106 4

Men/Women, Is sex a requirement for an enjoyable romantic relationship?

I have a friend that I grew up with who's been married for more than 30 years to her husband. She's mentioned that sex in there marriage is "a lot" if it's once a month. Which is to say sex is not a common activity in their marriage. They seem committed to one another and seem to love each other. They are very religious Christianish type folks. I must say however, that in family pics posted on facebook her husband, a late-fifties gray-haired Caucasian man in a suit, appears to have a barely noticeable half-sided "smile" with a what appears to always be a slightly dissatified countenance. He reminds me of a man secretly addicted to porn while being a church minister type. I wonder if a virtually sexless marriage with a person you love is common or acceptable to men or women. I find this topic interesting because I believe that the expression of love is most profoundly comminicated sexually. That is not too suggest that I don't realize there are an infinite number of ways to express romantic love however. What do you think about sexless marriages or sexless romantic relationships? Are they feasably potentially satisfying and healthy?

By LilAtheistLady
Options Favorite Like

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence, and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy

Create your free account



Sex should never be a requirement. In some situations it might not even be possible. Needs, desires, and ability should be understood by both parties.

Magic_Spork Level 4 July 10, 2018

Wow, this answer impresses me.


The last fourteen years of my marriage was without intercourse, it does not mean it was totally sexless, although I think that we found a deeper love without sex, because there was more cuddling, affection, romance, flirting, kissing, massages, foot rubs, we found ways to enjoy each other and live in the moment with each other, which in turn lead to a deeper more fulfilling love.

Holiday Level 7 July 8, 2018

You've made it very clear that "without intercourse" doesn't have to mean a lack of intimacy. I could live without intercourse, but without some kind of physical intimacy, I can't see it as a "romantic relationship". If there's absolutely no cuddling involved, I can just hand out with my brother.


My second marriage was devoid of physical intimacy. It was one of my main issues for ending the marriage. We were best friends, comfortable with each other, had 2 great kids, no fighting (until his dramatic change to Mr. Hyde after the split)....for me the lack of intimacy and sex was unbearable.
After the split I spent 9 years in a terrible relationship...with outstanding sexual compatibility which never waned. It's different for each of us certainly, but for myself the sexual connection is extremely important. Looking for the perfect balance...

AmiSue Level 8 July 10, 2018

I spent 20 years in marriage like yours. I would never do that again. Hopefully it is not too late.


Haha! I call that Swaggartism. Although, as long as Jimmy kept her in diamonds, Mrs. Swaggart did not sweat the porn or the hookers.

SheBeSecular Level 6 July 11, 2018

No. It depends on the person.

I'm sick of our culture's obsession with sex.

Ellatynemouth Level 8 July 8, 2018

I agree. This is something between two people.


I can't imagine a romantic relationship without sex.

thinktwice Level 7 July 9, 2018

1) you can not judge a person's sexual apetite and satisfaction by a photo picture. That's incredible assumption.

2) SOME people DON'T LIKE SEX.

3) Sex is not required for a health happy relationship

LadyAlyxandrea Level 8 July 8, 2018

I never judge anyone’s sex drive. If they have no sex or sex 3x daily, it’s not a problem unless they consider it a problem. Desire discrepancy is a problem, but even that can be overcome with compromise and motivation. Some couples aren’t motivated to find solutions, so one partner has sex they don’t want to have or the other goes unhappily without.

UUNJ Level 7 July 8, 2018

My partner and I have a very beautiful committed relationship that hasnt been sexual consensually now,for over 25 years we have a lot of love for each other look out for each other laugh a lot and don't live together though I do all the cooking and most of our cleaning and he does all our finances etc. its a good division of labour and we do laugh a lot though we don't spend huge amounts of time together. Both of us were in abusive families and how we get on is partly to do with that - He is a gentle person thoughtful and kind and i ma the funny fall guy one. We pick each other up when we get depressed it works.

jacpod Level 8 July 11, 2018

My husband's quadruple bypass ended intercourse for us 13 years before he died. It did not end intimacy or our love for each other. I think it would be very hard to create that love without sex during the beginning of a relationship.

Lorajay Level 6 July 9, 2018

It depends if both partners are satisfied being sexless. It didn’t work for me. Not only did I want sex and not get it, I received no physical affection (hand holding, hugs, etc).

Marcie1974 Level 7 July 8, 2018

@sliver101 I might have stuck it out longer had I gotten at least some form of touch. But, I got no physical affection, no emotional support, and he wasn’t a good provider financially. Should have left 5 years early but hindsight is 20/20


There is no Yes or No answer to this. Every couple is different and the only thing that matters is compatibility. The trouble would arise if they were way out of sync with each other in sex drive. Personally, I was never interested in how often other couples had sex, I couldn’t say what too little would be, but you are drawing a lot of conclusions from scant information about the couple you refer to. I know of couples who never have sex due to erectile dysfunction or other problems such as injury, and still manage to have a loving relationship. I have always believed it is essential to really like your partner because over time the initial passion will lessen and then something more like deep affection will take it’s place.

Marionville Level 8 July 8, 2018

AND no one KNOWS unless they are WATCHING them 24/7 for goodness sake!

Yes. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

@LilAtheistLady You are welcome.


Wow....that was a mouthful. My late husband was the best lover I had had up to the moment he died. I think he was the only man I really, truly ever loved. Our relationship in the beginning was like two rabbits. We couldn't get enough of each other sexually. I used to dress up for him and wore stilettos to bed. It was wonderful. I was done with menopause, so my sex drive wasn't up to par after a while. And, he was put on some pills for depression which killed his libido. He got off of the pills. But, our sex life never went back to what it was even though we loved each other so much. We'd do it maybe twice a year the last couple of years and it was so good, we'd look at each other and say, why don't we do this more often. But, we didn't. We were still intimate, hugging, kissing, cuddling, grab ass, expressing our love in words. And, it was wonderful. But, I wished we had never lost our libido.

Alvinsmama Level 7 July 8, 2018

That was also a mouthful, but an honest thoughtful one. So sweet. Thank you.

@LilAtheistLady I read my post and maybe I'm putting a little too much personal information in some of my posts. I think I will think more before posting something.

@Alvinsmama Well, you can always edit it... but we do know more about you, and not many people have marriages or long-term relationships with such happiness. Good for you both. A marriage well-lived. smile001.gif

@Alvinsmama I found your reply to be candid and sincere. No harm done.

@CoastRiderBill I recently started living alone again. No roommate, yay!!! I don't get around people a lot since my job has been slow the last few months. So, I tend to blah, blah, blah, too much, I think. Thank you for the nice words CoastRiderBill.

@evergreen Thank you.

Thank you for your honest and sincere sharing.. it is helpful and appreciated. Best regards

I loved the insight you provided. You answered like an honest adult willing to provide information to an adult question. Thank you.

@SG1life2live Thank you.

@LilAtheistLady Thank you.


For some people, no. Sex is not required for a healthy romantic relationship. I have a few friends that classify themselves as asexual. And I’ve got some friends that for some reason, have no function down there. Due to paralysis or things like that.

But I enjoy sex. But then again, I’ve been single for 2 years now. But even when I was in my last relationship, sex wasn’t super important. It was fun but we only did it about once a month.

As with all things in life, when it comes to human beings, there is no definitive yes or no. It depends on the person.

Leo716 Level 6 July 8, 2018

I believe varying forms of intimacy, over and above sex, is a requirement for a romantic relationship. But I also believe that with intimacy sexual desire often blooms.

Foucault Level 2 July 8, 2018

I thought I was asexual for a long time. Turns out I was just tired of my husband. Dissatisfaction turned to loss of sexual interest which resulted in more dissatisfaction. So, while there are people who are genuinely asexual, I would assume most are not and if sex is falling off in a romantic relationship, it's probably an indication that there is an underlying problem and the lack of sex is a symptom...

Minta79 Level 7 July 8, 2018

Many couples for physical and mental reasons limit sexual activity, and as long as it is mutually agreed upon, that is fine. If one of the couple is not satisfied, masturbation can be practiced as a sexual release. This happens quite often in a sexually imbalanced relationship, more than we may realize. If they are having problems or unhappiness in this area of life, it is their business to seek counseling and therapy if they choose.

A sexual relationship that a married couple or partners have is very personal and it is really none of our business. How very human of us, regardless of religion or not, that we have to ascertain and judge the motives and happiness of others in the bedroom.

I say this because I am troubled by your statement:

"They are very religious Christianish type folks. I must say however, that in family pics posted on facebook her husband, a late-fifties gray-haired Caucasian man in a suit, appears to have a barely noticeable half-sided "smile" with a what appears to always be a slightly dissatified countenance. He reminds me of a man secretly addicted to porn while being a church minister type."

By making this comment you are just as guilty as the religious busybody who feels they need to know about the dating and sexual behaviors of others so as to keep their church 'pure'. You have no business stereotyping this man because of his faith, his age, his race or because he smiles 'funny'. For shame.

CoastRiderBill Level 7 July 8, 2018

@jioo087 Thanks for your input.

Indeed, it is none of MY business, that is FOR SURE!

Yes, thank you for your pious comments. I appreciate your insight.

@jioo087 Thanks again for the advice. Edited to reflect that. smile001.gif


@jioo087 He is people. I asked question, and fully expected extreme outrage certainly. I was interested in the opinions of the sexes. He is people. shrug

@jioo087, @LetzGetReal Right, just to clarify: We've been friends and have known one another since elementary school. She tells me these things. We divulge these things to one another. I've certainly never "judged" her, but I'm curious about others' opinion on the matter. I appreciate your outrage however. Your entitled to clutch your pearls indeed.

@LilAtheistLady Pious? I thought it had to do with common respect and decency in not judging another and bringing it to public attention, even though he is still anonymous here.

@LilAtheistLady Also, because she has been your friend "since elementary school", all the more reason for you to honor her and practice respect and decency toward her and her marriage by not publicly making that statement which I quoted above.

@CoastRiderBill I sense a bit of hypocrisy on your part since you have chosen to participate in this discussion. If you are not happy about the question, by all means, leave the discussion.

@CoastRiderBill I see. However, I don't see that I've posted anything here that would hurt my friend by identifying her. Again, I appreciate your comments. Please leave if this discussion is too much for your delicate sensitivities. I certainly don't wish you to continue to a conniption. Take a break perhaps? Calm down a bit?

@LilAtheistLady I am sorry, but it is not appropriate for you to ask me to leave a discussion. It is also your assumption that I need to "calm down a bit". I am able to enter into calling you out on your assumptions while exercising emotional detachment, thank you. You have yet to defend stereotyping a Caucasian Christian greying male as being "dissatisfied" and "addicted to porn". Are we all like that? smile001.gif

@CoastRiderBill I will now block you as you have won the prize for the most conterproductive and manipulative poster.

@LilAtheistLady smile002.gif smile041.gif


I think sex is healthy in a relationship and it's usually the women, sometimes the men, who do not want sex. I bet you anything he's got a piece on the side.

helionoftroy Level 7 July 8, 2018

I take affront to your comment. You don't know these people so you have no business saying that he has a piece on the side.

@Alvinsmama I said I BET he does not that he did. Save your offense for something that is actually offensive.

@helionoftroy Wow... it is still not your business to cast aspersions, even in saying 'bet'. Way to justify yourself.

@Alvinsmama And again, WHY SHOULD WE CARE, period. I find the question rather immature.

Interesting. I I wonder if there studies on the matter. Im thinking there must be. Human sexuality is actually scientifically studied. I think the temperature in some of these responses are truly interesting.

@Alvinsmama do you really use the term "afront" on a regular basis? @Helionoftroy thank you for being so frank and honest about your thoughts.

@LetzGetReal You may leave this discussion at any time. I appreciate your point of view however. You're entitled to it.


The most important thing is having a similar sex drive. No good if one partner wants it once a month and the other partner every night. As for a sexless marriage ,I think it’s possible to drift into one as you get older, but if it happens when you’re younger then there is quite likely a problem. It is a very natural activity, good sex is good for a relationship and for our physical and mental wellbeing. Treat it as a fun activity, no set times, the more relaxed you are the better it is

webspider555 Level 7 July 13, 2018

I completely agree!


This question is best answered by couples in this very situation.

JamieSanderson Level 2 July 10, 2018

Everyone had different drives and interests. If she has always been hyper religious then she probably never got to explore or developed her sexuality outside of contact with her husband. Or through guilt laden experiences before marriage. At 30yrs of marriage she has probably been through menopause and now has even less interest.
For me itsa a deal breaker. Ar least to start a relationship. My wife has some pretty serious chronic illnesses but is still very interested in sex. We don't do it as often as we would like simply because the activity often makes her symptoms worse. But she is always ready to play

Mikey5236o6 Level 5 July 10, 2018

I know the feeling. I went several years without sex due to my fiancée’s declining health.


I can see religion, physical or mental issues being a reason for a sexless marriage. Outside of that, a sexless marriage would suck! Or lack of sucking, I should say! LOL

DanielYoung Level 5 July 10, 2018

I think each individual has inherent sexual energy. Some want it all the time, others virtually asexual and just aren't interested in it. Then the vast majority are somewhere in between on a spectrum. One can only hope to be lucky enough to find a partner with similar appetite for sex.

GIjeff04 Level 3 July 10, 2018

Sex or at least intimacy is really important to me. If we are not making out or sleeping nude or barely clothed every night what's the point.

McWalsoft Level 5 July 8, 2018

Sounds like you want to help your friend, IF she is unhappy in her marriage. Every marriage (and relationship, for that matter) is a different combination of various components. Priorities of those components might or might not be agreeable to both parties in equal measures. Those are factors in deciding whether to stay together, work on issues, create work arounds, that might not be anyone’s business, or give it all up for door number 3.

While you might feel sorry for your friend, remember the quantity of sexual activity does not necessarily equal quality.

There may be psychological factors that could be helped with counseling, but sometimes there is just a lack of physical and emotional attraction. So the decision to stay together, despite a lack of sexual satisfaction, is a thoughtful decision. Your friend might complain to you, to vent her frustration, but she may not really want to do anything about it, except vent. Or perhaps she is seeking advice from you?

I was married a long long time. My ex-husband was not affectionate, not particularly physically attractive to me, and simply could not win or keep my admiration after the many demeaning things he would say and do. He was abusive as well. So it was simply impossible for me to want to have sexual relations with him. We slept apart, for 20+ years of our marriage. Duty sex, when demanded, was obviously not satisfying for me. Couldn’t wait to get out of the marriage, but thought it best to stay together for the kids.

After freeing myself from my bad marriage, I became the sexual being I always was inside and had an intimate partner for several years who helped me discover the joys of sex. Saddest part of this discovery is lamenting about all the years I missed out on such wonderful sex, had I left my marriage sooner.

I don’t think a satisfying sex life is mandatory for a marriage or a relationship, but it definitely is a bonding gesture that enhances a relationship greatly and can sometimes be the one thing that keeps a couple together during other dissatisfactions. The success of a relationship can not be based on sexual compatibility alone. There must be other factors that keep her invested in the marriage.

Julie808 Level 7 July 8, 2018

I usually just keep my mouth shut and help by listening and not telling her what to do. She's been married for as many decades as I've been divorced. So I accept the fact that I am no expert on what it takes to have a successful and happy one. That being said, I really like your clear-minded, frank, and intelligent comment especially because you are a woman who has the guts to stand up and say it the way you see it. And I respect the way you said it. Thanks for being one among a handful of thoughtful and intelligent responses to the question. smile001.gif

Write Comment
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content read full disclaimer
  • Agnostic.comis the largest non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others happy without religion!