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Can A Man Live In A Sexless Marriage?

Can A Man Live In A Sexless Marriage?

Sex is an integral part of most romantic relationships. It fosters intimacy, trust, and emotional bonding between partners. However, some couples find themselves in a sexless situation where little to no physical intimacy exists.

The question arises – can marriages last without sex, and what negative impacts does a lack of intimacy have?┬áThis post aims to demystify sexless marriages by exploring what defines such a relationship, common causes for the absence of intimacy, and addressing whether a sexless marriage can survive long term.

It will provide insight into how the lack of sex affects spouses both emotionally and physically. Furthermore, tips are shared on how couples can work to rekindle passion and reintroduce intimacy even after experiencing a sexless period.

If you stay will me till the end, you will gain a holistic understanding of sexless marriages and be equipped to make more informed decisions regarding their own relationship if facing a similar situation.

Let’s jump right in.

What is a Sexless Marriage?

Experts consider a marriage to be sexless if the couple has sex 10 times or less in a year. Some define it as less than once a month, while others note if one partner is unhappy or feels the intimacy is lacking.

While the frequency numbers provide guidelines, true sexlessness is determined by the perception and satisfaction levels of both spouses. A couple that rarely has sex but feels fulfilled intimately may not consider themselves sexless. On the flip side, others could have more regular encounters but remain unfulfilled.

The emotional experience and mutual understanding between partners is key in determining if a viable sex life exists or if the relationship has truly become sexless and intimacy is absent. Frequency alone does not define intimacy – communication and satisfaction on both ends are most important.

Common Causes of Sexlessness in Marriage

Understanding why certain marriages lose intimacy can offer insight into either resolving core issues or accepting realities of the situation. Here are some of the most prevalent causes impacting couple’s sex lives:

Stress and Exhaustion

Juggling careers, childcare, finances, and daily responsibilities leaves many spouses drained with little energy for intimacy by day’s end. Unrelenting stress frequently stems libido and desire.

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Poor Communication

Not openly discussing desires, frustrations, or relationship needs breeds disconnect. Resentments form when emotional and physical needs go unvoiced and unmet over time.

Health Issues

Medical conditions like fatigue, pain, depression, medications, or chronic illnesses commonly decrease libido. Unmanaged health problems strain a marriage’s intimacy.

Pornography and Masturbation

When substituted for partner sex by one or both spouses, masturbation and porn use often satisfy urges instead of fostering closeness. This impacts desire for the relationship.


Affairs, whether emotional or physical, shatter trust and intimacy within marriage. Betrayed spouses sometimes withdraw sexually as a result of deep trauma and loss of bonding.

Transitioning Life Stages

Life changes like new parenthood, empty nest syndrome, retirement adjustments, or aging can disrupt intimacy routines and desire temporarily if not navigated openly.

Resolving core causes driving intimacy away through open communication and behavior changes tends to improve sexless situations most effectively. However, some issues like medical conditions may require long term management.

How Long Can a Sexless Marriage Survive?

Now that sexlessness is defined and common causes explored, the question arises – how long can a marriage last without regular intimacy?

Research and couple therapists provide the following insight:

On average, studies show that lack of sex for 3-4 months or longer significantly damages the emotional bonding and connection needed to maintain a happy, cohesive relationship.

After 6 months to 1 year of sexlessness or unsatisfying physical intimacy, dissatisfaction levels rise drastically and discontent sets in for the partner with a higher sex drive.

If a certain level of non-sexual physical affection like kissing, cuddling and hand-holding is still present, couples have been found to withstand a sexless period of 1-2 years before relationship quality declines sharply.

Some marriages have lasted 5-10 years without sex, but unhappiness, resentment, emotional distancing or eventual affairs are likely if root problems go unaddressed after such a prolonged period.

Longevity depends on open communication, efforts by both partners to understand needs, willingness to compromise, and dealing with physical or emotional barriers proactively instead of avoidance.

Overall, research suggests that 2-3 years tends to be the maximum threshold before deep dissatisfaction and relational damage occurs unless intimacy issues are resolved cooperatively. Individual tolerance levels do vary.

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Therefore, sexless marriages can endure short term if underlying problems receive attention. But greater than 1-2 years without resolving intimacy issues often correlates with an erosion of emotional bonds critical to maintaining lifetime commitment and happiness in the long run.

Impact of Sexlessness on Spouses

Beyond relational effects, not being physically or emotionally intimate also takes a psychological and physical toll on individuals within the marriage. Here are some common struggles that arise:

Emotional Distancing

Lack of bonding through physical affection and sex breeds emotional distancing over time. Partners can feel resentful, disconnected, less affectionate and loving towards one another.

Self-Esteem & Confidence Issues

For the higher libido partner, rejection from one’s spouse reduces feelings of attractiveness and desirability. Self-esteem and confidence erode without that affirmation.

Depression & Anxiety

Going without physical release of endorphins, touch and pleasure hormones negatively impacts mental wellbeing. Depression and anxiety are more prevalent without intimacy.

Relationship Dissatisfaction

When emotional and physical needs for bonding go unmet long term, overall marriage satisfaction declines significantly as resentment builds over time.

Increased Health Problems

Sex promotes relaxation, lowers stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Its absence relates to higher risks for certain medical issues like heart disease or cancer.

Consideration of Affairs

For some spouses struggling in sexless situations for prolonged periods, disconnect rises to a point where extramarital temptations emerge to fulfill needs going unmet at home.

Dealing with emotional and physical impacts stresses both individual wellness and the couple dynamic, further complicating intimacy struggles if left unaddressed. Communication is vital to understand each partner’s experience.

Rekindling Intimacy after a Sexless Period

For many couples, a phase of sexlessness is temporary due to life situations like adjusting to parenthood, illnesses or stress. With effort, closeness can potentially return to make the lack of intimacy a blip instead of the demise of the relationship.

Here are tips for rekindling passion:

Address root causes – Openly discuss problems causing distance. Solve issues together versus avoiding talking about it.

Non-sexual affection – Hold hands, hug, kiss daily to rebuild emotional bonding which sex depends on. Be intimate without goal of intercourse.

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Date your spouse – Reconnect through shared activities and romantic gestures to fall in love again emotionally.

Compromise on desires – Understand each other’s drives and needs. Negotiate what each is willing to give and willing to accept in terms of intimacy.

Seek counseling – If unable to resolve issues independently, a counselor provides guidance on effective communication tools and intimacy exercises.

Schedule sex – Take pressure off by planning intimate time together weekly initially to rebuild comfort levels and arousal gradually versus spontaneous encounters.

Focus on pleasure – Rediscover each other’s bodies pleasurably through massages, caressing and oral sex versus intercourse-focused mindsets which bred performance pressure.

Be patient – It takes time to heal emotional and psychological wounds from a sexless period. Forgive mistakes and keep efforts continually to restore affection levels.

With dedication to understanding one another on a deep level again and putting partnership before inhibitions or stress, hope remains that lost passion can blossom once more for willing couples. Consistency and compassion are key.

Concluding Thoughts

While statistics show sexless marriages often don’t withstand prolonged lack of intimacy, some couples do manage to survive yearslong droughts when core issues receive concerted attention. However, the emotional and psychological toll of going without that physical and emotional bonding typically damages well-being and the relationship significantly over time.

For couples currently experiencing intimacy issues, the takeaway is to not avoid difficult conversations or neglect problems hoping they resolve on their own. Address concerns proactively with your partner through open communication and compromise. Seek help from counselors if resolution seems impossible independently.

With effort to understand each other sensitively once more, rekindle care, affection and pleasurable discovery, while also solving practical barriers, lost passion remains possible to restore – even after facing a sexless chapter. Overall health, happiness and the marriage depend upon it. With patience and cooperation, intimate fulfillment can potentially blossom anew.

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