Dear Coleen: My husband and I love each other but we never have sex

Man lying awake with insomnia
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Dear Coleen

MY husband and I are both 48 and have one daughter, who’s in her first year at university, so we have an empty nest for the first time. Like all couples, we’ve had our struggles over the years – personal and financial – but, actually, the tough times always bonded us and made us closer and stronger as a couple.

I’d say we’re soulmates, brilliant friends and really love each other. However, over the past couple of years we’ve gradually slipped into this pattern of not having sex and now it never happens and I think it would feel a bit awkward if it did.

The thing is, I don’t think either of us is unhappy in the marriage, it’s just kind of how things have gone. He’s consumed by his job and my life is busy, too, but we still hug and show each other affection.

But I can’t help thinking there might be problems down the line and that we should be having sex. I don’t talk to my friends much about sex but it’s clear they’re all still having it.

Are we too young to be in this place and can a marriage survive without sex? I’d love your opinion.

Coleen says

WELL, the answer is yes, a marriage can survive without sex if both partners are 100 per cent on board with it.

I know older couples who’ve decided that bit of their ­relationship is over, but still love each other and value the other things their marriage has given them – friendship, shared ­interests, kids and grandkids.

The problem comes if one of you wants sex and the other doesn’t. You’ve obviously been thinking about it a lot because you’ve written to me, so it’s clearly something you feel needs addressing.

You both need to acknowledge that you don’t have sex any more (at the moment it’s probably the elephant in the room) and talk about it. Find out how he really feels because at the moment it’s just guesswork.

I totally ­understand that conversations about sex aren’t easy to have and are probably even harder when you’ve been together a long time. But avoiding it won’t make your worries go away. You need to know where you both stand, so you can move forward.

I think it’s normal for couples who’ve been together for years to go through periods of having lots of sex and then periods of having less or no sex.

So talk about it. Better still, go away for a night and talk. I think you need to reconnect on a deeper level. Good luck.

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