3 Steps To Reviving Your Sexless Relationship (Yes, It's Possible!)

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man and woman talking in bed
Sex

Has your relationship gone from lustful to lackluster? You’re not alone.

Many people find themselves in relationships that lack sexual intimacy. But, you can learn how to revive a sexless relationship and get it back to where it was before.  

First things first, what is a sexless relationship?

This is defined as a relationship with very little or no sex. Some experts say sexless relationships constitute 10 sexual encounters or less within a year. However, "sexless" is a subjective term and a relationship without sexual encounters isn’t a medically defined condition. 

This means you get to decide what "sexless" means and when you feel like your relationship enters that territory or not. It also means you get to decide whether you want to change it or not.

RELATED: What Causes A Sexless Marriage & How To Fix A Relationship Without Sex

If you want to revive your sexless relationship, here are 3 steps you need to take.

1. Work out why you’re in a sexless relationship.

Before you can fix it, you need to understand what’s causing the lack of sex. 

There are many reasons why people stop engaging in sex, from psychological factors — like depression, anxiety, and negative body image — to relationship factors like irritation and conflict. 

There are also circumstantial factors such as having a newborn baby, losing your job, or working hard to meet a deadline at your workplace. All this affects how much you prioritize sex.

But sexless relationships aren’t just a result of experiencing a low sex drive. Sometimes, people end up in "the friend zone" within their own romantic relationship, even if it’s a loving, committed one.

It may be because one or both parties feel like sex has turned into a chore. They no longer equate it with pleasure and intimacy. Instead, they relate it to pressure and stress. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

"What about sex stresses me out?"

"How long have I been experiencing stress about sex?"

"What do I want my relationship with sex to look like?"

Sometimes, the answer to the last question reveals the most important information — namely, whether you want to work on your sex life or not. You can’t get in the mood if you don’t want to want to get in the mood. 

2. Talk about it with your partner.

Whether you want to spark more passion or not, you need to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about what is going on.

Talk about how you feel about sex and the lack of sex in your relationship, what sex means to you, and why it’s important or not important to you right now.

Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for emotions to run high. 

Sex is a sensitive subject and it’s not like you learned how to talk about sex in school or from your parents. 

As you tread this sensitive ground together, make sure it doesn’t veer into conflict territory. Talk about the positives, too.

What do you love about your relationship and what’s working well? How committed you are to your partner and their needs?

When you combine an open and frank conversation about sex with the positives about your relationship — you ensure a better, more fruitful discussion. 

RELATED: How Long Do Sexless Marriages Last?

3. Decide what your next steps will be.

When you know what’s causing the lack of sexual intimacy and how you both feel about it, your next step is to work out what to do about it. This is where the step gets practical. 

If you can’t get on the same page about wanting to work on your sexual relationship, you might want to start out by seeking couples therapy.

Getting the help of a relationship or sex therapist can be a great way of moving forward. A neutral, third party can often diffuse the situation and offer possible solutions.

If you know you both want to work on getting some of that spark back, you’ll want to change your approach to sex. 

Reviving your sexless relationship has a lot to do with how you look at sexual desire. If you believe it should come, spontaneously, no matter how long you’ve been together, you probably won’t see much improvement in that department. 

This is because sex drive is so much more complicated than our other drives. It requires effort.

If you actively start making steps to ensure sex happens, you’ll be able to get that sexual intimacy back. 

You might try:

Prioritizing sex:

Think about the where, when, and what you can do to increase the chances of sex happening. This might mean having to de-prioritize other areas of your life, such as doing the laundry or watching that last episode on Netflix together. 

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Actively trying to get in the mood, instead of waiting for desire to happen:

Turn yourself on by fantasizing about sex or engaging in some non-sexual light touch, which can be a great way of getting in the mood and wanting to have sex with your partner.

Making a romantic effort when you’re not both exhausted and ready for bed:

Many leave sex until the end of the day, when they're knackered and don’t have much energy left for anything, really. This is a shame because they simultaneously expect so much from their sexual encounters.

You might compare yours to movies and T.V. shows and wonder why your sex life isn’t as good as it seems to be in Hollywood. Part of this is because sex is seen as a "nighttime activity."

See what happens if you can make a romantic move during lunch-time, nap time for the kids, or in the morning before work when you’ve had a good night’s rest. 

Is a sexless relationship normal?

Sometimes, both partners in the relationship are suffering from low sex drive. Other times, it’s more one partner who loses interest in sex.

Regardless of how aligned partners' levels of desire are, it’s clear that the idea of being in a sexless relationship is stressful for both parties for many reasons:

1. You believe everyone else is having hot sex all the time.

Not true, at all! 13-28 percent of men experience low sex drive, and one in three women experience it, too. While there are still no statistics on those with other gender identities, it’s safe to assume the numbers are similar.

2. You don’t talk frankly about our sex lives with others.

Thus, a sexless relationship is never normalized. If you knew how many other people were in the same situation, it might not feel as bad.

3. You believe a sexless relationship is doomed or a sign of something being seriously wrong.

It can be but it definitely doesn’t have to be. Desire wanes for many different reasons.

The truth of the matter is that a lot of people are in sexless relationships, whether this means they have sex once every other month, once a year, or once every other year.

It’s a normal experience. This doesn’t mean it’s an enjoyable one, but it also doesn’t have to mean anything is wrong with you or your relationship.

RELATED: Why I Stayed In A Sexless Marriage For 11 Agonizing Years

Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer with a Master of Science in Sexology. She’s been featured in Women's Health, Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, Glamour, and more. For more advice on desire and sex drive, visit her website. If you want to learn more about how to prioritize sex again, download her free resource: The Desire Test.

This article was originally published at LeighNoren.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.