When You and Your Partner Go a Year Without Sex: What's the Problem ... and Can It Be Fixed?

When You and Your Partner Go a Year Without Sex: What's the Problem ... and Can It Be Fixed?

Pink says it's happened to her and hubby Carey Hart. 

By Marianne Garvey

We all have friends who claim their sex lives are just beyond — once a week or more, and it seems like it’s every couple. So when it’s not what’s going on between the sheets with you and your partner, you feel awful.

So thank God for Pink and her honesty.

The singer, 38, admitted recently that she and her husband of 11 years, Carey Hart, have gone an entire year without having sex. Who would ever think a sexy pop star and her hunky husband had stalled in the bedroom?

“There are moments where I look at [Hart] and he is the most thoughtful, logical, constant … he’s like a rock. He’s a good man,” Pink told The Guardian. “He’s a good dad. He’s just the kind of dad I thought he’d be and then some.”


“And then I’ll look at him and go: I’ve never liked you,” she added. “There’s nothing I like about you. We have nothing in common. I don’t like any of the sh-- you like. I don’t ever wanna see you again. Then two weeks later I’m like, things are going so good, you guys … Then you’ll go through times when you haven’t had sex in a year. Is this bed death? Is this the end of it? Do I want him? Does he want me?”

“Monogamy is work!” Pink adds. “But you do the work and it’s good again.”

Ian Kerner, a licensed psychotherapist sexuality counselor who specializes in sex therapy and is The New York Times best-selling author of She Comes First, says that going a year without sex falls into the definition of “a sexless marriage.”

“Well, first, there are the rational benefits of having sex,” Kerner tells Personal Space. “Having sex even once a week makes a stronger marriage. Going a year without having it may cause disconnection, infidelity.”

Kerner says that going a year without sex is more than a matter of “busy schedules” or “business travels,” and that it is actually an avoidance.

“Many couples, if they go a month or two without sex, they miss it. They want to find a way to reconnect,” he says.

If it goes on for a longer period of time, like a year, in many couples, one or more of the parties involved are avoiding.

“It can be a lot of things; some couples never really had a strong sexual connection to begin with,” he says. “Then you have couples who don’t really have the strong, healthy relationship that lends itself to healthy sex. But the lack of sex is an indication that other things need to be addressed.”

It’s not uncommon for couples who have had a child to take a hiatus and find their way back, or lose your way with your partner after you once had a healthy connection.

“In my experience, we can compartmentalize our sex lives,” Kerner says. “We can turn it off, disassociate from it. Your sex drive is related to your life drive. Most people who aren’t having sex want to have it; many people remain sexual into their 90’s.”

In his practice as a sex therapist, Kerner says the number one thing he deals with is low libido and sexless marriages, and that it is fixable.

“You can go to couples therapy and talk about what’s happening,” he says.

You can also try to communicate to your partner how you’re feeling, and figure out if it’s the desire for sex, or the sex itself, or both.

“Sometimes, it’s ‘we need to capture desire,’ or maybe it’s a sex issue, it was painful or boring,” he says. “If it's a desire issue, if it’s just that, then you need to prioritize dedicating time to generating arousal and pleasure together — desire will emerge from arousal.”

If it’s been a while since you got it on with your partner, you should dedicate 30 minutes to getting the spark back, Kerner says: Give a massage, take a shower together, make out above the waist.

“Usually with two to three sessions I can get a couple back on track,” he adds. “When there’s love there, and there’s desire there, it’s about a mature adult conversation about the issues causing friction or issues related to the sex itself. If you have love, willingness, and desire, then you have the essential tools.”

Michael DeMarco, PhD, specializes in sex therapy and says it is one of the most common reasons why people come to his office.

“The intervention kind of depends with how we define the problem,” he tells Personal Space. “People are looking to ‘recover.’ when that's not really the aim. Most sex issues are couples issues, and this issue can be, as Esther Perel put it in her talk that domesticity is at the polar opposite of libidinous hot sex."

“The push and pull to settle down absolutely gets in the way of sexual desire (for the person you're expecting to settle down with, anyway) and the first thing I would suggest is to start therapy with a couples counselor who specializes in sexuality - and weirdly, they don't all do. Whatever you can do to create that space to get some mystery and novelty in your relationship can be helpful - and it's not just dressing up in lingerie or role-playing. This is also how some folks who explore consensual non-monogamy keep adventurous sex lives with their primary partner and the various other relationships - a little mystery and space does way more for your sex life than talking about daycare and 401k’s.”

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