About 15 percent of married couples have not been intimate with their spouse for between six months and a year, says Denise A. Donnelly, associate professor of sociology at Georgia State University. This may come as some comfort to you if you are in a relationship where sex has slipped down your list of priorities -- at least you are not the only couple experiencing a lack of intimacy. There are many reasons for a sexless relationship, and several things you can do to find more intimacy with the person you love.
Kindling the Relationship
You may find that spending quality time together is all you need to relight the fire. Arrange a weekend away just for the two of you, without children, careers and the obligations of everyday life. If you can't afford a romantic hotel, re-create the setting at home. Arrange for a friend or relative to take your children for a couple of nights, turn off your cellphones and agree to focus on one another -- and your relationship -- for the whole weekend. Cook a meal together and watch your favorite movies. Talk to one another about what's going on in your lives and what your dreams are for the future. Light candles and give each other relaxing massages.
Working out the reason for the lack of intimacy is crucial if prioritizing one another does not improve the situation. Be honest with yourself and think carefully about your role in the relationship before you approach your partner. If you have lost interest in sex and regularly reject his advances, consider counseling or therapy to help you get to the root of the problem. You may have low self-esteem or bear the scars from a previous unhealthy relationship. If there is another problem in the relationship, such as stress, debt or infidelity, this may have lead to the deterioration of your sex life. Some couples simply get bored with each other after a time and stop making the effort when it comes to sex and intimacy.
What Not To Do
A lack of intimacy in a relationship can lead to feelings of rejection, hurt, frustration and anger, says couples counselor Elly Prior. These emotions can make people react in certain ways, which way not be good for the relationship. Avoid trying to force your partner into being more intimate with you, obsessing over the lack of intimacy or blaming your partner for everything. This can lead to paranoia and conflict, and any issues will be exacerbated rather than resolved.
Talking to your partner about your sex life is the only way to make things better. Be honest with each other about how you feel and what you want. It's not always easy to talk about sex to the person you love, particularly if you have endured a lengthy period of no sex. Donnelly suggests seeking professional help to open the lines of communication. Look for a couples counselor or sex therapist who has experience helping couples deal with a lack of intimacy.
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."