Health & WellnessLifestyle

Turning Around a Sexless Marriage

It is not uncommon to see couples in relationships that have not had sex in 1 month to even 10 years. I am often  visited by folks who have had no sex with spouse/partner for 2 or more years. I am always fascinated that they wait so long to seek help. This is often due to embarrassment, not knowing who to ask, or simply acceptance of their new “norm”. Let’s look at some of the causes.

One of the most common causes of no sex in a marriage occurs in menopausal women – PAINFUL SEX. Approximately 50% of menopausal women who avoid sex do so because it is painful. This is often caused
by vaginal dryness (atrophy) and leads to thin, non-elastic tissue with little blood flow. There are many ways to treat this including topical estrogen creams, non-estrogen oral tablets and other products for the vagina. This can restore at least 50% of the elasticity and lubrication to the area! Note that lubricants will only wet the area
and make it slippery whereas the products mentioned will actually restore the area to a more normal state. Although experienced by most women, this should NOT be an accepted part of aging and menopause! Discuss this with your doctor and ask for management. If you are looking for a non-medicine approach, it is reported that having 3 penetrations a week or more will maintain the youthfulness of the vagina – so begin your homework!

Another common reason for a sexless marriage is POOR FUNCTION – generally inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for penetration. This is often caused by medical conditions including cardiovascular disease and hypertension. SMOKING and excessive alcohol consumption are HUGE risk factors for this and we strongly advise to stop smoking very early in life and keep alcohol consumption low. MEDICATIONS are also a big influence on lack of function. Some are unavoidable, such as mood medications, but others are used to treat conditions that could be prevented with a healthy diet, maintaining a normal body mass and participating in regular exercise. So stay healthy and this will prevent the need for excessive medications.

In couples of any age, BITTERNESS and RESENTMENT present a huge barrier to sexual intimacy. No surprise that a person wants to be treated nicely if they are going to have sexual intimacy with their spouse. The daily drama in life with kids, work and finances present many aggravations that flatten dopamine and norepinephrine and interfere with sexual desire. I believe that mutual respect in ANY relationship can help avoid general conflicts whether or not you agree with each other. Avoid petty arguments when possible. Also, I would argue, that having sexual intimacy may be a great way to resolve conflict as it releases tension, “re-boots” the dopamine and norepinephrine and makes you forget what you were arguing about! Try compartmentalizing conflicts and continue sex on a regular basis.

We would be remiss if we did not mention BOREDOM! Although women and men rarely identify it as this, they are just bored of the same routine. EVEN IF, the same routine ends in orgasm for both parties, the lack of excitement leads to reduced arousal (vaginal dryness and inadequate lubrication) and eventually low desire. So folks just stop pursuing each other and live more like roommates. Spice things up a little! Read a sexy book together, have sex in an unusual place (don’t get arrested), women should dress up in a sexy outfit, send flirty text messages, get a couples massage, get in the bathtub together, give each other massages with oils. There are great books and videos out there to keep the heat in the bedroom!


Other causes of a sexless marriage are substance abuse by one or both partners including alcohol and pain pills. In younger women, VAGINISMUS, which is an involuntary muscle spasm that does not allow penetration of a penis, a finger or even a tampon, is generally an anxiety condition. This can be managed with couple’s therapy. Finally, sexual preference change can become apparent sometimes years after marriage.

The GOOD NEWS IS… almost all willing couples – restoring sexual intimacy in the marriage IS POSSIBLE! It may seem awkward and challenging at first but with persistent work, with a certified sex therapist, and management of the medical aspects by the physician, I believe it is possible to achieve GREAT SEX FOR A LIFETIME!! So let’s start addressing it today!

Dr. Maureen Whelihan
Latest posts by Dr. Maureen Whelihan (see all)

Dr. Maureen Whelihan

Dr. Maureen Whelihan is a leading board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in Greenacres, FL, offering patients advanced, compassionate care tailored to their specific needs. Website: Phone: (561) 965-9559 Email: [email protected]

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