Is your husband always initiating sex? In a recent study, that’s what they found, that often men are the ones initiating. But why aren’t you initiating sex? Today we are looking at the reasons why we as women don’t initiate sex, why we should, and how to do it.
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Every sexual encounter begins with someone initiating. As much as we sometimes wish we could just skip that part and get down to business, it’s a necessary step. And doing it right can be an important step towards a better sex life.
A recent survey of 4,000 US adults found 22 percent of heterosexual women said they rarely or never initiate sex, compared to just 13 percent of heterosexual men.
But it’s not just up to the man to initiate. He shouldn’t always be the one putting himself out there. It should be us too. And while this episode focuses on women, I think many of the ideas can work for men as well when it comes to initiating!
But let’s first talk about why we don’t initiate. There are a few reasons:
- We have the false idea that men should always be the ones to initiate. They’re the sexual ones, right? At least that is what we have been taught.
- As women, we are exhausted! We are wiped by the end of the day..so usually sex is the last things on our minds at night (but it’s not the last thing on his mind!). And it makes sense that if men are thinking about it more often, then of course they are going to initiate more often.
- Initiating opens us up to feel vulnerable and exposed and possibly rejected. And no one likes feeling any of those things. And this definitely applies to both men and women.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, if your partner is constantly trying to initiate, you don’t get the chance to even miss it. This is pretty typical. The more one person does, the less the other does. The more they initiate, the less often you will. So it’s important to let your partner know that you want to initiate every once in a while, so they need to give you the opportunity. I know some couples who have certain days that they initiate. It’s part of their sex schedule or protocol. He agrees to initiate once Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. She agrees to initiate Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Wednesday can either be a bonus day or an off day. You get to decide.
Most people think that the reason their partner doesn’t initiate is because they secretly don’t enjoy having sex with them. Which maybe in a small amount of cases is true, but most of the time they just aren’t given the opportunity…or they don’t take the opportunity.
Ladies, you need to initiate every once in a while. Think about how often you have the idea, but don’t follow through. Something gets in the way. Studies show the more time that passes between having an idea and following up on it, the more likely you are to lose motivation. So don’t let things like the dishes or scrolling through social media get in the way of something as important as connecting with your husband. When you, as a woman, decide to initiate and be the seducer, one of the biggest perks is the empowerment that comes with it. It can be pretty exciting to see him come alive when you decide to initiate. That can be a massive turn on. If you decide you are up for it and you’re making all the moves, you’ll be surprised how turned on you’ll feel.
But the truth is, when both partners initiate sex, you have more sex – and then everyone wins! And really, both of you want to feel desired by the other. A man wants to feel desired by his wife, just like a wife wants to feel desired by her husband. And if you aren’t in the mood and wish your husband would stop initiating, your tune might change if he never does it. Believe me! I have talked to many women who’s husbands have quit initiating (usually after being rejected so much) and it feels terrible because they feel like their husband doesn’t want or desire them. But I also understand why men quit initiating after being rejected over and over. Because as much as we can tell them that it’s not them their wives are rejecting, just the sex, it still feels very personal!
So let’s talk about why we should initiate, beyond the empowerment!
- Initiating sends a strong powerful message to your partner that you want them and desire them. That they are attractive to you.
- Being the one to suggest having sex is the single, most effective way to improve your sex life and relationship. If no one suggests it, it’s not going to happen.
- Research shows that the more frequently either partner initiates, the more pleased both partners tend to be with each other.
Now sometimes, the problem isn’t that your partner isn’t in the mood, the problem is with HOW you are initiating. You have to communicate with your partner and find out how they like it and what turns them on. Too many times we assume that they like to start sex the same way we do: “If I am turned on by kissing, then my partner must get hot with kissing, too.” Something I hear from women quite often is that their partner’s idea of initiating is to grab their breasts or start touching their vulva. And if you aren’t ready for sex, most women don’t want to be touched there…yet. So, if you are initiating in a way that your partner doesn’t like, you may be getting rejected unnecessarily.
If you want to have good sex, you have to communicate and find out your partners initiation preferences. And I get that communication is hard, which is why this podcast is such a great way to get the communication started. You can both listen and then discuss. Easy peasy.
So let’s talk about initiation styles. These are great questions to ask your partner. I’ll be giving specific examples of how to do each of these in a minute.
Ask: “Would you rather be…
- …asked (verbal) or touched (physical)? This is a clear distinction between those who like to be talked to and those who like to be touched. Some people love to have verbal invitations to sex. For them, talking is a form of foreplay. Others are turned off by the use of words. They would rather be turned on with a graze of their skin or a prolonged kiss.
- …approached subtly or directly? Many times we hint at things, without asking directly. And this works for some and doesn’t work for others. With this it may be a more subtle teasing or flirting that allows them to get in the mood. Others like a more direct approach, or even bossiness and clear direction.
- … be surprised, or see it coming? One person may want to anticipate, think about and/or plan for the event as their arousal evolves, while others find that their arousal erupts when they are surprised. These people will often talk about spontaneity.
So ask your partner these questions and listen closely to the answers. Find out how your invitation will be more likely to be accepted. And it’s ok if the two of you have differences in how you like it initiated. Those differences can help spice things up in long-term relationships. It’s fun to find new and creative ways to initiate in the way your partner appreciates and you can also take turns to keep it interesting.
So let’s talk about different ideas of how to initiate, keeping in mind how they answered the 3 previous questions.
- Verbalize your desire – this isn’t just letting your partner know that you are horny. There’s a big difference between that and letting them know how much you desire THEM. Make them feel special with compliments and reminders about how much they mean to you.
- Approach them directly – sometimes it’s that simple. “I’m in the mood for sex. Are you?” Just ask…you may be surprised at the answer.
- Touch lovingly – If your partner likes subtle physical initiation, they might enjoy being hugged, stroked, kissed, or massaged to get in the mood. This is not groping or grabbing, this is warming them up. And if you haven’t listened to Episode 137 – The Five Gears of Touch, you totally should!
- Play Masseuse – sometimes you are in the mood for something a little more than just loving touch. You can start by rubbing his chest and stomach and then work your way down. A massage with a happy ending is always a great way to set the mood and I’m guessing he will be putty in your hands if you start with your hands on him!
- Be demanding – If your partner likes spontaneity and directness, try being demanding about what you want physically or verbally. Push them up against a wall and start making out. Climb on top of them and strip. Command them to take their pants off.
- Text it – If your partner likes to see it coming, a long and slow build up can be very hot! Start early in the day with flirty messages and make them dirtier as the day progresses. You may want to use a private messaging app so no one else can see. You can also send sexy pics!
- Get naked – this can be a good method when it’s hard for you to use verbal or physical cues, but you’d like to get your partner in the mood. Strip down to your birthday suit and hop into your partner’s side of the bed. Or get under the covers before your partner sees and when they come to snuggle or kiss you good night, they get a nice surprise.
- Take a shower – if your partner just got in the shower, see if they want some help getting lathered up! The shower can be a great place to start things out.
- Get some props – Buy something new to spice things up. It can be a new toy, a new lube, a bedroom game, a book, or some new lingerie or underwear. You can present it to them or leave it somewhere for them to find.
- Dress the part – speaking of props, dressing the part can go a long way. Wear some sexy underwear around during the day to help you get in the mood and like I suggested earlier, take a sneak peak pic to send to your spouse. It doesn’t have to be expensive lingerie, even just some cute underwear and a t-shirt with no bra can go a long way!
- Use humor – Maybe you and your partner have secret codes or inside jokes. Take those and run with it.
I read about a couple who used a fridge magnet. This can be really helpful if you have really mismatched desire levels. You need two fridge magnets that are easily distinguishable from each other. One for him and one for her. Each day you move the magnet depending on if you do or don’t feel like sex. If the magnet is close to the top it means you are extremely interested. If it’s at the bottom, it’s a definite no. It will be tempting for the higher desire partner to leave their magnet permanently at the top and the lower-desire partner to glue theirs to the bottom. But try to start in a neutral position each day.
It’s totally normal to feel self-conscious and awkward if you aren’t used to initiating sex, especially at first. But remember that this is your spouse, who you love. And they love you.
If your partner isn’t in the mood, don’t take it as a personal assault. Don’t throw a fit and think “well I’m never doing that again!” I’m sure you’ve probably turned them down quite a bit, it’s ok if they turn you down too. They have their reasons. Treat them the way you want to be treated when you turn them down. It’s ok to be sad or disappointed, but pouting or completely withdrawing from the relationship isn’t going to help things.
I’ve created a worksheet for this episode with the three initiation styles and with the 11 initiating ideas. You can download on this episode’s webpage AmandaLouder.com/podcast/169