A majority of people believe that physical intimacy in a marriage is overhyped and given too much importance, given that marriages involve other types of intimacy as well. They believe that security, trust, and the ability to connect emotionally are the cornerstones of marriage. And, as long as these exist, you don’t need to worry about the effects of lack of intimacy in a relationship.
While this is true to a great extent, a lack of physical intimacy in marriage can wreak havoc on your married life and affect you in numerous ways. A sexual connection is the closest form of intimacy you can achieve with another human being. And the effects of lack of intimacy in a relationship can be felt not only in your relationship but also in your and your partner’s personalities and sense of well-being.
12 Ways Lack Of Intimacy In Your marriage Affects You
In the first few years of marriage, intimacy comes naturally. As the years go by, and you and your spouse get more comfortable in matrimonial bliss, sex begins to take a backseat, which may lead to depression caused by lack of intimacy. Add pregnancies, children, work schedules, and social commitments to the mix and you won’t even realize when you went from can’t-keep-hands-off-each-other to when-did-we-last-have-sex phase.
The effects of lack of intimacy in a relationship can cause several other issues in your married life, and hamper your peace of mind. Here are 12 ways in which sexless marriage can affect you:
1. Your confidence level keeps decreasing
Without a doubt, if there is no intimacy in marriage between husband and wife, it can take a toll on their self-esteem and lead to depression caused by lack of intimacy. Being stuck in a platonic relationship and having to deal with your advances being shot down or ignored, time after time, can lead you to doubt your ability to satisfy or please your spouse.
You will keep doubting your potential and feel as if you cannot satisfy their needs, leading to your relationship not doing well. This dip in confidence can quickly spiral out of control and impact your personality outside the bedroom. It can spill over to your professional life as well as your relationship with your kids, friends, and extended family.
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2. You become apathetic toward your partner
Being in a relationship without intimacy is not easy. Research suggests that marital satisfaction greatly depends on how sexually satisfied you feel. Sex not only helps you feel relaxed and happy but also helps you connect with your spouse on an emotional and romantic level. When your marriage is devoid of physical intimacy, that connection fizzles out and you begin to understand one another less and less. This leads to feelings of apathy and resentment. Being in a relationship without intimacy means you gradually start drifting apart and living as two cohabiting individuals rather than a couple.
3. You start avoiding responsibilities
Can lack of intimacy ruin a relationship? Married life brings with it a host of responsibilities that you share with your spouse. Being in a relationship without intimacy can make these responsibilities feel like an added, unnecessary burden. If you find yourself thinking that “my partner is not interested in me sexually“, it would not be unusual to feel that your role in the marriage is only limited to shouldering responsibilities, doing chores, and running errands.
What lack of intimacy does to a relationship is that it leads to a whole lot of bickering, nagging, and blame-game on who is shirking from what responsibility and who is doing more for the household.
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4. The risk of indulging in an affair becomes high
One of the most dangerous effects of lack of intimacy in a relationship is that either one or both partners start searching for satisfaction outside of marriage. The likelihood of being attracted to someone else when married is a lot higher if your relationship with your spouse isn’t sexually satisfying.
5. Loneliness haunts you
Being unhappy in a marriage because of the lack of physical touch in a relationship clouds your judgment about the relationship. When intimacy is gone in a relationship, you entertain thoughts of separating from your partner often. According to Psychology.com, 50% of sexless marriages end in divorce. However, divorce or separation not only disrupts your life but also places you at the receiving end of haunting loneliness.
6. You become highly critical of your partner
One declined overture after the other, one sexless night after the other, changes your perception of your spouse. Instead of making efforts to be affectionate and considerate to your spouse’s needs and desires, you tend to be highly critical of them and their actions. Nothing they do seems good enough to you and you tend to complain, despite yourself, causing your partner to become withdrawn. This, in turn, further complicates the problem of lost intimacy in the relationship.
7. Body image issues take root
Taking good care of your body and investing time and effort to work on your appearance in order to get them in the mood is a good idea. However, if your efforts to win them over with a personality makeover do not fix the lack of physical touch in a relationship, it can end up denting your self-esteem.
It may also lead to a lot of body image issues taking root in your mind. Besides, this can quickly turn into an obsessive tendency where a major chunk of your time and energy starts going into stoking your sense of vanity, even at the cost of failing other commitments.
8. You fail to communicate your feelings to your spouse
The consequences of no intimacy in marriage include communication problems. As distance creeps into the relationship, you may no longer be comfortable opening up to your spouse, sharing your thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities with them.
9. Your stress levels remain soaring high
Oxytocin released into the bloodstream when you orgasm has been proven to bring down stress levels and relax your body and mind. That is why sex feels so darn amazing! Naturally then, an absence of sex can contribute to a spike in stress levels.
Depression caused by lack of intimacy can further trigger a whole host of issues such as irritability, lack of concentration, mood swings, and so on. The effects of lack of intimacy in a relationship can manifest in your physical and mental well-being.
10. You seek gratification elsewhere
If you face constant sexual rejection in your married life, there is a high possibility that the effects of no intimacy in the relationship will have you turning to other means of sexual gratification. This may include pornography, masturbation, or even paid sex.
Once this becomes a habit, you can get addicted to things like pornography pretty quickly. This is problematic for two reasons – one, the addiction will start to impact other aspects of your life, and two, when you’re receiving sexual gratification through other means, you’re less likely to make efforts to mend things with your spouse.
11. You start taking your partner for granted
If you’re in a sexless marriage or the frequency of sexual encounters is far less than your appetite for it, you can start taking your partner for granted. Fulfilling your own sexual desires and needs becomes a priority over satisfying your partner in bed. This means taking your partner for granted, which can set into motion a rather vicious cycle of unmet expectations.
When sex is unfulfilling for one of the partners, they’re more like to withdraw from it, diminishing the chances of any hot, steamy encounters between the two.
12. Your family life seems haphazard
If your sex life hits rock bottom, the effects of no intimacy in relationship are likely to derail your personal life in its entirety. A lack of intimacy triggers distance and resentment, which begins to reflect in the way you and your spouse treat each other in public.
Piercing jibes and taunts can cause you both to drift apart even more. The subtle tension could soon turn into full-blown fights in front of the kids or family. A sexless marriage can quickly become the gateway to a disharmonious home.
Once a marriage gets stuck in this rut, it is really difficult to salvage it. A young man’s account of how lack of sex is impacting his life corroborates each of these consequences of diminishing intimacy in married life.
There are many reasons why sexual spark between married couples can fizzle out. It can range from physical changes owing to pregnancies, childbirth, and menopause to unresolved hurt from past incidents and a natural dip in libido. If you truly love your spouse, explore ways to bring back physical intimacy in the relationship.
Small advances such as expressing your sexual wants and desires openly. Experimenting with new positions, exploring new ways to pleasure your partner are just some ways to get started. Learn how to bring up lack of intimacy so you can work on strengthening the emotional bond by spending time with each other, setting up date nights and vacations where you can truly enjoy each other’s company.
Most importantly, hang in there and weather the storm together until you can resolve whatever is triggering your intimacy problems.