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How to make initiating sex easier
How do I get my partner to initiate sex more often, clients keep asking me. I feel like I'm always the one who has to do it otherwise we won't have sex at all, they say.
Initiating sex can often become a contentious issue for both men and women. And there are even more women, than I expected, who never initiate sex at all, because they believe it's the man's job.
Some people don't mind doing almost all the initiating as long as the answer is usually "yes". But if they hear the word "no" too often, they start to feel rejected or humiliated and they will eventually stop asking. They begin to wonder if they are not attractive or desirable anymore – everyone wants to be wanted. Just the fear of being rejected can lead to avoiding sex all together.
Many people feel awkward initiating sex because they are shy. It's easy to become overwhelmed, especially at the start of a new relationship. In fact, many people find it extremely difficult to talk about sex; it can be a sensitive and awkward topic that raises feelings of embarrassment or inadequacy. If a person feels sexually insecure, initiating sex can be scary and intimidating.
People in a long-term relationship can't expect to feel as horny or want sex as much as they did when they met, but trying to make physical intimacy a priority will change the dynamic in a relationship and will bring a couple closer together again.
Suggesting to have sex is an invitation to connect with a partner. Female clients often tell me: "I was really tired and didn't feel like it, but when I decided to have sex because I felt guilty, I actually really enjoyed it and I was happy I instigated it."
Getting into the mood for sex is usually a lot easier for men – they don't need to be very excited and they can choose to make love for reasons other than strong desire. For women it can be different; they need some time to become turned on. Some women tell me they first have to be in the mood to "feel" sexual. I explain that desire doesn't just mysteriously happen; if you want to have good sex you have to create the time and space to get in the mood and look forward to it.
Most couples have different levels of desire, which is natural. But if you want sex, make it happen because your partner is not a mind reader. Initiate sex more often and stop waiting for your partner to do it. You just have to make time for sex and make it important. The right "planning" can give you the opportunity to think about how you're going to do it.
Here are some suggestions on initiating sex to hopefully make it happen more often. Initiating sex requires enthusiasm, it's so easy to talk ourselves out of it.
Try to break out of your comfort zone to help build erotic anticipation – nowadays texting is a great way to do that – and you can be more graphic than you might feel like being in person.
Subtle touches can also do the trick, feel your partner's knee, thigh or crotch, or let your hands wander to other parts of the body. A bit of teasing like a bite or nibble to the ear, massaging or kissing the neck are all ways of showing interest.
Be creative and suggestive, make foreplay important, send sexy messages, give your partner more compliments, show your desire, do more kissing, touching, rubbing or hugging.
Make your bedroom inviting, turn on some music, light some aromatic candles. Going to bed naked can be a nice surprise, or occasionally wearing some sexy underwear can do the trick.
There are lots of new interesting sex toys for couples on the market that can spice up your sex life and make foreplay more fun. Why not buy one and surprise your partner?
Or check out this unique cookbook for couples, Lust at First Bite, created by Ross Holland and Melissa Horton. Each tantalising chapter shows how to prepare delicious food and drinks as a catalyst to bring couples closer together using playful ideas of conversation, romance and seduction.
Keep in mind that sexuality is an important part of your relationship and good clear communication will evoke more positive responses. Sex will become more fun and interesting; and when you show each other more often that you are interested, initiating sex will just happen.
Matty Silver is a relationship counsellor and sex therapist