33 Stories From Couples That Have Little To No Sex That Are So Important To Hear, Because Sex Is Not The Be All, End All Of Relationships

    "Some people just aren’t driven by a need for sex."

    It might seem like *everyone* is having sex these days, and there is constant messaging in our society and pop culture that sex is necessary to make a romantic relationship work. But...that's not always the case.

    Sex positivity is great, but it's also important to remember that such a societal prioritization and glamorization of sex — especially penetrative sex — can feel really alienating to people who are on the asexuality spectrum, can't have certain types of sex (or sex at all) due to medical reasons, or are dealing with trauma.

    Because the truth is, sex is great! But it's not necessary for a relationship — as we can see from the stories here. In case you're wondering how that works, take a look at these 33 stories from couples who have little to no sex.

    Responses were aggregated from this Reddit thread that asked, "Couples in loving relationships who rarely have sex, how do you make it work?" and comments from the BuzzFeed Community!

    WARNING: This post contains sexual content and mentions of sexual assault.

    1. "I have vaginismus, and my husband and I have been married for two years. We haven’t had penetrative sex, but I take care of him, and I use toys. Eventually, I would like to have penetrative sex, but there’s no rush for us. :)"


    2. "A combination of repressed Catholic guilt, childhood trauma, and sexual abuse, and low libidos mean that sex happens somewhat infrequently (but I’m not even sure what the baseline standard is, who’s to say really?), BUT when it does, it’s sweet and enjoyable for both of us. Some people just aren’t driven by a need for sex. We’ve been together for 13 years, married for six."


    3. "I'm sex-repulsed (trauma), and he's sex-indifferent, so we just masturbate for stress relief on occasion and don't involve each other. Bedroom door closed = 'I'm having alone time, be back soon.'"


    4. "Grew up Catholic, so the sex-positive attitude was always super foreign to me, and I just have a low libido. My partner has always been easy-going in this regard, but in the past two years, his parents have aged horribly and between them have every possible illness an aging person can have. He's been stressed out from dealing with them on a daily basis and is obsessed with keeping his mom cancer-free (she had a mastectomy last year), and so he's mentally and physically exhausted all the time. Maybe once a month, one of us lets the other know they're up for it, and if both of us are feeling it, it happens...sometimes, it doesn't, and we just cuddle. No hard feelings, and we're otherwise very touchy (hugging, hand holding, back rubs, cuddles). It's more important to him that I help out with his parents whenever I can, to take a bit of the weight off his shoulders, which I'm more than happy to do."


    5. "I’ve always had a high sex drive, still do, but just before COVID, I slipped two discs in my back. I was told to just lie at home and circle my ankles. Now 18 months later, I still can barely walk or stand, sit and lie despite trying all different meds, physio and exercise. It means our sex life doesn’t exist. However, I’ve found that not to be a problem. I feel more loved and secure in this relationship than any. My girlfriend gets me in so many other ways that before when I’ve felt it was only sex someone wanted from me, now I know it goes even deeper than that."


    6. "Found out I was ace after we got married! It’s not something we expected going into this, but we love each other and want to stay together regardless; we’re each other’s best friend! We do so much together besides getting physical.

    "However, since he is not ace himself, that does mean some compromising happens. We communicate honestly and with love to keep each other fulfilled and happy. I can’t imagine being with anyone else!"


    7. "I've always known I was ace, but I allowed myself to be convinced there was something 'wrong' with me. As a result, I said 'yes' a lot, when I really meant 'no.' I was working through that with a professional when I met my now-spouse in 2010. He thought he didn't believe in sex before marriage. After doing some therapy with me, he discovered he is also ace! I really and truly bought into the 'no one will love you' crap, but here I am, fat, queer, mentally ill, and very happily married."


    8. "My husband and I have been together for 12 years. We rarely have sex (mostly due to my low libido — thanks PCOS). But honestly, we're happy. We would rather cuddle and fall asleep than force ourselves to get in the mood."


    9. "I’m the beginning of our relationship, my husband and I were having sex all the time. 10 years later, things change. Thank goodness my husband is the understanding type. If I’m not in the mood, my husband is satisfied with a good, vigorous back scratch, which I am more than happy to oblige. I am now 18 weeks pregnant, and the belly is getting in the way. Hugs and cuddles make up for the sex we aren’t getting."


    10. "I have a long history of depression and anxiety as well as some sexual trauma and a history of serious pain during intercourse. That coupled with my antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications have completely killed my sex drive. My husband has a lot of medical issues but still had a very high sex drive up until a year or so ago. For whatever reason, he decided he wanted a different kind of sex life and chose to give up porn and masturbation almost completely; he just said he was 'tired of that being such a big part of his life.' Now he has an incredibly low sex drive as well (due to a number of his medical issues and medications). Occasionally, he’ll worry that I’m not satisfied, and I have to remind him that I’m actually happier now because when we do have sex, it’s because we are both in the mood, and I’m not just trying to force it to make him happy.

    "Sex is just better now when we don’t have it as often. We love each other completely and have so many other ways we show it to one another outside of physical intimacy."


    11. "When me and hubby started dating in college, it was more like a couple times a day. ... Now in our 40s, each of us has had a few medical issues that have contributed to low libidos; plus, we just aren't 20 anymore. But I am in love with him more now than I ever have been. We have talked about it and both understand that things just have slowed down now for us, but it doesn't mean we love each other any less. We kiss, cuddle, and spend pretty much all our time together. We are each other’s best friends. Back in the college days, he was just a cute guy I was fooling around with. I like where we are now much better."


    12. "I've been with my husband six years and have several health issues...starting with three autoimmune diseases. We don't do a lot of cuddling, but the time we spend together is meaningful, and we do some extreme flirting. I love him, and he loves me. He has never made me feel bad if I said I didn't feel well, or I just didn't want to. We go weeks without sex, sometimes months...but when I'm feeling froggy...damn. It's fire."


    13. "When my wife and I first got together, we went at it pretty regularly. Then, over time, it became less regular. Now it's been years since we last had sex. And you know what? Our relationship is just as strong, if not stronger. We've had conversations about it, and we both realized that sex just isn't worth it. We're in love, we're dedicated to each other, and she's the only person I want to be with. We're having our 10-year anniversary next year. She's got her toys, I jerk off in the shower, and that works out just fine for us. You don't need sex to have a healthy, loving relationship."


    14. "I had a healthy sex drive before I met my husband. However, I contracted herpes from my partner before my husband. He was a trusted partner, and we had unprotected sex one time. He genuinely had no idea he had it, as he'd never had any symptoms. He'd likely had it for years, and all it took was one time without a condom. I was absolutely devastated when I found out I had it. Not to mention, my doctor had me take an HIV test at the same time (which took a week for results to come back). I was so anxious that week that I stayed in bed and could not function. I tested negative, but the whole ordeal traumatized me, and my sex drive has been almost nonexistent since. I met my husband six months later and was open about my status from the very beginning. He was supportive and totally cool about it. Sex has never been a big part of our relationship, but it works for us. We are physically very close — lots of hugging, cuddling, kissing."


    15. "Wife and I both grew up with pretty unhealthy relationships with sex. I think rather than let our walls down to others, we built them up by focusing on the physical aspects of intimacy and ignoring the nurturing of the actual relationship.

    "Ours is by far the most healthy relationship we've ever been in, and it turns out that neither of us has a particularly high sex drive, in truth. Sex was more of a tool for us, albeit a rather unhealthy one, as I mentioned before. We are expecting our first child in March, and we've never felt more connected or close to another individual. Madly in love with this woman and would do absolutely anything for her and our family."


    16. "My husband has a high libido, and mine is low, likely because of trauma and abuse. Luckily, that doesn't really mess with my mouth, so we get creative. He also doesn't take more than 10 minutes."


    17. "The foundation of the relationship is supporting each other. We make each other’s life easier, we are best friends, and we genuinely enjoy spending time with each other. I’m not going to get this anywhere else.

    "The sex is amazing when we have it every couple of weeks, and better than it’s ever been after 20 years. It’s not frequent enough for me, but my spouse knows I watch porn and take care of myself, and doesn’t care. I just do that on my own time."


    18. "We currently live 1,000 miles apart. Going on two years long distance. We call and talk often and support each other through bad days with loving texts. We make up for the lack of regular sex when we visit each other."


    19. "Super-horny individual with an ace (asexual) partner of four years here. Honestly? Lots of masturbation.

    "I love him a LOT personality-wise and wouldn't trade him for the world."


    20. "I had a high libido at the start of our relationship, but she didn’t. After a couple of months, we had a serious, respectful talk about it. The reason my girlfriend (now wife) almost has no sex drive is that she got abused by her uncle for three years when she was younger.

    "After I learned about that fact, my sex drive changed. We have been together for eight years now and married for five, and we have two wonderful kids. When I am in the mood, I always ask her if she is in the mood. Whatever the answer is, I respect both of them. There has been a year where we only had sex four times, and another year more, etc., but it doesn’t bother me at all. I love her with or without the sex."


    21. "My partner and I live an hour away from each other because we both love where we live. We see each other on average about every other weekend, sometimes every weekend if it works out. During the visits, we usually have sex once, rarely twice, and sometimes not at all.

    "The sex is just one bit of what we enjoy about each other, and if one or both of us aren't feeling it over the two and a half days we have together, then we don't force it. We are just as happy taking drives, seeing new places, or simply being lazy on the couch with movies or video games."


    22. "Been married for 35-plus years. Haven't had sex in almost a decade. The fact is, I got seriously ill, lost a ton of weight, and endured a lot of pain. I want sex very much, but my husband is afraid he's going to hurt me (which is possible; I'm pretty fragile physically).

    "The thing is, I've spent the last three decades-plus with my husband and our little family as the anchor of my life. He gives me hope, he gives me joy, he gives me strength. I have done my very best to give him the same things back threefold. Sometimes, I even succeed. Just because I'm not also getting a good planking twice a week doesn't mean I still don't want to receive or give back all that joy, hope, and strength. We do what we've always done: love each other as hard as we can, try to take care of each other, support each other. We just don't get naked to do it."


    23. "My wife and I have been together for over 22 years. We were extremely sexually active up until about eight years ago. My wife has rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, which definitely removes the mood. I followed that up by losing my thyroid, which completely obliterated my libido.

    "On top of all that, our daughter has high-functioning autism. Obviously, we are busy taking care of ourselves. My wife and I discuss it on occasion, and we are very happy in our world. We will be there for each other for the rest of our lives, even without sex."


    24. "My wife is asexual. I’m hyper-sexual. So we opened our relationship. We get all the love and companionship at home, and I go to a swingers club for the sex."


    25. "My partner and I have been in a long-distance relationship over the last six years. We decided to keep our relationship open so that we can satisfy our needs as we need.

    "He and I recognized the level of sexual need and worked on communicating and compromising to meet the needs of both parties. Have a frank discussion with your partner, and be willing to compromise for each other's benefit. If there is an incongruence in sex drives, then a licensed sex or even marriage counselor can help with discovering new ways of transitioning those much-needed bedroom feelings and expectations to non-bedroom activities."


    26. "We both have low libidos for different reasons, but it works out to make us compatible. We find more value in the amount of time we spend together versus what we're specifically doing.

    "We cuddle and watch a lot of TV together, and we have great independent lives separate from each other. I think you need enough of a life separate from your partner, as you need one with them, to still have things to talk about at the end of the day. Communication drying up is worse than the sex life being stale, in my opinion."


    27. "We talk about our sexuality a lot without judging each other: 'What erotica you been watching?' 'Porn you watching?' 'So I was jerking it earlier and…' 'I’m thinking about getting a new toy.' It feels like we have a strong sexual connection even though we’re not always fucking.

    "We just understand that life is busy and complicated; we have different sex lives and understand it’s normal to be attracted to other people (whether we act on that attraction or not is a different convo). I think couples forget that we still have our own independent sexuality and don’t owe every part of ourselves to another person."


    28. "He's recovering from being in a religious cult that hammered into his brain that sex was wrong/only to be used for conception.

    "He was also molested by an elder in the cult. About once a month, he makes sure I get some 'fun time,' and if he's up for it, he does, too. He doesn't care that I have toys. I love him too much to let that be the downfall of our relationship, as there are basically no problems outside of this area. I absolutely believe that he is my soulmate, and will wait as he works out his problems, as it has been getting better."


    29. "I'm chemically ace — as in, I have to take an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant to live my life. It makes me have zero libido. Even before then, though, I was always kinda meh about sex. Husband still gets a little action because I have awesome hands, and I very occasionally take care of myself; otherwise, we're perfect together. He's my soulmate and I, his."


    30. "Married for 11 years, together for 16. Sex maybe once a month now. Many, many reasons play into that, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, etc. But also contentedness. Our past physical passion is a monument to our love.

    "You can have sex with anyone. If your relationship is all about sex, there’s nothing there. A physical trait that will fade and disappear before you’re dead. A fun thing you did when you were younger. Just one of many ways to show affection for each other. It’s like basing your relationship on playing baseball together and then worrying that an injury will ruin your relationship because you can’t play baseball anymore. How silly would that be? To have a relationship based on the act of something rather than the meaning behind it? To act as if every time before meant nothing without continued reaffirmation through continued action?"


    31. "Genuine love and respect. We're in it (marriage) for the long haul, so to speak. We have both had enough nookie to last a couple of lifetimes (before meeting and together) and are just 'meh' about it now, preferring to stay playful and flirt with each other daily.

    "We know we can do it anytime we want, we just haven't been, and it's perfectly fine for both of us. Neither goes to sleep, wakes up, leaves the house, or ends a phone call without an 'I love you.' And he likes to pants me or flash my boobs while I'm busy washing dishes."


    32. "I'm aegosexual, and he's got a low sex drive. We're totally compatible mentally and emotionally and intellectually, and the only way we don't really match up is physically, and that's the one thing we're both okay without. I'm okay having conversations about what opening up our relationship would look like, but so far, he's not willing to go that route, so here we are, and we're doing pretty well."


    33. And finally..."My husband just got promoted to manager, so he isn't home a lot, and when he is, he's dead tired or getting calls/texts from work. We both know that's just the roller-coaster ride of marriage. His love language is touch, though, and since we can't do that as much as we'd like, I'm trying to show love in other ways that make his life easier and show my support.

    "I currently don't have a job. I'll wake up at 5:30 a.m. with him and make his lunch and prepare us coffee while he's in the shower. I also fluff his couch spot for him every morning. It's an adjustment, but when we can't show love in our preferred ways, then we have to find other ways, or else the relationship will suffer for it."


    What's been your experience in a relationship with little to no sex? Let us know in the comments below!

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.