How do I go about initiating sex? This is a question that comes up often with clients who feel anxious or less experienced when it comes to sex. Oftentimes the answer I get from folks when asked this question is “I just start touching my partner,” “I just say ‘hey, wanna have sex?’” or something along those lines.
Initiation can feel awkward or scary because we fear rejection. Even being rejected once can set a person back a bit, since sex is such a vulnerable act. But just as the saying goes, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” every time you avoid initiation because of fear of rejection, you’re also decreasing your chances of getting a yes.
So, how do you initiate? It starts by knowing your partner. Are they turned on by touch, or do they need a gesture before that to turn them on? It could be as simple as helping with the dishes, mixing up their favorite cocktail (or mocktail!), going out to dinner, watching a funny movie together, etc. Remember: sex starts outside of the bedroom. If your partner needs some stress relief to become receptive to sex first, be willing to participate in that stress relief to help ease into things.
Now that you’re both relaxed, there are a few ways you can initiate:
Ask with your words. It can be as simple as “would you like to have sex?” “do you want to fool around?” “would you like to come to the bedroom with me?” “would you like to take this further?” etc. Some folks need the explicit ask to feel confident enough to say yes and move things forward
Ask with touch. Some people enjoy the physical process of getting things started. Start kissing a little deeper. Explore your partner’s erogenous zones - kiss neck, nibble ears, suck on fingers, etc. Offer a massage. Always bear in mind that you want to read their body language. Ask if they start to stiffen up if what you’re doing is okay. If it’s a newer partner, you’re going to want to ask more questions along the way compared to someone you’ve been with for a while to ensure you understand their consent. If you’re not sure how to initiate with touch, watch a movie or ethical porn that turns you on and see what they do in a love scene to get things warmed up and practice a few of those moves.
3. Initiate early in the day. Some folks need time to get their head in the right place. If they know they’re having sex that evening, mentally preparing by thinking about sex can help make them more receptive in the evening. Sext your partner throughout the day, telling them what you’d like to do to them that evening. Get sex on their mind so that they feel warmed up and ready when the time comes that night.
4. Play a sex game. There are a multitude of games that exist to get sex going and is a way to ease off the pressure from either of you to get things started. There are games with dice, cards, actions, etc. that can all get things moving while keeping things light.
While there are certainly other ways to get sex going, these are some basics that can help the initiation process. While it can be a little nerve-wracking at first, it’s worth putting in the effort to experience connection with your partner and to build up confidence for both of you.
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