Many American couples are in a sexless marriage. A 2019 study indicated that the majority of its participants were sexually inactive for five years or more. Young people sometimes call this a sex recession, however, older, married couples are also forgoing sex.
Many factors can contribute to a lack of sexual intimacy in relationships, leading to a sexless marriage. While many people can’t get back into the honeymoon phase, natural treatments, time, and consistency can help you to reconnect to your partner.
Learn about the causes of a sexless marriage and how to naturally increase your libido.
Causes of a Sexless Marriage
There are many reasons that cause a sexless marriage. This can include depression, stress, low sex drive, the impact of COVID, lack of desire, age, or a personal crisis. The sexless marriage effect on the husband can cause moodiness, anger, or depression. It might also lead the spouse to watch pornography, cheat, or withdraw from the marriage. A sexless marriage can affect the self-esteem, confidence, and overall mood of you and your spouse.
1. Chronic fatigue and stress
Americans are exhausted. A YouGov survey showed that Americans are tired 4 or more days during the week. Confounded with life and work stressors makes it hard to relax and recharge. As we know, sleep is vital for our overall health. This is cause for concern as 70 million Americans currently suffer from a sleep disorder.
Not getting 8 to 9 hours a night can impact your body, including your libido. Over time, this can lead to chronic, causing, hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), weight issues, sleep apnea, carbon monoxide poisoning, and iron-deficiency anemia.
Additionally, anxiety, depression, stress, or relationship issues can lead to a sexless marriage. These problems can usually be helped with the guidance of a psychologist or relationship counselor.
2. Age, perimenopause, and menopause
A person’s libido gradually decreases as they get older. Women are 2-3 times more likely to be affected by a low sex drive, starting in their late 40’s and 50’s.
Perimenopausal and menopausal women can also experience a significantly lower sex drive. This decrease in libido during the transitional years primarily contributes to several physical effects of lower estrogen levels. These include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, irregular periods, and vaginal dryness.
3. Mental health issues
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) is a common sexual dysfunction. It’s usually linked to significant emotional or psychological distress, as well as relationship and sexual dissatisfaction.
Additionally, depression usually presents as low self-esteem, reduced energy levels, a depressed mood or anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure. Due to this, a healthcare provider may prescribe medication like antidepressants, corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, and selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, prolonged use of these medications can potentially impair genital arousal and sexual desire and cause a delay or loss of orgasm.
4. Low sex drive
Many women also experience a low sex drive. This is signified by having no sexual interest. It can happen at various points in life but typically occurs when women are older. This can also be the result of medications, pregnancy, menopause, past trauma, experiencing pain during sex, or having a disease such as mental health issues, cancer, high blood pressure, or arthritis, to name a few.
On the other hand, men can also have a low sex drive. In some cases, this is due to low testosterone, medications, restless leg syndrome, depression, overexercising, drug use, or a chronic illness.
The Cause of a Low Libido, According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
Senior Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician at Real Health Medical clinic in Singapore, Brandon Yew notes, “According to TCM, the common causes of decreased sexual vitality are damp-heat, cold, blood deficiency, blood stasis, spleen deficiency-induced phlegm and dampness, liver stagnation, or a kidney deficiency. All these collectively arise from our stressful working lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits.”
Natural Low Libido Treatments
TCM practices can help to boost libido. Some treatment plans include acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, a process that involves the burning of mugwort leaves, and a form of massage called tuina.
Physician Yew advises consulting with a TCM practitioner to identify and address your unique needs.
1. Consume a healthy diet
A study in Greece showed that eating a Mediterranean diet is linked to healthier arteries and blood flow, higher testosterone levels, and better erectile performance.
Obesity and overweight are also linked to low libido. Maintaining a healthy body weight can not only impact your sexual performance but also increase your confidence and boost your energy.
A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that increased endurance training on a regular basis was connected to lower libido scores in men.
Some exercise options include strength training, yoga, running, high-intensity workouts, swimming, or brisk walking.
A different study showed women increased their physiological sexual arousal with physical exercises. Additionally, they enhanced genital arousal in women who used antidepressants. Exercising and moving together can help reap these benefits. This can be taking a dance class, running together, or enjoying a yoga class.
3. Take medicinal herbs
Some medicinal herbs contain potential libido-boosting ingredients. An example of this is the TCM belief that a person’s kidney jing (essence) and qi (vital energy) governs sexual development and promotes a healthy libido.
This is one of the most highly sought-after herbs because it’s capable of strengthening kidney function. Drinking a herbal tonic with extracts of cordyceps sinensis mycelia to help strengthen a man’s vital essence. You can also take cordyceps capsules to boost your energy, improve stamina, and support the immune system. The Horny Goat’s Weed in this formulation can also tonify your kidneys, strengthen your qi, and increase your will power.
American or Panax ginseng can nourish a person’s qi and help with stress. It can also help the nervous system, working as a sexual tonic. Combine it with other herbal ingredients to help increase sexual desire and kidney jing and yang. Post-menopausal women may also benefit from using ginseng to prevent atrophy of the vulvar and vaginal tissues.
Other herbs to try:
Physician Yew also suggests the use of other herbs that can help to increase libido:
- actinolite (阳起石)
- cistanche (肉苁蓉)
- fluoritum (紫石英)
- maca (玛卡)
- circuligo rhizome (仙茅)
- fenugreek seed (葫芦巴 )
- mantis egg-case (桑螵蛸 )
- velvet antler (鹿茸)
- Chinese leek seed (韭菜籽)
- horny goat weed (淫羊藿)
- Indian mulberry root (巴戟天)
- malaytea scurfpea fruit (补骨脂)
- songaria cynomorium(锁阳)
First, rinse the herbs under clean, running water. Then, submerge them in water for 20-30 minutes. Next, bring the water to a medium-boil before allowing it to brew for another 30 minutes. Then, pour the concoction into a soup bowl without getting rid of the herbs. Repeat the process, but only brew the concoction for 20 minutes the second time. Drink the warm concoction and save the rest for another time. This is not meant as a prescription, but rather a solution that might improve your libido.
However, he cautions that using pre-made proprietary, over-the-counter herbal formulations and remedies are only suitable for generic cases of low libido. He advises people who have low libido or an existing medical condition (which will result in body constitutions that are particularly complex) to consult a TCM practitioner before opting to self-medicate.
4. Use acupuncture
Acupuncture is beneficial for overall health. It can also increase your sex drive by increasing your blood flow within the reproductive and sex organs, stimulating hormonal glands, and alleviating stress.
A study conducted by sexual medicine found that premenopausal women who did 5 weeks of acupuncture experienced improvements in sex and desire.
5. DIY massage
A massage can be a nice thing that a couple does for one another while also helping to increase their libido.
According to physician Yew, a do-it-yourself massage technique can stimulate acupoints like Spleen 6 (SP6, san yin jiao), Liver 3 (LR3, tai chong), RN4 (guan yuan), and RN6 (qi hai) for increasing sex drive. Physician Yew encourages placing fingers or a massage stick on these acupoints.
Then, apply just enough pressure to elicit an aching sensation or numbness. Simultaneously, massage the acupoint using both clockwise and anticlockwise circular motions 20 times each. Repeat for at least three minutes per acupoint.
6. See a counselor
Sometimes couples might not understand the reason for their sexless marriage. Going to a marriage counselor or therapist can help both partners speak about their issues in a safe and judgment-free space. This is also helpful if issues related to sexless marriage are resulting in anger or arguments. A therapist can help couples connect and understand the other issues around your sexless marriage such as depression.
With consistency and time, you can improve your sexless marriage. Natural methods, such as TCM, can help you to increase your libido in no time.
- Natural Library of Medicine. 2018. Sociodemographic Correlates of Sexlessness Among American Adults and Associations with Self-Reported Happiness Levels: Evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- Institute for Family Studies. 2021. Is the Sex Recession Turning into a Great Sex Depression?. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- YouGov. 2015. Americans Are Tired Most Of The Week. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- NSC. 2021. Fatigue – You’re More Than Just Tired. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- North American Menopause Society. 2021. Decreased Desire. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- International Society for Sexual Medicine. 2016. Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: A Review of Epidemiology, Biopsychology, Diagnosis, and Treatment. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- Mayo Clinic. 2020. Low sex drive in women. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- European Society of Cardiology. 2021. Mediterranean diet shows promise in men with erectile dysfunction. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- Medical News Today. 2020. 10 ways to boost libido. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]
- Sexual Medicine. 2016. Acupuncture in Premenopausal Women With Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: A Prospective Cohort Pilot Study. [Accessed on December 16, 2021]