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Advice For Solving a Sexless Relationship

Hump Day: A Sexless Engagement

Welcome to Hump Day, TrèsSugar's sex advice column. If you have questions about sex, send them to TrèsSugar, and our friend Dr. Charlie Glickman from Good Vibrations will offer his sound advice!

Today's question comes from our Group Therapy community group. We thought it would be useful to have an expert weigh in. You can read the whole question here, but here is an excerpt:

I've been with my fiance for 5 years now. He is 30 and I am going to be turning 29. We just got engaged 3 months ago and I find myself questioning our relationship. We are best friends, we have so much fun together and I know he loves me. However, we have no intimacy whatsoever. He likes to cuddle and kiss and hold hands but that is about it. This issue has been raised for the last 2 years of our relationship. I have a desire and he's too tired or too lazy to do anything with me. We have sex less than 1 time a month. We had sex once on our engagement trip and that was it. And since then it has been maybe 2 times in the last 3 months. In fact, this month we haven't had sex at all. It's really bothering me and I am second guessing getting married to him. If I bring it up, he gets angry and I have been bringing it up for 2 years now. I'm tired.

To see Dr. Glickman's advice,


This is a complex situation, as most sexual difficulties are, so let’s take it one piece at a time.

His anger sounds a lot like a defense mechanism. Given how much societal pressure men often experience around sexual “performance,” he might be feeling touchy or embarrassed about it, so it’s not a surprise that he’s holding you at arm’s length. Unfortunately, that usually creates resentment, as you’re experiencing. The first thing that I think needs to happen is for the two of you to start talking about this. Whatever is going on for him, avoidance, anger and resentment aren’t going to help it get better.


He says he’s attracted to you, but there’s very little evidence of that. Whenever someone’s words and actions are out of alignment, either their words aren’t true or they’re not the whole story. Working through this sort of thing is one reason that many couples talk with a therapist. The therapist’s job is to help you each speak your truth to each other AND to listen to each other. In other words, they help you overcome whatever barriers you have to communication with each other. Of course, that’s not all they do, but it’s a big part of it. Given that you’ve been stuck in this place for at least a couple of years, I’m guessing that you could both use some support.

There is a limit to what you can try without his cooperation. In my experience, people often get trapped in these patterns because there’s something they need that they’re not getting. But unless he can tell you what that is, all you can do is guess. Unfortunately, there are more ways to guess wrong than right and it’s likely that when you guess wrong, he feels pressured. Until he feels safe and comfortable enough to tell you what’s going on, there’s not a lot you can do. Simply put, you can’t fix him. If he’s open to it, you can help him do whatever he needs to do to deal with his part of the situation. And you can do whatever personal growth you need to do in order to take care of yourself. But until he’s willing to engage with you around this, that’s about it.

There can be a lot of reasons why someone loses interest in sex. It can be due to medical factors, underlying emotional concerns, unspoken relationship problems, hidden resentments, or other issues such as sexual trauma or religious or other shames. A skilled therapist would probably ask you each to talk about what you think the start of this pattern is and you might be surprised to hear what he says. But whatever the cause, my guess is that lingerie and toys aren’t going to fix it.

I know that a lot of people might suggest any of a number of possible causes and some of them might be accurate. But really, they might as well guess randomly from a list of options. It could be anything, and until you know what it is, the best thing you can do is work towards finding out.

Since the two of you have been stuck in this cycle for a while, I also suggest that you take some time to think about why you’re still doing it. Given that this has been a problem for at least two years, what prompted you to get engaged with him? I’m absolutely not trying to blame you at all, but I think it’s worth asking questions like this because they might give you some insight into your relationship, which would help you figure out what you want to do next.

Whatever you decide to do, please know that you have all my sympathy. This sounds like a really tough spot to be in. I hope that you find the information you need and the room to find the answers that are best for you.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Asphyxia Asphyxia 7 years
I'm currently somehow experiencing the same issue/situation. There's a very low intimacy level in our relationship, we've been dating for about 2 years now and were friends for the past 4. However we never Never had any sexual intercourse or made love, all we did was flirting around and such things. I've tried talking with him about it, at first we were waiting the perfect moment cuz he wanted it to be special, wanted me to be happy with it now it turned into NOT wanting any at all, and all he says is, we're at a higher level than the physical part of the relationship and he's scared that if we had any it might lower it down. At first I've tried to be more understanding and go along with it, but after a year of this I'm fed up, talking won't change anything unless he's willing to cooperate and share! I share my sympathy and sadness with you, I truly know how it's making you feel. it came to my notice something the other day that.. Girls in love become more into the physical, while guys into emotions more. Simply because in actual live, aside from relationship, it's the total opposite. Hope it'll all work out, cuz I'm sure that if you don't truly love him or truly in love with him , you would've broke up and left him a long time ago. Good luck =\
lauraxtc lauraxtc 7 years
I dont think you should marry this guy if you are not sexual with him and Haven't been. Sex is not everything but it is very important to have it. It makes you happy and the relationship.
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
Sad to say, I cannot see how this marriage would work. If your needs are not being met now, how will they be in the future?
Yesi-Jukebox Yesi-Jukebox 7 years
I'm sorry this is going to sound rude and I mean no offense by it, but could it be possible that he's attracted to men? You've been friends and lovers for a long time and he should be attracted to you and want to make love to you if he's planning on marrying you.
Miss-Infamous Miss-Infamous 7 years
I meant to say I think that is essential in a relationship!
Miss-Infamous Miss-Infamous 7 years
How can you be in a relationship with no intimacy?! I know everyone is different but I for one thats that essential in a relationship!
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