Should I Leave My Sexless Marriage?

Advice from YourTango about what to do when the love is still there but the sex has left the building.

This article originally appeared at YourTango.

When you said your wedding vows, was there anything about a sex quota? Probably not. Still, if you and your spouse have stopped having sex, you may wonder if that gives you the green light to leave him. Help! My Husband Won’t Stop Badgering Me For Sex VIDEO

In this video, psychologist, sex therapist and YourTango Expert Dr. Megan Fleming discusses what to do when sex with your spouse goes from regular to hardly ever.

“We all are entitled to feel pleasure in our bodies,” says Megan. So, if your sex life has slowed down, she encourages you to examine when the shift occurred. Perhaps there’s some problem underlying the change in your relationship.



Want more advice? Check out the video above!


More from YourTango:

7 Sex Positions Men Love

How To Have Anal Sex For The First Time

How To Have Phone Sex: Tips For Beginners


Photo—A young couple in bed from Shutterstock

About YourTango

YourTango Experts was born out of the idea that in order to be the premier advice site on the web, YourTango would need to bring together the smartest and brightest voices in the love and relationships community. And while our staff includes brilliant leaders, authors, and entrepreneurs, it's you, the Experts, who make YourTango Experts so unique and special. Together, we bring a little more joy and a lot of expertise to the otherwise frustrating quest for love and happiness.


  1. My husband of 47 years has avoided me since our wedding night. We did have sex once and I can’t even remember it. I really don’t know if I like sex.
    He hated sex, intimacy, love and I found this out after we were married. Maybe he didn’t realize that he hated sex. We were both virgins when first married, we did kiss and hold hands, nothing else ever happened. The first sex was a disaster he told me how disgusting, smelly. messy, sticky and how miserable it made him feel. It was like he dirtied himself and pointless and vile sex was. Just talking about made him throw up, He decided he was going to move to our basement, build an apartment so that him and I never interact. All these years he has lived in the basement and worked the mid night shift.. I visit my shrink every two weeks and work when I can find work. Now in my upper 60’s and have totally given up on husband and life . Just letting time go by and one day it will be over, that may be a good thing.

  2. Two books worth reading….
    ISBN: 978-0425222577
    ISBN: 978-0062026064

  3. Copyleft says:

    If you’ve got a good relationship that you value in every regard but sex, then stay in it and get your sex elsewhere, with full notification and consent of all parties involved. Problem solved.

    • Terence Manuel says:

      Usually, the other party is not going to grant consent. Problem not solved.

      Now what?

      • Copyleft says:

        THEN you can see that the relationship won’t work and it’s time to end it.

        Denial of sex is cheating just as much as getting sex outside the relationship is.

        • Brilliant analysis. I wonder if the court and custody decisions will take that into consideration.

  4. I think the prevalence of the notion that it’s mostly men who feel they are in sexless marriages makes it even more difficult for we women who are.

    Culturally speaking, we’re raised to expect our male mates to want sex a lot. Or with at least more frequency than we do.

    Imagine getting married, and that not happening. Imagine being the one, from the start, who has always been the instigator of sex. Imagine every time you have sex, the sex is, basically, for him. (he lies back, while you do him on top). Imagine him never giving you oral sex, or seducing you, or pushing you up against a wall and telling you he wants you.

    Now, imagine that before you married him, you knew he was able to act in assertive ways like this with other women online. And you married him regardless (your mistake) and have, in your heart, the knowledge that your husband *does not want you sexually.* (and yes, you’ve worked hard to keep your body in shape as much as possible).

    To add complication, imagine that otherwise, this man meets almost all your needs & desires. He is a wonderful friend. A good critic when you need a kick in the rear. A supporter when you need it, too. Funny, endearing, sweet, kind.

    You put that all together in context, and nothing is black and white. There is no stay or leave. It becomes very complicated when you decide one day to face within yourself you knowingly married a man who has not expressed sexual desire toward you, and now, 8 years later, claims libido issues. And yet, most other things are good each day.

    The issue of whether to stay or leave no longer becomes a clear cut question. You think to yourself that if he does something to “Trigger” you leaving (e.g. visiting a prostitute) you go. But otherwise? It’s not so clear. You could leave ,and find the sex you want elsewhere, but is giving all the rest up that is good worth it?

    • Terence Manuel says:

      @Amanda. Wow! Very difficult situation indeed. Your anguish and frustration is quite evident.

      Btw, what is his excuses? Is he having an affair? Well, a lot of married women are cheating due to a lack of good sex…..

      I was in you situation, exactly. My ex-wife lost interest in sex with me. She was not even 40 and we were having sex once a month. I went through this for over 10 years. Finally, I had enough and in the last two years my resentment and anger was so high I would not even allow her to touch me.

      The problem/dilemma for you is those “most other things are good each day” can disappear if he decides to quit. Men just don’t turn down sex. Something else is at work with him. Either he has ED or he has another woman or man. A man with a healthy libido and all else is well is going to have sex.


      • Terance, with all due respect you’re doing an incredible amount of projecting in this thread.

        YOUR ex wife had a particular problem and it becomes “Women are not suited to marriage.” YOU wouldn’t turn down sex and that turns into “Men don’t turn down sex.”

        There are, in fact, men who have low sex drive or even none. Many of these men feel ashamed of it because the societal expectation is that men want sex all the time. Amanda’s husband may, in fact, not understand himself why he doesn’t want to have sex with her, because he doesn’t want to admit to his own lack of libido. He might cultivate relationships online with other women because he can pretend to have cyber sex in an online relationship, without actually being required to have sex.

        We just don’t have enough information to know what’s going on, other than as Amanda said, not everything is black and white.

    • Amanda, I read your whole comment nodding. I’ve been where you are — and I heard a very wise person once call what your husband is doing to you “emotional violence”. I think that’s exactly right. By denying you the intimacy, affection and sex that you need — these are all basic, human needs for most people! — when he knows that he is the ONLY person who can give this things to you (if you are to remain faithful), he is inflicting great mental and emotional damage on you.
      Believe me, I get it when you say that everything else is great. But you didn’t sign on for a platonic roommate — and after 8 years, it’s only getting worse? I don’t know if you realise how desperately miserable your comment sounds.
      You’re right — no choice is easy. But you DO have choices! You do have power.
      If you want to talk, email me. (Please, no one else email me.)
      And no, I’m not crazy enough to put my real name here….

  5. Seeking female advice. Why do so many wifes resort to penis size put downs at the end of a marriage? Just to inflict hurt and destruction? Are there any limits to a wife’s vengence ? After nealy 30 yr. marriage wife shocked the ___ out of me by stating: ….’if you think your small ___ is why I married you, ……”. Now I have the ruler out and wonder…. Trying to cope with this shocker after all these years …it is hard to even type this post. Any advice? How do we repair the marriage or even maintain a friendship ? Verbal and physical abuse is pervasive and accepted in today’s culture. TV sitcoms and movies show kicks to the groin and slaps to the face of male actors without any uproar from the public. Grey’s Anatomy season ended with each male lead actor being slapped by a female lead in the final 30 min. The wife of Tiger Woods is widely admired in the press and on talk shows for the obvious assult she committed and will not be prosecuted. What protection do males have from verbal and physical abuse in a marriage when the culture has made it an acceptable joke?

    • Sounds like she was probably just trying to be as hurtful as possible by telling you that your penis is small. She knew you would obsess about it. What can I say, people can be mean and petty sometimes.

    • Yeah, I agree with Sarah. There are some women who will say that as a “default insult” when they just want to say what they think is the most hurtful thing they could say to a man. I certainly wouldn’t take it seriously – honestly, most women pay far less attention to their man’s dick size than men do, and it doesn’t even occur to us to judge men by their penis size or give much thought to it. But it’s unacceptable. Forgivable? Said in the heat of years of pent up anger? Probably. Acceptable? No. If you want to maintain any kind of relationship with her, the discussion needs to start by letting her know that what she said wasn’t acceptable and any further conversation would need to begin and end with mutual respect. If she doesn’t apologize for what she said, it obviously there’s nothing left to discuss. But I’m guessing she was simply really angry with you and searching for something really wounding to say, and wasn’t imaginative enough to come up with anything better than the ol’ standby “small dick” comment.

      As for popular culture, it’s toxic for everyone, men and women. Turn off your TV!

  6. FisherKing says:

    I tried very hard to save my marriage, which turned sexless virtually immediately. My wife learned she was infertile after our honeymoon and that was pretty much the death knell right there. Sex became less and less frequent, and was pretty joyless in the event. Then it stopped completely. No amount of talking face-to-face, writing (her suggestion), arguing, wooing or begging made the slightest difference. She refused absolutely to seek counselling. She told me outright that this was not a temporary problem caused by her diagnosis but something I just had to come to terms with. Impossible! In the end she wanted a divorce, and it was apparently all my fault. She got her wish.

    Patronising advice to suck it up, and notions that a healthy sex-drive equates to immaturity, are at best unhelpful. People are different. If you are happy without sex, then bully for you, but do not presume to judge those who are not. It is true that marriage has many dimensions, but sex is most certainly one of them. Sexual frustration is not something you just have to accept, and can lead to depression, stress, isolation, low self-esteem, and who knows what else. One can crave both ordinary domestic humdrum life, and regular exciting physical intimacy with one’s partner. These are not mutually exclusive ideas.

    Should you leave? Not at the first sign of trouble. But, when all else fails, definitely yes. Everyone has the right to be happy.

    • Nobody said they were “happy without sex,” or that a healthy sex drive equates to immaturity. You didn’t read my post very carefully if that’s what you think it was saying.

      It’s obvious that you and your ex had problems beyond the lack of sex – she was not honest with you about her intentions. She might not have even been honest with herself about it, and she obviously wasn’t willing to explore the issue at all. That’s not a real partnership.

      My point was that in a long term relationship there are going to be periods of time where the sex might not be all that, and if there is all this constant pressure to have an amazing sex life all the time, IMO that actually makes it worse. Whereas if you do other things to keep the relationship alive and not expect sex to be the be-all end-all all the time, that actually can result in a better sex life over the long term, because it’s sex based on real intimacy and trust. That’s a far cry from somebody telling you flat out that they never want sex and that it’s not a temporary problem and they won’t discuss it anymore.

      • FisherKing says:

        And what if, despite doing all this great non-sexual stuff, which I agree about, your life remains in the toilet? The marriage was my second long term relationship with long term sexual frustration. There will not be third. My needs are reasonable. It is absolutely not the case that a need for physical intimacy is a “retreat into some more superficial version of sex and romance”. The topic is sexless marriages: you are describing something else, something I would like to have.

        • Well once again I think you’re reading some things into my post that I didn’t say. I’ve already agreed that I don’t think your marriage was worth saving, because your wife wouldn’t address the issue honestly and was not willing to consider your desires at all. And I don’t think that a need for physical intimacy is, in itself, a retreat into a more superficial version of sex and romance.

          I’m referring to a specific kind of attitude toward sex and/or romance that seems, to me, to lead to a lot of sexless marriages. And I think some of it does have to do with the usual gender roles. Men are conditioned not to express too much emotion, but sexual expression is considered acceptable. So a lot of men rely on sex to express intimacy, which puts a LOT of weight and expectation on sex, for both partners. It seems like many men, if they don’t get sex on any given day, feel as if their primary mode of expression has been cut off, which only adds to their general frustration and feelings of rejection besides just being horny. And then the woman feels this constant pressure and it’s a turn off, which means she starts to have even less sexual desire. After a long time of this cycle repeating itself, I can easily see the desire dwindling down to nothing. I’m not saying this is what happened to you – I have no idea obviously, since I don’t know you – but it’s just a pattern I’ve seen a lot. It does happen the other way too (women who similarly define their worth in the relationship by their ability to turn their partner on), but just saying that the accepted gender roles to this point seem to have set up a lot of situations like this.

          Meanwhile there are also still a lot of women who’ve been conditioned to feel ashamed about enjoying sex on some level, and who’ve bought into the movie/romance novel version of what intimacy means, and expect that of their partner. Both of these attitudes are, IMO, superficial and immature, even though they speak to needs that are real. Having a real need and desire isn’t what makes it that way, it’s how you handle your needs in the context of the relationship.

        • The Wet One says:

          Errr… Fisherking, it’s called paying for it. That way lies happiness of a sort. Of course, if you could have the sexless wife, plus pay for play and the ability to afford it, you have the best of all worlds. A loving wife and a blazing sex life. Of course, as structured, marriage really isn’t designed to merge these two, but the accepted lie is that this is possible.

          Quit living a lie. Seize the life that you want. No one is going to give it to you.

          That said, I wonder in trepidation about these things too as I contemplate marriage myself. What on earth am I getting myself into? Thankfully, due to aging, it seems my sex drive is quickly dying off. But then, what am I going to burden my future wife with? That doesn’t seem very bloody right does it? Of course, she’s the one who’s keen on marriage. Me, it depends on the day. However, I do want her in my life for all the days to come so what do I do? Follow the path of folly set out by our forefathers and mothers or do something else? It seems that I’m not left much choice in the matter…

          So it goes…

      • I don’t disagree that a relationship is built on non-sexual things and emotional intimacy as well.

        Physical intimacy is important in a relationship and sure there may be times or extenuating circumstances where physical intimacy is just not possible. No one that I’ve seen is arguing that.

        The reality with my one a month sex relationship is that the minute my partner decided to not have sex it was a unilateral decision. This was not a mutually agreed up on circumstance. This was not an extenuating circumstance. That was one individual in a partnership making a decision that affected both of us with absolutely no consideration with how it affected me or the relationship. It’s pretty hard to respect a partner that does that and not resent them. Not to mention what it does to one’s emotions to be at the receiving end of that kind of thing. Kind of hard to trust someone who pulls the rug out from under you or who literally will stand there while you beg for intimacy and then say no he’s not in the mood. And I don’t know how it is for men who were in the position I was in but when the mood hit once a month being relegated to blow up doll status. A simple place to deposit his need… How could I ever trust someone like that. What started as a beautiful relationship ended very badly because of the lack of communication about physical intimacy on the front end and the sudden dramatic, unilateral decision to go down to once a month for me.

        You can’t build any intimacy in a relationship or not have the other positives chipped away if you are not on the same general wave length with physical intimacy. The partner refusing will feel forced in to sex and resent it. The partner begging will feel dehumanized and not valued in the relationship unless it’s mutually agreed upon. There is no getting around the fact that physical intimacy has some importance to many people in relationships. I’m excluded the asexual crowd of course.

        • Terence Manuel says:

          @Kat….You are so correct. I experienced the same. I deeply empathize with you.

          As a man, it seems that we men experience this far more often than women. Why just read some of the comments by the women above. The central them is “we love sex, but are not in the mood often.” I just cannot understand it. Is it an illness? Are too many women on psychological meds in America? I don’t know. But something is terribly wrong.

          Many men express intimacy through sex. However, the vast majority of women do not believe this fact. They feel men desire “sex for the sake of sex.” Most women simply readily dismiss this notion.

          As you correctly pointed out, no one wants to beg their partner for sex. No one wants to have sex with someone who is not interested. It is a no win situation. But sex is a biological need. It has clear health benefits.

          The worst aspect of all of this is the de-humanizing impact it has on the partner. Women constantly complain about poor treatment by men. Much of these complaints are in fact warranted. But, what about the men who treat women with respect and as a human beings? Often we are treated like doormats. So, why bother you ask yourself.

          A lot of American men are turning to women from different countries and cultures. I do not believe that is the proper way to go. We have to resolve the issues. Yes, many of these women are much better partners and lovers. But, I cannot blame them to be honest. Especially if the man is really a great guy who treats women well, respectfully, and appreciates women. Why should a man have to beg for sex and endure sexless marriages?

          We Americans need to get ride our wacky hangups over sexuality.

          • Terence, I think you misinterpreted my earlier comments. I love sex, I have a sex drive, and I can get very turned on, but it is unfortunately the case that my libido has slipped. So has my boyfriend’s. We’re in our 40’s. We both have some minor health problems (I get migraines and have neck pain from a protruding disk in my neck, he has sciatica). That puts a damper on things sometimes. I’m not on anti-depressants. We have sex twice a week, sometimes 3 times a week. I’d actually be happy to have more sex because the more sexual we are on a day to day basis, the sexier I feel. When we go several days without sex, it takes more effort to get myself going again (that’s a big change from when I was younger, when desire built up over time). We are still very attracted to each other, but after awhile, sex can start to be too routine. You have to work at keeping it fun and interesting. I can understand how couples can end up im a sexless relationship if they don’t work at it and communicate. It takes two to tango.

            • Trevor Jones says:

              Twice and sometimes three times a week??? To me that’s quite a good lot! Like you I’m in my forties and I consider myself very lucky with my ordinary once a week. I guess it’s just the way life went for me. Before meeting the woman who’s been with me the last fifteen years (married the last ten) I would have definitely appreciated, as a single young man, sex once a month (no college banging, i’m afraid). My long term relationship has meant getting more often and better sex and marriage had a lot to do with that, as we didn’t live together before, even though we didn’t wait for sex until marriage.On the other hand, parenting three children ranged form 8 to 2 years old, leaves us too tired for more sex. So in my case it’s not true that marriage means less sex. Just sharing.

          • In other words, anybody who doesn’t have the same sex drive you do has a mental illness or a hangup? LOL… I think I’m starting to see why you haven’t been too successful in the relationship department. I could just as easily say that you have a mental illness because you want too much sex. The fact of the matter is, people have different sex drives (both men and women do) and it also changes over the course of our lives. This is something that in a long term relationship you are GOING to have to deal with, both in yourself and your partner. The likelihood of meeting someone who has the same sex drive as you do when you meet and continues to have the exact same sex drive over your entire lifetime is not very high. But that doesn’t mean your life has to be hell because of it!

            I do believe and understand that many men express intimacy through sex. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think you also need to cultivate intimacy through other means than sex, because otherwise (as I mentioned above) sex takes on an outsized role in your life. You end up putting too much dependency on sex to fulfill other needs in your life and then it puts an awful lot of pressure on your partner, on any given day, to have sex with you in order to feel intimate. And after awhile, that becomes a chore and a turnoff. I have a healthy sex drive and I believe sex strengthens intimacy and takes it to new levels. But I couldn’t be with someone who can only express intimacy through sex, and has little or no ability to “sublimate” their sex drive and channel their sexual energy into other things. Life and love are too complex and varied and ever changing for me to ever limit myself in that way.

            • Terence Manuel says:

              “I think I’m starting to see why you haven’t been too successful in the relationship department.”

              I don’t desire another relationship since my divorce. i have two friends with benefits. These women are well educated professional who simply do not care for marriage or any long term relationships. Things work just great with them.

              I did not mean to imply all women with low libido were sick, on drugs or had hangups. There is one thing for certain about us Americans though; we are some really sexually repressed people. I have lived abroad and dating women from South America. They have a much much more relaxed attitude about sex. Sex is appreciated and respected as a loving and pleasureful experience.

            • JustAMan says:

              “I do believe and understand that many men express intimacy through sex. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think you also need to cultivate intimacy through other means than sex,”

              In other words, LF to partner: I love you. Now change.

              Why? Who are you to tell another human being how to feel?

              • Wow… projecting much?

                I don’t ask anyone to change. If I have to explain to a guy what the benefits of emotional intimacy are, there’s no way I’m going to be attracted to him to begin with.

                And I’m certainly not “telling anyone how to feel.” It’s advice, that’s all – you can take it or leave it. But it seems to me that sex alone, at some point, doesn’t cut it in terms of expressing intimacy, and one needs other tools in the toolbox. If it’s working for you, more power to ya, but I doubt it will work that well for your whole life and then you may wish you had some other skills.

          • And just to elaborate further, Terance – I go through times when I don’t feel like having sex for a month, and other times where twice a day doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t feel that either situation is abnormal, but simply that sex drive (or lack of it) stems from a lot of different things – hormones, emotional state, extenuating life circumstances, age, etc. And sure, if I’m in a “dry spell” and have a partner who isn’t, or vice versa, I’ll do my best to accommodate him. But really, some of the best sex I’ve had is after it’s been awhile since the last time. I think a little pent up libido can be good, especially if you and your partner are doing other things in the interim to build up the anticipation. Maybe one or both of you are really busy and wouldn’t be able to have sex with much intensity if you did, or you just can’t make it a priority for awhile, but in the meantime you do other nice things like give each other backrubs, cuddle on the couch or in bed after a tough day, cook each other meals or whatever. And if that’s going on for a couple of weeks or a month and then you have sex? Mind blowing. Calling that an illness? Wow. I wouldn’t miss that experience for anything.

            • time enough for love? says:

              Can’t or won’t make it a priority for a while? When my SO isn’t into sex, I guarantee she’s spending time on other things that also don’t need to be priorities all the time, for a month or so. If someone’s got time to backrub, cuddle or cook… there’s probably time for sex.

              During a dry spell, I stop getting horny when I think of sex and instead I get angry.

              • Well it’s not just a matter of having time. I like to be completely engaged in sex, physically and emotionally, and I don’t know any man who wouldn’t prefer his partner to be totally into it and not just going through the motions to please him (not that I don’t ever do that, but it’s just not as good for either of us).. Sometimes, what I need in order to recharge the sexual batteries is not more sex, it’s other stuff that isn’t quite so intense, and then when we do have sex it’s that much more special and more intense. It’s not just a question of finding some spare moment to have sex…lol.

                You get angry when you think of sex during a dry spell? That’s kind of a problem.

                • time enough for love? says:

                  Yeah, it’s a problem. It sucks. Though I certainly don’t mean “angry” in any violent sense of the word. Maybe resentful would be a better word. Because I resent the hell out having entrusted an important part of my life to one person who doesn’t seem to be that interested in it.

              • Terence Manuel says:

                Maybe harems are on their way back. No dry spells.

                • You say this, and that’s cool and all, then you claim that all women want lots of men and multiple partners adventures. So… are you cool with the women in your life having sex with others? Both parties getting harems?

                  • Terence Manuel says:


                    I have two friends with benefits. I do not know if there are other men or women. I have never asked.

                    Funny thing though; both have asked me if there was another woman. I told them the truth. Obviously, they are comfortable with this as I am still their friend.

                    We go out, go on dates etc. I genuinely like and care about them and their lives. I have known them for several years…. However, sex with them has been only for around a year and a half or so.

                    I also date and ask out other women. But, I have not engaged in sex with any except for my friends. I must know and be friends with a woman to sleep with her. No hookups, one night stands etc for me.

            • Terence Manuel says:

              “….And if that’s going on for a couple of weeks or a month and then you have sex? Mind blowing. Calling that an illness? Wow. I wouldn’t miss that experience for anything.”

              Good for you.

              I would not miss having sex for a week let alone a month. It’s all good. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.


        • Kat, I totally empathize and agree with what you’re saying but I think the same thing can happen in other (non sexual) areas too. That is, if a relationship is going downhill for whatever reason, it seems like sex is a convenient place to hide from the underlying issues and a lot of people do that (sounds like your partner did). It was awful of him not to consider your feelings, regardless whether it’s about sex or anything else. It was awful of him to spring that sudden change on you with no explanation, just like it was with FisherKing’s wife. A relationship like that is not worth saving. But I think my point is that the reason the relationships ended probably had little to do with sex and a lot more with people being selfish, not considering their partner’s desires, not being willing to work on the relationship. That was going to come out one way or another and it happened to come out in the bedroom. I think that’s the case a lot of the time.

          • I’m not arguing your point about the underlying issues of the relationship. Of course there were underlying issues in the relationship and the reality with every relationship is that those issues are often displayed in the emotional and/or physical intimacy in a relationship.

            I won’t over simplify my relationship and state that it ended because my partner wouldn’t put out. That would be crazy talking and it was pretty evident in my previous post that was not the sole reason that relationship ended. The fact that my partner decided suddenly to become a once a month sort of many was the catalyst for the systematic destruction of the rest of that relationship. If he didn’t like physical intimacy he should have said something on the front end and didn’t. I would guess many many women are like this or many women put out long enough to get the man and then it stops.

            I’m not always in the mood but I recognize the importance of physical intimacy in a relationship and it’s important to me which is something I discuss on the front end of relationships at this point. I’m wired more like Terence is in that respect. Some people aren’t wired for intimacy at all. Some need and give a lot of emotional intimacy and some of us need physical intimacy.

            I would and have ended other relationships based on incompatible sex drives even ones that involved a great deal of emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is that important to me. It is a expression it’s not just a physical act all the time to me (sometimes sure it is). To me telling my partner I’m to tired to be involved in physical intimacy roughly equates to if my partner came home having an emotional need and me saying “I’m sorry baby I’ve got cramps you’ll have ot handle it.” You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would be willing to put up with that level of emotional neglect all the time from the person who is supposed to love them.

            Some people (as I stated before) don’t have a high need for physical intimacy. Those people would be best suited to partner up with others who don’t have that need. People with a need for that should pair up with people who do have that need as well. But people on the front end to be honest about their need for that and their desire/ability to meet other’s needs. If someone has long dry spells they should put that out there from the get go of the sexual relationship. And if they don’t feel it’s important to be physically intimate during those dry spells they need to say that so then people like me and others who value that can make a choice which will better suit our own needs.

            • I like the way you compare and contrast the physical and emotional needs of people. I’ve put it to my own partner in a similar way. It frustrates me to no end that the emotional end of it is supposed to be “more mature” or some such shit. Especially when the physical side of it, at least for me is a pretty constant visceral need.

              I’d even go a step farther and ask what people mean when they write about “physical intimacy.” Is this a euphemism? Or a just a way of saying, this is how I feel needed, loved, etc? And I do get that intimate bit from sex.

              But, what I feel most missing from the sex in my relationship is the excitement and stimulation and wow of sex. Are we supposed to gloss over that and justify our needs in terms of intimacy, i.e. we’re two souls communing as spiritual partners, not just a couple of old pervs rubbing our dirty bits together because it’s awesome fun?

              • No, I don’t think it should be glossed over. It’s just that when you’re talking about sex in the context of a marriage or long term relationship, it’s not really possible to just rub your dirty bits together without that context being present. In other words, who you are to each other is always in the room, and that affects your sexual encounters, or lack of them. There’s no real getting around that.

                Now some people get around it by having one night stands or friends with benefits or whatever. They just don’t want to be burdened with all that subtext. But then of course there are other benefits to a long term relationship or marriage that people want, besides sex, and in fact if the relationship is well “cultivated” and there’s a lot of trust there, that can make the sex even better too. But it will never be context-less. The only question is whether it will have a positive or negative effect on your sex life – and as with most things subsconscious, if you try to ignore it or push it away, things usually get ugly.

                I don’t mean this to sound heavier than it is. I do believe that sex itself can be a healing force in relationships. And I do believe that sex can just be good awesome fun even after years of marriage. All I’m saying is that sex doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not a justification for anything, it’s just reality.

  7. The Wet One says:

    With respect to the article, I don’t think that people should leave their sexless marriages. Marriage, traditionally speaking, was about a whole lot of things. Sexual fulfillment and happiness were neither of those things.

    We expect to much of marriage. As such, we should experience the let downs of marriage for the rest of our lives as intended. That’s what “Till death do us part” means. Suck it up buttercups. If you wanted hot and sexy for the rest of your days, you would have decided to stay single and either say “Yes” if female and paid for it if male. Monogamy and “hot and sexy” do not go together for a variety of reasons. In general, that’s just the way it is. Getting married and expecting “hot and sexy” is like being a career bag boy at the grocery store expecting to become a billionaire. Possible, but not bloodly likely. I may be exagerating somewhat, but no married people I know have hot and sexy sex lives. Like everything else in marriage, sex is work. And you don’t even get paid for it!!!! Sigh…

    Call me cynical I suppose..

    The Wet One

    • I wouldn’t put it quite so cynically, but I agree with the general gist of what you say. The difference being that I don’t think it’s such a horrible thing. In a long term relationship there are a lot of things IMO that should take precedence over sex, and some people just can’t wrap their heads around that. They have what I’d say is a pretty immature attitude about sex and relationships. I agree, if you get married or have a long term partnership and expect the sex (or much else about the relationship for that matter) to be like it was the first 6 months of dating… well, you should probably stay single and change partners every 6 months. On the other hand, I don’t understand why anyone would do this, because to me there are so many more positives about the long term thing (including sexually), if you are open to them. And that, I think, is where a lot of people break down. Many people are scared of real intimacy and retreat into some more superficial version of sex and romance. Whereas to me, everyday life with someone is not scary or boring (it might be on any given day, but overall) – to me that’s when things start to get interesting.

  8. I lived with a once a month man when I decided that I didn’t want to do open relationships anymore. I have an active libido and once a month on Tuesday night just was not meeting my needs and like the one commenter I even stopped doing that because it was entirely too frustrating and begging for sex the rest of the month kind of ruined that one time for me.

    I’ve had good open relationships which started as open relationships after a very short period of monogamy. I don’t think that’s the answer to the sexless marriage but I do think actually talking about sex and expectations is absolutely necessary. There are lot of kinks and various sex drives. My once a month ex would do well with a once a month woman. I’ve met asexual people men and women who would be perfectly happy in asexual relationships. And of course higher libido people who need it more often. And I say talk I don’t mean hop into a bed and get into where to touch but that’s important too. I mean sit down and have a real conversation about expectations and needs and deal breakers.

  9. I am not married but I am in my 40’s and I’m in a long term relationship.

    I’ve always had a pretty strong sex drive, but my libido has taken a hit as I’ve gotten older. Sometimes I admit, sex is not as exciting as it used to be. My partner and I are not always in sync. When I’m really horny, he’s tired, and visa versa. I know it’s kind of a stereotype, but he really has an on-off switch while I’m like a dial. I need to have a little ongoing teasing and flirting to keep me interested all the time, while he can go from zero interest to 100% lustful in like 10 seconds. Also, having sex at exactly the same time in exactly the same way 3-4 times a week just feels like a chore to me. I want to experiement, I want different positions, I want to try new things. But he likes to do the stuff that always works. So there is frustration but we try to talk about it all the time and keep the lines of communication open. I realize that I have to be more assertive than I’m really comfortable with sometimes. I have to tell him “I want to do this, I want to try that” –which is a struggle for me because I have some inhibitions in that area. I want to have crazy exciting sex but it’s stressful to have to be the one coming up with creative ideas that he might shoot down, so sometimes I don’t bother and I just live with a feeling of frustration. Which isn’t fair to me or him. Again, our ability to communicate about sex is an ongoing process which we are both working on.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that women aren’t for marriage. You could just as easily argue that men aren’t suited for marriage. I think everyone has a tendency to get bored with the familiar and if you value your relationship, you both have to work n it.

    Personally I would never try an “open” relationship though. If you’ve reached that point, I think you should just admit the relationship is over. I think owe it to my partner, because of the love I feel for him, to work on having a great sex life and not just give up entirely and agree to have sex with other people.

    • Not to assume your health status, but I’ve heard that a small amount of testosterone can boost a woman’s libido quite a bit, especially in older women. When you say it’s reducing with age, is that from life weighing you down or could hormones have an effect?

      • I think it’s hormonal changes, probably. When I was in my 20’s, I thought about sex all the time. Now it just doesn’t cross my mind as much. I have to make a mental effort to get turned on; I have to consciously and intentionally think sexy thoughts. Sexy thoughts just don’t spring into my mind the way they used to. Don’t get me wrong, I still love sex, but things have definitely changed. Luckily, I do get in the mood, it just takes some effort sometimes.

        • I’m wondering if a booster of hormone/s would help? I’m wondering if it’s possible to go back to how it was?

          • Hormone replacement has downsides, alas, including higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease.

            • Indeed. Please, a little thought before suggesting a woman eat hormones chronically in order to have sex on a schedule that pleases someone else, whether the hormones are intended to boost libido or prevent pregnancy. They’re potent, systemic drugs.

        • Terence Manuel says:

          “Sexy thoughts just don’t spring into my mind the way they used to. Don’t get me wrong, I still love sex,…..”

          How do you love sex but sexy thoughts just don’t spring into your mind….? God, I tell you I will never understand women. That’s why I gave up years ago.

          I have friends with benefits. We always have sexy thoughts and sex. It’s all is good too!

          Life is Good!


          • Apart from the fact that women are all different individuals just like men are, it’s not hard to understand Sarah’s statement really. It just means that once she gets turned on, she still loves sex, but it takes more effort now for her to get turned on.

          • LF is correct, it’s not that I don’t get turned on anymore, it’s just that sex is not on my mind all the time like it was when I was younger. If I think about sex, I still get those sexy feelings. But they aren’t as spontaneous as they used to be. I don’t like this change in myself but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it. for what it’s worth, my boyfriend says his libido has slowed down too. What can I say, it sucks to get older.

            • Well consider yourselves fortunate if you both have slowed down and it’s not just one of you! 🙂 And that kind of speaks to what I was saying too – maybe it’s not really so bad getting older and prioritizing other areas of the relationship. Maybe your feelings that it sucks stem from societal expectations of what your sex life is “supposed” to be like vs. what it really is. And maybe the sex that you do have will be more awesome if you accept that it will be less frequent and don’t think it’s a big deal. Which may, paradoxically, result in your wanting to have it more often. Or maybe not. It’s all good so long as you and your partner are defining your relationship by generosity and considering each other’s needs and desires.

    • Terence Manuel says:

      “…..Also, having sex at exactly the same time in exactly the same way 3-4 times a week just feels like a chore to me. I want to experiement, I want different positions, I want to try new things.”

      Is this not what I said above about many married women? In away, you validate my position.

      Well, at least I have to commend you suggesting and asking for different things in the bedroom. Most married women do not and just seem uninterested in sex with their husbands.

      Later you wrote,

      ” I want to have crazy exciting sex but it’s stressful to have to be the one coming up with creative ideas that he might shoot down, so sometimes I don’t bother and I just live with a feeling of frustration.”

      This is certainly NOT the case for most married women. Usually, it is the husband who just don’t bother anymore and feel frustrated. I divorced as I saw no hope for any change in sex in my marriage. I did not sign up for a sexless marriage.

      I now understand why so many men remain single. All of these old, dated and antiquated studies showing married men have more sex than single men are just that: old, outdated, antiquated, and false. The surveys of sex in marriage lack credibility. Both parties in these studies are clearly lying. Nearly one third of all marriages in America are sexless!

      Most women who are married consistently state they have “wonderful” sex lives. However, it is usually once a month or twice at best. Especially, if it is marriage over 20+ yrs. Why don’t someone ask the men? The answer is exactly the opposite. Who the hell wants to have sex a mere once a month? No Thanks.

  10. Terence Manuel says:

    Well, I did leave my marriage for this very reason. Usually the issues are deeper.

    So, unless you can resolve these deeper issues, I see little hope in remaining in the marriage. Eventually, one or both will get sex elsewhere. I elected to file for divorce instead of going down the road of unfaithfulness.

    My advice to any couple considering marriage or any other long-term relationship is to discuss sex BEFORE getting deeply involved. From my experience and speaking to other men, it is usually the women who lose interest. Not blaming the women, just reporting what I have seen on the ground so to speak. But, both parties MUST discuss sex.

    I am a high libido man who had limited experience before marriage. So, I was looking forward to a healthy sex life with my wife. Well, it did not turn out that way. In retrospect, I should have just banged everything that moved, as my brother suggested. Instead I endured a 10 yr sexless (once a month) marriage. The final 2-3 yrs, I simply said no to even the once a month crap. I was not worth the aggravation.

    I just do not feel women are well suited for marriage, sexually. Women need constant change. They need a variety of sexual experiences to keep them happy. Which is fine. But, they need to speak up about what they want and how they want it. Don’t expect us men to be mind readers. Over time, I think women get bored and hence are in need of new sexual partners/lovers. Therefore, I believe they are not well suited for marriage.


    • Why couldn’t a couple be married but allow for new (limited and perhaps not relationship focused) partners?

      • Terence Manuel says:

        I suppose that is possible providing each partner agrees. Not a life style choice that interest me.

        But, to each his/her own.

    • Some guy says:

      FYI, not just the ladies who get bored and need variety.

    • Women are not suited for marriage and need variety all the time? What a bizarre statement. Many men are like this too. It’s an individual thing, really.


  1. […] This is a comment by FisherKing on the post “Should I Leave My Sexless Marriage?“ […]

  2. […] This is a comment by Kat on the post “Should I Leave My Sexless Marriage?“ […]

Speak Your Mind