Regular sex is a critical component to maintaining a healthy, happy marriage. Not only does it improve the connection between partners, but sex also helps reduce stress, builds self-esteem, and acts as a wonderful physical workout. And, when practiced frequently, sex can heighten feelings of happiness and wellbeing in a relationship. Research actually shows that good relationship dynamics follow good sex, which leads to a closer and happier relationship.1
But, what happens when one partner’s sex drive is lower than the other’s? If regular sex boosts a relationship, can a sexless marriage lead to damage? The science says: yes. In fact, unresolved sexual dissatisfaction is one of the fastest paths to divorce.2
In this article, we’re discussing the dynamics of a sexless marriage and how they end up that way. Then, we’re talking about swinging and using it as a way to recover an unhappy sex life and potentially save your marriage.
A sexless marriage is not one that is going through a “dry spell.” By definition, a sexless marriage is one where the partners are having minimal (fewer than 10 per year) sexual encounters. And, believe it or not, most experts agree that upwards of 20% of all marriages could be considered sexless.3 It’s much more common than people may think.
What Causes a Sexless Marriage?
There are many reasons a marriage might become sexless and, over time, it may leave couples feeling more like roommates than partners. Some of the most common factors that lead to a sexless marriage include:
- Different/low sex drive
- Failure to communicate about sex
- Health issues
- Side effects to medications
- Negative feelings in the relationship
Before heading out to find a “quick-fix” for a sexless marriage, it’s important to get to the root of the problem first. Remember, most sexless marriages don’t happen overnight. Partners should prioritize communication and make sure to address underlying factors that could have led to the lack of sex.
Can Swinging Save a Sexless Marriage?
Swinging, also commonly referred to as “partner swapping”, is a type of non-monogamy that includes consensual sexual experiences that take place with people outside of the relationship. And, while enjoyment and excitement are often talked about, the effect of swinging on marriage isn’t typically addressed.
However, the research is surfacing.
Science shows that couples who engage in swinging reported better relationship quality, higher levels of sexual satisfaction, and greater happiness than those who don’t.4 Additionally, partners who engage in this lifestyle are more likely to experience enhanced self-image, higher self-confidence, and more feelings of freedom. The activity seems to almost provide a sense of reinforcement to the marriage.
But, what about a marriage that’s sexless? Can swinging help?
Sex expert Dr. Shannon Chavez explains that it can strengthen a marriage like nothing else.5 Sometimes “monogamy puts too much pressure on one partner to meet all of their needs”, she explains. In these cases, “opening up becomes a way to meet other needs, while still committing to a primary relationship.” It is based on this foundation that Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch says that swinging saved his own marriage.
Swinging Successfully in a Sexless Marriage
Swinging is definitely something for sexually-frustrated couples to consider. It comes with a laundry list of benefits but is still not something to jump right into. It’s important for couples to be on the same page when it comes to comfort level, rules, and the swinging dynamic. Take a closer look at these 7 ways the swinging lifestyle helps with a sexless marriage.
Remember, “the strength of the primary relationship is an essential ingredient” to opening it.
- Whitbourne, S. K., & Debrot, A. (2017, August 3). Why Sex Is So Good for Your Relationship. Greater Good Science Center. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_sex_is_so_good_for_your_relationship
- Factors contributing to divorce among young couples in Lebowakgomo. (n.d.). SciELO SA. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0037-80542018000200009
- Benoit, S. (n.d.). How to Move Forward When You’re in a Sexless Marriage. GQ. https://www.gq.com/story/what-to-do-sexless-marriage
- Riley, T. (n.d.). WHAT IMPACT DOES HAVING A SWINGING LIFESTYLE HAVE ON MARITAL SATISFACTION? California Southern University. https://msglock.co/uploads/user_504/media/eaa9494a.pdf
- Eth, M. (2019, October 1). Can Swinging Save a Marriage Like This Celeb Couple Claims? Why a Sex Expert Says Yes. Bravo TV. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.bravotv.com/personal-space/can-swinging-save-a-marriage-sex-expert-says-yes