Sexless marriage statistics

Sexless Marriage Statistics – Commonality, Divorce Rates, and Other Stats

In this article, we bring the results of a recent study based on 4 different surveys of a total of 34,133 married and unmarried couples.

We explore the reasons behind why a marriage is sexless and the effects of it as well as other interesting statistics and facts.

Quick Statistics

  • 15.6% of married individuals hadn’t had sex the previous year (an increase from 1.9% in 1994).
  • 74.2% of sexless marriages end in divorce.
  • In the US there are 20.4 million individuals living in sexless marriages.
  • Married couples under 30 have sex on average 111 times a year (more than twice a week).
  • Married couples, who have been together over 30 years are on average 35 times more likely to be in a sexless marriage than newlyweds (max 2 years married).
  • 77% of those in sexless marriages say they would want more sex.

Note: Divorce rates of sexless marriages mean that the 15.6% of married individuals would be higher if people stayed married.

15.6 % of marriages are sexless

Of course, it is not in every group and even for all the newlyweds where the percentages are that high.

  • 5.6% of marriages that have lasted 0-10 years are sexless.
  • 13.7% of marriages that have lasted 10-20 years are sexless.
  • 20.1% of marriages that have lasted 20-30 years are sexless.
  • 28.9% of marriages that have lasted 30-40 years are sexless.

However! There is no statistical correlation between sexual inactive marriages and the number of years couples have been married.

How? You might ask. Well, because the primary determinant of a sexless marriage is not the number of years it has lasted but rather age.

When we controll for age of the married couples in our statistical model we find that there is a positive correlation between sexual activity and number of years of marriage. In other words:

  • The longer you have been married, the more likely you are to have sex, when compared to others at your age.

Said in another way: Respondents who are the same age—but who have been married longer—are less likely to be sexually inactive than their comparable-age peers who were married more recently.

That being said, when you look at the actual numbers, there is a clear correlation (it does however not mean causation).

That also goes for the number of times couples have sex on average:

  • Marriages that have lasted 0-10 years have sex on average 107 times a year.
  • Marriages that have lasted 10-20 years have sex on average 69 times a year.
  • Marriages that have lasted 20-30 years have sex on average 42 times a year.
  • Marriages that have lasted 30-40 years have sex on average 36 times a year.

Note: we don’t have enough data to reliable give an estimate on marriages of +40 years.

Age and sexless marriages

Having shown the clear correlation between the number of years of marriage and the percentage of sexless marriages, it became clear from analysis that the main determinant of sex in marriages is actually age.

To make the causality between age and being in a sexless marriage here are the data for the 4 big generations:

  • 33.1% of the Baby boomer generation (born 1946-1964) that are married live in a sexless marriage
  • 22.9% of the Generation X generation (born 1965-1980) that are married live in a sexless marriage
  • 7.4% of the Millenial generation (born 1981-1998) that are married live in a sexless marriage.
  • 2.3% of the Generation Z generation (born 1999-2012) that are married live in a sexless marriage.
  • 3.5% of 20 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 4.6% of 25 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 6.5% of 30 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 7.9% of 35 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 15.6% of 40 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 19.8% of 45 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 23.9% of 50 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 25.8% of 55 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 29.1% of 60 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 32.0% of 65 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year
  • 34.1% of 70 year olds in marriage report not having sex in the past year

Note: we did not have reliable data on the rest of the dataset (>75 year olds)

Age brackets, compared to singles:

We asked both singles and married individuals, if they were sexless (had sex in the past year). And in age brackets and comparable the answers are:

Married

  • Among 18-24 year olds 79.4% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 25-29 year olds 93.2% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 30-39 year olds 90.2% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 40-49 year olds 83.3% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 50-59 year olds 67.6% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 60-69 year olds 53.7% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among individuals over 70 year olds 31.9% report that they had sex in the past year

Singles

  • Among 18-24 year olds 28.6% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 25-29 year olds 26.2% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 30-39 year olds 10.5% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 40-49 year olds 7.5% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 50-59 year olds 5% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among 60-69 year olds 4.3% report that they had sex in the past year
  • Among individuals over 70 year olds 0.3% report that they had sex in the past year

Cultural Differences in Sexless Marriages

Different cultures have varying perspectives on sex and intimacy, which can influence the dynamics of a marriage:

  • Japan’s Perspective: In Japan, there has been significant media coverage on the topic of sexless marriages. Cultural norms and societal expectations play a role in how intimacy is perceived and practiced in the marital setting. Source
  • Global View: Cultural or religious differences can influence the frequency of sexual activity in marriages. For instance, certain religious beliefs may prioritize procreation over pleasure, leading to different sexual dynamics. Source

Impact on Children

Children are keen observers and can pick up on the emotional dynamics between their parents:

  • Emotional Distance: Children can sense the emotional distance between their parents in a sexless marriage. This can affect their understanding of relationships and intimacy as they grow up.
  • Parenting Dynamics: In some cases, one partner might become more involved in parenting, compensating for the lack of intimacy with their spouse. This can lead to an imbalanced parenting dynamic, affecting the child’s upbringing.

Lower Libido and Erectile Dysfunction

Physical and psychological factors can lead to decreased sexual desire and performance issues:

  • Erectile Dysfunction: ED is a common issue, especially in men over the age of 40. It can be a significant factor in sexless marriages.
  • Low Libido: Various factors can lead to decreased sexual desire, including hormonal changes, medications, and underlying health conditions. For men, erectile dysfunction (ED) can also contribute to a reduced interest in sexual activity.

Why Do Couples Stop Having Sex

All respondents were asked on a 1-5 scale how much they agreed that each of the 68 reasons was likely to cause them difficulties in keeping an intimate relationship.

The scores for all factors are aggregated and weighted under each factor.

The mean scores for each factor are listed in the Table.

The results of what reasons people believe are most likely to cause them difficulties in having sex are listed in the below table:

#FactorOverall (Mean) ↓Women (Mean)Men (Mean)
1Fading away enthusiasm 2.682.622.76
2Long work hours 2.662.592.73
3Lack of personal time and space 2.612.502.73
4Character issues 2.572.642.49
5Clinginess 2.512.522.50
6Bad sex 2.502.462.55
7Infidelity and abuse 2.282.282.29
8Children 2.242.262.22
9Lack of effort 2.222.132.31
10Social circle issues 2.152.112.21
11Not monogamous 2.121.942.32
12Behavioral issues 1.761.721.81
Higher scores mean more people agree that these were problematic factors as regards why they are not having sex. Each factor comprises 3-13 ‘items’ or sub-factors identifiable in the last table in this article.

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