When you think of sexless relationships, you usually imagine people who’ve been married for years, who’ve become so consumed by their work or their children that they just don’t have time for anything intimate. But sexless relationships are affecting people who are much younger.
Stats suggest that millennials are killing sex; losing their virginities much later in life than previous generations and having less sex over the course of a year. It’s not just that young people are staying single and ditching dating entirely – many twenty-somethings are in sexless relationships.
Aidan says all of his relationships have been sexless. He’s been in five relationships and had around 70 one-night-stands. Aiden tells Metro.co.uk that he experiences no feelings from sex, and has never orgasmed during intercourse. He gets no feeling from masturbation.
And so for him, sex has never been a huge deal. Having sex for the first time at 20, Aiden has been in multiple relationships in which his partners haven’t been bothered by the lack of sex. He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘All other relationships ended up with oral to her and me grinding on her. ‘I can last obviously a long time as there’s no feeling or orgasm.’
Not all sexless relationships come from choice. 25-year-old Anna says she was in a long-term relationship for six years, and two years in the sex stopped pretty much all together. There had been strain on the relationship due to physical and mental illness, but the lack of physical intimacy only made things worse. ‘It got to the point where we were having sex around twice a year’, says Anna.
‘This wouldn’t even be on special occasions. My partner lost his sex drive and it got to the point where I was having to ask and remind him to have sex with me, which was very demoralising. ‘I stopped enjoying sex. I stopped being able to orgasm because it felt like there was so much pressure. Instead of focusing on being intimate, I was worrying whether this would be the last time we’d have sex for a while.
‘Sex ended up becoming a task – something that we had to do because we were in a relationship. It was as if as long as we were at least having a little bit of sex, we didn’t have to confront the fact that the relationship was dead.’ Anna says her partner never initiated sex with her, and having to remind someone to show her intimacy lowered her self-esteem and confidence. She started gaining weight and stopped making an effort because she felt unappreciated and insecure.
‘Sex wasn’t a big deal to my partner but it really was to me’, she said. ‘I tried to talk to him about it but he’d say he’d just become lazy, and that it wasn’t me. But he never changed, which continued to make me feel like I was the problem. ‘I needed that level of affection and intimacy, because I needed to feel loved and wanted. Something that I didn’t feel for a long time.’ In the end, Anna and her partner split. Anna says her self-esteem has plummeted since.
‘I’ve got so used to being rejected or having to ask or remind someone for sex that it’s left me feeling unattractive and not good enough’, she said. ‘I worry now that I’ll feel this way in future relationships. I’m worried I won’t know how to initiate sex and I’ll always be ready for rejection because I got used to it for such a long time.’ Marcus, who was married for seven years, says his sex life quickly diminished in his twenties after the initial honeymoon period.
He said: ‘We were together 10 years, married for seven. She was 10 years older, and in the beginning there was sex, but not as much as you would imagine in a new relationship. ‘Then my wife began to put on weight, and became very self conscious and not wanting to have sex. ‘I loved her no matter how she was, but her reluctance then made me feel unloved and unwanted, and this reduced my desire too.’ Marcus says that although he and his wife conceived a baby boy, they had sex less than 10 times in the final four years of their marriage, and it ended with him having a breakdown in November of last year, and both of them agreeing to separate.
He said: ‘At times the relationship had felt just like getting by, instead of living in happiness.’ Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist, couples therapist and author of the Phone Addiction Workbook, says people in their twenties are no different to couples in their thirties, forties or fifties. Hilda tells us: ‘What’s going on outside the bedroom can impact what goes on within it.
‘Overwork, stress, anxiety, uncertainty over the future, even poor diet and lack of exercise can all play a part in suppressing libido.’ She adds that digital devices are also playing a massive part on the decrease in millennial sex lives. She explained: ‘There’s nothing new in that. But digital devices are now playing a massive part. Most of the couples I work with – who range in age from 20-50 keep their phones in the bedroom and usually close to or in the bed.
‘It’s the biggest distraction there is from intimacy nowadays.’ Having a bad sex life with your partner can cause tension, insecurity, arguments and an unhappy relationship. It’s important that to get to the bottom of things, you talk about how you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you, otherwise things will never get any better.
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