Understand that sexual satisfaction is important
Sex is an expression of the love and intimacy you share with your spouse. Research has shown that, in a marriage, sexual satisfaction is related to relationship satisfaction, stability and commitment.
When sex is non-existent, it can significantly impact the relationship. Most sex therapists agree that a sexless relationship is one where the couple has sex less than 10 times a year.
Remember that sex reflects a shared connection
We’ve been conditioned to think about sex in terms of the frequency of intercourse and quality of the orgasm. But more importantly, sex is about meaningful interaction. It encompasses other acts of intimacy like kissing, hugging, snuggling and holding hands.
Every couple's idea of a healthy or "normal" sex life is different
A couple’s sex life is influenced by so many factors: age, lifestyle, each partner’s health and sex drive and, most importantly, the quality of their relationship. Having sex less often doesn’t always mean the relationship is in trouble, as long as both partners are satisfied with the frequency.
But often, when a couple stops having sex, their relationship can be overtaken by feelings of anger, disappointment and detachment.
Work out why you or your spouse doesn't want to have sex
The reasons may range from physiological (like chronic illness, substance abuse, injury or disability) to psychological (desire discrepancy, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual orientation) and relationship issues (past betrayal and sexual dissatisfaction).
Take proactive steps to resolve the problem
• Acknowledge and recognise that there is a problem. It doesn’t matter whether or not you want to have sex with your spouse. The fact that you are not having sex is a problem for both of you.
• See a doctor to rule out any physical issues that would prevent you or your spouse from having sex.
• Get help from a professional therapist to deal with the psychological and relationship issues.
• Talk to your spouse about sex. Talk about your sexual preferences, your fears, your hopes and your sexual story (like how you learnt about sex and how you became aware of your sexuality).
• Take steps to build all areas of intimacy in your relationship, especially sexual intimacy.
• Commit to working it out. What makes sex really beautiful and enjoyable is doing it with someone you love and sharing your mind, body and soul with him – this is called “personal sex”. While it’s harder, riskier and takes a lot of work, it’s also much more fulfilling.
Did you know that sex can also vastly improve your overall health?
This article was originally published in Simply Her June 2015.