Sex-starved marriage

NOT getting it anymore? You're not alone: It is estimated that one in five people are in a "sexless" marriage.

Sex and relationship expert Alan Grand says sexless relationships are becoming increasingly prominent among young couples, with 28percent of men in their 30s having sex less than once a month. In fact , according to Grand, it is believed that more than 15percent of marriages in South Africa are of the brother-sister kind.

Grand says a sexless marriage isn't a problem in itself but a symptom of something much deeper.

"Trying to solve the symptom instead of the problem can actually make things worse between you. If you really want to get the sex back into your marriage you must look deeper to find the real cause," Grand says.

He warns that if there is a problem in the bedroom, then chances are high that this could lead to dissatisfaction all around, which in turn leads to arguments, resentment and a low-self esteem.

"A regular sex life is good for your health. Sex and intimacy are a vital part of a working relationship, so when you are living in a sexless marriage it can not only be frustrating but also shameful and depressing," says Grand.

"Sex can satisfy all sorts of emotional and physical intimacy needs and help partners stay close. The experience of a low sexual drive can leave many couples to believe that they are not attracted to each other. When indeed they still are, just lost it somehow along the way." says a sexless union may come about for many reasons, including a combination of any of the following. It could be that:

l A couple never had a lot of sex to begin with;

l A specific event led to no sex. For example, the birth of a child or an affair;

l Lovers are just plain bored with each other or their lovemaking;

l Lovers are juggling too much between family, career and other life demands;

l One or both are plagued with low sex drive due to physiological, mental or relational factors.

l Lovers are taking each other for granted, are apathetic and not making sexual intimacy a priority, especially when consumed with their own career or schooling;

l Sex other than for procreation is seen as wrong and hence guilt-provoking;

l A partner is uncomfortable with sex or his/her body and/or sexual skills;

l The partner interested in sex fears hurt or rejection after having been turned down - and many times at that;

l One partner views sex as a bargaining tool and reserves it for just that;

l Partners are unhappy with each other and staying together because they are expected to or because they have kids.

Find out how to fix your sexless marriage and put and end to lonely nights.

l Keep it sweet

If you want to get your sweetie in the mood, treat him/her sweetly. Don't dig on him/her for little things. Remind him/her daily of all the reasons you love them.

l Make sex dates

If you want to keep romance alive, you make romantic dates with him/her. If you want to keep sex alive, you need to make sex dates with your partner. Talk it over and put it in your calendar. It's no secret that passion dissipates over time. If you haven't had sex in a while, waiting for it to "just happen" isn't going to happen.

Set aside a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon. Turn off your cellphones and turn on each other. Whether you plan to spend half the day in bed or just jump onto each other for a quickie doesn't matter. What matters is that you both show up and get it on.

l Bring fantasy into the bedroom

Everyone has a fantasy. What is yours? Do you secretly have a crush on a movie star? Did you always wish you had sex in an airplane bathroom? Does the thought of getting it on with the chauffeur make your panties damp?

Fantasising does not mean you're not into your partner. If you and your lover have never role-played before, talk about what your secret desires are. If your partner is leery, let her take the lead.

l Read and learn

Sex is like anything. You can always learn more and get better at it. Read sex books and magazines for stimulation and inspiration. Better yet, read it aloud to each other.

l Be willing

More than anything, keeping sex alive in a relationship is dependent on both partners making a commitment to do so. Be willing to take a risk and tell your partner what your needs are. Be open to hearing his desires.