The Sexless Marriage: How Did We Get Here?
Does your marriage feel like a friendship or business arrangement? You run the carpool, your husband takes out the recycling, and then you pose with your kids for the annual Christmas card that makes you look like you have the perfect family.
Image: Dimaz Fakhruddin via Flickr
The sexless marriage is very common, and it is the result of a 3-phase process.
Phase I: It’s impossible to feel sexy while emptying the Diaper Genie
- Busy careers.
- Weight gain while pregnant (I packed on 50 big ones with each pregnancy).
- Babies are still not sleeping through the night.
- You decided to ‘save money’ by building your 400 piece swing-set by yourself.
You are too tired for sex. You assume that your spicy and fun sex life will reawaken when the babies finally sleep through the night.
Phase II: The Appearance of Scheduled Sex
- Kids’ schedules are hectic.
- Your sex drive starts to diminish from lack of stimulation (pun intended).
- You and your husband start developing parallel lives. You go to spin class while he hits the driving range.
- You start having ‘vacation sex,’ ‘birthday sex,’ and ‘anniversary sex’ instead of having any sense of fun or spontaneity in the bedroom.
You begin to rationalize that sex is not an important factor in a relationship. You start encouraging your husband to watch porn so that he’ll let you off the hook.
Phase III: The Paranoia Begins
- You can’t remember the last time you had sex.
- You feel old, unattractive, and unsexy.
- You start to wonder if your husband’s lack of sexual desire is a sign that he is cheating on you. You start to look at younger women with murderous envy.
There is a painful emptiness and awkwardness in your marriage. You blame yourself for the lack of intimacy, saying that you should have made your husband more of a priority when the kids were little. The emptiness and distance pervades every interaction with your husband. You feel unhappy but you don’t think that divorce is the answer. You feel lost, sad, ugly, and discarded. You assume that everyone you know is feeling satisfied in their marriages, so you don’t talk about the loneliness that you are experiencing.
If you are embarrassed by the lack of passion in your marriage, you are not alone. This issue is extremely common, but you’d never know it. Most women will not open up about their disappointment in their sex lives with even their closest friends.
Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D.