Although the average American couple has sex 1.2 times a week, research also reveals that 20% of married couples haven't had sex in the last month, and 12% haven't had sex in the last few months. In a world where a sexless marriage is defined by having sex 10 times or less a year, these couples are in sexless marriages.
So how can you recognize the warning signs before your libido is lost? These seven signs should help you recognize you're on the path to a sexless marriage:
1. You're not talking about sex
Sex can be uncomfortable to talk about, even with your partner. But couples who talk to each other about sex have sex more often. This is likely because these couples are comfortable discussing what they do or do not like, making both parties enjoy sex more.
You should work to overcome your discomfort, fear of hurting your partner's feelings, and thoughts that such conversation is not appropriate if you want to have a healthy sex life.
2. You withhold sex as punishment
Withholding sex from your partner is manipulative and can create feelings of resentment that can cause long-lasting problems for both your relationship and sex life. Using sex as a reward demotes it from an act of love to a power struggle. Never use this beautiful act as a way to control your spouse.
3. You watch pornography
Lots of couples give porn the credit for the success of the sexual lives. What they don't realize is that sexually explicit material is actually driving them towards a sexless marriage.
Studies reveal that pornography leads to less satisfying sex and can even cause you to not have sex at all. The most comprehensive study on pornography discovered that the more porno a person sees, the less aroused they are by their partner because your brain is more satisfied by pornographic images than real sex. This can even cause erectile dysfunction, making you incapable of having sex.
In this way, if you persist in watching pornography, you will be less likely to desire real intimacy and are carving a path towards a sexless marriage.
4. You don't feel attractive
Sometimes you may just be wiped out, and you don't have time to take care of yourself. You stand in line at the grocery store trying to keep your child from chewing a whole pack of gum no one paid for while the magazines keep trying to define what "sexy" means.
If your self-image is suffering, it can make you want to have sex less and less. Both partners in a relationship need to make sure that their significant other feels attractive. But it's also important that that confidence comes from you. Take some time out for yourself to remember how great you are.
5. You only have sex on special occasions
Probably the most obvious sign that you're on your way to a sexless marriage is if you're already having sex less frequently.
The effects of not having sex are cyclical. The more sex you have, the more you want. But on the other hand, the less sex you have, the less you want it. This happens because having sex triggers the creation of sex hormones which make you want to have sex. But when you're not sexually active, these hormones are created less and less, diminishing your desire to have sex.
Sometimes, in order to have sex more, you need to have sex more. If necessary, schedule sex dates. Increasing the amount you have sex will also increase the amount you want to have sex, preventing you from having a sexless marriage.
6. You or your partner is unfaithful
It's understandable if you don't feel motivated to make love to your partner when they betrayed you. It can take a while to rebuild the trust that fuels intimacy.
But you can cheat on your spouse without doing anything physical. If you are flirting, sharing secrets, spending alone time with, or dressing to attract the attention of someone else, you are still being unfaithful to your spouse. Doing any of these things can make you not want to have sex with your partner as much and, in turn, disrupt your partner's desire to have sex as well.
If you and your partner never have a minute to yourselves, there's obviously no opportunity for you to get intimate. You may need to get creative to find time that you can be alone. But if you don't make privacy a priority, you are in danger of having a sexless marriage.
You need to remember what it was like to be in love with your partner before you involved all the physical stuff. Take time to talk and go on dates. When you become attracted to your partner mentally and emotionally again, you may become attracted physically as well.
If you recognize any of these signs in your marriage, make changes to prevent your marriage from becoming sexless.