A majority of the people believe that physical intimacy in a marriage is hyped and given too much importance, given that marriages involve other types of intimacy as well. They believe that if security and trust and the ability to connect emotionally to one another 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 intimacy and affection 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 when there is no intimacy in marriage consequences can be felt not only in your relationship but also yours and your partner’s personalities and sense of well-being.
12 Ways Lack of Intimacy in Your marriage Affects You
At the beginning of the married life, being intimate with each other comes naturally. As the years go by, and you and your spouse get more comfortable in matrimonial bliss, sex begins to take a backseat. Add pregnancies, children, work schedules and social commitments to the mix, and you don’t even realise when you go from can’t-keep-hands-off to when-did-we-have-sex-last phase. A lack of intimacy can be a trigger for 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 from husband or wife, it can take a toll on your self-esteem. 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 his/her needs, which is why your relationship is not doing well. This dip in the confidence can quickly spiral out of control and impact your personality outside the bedroom and spillover to your professional life as well as your relationship with your kids, friends and extended family.
Related Reading: 20 Ways To Make Your Husband Fall In Love With You Again
2. You become apathetic towards your partner
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. You gradually start drifting apart and living as two cohabitating individuals rather than a couple.
Things can take a turn for the worse if you have communicated your needs and desires to your spouse but to no avail. For instance, in one of our relationship queries, a man married of 13 years talks about struggling with sexual frustration due to lack of intimacy and his wife’s inability to comprehend his needs. Read more about it here.
3. You start avoiding responsibilities
Married life brings with it a host of responsibilities that you share with responsibilities with your spouse. Lost intimacy in relationship can make these responsibilities feel like an added, unnecessary burden. If you find yourself thinking that ‘my wife/husband is not interested in me sexually’, it is not unusual to feel that your role in the marriage is only limited to shouldering responsibilities, doing chores and running errands. This can lead to a whole lot of bickering, nagging and blame-game on who is shirking responsibility and who is doing more for the household.
Related Reading: My Husband Had Lost His Libido So I Turned To My School Friend
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 or both the partners start searching for that satisfaction outside the marriage. The likelihood of being attracted to someone else when your married life is not sexually satisfying is a lot higher.
Naturally, the risk of indulging in extramarital affairs become high. This 42-year-old woman, for instance, strayed solely because she found herself stuck in a sexless marriage. There is scientific evidence to support the proposition that the release of oxytocin after sex helps promote greater commitment toward monogamy.
5. Loneliness haunts you
Being unhappy in marriage because of the lack of physical intimacy clouds your judgement about the relationship. You entertain thoughts of separating from your wife/husband often but may not be able to follow through on these out of feelings of shame or pettiness. 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 he/she does seems good enough to you and you tend to complain, despite yourself, causing your wife/husband to become withdrawn. This, in turn, further complicates the problem of lost intimacy in the relationship.
7. Physical appearance starts taking priority in your life
Taking good care of your body and investing time and effort to work on your appearance with the hope that this may help revive your partner’s interest in sexual intimacy is a good idea. However, if your efforts to win them over with a personality makeover also fall flat, it can dent your self-esteem to no end.
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 goes in stoking your sense of vanity, even at the cost of other commitments.
8. You fail to communicate your feelings to your spouse
No intimacy in marriage consequences includes stunted communication. As distance creeps into the relationship, you may no longer be comfortable opening up to your spouse, sharing your thoughts and feelings with them or being vulnerable in front of them.
Communication is the life and blood of a healthy marriage, and a lack of it may lead to misunderstandings that can become hard to resolve. A gap in communication can also make it difficult for you to talk about your sexual desires, kinks and fantasies, derailing an already shrivelling sex life furthermore.
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. High stress 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 start reflecting in your physical and mental well-being.
10. You get addicted to pornography and other such things
If you face constant sexual rejection in your married life, there is a high possibility that you’ll turn to other means of sexual gratification such as pornography, masturbation, or even paid sex. Once the habit sticks, you can get addicted to things like pornography pretty quickly, which is problematic for two reasons – one, the addiction will start to impact other aspects of your life, and second, 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 encounter 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 you are 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 you two.
12. Your family life seems haphazard
If your sex life hits rock bottom, it is unlikely that much less in your personal life will remain on track. 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 soon spills over 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. From physical changes owing to pregnancies, childbirth and menopause to unresolved hurt from past incidents, the grief of losing a loved one, hormonal changes 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. Besides, you must also work on strengthening the emotional bond by spending time with each other, setting up date nights or going out together. Most importantly, hang in their and weather the storm together until you can resolve whatever is triggering your intimacy problems.