It is said that as many as 80% of all marriages could be classified as “sexless”. Sexless – most typically defined as having s*x less than 10 times a year. Let that soak in for a second…
This is a conversation I have had with so many friends and couples and usually the focus is on, “Why we are not having s*x – enough”. But the truth is, why isn’t as important as how to deal with it. The “why’s” can range from tension in the marriage, stress on the job, hormones, physical distance, conflicting work schedules or long term illness, and at the end of the day a spouse that is lonely because their spouse is physically unable to have s*x fights the same fight as the person that’s spouse just isn’t in the mood.
So the focus is on how to thrive and stay faithful to your God, spouse and vows in a sexless marriage.
1. Vent. Holding it in, and/or, not talking about it, doesn’t make the fight easier. If anything, it makes it worse. Your feelings are legitimate and there is a legitimate way to express your feelings and get them out. Tell your spouse how you really feel – really. The problem is not all the ownership of one person or the other, nor does it get solved by one person, alone. Instead, it is a mutual problem and concern of both a husband and a wife, and that might be the best way to approach it. So vent to each other and get to the real deal of your feelings about not having s*x enough.
2. Specify Feelings. After we begin to get our feelings out, now let’s get specific. Beyond just expressing frustration or anger or whatever the emotions are, be specific, “This is how I feel, this is when I feel that way, and this is why”.
3. Be Honest. Somewhere along the line I have heard it said that a partial lie is a total untruth – or something like that. The point is that we have to be honest. I know – nobody wants to hurt their spouse’s feelings, especially if the situation is uncontrollable. However, without honesty we rob our marriage of the chance to move forward. Tell the truth in love.
4. Don’t Guess. Don’t try to figure out on your own what the issue is. Ask, let your spouse tell you and then – listen. I find that in any area of my marriage, when I guess, I guess wrong. But if I ask, then I know.
5. Outline Needs. Ok, so we have laid it out honestly on the table. Now what do you both need? Yes the end goal might be “more” s*x, but where are the areas of compromise or tipping points? Can, a quiet night on the couch together, sometimes be a good substitute. Or, what does “more” mean to both of you – is it quantity or quality? What do you both need?
6. Find Outlets. Find things that you like to do, either with your spouse or alone. Frustration needs an outlet. And the first place it tends to come out is on the person closest to us – our husband or wife. Join a gym, go for a run, walk, join a sports team, find something or somewhere constructive to let the frustration(s) out.
7. Spend Time. Sometimes all the responsibilities going on in our life make time to be intimate so limited. Spend time together, without agenda or plans for what might happen. Just spend time enjoying each other and get surprised by the stage that is now set.
8. Be Honest With Yourself. When a person feels like they are not getting what they want or deserve, they can be in an extremely vulnerable state. Be honest with yourself, you could be ripe for a fall. The scene from Love Jones when Nia Long broke down how she was feeling to Taye Diggs, when he showed up at her apartment, just flashed in my head…Being in a sexless marriages can carry a spouse to a shaky vulnerable place, suddenly everything seems attractive and what may have never been a thought seems more and more reasonable. Be honest with yourself about how you feel and what you can handle, then look at your wedding ring, think about your kids and call your spouse.
9. Be Happy. Once you vent and get honest about what is going on, find your own happiness. s*x is a real need, but if it is not available, possible or not happening, are you then just resigned to misery? Happiness in marriage starts with happiness within.
10. Be Kind. Don’t lose who you are. s*x brings about emotions that few other areas of a relationship can. So feeling that things are not fair or going as they are supposed to kicks up all kind of emotion. But vow within yourself not to turn on each other but to turn to each other. Being in a sexless marriage is a real fight, but it is winnable if you stay on the same side.
Having unmet intimate needs is not a man thing or a woman thing. Rather it is a couple’s thing. Own it together and work together, whether it is a temporary situation or a longer lasting problem, it is a solvable problem. Yes, a marriage can survive without s*x and a couple can overcome the temptation to be overrun by it. Look within, look to each other and look above.