Am I heading into a sexless marriage?

Am I heading into a sexless marriage?

I’m marrying a wonderful man later on this year but there is one problem; our sex life is almost non-existent. This is a problem that has been going on for the entire duration of our relationship. We have different levels of desire and different sexual styles. I have suggested counselling but we never make it there. Is sex really that important when you have so much else in common? What can I do about this? Getting Hitched

I tend to think when sex is good between two people, it just becomes part of the minutiae: it happens, it’s a hot moment in the mundane, and life goes on. But the lack of it, especially when you care about it and miss it, can eclipse everything and ooze into every part of your relationship like a poison. The short answer: if sex has been a non-starter since you got together (and really, the first year at least should be a dead-set shag fest), then it’s my guess that it probably won’t improve once he puts a ring on it. It’s a mystery to me how you got to the lets-get-married stage when things are so sexually dire, but hey, relationship delusions are my speciality.

You ask if sex is really that important when you have loads in common. The short answer is, absolutely. Sure, you can look at it as  just one piece of the marital puzzle, but ask any sex therapist who counsels hoards of miserable couples with mismatched libidos, and they’ll tell you it can be a pretty big piece. If you’re feeling rejected on a regular basis now, imagine years or even decades of talking to the hand (his). Shouldn’t your future husband want to give you a damn good seeing to, at least semi-regularly regardless of work, kids and social commitments? For a soon-to-be newlywed, it should be a given.

If self-help appeals, two great books I’d recommend are Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel and Good Loving, Great Sex by Rosie King. As for your fiance, it sounds like you’ve tackled it with him already to some capacity but I’d try again. Sit him down and tell him you love him, but you’re seriously concerned that you’re both signing up for a sexless marriage (the clinical definition of that is having sex less than 10 times a year; US studies suggest as many as 15-20 percent of couples endure nonsexual or sexless marriages). He may be cool with having sex like never, but tell him you are most definitely not. Ask if he’d be open to a compromise (which would perhaps include frequency of sex – maybe once a week). If he seems willing, give it two weeks. Feel free to instigate. If things don’t improve between you, make an appointment to see a counsellor. Go alone if he does his therapist dodging act – but realise this: he’s either really dense about how things are between the sheets, or just doesn’t care about making them better. Which isn’t great.

The absolute last resort would be suggesting putting the wedding on hold or cancelling it, even if it will break your heart to do that. If you hit this crossroad, it’s no bluff; you’ve got to be ready to walk. And chances are you will be, because really, who wants to slap an ultimatum on their future husband about having sex about as often as most people do laundry?

Let me know how it goes, GH. I really hope you can both agree to work on it – for a lifetime, if that’s what it takes. Because at the end of the day, putting your passion on ice – maybe permanently – because you love this guy’s other qualities isn’t marriage. It’s just a really good friendship.

Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. carrie 11 years ago

    Meeting someone who has the same libido as you is a rare and beautiful thing – let me say that again – a RARE thing. I work with several psychologists and this would have to be one of the most common issues people go to counselling about. My theory is that people who have mismatched libidos either a) suck it up and suffer in angry silence; b) negotiate constantly c) have affairs or d) split. I think you can live with it if you[re both willing to work at it and realise how important it is. But it depeends if you are both on the same wavelength about that. if one of you cares more and is always the one trying, it’s not going to work. It’ll just lead to resentment and misery.
    I guess my advice would be to get out and find someone you’re more compatible with. even though it will be hard, you will probably be glad you did in time.

  2. CdnGuy 11 years ago

    My perspective?
    I have too many men and women friends who’ve married “the right girl/guy” based on more material based things (good job, nice hair blah blah blah) but when it comes down to it the couples that I know who have gone the distance are the ones who still can’t keep their hands off each other…. if he’s not putting out you need to get out.. sooner rather than later…


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