Occasionally I get comments or emails from people proclaiming that their marriage is just fine without sex.
These staunch stands usually include a well-articulated list abundant with such proclamations as “we have a great friendship” and “sex isn’t everything” and “our life is fabulous.”
(Mind you, the number of these emails/comments is but a minuscule fraction of the ones I get from discouraged, desperate and despondent people who want more nurtured sexual intimacy in their marriage. So we could do some math on the sexual landscape out there. But I digress.)
Can your marriage survive without sex?
BUT I will to my dying day believe that a marriage is not all that God intended if sexual intimacy is not in the mix. And by sex, I don’t mean only intercourse (although intercourse is nice). The wide repertoire of sexual intimacy and sexual affection counts as well.
Yes, I know in some marriages, physically making love or enjoying other common sexual acts is not possible. Injury, illness or other (sometimes tragic) unforeseen circumstances have put a halt to sex or made it extremely difficult. Sometimes those marriages have a greater understanding of authentic intimacy and touch even though actual intercourse is no longer an option.
But those aren’t the marriages I’m talking about in this post.
I’m talking about marriages (maybe your marriage?) where one or both spouses have nixed sex from the equation.
Maybe it was a slow fade.
Maybe it was an abrupt stop.
Maybe arriving at that “normal” of no sex came after years of baggage no one cared to unpack.
Can these marriages survive without sex? Sure. But maybe a more worthwhile question is, “Can they thrive without sex?”
Here’s the thing.
Sexual intimacy is one of the primary ways God set marriage apart from all other relationships. Sex is where we find unique potential for profound oneness in its right context AND simultaneously deep potential for profound betrayal through adulterous behavior.
We are figuratively playing with fire that can either warm us and connect us when handled correctly OR burn us and destroy us when handled carelessly.
I bring in the adultery angle not because every marriage faces this betrayal, but to simply emphasize the monumental significance of sex as God designed it.
When we have willing hearts to see sex as God sees it — to appreciate and embrace its power to strengthen and define our marriage — only then are we in a place to understand the devastating consequences of tossing it aside when we have no reason to toss it aside.
Can your marriage survive without sex?
Countless marriages do. They survive without it.
I can’t think of one marriage that thrives without it.
And if someone wants to hold up their own marriage as one that is thriving without sexual intimacy of any kind, I would humbly respond with only a question…
“If you think you are thriving now as a couple, then can you imagine what your marriage would be if you made love regularly?”
I speak from experience on this one. Some of you know that in my first marriage, sex was a big struggle for us — a struggle that I see now as something I downplayed at the time. “We’ll figure this out someday,” I remember thinking. Well, “someday” came a calling as divorce papers from my first husband.
I have a few more years and a boatload of wisdom on my life resume now, not to mention a current second marriage where I have experienced the most amazing sex.
Do we ever struggle sexually? Well sure. It is marriage after all.
BUT I will say this — with everything in me, at my very core, I can gauge our sense of oneness by the degree to which we are physically intimate.
We do better as a couple — as partners, as friends, as parents, as wranglers of the details — when we are intentional about sexual touch and pleasure.
We don’t just survive.
For more reading on this topic, check out Why The Excuse “Sex Isn’t a Need” Doesn’t Hold Water. I really like that post.
Copyright 2017, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.