Video: 'Sexless marriage' on the rise, experts say

By Chief medical editor
NBC News
updated 3/28/2007 6:41:38 PM ET 2007-03-28T22:41:38

For the nation's 59 million married couples, there's a lot to worry about — money, child-rearing, even who does the chores. All are issues couples can disagree on. But there's another issue — potentially just as damaging to marriage — that many couples face but can't talk about — intimacy.

"At least 40 percent of the people that come to see me are in what they consider to be, or I consider to be, a sexless marriage," says sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman of the Berman Center in Chicago.

Experts see an upswing in sexless marriages, defined as one in which the couple has sex fewer than 10 times a year, landing a lot of couples in therapy.

"When a couple isn't having sex, that really starts to diminish the intimacy and the connection in their relationship, and really takes its toll on their relationship," Berman says.

"We both weren't happy," says Marcus Allen. "So that's when we knew we had a problem."

"... and the passion was gone," Allen's wife, Tamica, says.

They admit to finding themselves at an impasse.

"I was depressed, sad, frustrated," Tamica says.

"We thought that we were alone in that, and knowing that we weren't really helped us to see, to set some realistic expectations," Marcus says.

After an intensive period of therapy that addressed the physical, psychological and emotional aspects of their relationship, Marcus and Tamica made a fresh start.

"It starts with communication, and it starts with understanding each other and just being there," Marcus says.

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