Is No Intimacy in Marriage Normal?


    5 Min Read


    No intimacy in your marriage? Many couples who’ve been married for years will roll their eyes or scoff when asked about it.

    In fact, most will say that the end of the day they feel lucky just to have showered, exercised or gotten through the variations of bedtimes, homework, or work emergencies. Heading to bed to enjoy the intimate connection that marriage brings means building a pillow wall and turning on a white noise machine to drown out snoring.

    So, what if there’s no intimacy in marriage?


    State Of Intimacy In Many Marriages

    Maybe the thought of kissing your spouse now seems foreign, or like too much work.

    Or you’re certain your spouse is equally as exhausted, and you both are better off sleeping rather than being intimate. Sound familiar?

    Many couples realize somewhere along the way that the intimacy in their marriage has disappeared. Where it was once a struggle to keep your hands off each other, now you have to give yourself a pep talk just to start thinking about being in "the mood."

    If you’re nodding your head in agreement, rest assured you’re not alone. Not being alone in this circumstance, however, does not mean you should allow it to continue.


    Long-term relationships go through many changes throughout the years. Intimate connection, especially the physical aspect, will ebb and flow like the tides.

    Although this is normal, the complete absence of an intimate connection isn’t healthy. A healthy marriage is built on a great deal more than sex, but physical connection helps to create and solidify the bond that keeps a marriage strong.

    Why You Lose Intimacy In Marriage

    There are many reasons why you and your spouse may now find there’s no intimacy in your marriage.

    The truth is life just isn’t always sexy.

    Building a life together can be trying and fraught with difficulties, all of which can suck the desire to be intimate right out of your lives. Finding the time and motivation to reconnect when you realize the intimacy has left your marriage can become more and more difficult, even to the point where you each simply stop trying.

    Common issues that drain the desire for intimacy are:

    • Exhaustion

    • Stress and anxiety

    • Frustration

    • Children (who can bring on all of the above)

    Keep in mind that it’s not just you who are affected by these issues, your spouse is as well. And they may be affected differently or by different versions of the same issue. You are in the same boat, even if it is on different ends.

    Physical changes can also affect your attraction to your spouse and your ability to enjoy intimate life.

    A person’s physical and physiological state can have an effect on things like,

    • Attraction level

    • Desire

    • Ability to respond sexually

    These changes can be related to a number of things, but some of the biggest culprits are,

    Generally speaking, these issues can be overcome, and should be addressed if possible. You don’t have to let life’s milestones or age be your limiting factor when it comes to intimacy in marriage.


    Remember, love and your life together encompass more than simple physical attraction, and there are many ways to build back that intimate connection.

    If you allow there to be no intimacy in marriage a void will form. Voids create a disconnect between spouses that can lead to overall dissatisfaction within your marriage, which is one of the reasons why men cheat on their wives (or wives cheat on their husbands).

    Other Things That Suffer When Intimacy Is Lost

    No intimacy in marriage can be the precursor to a number of larger issues.

    When intimacy fades and the lack if that special connection becomes the norm, you create opportunities for cracks to form.

    Those cracks can turn into fissures and before long what was a lack of physical intimacy becomes a loss of emotional connection. You feel removed from your spouse - comfortable maybe - but not connected on the level where marriage thrives.

    Commonly spouses find themselves feeling more like roommates than partners.

    When you can’t connect with your spouse on more than simply managing the day-to-day you start to lose the part of your relationship that brought you together in the first place. Before long you start to,

    • Lose interest in talking to one another

    • Stop noticing each other

    • Struggle with growing resentment

    • Become strangers

    Giving in to the loss of intimacy reinforces this growing distance. And, again, this can open the door to emotional or physical affairs.

    What Cultivating That Connection Brings

    Sex is not just about physical pleasure. And intimacy is not just sex.

    Dr. Kurt sees this often in his marriage counseling. He says,

    I regularly hear partners complain that there is no intimacy in their marriage. Men are almost always talking about sex when they say this. While women can mean this too, they're usually describing something more, like the emotional and verbal connection with their partner that's missing. Regardless of the aspect of intimacy being referred to, it's unhealthy and a danger."

    Sex and intimacy can exist independently of one another, but for the most rewarding and bonded experience they should go hand-in-hand.

    Women especially have a difficult time separating the physical from the emotional. Creating an intimate experience on both levels may take extra effort, but the effort will be worth it.


    This effort reinforces the closeness between you rather than emphasizing the distance that having no intimacy in marriage creates. The connection that you make by being vulnerable with the person you love gives strength to that bond. It requires effort, but when you place yourself in the position to be that close to another you are building bonds.

    Again, you may be at different ends of the same boat, but finding a solution that brings you together will benefit you both.

    How To Handle No Intimacy In Marriage

    Short answer – make an effort.

    At the end of that long day, it is easy to give in to being tired. But, what could happen if you don't?

    You don’t have to accept that there is no intimacy in your marriage. Try making small efforts like,

    • Simple touching

    • Kissing

    • Even just laying a little bit closer to one another

    A bridge takes more than one rope to be strong, but that first rope is crucial. Taking the first step can feel uncomfortable and may even inspire fear of being rejected. But there’s a good chance your efforts will be well received and then matched.

    What To Take Away

    Lack of intimacy in a marriage is common, but you shouldn’t allow it to become constant. Keep the following in mind in order to keep your relationship strong:

    • Without intimacy partners can grow apart.

    • Growing apart can result in problems that would have otherwise been avoided.

    • Desire can follow effort, so don’t give in to not “being in the mood,” or being “too tired” all the time.

    • Intimacy doesn’t mean just sex. Just efforts at being close and vulnerable with each other can make a big difference.


    Marriage is difficult at times. Things that were effortless at the beginning will, at some point, require effort. You may feel close for a period, and then you may feel distant.

    Don't let the distance grow until there is no intimacy in your marriage. No one provides an instruction manual on your wedding day, but remember that navigating the ups and downs takes consistent effort.

    Editor's Note: This post was originally published May 24, 2017 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


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