Jennifer (name changed) didn't have sex with her ex-husband on their wedding night. "I chalked it up to fatigue," she says. But should it have been a red flag? Well, maybe.
It's not that it didn't happen that one night that was the problem; it's that it was the first of many sexless married nights. As an engaged couple, Jennifer and her fiancé were doing it about three times a week, but once they said their vows, it quickly dwindled to about once a month—sometimes less.
Some experts call marriages that average 10 rolls in the hay per year or less "sexless," but other experts take the word more literally, like Susan Yager-Berkowitz, who coauthored (with her husband) Why Men Stop Having Sex: The Phenomenon of Sexless Relationships and What You Can Do About It.
"If a couple is content with intimacy less than once a month, and happily married, I doubt they would refer to themselves as having a sexless marriage… and neither would we."
Dean Mason, who runs the website, FixYourSexlessMarriage.com, agrees, "Each person defines what his or her sex threshold is."
But even if there's no perfect definition for a "sexless" marriage, everyone seems to agree that they're common. Newsweek estimates that about 15 to 20 percent of couples are in one, and sexless marriage is the topic of myriad new books—like Yager-Berkowitz's—and plenty of articles and columns. Back in 2003, Newsweek's cover blared, "We're Not In the Mood," and the story hasn't gone away. This June, The New York Times reported that about 15 percent of married couples had not done the deed in the past six months to a year.
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