Tracey Cox reveals what it's like to be in a sexless relationship

Would YOU stay in a sexless relationship? Two women and one man tell Tracey Cox what it REALLY feels like when your partner doesn’t want to be intimate

  • British sex expert Tracey Cox revealed what it’s like to live in sexless relationship
  • She spoke to two women and one man who opened up about their own sex lives 
  • Also revealed 10 top reasons why you and you partner have stopped having it

If you’re living with a sex pest and constantly being hassled for sex, having a partner who doesn’t fancy having it at all sounds rather appealing.

And for some people it is.

For most couples, though, having sex together satisfies a lot more than just a physical itch.

Knowing our partner desires us, makes us feel attractive, wanted and loved.

Knowing they don’t can have catastrophic consequences.

I talked to three people in sexless relationships and asked them to tell me about their very different experiences.

British sex expert Tracey Cox revealed what it’s like to live in sexless relationship. Stock image 


Natasha is 28 and has been with her partner for four and a half years  

‘Looking back, I should have guessed we’d end up like this. Even in the beginning he wasn’t that interested. But I liked that he didn’t rush to have sex with me: I thought it was a sign of respect.

I was the one who finally initiated sex after we’d been dating for six weeks. The sex was fine but it was curiously unpassionate for a first time. Normally, you’re ripping each other’s clothes off but it had no urgency about it at all.

The sex was pretty basic but I thought maybe he was nervous rather than had a low sex drive.

He was madly passionate about me out of bed – always touching me and cuddling me and telling me how into me he was. He was passionate about food, wine, books and films as well. But sex was never high on his agenda, it was always me who instigated it.

I worried he didn’t find me attractive or enjoy having sex with me and finally asked him outright. His answer was that he’d always been a bit take it or leave it with sex and it didn’t really bother him whether he had it or not.

Tracey (pictured) also revealed 10 top reasons why you and you partner have stopped having sex 

I was deeply in love with him by this stage and would have put up with anything to be with him, so I stayed even though my sex drive is pretty healthy.

Over the years, we had sex less and less. I talked to my girlfriends about it and a lot of them said they wished their partners were like him. They were sick of being hassled for sex.

But only someone who has been in a sexless relationship knows how s**t it makes you feel about yourself. I worried I wasn’t sexy enough. That I was fat. That my breasts weren’t big enough. I tried wearing overtly sexy clothes, thinking that might turn him on.

I spent a fortune on great lingerie. I pulled out all the stops when we did have sex. I’d suggest we try new things and made it clear I’d be up for anything. I stripped for him once and it was demeaning. He lay back and watched me with amusement: like I was a little kid saying ‘Watch me Daddy!’. The sex afterwards was awful: he could hardly get an erection.

I watched him when he was out to see if he was checking out other women. He wasn’t. I’d go through his phone, convinced he was having an affair but never found anything.

We’ve been together four and a half years and haven’t had sex for the last two years. My self-esteem was already severely eroded by this but something happened a month ago that has made me realise I probably need to leave, even though I still love him.

I came back unexpectedly from the shops (I left my phone behind) and found him masturbating to porn in the bathroom. I was shocked and horrified.

Natasha is 28 and has been with her partner for more than four years, and hasn’t had sex with him for two years (stock image)

All my fears were proven right: it wasn’t that he had a low sex drive, he just didn’t want to have sex with me!

I burst into tears. I don’t think I have ever been so upset.

He couldn’t understand why. He said he just fancied masturbating and what was the big deal. I asked why he never wanted the real thing and he said it was just a lot less hassle to do it himself.

I’m still furious at him and so confused. Does he just not fancy me and why is he with me if he doesn’t? Is he secretly gay? Has he got some kink going on that he doesn’t want to tell me about?

My friend suggested I go and see a sex therapist but I think I’m finally done.’


Marion, 39, loves being in a sexless marriage

‘I would never tell my friends we don’t have sex anymore. People assume things. Is he gay? Is he secretly having an affair? Are you about to get a divorce? What about you’re just not that bothered about sex anymore?’

Knowing my husband had a low libido was one of the reasons why I married him. I’ve had enough sex to last me a lifetime. It’s never been my favourite part of a relationship.

I think it’s because I’ve been in so many relationships where I’ve been hassled for sex constantly. I hated being made to have it when I didn’t want to. Maybe that’s what put me off.

Anthony, 43, has been married for 15 years and has not had sex for seven years (stock image)

We didn’t get married and decide not to have sex, it just kind of ended up that way.

He started having erection problems which made sex less and less interesting to him. He was never that fussed about it and he felt embarrassed about what was happening. Viagra didn’t agree with him and the incentive to try other drugs wasn’t there.

I suspect his testosterone is low because he’s not a competitive, driven man. At the start, we’d talk about having sex but he’d always have a reason why we shouldn’t do it.

He’s very feminine. Sometimes it feels like I have a wife not a husband. But that suits me just fine.

We adore each other and I’ve never been happier. We’re super affectionate and everyone comments on how in love we are.


Technology – We’re too busy looking at our phones and binging on box-sets.

Too busy – Lots of couples claim to be emotionally and physically exhausted by the demands of life.

The porn bubble –Solo sex requires little effort and zero upkeep, couple sex requires quite a bit of both.

A lifetime of bad sex – Some people aren’t good at telling partners what works for them, so put up with years of ineffectual technique.

Bored with sex – You’ve done it thousands of times already and simply lost interest.

Sexual dysfunctions and health issues –Erection problems, painful sex, general ill-health and flexibility issues. Most of these things are treatable, but lots don’t seek help.

Low self-esteem – If you have no confidence – don’t like how you look and don’t feel remotely desirable – you’re unlikely to think of sex as a fun thing to do.

Depression or anxiety – A big side effect of medication taken to help depression is loss of libido.

Loss of desire – Even if you love each other, even if you used to have really good sex, desire for sex can fall the older we get.

Relationship problems – You can’t expect good sex if your relationship has been awful for years.


I’m sure there are hundreds of couples happily watching box sets and going to bed with a good book rather than swinging from the chandelier. We have lots of couple friends and we’re always joking about sex being the ghost of Christmas past.

They don’t know we don’t have sex at all but I think all of our couple friends are having it less and less as time marches on.

Besides, I’d much rather a partner who doesn’t have sex than one who can’t keep it in his pants and is unfaithful or watches porn for hours at a time. 


Anthony, 43, has been married for 15 years and not had sex for seven years

‘I suspect my story is a common one – the sex stopped once the kids arrived. We didn’t have loads of sex before my wife got pregnant, but it was regular: once or twice a week.

Some women want sex more when they’re pregnant but not my wife. She had morning sickness all the way through and didn’t want sex at all. The birth was awful – she ripped and had lots of stitches – she says she’s never felt the same since.

We didn’t have sex for a year after the birth. She gave me the odd BJ but wasn’t interested in me reciprocating with oral sex.

We had sex eventually but only because she wanted another baby. It was pretty grim. She found it painful and it’s not exactly a turn on watching your partner wince with pain rather than moan with pleasure.

She fell pregnant quickly and we haven’t had sex since. That was seven years ago.

I used to make advances but she’d use the kids as an excuse every time. Too tired. Too busy. The kids might wake up and walk in. I didn’t understand how tired she was and what it was like being a mother.

I stopped initiating after a while and nothing has happened since.

We haven’t discussed it for years. I can’t see the point because it’s pretty clear to me that she doesn’t miss sex at all.

We get on OK but we’ve even stopped being affectionate now. She tenses if I touch her or try to hug or kiss her. I know it’s because she’s worried if she’s responsive I might think she’s open to taking things further. But I am not a man who would ever force myself on a woman and it’s humiliating to have to. So that’s it. It’s all over.

Being in a sexless marriage is miserable. I’m in good shape and make an effort to look good but clearly she doesn’t fancy me. Not having sex makes me feel unloved, even though she says she still does.

I don’t want to leave because I love my kids and want to do the right thing by her, but it isn’t fair. I’m only 43. Am I supposed to resign myself to never having sex again before I die? Spend my life trying to sneak in masturbating to porn when everyone is out?

I don’t want to cheat. The closest I’ve come to it, is paying for a girl to do some stuff on a webcam. It was all online and not in person and it wasn’t that exciting anyway. I felt angry afterwards that I had to resort to it.

I used to get angry a lot at the start. We’d have terrible fights after she’d knock me back. I’d be punished for not caring about her for daring to want sex when she was tired. She’s never NOT tired.

Now I just feel worn down by it all. You’d think I’d be gagging to have sex but now I hardly feel like it anymore. I suppose the less you have it, the less you want it.

No-one knows we don’t have sex. I joke with my mates about not getting enough but they have no idea I’m not getting any at all. I’m too ashamed to tell them. Like I’m not a real man for not insisting or something.’

Tracey’s new book, Great Sex Starts at 50, talks about how to survive in a sexless marriage.  

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