Little ThingsFor those who ask about lovemaking with a spouse while you’re separated:

I address this both as one who works with marriage problems and my role as a sexologist. I give only three reasons FOR and three reasons AGAINST.

PRO: Reasons to make love with your separated spouse:

1) Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that plays a significant role in bonding people together (see http://bit.ly/1eHshYc). It is present in greatest amounts when it induces childbirth. However, it is also present in great quantities when a human orgasms. If people have sex with each other, some oxytocin is released by their touching, kissing, lovemaking, and a much greater amount is produced within each person if s/he orgasms. Therefore, making love with your separated spouse may well create within him/her a sense of closeness with you.

2) Orgasm helps to reduce anxiety and tension, helps reduction of physical problems that are caused or exacerbated by anxiety or tension, and can help you sleep. Because of the tensions and anxieties most separated spouses feel, making love to the point of orgasm can be a very good thing. (By the way, especially in me orgasm can significantly reduce irritability.)

3) If the lovemaking is that – not just sex (the proverbial quickie for fast relief), it can affect your spouse to feel more desire to be with you. If you think about it from a behavior modification viewpoint, people tend to repeat things that reward them. Feeling close while enjoying the lovemaking can make your spouse want to make love to you again. As already stated, if that’s just for relief, it isn’t necessarily a good thing, but if it’s because of the experience with you, it can be a very good thing.

CON: Reasons NOT to make love with your separated spouse:

1) If your spouse is involved with another person sexually, you – in a sense – wind up competing with the other person by making love with your spouse. Though it may benefit you physically / emotionally as described above, it holds huge potential of giving a message to your mate that you’ll be intimate with him / her even though you know s/he is concurrently being intimate with someone else. Is that the message you want to give?

Additionally, it’s hard to compete with an illicit lover. There are factors that often make that sex very exciting: a new lover, a thrill that comes from doing something forbidden, the exaggeration of emotions that are part of limerence, and the potential sexual expertise the lover gained from previous sexual experiences the s/he uses to enthrall your mate.

2) By experiencing the closeness and bonding, you may set yourself up for disappointment. Feeling those powerful emotions very likely will create even stronger desire to be with your mate. That may cause a deeper and longer hurt within you if your spouse continues to move away from you. In short, you may be setting yourself up for more misery by creating within yourself a false hope.

3) If you are the one moving away from your spouse – you are the one who wanted the separation and potential end of your marriage – you likely are creating a false hope within your spouse that will make his / her healing more difficult.

Summary:

It’s common for people who are separated or even divorced to continue to have sex with each other. There are reasons for that, such as comfort with the familiar, not having to seek out new partners, and a sense of safety (not worrying about STDs and such.)

As far as I know, there aren’t statistics about how many of those who continue to have sex with each other wind up together again. I would guess it isn’t very high. However, I also know that it has the possibility of leading the couple back together, as mentioned in the PRO reasons above.

As with many things we post in this group, the decision is yours. Consider the pros and cons and make the best decision you can. If you feel good about it as you resume lovemaking, great. If you feel badly about it, cease.

Two other things to consider:

First, if your mate has already married someone else, sleeping with him / her is adultery on your part. You may not agree with me on that, but I’m convinced I’m right. I don’t have time to explain that from a Biblical standpoint here.

Second, when a person enters an illicit sexual relationship with a paramour, s/he typically crosses sexual borders that were not crossed before. Now that s/he has violated beliefs and values by being unfaithful, it’s not unusual for them to do things sexually that they would not do before. For example, a person who in her marriage didn’t want to perform oral sex with her husband may well do that in the affair. I’m not mentioning that to make you feel worse about your spouse’s affair, but to inform you that if you do choose to have sex with your spouse who has been involved in an affair, you may not be a satisfactory lover if you do only those things you did before in your marriage. You may need to enhance your sexual repertoire.

Don’t misunderstand: I’m not suggesting you do anything that violates your own beliefs and values. I am suggesting that if you had any inhibitions toward sexual acts that didn’t appeal to you, it would be helpful for you to reconsider doing those things. If you have questions about whether an act is right / wrong because of your religious beliefs or things you may have heard, check out my blog at JoeBeam.com, you can search for many questions I’ve already answered about sexual acts. Use the categories to find what is of interest to you.

If you’d like information about our Marriage Helper workshop, please call (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper workshop for troubled marriages. We can help you save your marriage even in cases of separation, infidelity, loss of trust, anger, sexual problems, and other issues. It cost nothing to talk and we will keep everything you tell us completely confidential. Our motivation is to help you determine if this workshop is right for you and your particular situation.



11 thoughts on “Should We Make Love If We Are Separated?

  • September 20, 2015 at 9:31 pm
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    My 26yr marriage has disintegrated in the last year. In ignorance, I found out by doing something Joe recommends against, spying. She found out and it has driven her further away. I did it again recently and found phone sex and explicit photos with multiple guys. I’m devastated and don’t know where to go from here. She had already asked for divorce. To make matters worse, she had me arrested for abuse after I took her phone to see the messages. I know I went too far. She dropped charges but the damage to our relationship may be too much for any chance of reconciliation. Any advice?

    Reply
  • November 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm
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    Im pregnant and separated with my partner…we have sex everytime we are together…we would cuddle and talk about our unborn baby..is it a good thing to do?

    Reply
  • January 7, 2018 at 3:21 pm
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    Good day,
    I stumbled upon your website and have not read much except for your article about possible positive effects of intimacy of a separated couple (emphasis on still married). It may be a means of redeveloping a couple’s love for each other perhaps leading them to resume their marriage. Wonderful article!

    Society in general in vast cases is leaving God out of their lives…this in itself leads to worse consequences in our worldly lives and yes in the afterlife also. Effects can be seen in societal decline, breakdown, increase in immorality, and other vices. I won’t go any further on this but seeing that the site comes from a religious point of view I trust you understand.

    I am a faithful and practicing Muslim…and I presume you too are a faithful Christian…we both share commonalities in view about keeping God in our lives, trying to live a righteous life, growing and nurturing a loving family, being good to others but foremost being good to each other as a couple and working to keep a loving and protected marriage. I think i might be blabbering on…but I COMMEND you and all behind this site in your genuinely wanting to help couples in their marriage. Keep trying to help others especially those in challenges with their marriage. It’s a Great thing that you’re doing. I really don’t comment on sites much but felt I had to provide my encouragement and commending you all on stumbling on your article. Have a blessed days and days to come…

    Sincerely,
    ZM

    Reply
  • August 25, 2018 at 12:07 pm
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    Be careful what you choose to do! I just discovered a month ago my wife of 18yrs was having an emotional affair with a co-worker. She still says she loves him and isn’t 100% committed to stay married even after 4 counseling sessions with our pastor, but she says she wants to get there but she just can’t yet. We are both very devout Christians and so is the other guy who was actually a friend of mine which stings even more. We’ll, after a month of no sex and physical touch and affirmation being my primary love language as you can imagine I am struggling big time. We just had sex this morning after her seeing how much I am struggling with no sex and she felt like she had to because of the unintended pressure I was putting on her by struggling and voicing my struggle. And now that I got what I wanted and hoped would bring us closer together, I feel absolutely terrible and so does she. The lovemaking was flat, unemotional, and distant for her. I made sure she came to orgasm but it has seemed to do more have for her then good and I feel terrible about it. I pray it will help her to feel closer to me but I don’t know that it did or will. Anyways, I say all that to say this… Sometimes getting what you want or feel you need isn’t a good thing and may end up hurting you. And never give up on your marriage…we serve a God who specializes in restoring the years the locusts have destroyed! I’m praying hard for God to save ours! Blessings…
    DS

    Reply
    • August 27, 2018 at 8:01 pm
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      Hi, Donald. Please give us a call at 866-903-0990 so we can help!

      Reply
    • November 2, 2018 at 9:55 am
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      My wife of 16 yrs told me she wants a divorce then about a week later she said maybe we could still have sex. We been separated about 3 or so months now and i hate it and have had sex 2 times. It feels like we could get back together when she leaves but later she will send me a mess saying the marriage is over. I told her that when divorced the sex is over i have gotten closure to God and believe that sex is for marriages and told her and now she is saying stay married till we meet someone if that happens. I have been praying hard for the marriage to work and for us together get closure to God but she still says the marriage is over. I have just read about a week ago about freewill and she can choose freewill at the same time God could say to her make the marriage work but she chooses freewill. So what do i dont times i feel like giving up and other times i feel like fight for the marriage. I am so torn and confused. I made mistakes in the marriage and being separated i now see so that also is a good thing

      Reply
  • September 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm
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    My husband and I are are in the process of divorcing. The situation is complicated, we have both cheated. I asked for a divorce, but due to financial issues I have not moved out yet, so I still see him everyday. He is having a hard time accepting that I want a divorce. He constantly asks me to have sex with him, but I am no longer attracted to him, but I don’t want to hurt him. I’ve explained that I am not willing to work on our marriage and I wish he would let go, but I know that’s asking a lot of him right now. I can see him struggle and I think that if I give in it would help him, but I also don’t want to give him any mixed signals or make him think I am staying. What should I do?

    Reply
    • October 8, 2018 at 7:03 pm
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      Hi, Tiffany! Please call us at 866-903-0990 so we can help!

      Reply
  • November 28, 2018 at 2:29 am
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    Hi, I’m a married woman, My husband and I have two kids, due with financial issues,we fight all the times and got separated. We are in the processing of Divorcing but since we got separated a month now we still have sex three times a week.And every time we have sex , we are getting close to each other. The problem we dont talk at the phone, he only calls me to meet up,.Im confused and thinking over and over again,Is this right? I’m the wife and he cant call me nights just to say goodnight or just hello?

    Reply
    • December 12, 2018 at 3:57 pm
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      Hi, Ana. Please call us at 866-903-0990 so we can help.

      Reply
  • December 15, 2018 at 5:30 am
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    Hi, recently I walked away from a 27 year marriage. There has been a lot of deception and infidelity through the last 20 years. Definitely emotional affairs but cant prove the physical part, other than the wild unnatural episodes that we had when the cat was out of the bag.
    I’ve Been struggling for about two months now trying to figure out how the split will work.
    She wanted to kiss goodbye a few days after I left and i gave in. Another week or two went by, I had to stop by to get some things, we discussed briefly that I had filed for divorce and again she wanted a kiss goodbye. I didnt want to give false hope so I declined.
    I’ve tried to be true to my self and honest with her. I told her that I cant hang out at family events like everything is ok because its not. Im taking care of the household expenses while living away from home because she cannot afford to support herself.
    Tonight she stopped by my parents, where I’m staying, and we were alone. She came on to me strong as she was about to leave and I caved. I feel horrible now. Afterwards I told her that we shouldn’t have done it. She stated “we’re still married ” trying to convince me for round two. My conscience wouldn’t let me cave again.
    I feel that there have been too many years of deception and regardless of how many times ive told her that I cant continue living like this, there was no change.
    I’m praying for Gods strength and guidance. I know now why they call it heartache, because I physically can feel the pain.
    My wife doesnt want it to end , but I dont think I will ever truely be happy If I don’t persist with the divorce. Already went through a yearlong faith based heart reconciliation counceling.
    It helped me with some internal issues. However, I dont think my wife put her whole heart into it. Therefore it didnt really help our marriage.
    God bless each of you that are on a similar journey.

    Reply

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