We saw this Elle article on sexless marriage and thought you might be interested. Plus, we wanted to put in our two cents! In our practice, we see sexless marriages or marriages in which one person has a much higher drive than the other quite often (and it’s not always men who have the higher drive). While it is true that there are small minority of couples out there who have found happiness in a sexless marriage, more often than not, either one of them or both are not happy with the arrangement. While the article talks about the causes and the question of contentment within a sexual marriage, it doesn’t talk about effective ways out if the couple isn’t happy with it. What we have found is that most couples don’t realize that keeping sex alive means being proactive, communicative and open to change and novelty.
We recently saw a couple in a sexless marriage who complained “we went to other sex therapists who gave us homework that we never did and then we just ended up quitting.” Just talking has very little effect on people’s sexual connection. To help this couple (and many others) find the spark again, we worked experientially, with everything from kissing practice to communicating about their deepest fantasies. Communicating, however, wasn’t enough. We then had them practice with touch, tone of voice, what each person wanted to hear and how to pump up intensity. If you want to make your sex life last a lifetime, you can’t just shoot for “good enough”, you have to shoot for the moon, and create an atmosphere where there can be ongoing playfulness, passion and creativity.
I can relate in a big way to this topic. I have only recently decided that I don’t want to be the poster boy for Insanity–you know, doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.
So I’ve enlisted experts to help me–instead of living in my head and suppressing my sexuality. Choosing who is best equipped handle this daunting task came almost by accident while reading the comments to the Elle article.
I am just beginning this new, seemingly scary and unknown journey … but I’ve found courage and kindness to accompany me. Blessings.
Married 40 plus years and 25 without sex. I have E/D and other medical issues which started early in my life. Wife still interested in intimacy and sex. As far as I’m concerned she has lived with the situation this long alittle while longer won’t hurt her. She could have moved on and that would be fine with me. I can’t perform any longer and If I could I wouldn’t. I just really don’t care any more. Even when we were able to have sex it was like laying on a board with a hole in it. So I’m very thankful for my E/D and other problems.
We read your post a few times and felt we wanted to respond to your feelings. We had some understanding and compassion for both you and your wife – she is interested in sex and intimacy, yet you feel dispassionate about sex with her – it was not a good experience for you and you have made a decision to not continue. We have a lot of thoughts on this, so we decided to list them here:
— Congratulations on your decision to do what you feel is best. However, do you feel that you are doing this entirely for yourself or out of a spiteful reaction to bad sex?
— We encourage you to expand your sexual practice to not just your wife. Fantasy, masturbation, and flirting, or just bringing sexual energy out in the world do not have to end just becuase you’re in a relationship. Some people in your situation successfully negotiate non-monogamy.
— Many clients of ours – once they realize that they never have to have sex with their partner again – also realize shortly thereafter that this freedom allows them to re-explore their relationship with their partner, their communication of their needs and also a self-reflection: what do you really want?
— We also encourage you to ask your wife what is important for her to receive from sex and intimacy with you. Is it something she can have elsewhere and yet still stay commited to you? Is it something that she needs from you to stay connected and committed to you? Is it intercourse or just some eye contact and touch?
— If you feel no desire to be committed or connected with her, then we would ask you to look at why you are in relationship with her. Do you feel a strong sense of loyalty, or purpose from your marriage, is it a habit or do you feel that you won’t be able to find anyone else? We can only guess at these questions, but if you begin a journey, as you have, into finding what you do and do not want, you should look as deep as you can. You owe it to yourself!
Celeste and Danielle