You may have noticed a new relationship topic popping up
recently: that of the sexless marriage. Experts define a
"sexless marriage" as a married couple engaging in sex no more
than 10 times per year. More and more advertisements for drugs
are being invented to help us increase our sexual desire. How-to
guides in the form of books and articles are being written to
help us ignite the intimacy that (apparently) 15% - 20% of us
are lacking these days. And it's become a hot topic on
television shows such as The Today Show and Dr. Phil.
So what's causing this sudden drop in sexual performance? Are
we bored with sex? Are we too tired? Have we chalked sex up to
another thing we have to cross off our to do list? No one knows
the exact reasons for the apparent drop in sexual desire. But
here are some of the experts' best guesses:
- We're simply exhausted. With the majority of married couples
now working outside of the home, both partners are working
double-shifts. They wake up early, get the kids off to school,
put in a full day at the office, come home to cook, clean, do
homework and (if they're lucky) grab a shower before plopping
into bed. This certainly doesn't do much to elevate sexual
desire, does it?
- We feel guilty. Couples with children (especially women, but
this goes for men too) feel a certain amount of guilt for
working so many hours outside the home, so they spend most of
their free time with the kids. The focus is on the family,
rather than on the intimate relationship between the couple.
- We're over-stimulated. With tv, computers, crackberries,
cell phones, bills, junk mail, and everything else that demands
our attention on a daily basis, we find ourselves getting sucked
into the boob tube every night, rather than spending a romantic
evening alone. Without this mental and emotional foreplay,
getting in the mood becomes another "task".
- We're being treated for depression. Ironically, our
increasing diagnosis of depression may be contributing to our
lack of action in the bedroom. One of the side-effects of many
anti-depressants is a loss of libido. The possibility that
married couples are losing interest in sex may be a result of
their dependence on anti-depressant medications.
- The Sexual Revolution. Sex used to be a forbidden affair
reserved for married couples. It was considered a taboo topic
of discussion and a sacred act between man and wife. Over the
last 30 years, our experience with and knowledge about sex has
increased. Most people these days come into a marriage already
having had several sexual partners. For better or worse, sex
isn't as much of a mystery to a married couple, which may be
lessening the desire for it.
- Loss of Gender-Roles. Again trends in the culture of our
society may be another reason for our lack of sexual activity.
These days, there's a dichotomy between the skills that makes a
woman successful at work, and what makes her desirable at home.
Many women spend the majority of their day at the office
managing others, mutli-tasking, meeting deadlines and dealing
with the corporate structure - not typically feminine traits.
These days, it seems a woman's identity of herself as a
feminine, sexual being comes into conflict with her
responsibilities outside the home.
These are just a few of the reasons behind the rise of the
Sexless Marriage. So, what are we to do about it? Well, the
first question should be: is it really a problem? Is this
something that threatens to break down our social structure and
cause chaos? Is this "lack of sex" really that big of a deal?
Many experts say yes. Physical intimacy is clearly a vital part
of a healthy and positive relationship. Sex brings an emotional
closeness to a marriage that is important in creating lasting
love. The importance of re-connecting periodically allows a
couple to strengthen their bond in a unique way.
However, what has also been suggested is that this arbitrary
number of "10 times per year" may not be all that important.
What is important, according to most experts, is that both you
and your partner are satisfied and happy with the amount of sex
you have. If that happens to be once a year, then so be it.
Taking this into account, shouldn't the real definition for the
term "sexless marriage" be: "a marriage within which at least
one partner desires more occurrences of sexual activity"? What
do you think?
About the author: Sarah M. Schultz, MA, CPC is a certified
Personal Development Coach in Park City, UT. Sarah coaches
quarterlifers (adults in their 20s and 30s) who want to create
meaning and passion in their lives by building lasting committed
relationships, creating a fulfilling work/life balance, and
managing the stress of major life transitions. Receive your
free copy of her Special Report: "Five Steps to Creating a Life
You Love!" on her website at: