If passion decreases after a few months, sex remains a link for many couples. But can we live happily together without having sex? If not! How Long is Too long without sex in a relationship?
Brain activity changes during different phases of a relationship, new brain studies show. At the beginning of a relationship, lovers are flooded with happy hormones such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, as well as testosterone and estrogen, which spark the desire for sexual satisfaction.
But after the infatuation phase, the brain produces calmer signals like oxytocin and vasopressin. And that’s a good thing, because the exceptional state of being in love, as wonderful as it is, cannot be maintained forever; it would exhaust us in the long run.
Now the relationship takes on a different quality. Feelings of security and safety strengthen the partnership. The couple enters a phase where they can imagine staying together as long as it takes to raise children. At the same time, the partners take off their rose-colored glasses.
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Are there any possible causes for having no sex in a relationship?
A couple may find themselves in a platonic relationship (a tight attachment but no sexual interaction), not by preference, but because specific life experiences or circumstances have forced both partners to quit having sex. As a result, some “old” couples may find their passion and sexual drive decrease with time. Sexual interactions get more and more distant, uncommon, and eventually simply disappear. Physical desire fades, but love and complicity remain, and the pair is no less pleased. Life makes the relationship platonic, but neither person sees it as a barrier. “Of course, this is achievable if both partners are on the same page respecting this abstention. If either of them is frustrated by the lack of sex, it doesn’t work,” says the sexologist.
Events might disturb a couple’s sex life and drive them to totally avoid sex for an extended period of time. Furthermore, some people have a sex phobia and are frightened of penetration or male sex in erection. Others resist sexual contact due to past traumas (touching, rape…). Abstinence is a technique for them to defend themselves.
Beyond the situations cited above, sexologists believe that couples who desire to live chaste love are rare. It is also difficult for asexual people (who are few) to find a mate who shares their “desires,” to not have sexual attraction for anybody.
Does desire inevitably diminish?
Yes, because everyone now also sees the other’s rough edges and personality differences, the intense, dreamy feelings fade away – and with them often the desire. This is true for everyone, but especially for women, who are often motivated by intense feelings. Sex then tends to be experienced less often and less intensely.
What are the problems that arise from this?
This takes us to a clear result where one partner wants more sex than the other. Some couples have almost no sex at all at first and therefore worry about their partnership. They wonder if their sexless relationship is stable in the long run.
Why can’t love work without sex in these relationships?
In the long run, one partner will be dissatisfied with the amount of sex they have. This partner does not feel considered a man or a woman, is not wanted, and cannot live a part of their life as a woman or a man. This has usually already created some negative dynamics. The more one partner wants sex, the more the other pulls back. Pressure triggers resistance! At the same time, the one with less desire unconsciously and unintentionally has more power. All in all, this creates a difficult couple dynamic.
Can a couple live with very little sex and does a relationship without sex work in the long run?
A relationship has different pillars, and sex is one of them. A relationship can function – at least in some phases – even if one of these pillars is shaky. The current claim that all pillars are stable at all times is exaggerated. It is also important that the relationship works in everyday life and that the partners feel emotionally connected.
Some people live without sex without suffering, but it is surely not easy for them to find a partner who can do the same. Nevertheless, some couples are happy without sex. But they tend to be an exception.
What advice do we have for couples who live with little or no sex?
Often, it’s not just sex that’s missing in the relationship, but also the physical contact itself. But a relationship needs tenderness – it creates intimacy and togetherness! We encourage couples to touch each other again, change their expectations and stop pursuing the same goals during sex. This often leads to relaxation and improvement in the relationship. At the same time, partners can learn to say “yes” or “no” to cuddling, kissing, genital stimulation, or sex at any time. This is because sexual responses are delicately structured and very free. Men are more often aware that they desire the whole “package”. Women often only perceive what they want at that moment – to be touched – and don’t yet know if they want it to end in arousal and intercourse.
How long is too long to go without sex in a relationship?
The period is determined by the couple and their situation. Some people get back in action in a matter of hours or days, while others require months or even years to resolve more complex issues such as body dysmorphia, mental health, or trauma. In any case, we believe it’s critical to consider why each member of the relationship is disturbed about their sexual life.
As a result, we suggest that couples who aren’t having sex as frequently as they used to attempt a widely praised method: scheduling sex. It is ideal to have sex at least once a week for a healthy relationship, and by ‘having sex,’ we mean having sexual arousal, pleasure, and orgasm. Scheduling sex helps you to prioritize pleasure while also giving you something unique to look forward to throughout the week. But, once again, you don’t have to force it; if once a week feels too frequent, adjust your sessions to the frequency that works best for you.
Moreover, there are many tricks to promote sexual renewal in the life of a couple, to benefit from all the advantages of flourishing sexuality: surprise your partner with an unusual place or position, or by sending him text messages, satisfy a fantasy… It’s up to each of us to find the dose of sexual creativity that will allow us to spice up our lives as a couple.
Bottom line: Sex is important in a relationship.
In a romantic relationship, the only thing that is shared exclusively is usually sex. If sex in a relationship is not the only ingredient for a successful relationship, it is nevertheless an important part of it. Because by nature, sex differentiates the couple in love from a pair of friends. Also because sex represents a privileged moment of intimacy that allows the couple to deepen their connection, and of course because sex as a couple allows satisfying the partners physically. Furthermore, sex in a relationship is more than just a diversion because it requires a deeper level of communication. Sex involves talking about intimate emotional issues, getting to know the other person, knowing what makes them feel good, respecting them, giving and receiving. It requires reaching a deeper level of trust that will then extend even further to other vital issues in the couple’s life.