The Truth About Sexless Relationships
|January 21, 2013||Posted by SheNOW under Featured, RelationshipsNOW|
When passionate turns into platonic….
By: Jenn Clark
We’ve all heard the jokes, stories, and complaints from long-term couples who no longer have sex. In fact, it’s become somewhat expected that once your relationship moves from “new” to “long-term,” the sex will drastically diminish – if not die out completely. According to recent estimates, over 20 million American couples are thought to be in sexless marriages (sex less than ten times per year). However, these platonic unions don’t simply occur between middle-aged spouses. More and more young people are involved in romantic relationships that look more like roommates than lovers.
So what gives? Why the sexual famine? And, if you’re starving more than feasting when it comes to your sex life, what can be done to correct it?
Although there’s little disagreement that the occurrence of sexless relationships is at an all-time high, there is no single explanation for why they occur. Trauma from past sexual abuse, erectile dysfunction, and anxiety and depression disorders are some of the more extreme causes of a lack of interest in sex. However, day-to-day factors in both life and in the relationship all contribute to a severe decrease in its frequency.
Here are some of the most common reasons why couples stop having sex.
Fatigue and busyness.
Most people feel as though they are working harder than ever and for less financial reward than in previous generations. Stress at work, money troubles, and overextended schedules aren’t exactly turn-ons. Many couples struggle to find the time to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company, let alone have a steamy night together. When we allow the hectic pace of life – and the anxiety it can cause – to overtake us, we find our libidos slowing down.
Unmet expectations, disappointments, and resentments between partners.
As relationships break down, the sex always suffers. Let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to be physically attracted to someone when you’re continually warring with them. Instead of working on communication and conflict resolution skills, couples often let the hostilities and dissatisfactions fester. They build walls and become more and more isolated from each other. Not exactly a formula for passion, right?
If you’ve been together for a while, it’s easy to get into a sexual rut. You do this, he does that. He touches you here, you touch him there. Fifteen minutes and it’s over. Not very hot… And rather than working on keeping things spicy, apathy sets in. You think, “I guess we should have sex, but I’d really like to watch ‘The Daily Show‘ instead.” As ‘The Daily Show‘ wins more and more, the sexual part of your relationship begins to fade away.
Can a sexless relationship survive?
Maybe. While some couples grow content in the sexless nature of their union, most do not. One or both partners typically feels rejected, scorned, and unloved – which further contributes to the destruction of the relationship. Many begin to feel restless and start to fantasize about looking outside of the relationship to have their physical and emotional needs met. A lack of passion is not only a significant cause of infidelity, but of break-ups and divorces, as well.
If the platonic nature of your relationship is due to deep-seeded issues such as sexual trauma, a lot of work needs to be done to overcome it and couples therapy is a must. This is also true if the lack of sex results from an extended period of poor communication and the buildup of resentments. As with anything in a relationship, however, if both partners actively work to resolve their problems, nothing is insurmountable.
So if you feel the passion in your relationship fizzling rather than sizzling, what can be done to get the fires roaring again? The great news is your sex life doesn’t have to disappear – or even diminish – over time. Yes, you can have great sex no matter your age or how long you and your partner have been together. And the sooner you address the problem, the greater your chances of solving it.
Work on the oral.
No, I’m not referring to that kind of oral. I’m talking about verbally communicating with your partner. It might be difficult to discuss sex, but if you’re mature enough to do it, you’re mature enough to talk about it. Explain – in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way – that you want to bring the passion back into your relationship and have a discussion. In fact, the better your communication and conflict resolution skills are – with respect to every aspect of your relationship – the better your sex life will become.
Create times for intimacy.
Having priorities is a good thing and making your sex life an important component is essential. For some couples, a romantic weekend away or regularly scheduled date nights are enough to get them back on track. Others need adjustments such as turning off the television earlier or being okay with going to bed later. Whatever the tweaks you personally need to make, always think back to the beginning when sex was more spontaneous and fun. Try to recreate those feelings now.
Be open to experimentation.
Once you are able to discuss sex more freely, it becomes much easier to talk about your fantasies and desires. Not only is it okay to try new things, you absolutely should! Amazing sex in a long-term, committed partnership requires being open and taking some risks. Let’s face it: The hotter you make sex, the more you’ll want to do it.
Keeping sex alive isn’t something that happens on its own. It requires both partners to work at it and make it a priority – just as you have to do with the relationship itself. So if your passion is on the verge of being extinguished, now is the time to relight it. There are great rewards in having a satisfying and complete love life.
She is the author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About…),” which is based on an article she wrote that went viral and has been viewed nearly half a million times. She is also a monthly columnist for AVID Magazine, a featured writer for a variety of websites, and a frequent radio guest. You can find both her and her blog at www.facebook.com/jennx30somethingandsingle and on the YouTube channel “Jenn X: 30Something & Single.”
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