Feel Desirable Again after a Sexless or Unfulfilling Marriage

There are many reasons a marriage might go through a sex drought. Kids, work, stress, and physical issues can wreak havoc on your sex life. Regardless of the reason, a marriage that has lost its sex drive can leave partners feeling alone, unloved, and misunderstood. In some cases, the lack of intimacy becomes such a deal-breaker that one partner asks for a divorce.

If you’ve lived in a sexless marriage long enough, it may have seriously affected your confidence, self-esteem, and belief in your own desirability. But with time and dedicated energy, you can feel desirable and whole again and find the intimacy you’ve lived without for so long. 

Sexless marriage: Why it hurts

Life gets in the way of sex in most marriages at some point. After the initial sexual frenzy of your early relationship, sex can occasionally get lost between the responsibilities and stressors of everyday life. But while sex can have a natural ebb and flow in response to other life matters, when physical intimacy is missing for long periods of time, other feelings can set up shop in the void and eat away at the fabric of the relationship itself.

You and your partner may have a mismatched desire for sex. There might be a physiological or psychological reason. Health issues, stress, and erectile dysfunction are common causes for a sexual hiatus.

Reclaiming your self-esteem

After living in a sexless marriage for a significant period of time, you’re probably coming out of it with a severely battered sense of self-worth. Feeling sexually undesirable creates a lot of shame and embarrassment. It’s a heavy burden to carry into your future. 

Before you get back in the sexual saddle, it’s important to revisit your relationship with yourself. There are many ways you can shore up that relationship.

  • Reframe how you want to be treated. It’s time to treat yourself with the love and respect you were missing in your marriage. It’s also time to establish boundaries around how you want to be treated by others in the future. 
  • Stop people-pleasing. Chances are you lived in a sexless marriage for far too long because you didn’t prioritize and voice your own needs. Learn how to find and use your own voice.
  • Identify and reject excuses. Living in a marriage without intimacy for a long time may have required you to accept a multitude of excuses. Excuses that aren’t backed up by action never fix a problem.
  • Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a best friend. Give yourself the gift of time, energy, and positive self-talk so you can put yourself back on your own pedestal.
  • Get healthier. Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. When you feel well-rested and healthy, it will create an irresistible bubble of positive energy around you. 
  • Be clear about what you want for your future. Take time to fully understand and be clear about what you are looking for in the next phase of your life so you don’t make the mistake of settling for less.

Join an emotional support group with a professional facilitator at Circles online community. Download the app.

Feeling desirable and loved again

Feeling desirable after divorce takes time, especially if you’ve lived a long time without intimacy. Dating and putting yourself out there may feel awkward and even scary at first. And if you haven’t dated in a long while, it may be confusing and overwhelming to navigate today’s world of online dating apps. 

If you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed about the prospects of dating and sex, a few sessions with a therapist or support group can help you know what to expect and feel less alone. 

The best relationships often grow from the best friendships. Take the pressure off the whole dating dynamic by pursuing things that make you happy. This sets you up for meeting new people with the same interests and beliefs, and dating can be a natural extension of that. Give yourself the time and space to stay casual while remaining open to new dating possibilities. You may be surprised. 

What about sex? When it happens, let it happen. Consider this a time of discovery, and meet it with a sense of curiosity, optimism, and adventure. Take a break from the heaviness of a forever relationship, and let it be a “for now” relationship, enjoying that new energy without expectation. You may no longer need – or even want – a relationship to feel desired and loved again. For now, just enjoy the moment. Who knows what the future may bring?

Navigating and leaving a sexless marriage can leave you feeling temporarily alone and vulnerable. But there is a bright future ahead. At Hello Divorce, we offer resources and support so you can look forward to the next chapter of your life.


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Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.