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Can a Marriage Survive Without Sex?

Updated on March 20, 2019
EvieSparkes profile image

Evie Sparkes is a published novelist, content writer and company director from the UK.

Can a Marriage survive with no sex?

Can you really live with no sex in your life? If you are the one holding back the sex, is that really fair? There are various reasons for a lack of sex within a marriage and I get that some are non-negotiable. My Dad for instance, he had his prostate removed and was unable to have sex. I’m talking here, about people who make a choice not to be intimate with their partner.

When no sex can work

When both parties agree that is no longer important to them. Of course, in this case there is no reason for a lack of sex to be an issue. As long as you both agree, and I mean truly, at the bottom of your heart agree. One can’t be agreeing for the sake of equilibrium. Both must completely understand that’s it.

When one Half Declines Sex

If you are the one that initiates sex and are constantly being pushed away you may feel unwanted, not good enough, or that there is something wrong with you physically. You may wonder what you have done wrong or whether your partner is being unfaithful.

It’s Good to Talk

Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Take a breath and start a conversation. It will most probably be uncomfortable for both of you, but it’s better out than festering inside. You may not get the answer you are hoping for, or the response you were hoping for. If you are a woman, then you will most probably be faced with denial, defensive words or your partner storming off and refusing to talk. Don’t give up if this is the case. Make your point and make it clearly. Don’t get angry and accusatory. Ask what the problem is, ask if you can help to make it easier for him to be intimate with you. Men (sorry if I am generalising here men!) are generally less open to conversation on the topic of sex than us women.


If you don’t get any sort of response, or just get shouted at and made to feel like you’re being unreasonable then you may feel that you have made your situation worse and that can be upsetting. The thing is marriages are a double act, they require teamwork to make the dream work. Sorry, I just had to get that in there! They do though. If one of you wants to be intimate and the other is withholding sex, that is a recipe for disaster. Tell your other half that it is unacceptable to refuse to talk, if that is the situation. Try to broach the subject of counselling.

Does a Lack of Sex Make an Affair More Likely?

I think that depends on the person. You may be highly sexual and still not able to face sex with someone else, or you may be a very loyal person and would not be able to even contemplate being unfaithful.

Affairs are more likely if one half of the partnership still has sexual feelings. A lack of intimacy in general though, is more likely to push a person to become unfaithful.

Is It Okay to be Unfaithful if Your Partner Doesn’t Want Sex?

I think that’s down to the individual. It’s not an ideal situation but it’s understandable. It’s not black and white and every person and their relationship is different. If you have exhausted all avenues and your partner still refuses to talk or to try and work at it, then you may feel completely justified in sleeping with someone else. Bear in mind though, that this will complicate matters even further. Are you happy in the marriage in every other way? Is sex the only issue?

If you embark on an affair, then you may be heading for disaster in more ways than one. You then have to deal with deception and feelings of guilt. Even if you feel justified, you may still be plagued with negative emotions. This in turn can make you feel even more aggrieved and negative towards your partner. You may blame them for making you feel this way.

There is no black and white answer here. You are you and have to make the decision that’s right for your situation. Don’t go on a mission to have sex at any cost, with anyone who shows an interest. Please try, try, try again to work things out at home. Only then can you make the right decision for you.

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Could You Survive without Sex?

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    • EvieSparkes profile imageAUTHOR

      Evie Sparkes 

      2 years ago

      Some very valid points. Thanks for commenting.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      2 years ago from Chicago

      According to a Newsweek Magazine article it was speculated that in U.S. 20% of marriages are sexless. That's 1 in 5!

      Oftentimes it may have to do with the (age) of the couple and possible loss of interest due to erectile dysfunction or menopause.

      In other instances it's a case of going along to get along if one person doesn't want to have sex as oppose to filing for divorce.

      When both parties agree that is no longer important to them.

      To my knowledge there has never been an instance where a married couple woke up one morning looked each other in the eye and said together: "Lets stop having sex!"

      What generally happens is (one person) gradually makes them self less available In the beginning it may have been actually saying "no" or "I'm not in the mood" to eventually either going to bed super early or super late, or dressing/behaving in such a manner that indicates without words that sex is the last thing on their mind or non verbal cues. The use of flirtatious/sexual innuendo banter is responded with the rolling of eyes, deaf ears/silence, or simply the sound of crickets.

      The couples who have the most difficult time with sexless marriages are more likely to be (younger) people under the age 50/60. Odds are at least one of them would love to have sex.

      Ultimately it's not whether or not a marriage can survive without sex but rather or not someone is willing to stop having sex.

      A "monogamous relationship" means a person only has sex with the person they are in a relationship with. Technically if you're in a sexless relationship/marriage it's not monogamous it's a "platonic relationship" or "roommates with same last name".

      Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

      Each of us has our mate selection process/must haves list.

      Each of us has our boundaries and "deal breakers".

      "While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions." - Stephen R. Covey

      It takes two people to keep a marriage together but it only takes one to end it. Physical neglect of one's spouse might do it.


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