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How to deal with a sexless marriage

How to Fix a Sexless Marriage

What happens when kids, concerns about money and exhaustion cuts into your romance? Relationship columnist Elizabeth Bernstein joined Wall Street Journal to discuss the sex question that readers want answered most: how can we have more sex?

She was joined by Hasani and Danielle Pettiford, a (very brave) couple from Atlanta.

Danielle explained that 'when kids come along, you start to distance yourself from one another. You stop touching each other and you stop communicating with each other, and the next thing you know, there's no sex.'

Bernstein explained that most letters she receives from long-married people are just variations on the 'we're not having sex anymore!' topic. 'Of course a sexless marriage can signal that something else is wrong,' she said, 'but it can be quite normal for busy people with kids, money worries, just the daily grind,' she explained.

So, what does research say about sex and happiness?

'Research says hands down that sex makes a better relationship, that we're happier and more gratified both in the relationship and individually,' Bernstein explains.

After couples have been together for a time, their brains actually start to change. A newlywed's brain looks like a 'brain on drugs,' Bernstein says. The part of the brain that deals with motivation and excitement lit up very brightly when researchers studied people in new relationships.

'That's evolutionary so that we can mate, so we can bond long enough so that we can have a child. If we kept that sort of high level of addiction to another person going, we can't sustain it. Nobody would get anything done, they'd be in bed all the time. So it peters out ... then, a more mature love, an attachment, a connection comes in,' Bernstein says.

So, what can couples who have reached the 'petering out' stage do?

Sometimes, just sitting and having a conversation about the changes in your sex life can be a huge help. Feeling heard in a relationship is the first step, especially if nobody has acknowledge the lack of sex out loud.

Bernstein says tackling the issue can also be as simple as trying something new, especially if it's outside the bedroom.

A change to your normal routine can spark the neurotransmitters (and dopamine) that keep couples bonded, literally reigniting a spark in your brain.

Whether it's a new restaurant, a different place for vacation or a new hobby, all that matters is that the change lets you and your partner bond.

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ght February 23 2014 at 9:21 AM

Marriage preparation classes need to ask couples to answer these questions in writing, and give it to their partner.. the questions are..
1.) is there any reason for having sex before marriage, and if so, what is it
2.) after getting married is there any reason other than having a baby for having sex in a marriage.
3.) if so, what is it

There seems to be way too many women willing to be accommodating to their mans level of interest in sex BEFORE marriage, but then they want their man to be accommodating the the woman's LACK OF interest in sex AFTER marriage.

The result is a large segment of the population which I call "husbands WITHOUT benefits", which single women with boyfriends do NOT want their boyfriends to even know exists.

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lacatman7 February 19 2014 at 12:12 AM

LOL So who else recognizes that everything in this relationship revolves around the gal being in control? Notice the distress on the guy's part from the expression on his face throughout the interview and how everything revolves around the gal's perspective and prerogatives? Once ANY partner cedes all power to the other in defining a relationship, someone is always going to be dissatisfied and resentment is going to build to the breaking point of that relationship. This relationship is a train wreck waiting to happen!

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ght February 18 2014 at 8:12 AM

I believe there is a basic gender difference in what selfish people do when the novelty wears off in their marriage. While selfish husbands tend to go seek new sex elsewhere, selfish wives tend to simply call it quits in the bedroom. Since womankind shows their disgust at husbands who do their selfish behavior by calling them cheaters, I think it would be fitting for mankind to show their disgust at wives who do their selfish behavior by calling them scammers.

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ght February 16 2014 at 11:34 PM

While most people consider an adulterous marriage to be a loveless marriage, most men also consider a sexless marriage to be a loveless marriage. Here's why..

For men the importance of a sex-life in marriage is the same as how women view the importance of monogamy in marriage, and similarly, for men the importance of monogamy in marriage is the same as how women view the importance of a sex-life in marriage.

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ght February 16 2014 at 11:30 PM

The wedding vows promise "TO HAVE and to hold, and TO HAVE no others". Well, what exactly does "TO HAVE" mean in the phrase "TO HAVE no others"? Whatever you think it means, it has the same meaning in the first part of the vow "TO HAVE and to hold".

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DOUG February 16 2014 at 11:27 PM

Well thats a crock. You wanna know why people stop having sex in a marriage, they're bored. The same thing year after year. I can prove it also. Say you've been married for 15 years. Same woman, same old sex, or same guy, same old sex. It works both ways. I bet if another woman offered to have sex with you you'd be all over her like a teenage boy in heat. And ladies, it works the same for you. Why in the world do you think the divorce rate is so high. Infidelity. You may now all feel free to complain why you think I'm wrong......

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itstaisan February 16 2014 at 11:03 PM

Married Couples expecting or just had your first baby, No SUCH Thing as but what about the Kids, thats a Bogus Excuse for deeper Intimacy Problems. Train your Kids early if Mom & Dads Bedroom Door is Closed its Privacy Time and Lock the Door, they'll get the message Real Quick. All this Date Night and Planned Sex is a Buncha Crap , unless my Wife is having "that time of the Month" Every night is date night at my house or the next morning , its on like Donkey Kong.

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itstaisan February 16 2014 at 10:55 PM

Memo to Women : Please Remember if you Use Sex as a Weapon or Stop making love to your Husband, there is an Endless line of Women willing to TAKE Your Place !!!

Memo to Men : Just know that if you Stop giving your Wife Good Loving, and Making her FEEL Special , There are Thousands of Men willing to Take Care of Your Business, If you're having ED problems, you still got Fingers and a Tongue, and No it doesn't taste like Chicken. Its better and No Calories.

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2 replies to itstaisan's comment
Steve February 16 2014 at 11:14 PM

I doubt your observations relate to quality individuals out there; few and far between.

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1 reply to Steve's comment
itstaisan February 16 2014 at 11:33 PM

Hey steve, the bus is boarding for your Trip to the Real World, If I spent an Hour talking with your Wife, I'd take her away from a Chump Huckleberry like you

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ght February 20 2014 at 10:45 PM

Here's the top 5 reasons why married women call it quits..

1. The Novelty Wears Off
Some women only want sex when it is new and exciting, and it becomes 'old', 'stale', or 'boring' to them after they have been with the same man for awhile.

2. Body-Image Anxiety
Some women think that sex is only for 'sexy looking' people. After they get out of shape they don't consider themselves 'sexy looking' enough to get naked with another person, including their own husband. They become too embarrassed by their own appearance to feel comfortable with nudity. Sex becomes more like an embarrassing medical procedure to them.

3. Age
Some women think that sex is only for young people and they no longer consider themselves young. Some women have gone so far as to say that the men their age are being 'immature' or 'acting like teenagers' if they show an interest in sex.

4. Game over
Some women think of sex as a game for getting a man to date them, and keeping him interested until they get him to the altar. After that it's 'game over' and the only reason for sex after marriage is to get pregnant.

5. Changed Priorities
Some women behave sexually in the manner suggested in Cosmopolitan and as soon as the "I do's" are over they cancel that subscription and replace it with a subscription to Better Homes and Garden. Their priorities change with their changed marital status and their behavior changes accordingly.

Note: The above reasons have nothing to do with the man they married.

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dcsounds February 16 2014 at 10:50 PM

The answer is to not let it go away in the first place. When a woman goes from wanting to have sex with you to letting you have sex then pack your bags and move on... (the next step is you begging for it...)

Who wants to share a bed with someone who is not interested in having sex with you.?

Women.. if you are not interested in having sex with your man then let him go so he can enjoy it.

There is no way a sexless marriage will work in the log run so get it over with....

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Bon February 16 2014 at 10:46 PM

Mom of five/ g'ma to ten....best way to keep sex in your marriage....a very solid door/lock to the laundry room....and doing lots of 'laundry"....we had smiles on our faces...and clean clothes too !

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