How Long Is Too Long Without Sex In A Relationship?
Dive into the intricacies of physical intimacy in relationships with our insightful article. Delve into the challenges that arise when couples experience extended periods without sexual activity and how it can impact their connection. Gain valuable insights and practical tips to address this aspect of relationship dynamics, fostering open communication and understanding for a healthier, more satisfying partnership."
By Liv Surtees / Jan 17 2024
If you’re in a monogamous relationship, there’s a high likelihood that whilst you can enjoy a lot of aspects of life with other people that aren’t your significant other, there are specific things you do exclusively with them: yes, I’m talking about sex!
Sex within a relationship is, for most couples, a very important part of the intimacy that they share with each other and it can help to keep the bond feeling deep, partners feeling close, and of course, provide the entire host of benefits that come from having sex.
But, what about when couples stop having sex?
The feeling of not connecting with your partner sexually for a while can be incredibly concerning for many and whilst there might be a myriad of thoughts consuming their mind, the most important one is typically, “how long is too long?”.
In this article we’re going to be diving deep into answering this very question, looking at the factors that could determine why you’re not having sex in your relationship, and how you can both evaluate and communicate your needs to produce the outcome that suits you best.
So, let’s dive in and say goodbye to Googling sexless statistics!
the importance of trust in relationships
Trust is a hard concept to really nail down - we can’t understand if someone truly trusts us, we can’t show someone we trust them, and we can’t make someone trust us.
That’s a huge part of why it’s so difficult to deal with trust in relationships (especially when it’s broken and needs rebuilding), since it’s something we can’t measure or be certain of.
However, trust is one of the most important building blocks of any relationship. Without trust, a relationship will be without depth. Therefore, when it comes to romantic relationships, it’s especially important to trust your partner, since you want (and deserve) depth within your relationship.
the end of the honeymoon stage: the unfiltered truth
I’m certainly not here to belittle your concerns and pass off that what you’re experiencing is “normal”, because after all, if you’re not happy with the amount of sex that you’re having within a relationship, that’s not good and it doesn’t matter what’s “normal” or not.
However, it is important to say that if you are still in a fairly early stage of your relationship and things have recently crossed over the typical “honeymoon stage”, you may notice that the frequency of sex has slowed down, or has potentially begun to ebb and flow.
The “honeymoon stage” is the stage at the very beginning of a relationship (although this stage can last from three months to two years) where the sexual tension is constant, you’re wanting to spend all of your time with your new partner in bed, you’re getting to know their intricacies, and you’re falling in love with their positive qualities. During this time you’re typically wrapped up in a little bubble of fantasy-like emotions and intense hormones - it’s all very hot, exciting, and fun!
However, once time passes and you get into a more secure relationship with this person, the honeymoon stage begins to fade - if you’ve ever found yourself doing the weekly shop with someone whilst in a grump on a Friday night instead of being lovingly wrapped around their body in bed and had a mild panic attack when realising this, you’ll know what I mean!
At this point, the honeymoon stage is generally over and real life starts to kick in.
But, and it’s a big but (pardon the pun!), although the end of a honeymoon stage may slow down the sex life of a relationship and cause ebbs and flows, it is not a reason for a sex life to completely dry up or for the sex to stop fulfilling your desires.
If you’ve ever opened up about the worry that you’re not having sex and someone’s response was, “ha, it’s because the honeymoon stage is over”, you’ll know how incredibly unhelpful this is. In fact, people saying this to you can almost make you feel shameful, as if sexless relationships are normal and you should’ve known what you were signing up for.
Well, F that! Your pleasure matters, your sex life matters, and I’m here to tell you that if you’re not getting the regularity of sex you desire, that’s not OK since it’s diminishing your needs, regardless of whether you’ve moved out of the honeymoon stage or not.
can other factors affect the regularity of sex in a relationship?
There are so many factors that can affect the regularity of sex in a relationship, from increased stress levels and health problems to having children and experiencing a big lifestyle change.
Sometimes, there are things that simply cannot be altered at the current moment, and as long as the communication between you and your partner is open and honest, you will be able to get through a time of little/no sex together. Then, you can work towards getting your sex life back on track and bringing you both pleasure once the issue has been resolved or the experience has been moved through.
The problems begin to occur when there is either an issue and a lack of communication or the sex comes to a halt without any warning or seemingly any reason.
what if nothing is physically stopping us + we're still not having sex?
The truth is, there’s always a reason behind why people stop having sex, even if it appears that there’s not. Whether your partner is simply not really in the mood anymore because they’re tired, there’s a lack of physical time because you’re busy working odd shifts, or you find yourself in a position where you simply don’t feel sexual attraction to your partner anymore, there’s always a reason!
The most effective thing you can do in this situation is figure out the reason behind the lack of sex. Then, you can start to uncover the reasoning and decide how to move forward. Until then, you will likely find yourself in an endless circle, trapped, stressing about why it’s just not happening for you.
the ultimate question: how long is too long?
The truth is, there’s no set amount of time a couple should be having sex. Whilst there may be statistics that show the average couple has sex around once a week, everyone’s sex lives are completely unique and the frequency of the sex you’re having could be once daily, once weekly, once monthly, or even just on special occasions, as long as that suits your needs.
The only true answer to this question is that if you are unfulfilled by the amount of sex you’re having, it’s likely been too long for you.
the real issue: how long has intimacy been missing?
Sex lives that have gone slightly off the rails can typically be brought back on track with a little bit of work and a lot of direct and honest communication. However, the real issue in relationships when it comes to intimacy isn’t actually the amount (or lack of) times you’ve had sex recently, but the lack of other forms of intimacy that you have in your relationship.
Does your partner still hold your hand? Do you kiss every day? Do you still hug each other? Do you enjoy them being close to you? Do they look at you and smile?
These smaller and seemingly less significant types of intimacy are just as important as sex. If you’re not having sex but you’re experiencing intimacy in other ways, you may actually feel fulfilled and content with the connection you have with your partner.
However, on the other hand, if your sex life seems to have dropped off and there’s a lack of any other type of intimacy, you may be experiencing deeper issues within your relationship that you need to tackle.
how to talk to your partner about a lack of sex
When it comes to taking action surrounding a relationship in which you haven’t had sex in a little while, it can be scary. However, following these steps below can help you get honest about your needs, confront the issue, and move forward in whichever way best suits you.
1: think about your needs + what you want to achieve
Before you open up any kind of conversation it’s a good idea to just take some time to think about what your needs are and what you want to achieve by talking to your partner. How often would you ideally like to have sex? Why do think you feel detached from your partner? Are you willing to put in the commitment to make it work? Then, think about the things you want to bring up to your partner when you speak to them and what you ideally want to achieve by communicating openly with them.
2: open a conversation outside the bedroom
After you’ve gathered your thoughts, it’s time to actually talk to your partner. Opening up a conversation with them might be scary, but it’s best for both of you to acknowledge what’s happening. Schedule a talk with your partner and start a conversation, calmly, with your partner. Make sure you have the conversation outside of the bedroom as it brings a more serious tone and doesn’t bring any kind of awkward feeling or come across as “moaning” into the bedroom.
3: don't blame or accuse your partner
The most important thing about the conversation you have with your partner is that you keep it completely calm and don’t lay blame on them or accuse them of being the reason you don’t have sex regularly anymore. Say, “I feel” rather than, “...because of you”, or “you make me…” to make sure you’re not laying blame on them - that will only make them feel standoffish and close them off from talking about the problem with you.
4: make a plan with them + stick to it
If you do decide that you want to take the relationship forward and work on your getting your sex life back with your partner, you need to make a plan with them and actively stick to it! Whether you decide to schedule sex, spend more time being intimate in other ways to build up to sex, or you want to see a sex therapist together, take immediate action and get the ball rolling!
5: spend time being intimate with yourself
If you’ve been relying on your partner to fulfil your sex life and you’ve noticed that because of the lack of sex you’ve not been fulfilling your own needs and desires, it’s time to step up your self-love game! Make yourself feel sensual again, touch yourself, wear sexy lingerie for you, treat yourself to a new toy, and play around with your own sensuality again. Focusing on your own sensuality might even ramp up the sex in your relationship too!
it's time to honour your desires...
It’s a scary time when you’re trying to navigate not having as much sex as you’d like in your relationship, but now is your time to honour your needs and take the action needed to feel more fulfilment in your sex life.
And just remember, for “how long is too long?” - it’s all about personal preference and whether it’s been too long for you. After all, this is your relationship and your sex life.