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    5 Clear Signs to Know When to Walk Away From Sexless Marriage

    Liv Surtees

    It’s been months, maybe even years, since you and your partner have had sex. You’re feeling disappointed, unwanted, and perhaps even a little stuck - you’re unsure where to turn and how to fix the problem. 

    How many times can you bring up this issue to your partner? How many times can you sneakily hide your phone from your husband whilst you read online advice about loss of intimacy? How can you continue in a relationship where you don’t feel like your physical needs are being met?

    These are all questions you might be confronted with and yet you probably don’t want to vocalise them to anyone - it can feel shameful to open up these topics with those around you, even your closest friends.

    But there’s no need to panic - this article is now your safe haven! If you’re struggling with a sexless marriage, we’re here to help! We’re going to take a look at the causes of sexless marriages, understand the effects of them, and most importantly get round to telling you what you can do about a sexless marriage, and when it’s clear that you should walk away.

    What Is A Sexless Marriage?

    Before we take a look at exactly what defines a sexless marriage, it’s incredibly important to say that just because you don’t fit into the definition doesn’t mean you don’t have a sexless marriage. 

    Your definition of a sexless marriage is the only one that matters: someone might think that 6+ months without sex isn’t a big deal, whilst others will struggle with not having sex for a month.

    Essentially, if you haven’t engaged in sexual contact (this doesn’t have to be penetrative, of course) with your partner and your sexual needs aren’t being met for a prolonged period of time, you may identify as being in a sexless marriage.

    However, research tends to indicate that if you are having sex 10 times a year or less, the relationship can be labelled as a sexless.

    Causes Of Sexless Marriage

    There are a range of reasons behind why a couple may stop becoming sexually intimate with each other and it’s actually fairly common for the sexual activity in relationships to ebb and flow throughout the years, especially during signifcant life changes.

    However, although the regularity (and sometimes even quality) of sex might change throughout the years of a relationship, a level of intimacy and sexual attraction should tend to remain.

    So, there are two very different types of causes to a sexless marriage: one which can be seen as a shorter period of time where sex may have stopped due to physical reasons or lifestyle changes and one that spans for a much longer period of time and isn’t as a direct result of a specific lifestyle change or situation.

    For example, having a baby and not being able to (or wanting to) have sex with your partner doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily in a sexless marriage, especially not if you’re openly communicating with your partner and still sexually attracted to them. 

    However, if there’s no obvious extenuating circumstance that would cause you and your partner to stop having sex and you haven’t been sexually active with each other for a prolonged period of time, the reasoning behind this could be much more serious. For example, they may be dealing with a mental illness, stress, underlying health issues, sexual dysfunction, loss of sexual attraction, or there may be a loss of love.

    If you can have frank conversations with your partner about what the causes are of your sexless marriage, it’s going to be so much easier to work through the issue and move towards having sex again - so, if you can, identify the cause of your sexless marriage.

    Effects Of Sexless Marriage 

    One or both partners in a sexless marriage might be unhappy with the situation they’re in and even from a scientific standpoint, the relationship will take a hit without sex since having regular sexual connections with a partner helps to reinforce the shared love and release happy, bonding chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin.

    Here are some of the most common effects people will experience as a result of a sexless marriage:


    Feelings of loneliness
      Feelings of rejection
        Sexual frustration
          Low self-esteem
            Low relationship satisfaction 
              Higher stress levels
                A higher likelihood of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
                  A negative relationship with sex, including an avoidance of sex due to the lack of it

                    It’s especially interesting to note that even if one partner wants to have sex more often and isn’t the cause of the sexless marriage, they may begin to develop a negative relationship with sex (including their own sexuality) and this can result directly in a loss of libido and a loss of sexual identity.


                    What Can You Do To Fix A Sexless Marriage?

                    Whilst we are going to take a look at the signs that you should walk away from a sexless marriage, it’s obviously not a good idea to make any rash decisions when it comes to ending a marriage and therefore, if you are willing to put the effort in, you and your partner should first try to fix the situation and bring sexual intimacy back into your relationship!

                    Whilst you can read as many “spice it up” articles as you like (and this may have helped if you could even get sex onto the table), the most impactful thing you can do is practice clear communication with your partner, in the presence of a professional if needed.

                    Speaking with a sex therapist can help you uncover and further understand the reasons why you are currently in a sexless marriage and help you actively work towards a better sexual relationship in the most effective way possible for you, as a unique couple.

                    If you’re wanting to know more about how you can speak to your partner about a lack of sex in your relationship, take a look at our article “How Long Is Too Long Without Sex” for guidance.

                    5 Clear Signs That You Should Walk Away 

                    When is marriage over because of the lack of sex? Well, although the answer to this question certainly isn’t “one-size-fits-all”, there are some clear signs that a marriage should come to an end. 

                    So, want to know what they are? Well, here are the 5 most obvious signs that you should walk away from your sexless marriage:


                    If There’s No Intimacy In The Marriage

                    Whilst a lack of sex in a marriage might be concerning, a complete lack of intimacy tells another story. If you’re not hugging, kissing, or even holding hands, that indicates that there’s a lack of intimacy within the relationship. 

                    Intimate gestures are just as important as sex in a marriage and if you’re not experiencing any kind of intimacy from your partner, it might be because there’s a bigger issue at play: an emotional disconnect between the two of you.


                    If Your Partner Isn’t Willing To Work On It

                    If you have openly, honestly, and kindly communicated your concerns about the sexless marriage you share with your partner, yet they’re not willing to actively work on making it better with you, there’s not much hope. For a sexless marriage to be transformed, both people involved need to be committed to putting in the effort, time, and emotional work into changing the situation. 

                    So, if your partner isn’t willing to work towards the problem together,  not only does that show that they’re not invested in your emotional and physical needs, but it also shows that there’s no hope: you’re blocked from making any progress by them. 


                    There Are Other Major Issues In The Relationship

                      Sex, or lack thereof, can be a powerful indicator of what is going on in other areas of your marriage. So, you might want to take a step back and really evaluate what else is going on between you and your partner. Perhaps you don’t even need to take a moment to step back and think about it because you’re aware that there are some major issues between the two of you? 

                      Well, if you are experiencing a sexless marriage and there are additional issues in the relationship that don’t pertain to a happy marriage, it might be time to walk away.


                       If The Sexless Marriage Has Led To Infidelity

                      Obviously, this point doesn’t apply to everyone. However, it does apply to those in monogamous relationships and marriages. If you are in a monogamous marriage and it’s sexless, yet your partner (or yourself) has been unfaithful, the issue might not be for lack of wanting sex, but lack of sexual attraction or compatibility for each other.

                      Although a sexless marriage is never an excuse to cheat, if you or your partner choose to be sexually active with someone else rather than work together to fix the shared sex life, something bigger is probably at play!


                      You’re Not Willing To Settle For A Platonic Marriage

                      If your partner is not going to change and you are absolutely not happy to settle for a platonic marriage, then leave. If you have exhausted all of your options, nothing seems to be changing and you yearn for a relationship with someone that fulfills your physical and emotional needs, it is well within your right to leave and if you feel like you need it - this is your permission to do so.

                      The Takeaway

                      Whilst there seems to be a concerning yet commonly held belief that after you get married your sex life inevitably dies off (at least within a few years), this is completely untrue and you shouldn’t buy into this delusional idea!

                      So, make sure you don’t get stuck in a trap, believing that it’s normal or should be ignored: you deserve to experience joy within your marriage and that includes experiencing joy in the bedroom too!

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