Updated: DECEMBER 3, 2018

Agaptism is the formal term for a marriage without sexual intercourse or activity.

An agaptism is more commonly called a sexless marriage. However, note that medical practitioners typically define a sexless marriage as one where sex occurs 10 times or less annually. This means that while a sexless marriage may be totally devoid of sex, as it in in a true agaptism, it can also be a marriage where sex is infrequent.

More About Agaptism

Couples involved in an agaptism typically have had sex early in their relationship, but their sexual activity waned over time. Several factors may lead to a lack of intimacy, including stress, childbirth, medications, infidelity or a lack of trust, and mismatched libidos, for example. However, in some cases sex may never have occurred, perhaps due to medical problems or asexuality.

In most cases, agaptism is a negative thing for a couple. One or both of the people in the marriage typically feel resentment or frustration towards their spouse. Often a lack of sexual intimacy occurs when other elements of the relationship are also struggling.

Simply complaining about a lack of physical intimacy is unlikely to resolve an agaptism. Instead, couples should focus on touching more in a non-sexual way. Kissing, cuddling, and even holding hands can lead to more intimate sexual contact. Planning for date nights and even planning for sex can help put intimacy back on the agenda. Couples counseling can also help couples rediscover a sexual connection or establish one for the first time.

However, there are some couples who are happy in an agaptism. A lack of sexual intercourse is only a problem if one or both spouses are unhappy with the situation.


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