I wonder if I am in a sexless marriage...we love each other and we almost never fight. But at the end of the day we are both so tired that we kind of wait to see if the other one is going to "initiate" and then it's almost a sense of relief if we can just go to sleep. Is there anything wrong with that?

I'll answer your last question first: Is there anything wrong with not having sex in a marriage? No, lucky for all of us, there are no "sex police" to fine you for not having marital sex.

I typically work with couples that have a desire to change that, however. Think of sex as "a social lubricant" as LoPiccalo once said. Being sexually aroused together, with orgasms when they happen, should be providing pleasure to both of you. Most people, especially stressed-out people, can benefit from getting a good night's sleep and then having morning or afternoon sex together. What they actually do with each other physically is less important than the fact that pleasure was had by all.

"Never fighting" could be good OR bad. It's not naturally a good thing, especially if both of you avoid bringing up things. Disagreements allow you both to clear the air. If your marital air is polluted with hidden complaints you feel not entitled to make, or are fearful of starting a row, this could be underlying the disinterest in sex.

Another reason may be problems when you do engage sexually together, or a history of sexual trauma that has mixed up the messages about sex being for pleasure. If sex isn't fun, people avoid doing it. 

You can also simply be overworking and too exhausted to consider getting the energy up for sex. That by itself (even if sex wasn't the issue) isn't great long-term. Marriage takes time and conversation. Part of that conversation is to discuss if either of you misses being kissed and touched tenderly to create arousal. For many people, sexual arousal isn't "spontaneous." It isn't a "drive" that pushes you to act. It's a mood, a context you intentionally create for each other.

But you won't know what that context should look like or feel like, or even if either of you wants to create that context unless you talk it out. Talking about what makes you feel sexy or turned off is a really important conversation. Sometimes distance makes the heart grow fonder, and working from home leaves little distance. But you can create it in other ways, even if you both work from home.

Sex is not a requirement, and no one will punish you if you both decide it's not for you.

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Dr. Kathy McMahon


Dr. Kathy McMahon (Dr. K) is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist. She is also the founder and president of Couples Therapy Inc. Dr. K feels passionate about couples therapy and sex therapy and holds a deep respect towards those who invest in making their relationship better. She is currently conducting online and in person private couples retreats.

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