Is Being in a Sexless Marriage Grounds for a Divorce?
Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I have been with my husband for 25 years, married for 19. We have three kids (21,18,13). After having my last daughter, something changed with me. I want sex all the time. The problem is, it’s like I have to beg my husband for sex. Most of the time it’s like I’m begging my own husband for sex.
He works two jobs, getting up 5 days a week at 4 o’clock am. So I understand he is tired. But I’m not asking for it every night, just enough to know that he still finds me attractive. I have often expressed my hurt feelings. He apologizes, but then it happens all over again. At this point I’m thinking of a separation. Would I be wrong? Is Being in a Sexless Marriage Grounds for a Divorce?
Dear Feeling neglected,
I am sorry that you feel neglected and are sexually frustrated, but I am not sure that giving up on your marriage is the best solution at this time. Physical intimacy is important, but it is not uncommon for sexual intimacy to decline after many years of marriage. In my professional work, I have counseled hundreds of couples who have had sexual challenges in their marriages, especially in the later years.
Sexless marriages evolve from several situations to include, but not limited to, the following:
- Failure to make time for each and other
- Sexual dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation, pain during intercourse, etc.
- Natural aging (body changes)
- Low libido (caused by a decrease in testosterone levels in men)
Please be mindful that sex is not just a mental or emotional thing. When sexual intimacy is absent, other things might be present that include some of the interpersonal, physiological, and psychological challenges mentioned above.
If you want to increase sexual intimacy in your marriage, here are three tips that might be helpful.
Schedule Sex Time
You stated that your husband works a lot and is probably tired. Given this, speak with him about times when he feels most energetic and horny. If you want to have sex on a regular basis in your marriage make sure that you maximize your time. I understand that both men and women prefer having spontaneous sex, but scheduled sex is better than no sex.
Scheduled sex takes pressure off individuals because they do not have to worry about trying to perform when they are not in the mood. Bad sex creates anxiety and individuals dread sexual interactions. When you schedule sex time each person has the opportunity to mentally prepare, which could lead to a sexual escapade.
Visit a Medical Doctor with your Husband
Your husband could have testosterone problems and do not know it. Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. It promotes healthy sexual drive (libido) in men. When a man’s testosterone level dips below 300 nanograms per deciliter, his desire for sex will also dip. Your husband could probably benefit from testosterone injections.
Speak with a Sex Therapist
I often find that couples do not fully understand the many challenges that can cause and/or contribute to a sexless marriage. With this in mind, I often recommend that they speak with therapists who specialize in sex issues. Such therapists can help you and your husband come up with reasonable solutions that can help with reconnection.
Physical intimacy is important, but it is not uncommon for sexual intimacy to decline after many years of marriage.
Remember that sexual gratification is difficult to acquire and sustain if mental and physical health is not present. Your desire to be gratified physically should be secondary to your desire to understand and connect with your husband. Also, remember that behavioral change does not last with pressure, but with passion. Your husband has to find passion in your bedroom in order to perform.
Implement the three tips listed above and I promise you that your understanding of your sexual challenges will be enhanced. Seek understanding before you seek a divorce.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.
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