Sex plays a multifaceted role in relationships, contributing to emotional, psychological, and physical intimacy. It serves as a form of bonding between the partners. The absence of sexual connection can lead to frustration, resentment, and distance. If you want to know how long is too long without sex in a relationship, then read on.

Physical intimacy enhances the connection between partners. Physical intimacy can lead to the release of oxytocin, often called the “bonding hormone,” promoting feelings of attachment and closeness. This emotional connection strengthens the overall foundation of a relationship, fostering trust, understanding, and empathy between partners. Sex acts as a means of communication, allowing partners to express affection, desire, and vulnerability.

Through physical intimacy, individuals can convey emotions that words may struggle to capture. This communication helps partners feel valued and desired, boosting their self-esteem and reinforcing their emotional connection. Sex contributes to the release of endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Sexual activities can alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and enhance overall well-being.

Read further to find out the importance of having sex, how long is too long without sex in a relationship, the side effects of not having sex, and potential solutions.

Table of Contents

Why is sex important in a relationship?

Let’s explore how sexual intimacy is paramount in nurturing and strengthening relationships.

  • Emotional connection and intimacy
  • Expression of desire
  • Stress reduction and overall well-being
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Way of showing affection
  • Adventure and exploration
  • Creation of an exclusive bond
  • Oxytocin release
  • Shared intimate memories
  • Conflict resolution aid
  • Long-term relationship satisfaction
  • Physical health benefits
  • Hormonal balance
  • Non-verbal connection
  • Brings joy and lightheartedness

Emotional connection and intimacy:

Sex cultivates a deep emotional bond, fostering intimacy, trust, and vulnerability between partners. Sexual intimacy involves sharing a deeply personal and vulnerable aspect of oneself with a partner. This vulnerability creates a strong emotional connection where partners feel safe and cherished.

Expression of desire:

Sexual activity allows partners to express their physical and emotional attraction, reaffirming their mutual desire and love. Through physical affection and sexual engagement, partners communicate their profound attraction and longing for each other. This expression helps maintain a sense of excitement and appreciation within the relationship.

Stress reduction and overall well-being:

Engaging in sexual activity releases endorphins that alleviate stress and anxiety and contribute to well-being. Physical intimacy triggers the release of feel-good hormones, such as endorphins, which help reduce stress levels, boost mood, and enhance mental and emotional health.

Boosting self-esteem:

Positive sexual experiences improve self-esteem and body image, leading to greater self-confidence. Feeling desired and attractive to a partner during intimate moments can positively impact an individual’s self-perception, fostering a sense of self-assurance and self-worth.

Way of showing affection:

Sex provides a unique avenue for partners to demonstrate their love, care, and devotion to each other. Physical touch and sexual engagement are tangible manifestations of love and affection, reinforcing the emotional connection between partners.

Adventure and exploration:

Sexual experiences allow couples to explore fantasies, spicing up the relationship and maintaining a sense of excitement. Engaging in new sexual experiences and experimenting with different activities can bring novelty and adventure to the relationship, preventing monotony.

Creation of an exclusive bond:

Regular sexual activity creates a special, intimate bond unique to the partnership, reinforcing a sense of exclusivity and commitment. Shared intimate moments create a sense of unity and closeness that distinguishes the relationships from other connections, fostering a strong commitment between partners.

Oxytocin release:

The release of oxytocin during sex promotes attachment and emotional closeness and deepens the bond between partners. Oxytocin, often called the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone,” is released during sexual activity, contributing to feelings of attachment and emotional intimacy.

Shared intimate memories:

Intimate experiences build shared memories, contributing to a sense of history and togetherness within the relationship. Engaging in intimate moments and creating memories together strengthens the emotional connection and history of the partnership.

Conflict resolution aids:

Sexual engagement can ease tension and facilitate communication, aiding conflict resolution and preventing unnecessary disputes. After resolving conflicts through open communication, engaging in physical intimacy can help reaffirm the emotional connection and rebuild rapport.

Long-term relationship satisfaction:

A fulfilling sex life contributes to overall relationship satisfaction, potentially leading to a more enduring and fulfilling partnership. Regularly experiencing satisfying sexual intimacy contributes to overall happiness and contentment within the relationship.

Physical health benefits:

Engaging in sexual activity offers physical health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, reduced pain, and enhanced immune system function. Regular sexual activity has various physical advantages, including improved heart health, stress reduction, and better immune system function.

Hormonal balance:

Regular sexual activity may help regulate hormonal balance in both partners, positively influencing mood and emotional well-being. Sexual activity can contribute to the balance of hormones such as cortisol, which plays a paramount role in stress management, thereby supporting emotional well-being.

Non-verbal connection:

For individuals who struggle with verbal expressions, sexual intimacy provides a powerful non-verbal means of conveying affection and love. Some people find it easier to express their emotions physically than through words, making sex a valuable tool for emotional expression.

Joy and lightheartedness:

Sexual experiences contribute to joy, pleasure, and laughter within a relationship, fostering a positive and playful atmosphere. Engaging in enjoyable and intimate activities can bring lightness and happiness to the relationship, promoting a sense of joy and fun between partners.

How long is too long without sex in a relationship?

The duration considered “too long” without sexual activity in a relationship is a complex and subjective matter that varies based on individual preferences, relationship dynamics, and personal circumstances. There is no universally defined time frame, as each couple’s expectations and needs differ. However, when a lack of sexual intimacy persists for an extended period, typically several months or more, it may raise concerns and impact the relationship.

Firstly, extended sexual inactivity can lead to physical and emotional distance between partners. Physical intimacy is a fundamental way for couples to connect, and when this aspect is neglected, partners may feel less close and emotionally connected to each other. The absence of physical touch and intimacy can lead to feelings of loneliness and detachment, potentially affecting the overall quality of the relationship.

Secondly, a lack of sexual activity may impact relationship satisfaction. For many couples, a healthy and fulfilling sex life contributes to their happiness and contentment. The absence of regular sexual engagement can lead to dissatisfaction, potentially causing tension and strain within the relationship. Partners may question their desirability or the level of attraction their significant other feels toward them.

Moreover, the lack of sexual activity can also affect an individual’s well-being. Engaging in sexual activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. The absence of these positive chemicals can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression. Hormonal imbalances due to lack of sexual activity might also affect mood regulation, impacting emotional health.

Additionally, an extended period without sex might indicate underlying issues within the relationship or individual factors such as stress, medical conditions, or lifestyle changes. Partners must engage in open communications to identify the root causes and work collaboratively to address them. Failure to address these complications can lead to resentment, frustration, and further relationship deterioration.

While no specific timeframe universally defines “too long” without sexual activity in a relationship, it’s important to recognize that extended periods of sexual inactivity can have a remarkable impact on emotional connection, relationship satisfaction, and individual well-being. Open communication, understanding, and a mutual commitment to addressing the issues are essential for navigating this challenging partnership.

What are the root causes of being in a sexless relationship?

Let’s delve into the various underlying factors that contribute to a lack of sexual intimacy within a romantic relationship.

  • Physical and mental health issues
  • Stress
  • Relationship strain and emotional disconnect
  • Mismatched libidos
  • Lifestyle changes and time constraints
  • Aging and hormonal shifts
  • Past trauma and emotional baggage
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Medications
  • Cultural and religious beliefs
  • Communication breakdown
  • Routine and monotony
  • Personal insecurities
  • Lack of knowledge or skills

Physical and mental health issues:

Physical problems like chronic pain, hormonal imbalances (such as thyroid disorders), or medical conditions (like diabetes) can directly affect sexual desire and functioning. Pain or discomfort during sex may lead to avoidance, while hormonal changes can diminish libido. These conditions may require medical treatment and adjustments to restore sexual well-being.


High-stress levels, anxiety, and mental health disorders (such as depression) can disrupt the brain’s neurotransmitters responsible for sexual desire and arousal. These factors can lead to decreased interest in sex and may require counseling, therapy, or medication.

Relationship strain and emotional disconnect:

Emotional closeness may deteriorate when conflicts or unresolved issues accumulate within a relationship. A lack of emotional connection can diminish the desire for physical intimacy, making it essential to address underlying problems and reestablish emotional bonds.

Mismatched libidos:

Partners with differing levels of sexual desire can experience frustration and misunderstandings. The partner with the higher libido might feel rejected or unsatisfied, while the other may feel pressured. Open communication, empathy, and compromise are crucial to balancing harmoniously.

Lifestyle changes and time constraints:

Busy schedules, work-related stress, and parenting responsibilities can leave little time or energy for sexual activity. Over time, these factors may contribute to a decline in intimacy. Partners need to prioritize quality time together and communicate their needs for intimacy.

Aging and hormonal shifts:

As individuals age, hormonal changes can impact sexual desire, arousal, and performance. Menopause and andropause (male equivalent) can bring about hormonal shifts that affect libido and sexual function. Couples may need to adjust their expectations and explore new ways of maintaining intimacy.

Past trauma and emotional baggage:

Past traumatic experiences can lead to sexual avoidance due to triggers, fear, or emotional distress. Addressing and seeking support for these issues through therapy or counseling can help partners reconnect physically and emotionally.

Addiction and substance abuse:

Substance abuse or addiction can disrupt brain chemistry, affecting sexual desire and performance. Overcoming these challenges requires professional help and support to restore physical and emotional health.


Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihypertensives, and some birth control methods, can have side effects that dampen libido or interfere with sexual function. Consultation with a healthcare professional can help find alternatives or manage side effects.

Cultural and religious beliefs:

Cultural or religious beliefs may influence attitudes toward sex, potentially leading to feelings of guilt, shame, or inhibition. Open conversations that respect each partner’s beliefs are essential to navigate this complex issue.

Communication breakdown:

Poor communication regarding sexual needs, desires, and boundaries can create misunderstandings and unmet expectations. Open and non-judgmental dialogue can bridge gaps, fostering a deeper understanding of each other’s needs.

Routine and monotony:

Monotony within a relationship can lead to a lack of novelty and excitement. This routine can extend to the bedroom, causing a decline in sexual attraction and desire. Partners can work together to introduce variety and spontaneity into their interactions.

Personal insecurities:

Personal insecurities and low self-esteem can create self-doubt and anxiety in sexual situations. Building each other’s confidence and seeking professional help can improve emotional well-being and intimacy.

Lack of knowledge or skills:

A lack of sexual education or understanding of sexual techniques can lead to discomfort, anxiety, or performance issues. Educating oneself, exploring together, and maintaining an open attitude toward learning can enhance sexual experiences.

What are the side effects of not having sex?

Neglecting sexual activity can lead to various physical, emotional, and relational consequences. Understanding these potential side effects underscores the importance of open communication, addressing underlying issues, and working together to maintain a healthy and intimate connection. Let’s examine the consequences of a lack of sexual activity.

  • Physical health implications
  • Emotional well-being
  • Impact on relationship dynamics
  • Decreased libido
  • Intimacy and connection
  • Self-esteem and body image
  • Relief from stress and pain
  • Hormonal balance
  • Brain health and cognitive function
  • Sleep-quality
  • Immune system function
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Overall relationship satisfaction
  • Communication and connection
  • Potential for resentment

Physical health implications:

Delayed sexual dormancy can prompt decreased cardiovascular well-being because of the absence of physical exertion. The absence of sexual movement might add to the debilitated immune system capability, making the body more vulnerable to disease and ailments.

Furthermore, the absence of sexual release can bring about expended feelings of anxiety, as sexual activity assists with lessening pressure by sparking the release of endorphins, which are normal temperament enhancers.

Emotional well-being:

Not taking part in sexual activity can prompt profound outcomes. Sexual encounters spark the release of endorphins, which advance a feeling of joy, unwinding, and general prosperity. The absence of these natural mood elevators might add to expanded pressure, tension, and emotional distress. Subsequently, people in sexless connections might encounter emotional uneasiness and difficulties dealing with their state.

Impact on relationship dynamics:

A lack of sexual intimacy can strain relationship dynamics. Emotional connection and physical intimacy often go hand in hand. Without the emotional and physical bonding that sexual activity provides, partners may feel emotionally distant, leading to misunderstandings and potential conflicts. Feelings of rejection or dissatisfaction due to the absence of sexual intimacy can erode trust and lead to relational strain.

Decreased libido:

Participating in rare sexual activity might add to a diminished drive over the long run. The less one participates in sexual action, the less the body may normally want it. Diminished sexual craving can additionally fuel the issues of sexual idleness, making a cycle that is trying to break.

Intimacy and connection:

An absence of actual closeness can fundamentally lessen profound closeness and association between accomplices. Physical and profound closeness is imperative for keeping serious areas of strength for a strong bond. The absence of physical touch, love, and sexual interaction can prompt emotional detachment, forlornness, and disappointment in the relationship.

Self-esteem and body image:

Sexual activity often provides validation, affirmation, and a sense of desirability. Without these experiences, individuals may experience negative effects on their self-esteem and body image. The lack of affirmation and physical connection can lead to self-doubt and negative self-perception, potentially impacting self-confidence.

Relief from stress and pain:

Regular sexual activity can serve as a natural stress reliever. Engaging in sexual activity releases endorphins, which act as natural mood elevators. Additionally, sexual activity can help alleviate physical discomfort or pain by releasing tension and relaxation.

Hormonal balance:

Sexual activity plays a role in maintaining hormonal balance within the body. Oxytocin, often called the “love hormone,” is released during sexual activity and promotes emotional well-being. The absence of regular sexual release may disrupt the hormonal equilibrium, potentially affecting mood, emotional connection, and overall mental health.

Brain health and cognitive function:

Engaging in sexual activity has been related to improved cognitive function and brain health. The release of neurochemicals during sexual experiences can positively affect memory, mental clarity, and overall brain health.

Sleep quality:

Sexual activity can provide better sleep quality. The release of endorphins and the relaxation from sexual experiences can promote restful sleep and improve overall sleep patterns.

Immune system function:

Regular sexual activity has been related to improved immune system function. Engaging in sexual activity can increase the production of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps defend against infections, potentially leading to a more robust immune response.

Cardiovascular health:

Engaging in sexual activity can have positive effects on cardiovascular health. The physician exertion involved in sexual activity can promote better blood circulation and heart health, contributing to overall cardiovascular well-being.

Overall relationship satisfaction:

A lack of sexual intimacy may contribute to lower overall relationship satisfaction. Sexual intimacy is an integral part of many romantic relationships, and its absence can lead to emotional and psychological strain between partners, potentially affecting the overall quality of the relationship.

Communication and connection:

Physical intimacy, including sexual activity, fosters communication and connection between partners. Intimate acts often involve open dialogue about desires, boundaries, and preferences. The absence of physical intimacy may hinder the growth of emotional bonds and mutual understanding within the relationship.

Potential for resentment:

Prolonged sexual inactivity may lead to feelings of resentment within the relationship. Partners may feel unfulfilled, neglected, or emotionally distant due to the lack of physical and emotional connection, potentially leading to dissatisfaction and strain.

How can you promote a healthy sexual relationship with your partner?

Let’s explore strategies and approaches to foster a fulfilling and harmonious sexual connection within a romantic partnership.

  • Open and honest communication
  • Active listening
  • Prioritizing quality time
  • Exploration and variety
  • Mutual respect and consent
  • Physical affection
  • Healthy lifestyle habits
  • Stress management
  • Prioritize self-care
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular date nights
  • Sensate focus exercises
  • Maintain emotional connection
  • Professional support
  • Foster a positive body image

Open and honest communication:

Establish a foundation of trust where both partners can openly discuss their sexual desires, needs, and boundaries. Regularly engage in conversations about preferences, fantasies, and any concerns. Sharing thoughts and feelings helps build understanding and ensures both partners feel heard and validated, ultimately enhancing emotional intimacy and creating a safe space for vulnerability.

Active listening:

Actively listen to your partner’s words and pay attention to non-verbal cues. Show genuine interest in their feelings and perspectives. Demonstrating attentiveness and understanding creates an environment where your partner feels valued and respected, fostering a deeper connection.

Prioritize quality time:

Dedicate meaningful time to connect with your partner outside of sexual interactions. Engage in shared activities, deep conversations, and create lasting memories together. Strengthening your emotional bond outside the bedroom creates a more fulfilling and harmonious sexual relationship.

Exploration and variety:

Embrace a spirit of adventure by trying new things in the bedroom. Discuss fantasies and experiment with activities to keep the sexual experience exciting and dynamic. Exploration encourages ongoing engagement and prevents monotony, allowing both partners to discover new sources of pleasure and connection.

Mutual respect and consent:

Prioritize mutual respect and consent in all aspects of your sexual relationship. Establish clear boundaries and ensure both partners feel comfortable communicating their preferences. Respecting each other’s limits and seeking enthusiastic consent creates an atmosphere of trust and safety, enhancing overall intimacy.

Physical affection:

Engage in non-sexual physical touch regularly. Hugging, cuddling, holding hands, and gentle caresses help maintain a sense of physical closeness and intimacy between sexual encounters. These gestures remind both partners of their affection and strengthen the emotional bond.

Healthy lifestyle habits:

Prioritize a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep. These habits contribute to overall well-being, boost energy levels, and positively impact sexual function, enhancing both partners’ physical and mental readiness for intimacy.

Stress management:

Practice stress-reduction techniques to create a relaxed and receptive mindset for sexual experiences. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, and yoga help alleviate stress and anxiety, allowing partners to be fully present during intimate moments.

Prioritize self-care:

Attend to your physical, emotional, and mental needs. Engage in activities that bring joy, relaxation, and fulfillment outside the relationship. When you feel confident, content, and self-assured individually, you contribute positively to the overall dynamic of the sexual relationship.

Quality sleep:

Prioritize quality sleep for both partners. Fatigue and sleep deprivation can diminish sexual desire and performance. Establish healthy sleep routines and a restful environment to ensure optimal energy levels and sexual well-being.

Regular date nights:

Set aside time for regular date nights to keep the romantic spark alive. These occasions allow partners to focus solely on each other, fostering a deeper emotional connection and maintaining a sense of romance.

Sensate focus exercises:

Engage in sensate focus exercises, where partners explore each other’s bodies through touch without the pressure of sexual activity. These exercises encourage partners to reacquaint themselves with each other’s sensations and enhance physical intimacy.

Maintain emotional connection:

Strengthen emotional bonds by engaging in activities that deepen your connection. Share experiences, express affection, discuss future goals, and show gratitude to keep the emotional connection strong and vibrant.

Professional support:

If facing challenges, consider seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor experienced in relationships and sexual health. Professional support offers a safe space to address concerns, learn effective communication strategies, and explore ways to enhance intimacy.

Foster a positive body image:

Cultivate a positive body image by practicing self-acceptance and self-love. Embrace your body and focus on its strengths. Feeling confident and comfortable in your skin enhances your comfort and satisfaction during intimate moments, promoting a healthier sexual relationship.


Sustaining a solid sexual relationship inside a heartfelt partnership is a unique cycle that requires devotion, understanding, and viable correspondence. By embracing a comprehensive methodology that envelops emotional, physical, and social viewpoints, couples can make a satisfying and agreeable association that adds to their prosperity. Transparent communication is the foundation, empowering accomplices to communicate their cravings, limits, and worries without judgment.

Active listening and mutual respect build a foundation of trust, fostering a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and promoting empathy. Active listening and mutual respect build a foundation of trust, fostering a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and promoting empathy.


Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lone Mind. Apart from Lone Mind, he is a serial entrepreneur, and has founded multiple successful companies in different industries.

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