Can A Marriage Survive Without Intimacy? 5 Things To Know

How to Save My Marriage

Can A Marriage Survive Without Intimacy? 5 Things To Know

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Intimacy is an important ingredient for a happy and healthy marriage. If you are not as intimate as you used to be, is it a cause for concern? Lack of intimacy in marriage affects more couples than you think. While the reasons vary, those who are in this situation are curious to know if a relationship can survive this or not.

In this guide, you will learn more about the impacts of intimacy to your marriage and what can be done about it.

What Causes Lack of Intimacy in a Marriage?

Are you in a sexless marriage? There are a few common reasons why couples develop a lack of intimacy.

Stress is the most common reason. Stress can come from various sources such as pressure from work, child care, and financial troubles in the family. There are several studies that show the link between stress and a decrease in sex drive.

Resentment in a marriage is another factor that can lead to a lack of intimacy among married couples. If there are unresolved issues in your marriage, it can cause a spouse to pull away and become physically distant. Creating distance can also cause decreased emotional intimacy. When there is no emotional connection, physical intimacy suffers too.

Finally, rejection is another reason why there is no intimacy in your marriage. If you rejected your spouse’s advances in the past, this can affect their self-esteem as it makes them feel unwanted and unattractive.

impacts of intimacy to your marriage

Lack of Intimacy in a Marriage: What You Must Know

A marriage needs a minimal level of intimacy in order to survive. There are a few things you need to know to help you cope with a lack of intimacy in your marriage.

1. It is common to have less sex when married.

A survey report entitled “The Social Organization of Sexuality” published in 1994 (and is still relevant today), reports that up to 20% of married couples see a reduction in the frequency of sex in their relationship. Some even report having a sexless marriage.

Therefore, if you see a drop in the intimacy level in your marriage, you are not alone. There are several factors that can contribute to this, like financial struggles, health issues, mental health problems, and many more. If you have children, taking care of them can use up your energy and leave little left for intimate encounters with your spouse.

There could be other issues within the marriage that can lead to a sexless relationship. Whatever the cause is, you need to determine it so you can take the necessary steps to revive intimacy.

2. Intimacy in a marriage is not just about sex.

Sex is not the only way to express intimacy in a marriage. Physical and emotional intimacy must go hand in hand.

Emotional intimacy is how you express your affection towards your spouse. This can be a knowing look from across the room or the way you smile when you see him/her at the end of the working day. That emotional connection that you have for each other can be a very intimate thing that you share.

Physical intimacy, on the other hand, is not just about sex. It could also be kissing, hugging, cuddling, and holding hands. All forms of expressing intimacy are important to solidify your marriage.

3. Marriages need intimacy to survive.

Intimacy is an important component to make a marriage thrive and survive. The level and type of intimacy will differ from one couple to another. Some couples like intimacy while others can survive without it.

The problem of a lack of intimacy in a marriage only arises when the two people disagree about how important intimacy is to each of them. It is essential to openly discuss intimacy in your marriage to ensure that your needs are met.

4. A sexless marriage can survive.

Sex is one of the most critical manifestations of intimacy in a marriage, which is why it is an important topic to discuss too.

reasons for lack of intimacy in marriage

Married couples can be happy in their relationship even without sex, especially when they value each other and show respect. In addition, there are other ways to make up for the lack of sex in the marriage such as doing things together that you enjoy. Some couples like to travel together, engage in their favorite hobbies, and so on. These activities can be equally as intimate as sex.

In some cases, sexless marriages happen for reasons beyond the couple’s control, such as health conditions or aging. These couples have learned to accept the fact that sex is no longer part of their marriage and find other ways to express their love for each other.

5. Some marriages won’t survive without intimacy.

While sexless marriages work for some, it won’t work for all. In fact, the lack of sex can outweigh any other positive aspects of their marriage. As a result, many relationships end due to a lack of intimacy.

This only becomes an issue when both parties are not in agreement with the type and amount of intimacy they need. For example, one spouse values physical intimacy (like sex) but the other does not think it’s as important. You cannot force someone to change their view about intimacy because it has to be something they naturally care about.


When there is no alignment between both parties on their view of intimacy, one of the parties ends up unhappy in the relationship. When this happens, the couple can talk about how they can reach a compromise. A lot of couples go through counseling to cope with intimacy problems. Some individuals are willing to work on increasing intimacy in their marriage. However, if one party does not exhibit willingness, then it might not work out.

The Bottom Line

If you want to live in a happier, healthier marriage, it is important to address issues like a lack of intimacy in a marriage. This is just one aspect of your marriage but a crucial one. Work on improving intimacy in your relationship to strengthen your emotional and physical bond.


  • Travis Atkinson

    Travis Atkinson, L.C.S.W., is the Director and Creator of the Loving at Your Best Plan. He has extensive training in marriage and couples therapy, based on over 27 years in practice, earning certificates from top-rated couples therapy models, including: *Certified Advanced Schema Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer for Individuals and Couples *Certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist and Supervisor *Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist *Certified Group Psychotherapist *Honorary Lifetime Member of the International Society of Schema Therapy Travis is a co-author of the latest schema mode therapy inventory, the SMI. He is also the co-author of two chapters in the recently published “Creative Methods in Schema Therapy: Advances and Innovation in Clinical Practice (Routledge, 2020) and author of “Schema Therapy for Couples: Healing Partners in a Relationship” in the Handbook of Schema Therapy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

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