Sex is regarded as a significant barometer of happy marriages. However, according to the ‘Relationships in America’ survey, about 20% of married couples confessed to not indulging in the activity within the past month. Another 6% of these couples have said that they had gone without sex for over a year. In India, it maybe difficult to voice your concerns regarding this matter, but an honest discussion of your sexual needs with your partner will be beneficial in the long run. There lies a fundamental question; is this behaviour normal or is it a cause for concern?

EXPERT OPINION

Denise Donnelly, a leading researcher in the field of sexless marriage, was interviewed by the New York Times in 2008. She offered her take on the matter:

“I suspect that we are just hearing more about it [sexless marriage]. Back in the days before reliable birth control, having a sexless marriage was one ways of limiting family size. Plus, unhappy couples, who are less likely to have sex, were more likely to stay together because of social expectations or because they were raising children together”

Reporting Gap in Marital DATA

The General Social Survey (GSS) in the United States, is a sociological survey that collects and records the attitudes, practices, experiences and concerns of its residents. If you were to plot a trend since 1989, when the GSS was started, you would notice a colossal increase in the number of sexless marriages. Although the rise is gradual, the reported number of people below the age of 60, who have said that their sexual activity is restricted to less than once a month, is growing by half a percent every year. This indicates a 23% increase since the year that tracking was introduced.

REASON FOR SEXLESS MARRIAGES

The stress of our urban lifestyle, marital problems, demanding careers and less time for intimacy can all lead to sexless marriages. The median age of married couples is progressively increasing, leading to health issues, reduced libido and ultimately, less sex. However, only 27% of the difference can be attributed to the aforementioned cause. The remainder, as Donnelly mentioned, may simply be the fact people are more comfortable talking about it now. There is yet another factor that has been proposed as a plausible reason — the connection between pornography usage and erectile dysfunction — though there is not much data to substantiate this claim.

A work-life balance is necessary; prioritising couple goals and making time for each other can keep your relationship alive. It is important to realise that you are not alone and blaming yourself is not the solution. There are many ways to bring back the spark to your marriage. Sexual therapists and counsellors can be consulted to develop strategies to overcome your problems. Seeking help early on prevents far-reaching consequences, promising a happier and healthier married life.

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