Has Sex Faded Out of Your Marriage?


No one stands at the altar and imagines a day when they stop making love to their spouse.

Some stand at that altar with eager enthusiasm about sex.  Some stand there nervous about it, but still excited about the possibilities.

And some stand there with curiosity and questions, wondering what sex will be like in their marriage.

But no one stands there thinking sex will not be part of the endeavor.

Do you remember your wedding day?  Do you remember what you thought about sex?

No matter what was going through your heart and mind on that day with regard to sex, my guess is you still knew that it was important.   Sex was a given, so to speak — a vital expression of covenant love meant for you and your spouse exclusively.

I think sexual intimacy is one of the most difficult things for a couple to navigate over the course of their marriage — particularly if they do not have good communication about their sexual needs, desires and expectations. (Seriously, even when they do have good communication about those things, it still can be hard).

Sex might even be the most difficult thing for a married couple to navigate (if my email in-box, comment stream and conversations tell me anything).

Has sex faded out of your marriage?

If so, I doubt that was a conscious decision on anyone’s part.  Unhealthy patterns are usually unintentional.  We drift into them, distracted by the relentless details and busyness of life.

Colicky babies.  Little league schedules. Christmas preparations. Teenagers’ activities. Work demands. Volunteer projects that should have received our “no.” House repairs. Car repairs. Financial pressures.

Let’s face it — a lot of life starts happening after you unwrap the wedding gifts, cash the checks, put away the dress, return the tux and get down to the high and holy calling of being married.

Life gets messy.  And, sooner or later, hard — emotionally, spiritually, physically.

Before long, you find that joys and smiles mingle casually with heartaches and disappointments, as if they are all dinner guests that come and go at random.

This is marriage.

And as much as you thought you were prepared for what makes it beautiful and worthy — and what makes it painstaking and treacherous — you weren’t.

That’s not a character flaw on your part.  It means you are human.  And so is your spouse.

Has sex faded out of your marriage?

If so, I am going to bet that one of you is in pain over that rejection.  Maybe both of you, but more often than not, when lack of sexual intimacy is an issue, it is a more prevalent issue for one spouse.

I wish I had easy answers (God how I wish that).  But sexual intimacy struggles are often painfully unique, and I don’t know your story.

You may have huge hurts and betrayals you are trying to sort out.  You may have a past that is filled with sexual abuse or sexual lies or skewed messages about sex and marriage.  You may struggle with enjoying sexual pleasure and seeing the value in sex beyond the act itself.

You may have simply gotten lackadaisical about taking care of this aspect of your marriage, because you were always banking on there being plenty of time “someday.”

Someday after the kids are raised.  Someday after the house is paid off.  Someday after the job isn’t so demanding.  Someday.

I don’t know your story.

What I do know is that sex is part of marriage.

And more often than not, when a couple could be nurturing their intimacy, but isn’t, there is a toll.

Maybe that toll shows up as distance between the two of you or a lack of transparency or a sense that you are really more like roommates or a hunger to be with someone else.

If you know sex has faded out of your marriage, what will it take for you to stop pretending “this is just what happens in marriage” or “we’ll figure this out someday”?

No one stands at the altar and imagines a day when they stop making love to their spouse.

No one.

Has sex faded out of your marriage?

Can you get humble and real about that?  And then do something about it?  The elusive “someday” never comes on its own.

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Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

7 thoughts on “Has Sex Faded Out of Your Marriage?

  1. Pingback: » Has Sex Faded Out of Your Marriage?

  2. DMV says:

    On sex fading out of marriage. In hindsight, I wish someone had talked seriously about how sex fades. It seems that sex “fades” in the vast majority of marriages, so it really becomes more of a question of “how far will you want to let it fade?” than whether or not it will fade (or has faded).

    Looking at the question of frequency, I sometimes wonder if a thought process like this would be useful.

    Some sex therapists suggest to couples that they aim for about twice a week. So, when sex fades to that point, would it be useful to at least consider “is this enough?” “are we both still content?” “Do we need to do anything different?”

    Scott over at journey to surrender, in looking at one of his surveys, suggested that once per week kind of divides the “satisfieds” from the “dissatisfieds”. So, maybe when sex fades to once a week, we should repeat this discussion.

    Most sex therapists consider 10x per year or less to be a “sexless” marriage”. Perhaps when sex fades to once per month, it would be time for another discussion.

    I certainly don’t want to make these any kind of “quota”. If a couple is content below any of these levels, it should be okay — as long as they are really content. There should also be room for “It’s been a hard pregnancy” or “I’ve been under a lot of stress at work this month”. I guess I see a certain advantage to some “flags” that suggest when to make this a topic of discussion to try to make sure that it doesn’t fade into nothing.

  3. Kate says:

    Well I wouldn’t place a colicky baby in the same category as Little League, as far as how a couple might navigate one situation or the other. Having a colicky baby with one or more sleep deprived parents can be a profoundly stressful situation.

    I do think couples should have conversations about their future about what the tradeoffs, trickle down effect etc, might be as a result of any change. If a kid in a sport means lots of driving time, time attending games then a couple should talk about what is might mean for the family…maybe a disrupted family meal time, possibly even disrupted sleep schedules with odd practice times. Maybe it affects the sex life and maybe it doesn’t, but I think couples can be a bit naïve sometimes that when other time commitments are added in it won’t have an effect elsewhere.

  4. Daniel says:

    The really sad part of it is that whatever infrequency of sex you are experiencing today, this is actually the high point for the rest of your future. It will only get worse.

    Do you believe a refusing wife in her 30s is somehow going to become a tiger when she hits menopause?

    We are eternal optimists and always think things are going to change for the better. But for the majority that’s just not how the female part of the equation works.

    Realizing this, sometimes you just have to find hobbies and other things to do, and look at good sex in your marriage in the rear view mirror. Sad, but that’s life. You cannot ever change a refusing spouse.

  5. Hubby Dan says:

    Hubby Dan here, My Sweetie has suffered many health concerns since the 90’s, loss of daughter, fatigue/exhaustion, breast cancer, kidney removal, on and on. Currently she has no hair…and a myriad of drs and natural solutions has failed to change this. We are past the point of being sorrowful, and anymore we just laugh at these things. We love each other very much and are always hopeful things will change. Right now, it is impossible for intimacy in the way which is normally thought of. So, we love each other via snuggle, maintaining a healthy relationship, and working on life one day at a time. We made a vow to love and accept each other for better or worse. With God’s help we are doing fine. I would not have traded this journey for any other, and I absolutely cherish my Sweet One. Maybe one day we will be able to get to a joyous time together physically, but for now it is what it is and we praise and thank God for what we have.

    God bless you all.

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