Surviving a Sex Slump: 11 Women Reveal How They Saved Their Marriages

Maressa Brown | Jan 6, 2015 Love & Sex

couple in bed with newborn frustrated tiredNo matter how hot and heavy things were for you and your honey at the start of your relationship, chances are that if you're together long enough, you've experienced a sex slump, or period of time when getting it on was simply not on your agenda. And for others, a lagging sex life can become even more chronic: Psychologists estimate that 15 to 20 percent of couples are in "sexless marriages," defined as having sex no more than 10 times a year. That said, going through a sexless phase doesn't necessarily have to kill your relationship.

We asked 11 women how their marriages or long-term relationships withstood sex slumps that lasted anywhere from a few weeks to several years.

Check out their sage advice below, then tell us: What, besides sex, do you and your partner rely on to keep your relationship afloat?

 

Image via maxriesgo/shutterstock

  • Get to the Root Cause

    1

    "I've been married for 19 years. So, yes, we have had our slumps here and there. Life happens, stress happens, s**t in general happens, and it can and does affect a couple's sex life. My best advice is this: Figure out what is causing the slump. Usually a sexual slump is a symptom of other issues. It could be stress, being too tired, becoming disconnected, issues in the relationship itself, etc. Find the reason and deal with that reason. That's where you start. Once you address those issues, then the sex will start coming back, if both [spouses] are making an effort." -Anonymous

  • Go to Plan B

    2

    "A few years ago, I had to go on antidepressants, and they killed my sex drive. We did it maybe once a week. I felt so bad, because my husband has a high sex drive. We worked through it and, sometimes, did other [sex acts] like oral." -Anonymous

  • Stick Together

    3

    "My husband and I have been married for 15 years, and we've been in a sexless marriage for about 4 years, since we had my daughter who has such high needs and issues that it ground me down to a nub of my former self trying to take care of her every day. I am always exhausted. We get almost no time to do things as a couple anymore. Dealing with her has given me anger and mood issues and a whole lot of exhaustion. I am not interested in sex at all, and as far as I know, neither is my husband. We are basically roommates, and the way we are getting through this is just to stay together. For now, that's the best we can do. We are looking at it as temporary. If your relationship is important to you, then stick it out, don't give up. Just work through it together and be supportive. Approach each other and be open about it. Don't pull away from each other and isolate [yourself]. The last thing you want to do is alienate each other when you need each other." -A mom in her 40s, Pittsburgh, PA

  • Make (Each Other Feel) Love

    4

    "Usually it's no more than a month, and we're tired and have a lot going on. My advice is to acknowledge that you love each other, make each other feel loved, and taken care of, and things generally, for me anyway, pick up again when everything else calms down." -Anonymous

  • Reconnect

    5

    "We've had sex slumps before. The longest was six months, and it was because of stress with his career. He wasn't feeling confident, he spent long hours at work, and our relationship suffered. Reconnecting and setting aside the time to communicate -- not just about things that needed to be done, but just us -- helped a lot. We got hurried and busy. Setting time aside to be intimate, not just sexually, but emotionally, is absolutely necessary for a healthy sex life." -Fletcher M., 22, TX

  • Plan Date Night

    6

    "We've been married for six years, and between his job, my health, and everyday life, we hit rough spots from time to time. The longest was two months. When we go for more than a few weeks, we sit down and talk things out and arrange a date night. That's what works for us." -Anonymous

  • Laugh

    7

    "Went four months without sex due to mutual fear of pregnancy, since I couldn't use the birth control pill while breastfeeding. [So we did] lots and lots of date nights, compliments, supporting each other through our stressors, finding humor in our situation, talking, and cuddling. [I suggest] lots of talking and [doing] things together that make you laugh. These are the two next best ways to connect!" -Sarah D., 30, Oak Forest, IL

  • Enjoy Shared Interests

    8

    "Married 21 years and have gone 6 months or more, maybe, without sex, because we were too tired, too busy, too stressed. We love each other and love spending time with each other. We have similar interests. Also, we kiss, hug, and hold hands a lot. Relationships that are based primarily on sexual attraction/activity are superficial. If you aren't able to communicate and appreciate each other as friends and partners, I'm not sure how you can expect it to survive. Priorities and commitment matter." -A., 60, Richland, WA

  • Try Therapy ... and Games

    9

    "With my husband for 7 years, married for 6. While pregnant, [we went] 7 months [without sex]. He had a fear of poking the baby. Aside from being pregnant, it was 4 weeks. We were in a slump and not emotionally connecting. That was year 3 of our marriage. We decided couples' therapy was best. I felt like I wasn't being loved the way that I needed, and whenever I would communicate that, my husband would get defensive. On the flip side, my husband had needs I wasn't meeting, and for whatever reason, we didn't know how to communicate that to each other in a way that the other person would feel compelled to change. I think everyone could use therapy. Our therapist recommended using other forms of touch and intimacy. Using massage and different tactile situations (ice cubes, feathers, etc.) in the bedroom can really heat things up without the actual sex part. If it leads to sex, then great! If sex can't happen for whatever reason, then at least you're practicing different forms of intimacy with these playful games." -D., 30

  • Talk About It

    10

    "My partner and I have been together for eight years, and we had a sex slump [for] about six months, three years into our relationship. We had a pregnancy scare, and then some mental health issues that kept us from connecting on that level for a while. Find ways to be intimate with each other that don't involve sex. For us, it was still important to be physically close. Also, I firmly believe if you can't talk about it, you can't survive it, so I recommend figuring out a way to discuss the situation that makes all parties feel both loved and heard. On how to do that ... well, that's for everyone to figure out on their own, I think?" -Anonymous, 30, Chicago, IL

  • Remember That This, Too, Will Pass

    11

    "[With my partner] seven years, and [we've gone] two weeks, because guests or family were staying in apartment. Or we went on vacation without one other. I advise understanding that it's most likely a phase, and it will pass. Put yourself in the other's shoes." -Anonymous, 25, Miami, FL

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