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Can we be happy as a couple without making sex?

If passion decreases after a few months, sex remains a cement for many couples. But can we live happily together without having sex? Testimonials and decryption.

This is not necessarily a question of age. Neither of the duration of the couple. It takes little desire to waver or to die out, even when love lasts in its own way. But the hour is at -couple flamboyant, in love and sexual.

It is then the questions interfere, disturbing the duo: what have we become? Brother and sister? Old, peaceful pals? A parental couple? How to revive the spark? Should we leave? Hang on ? And how do others? For some, the death of desire sounds the death knell of the couple. Others manage to do with, heckled, some even manage to find shameful arrangements. And then there are those who wait for desire to rise from the ashes. Confessions of three women who all love love but do not really have the same conception of the couple.

Living without sex: “Sometimes I find it normal, other times I believe”
Anne-Laure, 39, a couple for twenty-two years, mother of a child

“That’s not the way I envisioned the couple, especially since Paul started off in a rather hot and carnal way, and yet … It’s been three years since we’ve touched each other. came little by little, I would not know how to date it At the beginning all was self-evident, there was something epidermic between us, not the least shift, dysfunction.It is so far … With hindsight I come to tell me that perhaps I was not so satisfied at heart.

Of course, the birth of Laura, ten years later, has made a huge difference, but this is only a revealer, certainly not the cause. Let’s say we settled in the role of mom and dad with suspicious ease. And we’re not out.

We made love far and wide, maybe once a month, without much ecstasy or communion

The event that made everything emerge is a connection, totally unexpected and hyper-intense, five years ago, which has rekindled things in me asleep. And made me realize that I was drowsy for years. I quickly cut short, but lack, dissatisfaction do not leave me since. Paul, at the time, seemed rather satisfied. We made love far and wide, once a month perhaps, without much ecstasy or communion. I think, I feel that it was enough for him. This story has further separated us from each other. Until we come to no longer touch each other or have any momentum towards each other.

We never put words on it, and I really do not see how we could go back. The worst is that today we do not even have small gestures of tenderness, I find it very hard. But, at the same time, Paul remains my home port. We almost never leave each other, all our past links us, our two families, our daughter … And there are many things on which we work perfectly together, in habits, rituals of everyday life. Plenty of pleasant moments. We are a company that runs. But there is nothing romantic about it, no surprise.


That’s one of the thousand and one questions that haunt me: do I still love it? How do I like it?

Sometimes I try to make a reason for it: it’s like that, it’s normal. Other times I die. I catch myself dreaming that he comes from behind and kisses me in the neck. Or that I wake up against a man with whom I made love … To have a sexuality elsewhere, each one of his side? Of course I’ve already thought about it, but consider Paul in the bed of another, I can not. And neither him. It’s not our thing. So what ? Is it possible to “pass our love to the machine”, as in the song of Alain Souchon? I can not do it.

Why ? That’s one of the thousand and one questions that haunt me: do I still love it? How do I like it? Are we still a couple? When he gives me a pat on the buttocks passing, like a brother, I have doubts. In any case, our trio is a family, it is unthinkable to me to break … Maybe when Laura will fly on her own I will see things differently. For now, I have no idea what’s next. ”

Living without sex: “I have regular lovers”
Nicole, 36, married for fifteen years, mother of two

“Of course a couple can survive without sex! It took me years to accept it, but I find it rather comfortable today. Peter, I met him at age 20. not my hottest adventure, but the first that gave me desires for the future.We got married, for me it is not a commitment lightly.And soon we were in the construction: choose an apartment , make children, settle down.

We had more and more things and interests in common. And less and less urgent to make love. It was mostly him, in fact, who became less ardent, after my first pregnancy, two years later. But I did not really have time to ask myself questions; we found another rhythm, other habits, comfortable, and nothing has ever become as before. The arrival of the second child did not help, nor the fact that Peter works more and more, sometimes comes home while I was already in bed …

I needed his desire, I was in high demand, it sometimes created real tensions

At first, I did not really feel that he wanted me less, I even thought he had someone else in his life. But, to be honest, I too had less desire. I loved to see him become an important man in his job, a father who makes the big voice; I saw him less and less as a lover. Nevertheless, I needed his desire, I was very in demand, it sometimes created real tensions … Until my first liaison: with a man in the same situation as me, who had more relationships with his wife, even though he still loved her, and made me understand, in his own way, what Peter could feel. I put it down before falling in love, but a door had opened.

Since then, I regularly have lovers, if possible married, too, and fathers: we have the same gaps to fill, and the same good reasons not to succumb. With them I feel beautiful, desirable, woman. And with my little family I’m less aggressive, less in demand, I feel at home, safe, good. I do not have the impression of betraying Peter, to whom the almost asexual existence with me seems to agree.

Desiring the same person for twenty years is just unnatural

He always has tender gestures for me, we stayed very cuddly, and every night I fall asleep in spoon against him. As near a rampart. I happened to force myself a little when he was in demand, because it seemed abnormal to me not to make love anymore. Then it was spaced out, and I stopped wondering if it was normal or not … More than two years ago we did not make love, and I find it clearer, finally . Our link is not there. Does Peter have liaisons? I do not think so: he does not have time. And anyway, I do not want to know.

I know that my double life shocks many girlfriends, even those who face the same problem. But I found a balance like that, cutting myself in half. I do not know how long it can last: as long as possible, I hope. Because I am convinced that if I fall in love tomorrow and I start a story again, after a while it will be the same impasse. Desiring the same person for twenty years is just unnatural … With Peter I built a building that I want, much stronger than the libido. And more reassuring.

Living without sex: “I left it, I did not want this life”
Anna, 42, separated after fourteen years of life as a couple, mother of two

No, a couple can not survive without sex. Not only am I convinced but I paid dearly for this creed. Finally, for me it’s the notion of a couple that is messy. The couple is a social construction. Certainly, we can very well be in a couple and not to love each other, to be in a relationship and not to make love. I know a lot of cases like this around me. But that link, I do not want it. I do not need a crutch. What I need is to love and to be loved. A romantic relationship, inseparable from the sexual relationship.

Seven years ago I gave up a wonderful story with the father of my children, because we had become brother and sister. Yet this man really loved me, and me too. We had a good life together. When I left him, I cut off an arm. But I did not want this life anymore. When he understood that I was leaving, he was ready for everything: that I have my room apart, my adventures … Maybe if I had been old and row sex cars it could have suited me. It was way too early, I took my legs to my neck. When I think about it today, it was like a new birth, my transition to adulthood.

 If the desire were to be extinguished it would clearly be the end

In my eyes, these stories of love without emotion are based on something perhaps more fundamental than sex, a thing of childhood. That’s why they are so painful to cut. When I left, I felt like I was losing my father, my mother, my brother, my sister … It’s the child in his own right. I left to free myself. If I had stayed, deep down, we would still be “a couple”, a small business that works by itself, even without the knowledge of its members. No problem. I refused, and I still refuse.

I am currently in love, and I am terrified by this threat. We love each other and we have wanted each other for three years. He would like us to live together as a “couple”. Not me. In fact, it flung sex, the life of a couple. It mixes everything. For now I resist, and it goes very well like that. If the desire were to be extinguished it would clearly be the end. A sweet relationship, harmonious … and asexual? We have friends for that.

Living without sex: the opinion of the psychiatrist
Marie Claire: Surviving without sex, is this problematic only for old couples?
Sophie Cadalen (1): Not at all. Because everything is played very early in a relationship, depending on how it is organized, and it is not always around the sexual question. I hear a lot of young people for whom the commitment is decided when, from the beginning, sex is not very important between them. And that does not mean, in any case, that it will not last long. They hope that it will be unraveled one day. Something is missing, but “it’s not that bad”, there are “so many other things that go so well” … And, a few decades from now, the question would not have been not asked. Except that today hovers on the couple the norm of the regular sex, flourished. And some wonder when never, in fact, sex was between them the heart of the subject.

How can a couple last without it?
There are, first of all, those couples for whom this aspect of the relationship has never been important. Both can say, “Sex, no, it’s not my thing. It’s more difficult for men to assume, but it’s an admission on the couch. A little “shot” from time to time is enough for them. And if they are no longer solicited, they do without it. It is more common than we imagine … The other big case is the duo “dominant-dominated”: one is in a position of demand, the other is waiting, guilty of doing to suffer first. It works very well in a neurotic mode, and it can last a lifetime.

But if the absence of sex really becomes a suffering?
It is necessary to question this suffering, from oneself to oneself. What makes me suffer? Sometimes it’s just the question of the norm. I often hear in my office: “But sex is the cement of the couple! Or: “Is this normal? Is it logical that it can hold without it? Now, if there is one area where there is nothing normal or obligatory, it is that of sex and love. Is it a narcissistic suffering: “You do not want me? You do not find me beautiful? But the real question is: “Do I want you? Am I really lacking sex? Or lack of self-confidence … “Sometimes, all this suffering can push the couple to build differently. Go elsewhere. One goes away, and it wakes up the other. Or both have parallel lives. But it is rare: a couple can organize in this way if, already, it was like that at the beginning, even without his knowledge. There is also the solution of cleavage. It’s very complicated to manage sex and love, it does not organize at all the same way. Some choose, for every day, a cushy “teddy bear”, while they dream of disheveled life and sexual twisters … that they can end up offering themselves in a parallel life. A way to put things in different places.

In which cases the absence of sex can explode the couple?
If you are really in a sexual drive. For couples who have found themselves on this ground, the disappearance of sex may reveal dysfunctions that the reconciliation on the pillow occulted. Sex is often the concentrate, the developer and many other things. It is unconscious that it is, not gymnastics! Even for couples in which there is “that” that goes, it’s far from innocuous. This attachment is extremely powerful.

But when the couple survives, has not this become a story of brother and sister?
You know a lot, brother and sister able to live together? No, it’s not about brother and sister, or roommates who share nothing but rent. These couples, on the contrary, usually have a lot in common. A connivance, tenderness, intellectual interests, activism (something very libidinal is played there, something passionate, exciting, feverish) … The whole problem is what we expect a priori of the couple. In fact, no definition is universal. A couple is a creation, it is counted in three: one, the other and this other state, this sphere that we invent together and which belongs only to us. It is necessary to read the book of the philosopher Alain Badiou (2) on this subject … There is nothing installed, stiffened in the couple. Everything is based on a balance between a myriad of elements. Sexuality is only one of many.



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