Marital Dry Spells: Women Reveal How Long Is Too Long to Go Without

I was chatting gossiping with my husband the other day and mentioned that a mutual friend had confided in me that she and her husband only have sex a few times a year and that they were on month three of a no-sex stretch. "Whoa," he said. "We'd be divorced if we went that long without sex."


At first I was totally offended when he said that. Like, really? If I don't put out for three months, we're done? But then he explained that he meant that if we went three months without sex for no reason and without seeing it as a problem, it would be a sure sign that something was going on in our relationship, since we are both pretty physically affectionate people.

Then I read an article that noted that while most married couples average sex 58 times per year (a little over once a week), there are approximately 15 percent of married couples who haven't had sex in the last six months.

Given that the article also notes that couples that don't have sex are more likely to consider divorce and express lower overall levels of happiness with their spouse, I couldn't help but wonder how long of a dry spell is too long, according to other couples. Here's what several other women had to say:

"I notice that we have a cycle. If it gets more than five or six days without sex, my husband starts getting crabby. Then his crabbiness makes me grouchy and then I don't want to have sex, so then he gets more crabby. So, sex at least once a week seems to keep that at bay." -- Zoe F.

"Three years. Yes, we went three years without sex. There was a baby in that three years, and some very low libido on my part from antidepressants, coupled with the fact that I was a miserable person who treated my wife like crap. Seriously. What made us finally get out of the rut, I one day hit my rock bottom with depression, totally couldn't do anything, couldn't help my kids, just couldn't deal. My wife completely stepped up, found me a therapist, did everything from kids to house, plus making sure I was okay. I started with the therapist, found out my meds finally gave up, quit working. Got on the right meds. One day I literally woke up, realized what a crappy spouse I was, that I couldn't keep being that person, my wife deserved better, and I changed. I totally did a 180, continued therapy on my own and also got into couples therapy. That helped us talk through all the past issues, helping my wife learn to trust in the new me, that I wasn't going to be the cold, non-affectionate partner who treated her like a rug anymore. It took time, but we got back to where we should have been that previous three years. It was like having sex for the first time again, all awkward and funny, lots of laughs and fun. We still do couples therapy once a month to make sure we are still connecting and just because it is healthy for us." -- Denise P.

"I think a month is too long. My husband would probably say a week. I think the longest we've gone is probably around six weeks after my daughter was born." -- Brandy L.

"Well, we basically went my entire pregnancies without sex (he didn't want to). That was awful. Now I'd say a month is probably too long without sex." -- Gracie G.

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"For me, 10 days is too long. To rekindle, I read an article once that suggested that even if you don't have time for sex in the craziness of little-kid years, you should at least try to talk about it. Talk as often as possible, sext, flirt, and honestly it has helped us stay connected and excited in those long weeks where we get no action." -- Allison P.

"Infertility kills intimacy." -- Darcie S.

"I'm a military wife, so this question is a little different for me. We've gone longer than a year when he was deployed, but we still tried to have intimacy through letters, e-mails, and calls. When he is home, we average a few times a week. I have a vibrator to get me through the away times." -- Lacey J.

"Between having a baby, nursing, and getting no sleep, I think it has been seven months since we had sex last. And, right now, I DON'T CARE. I am touched out. I am tired. I just want to be left alone. Obviously this can't last forever, but for right now, I fine with him watching [adult movies] and taking care of himself." -- Marie R.

"In my first marriage, my ex and I would go long stretches without sex, and I think it kind of reflected that we were growing apart. I'm remarried and now I am for twice a week. It doesn't always happen, but it is good to have goals, right?" -- Jessa F.

"Sex? What is sex? I don't have sex. I have twins." -- Carly W.

"I want sex more than my husband does, and it starts to hurt my feelings if we get longer than two weeks between sex sessions. He could go two months, I think. Sigh." -- Eleanor O.

It looks like, as with so many things, every couple is different. What is the longest dry spell you've ever had?


Image via © Deklofenak/iStock

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