Today I'm going to talk about 16 tips to avoid having a sexless marriage. Many married couples have sexual problems for multiple reasons.
What is a sexless marriage?
A sexless marriage is when a couple has little to no sexual contact over an extended period of time. The top causes range from sexual trauma in either partner's past, differences in libido, and emotional distance in the relationship from unresolved resentments.
One in three females have had sexual trauma in their past and one in five males have had sexual trauma. Sexual trauma usually makes someone either hyper-sexual where they want sex all the time so they're in control or hypo-sexual where they want nothing to do with sex so they avoid it. The second reason for sexual problems in marriage is differences in libidos. On average, the male has a much higher libido than the female because the sex drive is connected to testosterone. Females also have testosterone, but on average it's much lower than males. So, typically the male has a much higher drive than the female. Having said that, from experience in my practice and from what I've read, females have a higher libido in around 20% of marriages. The third reason a lot of couples have sexual problems is because they're emotionally disconnected from unresolved resentments.
Sexless Marriage Tips for Low Libido Partners
These are not in any particular order. The first tip for low libido partners is to increase the importance of sex. Because you have a lower libido, you don't value sex and often don't prioritize it. You don't think about how important it is to your partner or to your marriage. So, it's important to recognize for your partner sex is probably like air. They need it to breathe. It's one of the most powerful ways they feel loved, secure, adequate, and connected to you.
The second tip is to plan ahead. If you have a low libido, adjusting to sex can be quite a process. If your partner initiates sex, it can feel very jarring because that's the last thing on your mind. In contrast, if you're planning ahead for sex and know you're going to initiate sex tomorrow night, it gives your brain time to get ready. The brain for low libido partners is the largest sex organ because the brain needs to get engaged and ready for sex. So, planning ahead can help a lot with that.
Tip three is make the sexual encounter about you, not your partner. A lot of low libido partners lose their voice during sexual encounters because it becomes all about what their partner wants. Instead, focus on what would make you feel good. What would bring up your arousal? What would you appreciate more of during your sexual encounter? Make it about you. This is the time for you to be selfish because if you are having a positive experience, that's going to be a positive experience for your partner.
Tip number four, use positive redirects, not rebukes. When your partner is trying to touch your body, don't reprimand them. Don't say, "what are you doing, I hate that!" Most high libido partners are pushing buttons, pulling levers, and twisting knobs trying to figure out how your body works. So you have to be gentle. A high libido partner's ego often rests upon their sexual ability. If they're trying to make your body feel good and they're not doing it right, don't rebuke them or else it will crush them. Instead, use positive redirects with affirmation. Redirect what they're doing to what would feel better, then affirm it. For example, imagine your partner is rubbing your leg and you prefer light tickles so you would say, "just light tickles (then when they do it respond with) yes, that feels awesome!"
Tip number five is to please your five senses. During your next sexual encounter, think about how to increase pleasure with your smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch. What could you do for each one of those to increase your pleasure? We've been given our five senses to experience the world, but a lot of times we don't think about maximizing them during sex. So think about what would that look like for you.
Number six is paying attention to your nervous system. Your sympathetic versus parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system means you're in fight or flight mode. Parasympathetic means you're very relaxed. Think of parasympathetic as a relaxing parachute floating down. Your body will not feel arousal if you're tense or anxious in your sympathetic nervous system. So watch your body. If you start to tense up during the sexual encounter and feel anxious, pause and work on relaxing your body or else it's going to be a negative experience for you and your partner. One of the largest causes of anxiety is past trauma. If you have past trauma, it will often get activated during sexual encounters. Trying to ignore your anxiety and continue to engage sexually can possibly re-traumatize you so it's vital to pause to discern what you're feeling and why.
If you find yourself anxious and are in your sympathetic nervous system, capture what's going through your mind. Capture your thoughts by writing them down and counter them with truth. Some common negative automatic thoughts inducing anxiety may be "I am being used, sex is dirty, I'm dirty, sex and love do not go together, I'm voiceless, etc." These automatic thoughts usually stem from past trauma and feel like truth unless you write them down and look at them objectively. It's vital to counter them with truth then ruminate on the truth statements while practicing deep breathing exercises to lower your heart rate. Don't move forward sexually until you feel safe and relaxed.
The eighth tip is to flirt sexually with your partner. Your high libido partner will eat this up and you can be as racy or as mild as you want. Some options can be texting your partner and telling them what you're looking forward to doing with them later, or write on your bathroom mirror the fantasy you're having about them, or send them a suggestive photo. Whatever you feel comfortable with. This type of sexual flirting is your partner's love language. They're going to love it and it will direct their sexual energy toward you, which is where it needs to be.
Sexless Marriage Tips for High Libido Partners
Court your partner like you were newlyweds to have great sex like you were newlyweds. One of the reasons your low libido partner was so open to sex in the beginning of your marriage is because you were probably courting them. You were doting on them and making them feel special. How much do you still do that? Probably not very much because it tends to fade away the longer a couple is together.
Be affectionate with your partner when you don't want sex. Low libido partners are smart and quickly learn you only touch them when you want sex, which makes them resent your touch. However, most low libido partners really crave physical closeness through affection so touch them often with no strings attached.
Increase sensual activity. Low libido partners tend to be like a crock pot and high libido partners are like a microwave sexually. It tends to take a low libido partner around 15-30 minutes to reach orgasm and it takes a high libido partner around 3-5 minutes, so you have to allow your partner time to come online sexually. Sensual activity provides time for them to build arousal, such as providing a sensual massage, taking a bath together, etc. You also want to slow down for sensual activity and foreplay because that tends to be the main event for low libido partners.
Look into your partners eyes during sexual activity. Now, you don't want to be staring into their eyes the whole time during orgasm because they may think you're having a heart attack and it may traumatize them. However, most high libido partners avoid eye contact during sexual activity because they get lost in the experience. Look at your partner. Eye contact is one of the best ways to integrate emotional intimacy during sexual intimacy. Also, when you are touching skin on skin and during orgasm your brain releases Oxytocin, which is the bonding chemical. Therefore, you want to be looking occasionally at your partner during sexual activity to bond.
Make a plan on frequency and implement. Unless you have the same libidos, consider a schedule for sex so you're both on the same page with expectations. Some couples are very structured and they'll choose the same day each week, such as Wednesday because it's "hump day." Other couples mix it up by having one partner initiate sex Monday through Thursday and the other partner initiate sex Friday through Sunday. Discuss these ideas with your partner and try to reach a compromise that would work for both of you.
Learn how to flirt emotionally with your low libido partner. Many high libido partners are so sexually driven they tend to grope their partner. Most low libido partners hate being groped because then they feel like a piece of meat. Instead of groping your partner, convert your sexual impulse into their language, something emotional. For example, if you're feeling aroused, instead of squeezing something on your partner whisper into their ear how special they are to you and why you love them so much.
No obligation sex is allowed. Research shows the majority of low libido partners have obligation sex where they are fulfilling their marital duty. Unfortunately, obligation sex makes libido go even lower. So if you are having a sexual encounter with your partner and you see they're just going through the motions stop because that's going to make things worse. Talk with them about what's making it feel like obligation. Maybe there needs to be more emotional connection. Maybe there are some conflicts that need to be resolved. Maybe there needs to be more non-sexual touch. Talk to them about what they need so sex does not feel like an obligation.
Ask your partner what it would take for you to have more sex. You may be surprised at what they say. They may say they need more quality time with you that's tech free or more romance or more playful interactions or more appreciation. Who knows, which is why it's vital to ask and then implement their feedback.
In conclusion, a sexless marriage is often an unhealthy marriage where both partners are unable to get their needs met. A high libido partner not having sex will feel unable to nurture their low libido partner emotionally. Likewise, a low libido partner not having emotional intimacy will feel unable to nurture their high libido partner sexually. Hopefully, these 16 tips can help you break the vicious cycle and start moving forward.
For further reading see below.
Sign up for Dr. Wyatt's FREE resource on Unlocking the Keys to Emotional Intimacy Tonight. Get it here!
Leave a comment below on some other ideas for avoiding a sexless marriage.