with my husband for over eight years, and we’ve been married for a little over three. We have a two year old daughter who is the major love of both of our lives, and we’re both totally cool with that. We’ve had our share of difficulties– financial, family-related, and personal. I think we have a very strong marriage. We can talk about most anything. I have a deep love for my husband and he is my best friend.
And I am still, um… a big hornball. One of the things I like about my husband is how secure and laid-back he is; like how we can laugh about my obsession with Maynard or Noomi. And there is some joking about how I am the man in our relationship because I am always dropping him not-too-subtle hints about sex and he often just laughs at my “crass” and unromantic overtures.
I happened on this article the other day about sexless marriages. We’re definitely not in a “sexless” marriage. Still, we’re older, busier, tired more often… so we’re not doing it three times a day like when we first met. The whole thing got me thinking a bit. How many people do I know might be secretly dissatisfied with the amount of sex they’re having? So I did a little bit of digging on the ever-handy InterWebz this morning, with my mind on a possible blog post.
It’s natural and completely normal for the animal sex of a new relationship to drop off. “The initial passion of any relationship changes after 18 months,” says Sallie Foley, MSW, director of the Center for Sexual Health at the University of Michigan (author of Modern Love and Sex and Love for Grownups.)
“It moves from the romantic and exciting to an attachment kind of loving, fondness. That gotta have it, gotta have it feeling is gone.”
Even though some amount of drop off in sexual frequency can be expected, that doesn’t mean we don’t mourn it sometimes. And there are instances where a “drop-off” turns into a “shut-out.” There may be emotional or physical reasons behind why a marriage becomes “sexless.”
Some people feel that sex isn’t that big a deal, and that if you really love your partner, you can deal with having less sex than you may want. In my opinion, this would depend on the situation– basically, the reasons for the lack of intimacy.
Because to me, intimacy is a super-important part of a marriage, and for me sex affords a very specific type of intimacy. If it goes for more than a week or two, my dreams start to get markedly kinkier. I get anxious and sometimes even cranky if I go for too long without sex with my husband. Apparently I am not unusual in this regard.
“It’s a very healthy thing for a partnership, there’s no question about that…People who have sex tend to feel closer, more intimate.”
A relationship stripped of the intimacy and physical closeness which sex provides feels hollow: the person who is supposed to find you attractive, sexy and desirable doesn’t.
Let me reiterate that there are many reasons a marriage can become sexless, and it’s something you should discuss to see if it’s within your power as a couple to change the dynamic of your sexual relationship. There are many avenues open to you, including but not limited to therapy. But one simple piece of advice I’ve seen in more than one place is this:
“…There’s definitely a use it or lose it aspect to sex…You have to be committed to intimate time together. That doesn’t mean every single time you take off your clothes and have sex. But set aside time just for the two of you.”
Basically, having sex makes you want sex more.
I’ll leave you with this last thought. Some people have the attitude of “what’s the big deal?” Like if your spouse is a good spouse in all other respects, who cares if there’s no sex?
If you communicate to your partner that you are unhappy and they seem ambivalent, that’s a problem.
There’s something very wrong with the picture if your partner is saying ‘I know you’re desperately unhappy but I don’t plan on doing anything about it and still expect you to be faithful’
- Cathy Meyer: Sexless Marriage: When Sex Ends at ‘I Do’ (huffingtonpost.com