How Long Is Too Long Without Sex In A Relationship?

Spice It Up | | , Writer & Editor
how often should a couple have sex

Can a relationship survive without intimacy? Well, imagine this: You’ve been in a long-term romantic relationship and now the spark has fizzled out. You can’t even connect in bedYou hardly even hug or cuddle and end up having no sex for days and you often wonder, “How long is too long without sex in a relationship?”

Sounds familiar? In this article, we offer you clarity on the dynamics of sexual intimacy and explore scenarios where people end up in sexless marriages or relationships for various reasons. With insights from sexologist Dr. Vishal Gor, who specializes in treating sexual dysfunction, we’ll delve deeper into the ‘no sex in relationship anymore’ issue and also look at a few tips to fix the effects of not having sex. So, if you’re one of those who often wonder, “Why won’t my husband have sex with me?”, or complain, “My wife never wants sex”, read on…

How Often Should A Couple Have Sex? 

Often, we’re perplexed about the number of times a couple should have sex. So, does a couple need to have sex daily to make their relationship work? My friend, Ashley, once called me up, frustrated that her husband and she hadn’t had sex in weeks and that he would often cite work pressure to avoid having sex with her. She said, “There’s no sex in our relationship anymore! I am so exhausted. It’s like he has no desire for sex.” 

Soon, she even started suspecting him of having an affair. This led me to think, “How long is too long without sex in a relationship?” and more importantly, “How often should a couple have sex for a relationship to survive?”

Related Reading: Who Enjoys Sex More – Man or Woman? Find the Answer in Mythology

Dr. Gor says, “There is no fixed or right answer to this, as it depends on several factors. And there’s no one-size-fits-all number that can state how often a couple should have sex. What works for one couple may not work for another.” But some factors that dictate how often couples have sex are:

  • Age: With age, sexual frequency between couples can lessen. However, it will be a generalization to think all couples have less sex after a certain age
  • Lifestyle: With the pressure of the hustle culture looming large, people may get busy with their jobs or chores. Late nights at work or the strain of raising kids may take its toll on the sex lives of couples
  • Libido or sex drive: Various factors, such as medical issues or performance anxiety, can prevent couples from having regular sex or result in low libido/sex drive and no desire for sex

Dr. Gor, however, maintains, “In my interactions with clients, I have found that young couples have sex at least once or twice per week, while older couples have sex once a month, or twice at the most.” A 2017 Kinsey Institute study also says the same thing. It states that “…people between the ages of 18 and 29 do it twice a week.” 

A similar study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior stated that married or live-in couples were having sex once a week. So, before you complain, “My wife never wants sex” or lose sleep over the thought, “Why won’t my husband have sex with me?”, think again! You may not be doing that badly.

why is sex important in a relationship
Sex is extremely important in a relationship

How Long Is Too Long Without Sex In A Relationship?

In a study by the University of Chicago, it was proved that couples who had sex once every week were the happiest. However, the happiness quotient didn’t increase with the sexual frequency beyond once a week. As in, couples who had sex more than once a week weren’t happier than those having it just once a week. 

This probably proves that the answer to how long is too long without sex in a relationship is also perhaps subjective and varies from couple to couple. Dr. Gor too agrees and says, “The answer to this depends on partners and their personal reasons. Most couples believe no sex for 6 months in relationship is too much, especially if they’re committed to each other.” 

Related Reading: I Am Desperate For Sex But I Don’t Want To Do It Without Love

However, some couples may forgo sexual pleasure to stay in different cities and earn a better income. But others may not be able to live without making love even for a week. This is because sexual satisfaction is relative. So, while you will often find some women wondering, “Why won’t my husband have sex with me?”, or men who lose their cool over the ‘wife never wants sex’ scenario, others may be happy with their sexless relationships for years.

Why Is Sex Important In A Relationship? 

Now, we’re not saying sex is the only thing that matters in a long-term romantic relationship. Of course, trust, compatibility, and an intimate connection are prime factors that help sustain a long-term relationship, but sex is the magic ingredient that adds that extra zing to the relationship and keeps it alive. So, if you’re caught in a ‘no sex in relationship anymore’ scenario and feel discontentment over it, you aren’t completely wrong.

Related Reading: 10 Creative Ways To Tell Your Woman That You Want Sex

Here’s what a Reddit user had to say about the importance of sex in her life, “I’m probably in the minority for women to say this, but sex is incredibly important in my life. I am a very sexual person, I enjoy sharing my body with others and most of all I crave the pleasure that comes from sex. Masturbation is a regular part of my life even as a sexually active person, but it wouldn’t be enough for me to get by for long periods of time without sex. I need the physical connection with someone, casual or otherwise.”

So, why is sex important in a relationship? Does it have any scientific benefits? Here’s what Dr. Gor thinks makes sex an absolute necessity in relationships:

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Do you think having sex twice a week is enough?

1. Sex is good for boosting immunity

Studies have shown that people who have sex once or twice a week have better immune systems than those who don’t. In fact, apparently, sex alters the level of an antigen that protects us from ailments such as cold and flu. This is very similar to kissing bringing in health benefits.

2. Sex plays a major role in improving sleep patterns

Now, this has a lot to do with the hormones released during sex. Studies have shown that sex helps the body release hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine, which eventually lead to relaxation and better sleep. 

Related Reading: How To Get In The Mood For My Husband?

3. Sex helps in lowering stress levels

Research has proved that good sex helps relieve stress and even rids you of relationship anxiety. Apart from lowering blood pressure, sex also helps reduce risks of heart disease and stroke.

4. Sex intensifies the emotional attachment

Dr. Gor says, “Regular sex is a basic requirement for a healthy relationship, as it brings in more relationship satisfaction. It also improves the trust quotient between couples.” Sex helps partners connect emotionally. The cuddling and love hormone, oxytocin, which is associated with physical intimacy and sex, strengthens bonds between couples. This is exactly why we tend to miss our partners when they’re not around. 

Related Reading: 40 Romantic Things To Say To Your Husband

5. It improves self-confidence

Dr. Gor also says, “Sex is a major factor that contributes to a spike in self-esteem levels in people.” So, regular sex brings with it increased confidence levels and makes people perform better at work and other social spheres. It works wonders for those with low self-esteem.

Effects Of Not Having Sex

Do you think you’re getting enough sex? Or do you feel you could do much better or are craving more sex? Are you wondering what not having sex in a relationship can do to your mind and body? Well, just as sex has quite a few scientifically proven advantages, be it in a new relationship or an old one, a clear lack of sex can wreak havoc on your body and cause psychological issues. So, how does this ‘no sex in relationship anymore’ scenario affect you?

Related Reading: Sexual Compatibility – Meaning, Importance And Signs

Sharing his experience of a sexless relationship, a Reddit user says, “I currently live with my GF of 2+ years and since moving in with each other last year, our sex life has really suffered. We are still extremely physical and cuddly but she started to frequently refuse my more sexual advances. I soon just stopped trying to initiate sex spontaneously because being denied constantly was making me feel really sad and emasculated.” This perhaps also answers the question, why is sex important in a relationship?

Dr. Gor details a few such effects of lack of sex in marriage:

  • Easy irritability: Lack of regular sex in relationships can make people irritable. Such people tend to become angered easily
  • Anxiety: Not having sex in a relationship also means less ‘feel good’ hormones in your body, which leads to a heightened level of anxiety
  • Depression: Just as sex can lead to an ego boost, a significant lack of sex can lead to depression. Worse still, you may be burned under peer pressure to just have sex for the sake of it, without enjoying your intimate moments
  • Sexual dysfunction: Research has proved that infrequent sex is often associated with erectile dysfunction in men. Lack of sex in relationships can also make women fear painful intercourse when they do have sex after long intervals
  • Relationship problems: If the sexual dynamic between married couples is affected adversely, it may even lead the couple to divorce. After all, not fulfilling a partner’s sexual needs does amount to legitimate grounds for divorce
effects of lack of sex in marriage
The effects of lack of sex in marriage can be far-reaching

How To Deal With Lack Of Intimacy In A Relationship

Now that you have an answer to your burning question, how long is too long without sex in a relationship? You’re also aware of the ill effects of lack of sex in marriage and the pros of having sex regularly. Let’s address the next big concern: how does one deal with a lack of intimacy in relationship? 

Related Reading: Intimacy: Why It Is Important in Marriage and Relationships?

Since relationships are complex and unique, there is no fixed formula to address the issue of lack of affection, intimacy, or sexual desire. That said, according to Dr. Gor, there are a few ways that can prove effective in dealing with this issue in most situations. He recommends:

1. Find out the root cause and address it

On how to fix a lack of intimacy in relationships, Dr. Gor says, “It’s important to go through your partner’s detailed history to find out the cause of the ‘no sexual relationship’ situation. And then, one should treat any physical or psychological health issues related to it.” So, in such cases, make sure you note if there’s:

  • Fear of intimacy/sex or no desire for sex
  • A medical issue, such as erectile dysfunction, that’s affecting your sex life
  • Some past relationship trauma, such as sexual abuse or painful sex with an ex

2. Encourage open communication 

Dr. Gor advises, “Communication between partners is very important to resolve issues related to lack of sex in relationships.” Nobody knows you better than your partner in bed. So, open up and have a healthy discussion on what’s preventing the two of you from having sex. There’s no alternative to open communication.

Related Reading: Am I Sexually Compatible With My Fiancé?

3. Focus on emotional intimacy 

Often, the ‘no sexual relationship’ scenario is due to a lack of emotional intimacy. This could be due to various reasons such as work pressure or the burden of household chores and responsibilities. Dr. Gor says, “It’s crucial to address this lack of emotional closeness and focus on improving it if there’s no desire for sex in either partner.” This is one of the best ways to fix the lack of intimacy in relationships.

More on sex

4. Consult a certified sex therapist

Lastly, if all else fails, you should definitely consult a professional counselor or a certified sex therapist. After all, mental health is of prime importance, especially in such cases. Dr. Gor says, “Couples counseling and individual therapy can both work wonders in such cases.” And if you’re looking for help, Bonobology’s counseling services are at your disposal. 

Key Pointers

  • How long is too long without sex in a relationship? While there’s no definite answer, most happy couples have sex once a week
  • Younger couples have sexual intercourse about once a week, while older couples have sex once a month
  • Sex is important in a relationship because it improves sleep quality, it boosts immunity, and it intensifies emotional connection
  • The effects of not having sex in a relationship include irritability, depression, and relationship issues
  • To deal with a lack of intimacy in relationships, find out the root cause, encourage communication, and opt for couples counseling

For an average adult, sex isn’t the be-all-and-end-all in a relationship, but it’s definitely a major component of every healthy relationship. We hope we’ve been able to help you ascertain what makes for a healthy sex life. We also hope that after reading this article, you’re no longer searching for the answer to how long is too long without sex in a relationship and have found a solution to the eternal ‘no sexual relationship’ scenario.

Though our suggestions may work for the majority of couples, remember, at the end of the day, it’s you and your partner who decide what’s ‘perfectly normal’ in bed and what’s not. So, don’t be pressured to believe having sex a certain number of times will make your marriage perfect. Just like wanting sex isn’t bad, not wanting it doesn’t make you a villain either. And can a relationship survive without intimacy? Well, though sex is a necessity, a good marriage also depends on mutual trust, loyalty, and compatibility. So, go ahead and make the most of it.

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