Here’s Why A Sexless Marriage Will Not Work Out

Updated June 17, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lisa Childers, LCSW

We've all seen it in the media or heard it from our friends. Sometimes we even experience it ourselves. Someone starts wanting to have sex less than they used to; someone else has a problem with it that may or may not get resolved and then soon, those two someone are going through a divorce or catching each other cheating. The definition of a sexless marriage is when you are having sex rarely, or don’t have sex for months at a time. The fact that sexless marriages do not work out is not a surprise. You may be thinking, why do sexless marriages happen and how can I prevent mine from falling apart like others? Let's find out!

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A Marriage Becomes Sexless For Reasons Other Than Terrible Sex

Yes, one of the reasons your marriage may become sexless could be sex that is no longer exciting for one person, or it could be due to a lack of libido from one of the individuals in the relationship. However, there are a lot more reasons why a marriage may suffer from a lack of sex. These reasons include:

  • The needs of children
  • Stress that stems from work, the home, or a lack of excitement in life
  • Exhaustion
  • Unexpressed issues in the relationship that have caused one partner or both to be angry at each other
  • Problems with money
  • A lack of communication from one party or both
  • Too much time spent together or one partner being to "clingy" or needy of their partner

While these are some common reasons for a sexless marriage and could be due to a medical condition or a result of medication that someone is taking. If this is the case for you or your partner, try to console them and to figure out how you can work around these medical issues. Understanding and perseverance will help you get through these types of problems.

If your problem is related to one of the issues on the list, however, some serious work needs to take place in your relationship. Read on for help on how to solve these issues.

A Sexless Marriage Falls Apart Because A Couple Is Unwilling To Address And Work On These Issues

Sexless marriages are bound to fall apart because there are serious issues that a couple is unwilling to address and work on. As you can see in the list above, a sexless marriage is often caused by serious relationship problems. You may think that sex is indeed the problem but it's much deeper than that. Here's the truth: a sexless marriage can be fixed. You and your partner can have sex again if you are willing to try to salvage the relationship and love that you have for each other.

However, that is easier said than done. Here is what you need to do to make a significant change that will fix your life and your marriage:

If Your Sexless Marriage Is Due To Serious Relationship Issues…

  1. Consider Seeing A Marriage Counselor - Depending on the length of your relationship, you may have some negative habits so deeply ingrained into your relationship that you may need a marriage counselor to help you work them out. For example, let's imagine that you have an issue with your spouse that you have dealt with for the past four years. Bringing it up may address the issue, but this type of behavior is unlikely to change overnight. What happens when things don't change? You guys become resentful towards each other, and things go back to the way they were before. If there are some things you need help working towards, see a marriage counselor.


  1. Sit Down With Your Partner And Share What Is Not Working - Make some time to sit down and to discuss what is not working for both you and your partner. For example, let's imagine that you have a sexless marriage because of your shared lack of time. Once you and your partner have both expressed this issue and need, you can write it down and figure out some ways to resolve it. Maybe you need to have a date night once a week and send the kids to a babysitter. Perhaps you need to take off work a couple of days out of the week. There is a solution to every problem. Make sure you and your partner are heard and figure it out between yourselves.
  2. Stick To Your Word - There is nothing worse than you or your partner telling each other that you are going to follow through on something and then not following through on it. Once you've sat down and come up with a plan on how you are going to repair your marriage, stick to your word. Make an effort to work and expect the same from your partner. Only through hard work can you save a sexless marriage.
  3. Spice Things Up A Bit - You won't be able to pick up right where you left off when you begin having sex with your partner again. Things may be awkward, or you may not have the same type of passion that you did before things became sexless. If this happens, try spicing things up in the bedroom. Maybe there are some fantasies that you and your partner have both been wanting to act on since you married. Maybe there are some toys you could try that would make sex more pleasurable for the two of you. Whatever it is that gets you and your partner excited to get back into the bedroom again, pursue that avenue and make sure that both of your needs are met.
  4. Give It Time - Your marriage won't come back together overnight, no matter how much you want it to. To make a difference, you and your partner are both going to have to pitch in and give it time. Yes, it will be difficult, and there will undoubtedly be times when you want to give up on the marriage entirely. You may even find that your marriage isn't repairable. However, it is better to try and to find out than to give up altogether on your marriage.

If Your Sexless Marriage Is Due To A Medical Condition…

  1. Speak With Your Doctor - Whether it is you or your partner dealing with a medical condition that is affecting your sex drive or your ability to have sex, speak with your doctor immediately. There are usually ways to work around medical conditions or medicinal side-effects that affect the sex drive. There are also ways to work around the body if it is not feeling any desire to have sex at all.

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  1. Speak With Your Partner - If you are dealing with a medical condition that is affecting your sex life, you most likely feel bad enough about your lack of performance. If your partner is dealing with a medical condition, they most likely feel terrible about their lack of performance as well. Make some time to sit down to have a safe and friendly talk about the lack of sex in the marriage.

Make sure that this talk is non-confrontational and that it does not place any blame on one person within the marriage. Someone who cannot have sex with their partner because of a medical condition does not need the fault placed on them. They need support, comfort, and understanding. Set these ground rules before talking with your partner.

  1. Focus On Intimacy And Work Around Sex If It Is Not Possible - If one partner is not able to physically have sex anymore, it can be a difficult thing for both partners to deal with and it is certainly much different than not having sex by choice. The great part about a relationship is that sex and intimacy often go together. If you can't have sex with each other, you can most definitely be intimate.

For example, let's say that your partner has recently gotten into an accident that has negatively affected their ability to have sex. While you cannot have sex with each other, they can still make love to you using toys or by pleasing you in different ways that do not involve direct intercourse. Also, you and your partner can maintain your closeness by doing things that include touch such as cuddling or taking baths together.

As you can see, trying to maintain a sexless marriage will only end in disaster. However, it is possible to fix a sexless marriage if both parties are willing to find that spark again. Do you and your partner need help to get back to that passion and love? If so, I highly recommend that you visit Regain is an online relationship counseling platform that is dedicated to helping users learn more about how to save their relationships. Clicking the link above will bring you to a page that will help you connect with the right relationship counselor for you. Try it today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What percentage of sexless marriages end in divorce?

Marriage is one of the most universal life experiences across the U.S., with more than 90 percent of people marrying at least once by the time they are 50 years old. But along with all of those marriages comes many divorces. An average of 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce these days, and for subsequent marriages that rate is even higher. It is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of married people in the US are in sexless marriages, though the divorce rate of these sexless marriages isn’t known. The definition of a sexless marriage varies somewhat, but it is generally accepted to include people who rarely have sex, or haven’t had sex with their partner in 6 or more months.

How long do sexless marriages last?

It’s no secret that intimacy is key to a healthy relationship, and yet it is also one of the things many people put aside as long-term relationships progress in order to focus on other things, like growing their careers or the families. In general, married couples in a sexless relationship are less happy, and are more likely to consider divorce than couples that are happy with their sex lives. There is no magic number that sexless marriages end at; it depends on the individual couple, as well as whether or not they find other ways to connect with one another to maintain a level of emotional intimacy.

Can a sexless marriage survive?

A divorce isn’t a guarantee for every sexless marriage according to sex therapist Celeste Hirschman. “A marriage can last long term without sex if both people are not bothered by the lack of sex in their lives. For some people, sex is not a particularly high priority. For others, it is quite high, just like any other activity.”

A no-sex realtionship can work for couples who both have a low libido, or are asexual. It can also work short-term for couples in which one partner is experiencing a health issue that temporarily reduces their desire or ability to have sex. Lastly, a marriage or relationship in which the couple values other aspects of their lives together often maintain their happiness despite a lack of sex. These can include couples that run a business together, are focused on raising their children, or enjoy the companionship or financial security that their marriage gives them. Working toward shared goals can help alleviate many of the strains sexlessness can put on a marriage. No matter what the situation, a sexless marriage only works when both partners are in agreement about the role that sex plays in their relationship.

What happens in a marriage without intimacy?

A healthy relationship needs intimacy; physical intimacy and emotional intimacy go hand in hand in creating a solid, lasting relationship. If either form of intimacy begins to dwindle as a relationship progresses, one or both of the partners can end up feeling rejected, alone, undesirable, or unfulfilled. Intimacy is the glue that holds a relationship together, but it isn’t the same for everyone. Some people may be perfectly happy with only having sex a few times a year, while others may deisre it to be weekly. What matters is that both partners are happy with their level of intimacy. If one partner isn’t happy, or even both, then their marriage is unlikely to last in the long-term.

What's the Number 1 reason for divorce?

The reasons that lead to divorce are often varied, and different for each couple. The most common reasons cited by divorcing couples, however, are growing apart and not being able to talk to their partner. Both of these issues can be connected to a lack of emotional intimacy, or a lack of ability to communicate with their partner.

How do you stay faithful in a sexless marriage?

Staying faithful is certainly something you should be doing if you are in a committed, monogamous relationship, but this can be difficult for people with a high sex drive that are in a sexless marraige. Some people in sexless relationships allow the partner with the high sex drive to seek sexual fulfillment elswhere, but this solution won’t be for everyone. If you’re finding it difficult to be faithful to your partner, if you haven’t made the effort to discuss the situation with them, now is the time. If they are open to trying to fix the relationship, you can address the issue of intimacy. If they are not open to changing anything, it is better for the both of you to end the relationship before any infidelity occurs.

How do you fix a sexless marriage?

Fixing a sexless marriage first involves finding the reason for a sexless marriage to have begun in the first place. Did you recently have a child, or was either partner caught being unfaithful? Have either of you recently experienced a mental or physical health crisis? Does either partner have a low libido? Any of these occurrences can lead to a sexless relationship.

No matter what led to the lack of sex if a marriage or a relationship, there are some ways to help turn it around if both partners are willing to put in the work. First, think back and decide if there were any events that triggered the end to your sexual relationship. The key to being able to fix your sexless marriage is being able to talk openly and frankly about your issues and your concerns, without judging, blaming, or shaming the other person. Once you’re both on the same page about wanting to work on your relationship, here are three approaches you can take to work things out:

  • Make time for date night.

Spending quality time alone together, without kids or other distractions, is one of the keys to a satisfying emotional relationship. Go out to dinner or the bar, or simply have a movie night alone. Try engaging in non-sexual physical activities, like cuddling or kissing, without expecting sex to be the ultimate outcome. This helps to relieve the pressure, and allows the two of you to let things progress naturally while still reestablishing your emotional connection.

  • Give scheduled sex a try.

Sometimes the mood just doesn’t strike either of you on the spur-of-the-moment. Scheduling sex may sound unromantic, but when sex has taken a back burner in your relationship this can be a good way to work it back into your normal schedule. On nights it ends up being that one of you is too tired or stressed for sex, laying in bed cuddlind and talking can still make great strides in reconnecting to your partner, making sex more natural over time.

  • Find a sex therapist to talk to.

If you’ve been trying to work on your sex life for a few months with little success, it is time you consider consulting a sex therapist to discuss your issues. A therapist can help you dig deeper into the issues that led to your lack of intimacy, as well as suggest ways that the two of you can reconnect and hopefully save your marriage.

Why is my marriage sexless?

Sometimes it can be difficult for one partner is a sexless marriage to understand why their sex lives have fizzled out. Many people rate their happiness with thier marriage according to sex and sexual satisfaction, so losing that aspect of their relationship can often leave them feeling many negative feelings. There are many things that can lead to a sexless marriage, from emotional or physical health issues, to having children, to an infidelity in the marriage. Figuring out the ‘why’ behind your lack of sex is going to be the key to working through the problem. Consulting with a marriage counselor or sex therapist can help both people in the relationship talk about their thoughts and feelings, as well as find ways to work through the issues that led to the end of the sexual relationship.

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