“Relationships don’t die because of a lack of love, they die because of a lack of passion.” – Tony Robbins

When you met your partner, you felt a tremendous sense of passion toward them. This manifested on both an emotional and physical level. The two of you were inseparable, and you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. You got married and felt like you were on top of the world. 

But things have changed.

Over time, you’ve found yourself coping with a sexless marriage. Maybe the newness of the relationship wore off, or perhaps new stressors appeared in your shared life, like kids, job responsibilities or financial struggles. Things have sputtered out. The relationship is still intact, but you’ve lost that necessary intimacy you need to keep your love alive.

Want to get more relationship advice from Tony?

Download the relationship guide
Can a sexless marriage survive?

The short answer is that yes, a sexless marriage can survive – but it can come at a cost. If one partner desires sex but the other is uninterested, lack of sex can lead to decreased intimacy and connection, feelings of resentment and even infidelity. Even in situations where both partners are on the same page – both have low sex drives, there is a physical distance like military deployment or a disability or medical condition causing the sexless marriage – the couple must be vigilant about creating intimacy in other ways.

If you’re in the first type of sexless marriage – one where uneven sex drives or other relationship problems are making you feel disconnected and unloved – it’s essential that you work on restoring  passion and intimacy. Often, a sexless marriage can survive only because the partners convince themselves it’s normal, and they must keep a brave face. Don’t fall into this trap. While everyone responds to losing the physical aspect of their marriage in a different way, you must not let it become the new normal.

Instead of agonizing over how to survive a sexless marriage, commit to reigniting that lost sense of passion

How to survive a sexless marriage

First, change your mindset. Stop asking yourself, “Can a sexless marriage survive?” and start asking yourself what you can do to reignite the flames of passion. Learn what to do in a sexless marriage that will allow you to regain that physical intimacy and connection.

1. Realign your polarity

couple holding hands

In order to thrive, a relationship needs masculine and feminine energies. These contrasting energies are similar to the negative and positive charges on a magnet – when together, this creates polarity in a relationship. Feminine energy focuses more on emotion and connection, while the driving force behind masculine energy is working toward an end goal. Regardless of gender, there must be masculine energy in one partner and feminine energy in the other for a relationship to succeed.

Examine the roles you and your partner have taken on in your marriage. Have they changed over time? Did the partner with feminine energy take on a new role that requires more results-driven traits? Has the masculine energy source had to step down from being the provider?

If you’ve begun asking whether your sexless marriage can survive, you and your partner may have already been embodying energies that don’t suit you for a long time. Perhaps the masculine partner needs to feel that they are providing for your family more, or the feminine partner wants to feel able to care for the masculine partner. Returning these energies to where they belong – again, regardless of your physical genders – will help push the emotional dial of your relationship back toward passion.

two wedding bands

2. Date each other

couple on a date at the beach

A sexless marriage is often a comfortable marriage. When you settle down together and move past the phase where every day is full of excitement, you get lazy. The passion fades.

Think of all the little things you used to do for your partner before you were married. You probably brought them little gifts and told them how much they meant to you. You planned date nights and excursions. Now you can hardly remember the last time you planned a special date night for your partner. 

Why did you stop? Because you got comfortable. You stopped treating each other like you were special. You stopped dating each other.

Prove to your partner that you’re their biggest fan who would do anything for them. Surprise them when they least expect it – it can even be with something simple like their favorite latte during lunch hour or picking up dinner on your way home. Mind-blowing, passionate relationships take work, and you must be willing to put in the time and commitment it takes to not only survive a sexless marriage, but see it thrive.

couple kissing by the beach

3. Communicate with each other

couple talking over coffee

Can a sexless marriage survive? Yes, but only if you communicate with the one person who can truly help you turn it around: your partner. Have you brought this issue up with them? Are they also unhappy with how infrequently you’re being intimate? Or have you been simmering in silence, letting your resentment build and further relinquishing any hope you have of rekindling your passion?

Chances are, your verbal and emotional communication is lacking, which has led to your sexless marriage. Did something occur that eroded your ability to speak freely with each other like you used to? Is it something serious like infidelity, or are you both coping with new stresses at work or at home? 

Commit to speaking up and asking them how they think and feel about the situation. Wading into this territory with them is frightening but necessary. When you’re able to communicate on a mental and emotional level with your spouse, you’ll create a deeper physical connection, too, so find a way to positively address the issue and create a plan to move forward together.

couple on a date in a restaurant

4. Keep an eye on your relationship

Working together to go from learning how to survive a sexless marriage to learning how to fix it is an important step, but your work isn’t over yet. It is vital to remember that your relationship changes over time. Depending on the situations and stressors in your life, you will have days when you’re physically closer with your partner and days when you need space. The secret is to continue reassessing your physical and emotional needs together, as a loving unit, and making adjustments as necessary.

It’s important to stop living out old stories – let go of past mistakes! Don’t keep punishing your partner for something they said and did that you’ve already discussed, and don’t hold on to limiting beliefs about yourself, either.

a couple embracing in bed

You aren’t the same people you were when you met, because you’ve both grown and changed. This isn’t a bad thing. A sexless marriage can survive, but a healthy, successful marriage embraces changes and continues innovating in the relationship. The things your love life needed in the beginning aren’t the same as what it needs now. As long as you’re willing to communicate openly and honestly with your partner, you will be able to revive and sustain the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Saving a sexless marriage: Common questions
How long do sexless marriages last?

A sexless marriage can last a lifetime – if you let it. And many likely do last a lifetime, because couples fall into the trap of thinking that sexless marriages are “normal.” While they are common – estimates for the number of sexless marriages range from 10 to 20 percent of all marriages – if one or both partners are unhappy, that is never normal. Rather than asking whether a sexless marriage can survive, ask yourself: Do you want it to?

Do you stay faithful in a sexless marriage?

Yes – staying faithful is essential to any marriage. Sexless marriages certainly do not justify infidelity. The temptation not to stay faithful is a symptom of a larger problem – a problem that can be fixed, if you’re willing to do the work. Work on learning what to do in a sexless marriage to improve your connection and rekindle the passion. Then, you won’t be tempted to look elsewhere.

What percentage of sexless marriages end in divorce?

It’s not known what percentage of sexless marriages end in divorce, but if the rate is in keeping with the overall divorce rate in America, it would be about 50 percent. Chances are that the percentage of sexless marriages ending in divorce is even higher. However, some couples manage to convince themselves that sexless marriage is nothing to worry about, and those marriages can last a lifetime.

Is a sexless marriage grounds for divorce?

Sexless marriage can be grounds for an at-fault divorce, especially if one partner is purposely withholding sex as a punishment or if one partner wants to work on the issue and the other refuses to seek help. But a sexless marriage can also be the catalyst a couple needs to overcome deep relationship issues and reconnect with one another. Wouldn’t you rather be the second type of couple?

Ready to improve your relationship?

Dive into your inner core and discover ways to mend your relationship with our leading energy quiz.