The Progression of a Sexless Marriage

I was thinking of how a person ends up in a sexless marriage. When someone gets married, he/she assumes that he/she will be sexually monogamous. That is a given, you know, “forsaking all others” but the marriage vows do not explicitly state that the marriage will include sex. My refusing cheater was always quick to point this out. However, the vast majority of people understand that a marriage SHOULD include sex. When a person agrees to be married, he/she is signing up for monogamy, not celibacy.

However, prior to the wedding, no one tells there intended spouse that he/she intends to withhold sex. This could be for one of two reasons:
1) The prospective spouse does not know that he/she will not be withholding sex, or
2) The prospective spouse knows that he/she will be withholding sex, but keeps that a secret because he/she knows that the other prospective spouse will not go forward with the marriage knowing that sex will be withheld.

So let’s say that the sex does not work out on the honeymoon. What does the refused spouse do? I have talked about this with friends, and they have told me that they would immediately get on a plane, go home, and have the marriage annulled as soon as possible. However, most people are not that harsh, and want to think the best of another person. So we just suck it up and hope that things will get better.

When the marriage continues, the refused spouse may have sex on an infrequent basis, and may even bring up the fact that he/she is not being sexually satisfied. Because that is what one is supposed to do if he/she is not happy in the marriage, right? Talking about a problem with one’s spouse and trying to come to a solution is what virtually every marriage guru preaches.

However, with a sexually refusing spouse, things are different. The sexually refused spouse tends to somewhat listen to complaints, at first, but he/she will then turn the situation around and explain to the refused spouse that the source of the problems lies with the behavior of the refused spouse. At first, the refused spouse accepts responsibility and tries to make the desired changes, but the marriage remains sexless or virtually sexless.

So then the refused may ask the refusing cheater why things have not improved. The refusing cheater will then offer the same excuses. When the refused spouse points out that he/she has been implementing the suggested changes, the refusing cheater will say that the refused spouse implemented the changes with the wrong attitude, or that he/she forgot to do some other things that were never mentioned.

So the refused spouse is continually trying to hit a moving target, always trying and being told that he/she has just fallen short of the required performance to earn sex from the refusing cheater. No matter how hard the refused spouse tries, the refusing cheater will further explain that he/she really wants to have sex, but the refused spouse has just not performed to the level required to deserve the great honor of having sex with the refusing cheater.

This will go on and on for many years, and the refused spouse will continually feel worse and worse about himself/herself. He/she might still try to arouse the refusing cheater sometimes, but the pain of rejection makes it harder and harder for the refused spouse to take the risk of being rejected again.

Maybe the refused spouse simply shuts off his/her sexuality after years of rejection, and just resigns him/herself to a life of celibacy. Or maybe he/she starts to realize that he/she does not deserve to be treated this way any more. Then he/she decides to take action. This is the beginning of the end of a poor excuse for a marriage.


5 thoughts on “The Progression of a Sexless Marriage

  1. I give you this ring
    as a sign of our marriage.
    With my body I honour you,
    all that I am I give to you,
    and all that I have I share with you,
    within the love of God,
    Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Seems pretty clear that the words “with my body I honour you” means that you agree to sex.

    The above is from the Anglican Wedding declarations – other religions are available, and will have similar declarations


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