The Sex-Starved MarriageDepending on what is or isn’t happening for you in the bedroom, this may or may not come as a surprise: Around 40 million Americans exist in a sexless marriage. 

This is troubling to hear, especially given the consequences that arise from lack of sex and general intimacy inside a marriage. What’s going on, and how can we fix this? 

Let’s start from the beginning.

New Relationships are Exciting

For many, thinking back to the beginning of their current relationship (or any of their relationships really) there’s something almost all of them have in common: a lot of sex. 

Because it’s so frequent and good, there’s nothing to discuss, except how awesome it is.  For most couples, the decline in frequency is a slow erosion, so it’s not really that noticeable—until it’s virtually non-existent.

What Happened to the Sex?

There’s a lot that goes into cohabiting and building a family. For the most part, couples are good at communicating their expectations surrounding shared household duties, child-rearing ideals, and financial goals. 

Yet, discussing sex and what those expectations look like, as well as what each partner needs from the other to “get in the mood,” can feel awkward and uncomfortable. As life gets busier, sex is usually the first thing to go. Rather than discuss the situation, it can feel much easier to just avoid it. Brush it off by vaguely alluding to a headache, or feigning sleep. 

And for some, the larger the gap in frequency, the harder it is to rekindle that intimacy and get going.

Why is it a Problem?

There are many issues that stem from a sex-starved marriage. One of them being that the person with the low-libido is the person in control, and the other partner may feel lonely and cast aside. At first, they may have approached the situation with openness and vulnerability, but after repeatedly being shut down or it leading to an argument, they settle into anger and resentment instead. Both of those are extremely damaging to a relationship. 

As the connection fades,  so does communication...It’s also a problem because sex and intimacy are one of the key ways couples have of bonding. It’s something special they share with each other.  As that dissipates, it leads to feelings of being unwanted, unattractive, and both suffer from the loss of connection.

As the connection fades, so does communication, the desire to spend time together, and from there the friendship itself dissolves. 

Many couples in this predicament usually think that the only way to fix it is through divorce. 

What is the Solution? 

The solution is simple: have sex. Yet obviously, if it really were that simple, more people would be ‘doing it,’ so to speak. Many couples need help crossing the chasm and improving their connection and ability to have good conversations are just as important to develop that connection again.  

In her passionate Ted Talk on the subject, Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW highlights 3 key components to making sex a regular part of a relationship:

Number 1 is communication. We need to know how our partners feel connected to us, and what kind of intimacy they’re seeking. 

Number 2 it’s critical that the importance of sex in a relationship doesn’t get dismissed or glossed over as some biological wiring, something easily discounted and overridden. Sex and intimacy play a big part in the health and well-being of a relationship.

Number 3 when you understand your partner’s way of connecting, make space for it. 

In her talk Michelle mentioned something she’s been told so many times, and perhaps you can relate. She stated that she’s heard “I wasn’t in the mood at the time, but once we got going, my body began to respond, and it was incredible” enough times to boldly make this assertion: people enjoy sex.

Trauma, Pain, & Other Barriers to Sex

Of course, there are many other factors that impede sex drive which span far beyond the usual fatigue and not feeling in the mood. Trauma, betrayal and physical pain are a few of many complex situations that curtail intimacy.

For situations such as those—or for couples seeking to rekindle intimacy, ASAP—therapy is an excellent resource. No matter what the issue, a licensed therapist is just the expert you need to work through the challenges and find a safe, loving, mutually beneficial way of becoming intimate with your partner once more. 

For couples seeking to rekindle intimacy, ASAP—therapy is an excellent resourceAt the Relationship Therapy Center, we offer both couples and individual counseling in Roseville and Fair Oaks as well as online throughout California. Our skilled team of experts are here to support you through whatever challenges you face. We understand this can be a tricky taboo subject to broach, and are here to help you navigate through with kindness, compassion, and utmost professionalism. 

If your relationship could benefit, give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you have, and share more about how we can help.

Begin Sex Therapy in the Sacramento Area:

If you are ready to regain intimacy in your relationship, sex therapy with a couples counselor at The Relationship Therapy Center can help. Our compassionate therapists want to help you and your partner feel comfortable being passionate with each other again. We are here to help support you in your relationship journey. To begin sex therapy at our counseling clinic in the Sacramento, CA area or online, please follow these steps:

  1. Contact our therapy center to learn more about sex therapy.
  2. Make an appointment with one of our Gottman trained sex therapists.
  3. Find healing in your relationship and regain intimacy with your loved one.

Other Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to sex therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones heal and grow.