My husband & I are still going strong after 15 years… minus the sex. Are we doomed?

My husband & I are still going strong after 15 years… minus the sex. Are we doomed?

You are currently viewing My husband & I are still going strong after 15 years… minus the sex. Are we doomed?
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Hi Jake,

My husband and I just celebrated 15 years together. It’s super crazy, because we’re both only 35! We met when we were in college, and formed a really solid connection that has persevered all these years. A few years ago, we got married, as a way to demonstrate our commitment even further. We’ve built a comfortable life together, share the same values and interests, absolutely love our two dogs, and consider each other our best friends.

There’s just one thing…

We don’t have sex.

Like, ever.

I honestly can’t remember the last time, but it has to have been close to a year or more. I still find him handsome and often admire him throughout the day, but I don’t feel that burning hot passion I once felt and, clearly, he doesn’t either. We’ve been open for quite a while, so it’s not like we aren’t getting any action ever. We are! Just not with each other.

I guess my concern is that if we allow ourselves to continue down this path, is our relationship doomed? I’m scared I’m going to wake up in another 15 years and realize I’m married to my roommate.

Friend with (No) Benefits

Dear Friend with (No) Benefits,

First things first, I want to congratulate you on what sounds like a solid, strong, and beautiful connection that has stayed meaningful and important over the years, despite carving out non-traditional ways to get your needs met. It sounds like you’ve achieved not only longevity, but have also nurtured a deep and fulfilling partnership with one another, which sounds much more than being “friends” or “roommates.”

Relationships do not have to look a certain way. There are all sorts of dynamics, arrangements, and written or unwritten agreements to choose from, and ultimately it’s up to each couple (or throuple!) to figure out what works best for them.

When you’ve been with someone for a very long time (BTW 15 years is practically an eternity in gay years!), it’s only natural for the sexual attraction between parties to evolve and change. Humans are wired for novelty, so it’s not exactly shocking that you aren’t jumping each other’s bones with the same voracity you did when you were college buds. Fortunately, if you look outside the confines of heteronormativity, there are work-arounds for that.

Sure, sex is one way we connect and experience intimacy with another person, but it’s not the only way. Even when the “burning hot passion” fades, something even more meaningful can take hold. Powerful bonds are formed by sharing our vulnerabilities with one another, seeing and understanding our partner unconditionally, and supporting one another when times get tough. It’s these things that build a solid foundation, more than how many times a week you’re getting it on.

Luckily, as queer people, we have the unique perspective that it’s okay to design our lives and relationships in ways that work for us, rather than by society’s standards. Open relationships and non-monogamy are very common, as they retain what’s special about a partnership, while also being realistic about our biological drives.

Of course, communication, trust, and respect are key components in making these work. Both parties should be on the same page, including being in agreement about how much sex you’re having with each other, or outside the relationship. If that’s not the case, a conversation might be warranted.

In other words, If you’re having less sex than you think you “should” be, but you’re both actually fine with that, maybe it’s time to drop the “should.” Conversely, if you’re missing the sexual intimacy, then talk about that.

As you move towards the next 15 years, I encourage you to keep nurturing your bond. It can be easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of life, work, routine, and household duties, and it takes effort to stay connected. Find a time and place to share regularly in a meaningful way.

Sure, you might be great “friends”, first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean there are “no benefits.” Congrats again! I’m happy for you!

Ask Jake is our advice column by Queerty editor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Jake Myers. If you have a question for Jake, please email [email protected] for consideration.


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