Why Do Couples Stop Having Sex?

Why Do Couples Stop Having Sex?

Are you a couple who has stopped having sex? You are not alone. It’s a problem that seems to affect most long-term relationships at some point, and there are many theories about the cause. But what most people find surprising is just how difficult it can be to get back on track. Some couples will communicate openly about this challenge and work together to overcome it – others will start turning away from their partner emotionally and become increasingly withdrawn. When this happens, feelings of resentment, mistrust, and disinterest in the relationship can all begin to take hold. With the help of our team of experts here at Washington Psychological Wellness, you will know the answer to the question: why do couples stop having sex?

So, why do couples stop having sex?

It’s estimated that one in three couples are affected in some way by a sexless relationship, so it’s important to know what you can do to maintain a healthy balance and get back on track.

The problem might not be sex…

While it might seem obvious that the main issue is the lack of sex, this is rarely the case. Instead, the real problem often lies elsewhere.

In fact, it’s possible that the lack of sex is just a symptom of a deeper problem. So, if you find yourself struggling with a sexless relationship, it’s essential to seek help for whatever the root cause might be.

Ten reasons why couples may stop having sex


A recent study suggests that men and women are likelier to have a lower libido when living stressful lives. The researchers looked at the relationship between stressful life events, sexual desire, and the likelihood of having a low sex drive.

The study found that many factors can contribute to higher stress levels in one’s daily life. These include money worries, multi-tasking, and poor career performance, not to mention the usual suspects like work, kids, relationships, and family life.

According to the study’s authors, the most stressful events for women include moving homes, job worries, and family problems. For men, the most stressful events include working too much, financial difficulties, and misfortune at work.

They determined that stress is an essential factor in causing low libido in both men and women. So, if you feel overwhelmed by stress from time to time or if your sex life seems depleted, then it’s time to consider doing some stress-busting activities like spending time with your partner and exploring other ways of relieving stress, such as exercise or meditation. This is an essential part of maintaining a healthy relationship.

Medical Conditions

A medical condition can affect one or both of you if you live with a chronic disease or injury. When this happens, you’ll often experience a decreased sex drive and a lack of interest in sex.

Some conditions, like diabetes, which affects more than 26 million Americans, can impact your ability to have healthy sexual relationships. For example, erectile dysfunction is one symptom of diabetes. 

Other conditions, such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia, can make sex difficult or impossible. In this case, you should talk to your partner and consult with a health care professional. 

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can cause feelings of hopelessness and not wanting to go on living. These feelings can manifest in different ways. For example, a person may be unable to focus, have difficulty with memory or become unmotivated. They may also experience a lack of energy and interest. If these feelings are causing you to feel like you’re no longer happy in your marriage, your partner might be experiencing the same thing. Your partner may also be experiencing sexual dissatisfaction.

Some of the signs a person is experiencing sexual dissatisfaction are not wanting to talk about sex, avoiding being intimate with their partner, and finding fault with themselves or their partners. It often starts with guilt or shame, which can cause a person to feel depressed; they may become anxious and frustrated because they don’t know how to fix the problem.

If you’re experiencing sexual dissatisfaction and your partner seems unhappy, you must talk about it. It’s possible that a medical condition or problem is preventing you from taking care of yourself and being healthy, making your relationship suffer. It’s also possible that you’re both struggling with depression, anxiety, or other emotional issues.

Lack of Intimacy

One of the most essential roles in a relationship is to create intimacy. Even if a couple doesn’t have children, the sexual need and desire can wane over time. If you yell at each other all day, you’re less likely to get up the energy to cuddle at night.

To regain something close to intimacy, couples have to actually talk about things that matter in their relationships. This may involve discussing their feelings and what they want to change within their relationships. In addition, you may need to consider how much time you spend with each other and if it’s enough.

Alcohol and Drugs

According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 22.6 million people admitted to being current alcohol abusers. That’s more than 10% of the population. When people drink excessively, they’re not very likely to want to get down and dirty at night, especially if they’ve had a rough day or are hungover.

If you choose to drink alcohol regularly (or use other drugs), you can’t expect your sex life to continue at its peak performance level. Most people will admit that their sexual desire is tied to their mood. So if you’re in an emotional slump, it’s no surprise that you might be less inclined to have sex with your partner.

Another problem with drinking is that it can lead to sexual performance issues like impotence or premature ejaculation. When this happens in the bedroom, two problems can occur: self-esteem issues and low libido. When people feel inadequate, they may become depressed and withdraw from their partners.


In 2003, a survey showed that nearly 2 out of 3 females had watched pornography online by the age of 18. According to the same study, 100% of males aged 18-24 admitted to viewing pornography online.

This is concerning from a relationship standpoint because it tends to increase the gap between what people expect in relationships and what they get. What you see online isn’t always realistic. Men are likely to have higher expectations for their partners, and scenarios may not include your needs as a woman or your partner’s needs as a man.

If porn use leads to sexual dissatisfaction in the bedroom, couples can fight over sex instead of fighting for it. As a result, they may start turning to television, video games, or social media to fill the void. This can lead to problems like a decline in their relationship satisfaction.

In addition, if you have unrealistic views of sexual roles in society, your sexual expectations may get challenging and uncomfortable. In that case, you may deny reality and eventually not experience the sexual satisfaction you expected.

Unsatisfying Sex

Sex is supposed to be pleasurable, and in a healthy relationship, it should be. However, if you’re having problems with sexual performance, premature ejaculation, vaginismus, anorgasmia, or decreased libido, you need to talk about it. Don’t let your sexual dissatisfaction lead to resentment and unhappiness in your relationship.

If anything is holding you back from enjoying sex with your partner, you may need to talk to a doctor or therapist about how to fix the problem. If your problem is related to a medical condition, such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, then a doctor may suggest medication or therapy.

It’s imperative to keep the lines of communication open and to remember that you can’t expect your partner to read your mind or know what you want if you don’t tell them. So, take some time to talk about sex, intimacy, romance, and passion. If you do, the two of you will feel much closer and more likely to experience sexual satisfaction in your relationship.


Infidelity is another reason couples stop having sex. However, studies have shown that spouses who are faithful to each other are still likely to have satisfying sex lives. In fact, it’s the partners who cheat or use pornography who often end up having unsatisfying sex lives.

If you’re experiencing sexual dissatisfaction in your relationship, you may want to try talking about it with your partner. Try solving the issue by discussing what you like and don’t like and why. If you’re the partner who’s cheating, you need to stop. If you continue cheating on your partner, your relationship will suffer the consequences.


A traumatic event in your life can affect your ability to enjoy sex or even to have sex at all. For example, if you experienced sexual abuse or violence, it can make it difficult for you to trust anyone, including your partner. You may also feel embarrassed about your own body or even fearful of sex.

This can make you and your partner feel sexually dissatisfied. However, you don’t have to be. It is vital to have open and candid conversations with one another and to set appropriate expectations and boundaries. Individual and couples therapy is also very helpful in helping heal after trauma.  

Cultural Factors

Your culture and upbringing can significantly influence how you feel about sex and express your sexual needs and wants. In addition, it can impact whether or not you communicate with your partner, what you believe is appropriate behavior and how you define intimacy—for example, the degree of affection or physical closeness expected between partners.

Some cultures believe that sex is something to be ashamed of or that it’s a dirty, sinful act. These beliefs may also make it difficult for people in those cultures to express their sexual needs, desires, and boundaries. 

If you and your partner have differing cultural views on sex and sexuality, it is essential to have open, non-judgmental, and candid conversations to ensure you both feel heard, respected, and understood.

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