When in a sexless relationship, it’s natural to question the situation. Is there something wrong in the relationship? Is it you, or is it your partner? Or is it something else entirely?
In a society where sexual intimacy is considered a fundamental aspect of a healthy relationship, it is not uncommon to experience feelings of concern when a romantic partnership lacks sexual activity.
The good news is that you do not have to navigate this situation alone. Seeking qualified, judgement-free sex therapy or couples counselling can provide valuable insights into your relationship. It can help you work through the emotional and psychological complexities of a sexless relationship and reach a place of understanding and fulfillment.
Here is an in-depth look at sexless relationships and the support options available to you and your partner.
What is a Sexless Relationship?
Sexless relationships are defined as partnerships where sexual activity occurs infrequently (less than ten times a year) or not at all.
However, it’s important to note that what constitutes a “normal” level of sexual activity can vary greatly between individuals and couples. What constitutes “sexless” for one couple may be a year’s worth for another. What matters most is the level of satisfaction and contentment both partners experience with their current sexual dynamics.
Sexless relationships can be influenced by various factors. For example, conflicting work schedules can limit opportunities and energy levels, or an extramarital affair can create conflict that impedes trust, desire, and connectedness. Parenting can be another thing that impacts sexual intimacy in a relationship. Increased stress and fatigue leave little room for physical intimacy.
Additionally, sexual aversion, which can arise from age-related changes, past trauma, incompatible sexual orientations or kinks, or reduced interest in one’s partner, can lead to decreased sexual desire. Sexual dysfunction, encompassing conditions like vaginismus, vulvodynia, erectile dysfunction, or medication side effects, can also contribute to a lack of sexual activity. Understanding the potential causes is essential, as it enables couples to get the right help and try different methods to increase intimacy and mutual satisfaction in the relationship.
Identifying Common Concerns Associated with Sexless Relationships
When faced with a sexless relationship, it’s natural to have a range of concerns. Let’s explore a few common worries that individuals often express:
Emotional Connection and Intimacy
Sexual activity plays a significant role in fostering emotional bonding and a sense of intimacy within a relationship. When this aspect is missing, it’s understandable to question the overall health of the partnership.
However, it’s important to recognize that emotional connection can also be nurtured through various non-sexual means. Communicating openly, engaging in shared activities, and expressing affection can all contribute to building a deep emotional bond.
Self-Esteem and Attractiveness
A decline in sexual activity may lead to doubts about one’s attractiveness or desirability, which can impact self-esteem and overall relationship satisfaction.
It’s important to remember that feelings of attractiveness and desirability encompass far more than sexual encounters alone. Cultivating self-confidence involves open communication with your partner, exploring new ways to connect, and focusing on the qualities that make you unique and desirable.
Couples often worry that a sexless relationship is indicative of deeper issues that may eventually lead to separation or dissatisfaction. While sexual compatibility is undoubtedly important, it’s crucial to recognize that it is not the sole determining factor in the success of a relationship.
Open and honest communication, coupled with the guidance of a skilled therapist, can help address concerns and strengthen the bond between partners. Working together, you can explore the underlying reasons for the lack of sexual intimacy and develop strategies to enhance overall relationship satisfaction.
By acknowledging these concerns and seeking professional guidance, you can navigate the challenges of a sexless relationship and work towards a fulfilling and satisfying partnership.
Don’t forget, experienced therapists can be a great help to you. These professionals have the capacity to design personalized, evidence-based strategies that best fit your unique relationship needs and provide valuable support.
Possible Causes of a Sexless Relationship
As mentioned above, there are several causes for sexless relationships. Gaining an understanding of the potential factors contributing to your sexless relationship can offer valuable insights and pave the way for constructive discussions and potential resolutions.
Let’s explore a few common causes that are often observed:
- Physical Factors: Physical health issues, medication side effects, hormonal imbalances, or chronic pain can significantly affect an individual’s desire and ability to engage in sexual activity. Consulting with medical professionals can help address any underlying physical concerns.
- Psychological and Emotional Factors: Stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and unresolved conflicts within the relationship can all contribute to a decline in sexual intimacy. Seeking therapy can help uncover and address these underlying psychological factors, enabling both partners to work toward a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.
- Relationship Dynamics and Communication: Poor communication, unresolved conflicts, or unmet needs within the partnership can create an environment where sexual desires wane. Working on improving communication and addressing relationship dynamics can reignite intimacy and strengthen your bond.
By utilizing evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness therapies, therapists can help you reframe negative thoughts, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and foster better communication with your partner. They can provide a safe space for open discussions and guide you toward strategies that promote emotional and sexual intimacy.
Taking Action and Seeking Support
In a sexless relationship, it’s natural to have concerns about the overall health of and satisfaction in the partnership. Constantly worrying is not the answer; instead, seeking help from certified professionals that specialize in couples counselling and sex therapy can help to improve your situation. With their support, you can gain helpful insights, resolve underlying issues and work towards a healthier, more fulfilling bond.
At the Tri Health Clinic, we seek to provide a safe and judgement-free environment where you can openly discuss your relationship, your feelings, and your sexual expression. We know these things are difficult to talk about, but they are also incredibly important. Suffering in silence, shame, or confusion can only complicate things.
Our experienced team at the Tri Health Clinic uses CBT and mindfulness therapies to create an individualized treatment plan that can guide you through this difficult journey. We want to work with you to help you rebuild your sexual and emotional intimacy, creating stronger bonds and more fulfilling experiences.
Reach out today for a free fifteen-minute consultation and embark on the path to a happier, healthier, and more intimate partnership.