I often call infidelity an interpersonal crime- a crime in the sense that it robs the betrayed partner of the opportunity to make decisions for him or herself based on what is actually true. Could you imagine driving blindfolded? Of course not- because in order to make the best driving decisions, you need access to information. The betrayed person loses that choice and that to me is the biggest problem. So we know that we “should not” do things that lead us to think we have to keep secrets. However, what about things we “should” do in order to have a happy marriage? If infidelity is on the list- OBLIGATIONS IN MARRIAGE TO NOT DO; would having sex with your partner be on the list- OBLIGATIONS IN MARRIAGE YOU SHOULD DO? Is not having sex with your partner somewhat of a betrayal as well? And in turn, would that justify infidelity?

These are complex questions and I will make sure to have a few answers! First, I will say as I have said before- infidelity means there is at least one secret and secrets are relationship killers. Secrets erode the foundation of trust that is key in bonding a committed supposedly monogamous couple.

At the same time, a sexless marriage can be very painful for the partner that wants more sexual connection. It can be lonely, frustrating and even devastating to a partner who wants to feel touch, arousal and pleasure as well as wanting to feel desired. For most of us, sex is a basic need; a need that makes us feel whole as individuals and a need that bonds us to our partner. This should not be minimized. I know that the stereotype is that it is the man who is frustrated; however, I have just as many women in my caseload currently who are going through much pain about not feeling desired by their male partner.

So if having a sexless marriage is extremely painful for the partner who wants to have sex and is deprived of it, yet infidelity is a relationship killer, what could be done about it? Should the partner who craves sex accept just doing without? That does not seem like a great solution either. Just to get it out of the way, I will answer my title question now rather than later in this article and then follow up about what to do about a sexless marriage. The answer is an emphatic NO! A sexless marriage does not ever justify infidelity. Infidelity does not lead to anything good. Cheaters always get caught and it causes great distress for both partners and could possibly ruin any chance of relationship healing.

Instead, in a sexless marriage, the couple needs to go deeper! They need to know each other better. Many couples I see, even those married for decades do not know much about the inner world of their partner. Each partner needs to get curious about the other which includes the frustrated partner getting curious about why the other person is not interested in sex. There are many possible reason why a person lacks interest including:

1) Hormone imbalances

2) Sexual effects of illness

3) Early childhood traumas such as sex abuse or other kinds of abuse or neglect

4) Adult trauma

5) Relationship patterns that trigger early trauma

6) Poor communication between the couple

7) Anti-sexual messages in childhood and adolescence

8) Chronic stress

9) Medication side effects

10) Lack of sexual knowledge

Sometimes, the sexually frustrated partner can contribute greatly to the problems by being judgmental instead of curious. This is understandable as it is easy for the frustrated person to take things personally. And as you see on the above list, some of the problems might actually be due to what the frustrated person is doing or not doing. That is actually good news since that partner can have some positive effect that could lead towards ultimately having a sexual relationship. Rather than have an affair, this person will be better off to seek a loving understanding of why the partner is not demonstrating sexual desire or interest. This is a tall order but as I have said many times before-


It takes patience, courage and above all loving attention to create the interpersonal environment needed for a long-term sexual relationship.

Turning to the person who lacks sexual interest, there are things this partner must attend to as well such as:

1) Honor the partner’s need for sex and do not minimize its importance.

2) Get individual or couples therapy to discover what is contributing to the low sexual desire and also to help the couple rekindle passion.

3) See a physician to rule out or deal with any medical factors.

4) Become interested in his or her sexual self and ask- what do I want sexually?

5) Work through traumas that may contribute to the sexual symptoms.

If this person is willing to do the above 5 things and the frustrated partner is willing to be patient, courageous, curious and loving, we have the makings here of a couple in sexual healing, obviously a far better solution that creating a lifestyle of secrets and hiding.

If one of the partners is not willing to do this work, we have another problem. In this case, rather than infidelity that is deceptive and dishonoring, the couple may have to come to terms with openly and maturely ending the relationship. Couples need to create an environment that is conducive to solving this problem of the sexless relationship. Personally, I have helped countless numbers of couples successfully heal from the sexless marriage. Nothing justifies infidelity because infidelity never ends up as a good solution in the long term. However, a couple that faces these issues head on in a loving mature way can create miracles! I know. I have seen it over and over again and that is why I love what I do!

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Creager is educated and trained as a Marriage and Sex Therapist and spends much of his time helping partners in long-term relationships learn how to create passionate, alive and nourishing interactions. He provides unique and powerful insights that lead to powerful breakthroughs which result in his clients getting closer to realizing their full potential.

He founded his practice in 1982 in Tustin CA, and has since helped thousands of individuals and couples learn how to bring the best out of others to achieve their goals. The biggest joy in his career is witnessing clients increase their capacity to receive more from life as well as others.

He has developed the gift of helping couples and individuals move past their resistance to have the relationships and love they crave. His specialties include helping couples heal from infidelity, helping couples rekindle passion and helping individuals break free from their earlier toxic relationships and dysfunctional families. He does this in a variety ways including specialized programs that are powerful and effective as well as seminars, workshops, speaking and informational products.

Todd’s practice in Huntington Beach, CA has been helping couples and individuals all around Orange County including Long Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Corona del Mar and Seal Beach – for over 30 years!