Sexless Marriage in Islam: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions

It isn’t a must to maintain a sexual relationship to complete the marriage or make the marriage successful after nikah. It’s okay if a sexless marriage works. If a couple agrees to continue the marriage without having intercourse, the marriage will stay intact. According to Fiqh al Islāmīy wa Adillatuhū and other famous manuals of Fiqh, Intercourse is not necessary for the consummation of marriage in Islam.

However if one of the spouses disagrees with being in a marriage without sexual intercourse and the other partner disagrees to make himself/herself available for it then the deprived partner has the right to file for a divorce or a separation or annihilation of the marriage.

Sexless Marriage in Islam

In a marriage, each of the partners has the right to have sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy is necessary (wajib) upon the partners and it’s their right to have physical intercourse whenever it feels necessary to them or they desire if there is no real cause like physical illness or absence due to travel or injury. If there is physical no intimacy takes place between the couple at least the period of four months to six months, one has the right to end the marriage according to Fiqh Al Ḥalāl Wal Ḥarām by Shaykh Khālid Saifullāh Al Raḥmānī.

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There exists a well-known event that occurred in the era of ‘Omar ibn al Khaṭṭāb (may God be pleased with him) that Ka’ab (may God be pleased with him) instructed a husband to have intercourse with his wife every four days. (See: Al-Awsaṭ, Ṭabaqāt Ibn Saʾad, Maʾārifat  Al-Ṣaḥābah Li-Abī Nuʿaym).

Sexless marriage is not forbidden in Islam if both partners have consented to this. But, if any one of the partners isn’t satisfied in this marriage, he/she can end the marriage. 

Husband Wife Sexless Marriage in Islam

The consequences of a sexless marriage are not drastic if the partners are on the same page of excluding sexual intimacy from the marriage. But if one of the partners disagrees to stay without sex in the marriage and the other partner refuses to fulfill the needs, the partner has the authority to call off the marriage.

Marriage is a partnership. If both of the partners agree to one fact, it will work for longer.  


Can I divorce my wife for not sleeping with me in Islam?

Yes, if your wife disagrees to sleep with you, you can divorce her. If your wife refuses to sleep with you within the time frame of four to six months, you can initiate a divorce according to Fiqh Al Ḥalāl Wal Ḥarām by Shaykh Khālid Saifullāh Al Raḥmānī.

 Can a wife survive a sexless marriage?

A wife can survive a sexless marriage if she willingly agrees to it. Otherwise, it would be taught for a wife to stay with her husband for a lifetime in a sexless marriage. She can stay without having sex when her husband is ill or left the country for work. But it is suggested to be intimate with the wife every four days according to Al-Awsaṭ, Ṭabaqāt Ibn Saʾad, Maʾārifat Al-Ṣaḥābah Li-Abī Nuʿaym.

How can I deal with a sexless marriage?

In marriage mutual understanding is very important. If the partners can make themselves thrive in the marriage by any means, that exceeds their capabilities to control stress and balance everything healthily. If the marriage is sexless by mutual decision, that is okay and that doesn’t call off the marriage.

If both partners want to be together and happy but one desires sex in the marriage and the other doesn’t, then they have to sit together and sort a way out of this complicated issue. Hand off, one of the partners have to have the mentality to keep the partner satisfy. Otherwise, there is no other way to end the marriage.


Talha Ubaidullah
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