A third of couples in sexless relationships: how to bring back intimacy

A third of couples are in sexless relationships [Photo: Getty]
A third of couples are in sexless relationships [Photo: Getty]

Almost a third of couples are in sexless relationships, new research has revealed.

A survey, by over-50s dating app Lumen, found the 31% not being intimate with their other half rises to 38% in over-50s.

For those who are getting it on, the poll of 2,000 adults found 53% had done the deed in the last month.

But more than a third haven’t had sex for a year, whether they’re in a relationship or not.

Among the couples polled, 34% blamed having kids for killing their sex lives.

But the survey also revealed that 41% those in sexless couplings crave more intimacy in their lives.

Researchers found that the average adult hasn't been told they are attractive for 345 days, hasn't been kissed romantically in 266 days and hasn't been hugged in that way for 238 days.

READ MORE: What to do if you're in a relationship with mismatched libidos

The results come as Ulrika Jonsson’s recently admitted that her marriage ended due to a lack of intimacy, explaining that she’d only had sex with husband Brian Monet once in eight years.

So what’s causing this lack of action under the sheets?

Psychologist, Dr Becky Spelman, We-Vibe's Relationship Expert says there are various reasons couples aren’t being intimate.

“For some people, a medical condition might make it hard or difficult to have sex,” she explains. “For example, women with a condition such as interstitial cystitis or pelvic inflammatory disease can find sex excruciatingly painful, which understandably tends to kill desire.

“Many health conditions in both sexes can impact on the ability to have or enjoy intercourse,” she adds.

Dr Spelman says there is also a growing recognition of asexuality, or a lack of interest in having sex.

“Asexual people can, of course, experience romantic love and want to get married—they just don't experience physical desire, or have very low levels of physical desire,” she explains.

Other potential causes of a lack of intimacy include one or both partners experiencing a low libido.

“At certain points in their lives, many people experience a downturn in libido,” Dr Spelman explains.

“It is important to rule out an underlying medical reason, but often there is nothing physically wrong. People can lose interest in sex because they are completely absorbed in childcare, or consumed at work.

“Usually, the loss of desire is a response to a particular set of stressors in their lives and, when the stressor goes away, the interest in sex returns.”

According to Dr Spelman the old stereotype of the midlife crisis can also have a big impact on desire.

“Women might be worried about the menopause, or experiencing difficult symptoms associated with it, and women and men alike are at a stage in their lives when they reassess their priorities and think about the future direction of their lives.

“It can all be a stressful process, and sexual interests may take a back seat until their personal issues are resolved.”

But there are ways to improve things, Yahoo UK spoke to the sexperts on how to bring back intimacy.

Schedule sexy times

Jessica Leoni, sex and relationship expert from the dating site IllicitEncounters.com suggests trying to find time for some time away every couple of months. “It doesn't have to be expensive, just go somewhere there aren't any dishes or new bills to worry about,” she says.

“If you can't manage or afford a weekend, aim for one night. If that's impossible, try a few hours solo. Even if it means camping in the back garden or a few stolen hours in a cheap hotel. A survey of US counsellors said time away together cures 90% of couples who say they're in a rut and have lost the magic.”

READ MORE: Over-50s enjoying 'most adventurous sex of their lives', study reveals

There are ways to bring back intimacy in a relationship [Photo: Getty]
There are ways to bring back intimacy in a relationship [Photo: Getty]

Rediscover a passion for kissing

A lot of couples underestimate the importance of kissing, which is a shame because it's the perfect way to establish intimacy, and is arguably the most important act of foreplay,” Leoni explains.

“Because kissing usually kicks off any sexual activity, knowing how to kiss well can set the tone for the whole evening. Whether it's lots of tongue, no tongue, nibbling, light pecks or deep, romantic kisses, knowing what your partner enjoys is key to kicking things off right.”

Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert with Lovehoney, offered the following tips.

Keep it fresh

It’s easy for sex to tumble down the to-do list when that giddy honeymoon period wears off, but there are ways to bring back back the excitement of the early days. “Sex stagnates in a long-term relationship,” explains Leoni. “You end up doing the same routine month after month at the same time and for the same duration in the same position.”

To bring back the passion you have to work at sex with your partner to keep things fresh.

“Each write down 10 favourite sex activities or fantasies on a post-it note and put them in a jar. Take it turns to pick one of the suggestions each week - and live it out for real,” she suggests.

Take things back to your early dating days

“At least once a week do something special and both take on the mindset you had in the first week you were dating,” Leonie says. “Try anything just as long as you are both comfortable with it.”

As an example she suggests giving toe sucking a try. “Most people will cringe at that but once you get past the initial idea it can be a highly sexual experience, your feet are an erogenous zone so will provide sexual thrills as well as giving you and your partner something new to try,” she adds.

Spice up your bedtime reading

Erotic literature is a great way to get you both in the mood. “Read it together and return to your favourite passages,” says Leoni. “Even better, re-enact what you have just enjoyed in the book in the bedroom even dressing up as your favourite characters.”

Talk about it

Dr Spelman says talking openly and honestly can help when it comes to improving intimacy. “Ask is there compromises we can come too? It takes people being quite mature to be able to work out issues with their sex lives,” she says.

Overcome different sexual needs

Having mismatched libidos doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship. “I have worked with partners where one person needed sex a lot more frequently than the female and the female was so open minded and so open to talking about it, she understood it wasn't her issue and she supported her partner in being able to satisfy his sexual needs without them having to have sex all the time,” she says.

“For example you can use masturbation or sex toys, and it actually wasn't a problem for them in the relationship at all they just accepted as a normal thing. They just needed to make sure that sexual needs were met for both of them and that the female felt no pressure to provide sex more than she was physically or mentally able to or wanted to.”