There are relationships out there that are not defined by sexual intimacy, especially if you’re an asexual. We’re not talking about toxic relationships where either partner is deprived of needs or healthy communication. Again, sex is just one aspect of a relationship, and shouldn’t define the overall health or quality of the bond between the two, right?
Studies have shown that:
- Women: Nearly 60% of Singaporean women have low sexual function, which could be a contributing factor to Singapore’s low fertility rate. In a separate study, it’s found that 7 in 10 of women aged 45-69 experience sexual dysfunction, even though more than half of them are sexually active. A cross-sectional pilot study in a tertiary hospital in Singapore found female sexual dysfunction to be prevalent among allied health workers.
- Men: A survey on partner relations conducted on 2,115 Singaporean men and women aged between 15 and 49 years found that only 16% of sexually experienced men engaged in casual sex in the previous year, of which 78.4% were encounters with commercial sex workers. Another survey found that one in three people polled have sex less than once a month.
And you wonder why Singapore’s birthrate is low… but we’re not here to nag. Rather, these studies have collectively highlighted the need for a change in societal approach to relationships and sex, and how having a baby should not be the end goal of sex or any relationship. The mindset now needs to be that (sexual) happiness in a relationship extends far beyond marriage and childbirth. By creating a supportive environment that respects individual choices, we can promote happier and more fulfilling relationships, ultimately contributing to a more balanced and empowered society.
This brings us back to the topic of sexless relationships – a relationship where there is little to no sexual activity occurring between the couple. There is no exact way to quantify what counts as a sexless relationship, as different people have different expectations and desires for sex. However, having sex less than 10 times a year is typically considered a sexless relationship. Here are some things to know about sexless relationships.
Causes of sexless relationships:
- Health issues: Health concerns can impact a person’s desire or ability to have sex.
- Unmatched libido: Differences in sexual desire between partners can lead to a decline in sexual activity.
- Life transitions: Stressful life events such as having a new baby, moving, or changing jobs can cause a decline in sexual activity.
- Communication issues: A lack of communication about sexual needs and desires can lead to a decline in sexual activity.
- Other relationship issues: Major betrayals, resentment, or unresolved conflict can also contribute to a lack of sex and intimacy.
- Hormone changes: Hormonal imbalances can affect libido and lead to a decline in sexual activity.
- Mental health issues: Conditions such as depression and anxiety can affect libido and lead to a decline in sexual activity.
- Medication side effects: Certain medications can affect libido and lead to a decline in sexual activity.
Note that sexless relationships in themselves aren’t necessarily a problem if both partners are satisfied with the level of sexual activity. The key here is matching the levels of sexual expectations. If one partner is unhappy with the lack of or conversely preoccupation with sex, it can lead to negative feelings such as loneliness, insecurity, resentment, frustration, guilt, rejection, and inadequacy. While no excuse, a mismatch in expectations if unaddressed over a long period of time, could possibly lead to infidelity or the demise of the relationship.
Fixing a sexless relationship:
- Create a relationship vision: Keeping communication channels open helps you create a relationship vision. By discussing your sexual needs and desires, you can work together to create a plan to address your problems.
- Be open and honest: Absolute courage and vulnerability is one of the Five Keys to Intimacy, according to Tony Robbin. Being open and honest about your feelings and needs can help your partner understand your perspective and work with you to find solutions.
- Focus on what you want: Instead of focusing on what’s not happening, focus on what you’d like to happen. This can help shift the conversation from blame and negativity to positive solutions.
- Seek counseling: If communication is difficult, or if you’re not making progress on your own, consider seeking the help of a sex therapist or marriage counselor. A therapist can provide an objective lens into how you and your partner can improve your communication and intimacy.
- Foster emotional closeness: Working through any areas of resentment in the relationship and fostering emotional closeness through increased time together, intimate conversation, and affection can help improve sexual responsiveness.
- Find new strategies: If the reason a couple stopped having sex is strictly because they don’t enjoy sex with each other, then the fix is about breaking down what isn’t working in the bedroom and finding some new strategies that they will both enjoy.
Whether or not couples are fine with living in a sexless relationship, depends on whether there is healthy communication and matching of expectations.
Love and connections can manifest in various ways, and it is essential to understand, clarify and embrace the diversity of our relationships and experiences.