Can a Marriage Survive Without Physical Intimacy

Can a Marriage Survive Without Physical Intimacy?

Americans are having less sex than ever. While this is especially true among teenagers, even married couples are spending less time between the sheets. In fact, many couples live in sexless marriages. A sexless marriage is one in which the couple has sex fewer than 10 times per year. 

One of the trends is that people are taking ownership of their sex lives. They are not having sex simply because their partner wants to. They are in control, and while this is great for those who may not be in a committed relationship, intimacy is important in a marriage. Whether you are 18 or 80 years old, you and your partner need to have some degree of intimacy in your marriage, whether that means sex, hugging, kissing, cuddling, or any other form of touching. 

Marriages take a lot of work, so you may need to remind yourself that physical intimacy is important. When you leave out that part, the marital bond suffers, and divorce becomes a possibility. 

You may wonder: can a marriage survive a lack of physical intimacy? It can happen, but it comes at a cost. One person is bound to be resentful. It is important that both partners are on the same page and in agreement about the expectations of the marriage. Otherwise, you and your spouse are pretty much reduced to roommates — and who wants to live like that? 

Effects of a Sexless Marriage

A sexless marriage can cause the following:

  • Distance. Spouses do not feel as close to each other when there is no intimacy in the marriage. They may barely acknowledge each other’s existence. They may feel like ships passing in the night. This is not good for the future of the marriage. 
  • Feelings of resentment. When one person wants intimacy and the other does not, it leads to a dead bedroom. The person who wants sex ends up frustrated and resentful. They may feel unappreciated and even depressed about their situation. 
  • Insecurities. When one partner refuses to have sex, it could bring about feelings of insecurity and jealousy in the other partner. They may wonder why their spouse no longer desires to have sex with them. Has their spouse fallen out of love with them? Does their spouse no longer find them attractive? Are they engaging in infidelity?
  • Infidelity. The resentment and frustration often develop into infidelity. Once a spouse finds someone who shows interest in them, they are likely to engage in a full-on affair. They often have no remorse about it because, in most cases, they have already discussed their feelings with their spouse, and nothing has changed. When a spouse refuses to have sex, the jilted spouse will often find cheating acceptable.
  • Roommate status. Once there is no more intimacy in a marriage, the couples are pretty much roommates. They simply live together. They may not touch each other at all or do anything together. This gets boring and depressing after some time. 
  • Divorce. When a person desires intimacy and their spouse no longer provides it for them, they may look for love somewhere else. But instead of cheating on their spouse, they will end the marriage and move on. In many cases, divorce is the only way you will be happy again. Sometimes counseling can help, but in many instances, spouses do not change. 


It is possible for a marriage to continue on and survive without sex. There are a couple examples:

  • Health problems. As people get older, they tend to develop health problems. These medical issues may make it difficult to have a fulfilling sex life. For example, some men develop erectile dysfunction or heart problems that make sex difficult. Either spouse could become disabled and no longer willing or able to engage in sexual activity. 
  • Both spouses feel that sex is unimportant. If both spouses no longer want to engage in sex, then it is OK to not have it. However, the marriage should still have some sort of intimacy. The couple can still touch each other and engage in hugging, cuddling, and kissing. Most health issues still allow for that. However, in order for this to work, communication must be established. It is absolutely important that both spouses are on the same page regarding no sex, even if one party has lost their sexual desire. This is something that cannot be ignored. If one partner is not on board with a sexless marriage, then resentment will build up quickly.

Is Sex Important to You?

Will your marriage survive a lack of sex? It depends on how important sex is to you. There is no arguing that good marriages have healthy sex lives. How do you feel about sex? How does your spouse feel about it? The answers to these questions will determine if you will be happy with a sexless marriage. Studies show that sexless individuals can be just as happy as those who do have regular sex. It will depend on your feelings as well as your individual sex drive. 

Seek Legal Help

While you may be comfortable in a sexless marriage, are you really happy? Don’t you wish to be intimate with your spouse once again?

If communication and counseling have not worked to get you and your spouse out of your rut, it may be time to bite the bullet and move on. Seek legal help from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We have decades of experience handling many divorce cases. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (954) 346-6464.