How Long Is Too Long Without Sex In A Relationship?: 9 Things To Consider 2024

Let’s be honest; “How long is too long without sex in a relationship” is a question only asked by those who feel they’re not getting enough.

How Long Is Too Long Without Sex In A Relationship
Photo By freepik On freepik

The short answer is: it depends on you and your partner’s specific preferences. There are no official guidelines for sexual frequency in a relationship.

If you and your partner have differing preferences, it’s up to the two of you to talk about this and find a compromise.

This talk may well involve what you can do to inspire your partner to want to have sex more often. My guide on sexless marriages gives more guidance on this.

This guide will explore nine things to consider as far as how many sexual interactions you should be having in your relationship.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients build stronger relationships with those closest to them. 

That’s why I’m excited to share this guide with you.

So, let’s dive in.   

1. How Much Sex Do You Both Want To Have?

There have been a few studies commissioned to determine the average sexual frequency in a relationship – and the reported level was always around once a week. 

But why should it affect you that average couples report having sex once a week? Why should other people’s sex matter to you?

The important thing is the amount of sex you want to have and whether that matches with your partner’s sex drive.

It’s up to both of you how much sex matters. No-one else. If you’re both happy being sexually intimate once a year, what’s the problem? There’s only a problem when you have a mismatched libido.  

2. Are You Happy In Your Relationship?

There are many things that determine your relationship quality other than your sex life.

If you’re mostly happy in your relationship, your sex life isn’t something you necessarily need to panic about.

A sexless relationship is a common sign that two people aren’t happy together, but not always. 

It’s important to zoom out and examine your overall levels of happiness with your partner.

Related: REAL Reasons Why Your Wife Avoids Intimacy + Solutions

3. What’s The Reason You’re Not Having Sex?

Is a sexless relationship doomed? The answer lies within the reason that a couple doesn’t have sex anymore. That’s more important the amount of time since they last shared sexually intimate moments.

If you’re not having enough intimacy because of conflict or a lack of attraction in your relationship, that’s a serious problem.

If it’s because of problems outside of your relationship or your sexual satisfaction, there are less reasons to fear losing your partner. In this case, solving the outside problem will usually lead to rejuvenated intimacy levels. 

No Sex In A Relationship Means What?

A couple might be stuck in a sexless relationship because one or both members; 

  • have a low libido;
  • are unhappy in their relationship; 
  • are no longer attracted to their partner;
  • don’t enjoy sex enough to keep doing it.

These are all problems with the relationship itself. If you ask your partner why you’re having less sex and they suggest one of these that’s a potentially problematic response. 

However, it could be that you and/or your partner are satisfied with your relationship. For example, if you’re;

  • too busy or physically exhausted to have sex
  • have an injury or illness that makes it difficult to enjoy sex. This could include a mental health problem like depression.

Related: Turnaround Strategies When The Intimacy Stops In A Relationship

4. The Honeymoon Stage Is Real

It’s common to worry about the state of the relationship if you’re having less intimacy than you used to.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you love each other less or you’re less attracted to each other. 

The honeymoon stage of a relationship is real. Research suggests that we’re flooded with hormones that make us want to have sex more often during the initial stages of our relationships. 

Researchers concluded that this stage inevitably ends, and it’s how couples deal with this that’ll determine the success of a long-term relationship.

In successful relationships, the lust at the end of the honeymoon stage is replaced with deeper love, respect, and friendship. That’s what keeps couples together.

So, don’t panic if you go from having sex daily to having sex once a week or less. Love and satisfaction in your relationship is the most important thing.

Related Content: Most Creative Ways To Initiate Love-Making   

5. No One Amount Of Sex Works For Everyone

Michele Weiner Davis wrote a book called ‘The Sex-Starved Marriage’, which is defines as a sexless marriage as those where married couples specifically have sex less than ten times a year.

No Sex In a Relationship
Photo By pressfoto On freepik

This definition has been used when other researchers examined sexless marriages, but who’s to say that’s not more than enough sex for some people?

Some simply don’t want to have sex once a week with anyone. That’s no reflection on the state of their relationship or how good their partner is at eliciting sexual pleasure. It’s just how they were built. 

You and your partner’s libidos might change as you get older too. It’s important that you communicate about this, so the other person doesn’t believe your lack of sexual behavior is because of something they did. 

6. Does Sex Strengthen A Relationship?

Sex has been shown to reduce stress and strengthen the bond between couples. This is due to the release of feel-good hormones, including the ‘bonding hormone’ Oxytocin.

However, there’s also research that suggests these hormones have diminishing returns. 

In one study, researchers concluded that couples who have sex once a week are just as happy as those who have sex more than once a week. 

7. What Are The Side-Effects Of No Sex In A Relationship?

Research suggests that regular sex can improve one’s immune system and cardiovascular health.

However, there are no studies suggesting that a lack of sexual activity carries any physical health risks.

The main risks involve one’s mental health and how they feel about their relationship.  

Not Having Sex For A Long Time Side Effects In Male

Sex plays a key role in a lot of men’s sense of self-worth. They may feel better about themselves if they’re having a lot of satisfying sex, while their self-esteem may drop if they’re having bad sex or no sex at all.

This low self-esteem could contribute to anger problems or even depression in extreme circumstances. It may also cause resentment towards their partner.  

Not Having Sex For A Long Time Side Effects In Females

Sex matters to a woman as well.

If their partner denies them sex, it could cause similar problems to their self-esteem and their overall relationship satisfaction. 

Related: Signs You & Your Partner Are Growing Apart & Solutions

8. How Long Is Too Long Without Sex In A Relationship? 

There’s no specific amount of time where one partner will decide “enough is enough” in a sexless relationship.

It depends on their overall relationship satisfaction and how likely it is to improve in their eyes. 

How Long Can A Woman Go Without Sex?

Women typically have to be more physically and emotionally ready for sexual activity than men.

They’re more likely to deny sex if they’re unhappy with their partner, or due to problems with their physical or hormonal health.

A lot of women report being unready for sex for several months during pregnancy and after giving birth, for example. 

However, there’s no magical amount of time where they decide “enough is enough”.   

How Long Can A Man Stay Without Sex

Men are stereotypically more ready for sex, even if things are going badly in their lives or their relationships.

Even so, there are plenty of stories of men remaining in sexless marriages for years as they try to work things out. 

There are also stories of men not wanting to have sex themselves, due to stress, exhaustion or low libidos. 

Believe it or not, men consider more than just their sex lives when evaluating their relationships. 

9. A Sex Therapist Can Help

If you’re unhappy with the amount of intimacy you’re having, it’s important to talk about it with your significant other.

Sexless Relationship
Photo By freepik On freepik

If you can’t make a breakthrough or fix things yourself, a specialized therapist or couples counselor can help.

These professionals provide a safe judgment-free space for you to discuss your relationship problems, act as a mediator, and lead you toward a compromise that suits both of you. 

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.