Sex has always been an integral part of marriage and has been so for as long as man has walked the earth. Sex is both an act for procreation and a bonding activity. A healthy sexual relationship in the marriage leads to a healthy marriage in general. However, not all marriages enjoy a fulfilling sexual experience. In fact, there are quite a few married couples that are having little or no sex at all in their marriage.
Though most will not admit it openly, it remains a problem in our society and a common cause for divorce. Today, a high percentage of married couples seek divorce due to a lack of intimacy, and that number is on the rise. Other issues arising from lack of sex include emotional disconnection and, in worse case scenarios, infidelity. So when is it right to walk away from a sexless relationship? This is a question asked by many sexless couples. In this article, we will attempt to throw more light on the issues involved in sexless marriages.
How many Sexless marriages end in divorce?
You may be wondering how many sexless marriages end in divorce or what percentage of divorces are due to a lack of sex. The answer to these questions is not clear cut due to lack of sufficient and accurate data. This is because many estranged couples are not be willing to reveal all the reasons for their decision to seek a divorce, especially if it pertains to sex. However, Psychology Today, in one of their studies, revealed that about half of contracted marriages end in divorce due to a lack of sexual intimacy.
50% is a huge number and should be a cause for concern for relationship experts. Why are couples not having sex as much as they should or even not having sex at all?
Why some married couples are not having sex
There are many reasons why a married couple may stop having sex, even though they’re legally married and living under the same roof. The following are some of the main reasons why:
#1. A low sex drive
Low sex drive (libido) is one of the most common factors for lack of sex in marriages. Some individuals have very little interest in having sex, and this may not be due to any underlying medical conditions. They just don’t feel like having as much sex as their partner wants. This is one of the major causes of fights and arguments in many heterosexual relationships that leads to divorce for married couples.
#2. Emotional Disconnection
Emotional disconnection or a lack of emotion is another factor. Sex is both a physical and emotional activity. If it is nonexistent, sexual intimacy becomes a chore at best, and in worse case scenarios, a torturous activity. The longer this emotional disconnection persists, the wider the void between the couple becomes, which may eventually end in permanent separation.
#3. Poor Communication
Some people feel too shy to talk about sex. In some cultures, it is even perceived as a taboo for women to discuss it with their husbands. Even in some Western societies, the fear of being viewed as promiscuous deters many from communicating their unsatisfied desires to their partner. Poor communication, or a lack of it, is not healthy for any relationship, much less a marriage.
#4. Medical issues
This is an obvious factor. Medical issues not only negatively affect libido, but also inhibits physical and sexual performance. Taking medications like antidepressants has been known to affect the sexual drive of some people who use them. Hormonal issues can also affect sexual intimacy.
#5. Physical or mental disability
A once healthy individual may become sexually unavailable after sustaining severe injuries from an accident. Sex is an act requires the involvement of two parties. If one is able and the other isn’t, the act becomes impossible.
When individuals age, their bodies start to change in many ways. They develop new interests and lose enthusiasm for old ones. As humans, we can never predict what effect aging will have on us, physical or psychological. Women, for instance, experience a drop in estrogen levels. For both the male and the female sex, a drop in testosterone is possible. Vagina dryness in old women and erectile dysfunction in old men are other consequences of aging. For some, old age leads to sexual confidence, while for others, a drop in confidence or loss of interest is possible.
#7. Having and taking care of children
Women experience changes during and after pregnancy that may affect their sex drive. Also, the pressure of taking care of kids can reduce the amount of time a couple spends together. And when they do spend time together, they may be physically drained and unable to perform as optimally as they should, leading to an unquenched desire from the experience.
Types of Sexless Marriages
Before we address when to walk away from a sexless marriage, it is important that we point out the different types of Sexless marriages. Not all marriages are the same, so attributing the same fix to all couples battling sexual intimacy issues is not a wise approach. The following are some of the different kinds of sexless marriages:
· Little or no sexual intimacy: A drop or absence of intimacy may lead to a change in attitude about sex. Rather than one partner seeing the other as a sexually attractive being, they may begin to see them as a roommate and nothing more.
· Little or no sexual intercourse: This is an extreme case that may eventually lead to divorce if left unresolved. Participating in oral sex, for instance, is a sexual activity, but it is incomplete without intercourse. Couples who are not having intercourse are essentially not having sex.
· Lack of sexual interest: Sexual interest elicits sexual intercourse, so a lack of interest will most likely lead to no sex at all. And if it does, it is painful for the other partner who may still be interested in engaging in it.
· Poor sexual performance: This is a common issue many couples have in their relationships. Boring and mechanical sex affects the level of interest and anticipation.
How long do sexless marriages last?
No one can place a finger on how long a sexless marriage lasts, due to a lack of data. There are couples who remain in sexless marriages for other reasons, despite the lack of sex. Family commitment holds more value to certain individuals than others, and for those individuals, remaining in their sexless marriages is worth the sacrifice.
Can a Sexless relationship survive?
Although, at the start of this article, we sighted a study that stated that about 50% of Sexless marriages end in divorce, a sexless marriage can survive, and many have been known to survive, despite the challenges posed by a lack of sex. If you are currently in a sexless marriage, do take comfort in the fact of knowing that yours can survive if you and your spouse are willing to put in the work to revive your sexual fire. Constant verbal communication, complimenting your partner, and seeking expert help, if necessary, are some of the steps both of you can take to resolve the problem.
When to walk away from a Sexless Marriage
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a sexless marriage, there is a lot you and your spouse can do to improve your sex life. Seeking expert help and trying new techniques are some of the ways to rekindle sex in your marriage. However, if the problem cannot be resolved, you may choose to end the marriage. That decision should be yours, and should be agreed upon by both you and your partner. When to walk away from a sexless marriage should be considered after factoring in the following:
· Your spouse is not interested in addressing the problem
Discussing the issue with your spouse and taking joint steps to resolve the problem is very important if both of you still value the relationship. Before you consider ending the marriage, take the time to communicate your unhappiness, and seek commitment from your spouse in addressing the underlying causes. Don’t be in a hurry to conclude that your partner is not interested in working on your marriage. You can’t know that for sure until you have initiated an open and honest discussion with him or her about it.
If you have done this time and time again and you’ve been met with disinterest or even scorn, you will then be justified to walk away from the marriage. Getting a divorce is an honorable thing to do instead of engaging in conjugal infidelity outside of the marriage.
· If there are several other underlying issues
If a lack of sex is not the only cause for concern in your marriage, you may want to call it quits. A toxic relationship is bad for both couples, especially the victim. Nagging, constant criticism, emotional and physical abuse, and violent reactions to disagreements are some of the underlying issues that have no place in a healthy marriage. Other underlying issues like infidelity and financial irresponsibility are reasons why an individual may decide to walk away from a sexless marriage, besides the lack of sex itself.
· Your sexual needs are too wide and far apart
If your spouse has a sexual fetish that you find repulsive and incomprehensible, there is not much you can do about that. Being sexually adventurous can be a good thing if it leads to a very healthy sex life for both of you. But a sexual addiction or practice is a different thing entirely. If your spouse prefers kinky sex, like anal sex, and you are opposed to it, this may lead to tension and other disagreements in your marriage. Living with a gay partner, if you are heterosexual, is another example of your needs being far apart from that of your partner.
Furthermore, if you are not sexually attracted to your partner or if your partner is open to the idea of an open marriage and you are not, there isn’t much you can do to change his or her mind.
A sexless marriage is an unhappy marriage full of unhealthy energy that no couple should have to go through. Working to resolve the issues in your sexual marriage is going to take a lot of commitment from you and your spouse, but it is something both of you can pull off if you are both sincere about the purpose. However, if your needs are not the same, and there is no room for mutually inclusive change, then when to walk away from the sexless marriage will be up to you.