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An image of a couple sitting on opposite ends of the bed facing away from each other representing the distance in their relationship during a time where they aren't having sex. My Stress Solutions offers therapy for couples in California experiencing a disconnect in their relationship.

My Partner and I Aren’t Having Sex. Do We Really Need to Fix This?

Do you and your partner never, or almost never, have sex? Perhaps, you wonder if this really needs to be such a big deal, especially when you two have such a great relationship in so many other ways. Additionally, maybe it’s also impossible to conceive of a reality where you two have sex with any regularity. After all, with kids, your individual endless hours at work, and the fact that, understandably, you feel like you both have absolutely nothing left in the tank at the end of the day, it may be nearly unthinkable to imagine having sex even once-in-a-while.

In her book, The Truth about Love, Dr. Patricia Love writes that “far too many couples live with an unspoken, unworkable contract that goes something like this: ‘I expect you to be monogamous, but don’t expect me to meet your sexual needs’. You can’t live under this contract without driving a stake into the heart of your marriage” (Love, 2001, p. 2).

The truth is this simple: whether you are in a relationship where one partner is not interested in much sex, or seemingly not interested at all, or you are in a relationship where you both seem to be accepting of a reality where you have little or no sex, Michelle-Weiner Davis, a top therapist who has specializes in helping couples (largely specializing in the area of sex) for several decades shares that, “without a shadow of a doubt, a marriage void of sexuality and intimacy is a marriage doomed to fail” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 5).

In this blog, we will cover the hard and critical truths about this devastatingly problematic situation. The hope is that, by the time you finish reading this, you will be awakened to the crucial and timely need to work on understanding and transforming your relationship in this massively important area.

Reason 1: Your Relationship is Deprived of Powerful Healing Moments

After a couple fights, sex is often a pathway to healing and soothing their emotional pain. In this way, sex can serve as a kind of “forgiving ritual. But, when you are deprived of even that, bitterness and resentment and desperation accumulate” (Weiner-Davis, The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido, a Couple’s Guide, 2003, p. 4).

Reason 2: You and/or Your Partner are Enduring Tremendous Hurt in Several Ways

If you’re a woman and you are currently missing and so badly want a regular and satisfying sex life with your partner, you likely suffer from a lot of hurt.

You likely feel unwanted, unsexy, and undesired, which is especially brutal given you feel this way at the hands of the very man you’ve committed to for your life. What you often won’t suffer from, however, is a painful process of questioning your femininity. This is where you are very different than men in this area.

If you’re a man and a satisfying and desired sex life is absent from your relationship, you likely experience tremendous pain in terms of your masculinity and self-worth.

An image of a couple sitting on a bed together showing signs of stress and discomfort in their relationship as they communicate about the lack of intimacy and aren't having sex due to disconnect. My Stress Solutions offers couples therapy to help those who are experiencing difficulties with their sex life in Florida, Oregon, and California

“Men, on the other hand, are thought to have only three things on their minds: sex, sex, and more sex. To be disinterred in sex is to feel less than a man. Just thinking about low libido, let alone talking about it, strikes terror in men because it threatens the very foundation on which their feelings of self-worth are based. No wonder they’re tight-lipped” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 5).

Also, part of your value and source of happiness may be missing without sex. Perhaps, as a man or woman, it used to bring you tremendous joy to sexually please your partner, and now that that is missing, you are, to some extent, less joyful, satisfied, and happy. For men, in particular, this can be even more potently painful, as their value is often linked to pleasing their partner sexually. So, with that out of the equation, it can further add to pain linked to a perceived lack of masculinity/manhood and worth.

Furthermore, when one partner desires sex on a routine basis, and the other does not, the desiring partner often experiences confusion, rejection, suspiciousness, hurt, deep depression, and resentment, as well as feelings of being unloved and of betrayed. Our minds — which often go to the worst, most catastrophic, and often untrue places – often go to thoughts such as “’My wife isn’t attracted to me’, or ‘He must be having an affair’, or ‘the kids’ needs are more important than mine’” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 8).

Reason 3: Your Relationship is Deprived of a Potent Form of Intimacy and Closeness

“When sex is good, it offers couples opportunities to give and receive physical pleasure, to connect emotionally and spiritually. It builds closeness, intimacy, and a sense of partnership. It defines your relationship as different from all others. Sex is a powerful tie that binds” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 8).

Reason 4: It Worsens Distance, Tension, Resentment, Fighting, and Friendship

“When one spouse isn’t interested in sex, the touching, kissing, and other forms of physical affection and intimacy often cease as well. Spouses distance themselves from each other emotionally. They carry on their lives together in much the same way that two toddlers might engage in parallel play – involved in similar activities in close proximity, but without meaningful connection. Marriage becomes mechanical. Friendship often evaporates. Anger bubbles just below the surface. Misunderstandings abound. Emotional ‘divorce’ becomes inevitable” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 8).

Reason 5: Devastating Conversations and Fights Evolve from this Dynamic

In relationships where one partner thinks about sex and wants sex much more often than the other partner, s/he is often met with profound dismissiveness and a lack of empathy when attempting to talk about their pain and needs in this realm.

“When they try to explain these feelings to their partners, their explanations are often flatly dismissed. ‘You don’t have the need to feel closer to me, you’re just a sex maniac,’ or ‘If you would go to work in the real world rather than be home with the kids, you would understand why I’m so tired all the time’, or ‘If you weren’t so controlling, you would just accept that I’m not as physical as you are and you would leave me alone’, or ‘It’s only sex. What’s the big deal’” (Weiner-Davis, 2003,p. 9)?

The main problem here is this: in relationships where one partner has a high sexual desire, while the other has a low sexual desire, the one with the low sexual desire often struggles to empathize with his/her partner. To these people, they might as well be living in on a different planet from their partner who has a high sexual desire. Since there often isn’t an understanding of the high sexual desiring partner’s experience, feelings, and needs, this often leads to the low desire partner struggling to empathize. So, instead of empathy, the high desire partner often endures dismissiveness, further pain, and frustration as a result. Furthermore, much low desire partner, more often than not, does little to make the critical significant changes in the relationship.

What starts with feelings of rejection and sadness transforms into anger. The pattern then precipitously worsens.

“Those yearning for more physical closeness vacillate between being distant and unpleasant. And although those behaviors are merely symptoms of underlying hurt, people with low sexual desire don’t perceive their spouses’ behavior quite so benevolently. Empathy is in short supply. Arguments about sex, or the lack of it, become the norm. Blame-slinging disagreements add to the already icy distance between spouses. Then, like a runaway train, it’s not long before their bitterness and animosity collide head-on with every other aspect of their relationship. Nothing seems right anymore” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 9).

A cropped close up image of a couple who are showing signs of physical touch, but are struggling to find desire for intimacy and aren't having sex. My Stress Solutions offers couples therapy to those who are in need in California, Florida, and Oregon.Reason 6: Pathway to Infidelity and Divorce

For a large portion of people, it is difficult to believe what the overwhelming research tells us about human sexuality: humans are sexual creatures and it is perfectly normal to regularly think about, desire, want, and need sex. Sure, the research also tells us that about half of us don’t desire sex in a strong way, but, at the end of the day, this roughly half of us still need it in their lives with some regularity.

If you had any doubt about that, I would hope that seeing the 5 reasons above eliminate that doubt. If not, consider the last, and most devastating, consequence.

When sex isn’t prioritized in a relationship, desires and movements to step out of the marriage to get emotional and physical connection needs met greatly increase.

Consider this all to common sad and misguided belief: “I know you’re sexually unhappy. Although I don’t plan on doing anything about it, I still expect you to remain faithful. Can you see what’s wrong with this picture” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 10-11)?

“Unsatisfying sexual relationships are the all-too-frequent causes of alienation, infidelity, and divorce. Given our sobering divorce rate – one out of every two marriages dies – you cannot afford to be complaisant about the wedge between you and your spouse. You need to address this very important aspect of your relationship, and you need to do it now” (Weiner-Davis, 2003, p. 10).

Begin Working with a San Diego Couples’ Therapist Today

If you want to understand more about the profound importance of reviving your sex life in your relationship, schedule your free consultation with a therapist at Stress Solutions in San Diego, California. You and your partner deserve to be able to soothe and work through conflict much more often and effectively, feel much happier, confident, respected, satisfied, understood, validated, and peaceful, and be largely protected from infidelity and divorce. At Stress Solutions, we can teach you much more about the critical importance of sex, as well as ways to infuse it back into your lives on a more consistent basis.

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