How “Normal” Is My Sexless Marriage?
Physical intimacy is one of the most fundamental pillars of a successful marriage. Not only is it essential for a healthy sex life, it also allow couples to remain sensual and connected with each other. However, despite the obvious benefits that are associated with regular physical intimacy and sex, the hectic demands of the 21st century lifestyle means that we cannot always prioritise one-on-one time with our partners.
Nowadays, we are all accustomed to juggling hectic timetables; never mind keeping up with the schedules and planning of our children, clients, partners, pets… and whoever else we are responsible for! Many modern marriages can relate to the painful 5.30 am start for working parents, and the chaos that ensues the school-run. It is because of this quiet and unspoken understanding that nobody would blame or judge their partner, or themselves, for not being ‘in the mood’ come 10’o’clock. But; there comes a time when this becomes a serious problem for both individuals in the relationship.
Sexless marriage is not uncommon – far from it! The chances are, if you are wondering whether you are in one; you probably are. But don’t panic. Sexless marriage effects one in every four married couples at some stage of their partnership. According to the BMJ, 15-20% of all couples in the U.K have sex less than three times a year. Sex therapists and clinicians often estimate this number could be much higher, through fear, shame and embarrassment.
It comes as no surprise that one of the most reported reasons for a lack of sex is due to time commitments and conflicting work schedules. According to Marianne Brandon, people do not speak about sexless marriage enough: “People are so busy nowadays, not only is it hard to schedule time for you partner, it can be hard to be emotional available if you are juggling a career and other commitments.” But what is the answer? How do we prioritise our sex lives, as well as focusing on our commitments?
Well, whilst the 21st century has cranked up the demands on our work and home lives, technology is also offering answers in the realm of marriage and sex. For people suffering in a sexless marriage, the internet is providing a safe haven for them. Let the statistics speak for themselves. According to data scientist and bestselling author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, it is the most Googled search term about marriage.
However, people aren’t just asking Google about their lack of physical intimacy, the online conversations go much deeper than that. It only takes a short glance at social media sites and blogging portals like Reddit and WordPress to see that sexless marriage is a hot topic in the online community. In fact, Reddit has over 100 subreddits relating to issues surrounding intimacy and physical touch in marriage. As one user notes: “I thought I was alone until I came here.”
People have asked a range of questions, from those with low sex drives, to those craving sex from their partners. In a society where sex is still very taboo topic, and people feel uncomfortable exposing the intimate details of their marriage, the internet provides a safe and accessible place for people to turn. For many people, having the ability to speak about marital issues in a safe environment, is one step closer to solving and rectifying those issues. According to a recent report about sex-technology and digital media by the Kinsey Institute, people using sex-tech with partners reported feeling more connected. Clearly the ability for technology to empower conversation is good news for our sex lives. As Marianne notes: “Connecting with other people and admitting there is a problem in your sex life is one of the first steps towards changing the cycle.”
Not only is the internet providing a community, it is also a great place to find inspiration and new ideas to freshen up your marriage. Instead of scratching your head for new ideas, have a sneak peek online and see if you can get any inspiration. In terms of providing ideas for the bedroom, the internet has a massive KINK community, which is enjoyed all over the globe by married couples.
The internet has also enabled couples to access sex toys in a private space. Gone are the days when sex toys were confined to dark, curtained shops on the high street. Experimenting with your partner has never been easier than it has been in 2020. If reading reviews isn’t your thing – then go to YouTube! There are fantastic channels dedicated to wellness and sexuality, which might spice up your sex life. Sex toy reviews offer insights and ideas in a way that has never been possible before. It certainly takes away some of the nerves associated with introducing sex toys into a partnership. Rest assured, there’s a toy and kink out there for every marriage!
Of course, we can’t be too careful with what we read online, or what kink and erotica will work best in our relationship. However, the internet is certainly providing a wealth of information for any married couple. Providing you are able to take things with a pinch of salt, and validate your sources, the internet is a brilliant springboard for your ideas. Furthermore, there are professional and clinical frameworks that are supported with online communities, that can help validate and authenticate the advice and information you read online. For example, many therapists and clinicians have their own blogs and forums on their personal websites, where you can be assured that the advice is safe and trustworthy.
Whilst the 21st century has certainly increased the pressure and demands of work and home life, it has also offered some people a place to go when they had nowhere else to turn. Although sexless marriage is common, opening up about the stress and pain it can cause can seem impossible. The best way to combat a sexless marriage is to start communicating – and if that means reaching out online, it’s certainly a good place to start.