When Your Sex Life (Or Lack of One) Leads to Divorce

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It’s not an easy conversation. In fact, very few married people feel comfortable revealing what goes on in their bedrooms. Meanwhile, reality hits home all too often. Truth be told, your sex life (or lack of one) can lead to divorce.

Couples enter marriage with some basic expectations when it comes to their sex life. For most, monogamy remains critical. It’s not that the law requires it. Rather, society views exclusivity from both moral and religious perspectives.

That’s not to say that open marriages don’t exist, and work for some. However, that’s usually the exception, rather than the norm. Jealousy often rears its ugly head in such situations.

Sex plays an important role in marital relationships. Unfortunately, evidence shows that some husbands and wives even use it as a tool. In those cases, withholding sex takes on tones of transactional, rather than emotional exchanges.

Meanwhile, there’s no set formula as to how many times married couples need to make love to be happy. In fact, you may wonder if your concerns are even warranted. Do your feelings about your sex life constitute a reason to end your marriage?

Sexless Marriages: Do They Need to End in Divorce?

For many, the term sexless marriage implies no sex at all. For others, it suggests a lack of frequency. However, there’s something that might surprise you. Researchers found that more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

According to a journal article published in Social Psychological and Personality, having sex more than once a week doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy.

Why is the once a week relevant when it comes to married couples? Studies show they tend to make love on an average somewhere between 58-68 times per year. Meanwhile, those numbers include those under age 30. Reportedly, they have sex nearly double the amount of times on an annual basis.

You may be concerned if your sex life doesn’t come near the average. While some feel that husbands desire sex more than their wives, that’s not always the case. At least one expert shares his opinion that twenty percent of women have stronger libidos than their male partners.

That said, sometimes, the lack of sex comes as a result of physical issues. Even if that’s the case, if your marriage is sexless, you may long for intimacy. And, that’s where the prospect of divorce comes in.

Cheating Wasn’t an Option

Consider the story of John and Katherine, who married in their early twenties. After thirty years of marriage, they still sleep in the same bed. However, Katherine feels rejected. John never makes overtures to her.

Admittedly, Katherine senses it's her physical appearance that turns John off. She’s put on a few pounds and doesn’t like the way she looks. Her anger festers on a regular basis.

At her suggestion, John and Katherine go for marriage counseling. John becomes defensive when confronted about his lack of interest in sex. He claims he still loves his wife and that the problem is his. He’s just too exhausted.

Still thinking that weight loss will solve the problem, Katherine goes on a diet. John continues to avoid intimacy. However, something else happens. Suddenly, Katherine begins to receive outside male attention.

Katherine takes her marital vows seriously. She wouldn’t dream of cheating on John. However, she equates her sexless marriage as problematic. In fact, Katherine feels it speaks of a bigger issue.

So, what happens next? Katherine decides that she’s too young to deal without sex for the rest of her life. However, an affair is out of the question. She decides to file for a divorce and move on. Perhaps there is something better out there for her.

Unhappy Sex Life Led to Adultery

Our example demonstrates just one example of how an unhappy sex life leads to a divorce. However, some use sexless marriages to justify adultery. According to one expert, refusing a spouse intimacy – may equate to a betrayal of sorts.

No doubt you could consider the issue of infidelity from a few vantage points. Some husbands or wives intentionally look away and allow the outside dalliances.  After all, it lets them off the hook from needing to perform.

Meanwhile, adultery isn’t always about sexual gratification. Instead, the actual problem may be the need for intimacy. And, when that’s the case – divorce becomes the only option.

The adulterer may try to hang on to the marriage for financial reasons. Or, may be concerned about hurting minor children as a result of a marital break.

Invariably, cheaters get caught by their spouses.  When that becomes the case – “hell can have no fury like either a woman or man scorned.”  And, yes, we know that’s not the actual quote.

While you may want to file for an at-fault divorce, you should know that doing so may result in protracted litigation. In fact, it could mean that ending your marriage costs you more money and time than you’d like.

Other Reasons Your Sex Life Can Lead to Divorce

It’s not just sexless marriages that lead to divorce. In some cases, a husband or wife may struggle with his or her sexual identity. Last year, a study considered the issue of female spouses when their husbands “came out” as gay.

Although the study stressed the importance of non-judgmental support for the marital loss, each of the relationships ended. Of course, both husbands and wives experience feelings of rejection when replaced by a same-sex partner.

Some marital splits relate to a spouse’s desire to add other partners to the bedroom. Meanwhile, insistence on engaging in orgies or sadomasochism may be a cause for divorce if either the husband or wife deems them unacceptable.

More than likely, you consider your sex life as integral to your marriage. If it isn’t working, you should speak to your spouse. Consider marriage counseling. And, if you think divorce is your only option, retain the services of an experienced family law attorney.

Contact Us

At the Law Offices of Sam Stoia, we offer a complimentary consultation to those considering divorce. Let us help you learn your options as you move forward to the next part of your life. Please call us to schedule an appointment.