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Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere. If you've found yourself in a sexless relationship, you likely have a lot of questions on your mind: What causes a relationship to become sexless? Is a sexless relationship healthy? And maybe the scariest question to ask yourself, especially if you've been in this relationship a long time and very much love the person you're with: Should you stay in a sexless relationship?

Here are all the answers you're looking for, straight from sex and marriage therapists. A sexless relationship is a relationship where there's little to no sexual activity occurring between the couple. There's no exact way to quantify what counts as a sexless relationship, as different people have different expectations and desires for Seeking no sex relationship.

But it's very dependent on the individuals. For example, some people are perfectly happy with sex about once a month, whereas for others, that might feel infrequent enough to consider it a sexless relationship. Whenever we talk frequency, I think we are having the wrong conversation; it should be about quality—the degree to which both people find it enjoyable, engaging, and positive in their relationship.

Of the married people who shared details about their sexual frequency in the U. In general, it's common for sex in long-term relationships to fluctuate in frequency and quality. One study found four in five couples dealt with mismatched libidos in the last month. There's often not one direct cause that le to sexless relationships but rather a myriad of factors that contribute to how a relationship slowly becomes sexless over time. For example, believing that sex should always be spontaneous," Marin adds.

A sexless relationship will not necessarily harm the overall health of the relationship. Like so much about our sex life, it's a problem when it causes distress," Zimmerman explains. But she notes: If one or both people are unhappy with their sex life, it can cause negative feelings that can bubble up in other areas of their life and taint the rest of the relationship.

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When one or both people are unhappy with the sexlessness, she says some potential effects include:. Yes, sexless relationships can absolutely be healthy. And even when sex is a problem, the rest of the relationship can be healthy," says Zimmerman. It all depends on the couple, what each person's individual needs are, and how they communicate and tend to each other's needs.

A relationship can survive without intimacy, and so can sexless relationships. But a relationship without intimacy is not exactly the same as a relationship without sex. Some people might not have a ton of sexual activity and don't mind it all, especially if they have other types of intimacy like emotional intimacy and spiritual intimacy.

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But if you have no types of intimacy whatsoever in the relationship, that's a whole separate problem that may not necessarily be related to the lack of sex. There is one caveat where marriages without passion survive and thrive. Relationships where friendship and commitment are the base of connection survive and thrive when passion is absent. Whether you should stay in a sexless relationship depends on how important sex is to you personally. It's really an individual choice whether a person wants to stay and something that takes an honest conversation with yourself about desire and sexual needs.

The decision to stay in a sexless relationship also depends on how willing you both are to working on creating a mutually satisfying sex life together. Have you opened up a conversation about the state of your sex life together, and have both people put in active effort and care into solving this issue? It may not make sense for you to stay in a sexless relationship if any of the following are true for you, according to Zimmerman:. Here's Zimmerman's full guide to how to know when to walk away from a sexless marriage or relationship.

If you're in a sexless relationship and really struggling to get your sex life to a place that feels good for Seeking no sex relationship people, consider working with a sexuality professional.

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Oftentimes bringing in a supportive, impartial third party can help clear the air and set you on the right path. That has to come through in the conversations. And you have to keep the topic on the table, not just bring it up once a year. What's gotten in the way of sex? Instead of anger that you aren't getting what you Seeking no sex relationship, cultivate curiosity about why this is a struggle for your partner. There are many things that can get in the way, including relationship issues, power dynamics, the meaning of sex in your relationship, the sex itself, etc. You need to identify what's in the way and work together to change those aspects.

Challenge expectations about sex. Learn how it works. Redefine it so it's not attached to particular acts or outcomes. Create more flexibility around how you can share sexuality. Learn how sexual desire really works, and approach sex with openness to play rather than having specific metrics for success. Create those opportunities and enjoy them together, whether that in "sex" the way you think of it or not. This is how you can take the pressure off—by learning to play and enjoy and create a way of engaging where there is no failure.

Schedule opportunities for this playground, this "maybe. And keep talking! How important sex is in a relationship will vary based on the couple and the individuals in it. In general, research shows sexual satisfaction is linked to overall relationship satisfactionbut that doesn't necessarily mean more sex is better.

One study in the Social Psychological and Personality journal found that adding more sex to a relationship stopped improving happiness after a certain point about once a weekwhile other research has found people who don't have sex are just as happy as people who have a lot of it. For other couples, having sex less than once a day doesn't feel healthy! We each get to decide how important sex is to us individually, and how to balance those needs as a couple.

Just remember, it's perfectly normal to not want to have sex with your partner sometimes, and ebbs and flows in sexual desire within a relationship are common. As long as there's communication and a willingness to work together, relationships can survive these ups and downs without trouble.

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What is a sexless relationship? Sexless relationship statistics. What causes sexless relationships.

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Neither person cares about sex that much Being so busy that sex is deprioritized Neglecting intimacy and pleasure in general Conflict in the relationship that creates disconnection Health challenges e. One or both partners are asexual One or both partners have experienced sexual trauma, making sex harder or less appealing Mismatched libido or other forms of desire discrepancy.

Effects of a sexless relationship. Negative feelings like loneliness, resentment, frustration, guilt, rejection, and inadequacy Negative feelings and pressure around sex, triggering a sexual avoidance cycle Less openness and connection Less goodwill and kindness Less patience with each other. Can a relationship survive without intimacy? Should you stay in a sexless relationship? Your partner refuses to work through this issue with you.

Your relationship issues are so big that there are other reasons to divorce. Your sexual interests are so different that there are not ways to enjoy sex together, and you don't agree to find another way to explore those interests.

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How to deal with a sexless relationship. Below are five more tips from Zimmerman, in her exact words:. Talk about it.

How to move forward when you're in a sexless marriage

Uncover the obstacles. Develop a new paradigm.

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Approach sex as a "playground" without attachment to an outcome. Prioritize it. How important is sex in a relationship? Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach based in Brooklyn, as well as the sex and relationships editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism More On This Topic Sex.

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The truth about sex is that, while there are certainly those legendary couples who have sex five times a week every week, most couples in long-term relationships experience sexless marriages.


Here are some of the many thoughtful replies — from all over the world — which you sent us.