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

By Benjamin Jorgensen / August 26, 2022

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 means 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 actually 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 comparing to others at your own age.

Said in another way: Respondents who are the same age—but who have been married longer—are actually 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

Causes and effects

In the surveys open ended questions were asked to people on one causes behind why they are in a sexless marriage, and secondly on any effects they beleive it had.

We first open-coded all the answers and in this process created fitting categories (so for example “lack of libido” would be categorized with “not horny” in the category “lacking sex drive”). After which we had a second person categorize all the answers once again. Any discrepencies between the two codings/categorizations were discussed with a third individual.

Here are the top 10 causes and effects:

Causes – Top 10 Reasons for a sexless marriage

  1. Lacking sexdrive
  2. Children
  3. Lack of love
  4. Relationship issue
  5. Stress at work
  6. Medical reason
  7. Mental health issues
  8. Sexual dysfunction
  9. Trauma from past
  10. Hormonal imbalance

Top 10 reported effects of a sexless marriage

  1. Unhappy
  2. Infedelity
  3. Consider divorce
  4. Loneliness
  5. Resentment
  6. Guilt
  7. Inadequecy
  8. Low self esteem
  9. Less patience
  10. “Sexual avoidance cycle”