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How to Ask Your Partner to Initiate Sex More Without Making It Awkward

Posted By Rebecca Strong  
16/01/2020

To Get Your Partner To Intiiate Sex More Often, Just Do This

Relationships are a two-way street, and that’s definitely true where sex is concerned. But if you’re the only one making moves in the bedroom, it’s easy to become both frustrated and insecure. And before those feelings escalate, it’s crucial to let your partner know how you’re feeling. With that said, what’s the best way to ask your partner to initiate sex more.

It’s certainly not an easy conversation to have, especially if you and your partner are not accustomed to talking openly about your sex life.

Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, points out that this discussion can bring up a lot of fears around how your partner will respond. You might wonder if they’ll get upset or angry, admit they don’t find you desirable or otherwise reject you. In other words, asking your partner to make more of an effort on this front puts you in a super vulnerable position. Still, it’s a risk that’s well worth taking.

According to Astroglide Ambassador Dr. Jess O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast, there are many persistent misconceptions around sexual desire, and how it works.

“The reality is, sexual desire doesn’t always occur spontaneously,” she explains. “Oftentimes, we need to get ourselves in the mood for sex and get ourselves aroused before we experience desire. This model contradicts what we see in movies and porn — we don’t always walk in the door and want to tear one another’s clothes off.”

In other words, just because your SO isn’t jumping your bones the minute you get home from work doesn’t mean they aren’t attracted to you, or don’t enjoy having sex with you. If they’re naturally shy or fear rejection, that may be holding them back as well. And as O’Reilly points out, many people don’t know how to initiate sex simply because they haven’t discussed their needs and desires when it comes to getting in the mood. Basically, try not to take it personally.

Once you’ve determined that their lack of initiation is bothering you, Klapow advises having the conversation as soon as possible, ideally before you start harboring any deep-rooted hard feelings about the issue.

The best way to approach this talk is to treat it like an open forum — an exchange of concerns, ideas and solutions. Instead of saying to your partner, “You never initiate sex, and it’s pissing me off,” (which may very well put them on the defensive), start with an “I” statement that speaks more to your feelings than to their behavior. For example, you might say, “I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to initiate sex very much, and it makes me feel like you don’t want me.” This gives your partner an opportunity to explain their perspective without feeling attacked.

O’Reilly suggests telling your partner why you want them to initiate more in an encouraging way. Saying something like, “I love having sex with you,” or “When you come to me, it makes me feel wanted and the sex so much hotter,” are both statements that have a positive tone (as opposed to an accusatory one).

After giving them a chance to respond, Klapow recommends asking questions about why they don’t like initiating, and how you might be able to help encourage them or inspire them to initiate. He also advises actively listening to their reasons for not initiating, as well as any other feelings or fears they reveal to you.

“They may feel they are initiating sex enough and you may feel they are not,” he adds. “Both positions are valid.”

It’s imperative to be as specific as possible during this discussion to ensure you’re on the same page. Instead of simply saying you want them to initiate sex more often, give your partner a frequency that would be ideal. This helps you to avoid any misunderstandings that could lead to further frustration down the road.

“So often partners have very different definitions of what initiate means and different criteria for what constitutes ‘often,’” explains Klapow.

In addition to discussing how often you’d like your partner to initiate, it’s just as important to tackle what works for you both in the initiation/seduction stage. O’Reilly suggests that couples try two activities.

The “Frequency Exercise” involves writing down how often you want to have sex (whether it’s five times a week, or once a month), and then underneath that, writing down how often you believe your partner wants to have sex. Afterward, you can compare notes on your individual and perceived desires, and hopefully find a middle ground in terms of frequency. The second exercise, the “Seduction Interview,” involves asking each other a series of questions along these lines:

  • What are the best times of day/days of the week to initiate sexual contact?
  • When should I avoid initiating sexual contact?
  • Can you think of a scene from a show or movie that represents the type of seduction you desire?
  • What types of touch do you prefer during the seduction/early phase?
  • What types of touch should I avoid?
  • What areas of your body should I begin with?
  • Which areas should I avoid?
  • How do you need to feel in order to be open to being seduced?
  • Are they any cues I can look for that might indicate that you’re open to being seduced/approached?
  • Are they any cues I can look for that might indicate that you’re not open to being seduced/approached?

These kinds of questions can be immensely enlightening because they may provide insight into what your partner needs from you to feel comfortable initiating sex. Again, specificity is crucial during this conversation. O’Reilly recommends treating your talk like a show and tell, and taking turns coming up with creative ideas for how you’d like to be seduced. And remember, it’s always better to frame your statements as requests rather than complaints.

“Most of us wait until we’re frustrated to talk about sex and consequently, we don’t approach the conversation from a constructive perspective,” she explains.“ Talk about sex when you’re feeling good — not just when you’re feeling frustrated. ‘I would love you to throw me down on the couch or wake me with a kiss’ is going to be more positively received than ‘I’m sick of doing all the work.’”

Keep in mind that compassion is key throughout this potentially uncomfortable conversation. Klapow suggests reminding your partner how much you care for them, that you recognise that this is a tough subject to talk about and that you simply want sex to be enjoyable for both of you.

And most importantly, remember that this isn’t a one-time talk, but an ongoing discussion — changing the dynamic when it comes to initiating often takes time. Once you’ve set a precedent that you can express your needs openly, you can continue checking in with each other at regular intervals to evaluate whether you both feel satisfied.

Asking your partner to initiate sex more often may not be an easy feat, but it’s the first step to ensuring that you feel fulfilled and desired. Sure, you may feel vulnerable, but no risk, no reward.

And when the reward is more frequent and potentially hotter sex, it’s safe to say the risk is well worth it.