Can A Relationship Survive on Little To No Sex?

Unfortunately, there is no recommended daily allowance of just how much sex should occur in a relationship. Some people seem to have a high sex drive that keeps their bedroom antics alive several times per week, while others are lucky to get in a quickie once a month. And of course, there are thousands of relationships that are suffering from a lack of sex so long over due, that a deep valley of physical and emotional disconnect has formed that neither partner knows how to bridge. It seems that the longer a relationship goes without sex, the more difficult it is to revive the sex life.

The question is can a relationship survive on a little to no sex?

Many relationship experts believe that a happy and healthy relationship begins and ends with sex. This doesn’t mean that the occasional dry spell, which is very common in relationships especially with life changes signifies that a couple is no longer in love or suitable to be together. But rather that sex is the metaphorical glue that can keep a relationship alive even during the tough times. Psychologist and author, Dr Sharita Shah says, “A physical level of intimacy is only natural and is necessary between a couple, to show a level of comfort and affection. Sexual intimacy is one of the best ways to do it. You may express emotions verbally but nothing says it better than physical intimacy.’

So the longer a couple goes without physical intimacy, the more disconnected that they may feel from one another regardless of the reason why they aren’t having sex. Additionally, according to a sex survey out of 2009 edition of Cosmopolitan magazine, the main reason that men and women cheat is due to a lack of a satisfying sex life in the home. For men especially, sex is often an ego booster and is often directly linked to their self-esteem. In other words, if their partner has a headache every night, or doesn’t seem interested in having sex with them OR they have physical problems of their own that inhibit sex, they can look for ego boosts elsewhere. And this often leads to cheating.

For women, a drastic drop in the frequency of sex comes after childbirth. Often, in the years that follow women do find themselves extremely tired and insecure with their changing bodies to the point that sex doesn’t become a priority. For so many couples this is the time where the sex life dwindles and couples report the least amount of satisfaction with their sex lives.

Other couples have been happily married and sexless for years. Around 98% of the people in this group who reported through a group called The Experiment Project reported that the sexless relationship made them unhappy in the relationship. And 87% of the people involved said that while the relationship lacks intimacy, they did still love their partner.

According to Dr. Phil a sexless relationship is more prevalent in today’s society than we think. Additionally, there is so much pressure from the outside world in regard to sexuality that couples who have problems with physical intimacy often have a hard time reaching out to sex counselors for help, and end up suffering in silence due to shame or guilt. Additionally, he says:

‘There is no magic number that can tell couples how often they should be having sex in order to be “normal.” Instead, he encourages people to discuss their needs openly with their partners and negotiate a relationship that meets both of their needs.’

Having said that, here is what the latest research says about how often Americans are ‘ and aren’t ‘ having sex.

  • Married couples say they have sex an average of 68.5 times a year. That’s slightly more than once a week. ‘ Newsweek
  • Married people have 6.9 more sexual encounters per year than people who have never been married. ‘ Newsweek
  • 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which experts define as a sexless marriage. ‘ Newsweek
  • 20 to 30 percent of men and 30 to 50 percent of women say they have little or no sex drive. ‘ USA Today
  • 25 percent of all Americans (a third of women and a fifth of men) suffer from a condition known as hypoactive sexual desire (HSD), which is defined as a persistent or recurring deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies or thoughts, or a lack of interest in sex or being sexual. ‘ Psychology Today

According to the last statistic the lack of libido in the bedroom, may be caused by the stressful lives that so many of us live today, rather than the relationships themselves.

It is very difficult to decide whether a relationship can survive without sex. While love may be the most important part of a relationship, sex is often what fuels passion in a relationship. Without having sex as an outlet and a way to physically connect with our partners, it seems obvious that many other areas of the relationship with suffer as well. There is no doubt that sex is important to both men and women, and helps to strengthen the bond that couples feel toward one another. And yet, it is equally important to make sure that a relationship is not based solely on a sex life, as life shows us that passion and sexuality will be affected by the natural ebb and flow of life.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that one of the most common denominators with people who cheat on their spouses or report unhappiness in a relationship is a lack of a satisfying sex life.

Couples that are dating often overlook the importance of sex in their relationship. Sexual compatibility seems to be circumvented by proclamations of love and adoration. The reality remains that while love may get you through the happy times, sex can get you through the trials and tribulations.



25 Responses

  1. Sex is the glue. Intimacy with your S.O. is Paramount. Women want intimacy for sex, men want sex for intimacy. If your with a woman that day after day , week after MONTHS, says no. She’s killing the relationship. It will die. Poof, done. Why? After months of no sex, you’ve taught your man, to kill his desire for you. Haven’t you noticed, he’s stopped trying to Get it?
    He will. & He will be miserable, your S.o. rules of engagement have so many Rules, it kills the passion, he retreats, his desire for you wants, he sleeps in other rooms( why sleep with you when all it does is cause more sexual frustration?) & Now you don’t even talk. Women that won’t allow you to be with them sexually, typically will have many relationships……The men typically leave…..The men typically wander away…..why? It’s simple. You basically told your man, you don’t want him.
    He’s gone. It’s only a matter of time.

    1. I’m having this exact same issue with my significant other… I’m unsure if our drives are incompatible or what the issue is. I’ve tried spicing it up, tried incorporating some sexual fantasies he’s expressed, outfits, learning different techniques, etc. Properly communicating, not placing blame etc., having an honest conversation about that there is an issue hasn’t helped. At. All. I’ve never experienced this with a man before. I know he’s not having an affair. I feel guilty now that my eyes are wandering…

      1. I’m in the same boat lady. It’s been 1 yr since I realized my partner has a porn addiction that has taken all his desire. And since I have been compassionate and patient. We had a baby a yr ago. our sex life and himinitiating dissapeared half way through pregnancy. Here we are 2 and a half years into our relationship and I’m going out tonight in Hope’s of kissing as many men and women I can gather to hug and kiss. I dont feel bad. After a year of trying, a half a year of trying to break up(with no luck, he always reels me back in with empty promises) I’ve given up. Get out while you can is my advice. Our sex life was something I imagine heavens love would feel like the first 6 or so months. Now I just feel insecure and unlovable. So, I told him I was having thoughts of cheating because of this. It didn’t change a thing. This is long after trying numerous feats, lingerie, trying to shut off my drive, purchasing labido enhancers, talking talking talking some more. It’s come to the point I haven’t been able to have a good night’s sleep for months and masturbate fantasizing about him walking in on me cheating. I hate this and miss the man I used to know, he doesn’t like when i bring up the past and says things change. Well it is true. But we mustn’t suffer our existence with progressively worse suffering. I feel like a bad person now, a different person. I’ve lost the ability to love this man. And so it must end, and cheating scams like the only way. I am sad. Please do yourself a favor and only try with your love enough to not lose yourself. It happens.

        1. I am so sorry that u have had to deal with this. My husband & I have been married almost 25 years. He’s a truck driver. So he’s gone alot. Anyways, he started doing the same thing. But also started receiving text notifications throughout the day, everyday, & when I said anything about it, he would immediately get defensive. Our sex life dwindled to almost nothing. I eventually found out that the notifications were from websites & women. He had started texting/webcaming them instead of having sex with me. & I literally tried everything that I could to get him to show me that he was still interested & or if we should end it all. After all the talking, which was only one sided (me). I finally let him know that I knew everything he had done & since he had obviously not cared about me or our marriage that I was leaving him. Well, I’m not going to say that our sexual relationship is 100% because it’s not, but atleast he shows interest now. There was a time where I honestly thought that he hated me. I wish that I didn’t have to resort to threatening to leave him either but I did. But anyways, I just wanted to tell u that I know exactly how & I don’t wish that kind of hurt on anyone. & I hope that u can either move on from this. *hugs*

  2. Once sex stops in a marriage hatred begins and pray contempt does not follow-women please listen contempt is the END and usually contempt comes from the women as the man has given up

  3. I am so incredibly lonely. My boyfriend and I are set to move in together in a few weeks and I don’t know if I should. We talked a couple weeks ago and he said the reason he says no when I try to touch him is because he’s tired and stressed out, he said the mornings and when he’s off work are the best times to try but he never initiates anything and I’m so scared to for fear of being rejected. I’m sexually frustrated, it’s been over a week maybe two since we last had sex and when we do he doesn’t try to get me off or go down on me. I’m trying so hard to understand him but I don’t get it. What do I do? He’s wonderful, besides all that. We have everything in common and he takes care of me and my daughter plus his three kids. He makes me laugh and holds my hand, but these last two nights I’ve been crying myself to sleep because I just want him to want me and I’m afraid if I bring up the lack of sex again I’ll pressure him or make him angry. But lack of sex and physical intimacy is making me very short with the kids and other people and I hate it. It’s making me depressed and I feel so unwanted.

    1. You have to be clear with him what your needs are without fear of rejection. Easier said than done, but not doing so is going to make all the natural challenges of living together all the more difficult. It doesn’t have to sound like you’re blaming or accusing him of anything selfish. He might not know you’re unhappy. But you can’t keep this in and not expect to implode from the pressure. I’ve tried, and it gets worse over time the longer you don’t speak up or don’t speak up clearly. Be compassionate, avoid blame, assume the benefit of the doubt, but be your own advocate. It’s so important to have your own back in a partnership.

    2. Jessica i know how you feel I feel the same exact way.. I have given up and decided to move on. The only thing is my BF and I have nothing in common, we don’t even date anymore. The relationship is boring and taking a toll on me.

  4. My partner and i have not had sex for three years,we have got to the stage where,we just argue,insult each other,and at times hate each other.I have recently caught him texting other women,he never shows any interest in sex with me,and i dont with him,we are only still together because we own a home together,it is sheer misery!

  5. If you are in a committed relationship, sex is the one thing that you rely 100% on your partner for. My girlfriend doesn’t ski or golf so I gave those things up to pursue our mutual interests (her interests). We’ve been together for 10 years and we’ve made a lot of plans together (including retirement). Our sex life has dwindled down to nothing. I still want her every day, but she has no interest in me sexually. I should have gotten out of this relationship at the first signs of her sexual disinterest. Now I feel stuck, but am thinking I would be happier alone.

  6. Brand new relationship no honeymoon phase at all … He’s amazing but i feel like he’s not physically attracted to me… I’ve brought it up and he said he would do more to be intimate but he hasnt changed at all, I just miss being intimate … I feel its a huge part of building a solid foundation … I feel like we are companions or room mates rather then being a couple … I fear I am friend zoning him and feel I should just cut my losses now. 2 months in here, he claims we are building our friendship first, before we are intimate … I feel Like this is decision day !!

  7. I’ve been in a relationship with my girl for almost a year. And she barely lets me touch her or even kiss her. I don’t know what’s going on bc at first I thought it was me but I’ve waited and waited and still nothing. I understand that sex is not the fuel of a relationship but no sex at all??? I’m kinda worried and I don’t want to jeopardize the relationship by keep pressuring her . So any help or ideas to handle this?

  8. Dang, all my bf does is go to work, come home play his game, or we watch as movie then go to sleep. And dont hardly do nothing with each other. I’m sick of it. I want some but he doesn’t? I try to touch him and he pulls my hand away. Please help me? What do I do????? 🙁 its killing me and hurting me bad inside and out! Thanks.

  9. I was in the exact same situation with my wife. Sex was great when we first started dating, less so when we got married and virtually non-existent after children. When I confronted her about it, she confessed that she was asexual – meaning she had never really felt sexual attraction or felt that carnal desire for sex. She can orgasm, but no longer wants to have sex unless it is dispassionate and “arms length”. I don’t really understand asexuality, but apparently she had been pretending to like sex all along. It’s an awful place to be, with no good solution. So don’t assume just because you partner can orgasm and engages in sex that they love it as much as you do. Eventually asexuality will prevail.

  10. I have been dating my partner for 6 months now. We have so much in common and have fun when we go out and do things. She says she love me and i say the same. I get texts from her saying im her whole world and all that.

    One thing missing is sexual chemistry. Never really been there on her end. Im very attracted to her. We probably have sex twice a month. When she has her period she always say “oh no im getting my period” and acts if she dissapointed we cant have sex. 2 weeks after still nothing. I spoke to her about it 2 months in the relationship saying are you even attracted to me. She said yes and she felt bad she made me feel that way. For a month it got better then since then we have had sex once in 2 months.

    Things to note:

    * Im fit and not fat, although not ripped. Im a super clean freak.
    * I am 30 and she is 27
    * I have offered massages, i take her out, cook romantic dinners. Give nice comments on how she dresses and looks.
    * I never rush into wanting to have sex. I always like to look after a woman prior to sex.
    * I always have to instigate it unless she drinks.
    * The only time she really wants sex is when she drinks. This is a major concern for me.
    *we shower together alot so she has no body issue concerns
    * No sexual abuse in the past.

    I guess i want to know what might be going on inside her head.
    Why not accept offers of massages?
    Why only is she interested in sex when drinking? Whats with the acting like she is dissapointed when she is getting her period?

    I feel like i am doing every possible to try make her feel intimate. Im not needy and expect it every second day. I wouldn’t even have an issue if we only had sex 2 or 3 times a month if she showed me she actually wanted to. Im just at the point of not even instigating the sex anymore.

  11. married 52 years, and not sure survival is really what we have. Married in the 60s and never had sex before marriage and not to many times after marriage. I really didn’t have to much interest in sex, at the time having erection problems. Doctor told me it was nerves and it could have been still not sure. We maybe had sex a dozen times or so and it didn’t do much for me. Wife was totally going off the chart angry, frustrated and all those female emotions exploded. The more she bitched and moaned the more with drawn I became. I decided to work the night shift as many days as I could to get away from her. I didn’t have to but worked long hours every day some times I wouldn’t even come home. I’d nap in the parking lot and snack out of the vending machines for food. When I was home I slept in a small space I created in the basement. Any way we hadn’t had intimacy or sex in almost 40 years and I’m happy with that but to me that’s OK. My doctor told me I was selfish and inconsiderate, I told him thanks but it’s none of his business. What my wife did all these years I have no idea and don’t really care.

    1. I’ve got a crazy situation. We are a new couple. Wonderful sexual chemestry. We are crazy about each other. He moves his mom into HIS house and she has a problem with me spending the night. She’s a religous fanatic and throws a fit like a child everytime I’m there. She stomps around the house, slamming doors, and blasts sermons on her radio. And this is in the middle of the night. At first he would say “just ignore her” but things got worse and worse. Eventually he sided with her and said “we should be respectful to her beliefs”. He even had the thought that maybe she is right and we should stop for the sake of our souls. I feel that the fact that we are being quiet when making love is being respectful. He can’t come to my place because i share a room with my son. We can’t afford to go to hotels all the time. I am so angry that a stranger is cock blocking me and I’m a grown woman. I fear if we stop having sex all together our relationship will die out.

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