Do you find yourself wondering what happened to the passion in your marriage? Do you feel like you and your wife have turned into roommates? If you answered a resounding, “Yes!” to any of those questions, you’re living in a sex-starved marriage and heading down a dangerous path that could end in divorce.
In fact, a UK law firm reported that sex was a factor in 43% of divorce cases and it was the number one reason couples decided to divorce. Sex issues in marriage are so common that 21,000 folks google sexless marriage every month and apparently there are 16 times more complaints about a spouse not wanting sex than about a married partner not wanting to communicate.
The good news is there are many couples out there who are going through what you are going through right now and many that have made it to the other side. The bad news is you’re going to have to work to return the passion into your marriage.
1) Bring It Out In the Open
Often, couples in a sex-starved marriage will talk about everything other than sex. It’s almost as if there is an unspoken rule that you can talk around the issue, but not about it directly. This is not helpful. For your situation to improve, you need to start bringing up sex (or the lack thereof) on a fairly regular basis.
There are certain times and places where you should start these conversations. Don’t ask to talk about it right after you’ve been shot down and don’t add it to your list of grievances when you’re fighting about something else. Don’t continuously ask about when you’re finally going to get to have sex.
The best way to make your wife aware that this is a serious problem is to sit down with her when you’re both calm, tell her there’s a problem that will take both of you to fix. Tell her you love her and desire her, and the lack of sex in your relationship is hurting your marriage. Be honest about your feelings and frustrations. Tell her that this is very important to you and that if things don’t change, you’re going to need to rethink your marriage.
You should go into this talk with the intention of coming up with a solution together. This is not an opportunity to lay into her about how cold, selfish, and inhibited she is. This is an opportunity to sit down together and come up with a plan of attack. For that to happen, you need to be prepared to hear her side of the story. Is she stressed from work? Is she bored of the same positions? Does she feel unattractive because she’s gained weight?
Listen to her answers, consider these problems a team-effort, and work together to fix them. If she’s stressed with work, see if you can lessen the amount of work she’s doing at home. If she’s bored, maybe you need to introduce something new into the bedroom like toys, sex in new places, and more foreplay. If she’s feeling unattractive, make a plan to go to the gym together and cook healthy meals. You get the idea.
After this talk, make sure you keep the lines of communication open. Try to bring up sex on a fairly regular basis in a respectful manner. Check in with her to see how she’s feeling about your sex life and if she thinks it’s improving. After you have sex, tell her how awesome it was and how great you feel. Communication is important to women and a practical place to start when you’re having problems in the bedroom.
2) Schedule Sex on a Regular Basis
Sometimes, the only reason sex starts to dwindle is because there isn’t enough time in the day. When you’re both working, taking care of the kids and pets, and trying to juggle all the responsibilities in between, sex can sometimes take a back seat to ‘real life.’ Unfortunately, this can pull a couple apart and hurt the rest of the marriage.
As a couple, you need to make your sex life a priority in your life. If you’re feeling deprived and lonely, you’re less likely to work together as a team. Sex is the glue that can keep your marriage together and a sex-starved marriage can pull the two of you apart.
The solution to this problem is fairly easy. You need to schedule sex and make it happen.
Sure, it doesn’t sound sexy. It’s not like when you first started dating and you couldn’t be in the same room without wanting to jump on each other….however, it does have its benefits.
First of all, it gives your wife the opportunity to get into the mood. If she knows that you’re going to get down and dirty tonight, she’ll be thinking about it all day. Maybe she’ll let her mind wander and start to get warmed up.
Secondly, it get you off the hook from having to directly initiate sex every time. If you often get turned down, you may feel apprehensive about initiating. In this situation, you both know what’s going to happen so you don’t need to worry about whether she’ll go for it or not.
Lastly, if you combine this with date night, you’ll be able to have some time to do something fun with your wife. You can go out for good food, have a glass (or three!) of wine, and then head home for a massage and some fun. It changes things up so that it adds some romance to your night and makes the sex feel less routine and more like when you first started dating. This is especially effective if your wife has been complaining of a lack of romance in your relationship.
So, sit down together and figure out what days work for both of you. Star those days on the calendar and stick to it. Hire that babysitter and make reservations for that nice restaurant. If you can’t afford to do that, make sure you put the kids down early those nights and turn off the TV. Break out the candles and massage oil and lock the door.
There are no excuses to skip sex days, and if something comes up then you must reschedule for another day that same week. If both of you can make that time commitment to each other, the passion should follow.
3) Marriage Counseling Can Help a Sex-Starved Marriage
So, you’ve tried everything. You’ve had “the talk” and it hasn’t gone anywhere. You’re still initiating and getting turned down. You’re resentful, she’s resentful, and it feels like you’ll never see your wife naked ever again. You love her but you feel like you’re drowning in your sex-starved marriage. You’ve started to consider having an affair because the only thing missing in your marriage is sex and you don’t want to break up JUST because of sex.
Now is the time to seek out marriage counseling, stat.
You need an outside perspective. You and your wife are too close to the situation to fix it at this point. All of the years have worn you both down and now you’re stuck in a broken dynamic. This is an emergency, so treat it as such. It’s not embarrassing to get outside help – it’s the logical, smart thing to do.
If your wife refuses to go to marriage counselling, you have two options. The first is to give her an ultimatum. Tell her that you’ll file for divorce if she won’t go to counselling and put the ball in her court. The second is to go to a counsellor without her. The counsellor will still be able to give you useful advice you can use on your marriage.
Make sure that you choose a marriage counsellor who is sex-positive. When you’re shopping around, you need to be asking, “How do you feel about sex in a marriage?” If the marriage counsellor doesn’t see the importance in sex or deflects the question, you need to move along and find a professional whose beliefs align with your own.
If you’ve chosen someone you trust and respect, you should begin to see things improve both in the relationship portion of your marriage and in your sex life. If things don’t seem to improve, then that’s something you ultimately need to take into account when considering the future of your marriage.
4) Get Out Of Your Rut
After you get married, the dynamic in your relationship changes. Suddenly, you’re spending more time together and you begin to take each other for granted. You lose interest in your hobbies, you eat more junk food and forget the gym membership, you stop seeing your friends as much. You both become more dependent on each other for happiness and security and, inevitably, the mystery leaves the marriage.
Unfortunately, comfort kills desire and desire is not a negotiable topic. You can’t have a conversation about desire and expect there to be any change.
In some marriages, the quantity of sex is still there but the quality is what’s suffering. Your wife may have sex with you but she’ll lie there motionless. Perhaps, she’ll refuse to change up any positions or she’ll give up on oral sex. Maybe she seems bored during sex or keeps her eyes closed the entire time.
How can you change this?
You need to change that dynamic and the best way to do that is to change yourself.
Instead of sitting in front of the PS4 after work, go to the gym. Take a night class about something you think is interesting. Take off a weeknight and go play cards with your friends. Take the kids out for a hike instead of sitting them down in front of the TV like you always do. Take control of your life and try to make yourself a better man. Learn to control your temper and let yourself laugh more. Enjoy your life outside of your marriage. Be the man she fell in love with initially.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore your wife or become selfish, but it does mean you must strengthen your boundaries. If you used to let her walk all over you, now you have to respectfully stand up for yourself. You must make yourself and your happiness a priority in your life. She’ll see (and feel) the changes you’re making, and it will increase her desire for you because you’ll be new and interesting again. At the very least, it will get her thinking about why you’re suddenly trying so hard.
5) When a Sex-Starved Marriage Leads to Divorce
You’ve tried everything and your sex life is still not where you want it to be. Many people will say that divorcing over sex is shallow and wrong and you should just stick it out.
At a certain point, you two are no longer compatible. It’s as simple as that. If you’re both suffering and you’re both unhappy, then perhaps this marriage isn’t working for you. There are many women out there in the world who want sex just as much as you do. It doesn’t always have to be a struggle. Intimacy is an intrinsic part of marriage and if you’re not getting the intimacy you need, then your sex-starved marriage becomes a business or best friend situation.
Only you know if divorce is on the table for you. If it is, you’re in the right place. Before you take the leap, go through the articles on this site to arm yourself with enough information to make it through the divorce as painlessly as possible. And don’t feel guilty for divorcing over sex – sexually incompatibility is just as important as differing opinions on money, kids, and careers.
Have you tried any of these tactics to improve your sex-starved marriage? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Considering looking for sex outside your marriage? Here’s what you need to know if you’re Tempted to Cheat on Your Spouse. It’s not always lack of sex. Beware of The Deadly Seven: Behaviors That Kill a Marriage.
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