A sexless marriage could be a silent killer of your relationship. Are you are causing your partner to suffer by avoiding intimacy? Maybe your partner has stopped reaching out to you? Either way, you may be participating in a standoff that could ruin your marriage. After working with couples for 29 years I can attest to the fact that letting sex go by the wayside will cause significant problems down the line. Experts call any marriage sexless, if the couple is averaging 10 or less sexual encounters per year. A poll done by Newsweek magazine estimates that 15-20% of couples feels that they are in a sexless marriage. The most common causes that have been cited in the various studies are: the most sexually assertive partner has hurt feelings from being turned down too often and has stopped initiating; one partner has become too busy and is neglecting the intimate relationship; and one or both partners have difficulty with communication skills.

If you can relate to one or more of those causes you may want to consider the consequences of abandoning your sexual relationship. Relationship counselors agree that marriages need sex. “A couple’s sex life is the number one best barometer of how well their marriage is going,” said Dr. John Friel, psychologist and bestselling author of The 7 Best Things happy Couples Do.

Marriage, he says, is by definition a sexual relationship, and if sex has gone by the wayside, so too has the marriage. If you are in a sexless marriage, “you can’t call it a marriage. You can call it a friendship. You can call it a working, parenting relationship.”

I invite you to take the quiz created by sex therapist David Schnarch by clicking here. You may learn that your marriage is above the national average and have a sexy celebration with your sweetheart tonight, or you may learn that you are putting your marriage at risk.