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Does bad sex mean it’s time to end the marriage?

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So your sex life has gone from hot and steamy to lukewarm and lackluster. The passion has fizzled, the spark is gone, and getting busy in the bedroom feels more like a chore than something to look forward to.

You find yourself making excuses to avoid intimacy and wondering if the state of your sex life means your marriage is doomed. Before you start Googling divorce lawyers, take a breath.

A dull sex life doesn’t necessarily mean you need to call it quits. Many long-term couples go through ups and downs in their sex lives, and there are several things you can do to reignite the flame before throwing in the towel.

Couple in bed

Defining a Sexless Marriage: How Bad Is Too Bad?

A sexless marriage is typically defined as having sex less than 10 times per year.

That’s less than once a month, which for many couples would be considered too infrequent. However, every couple is different in their sexual desires and what they consider a healthy sex life.

The most important thing is that both partners feel satisfied and connected. If one or both of you feel frustrated, neglected or resentful, that’s usually a sign the lack of physical intimacy has become an issue that needs to be addressed.

Some other signs it may be time to take action:

  • You no longer kiss, hug, hold hands or engage in any affectionate touches. Physical intimacy has disappeared completely.
  • You feel like roommates or business partners instead of romantic partners. The emotional and physical bond you once shared is gone.
  • You find yourself attracted to or fantasizing about others. Your needs aren’t being met in the relationship so you’re looking outside of it.
  • Resentment, anger or feelings of rejection are building up. Lack of sex often reflects other issues in the relationship that need to be resolved.
  • Your self-esteem and confidence are suffering. Feeling unwanted by your partner can take a huge toll on your wellbeing and happiness.

The good news is there are many ways to rekindle your sex life and reconnect as a couple. Relationship counseling, sex therapy, relearning how to communicate and making time for romance and playfulness are all effective strategies for improving intimacy.

Don’t lose hope – a mutually satisfying sex life may be easier to achieve than you think!

Reason - bad sex can lead to divorce

Reasons for a Decline in Sexual Intimacy

A lack of intimacy in the bedroom is often a symptom of bigger issues in the relationship. There are several reasons why couples experience a decline in their sex life over time:

Lack of Emotional Connection

When you stop talking, laughing and engaging with your partner emotionally, it’s hard to maintain a physical connection. Make an effort to spend quality time together, communicate openly about your feelings, hopes and dreams.

Rediscovering your emotional bond will reignite the spark.

Health or Medical Issues

Conditions like erectile dysfunction, hormonal changes or chronic pain can negatively impact your sex drive or performance. See a doctor to determine if there are any underlying issues and discuss treatment options.

While medical treatments may help improve function, focusing on emotional and physical intimacy is also important.

Stress and Exhaustion

When life feels overwhelming, sex is often the first thing to fall by the wayside. High stress levels, busy schedules and lack of sleep leave little time or energy for intimacy.

Try relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, minimize distractions and make sex a priority again. Even quick encounters can help you reconnect.

Relationship Issues

Unresolved issues like resentment, lack of attraction or trust, betrayal or control struggles will ultimately destroy your sex life. Consider relationship counseling or sex therapy to work through challenging problems. Compromise when you can, forgive when you’re able, and make rebuilding intimacy a shared goal.

A healthy sex life is vital for relationship wellbeing and longevity. While a temporary decline in intimacy is normal, if problems persist for an extended period, it may signal deeper issues that require effort to overcome.

With open communication, quality time together and a willingness to seek outside help if needed, you can rekindle the passion and improve sexual fulfilment.

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Couple talking about bad sex

How Bad Sex Can Impact a Marriage

Bad sex can have a significant impact on a marriage.

When physical intimacy is unfulfilling or nonexistent, it often leads to feelings of rejection, hurt, and resentment in one or both partners.

Unmet Needs

Everyone has certain needs in a sexual relationship, like passion, adventure, tenderness or frequency. If one partner’s needs are going chronically unmet, it breeds frustration and can cause them to withdraw from the relationship or act out in unhealthy ways. Compromise and open communication about desires, interests and “love languages” are key.


Bad sex often creates resentment in a marriage that spills over into other areas of the relationship. When sex is a source of anxiety, disappointment or rejection, it can be hard to maintain affection and goodwill in day-to-day life. Resentment poisons intimacy and erodes the foundation of trust and respect that a healthy marriage is built on.

Needs addressing

While bad sex isn’t necessarily a reason to end an otherwise good marriage, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Speaking openly about the issue, compromising when possible and being willing to try new things are all steps couples can take to improve their sex life and reconnect.

For some, marriage counseling or sex therapy may also help get a struggling relationship back on track. The physical and emotional distance that develops from bad sex can be overcome, but both partners must be committed to listening, understanding and meeting each other’s needs.

Young couple talking on bed

Tips for Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage

A lackluster sex life doesn’t necessarily spell doom for your marriage. There are several steps you can take to reignite the passion and reconnect with your partner.

Communicate openly

Talk to your partner about your needs, desires, and what’s missing in your intimate relationship. Be honest but gentle, focusing on using “I” statements and listening without judgment. Compromise and find areas where you’re both willing to put in effort. Clear communication is key.

Make time for intimacy

Life gets busy, but you need to prioritize your relationship. Try setting aside time each week just for the two of you to be together without distractions. Do an activity you both enjoy, like going out for dinner, seeing a movie, hiking, or just cuddling on the couch. Make eye contact, hold hands, give compliments – rekindle that spark!

Explore and experiment

If sex has become routine, mix things up a bit. Try a new position or location, watch an erotic movie together, read a steamy book to each other, or play out a fantasy. Be open-minded and have fun with it. Laugh, flirt, and rediscover what turns each other on.

Seek counseling if needed

If communication breaks down or other issues are affecting your sex life and relationship, seeking marriage counseling or sex therapy can help. A therapist can provide tools and advice tailored to your specific situation. They can also offer a neutral place for you and your partner to openly and honestly discuss problems.

Counseling does not mean your marriage is doomed – it shows you’re both committed to making it work.

While a healthy sex life is important for many marriages, don’t assume lack of intimacy alone means it’s time to call it quits. By making the effort to reconnect emotionally and physically with your partner, you can get your relationship back on track and rekindle the passion.

With work, compromise, and time, you can have a strong, fulfilling partnership and sex life again.

Court banger. Caused by bad sex

When Is It Time to Consider Divorce?

If your sex life has become stagnant or nonexistent, it can be a sign your marriage is in trouble.

While a healthy sex life isn’t the only important part of a relationship, it is still a key factor for many couples. If you’re experiencing issues in the bedroom, consider the following signs it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.

Lack of Intimacy

If you and your partner rarely touch, kiss, or hug anymore, it points to deeper intimacy issues. Physical intimacy leads to emotional intimacy, so without it, you can grow apart. If you’ve tried rekindling the spark to no avail, it may be a sign the connection has been lost.

Unresolved Resentment

Built-up resentment, anger, or other unexpressed emotions can sabotage your sex life. If there are ongoing issues in the relationship that remain unaddressed, it will continue to damage your emotional and physical connection. Consider relationship counseling or therapy to work through these feelings.

Loss of Attraction

Feeling little or no attraction to your partner can be difficult to admit, but it’s an important sign the chemistry may be gone. People’s appearances, interests, and sex drives change over time, and sometimes we grow apart as a result. Don’t feel guilty, but do evaluate if the loss of attraction is permanent or if you can reconnect.

Lack of Compromise

A healthy sexual relationship requires open communication, willingness to compromise, and meeting each other’s needs. If you’ve tried addressing issues to no avail and you feel your needs will never be met, you may need to accept you have grown incompatible.

While a troubled sex life doesn’t necessarily mean divorce is inevitable, it is a warning sign your relationship needs work. Consider honest conversations, counseling, rekindling date nights, or trial separations before ending things for good. But if you’ve tried your best and still feel unfulfilled, it may be time to consider moving on.


So there you have it. Only you can decide if bad sex is a dealbreaker in your marriage or if the relationship is strong enough to work to improve your intimacy.

Compromise and communication are key. Talk to your partner openly and honestly about your needs and desires. Seek counseling or sex therapy. Try new things together. Make the time for romance and really focus on rekindling the spark. A healthy sex life takes effort.

If after trying your best to reconnect sexually you still feel unfulfilled, you’ll have to determine if ending the relationship is right for you. But don’t throw in the towel too quickly. With time and work, you might just rediscover the passion that first brought you together.

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