Before this season’s finale, Southern Charm New Orleans couple Tamica Lee and Barry Smith were suffering from a “lack of sex problem” in their marriage. And while not officially married, longtime Vanderpump Rules couple Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval suffered from the same predicament.
One doctor weighs in on real life sexless marriages, telling Personal Space first the correct definition: it means there is no frequency or regularity of sex, not that it’s never happened. Yes, some people think that.
“It becomes a problem if one partner is feeling undesirable,” says Dr. Jane Greer, author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. “If both people are okay with it, that's fine, but if there is a prolonged rate of no sex, then often one person is really miserable about it. Oftentimes, they are going to bed and waiting for their partner to initiate or reach out because they've been rejected repeatedly.”
Why does it happen?
Well, many reasons, but one big one is because people have different levels of sexual desire.
“They have different appetites and sexual energies,” Dr. Greer says. “The way they go about negotiating their sexual desires is where the problem lies - if it's not done with a level of openness and caring, it can lead to distance that shuts down intimacy. If there is unresolved anger issues or conflicts, and things are left unspoken, a partner may be simmering with resentment and won't feel like having sex.”
It’s normal for sex to be infrequent, too, just not for really prolonged periods of time.
“There are certain times when a lower frequency of sex is expected - after you have a baby, for example,” Dr. Greer says. “Sex can get suspended, but the most important thing is to address is openly and honestly. Speak to your partner and let him/her know that you feel you're having less sex than before - are they aware? Take a pulse. Would they like to be more sexual? Is something turning them off?”
No one talks about it, either. People are embarrassed. Research from Georgia State University suggests that 15 percent of married couples have not had sex with their spouse within the past six to 12 months.
The longer you go without it, the harder the spark is to get back. Experts suggest talking, therapy, and a little effort. As Carole Radziwill says, “Keep it cute.”
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