According to The New York Times, the phrase “sexless marriage” is searched on Google over 21,000 times per month, making it the most-Googled phrase about sex and marriage. Newsweek Magazine has reported that 15-20% of married couples are in a sexless relationship – that is about 12 million couples in the United States alone.
While many married couples are encouraged to read a sex book together, schedule a date night, or just “have more sex” if they want to spice up their sex life, one expert believes that does not do enough to address the real problem.
“So many people seek authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability with their partner, but they’re not being authentic, vulnerable, or transparent with themselves,” says Allana Pratt, a certified coach, intimacy expert, and author of Finding ‘The One’ Is Bullsh*t: Becoming ‘The One’ Is Brilliant & Beautiful… And Ironically, The Key to Attracting Your Ideal Partnership.
According to Pratt, most people in a sexless marriage would rather make excuses for not making love instead of communicating their needs. “They’ll say, ‘I’m not in the mood, I just don’t feel like it, I have to work late,’ Pratt says. “They’re not willing to go deeper and really feel the truth of what’s going on.”
Pratt says that fear of rejection is a recurring problem that accounts for many cases of sexless marriages. “It takes courage to see what’s going on under the surface and to communicate with your partner in an effective way that really connects you.”
For Pratt, that does not mean forcing a couple to be together and telling them to just have sex more often. “Each of them must do their own inner work first,” she says. “Instead of trying to change your partner, you have to change yourself.”
For those feeling trapped in a sexless marriage, Pratt offers the following helpful steps.
1. Recognize. After almost 20 years of working with couples, Pratt says a sexless marriage could mean getting together as little as once per month. “A sexless marriage can mean there’s little or no physical affection outside of irregular sex, only closed-mouth pecks for kisses, and the disappearance of handholding or walking arm in arm,” Pratt advises. “There may even be cold shoulders, avoidance of eye contact, blatant rejection of physical advances, and regular excuses of being too tired each night for sex.”
2. Reconnect. According to Pratt, every couple has an “intimacy blind spot” that prevents them from effectively establishing a safe, honoring way to transparently connect with each other about issues that really matter. “What doesn’t work is holding it inside, then blowing up at each other, or saying with contempt that you’re ‘fine’ when you’re not,” Pratt says. She also encourages couples not to gossip about their partner’s shortcomings to others. “You do need to talk about it – just talk with your partner, not your friends or family,” Pratt encourages. “Once you’ve broken through your intimacy blindspot, you can open channels of communication, deepen trust, invite vulnerability, and learn to thrive – even through tough times.”
3. Reach Out. Pratt cautions that a sexless marriage hardly ever gets fixed by the couple. “Work with a therapist or certified coach who has a track record of creating positive results with intimacy,” Pratt says. “Waiting too long, or not asking for help at all, means that you let fear or shame win – and you could potentially lose your marriage to an affair or divorce.”
“Allana Pratt is by far the best coach I and my partner have ever worked with because she models vulnerability, authenticity, and non-judgment so artfully,” says client Donna M. “Allana is lovingly bringing healing into our relationship. We traveled from a deep crisis to being closer than ever before after only a month of deep work with Allana.”
Results like these illustrate Pratt’s belief that once dignity is restored to intimacy, people will more readily learn how to effectively navigate intense emotions and soothe themselves inwardly. “This will solve many of society’s addictions to opioids, antidepressants, overeating, porn, work and even keeping up with the Jones’,” Pratt says. “People will be brought into healthy balance. Divorce rates, domestic violence, and human trafficking would drop because from a state of inner coherent wholeness and elevated foresight, we wouldn’t stand for the abuse, disregard or violation of another human.”
Author, speaker, and intimacy expert Allana Pratt offers private coaching and retreats to support those who want thriving, intimate relationships with themselves first, which naturally attracts their ideal partnerships. She is the author of several books, including 7 Steps to Manifest Your Beloved While Staying True to Yourself and How to Be and Stay Sexy: Attracting the Love and Attention You Deserve Being Exactly Who You Are.
To learn more about intimacy blindspots that lead to sexless marriages, or to register for an introductory coaching session with Allana Pratt or one of her highly-trained Intimacy Success Advisors, visit: AllanaPratt.com.