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Tired Of Being In A Sexless Marriage? Try Incremental Intimacy

Angela Dawn is a Certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach and a Certified Tantric Sex Coach whose mission is to empower you to find fulfillment in love & life, enrich your intimate relationships. and help couples "Get Closer."

Executive Contributor Angela Dawn Baccala

Are you in a marriage or partnership where you haven’t been having sex? Or maybe just not enough sex? Has your intimacy dwindled to just holding hands? Has one or both of you stopped initiating physical intimacy? Perhaps you stopped having sex after the birth of a child? Maybe you’re “too tired”?

A man and woman lying on bed

Yet, you’re best friends, and there’s no one you would rather be with. You don’t want to stay in a sexless marriage, but you don’t want a divorce.


It takes tremendous bravery to recognize and want to work on a problem in a marriage or long-term partnership. Many people ignore a lack of physical intimacy in their relationships because we are socialized to deny anything that might be “wrong.” Simply identifying this deficit could bring the worry that things might not work out. However, the opposite is true! Through examination of our needs, we can achieve the best relationship possible. If we look honestly at our desires and get curious, we are setting ourselves up for success. In reading this article, you have already taken a courageous step. You know you don’t want to live in a sexless marriage, and you’re seeking solutions. (Pro Tip: Check out this free resource to help determine the root cause of your lack of intimacy.)


As a sex, love, and relationship coach, I see the issue of sexless marriages come up all the time. If your partner is really “your best friend” and “there’s no one you would rather be with,” this shows that you’re committed and you have a desire for them. Often, when someone tells me about their sexless marriage, this is not the case (and the situation doesn’t have a lot of hope for working out). But your desire for your partner is a clue and a key to your ultimate success.


A lack of sexual intimacy can be a problem for one or both partners, but it’s not at all insurmountable. Over time, we develop habits in our relationships. You and your partner are likely “stuck in a groove” of not having sex. Moving out of an ingrained pattern is possible, but it takes both awareness and implementing new habits to break out of this rut.


Incremental intimacy helps

Incremental Intimacy means taking gradual steps towards becoming more intimate with each other. These steps can and should be small. Think of it as akin to making a minor dietary change, like drinking room-temperature water instead of ice water. It’s easy to take a small step in the right direction of health, whether for your body or your relationship.


Incremental Intimacy means taking the next logical, heartfelt step toward intimacy. Try it out. Feel into it. And add it to your routine if it feels right. Then, think of the next incremental step and follow the same process. If the desire is to go from holding hands to having sexual intimacy, ask yourself: What is the next step after holding hands? This process varies from person to person, couple to couple. There might be five steps for you and fifteen for someone else. Steps will differ for different people. How long you “stay” at each step before you take the next one also varies.


To give you an example, to move from simply holding hands to further sexual intimacy, you might first try one of these steps: cuddling together as you watch TV, putting on dinner music that is romantic, or setting aside time in the evening to talk alone. The step after that might be offering your partner a back rub or hiring a babysitter for a date night.


Make the time to work on intimacy

Putting a priority on exploring steps towards intimacy goes hand in hand with prioritizing making space for it. With busy schedules, intense careers, or raising children, it's easy to put sex on the back burner. However, it's essential to make the time for it. As a guideline, I suggest married couples plan alone time in the form of a “date night” once a week and also “away weekends” together (for at least one night) quarterly. (You can read more about these guidelines in my article on Fostering Intimacy.)


Start with yourself

It’s also vital that you take care of your own intimate needs. Self-pleasure and taking care of yourself, in general, make you feel good and also have a positive impact on your relationship. Cultivating your desire is a piece of the puzzle. For women, the more sex we have, the more sex we want to have. So, if you are lighting yourself up with pleasure, that will spill over into your relationship and subtly change the dynamic tension with your partner. One way to develop your ability to add a rich self-pleasure practice to your routine is to work with a sex coach.


If you're trying out incremental intimacy, making the time and space to be together, cultivating your desire, but still struggling to navigate this situation, seek the help of a professional. A coach or therapist can help you both communicate effectively, identify any underlying issues, and work to rebuild your sexual connection. If you’d like support navigating your next steps, you can book a chat with me or fill out my Client Interest Form. Want great strategies to boost intimacy, love & relationships in your inbox? Join my A-List!


Angela Dawn Baccala, Sex, Love & Relationship Coach

Angela (she/her) is a Certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach and a Certified Tantric Sex Coach, dedicated to helping couples Get Closer. With a wealth of experience in yoga and Tibetan Buddhism, she brings a holistic approach to her coaching. Angela's mission is to empower clients to find fulfillment in love and life, free from societal taboos. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, her unique perspective and extensive training in tantric practices make her the ideal guide for enriching your intimate relationships. Don't wait; the time for the best version of yourself in love and intimacy is now!



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