Sex is important in every romantic relationship; but it surely isn’t the most important one. This is why it is not uncommon to see sexless relationships where one, or maybe both people don’t feel physically attracted to each other, or anyone else for that matter. While one might think it’s a problem, they could be living a happy, fulfilling, healthy, and romantic relationship, with sex being the only thing absent.
But if you find yourself in a sexless relationship, there’s a lot to understand and communicate to your partner. At the end of the day, it’s all about being on the same page.
How important is sex in the relationship?
Sex is great and important to connect with our partner. For many, it’s the quality as well as the quantity that decides how good and healthy the relationship is. Though for some, sex might not be at the top of the list. There might be other things that matter to them when it comes to how fulfilling they feel with the person. For instance, emotional intimacy, open communication, and a deep connection compensates for a lack of sex to a certain extent. So it remains to figure out what is more important to you. In a relationship, it’s all about being with someone who ticks the right boxes, not all the boxes.
And for those who have sex high on the list and aren’t sexually compatible with their partner, it’s time for them to introspect, understand, and communicate how big and how important sex is in their relationship.
Speak about why your partner feels so
Understanding the underlying reasons of the absence of sex is crucial—it could either be a physical or a psychological problem. There are medical conditions, neurological problems, and antidepressants that reduce libido. Identifying this can help determine if it is a temporary or life-long situation. They might also be suffering from trauma or are no longer physically attracted to their partner. It is important to share and have a frank conversation with them to be on the same page.
Understand and manage your sexual expectations
Disappointment is born out of expectations. When it comes to two people finding themselves in a sexual relationship where one person has a much higher libido than the other, it’s important to evaluate your expectations with regard to sexual intimacy. If both partners are okay not having sex and have other ways to feel intimate, great. However, if one person is stressed or dissatisfied due to the lack of sexual activity, talking things out is the next big step. Both partners can look at the situation practically, balance their needs, and come to a fair compromising ground.
It would be ideal if the partners meet each other halfway, and a therapist or a sex therapist can be a good guide to have these conversations. They can have have a structured way of exploring underlying issues and develop strategies to improve the situation. For example, if your sex drive is higher than your partner, you can come up with alternative ways to satisfy your drive like using sex toys or masturbation.
If a relationship is all about compromise, what about the sex?
You got to meet each other halfway if one person wants it more than the other. The fundamental thing is to communicate honestly where you talk about your limitations and speak about what you will work on and won’t. It boils down to the compatibility in a relationship whether or not sex is on the table. If the partner is not acknowledging what you’re feeling, and is not willing to do anything, let alone meet you halfway, you should consider the person you’re with.
Inputs by Sherene Aftab, founder of Serene Hour Counselling & Career Advice Consultancy and Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai