When I talk about a sex-starved marriage, it’s not about the number of times per week or per month people are actually having sex. After all, unlike vitamins, there’s no daily or weekly minimum requirement to ensure a healthy sex life.

Instead, the sex-starved marriage is one in which one spouse is longing for more touch, more physical closeness, more sex, and—here’s the rub—the other spouse is thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just sex.” But it’s a huge deal because it’s really about feeling wanted, loved, and connected.


Couples who experience this kind of sex–desire gap stop spending time together, stop watching TV together, don’t laugh at each other’s jokes, and quit being friends. It places the marriage at risk of infidelity and of divorce.

Relationships become sexless or sex-starved for a variety of reasons. Sometimes couples don’t intentionally set aside time to themselves as a couple. It is hard to be intimate if you don’t feel connected to your partner. Other times, an individual may develop a sexual dysfunction such as orgasmic disorder, erectile dysfunction,premature ejaculation, or pain during sex. Instead of getting treatment, the person avoids sex.


For couples who would like to prevent sexless marriages or for those trying to mahe things better, pay attention to these tips:

*Make your relationship a priority. Set aside time together alone at least three times weekly. This can include a date night, going for walks, cuddle time before bed, sharing a hobby, having a coffee together on your porch, sharing a meal, exercising together, or anything else that involves you two being alone together.2.

*Create and keep couple rituals. A couple ritual is a habit you and your partner share with one another that is unique to your relationship. A ritual can be simple or great. Examples include brushing your teeth together, watching a game show and competing for who can answer the questions first, kissing before you leave for work and once you get home, an inside joke or special language only the two of you share, etc. Develop a variety of couple rituals and keep these rituals going over the years.


*Intentionally and regularly put yourself in the mood for sex. People tend to wait until they feel sexy before initiating sex. The issue with this is that during different times in your life, you will have more or less desire for sex. Rather than waiting, learn what turns you on and intentionally do things to put yourself in the mood. I encourage each person in a couple to put themselves in the mood and initiate sex with their partner once every week.

*Flirt and keep flirting. While dating, couples are great at flirting with one another. They share sexy text messages, speak with innuendo, smile and toss their hair, dress their best, and in general try to attract their partner. Many couples get married and assume flirting is not necessary anymore. Flirting is a key component to keeping that spark flowing.

*Work at it. Try new things. Talk about likes and dislikes. Practice being more romantic. Be affectionate regularly. Whatever you do, understand that intimacy in long-term relationships takes work from both parties. As long as you are both committed to do that work, you’ll do just fine.


Credit: Michele Davis


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