Hello, everybody welcome back to the ed radio podcast mark goldberg, alongside your host casey calaman, we’re discussing sexless marriage today that dovetails into a topic we cover quite often on this podcast, and that is long-term relationships and erection difficulties. Mark. I want to ask you: why do couples that have been together for such a long time often run into sexual issues such as erectile dysfunction or not having sex at all so casey? First of all, I just want to say it’s great to be in studio, recording together in person, really, I think, gonna help our production and what we deliver to our listeners. So I’m really excited to be here with you recording this episode absolutely and if you’re listening on the podcast apps, this is erectioniq youtube page and you can just find us erectioniq.com. So the question you asked is a complex question as to why couples in longer term relationships oftentimes run into sexual issues. Erectile dysfunction is one of those issues that couples do face and some of that has to do with age. Some of it has to do with loss of novelty in a relationship, but, more broadly speaking, ending up not having sex in a relationship is actually quite common and there’s a number of reasons as to why that might happen. First and foremost as relationships, age, unspoken, tension or problems in the relationship can bleed over and oftentimes manifest themselves in the sexual relationship. I think that’s pretty common other causes of not having sex at all can have to do with undiagnosed sexual dysfunction for one or both partners. Oftentimes, there’s reasons why people want to avoid having sex the vulnerability of trying to engage, not knowing if things are going to work or if it’s going to cause pain or lead to some kind of disappointment can cause couples to just avoid initiating or engaging in sex altogether. I think. Lastly, I would just mention that I think there’s a paradox that oftentimes, the more close and comfortable people become with each other that can often lead to a certain sense of boredom or a certain sense of I’ve. Been there. I’ve done that which can lead to a lack of sexual initiation or a lack of sex drive in a long-term relationship. Sexless marriages. In my mind, I’m assuming it affects long-term married couples, but as far as can newlyweds struggle with having a sexless marriage, or is this issue something that strictly affects couples that have been together for a long time. So I think it’s fair to say that it is far more common for a sexless marriage to be taking place in a longer-term relationship multiple years down the road. Generally speaking, there is a certain newness and a novelty that many newlyweds or let’s say, people who are newly into a relationship are going to experience that oftentimes will fuel a sexual relationship. That being said, there are certainly plenty of newlyweds and people who are in newer relationships that do run into a slew of intimacy challenges that can lead to a sexless relationship. So one of the ways to look at this is that a sexual relationship has to get started for many couples. It’s automatic it’s almost axiomatic that when they get together, the sexual relationship just kicks in, but that is not true for all couples and if things get off to an awkward start, if neither partner wants to initiate couples from the get-go can struggle with a sexual relationship, and this can also lead to all sorts of sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction. So I don’t think that a sexless relationship or a sexless marriage is exclusive to a longer-term relationship. I think there are certainly plenty of younger or newer couples that find themselves in a similar situation. Really tough question for you. I I think it’s going to be a tough one anyways. What are your thoughts on the ideal amount and I put ideal amount in quotes the ideal amount of sex a couple a married couple or any couple should be having so like you’re pointing out casey. This is an impossible question to answer, because I don’t think that there is a correct number for every single couple that could be applied equally. The general measure that I use when I am asking a couple about their sex life is whether or not the frequency is upsetting or distressing, so the ideal amount really is going to vary from couple to couple. At no point have I ever as a therapist recommended a certain number of times or a certain frequency that really is up to the couple to figure out what frequency works for the two of them and try to reach toward that goal. What we do know, though, is that a sexless marriage is generally considered a couple who is having sex less than 10 times in a year. The numbers are strikingly high in terms of how many couples are actually in a definitional, sexless marriage. So I think it would be fair to say that the ideal amount for almost all couples is going to be higher than 10 times a year, but just how high that goes is really going to vary, got it intimacy. It’s a word that I’m, I’m sure has many meetings, but I know it’s probably important for couples to be intimate, so is intimacy the same thing as sex or how would you define intimacy? So I don’t really think intimacy and sex are one and the same thing I think sex can be intimate and I think intimate intimacy can be sexual, but I do think that each of these can exist totally separated from the other. So there are plenty of ways to engage in sexual activity that does not really include intimacy. One of the terms I think that’s often used in the sex therapy world is sex, can either be relational or recreational, and I think a lot of times it’s a combination of the two, but certainly even couples in longer term relationships can have sexual encounters that are not necessarily intimate. The the inverse of this is is true as well. There are a lot of ways to be intimate that don’t involve anything even remotely sexual, so I don’t think these concepts well, they are oftentimes conflated. I think that very often people use these words interchangeably, but I think intimacy and sex are not the same. So can couples have intimacy without actual penetration, traditional sex? Is this potentially beneficial to relationships? So the answer I think, is absolutely intimacy and sexuality are not one of the same, but even sexual intimacy does not require penis and vagina penetration. There are a number of potential benefits to relationships when they are able to engage in non-penetrative forms of sexual intimacy, in particular when there’s a lot of pressure to perform when it comes to sexual penetration, which I’ll just go on a moment of aside tangent here, sexual penetration is actually very complex because it requires two people to be able to sexually perform and that can create a tremendous amount of pressure, so sometimes penetration or the drive toward penetration. The pressure to achieve penetrative sex can actually erode intimacy and one of the ways that that sex, therapists, help couples rebuild intimacy. Oftentimes involves a slew of behavioral suggestions that include all types of intimacy. Sexual intimacy that do not include penetration got it. So I was going to ask if couples seek the assistance of a sex therapist when they find themselves not having sex. It sounds like they do anything else. You wanted to comment about that, so it’s not only. For that reason, even when couples are seeking sex therapy because of a sexless marriage, sometimes it’s out of fear of penetration or concerns around penetrative sex, but more often than not, it has to do with broader issues that are impacting the relationship and oftentimes they’re just manifesting in the sexual relationship. That being said, quite often, the request for therapy is driven by a sexless marriage and wanting to get that piece repaired. So how does the role of aging or a lower libido factor into the conversation we’re having today on sexless marriage, so libido is certainly a factor. I I look at libido as a chicken or egg type of question when somebody’s in a sexless marriage or a sexless relationship, I think a more thorough examination of the quality of the relationship. The quality of communication has to be considered if a person an individual is walking around on the daily and they are worried about what their partner thinks about them. They’re worried that they’re not good enough for their partner. They think their partner isn’t good enough for them. These types of thoughts, this type of experience, is potentially going to drive libido lower. At the same time, aging can have an impact on libido low testosterone levels can have an impact on libido and obviously having a lower libido does decrease. I think the general frequency that somebody is going to go ahead and initiate sex and that can lead to a sexist relationship as well, so any other final thoughts on sexless marriages before we wrap up here today, like many challenges in the bedroom, this is a normal challenge to me, it’s very understandable how couples get to this point. It’s hard, it’s hard to maintain a long-term relationship. The work that people put in, though, to make those improvements, I think, will help toward improved intimacy and, ultimately, that intimacy can lead to better sex lives and better sexual relationships, and I encourage anybody who finds himself in a in a sexless marriage and I’ll emphasize is distressed by it should certainly reach out for help. There are a lot of professionals out there who can be helpful and and really help you get your relationship on track.