Dealing with a Sexless Marriage


I’ve been married for 20 years and my wife and I haven’t made love in over 8 years. I’ve brought this up to my wife and she says we’re not “connected.” What does that mean? We don’t even kiss anymore except a quick peck on occasion. I miss my wife and can’t believe our sex life is over. It breaks my heart.


Note to viewers: This is more common than you might think.
In our research for this episode we learned that 20% of relationships
are sexless, and 15% of married couples haven’t had sex in 6 months or more.

Transcript: : Welcome to Let’s Get Real! Today’s episode is about, dealing with a sexless marriage.

Joseph from Montana writes: “I’ve been married for twenty years and my wife and I haven’t made love in over eight years. She says we’re not connected. What does that mean? One time we went hiking together and she said she felt slightly more connected to me that day, but not enough for sex. We don’t even kiss anymore except a quick peck on occasion. I miss my wife and can’t believe our sex life is over. It breaks my heart.

Joseph, it breaks our heart too. That eight years is a long time to go in a sexless marriage. I can see how, that’s difficult. You’re a very patient man maybe a little bit too patient so we’d like to talk to you about that and also about connection. What the different kinds of connection are. And why is it that that a hike really didn’t do it for your wife.

First Joseph, we’d like to share with you our two-year rule. And this is for anybody watching this video, anybody who has a problem and is feeling stuck. If you’re stuck in this problem for two years, it’s time to get help. It’s time to do something different. It’s time to stop pretending that it’s going to take care of itself or that you can fix it all by yourself. If you are stuck for two years or at least two years then please, do get help. Chances are this is more than you can handle on your own. So Joseph your wife is giving you a very clear message, that she needs connection, in order to feel in the mood for sex with you, and she hasn’t felt connected with you for eight years. It’d be nice to know what happened for her? What changed? I’ve been married for twenty years and then all of a sudden the twelve years into the marriage, you know she’s not feeling connected anymore. Why is it that I have a feeling that it wasn’t a you know one day, it stopped. If something changed for her or something change in your relationship and it would be really nice to know what that is, so I could give you some clues. But, assuming that this is correct, that if her connection needs were met then, the sex would happen. What does she mean by connection? We get that you’re confused about that. A lot of people are confused about that.

So, you’re a woman darling, why don’t you speak of this? Really Joseph, it is kind of confusing because people do get connected after a couple hour hike. You can get connected to somebody you accidentally, just randomly met on that hike. You know you’re sharing a same experience. At that moment in time, those two people, any two people can feel a connection in a moment. We are connected right now. But that’s very much different than that deep connection that people want in a relationship and what really needs to happen especially for women to you know, really feel attracted in a sexual way. So what do women need or what does your wife need? We know that there are some different types of connection. At the very least there’s Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. Emotional connection is in my opinion what you need to feel loved. Your wife might want to feel loved by you and love with you in order to feel connected enough to have sex with you.

Another type of connection is Physical. Chances are that’s not what’s working here for your wife but sometimes women do like you know more non-sexual touch and affection, that is non-sexual in order to feel close to you and they need to feel like every single time you touch them it’s not that you want something. That you have an agenda for sex.

And then Spiritual connection, it’s about feeling connected even when you’re not physically present. It’s about feeling connected in your life and your life purpose and sort of that you’re both on this planet for a reason and that you might even be soul mates or there’s a higher purpose or reason for you being here and you can often feel spiritually connected for example when you have a shared mission. Like when you have kids together, and you know that these are your kids, this is your family and you are spiritually connected all the time and the kids connect you and your mission and purpose of having that family together connects you. Or if you work together. If you just share lifestyle together. You enjoyed the same kind of movies together. So there’s lots of things that spiritually can connect you. So it would be nice to know what kind of connection your wife really wants, really needs, is feeling like its missing, so that then you can have a conversation and do something about it. I’m gonna guess it’s all three.

The other consideration here is that after twenty years and eight years with no sex, there has been a habit established. You have now a pattern of interacting in your marriage. This pattern is a habit, and it’s really hard to change habits. There’s a certain amount of inertia that goes along with that. So to change that habit requires a momentous amount of energy and it’s entrenched and you guys are stuck, and it is quite possible to change a habit and overcome inertia on your own. But realize that’s probably one of the best reasons for getting some outside support because the intervention from the outside can help both of you clear the logjam and get over the hump or whatever metaphor you want to use, so that you can start breaking that habit and changing that habit and establish some new habits that will work better for you in your relationship.

We want to offer you some strategies to consider. The first one is just SHIFTING YOUR ATTITUDE. So, and this might seem a little bit like we’re putting the burden on you but, instead of focusing on not having sex and the fact that you’re not having sex, can you turn it around and kind of focus on what you do really love and appreciate about your wife? If you want her to feel loved and connected, it’s going to be from you focusing on how much you love her and appreciate her, not in what you’re not getting in the relationship and how it is not working for you. So oftentimes a relationship can be totally turned around, bystop focusing on the problems and what’s not working and focus on the love and the appreciation and the connection and what does work for you.

And then, we highly recommend and this is true for any relationship especially yours but, multiple times a day is express your love and appreciation in small ways. This can be with a shoulder rub. This can be with getting her a cup of coffee, rubbing her feet, telling her that you love her, just looking at her lovingly, you know there’s so many things, just getting the paper for her. There’s so many, taking out the garbage without being asked. You know just so many ways, multiple times a day even if you’re busy, even if you have hours apart from working or whatever. There’s so many ways multiple times a day that you can express your love and appreciation in small ways.

And also we highly recommend what we call The Platinum Rule. So The platinum Rule says, “do unto others as they want to be done too.” This applies here because your wife has needs and if her needs are met she’s gonna feel connected. You’re not quite sure what they are, so we need to find out what they are and meet those needs in ways that work for her. So what does she need and work with her on getting those needs met. When you make that your mission and as a guy I know that we have a job to do and we take it seriously. Okay, so make this your mission to figure out her needs are, talk to her about them. Experiment and try different things. Really work at it, and then when your wife feels safe and she feels that you really love and care about her, that you’re working hard to meet her needs, then she will feel loved. Then she will feel connected, and then you can work on the sex part.

So we also recommend that you use the Sixty Forty Rule, and that says that sixty percent of the time, sixty percent of the time I’m going to work on making you happy. Only Sixty? And Forty percent of the time that I’m gonna make sure my needs are met. And I do the same thing. So sixty percent of my energy is going to be about making you happy, and forty percent of my energy will go into what my needs are and taking care of them making sure that they’re met in this relationship. When both partners are doing that, when both partners prioritize the other ones happiness just a little bit more. You don’t want to ignore your own needs So, that’s why we call it the Sixty Forty Rule. When both partners are prioritizing the other partners happiness, I can tell you from personal experience it feels really good, and it works really well. So that’s something that you can do and you can practice in your relationship, even talk with her about it. That really only works, or it really works well IF both partners are willing to do that because you definitely don’t want to be in a long-term relationship with you giving and giving and giving and not receiving something back. But the forty percent of that of your energy that you’ll put into getting your own needs met can be about talking with your wife about what your needs are and working with her to get them met. Then sixty percent of your energy will be getting her needs.

So, we highly recommend that you focus on Intimacy before Sex. Intimacy means closeness and connection and conversation and physical closeness you know all the things that you want. All the things that your wife wants and needs, and intimacy includes sex but it is more than sex. Much more than sex and we tend to need intimacy in order to enjoy sex in the long term. So when you think about it, if you have sex without intimacy, yeah you can get your animalistic needs met but over time, it won’t feel fulfilling. Intimacy really is the key to a fulfilling relationship and in a fulfilling sexual relationship. So we highly recommend that you learn a bit about intimacy and you work in increasing intimacy with your wife and we have a great program for that. We call radical intimacy. We highly recommend you check that out and take a take a look at it and use those strategies to develop the closeness and be able to tell the truth to each other and create an intimate, close emotional relationship that will then result in intimate close physical relationship.

And so things that you might want to try now is to introduce a physical affection but not foreplay. Introduce some physical affection but not something that’s going to feel like you’re trying to get her in bed because you know clearly she’s not ready for that. So what kinds of things could you try? I mean there is so much. You could just hold her hand. Maybe hold her hand while walking down the street. Non-sexual. Put your arm around her. Nonsexual kind of hug or neck rubs or anything like that. Something so that your physical contact with her doesn’t feel like you’re just trying to get her in bed. Because right now it doesn’t sound like that’s gonna feel good for her. Women love this stuff but they hate it if they think your doing it with an agenda to try to have sex with her. There’s so many things you can do to introduce physical affection in your relationship, and you want it to be all the time. You want it to be constant. If it’s just you know every once in a blue moon then that’s, you’re not going to be very close physically. But when you are close physically and you have your arm around her and your holding hands and you’re physically close, that creates intimacy as well. And you do little physical affectionate things like you know straightening her hair. Pick the lint off her. As she allows you inside her physical space, then actually that’ll help create better connection between you two. Don’t forget hugs. You know everybody needs a hug and the more you hug, the healthier you are, the happier you are. That certainly counts in a marriage. I’d really make sure though that, this physical kind of affection is welcomed by her. If you are trying to hold her hand or give her a neck rub or something like that and she’s kind of backing off. Or, if not feeling good to her then it’s gonna actually I think do harm and not be helpful. Right, and use your words, and say “is this okay?” Talk about it, and let her know why are you doing this. I mean she might feel confused or suspicious. Let her know that you saw a video that recommended that one way to increase closeness in your relationship and connection, which is what she wants, is to increase physical affection.

And again Joseph, please. It’s been eight years, you’re way passed our two-year rule. So get help. Do not try to do this on your own. There’s a tremendous amount of inertia in this relationship right now. These patterns are habits now. It’s going to be really hard to change on your own so outside intervention will help you. It’s like get a team on your side, don’t do this by yourself.

So if you have an idea, a suggestion or a comment for Joseph, please enter it in the comment box below and lets help him connect once again to his wife. And please do remember that telling the truth has consequences. It’s the only way to have a really fulfilling relationship. But not all relationships can handle the truth. So if this is your situation, please do get the support you need from a qualified therapist, counselor, or coach. No one is successful alone. And just a little bit of support can go a long way in helping you live happily ever after. Thanks for watching and bye for now!



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