Physical intimacy is what distinguishes romantic relationships from friendships. While all couples go through phases in which sex happens less frequently, some couples can fall into a pattern where physical intimacy hardly ever happens or does not happen at all.
Although we do not have data to accurately estimate how many couples engage in little to no sex, many people believe sexless relationships are more common than most of us think. First, it is important to understand there are many reasons sex can become less important in comparison to other priorities. Children, household duties, and the general business of life can take priority over sex. This is normal and okay. However, if one or both partners is feeling like there is not enough physical connection happening, then it's time to take steps to reestablish intimacy.
Is it a natural phase or a bigger problem?
If a couple has stopped having sex and they don't have any idea why; it is important to stop and address this issue. If sex has stopped happening, sometimes couples can be uncomfortable talking about it. There can be hurt feelings and confusion.Often one side has a reason, such as, "We only have so much energy in a day," and there may not be enough left for physical intimacy. If a pattern develops in which romance is not considered to be important, the desire to connect physically can wane. There are some other reasons couples stop having sex.
Common reasons couples stop having sex
While all couples go through phases, if you feel as though something is wrong, you need to explore why. Below are several reasons many couples go through a sexless phase.
Health issues — physical and mental health issues have a large impact on libido. This is relevant for both partners.
Mismatched libidos — this is a big reason couples struggle with sex, as their desire, the timing, and the frequency, do not coincide.
Stress — Our lives can become very stressful at times. Managing children, careers, and everyday responsibilities can overwhelm us and lower our sex drive.
Childbirth — after childbirth, women are usually advised by their doctors to avoid sex for six to eight weeks. Bodily changes, hormones, tiredness, and the added responsibility of caring for an infant generally are reasons to put physical intimacy on hold for a period of time.
Communication problems — sex can be a sensitive topic to discuss, especially when there is a problem. Talking about it can be difficult, but this is a necessary first step in reconnecting.
What you get in therapy:
All relationships go through phases. However, a healthy relationship includes the element of intimacy and physical connection. If sex is missing in your relationship, couples counseling can help find the root of the underlying issues. In a safe therapeutic environment, issues are explored and addressed with understanding and compassion. In some cases, a lack of physical intimacy can signal a deeper problem either within the relationship or with one of the partners. Working through these issues will allow the relationship to become stronger and more fulfilling.
Couples counseling is designed to foster healthy communication and healing in relationships. These communication skills will benefit your relationship moving forward. If you are looking for more, counseling can help break through barriers that may be responsible for a lack of connection. Reach out for a more healthy, happy relationship.