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Sex therapist explores - How do you initiate sex?

Initiating sex can be daunting for many people with the fear of rejection if the offer isn’t accepted. There can’t be fire without a spark, sex needs to start with both or one of the partners initiating it.


Couples attending couples counselling or sex therapy often have incongruous sex initiation styles – where both will want the other person to start so sex is never initiated, or one will be turned on by touch and the other needs emotional connection. Finding out how your partner likes to be engaged is critical to creating the perfect sexual script. Couples often say they want sex to start spontaneously, where partners are ready to go at the same time, this is very rarely the case and how you initiate sex can really impact the likelihood of sex.

The research on cis-hetero couples suggests gender differences in preferences for communication around sex - that cis-men are more direct, and cis-women are more passive. This could be attributed to societal gender role expectations that cis-men should be more assertive sexually. The challenge with this research is that not all people will prefer these styles and we can’t assume based on gender that someone will want a particular style.


The research also shows that initiation styles change with age, but if we take into consideration the other study regarding relationship duration this could be correlated to older people being in longer-term relationships, rather than simply an age factor.

If you don’t know how your partner likes to initiate sex, ask them, or try new things and explore new ways of starting the fire. It’s important to leave ego at the door because to have regular sex, you need to be comfortable with also not having sex and the stars not aligning. It’s ok to initiate sex and for your partner to not be ready, don’t let it put you off trying again, but be sure to get their feedback on what you could do differently next time. If you're struggling to instigate sex, sex therapy with a sex therapist, and couples counselling may support you to open up the discussion.


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