Can our marriage work without sex in the long term?

By Jana Forster

We have also received many emails and messages about desire and passion in the past few days. Sexual advisor Jana Forster dedicates her popular BZ column to one of these topics once a week. Today: love without desire.

It is time again to talk about the pain of lust and the burden of love.

In the past few days, we have again received many emails and messages about the popular BZ column by Jana Forster. Once a week the sex advisor dedicates herself to one of these topics and gives advice.

Today: Love Without Desire – Can It Work?

A reader from Lichterfelde who wishes to remain anonymous writes: My wife and I have been married for many years and have three wonderful children. Everything is going pretty well. Only that our sex life has completely vanished.

We don’t talk about it much, and it doesn’t seem like a big deal to any of us. I get some adventures away from home now and then. You might as well be. It’s kind of a tacit agreement for us.

My question to you, Mrs. Forster, with your long professional experience: Can marriage work without long-term sex? “

Sex advisor Jana Forster answers: Scientifically, a marriage or relationship is considered stateless when a couple has sex less than ten times a year. Interestingly, this is the case in far more marriages and partnerships than many would admit.

When I welcome couples who have this theme into my practice, I am more interested in whether pure sex is lost in the relationship? In most cases this is not the case, but there is little intimacy and closeness between the two partners.

It is difficult to measure intimacy compared to the number of sexual acts. Therefore, many couples come to me with the topic of not having sex anymore. But in reality, the lack of sexual activity is often just a visual display of the distance between the two partners.

So this partnership distance is especially important to me from a therapeutic point of view. This often stems from deep-rooted and unresolved conflicts, injuries, disappointments, and last but not least, from a lack or loss of trust. This is the real danger of marriage to consider.

However, there are also instances where a couple can be incredibly close in terms of partnership and personal relationships despite the lack of sexual contact.

If there is not a lot of sexual interest on both sides, then a couple can be very happy without having sex. If there is still a lot of closeness connected to the relationship, there is no compulsion or obligation to have a lot of sex either.

From my experience, I can say that this rarely happens. If so, this is particularly the case with couples who generally do not have a great deal of sexual interest. So the question should be whether my particular sexual interest has generally decreased (or not really been there) or whether I have excluded my partner from my sexual life (see also information box)?

If so, it will almost certainly affect the quality of the marriage sooner or later.

With you, you feel like having sex outside of your own partnership and live it too. I suspect your tacit consent is only due to the fact that you no longer have the personal proximity of trusting each other to express your needs and talk to each other.

Marriage can function superficially for many years, but sooner or later the causes of sexual laxity will certainly not be ignored.

I have several couples in my clinic who have a very open and tolerant relationship where sex with others is welcome. But the focus is above all on the convergence of the partnership within the main relationship.

And this can only be maintained if one talks openly about these topics and thus maintains intimacy within the partnership – perhaps not through the body, but primarily through communication.

In my view, the only option left is to seek an open discussion with your partner, even if this is clearly the most difficult method.

But in the long run, you can only find an honest balance with each other in order to allow closeness and intimacy in the partnership.

They just have to get back to forming the bond together instead of looking for a way to satisfy their lost sex life on the outside.”


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