Practical Tips For Initiating Sex With Your Partner



Sexual encounters don’t just happen- someone needs to get things started. But how? How do you make a move? How do you let your partner know you’re interested in sex?


People don’t initially love this advice, because many of us have roadblock around direct sexual communication (“what if my advances are rebuffed? Then I’ll feel foolish”, “what if I come off as too forward? Then they’ll think I’m aggressive”, “OK, but what do I actually say?”), and these roadblocks can hold us back.

But truth be told, a simple “hey, I feel like having sex right now, do you want to?” is the most effective  way to get what you want.

Research has suggested that couples do a phenomenally poor job of reading each other’s sexual initiation cues. Your naked dance after the shower and your “bedroom eyes” wink as you suck on a straw suggestively are not cutting it. The messages are extremely likely to be misread, or not picked up on at all. And then no sex happens, and everyone is sad. Just saying it sends a more clear, concise, and unmistakable message.

  1. Write it

If you’re still working on your face-to-face sexual communication skills, initiate sex in writing.

Send them a text, or leave a little post-it note on the bathroom mirror or somewhere else where they and only they will find it that says “sex later?”

  1. Start with the basics

Practice by initiating physical affection and touch in other ways in your relationship. Reach out and hold their hand. Plant a surprise kiss. Offer a no-strings attached sensual back rub. For one, hand-holding, kissing, and back rubs are a ton of fun, can be super sexy, and are a wonderful way to connect. But as a bonus, they can help you get comfortable with being the one who initiates sexual activity.

  1. Focus on them

One way to make initiating sex with your partner easier is by making the sex you’re offering actually good sex. Take care in being a generous, competent lover. Focus on their wants and needs. Then next time, you can be more confident about initiating if you know that they know the sex you’re initiating will be enjoyable for them.

  1. Set reasonable expectations

Initiating sex when your partner is sick, or after they just had a baby, or for 17 straight days in a row, will probably not be met with warmth and welcomeness. Set yourself up for success by being reasonable.

  1. Be Humble

When you initiate sex, sooner or later, you will be rejected. In fact this may be one of the reasons you’re hesitant putting on the moves in the first place. No one likes feeling unwanted, especially by a sexual partner.

But go into this knowing it will happen, and that it isn’t an indictment of you, your sexual attractiveness, or how desirable your partner finds you. It simply means they don’t want to have sex right now, and that’s valid. Take a humble approach to the inevitable denial. Pouting and whining are not a part of a healthy sexual relationship.

Practical Tips For Initiating Sex With Your Partner by Dr. Jill McDevitt originally appeared on

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