Sex­less mar­riages — can they work?

Why some cou­ples opt for a non-sex­ual mar­riage and how oth­ers can over­come it

Bayview Post - - Currents -

Sex­less mar­riages are more com­mon than you think, and while some ex­ist by choice, oth­ers are a mat­ter of cir­cum­stance.

For­est Hill cou­ple Janie* and Ken* gave up sex six years ago and de­scribe their re­la­tion­ship as non­sex­ual — not sex­less, which sug­gests a deficit. Nei­ther seeks ex­tra­mar­i­tal part­ners, as she lost in­ter­est in sex af­ter their third child, and his de­cline in de­sire fol­lowed shortly there­after. They have a happy re­la­tion­ship full of af­fec­tion, and their pas­sion for one an­other is pal­pa­ble — sex sim­ply isn’t a part of the equa­tion.

Ken ac­knowl­edges that he mas­tur­bates, when the mood strikes him, but de­scribes it as rare and util­i­tar­ian be­cause he gets so much love, af­fec­tion and in­ti­macy from Janie. She sug­gests that the re­la­tion­ship has im­proved since go­ing sex-free.

“There was al­ways so much pres­sure — on both sides. And once we started be­ing hon­est about sex, we slowly started be­ing hon­est about ev­ery­thing else, which opened up a whole new world. ”

They’re pri­vate about their de­ci­sion, how­ever, as they’ve seen how judg­men­tal their friends and neigh­bours can be when dis­cussing other peo­ple’s re­la­tion­ships.

“Can you be­lieve he had an affair and she stayed?”“I can’t be­lieve he’d al­low an open re­la­tion­ship.” “They prob­a­bly haven’t had sex in years!” are just some of the state­ments Ken says he’s heard in his so­cial cir­cle.

“I don’t need that non­sense,” he says. “You want a ton of sex, go for it. But don’t as­sume that I want the same life you have.”

Ken is right. You can have a happy, ful­fill­ing re­la­tion­ship with­out sex if you’re both on board. Some of the ben­e­fits might in­clude the dis­cov­ery of new ways to deepen in­ti­macy and connection and re­duced pres­sure to ful­fill ev­ery one of your part­ner’s needs.

Al­though Ken and Janie tran­si­tioned from a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship to a non-sex­ual one, oth­ers seek out non-sex­ual re­la­tion­ships from the on­set. Some asex­ual folks may pre­fer part­ners who are open to a non-sex­ual re­la­tion­ship and each per­son is unique in the de­sire for ro­mance, af­fec­tion and other forms of in­ti­macy. This is why it’s es­sen­tial to com­mu­ni­cate your needs and bound­aries in ev­ery re­la­tion­ship so that you can cus­tom de­sign one.

Not all sex­less mar­riages are a mat­ter of mu­tual choice, and just as there is no uni­ver­sal standard for what con­sti­tutes a healthy re­la­tion­ship in terms of fre­quency, ex­perts don’t uni­ver­sally agree on what qual­i­fies as sex­less. Some sug­gest that six months with­out sex qual­i­fies as sex­less, whereas oth­ers sug­gest that one year is a more re­al­is­tic bench­mark. Health, stress, fam­ily, travel, be­reave­ment, kids and fi­nances all play roles in in­flu­enc­ing sex­ual fre­quency and ab­sti­nence.

If you find your­self un­will­ingly in a sex­less mar­riage and it’s in­ter­fer­ing with your life and

A ful­fill­ing re­la­tion­ship with­out sex is pos­si­ble if both part­ners are on board

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