Most of the writing on sexless marriages focuses on the perspective of the husband. This, on its own, tells a story from a historical perspective, but is not a current day story. In reality, many women today enjoy sex and want a vibrant sex life with their significant other. Therefore, a sexless marriage can have a profound effect on a wife as well as on a husband.
Having a sexless relationship can be painfully disappointing and a precursor to an emotional, if not a sexual, affair. In this article, we’ll explore the 3 ways a sexless marriage affects women and how you can rekindle the spark. If you are looking to improve your marital sex life, consider a couples retreat to help out.
What Are 3 Specific Effects Of A Sexless Marriage On The Wife?
If you are a wife living in a sexless marriage:
- You probably feel the hurt and rejection that often accompanies this situation, and you may have a drop in your self-esteem.
- You may feel lonely and depressed thinking that your spouse finds you unattractive and undesirable. When a wife feels neglected by her husband, she usually takes it personally and thinks “there must be something wrong with me; I must be ugly and undesirable”. This opens the door to feeling very excited when other men pay attention to you.
- You may be concerned because you assume that he must be “getting it” somewhere else. “What man can go without any sex at all?”
What Is A Sexless Marriage?
Different people have different definitions of what constitutes a sexless marriage. According to the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) a sexless marriage is a relationship where the couple has sex 10 times or less in a year. In the past, AASECT used to specifically say intercourse, not just any sexual activity. We call this a low-sex relationship. A definition of being sexless should be saved for the situation where a couple has no sexual connection at all. While they might have an emotional connection, they do not have a physically active sex life.
Women and Sex
Women, in general, are socialized to be the caretakers in relationships using their empathy skills to tune into the needs of other people. They are trained to have impulse control and to delay gratification of their own needs. Many women spend a lot of time being busy raising children, running the household, taking care of friends and family members, all while often holding down a part-time or full-time job as well. Therefore, they are tired and are busy doing many other activities and therefore they might not prioritize sex with their partner.
Sex is a Two-Way Road
It’s common to believe that everyone needs emotional intimacy before they can enjoy any sexual intimacy; especially women. Surprising to many people, sex and emotional intimacy can be a two-way road. While we know that emotional intimacy can lead to a sexual connection, sexuality can lead to a deeper emotional connection. We call that “pillow talk.”
As with any stereotype, there are excepts to what is common. Some women like to jump into the sack without much foreplay, and some men need an emotional connection before he can be sexually vulnerable.
What Is A Grey Divorce?
A grey divorce is when a couple in their later years decides to let go of their marriage and move on. This usually happens after the children have left the nest and the husband and wife look at each other and realize that they don’t have much in common anymore. Today, many people live well into their 80s and 90s so if they are unhappily married and can’t seem to renew and rekindle their relationship, it might make sense to change the living situation.
If you stayed together for the raising of your family but don’t have much more in common, you may decide that a divorce is the best decision for you and your spouse. If you can afford to split up it might make sense to lovingly separate out your home, knowing that you can still be friendly and cordial at future family gatherings and events.
What Usually Causes A Sexless Relationship To Happen?
This can happen for many different reasons. Some people were never physically attracted to their spouse, maybe they married for other reasons than sexual chemistry. Some couples get busy with work and children and do not prioritize their physical connection. Other couples have physical and medical challenges that get in their way.
More commonly is that couples tend to avoid conflict and therefore difficult conversations such as talking about sexual desires is one of the topics that they avoid. Just to be clear, it’s avoided, but not forgotten. The good news is that couples can usually find creative ways of bridging some of these gaps if they can talk about the situation and their personal desires.
A Sexless Marriage Is Usually A Result Of The Husband’s Decision Or Behavior
Unlike most stereotypes of a woman claiming to have a headache, most sexless marriages are the result of the husband’s decision or behavior. He might not be clear about what he wants, but his behavior is one of avoiding sexual activity. If you think about it, it makes sense. He probably had a failure to keep his erection or he ejaculated quickly or he did something that you didn’t’ like and he felt rejected and now he feels embarrassed or ashamed. This certainly is a formula for avoiding sexual vulnerability again. And on top of that, your husband is probably more sensitive than you when it comes to talking about sex and initiating sex.
What Can I Do About My Sexless Marriage?
First of all, you must realize that you are in a low-sex or sexless marriage and that you want things to change. Once you realize the reality of your situation you can make an action plan. When you talk with your husband, it is useful to begin with a gentle start-up, such as, “Honey, I hope you know that I love you and our family very much. I want to talk with you about our sex life together. I’ve been thinking about things and want to make some improvements.”
How Can I Rekindle Our Spark?
If your husband agrees that he wants to improve things, you are half way there. Half of the issue is the ability to want to change things and the other half is the ability to discuss your sexual desires in a useful manner. If you begin to reengage in a sex life together you may want to start out slowly if it’s been a long time; perhaps give each other a massage or talk about things that turn you on, or talk about some past experiences together that were wonderful. If things don’t turn around you may discover that you are more like friends than good lovers. In that case, you can’t rekindle something that wasn’t there in the first place.
Consider A Couples Retreat For Your Sexual Goals
If you seem challenged to have these discussions or to stick with your plan together, consider a couples retreat that can help the two of you with your goals and in gaining tools to achieve them. A good marriage retreat should involve conversations about sexual activities including fun and creative ideas, things that turn you on and what turns you off, how you get in your own way, and what your partner can do to help out. When you are ready, let us help you on your sexual exploration journey.