Initiating Sex: Whose Job Is It Really?

advice: relationship lauren gray

Initiating sex in a relationship: Who’s job is it?

In the movies, they make it look so natural, like both partners always want sex at the same time and it just sort of happens in a flurry of passion. But what if your sex life is not like that at all?

What if you’re in a dry spell and no one is initiating sex?

In this post, I’m going to share with you why both partners hold a responsibility (though their roles may be different), one gender-specific step to prime your libidos, and 3 easy and effective ways to initiate sex with your partner.

Because it may not be “the movies” but romance? Sex? Intimacy? Really shouldn’t be a “job” at all; it should be a celebration!


Dear Lauren,

Within the couple, who is supposed to initiate sex?

– Charles


Who Initiates Sex and Why



I'll get more specific, I promise because that’s where it gets juicy! But…

The truth is it takes two to tango, and it takes two to create the kind of relationship where sex is as natural as breathing, “pass the salt,” and cleaning up dinner — If more exciting!

So instead of this being about a job description for the man or the woman, this is more about understanding our differences and seeing how we can both fulfill our roles to experience a thriving sex life.

There's a lot of pressure on men to initiate.

There's a lot more permission for men to initiate.


This comes from “society” but also from biology. Let me explain:

Men on average have 10-30 times more testosterone than women. A healthy man with a healthy lifestyle — of meaningful work where he gets paid for his expertise, regular exercise where his muscles are used, and he feels appreciated in his relationship and home life — has the MOST testosterone.

Testosterone is the "let's make sexy time" hormone that influences The Sex Drive. This means, in general, men often want more sex more often than women do.

As we get older and hormones evolve, men tend to have lower libidos as they decline in testosterone, and women tend to have higher libidos as their estrogen and progesterone lower and testosterone — in relation to those female hormones — goes up.

We can see why men have more pressure on them to initiate. After all, if they want it more often, then they should make the romantic effort to make it happen, right?



What Hormones Got to Do With It


In the workplace, studies have shown that women have twice the stress levels that men do. When she comes home, however, her stress levels shoot up to 4 times more than a man’s at home.

He gets home, takes some “Cave Time” and relaxes. Relaxing after working rebuilds testosterone in men.

Oh hey! He’s primed for romance now!

But women have a different hormone story. During the day at work, her body is using and rebuilding testosterone (just like a man’s) but where testosterone helps a man relax, testosterone does not have the same effect on a woman.

In fact, her stress levels are free to rise during her workday. She needs female hormones like estrogen and progesterone to help her body relax and feel pleasure (instead of pressure!).

The reality is: It’s hard to be open to sex when your body is running stress.

Your body can’t tell the difference between a work challenge, the trials of traffic, coming home to a messy house and… Running Away From A Bear!

This is hardly the bow-chicka-bow-wow vibe for relaxing into intimacy.

  • The stress biochemical cocktail is adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine.
  • The romantic chemical cocktail is serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.

Running from a bear vs. Sex: wildly different hormones.

  • A man’s unique hormone story and natural instincts to take Cave Time make it even easier for him to be open to sex.
  • A woman’s unique hormone story needs some deliberate action before she can switch from stress to love, desire, and intimacy.

What’s the deliberate action you may ask?


Steps for Both Partners to Take


This is a team effort.

Once you get this part down, the rest is just a bit of communication, and I’ll tell you exactly what to say.

This is the important part so that sex becomes something regular, easy, and fun!


It’s important for both partners to understand that in order to be hormonally primed for romance:


  1. A man needs to take some Cave Time, rest, and relax in a non-relational way after work.

This could be accomplished by a commute where you listen to a podcast that doesn't get you riled. This could be accomplished by sitting in front of the TV for 30 minutes. Just a transition time between working responsibilities and the honey do list does wonders for a man’s testosterone levels.


  1. A woman needs to switch from building and releasing testosterone during work to building and releasing estrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin. 

I teach a big practical course on this for women only but for now I’ll just say: She needs to focus on these things:

“I want…”

“I choose…”

“I’d like…”

“I’d love…”

This is often VERY different from the “I have to…” or “I need to…” language women drown under when they get home from work (or wake up in the morning!).

When she deliberately shifts her language, attention, and actions to “I want…” “I choose…” “I’d like…” “I’d love…” – 

….whatever fits the ends of those sentences genuinely for her, a new hormone story begins. Her body begins to start making estrogen and progesterone, which means oxytocin starts to rise as well.

Now her body can physiologically relax and experience pleasure.


When both of these steps are taken, a man and woman both are primed for romance.

So, is she ready yet?

Maybe. Maybe not.



Put Your Efforts Where They Count


If you swoop in now that she's smiling and has slowed down and seems more relaxed, it might work.

You might kiss her and she kisses you and the kiss gets deeper and you both run upstairs giggling like teenagers — totally on the same page. That’s way more likely to happen now.

But it also may take a few extra steps. For both of you. 

Team effort, remember?


Your sex life is the direct result of Your Hormones + Your Relationship. 


The idea is to do little things daily that let your partner know you care about this relationship.

Men and women need different things to thrive in love so it’s worth studying your MarsVenus so you know exactly where to put your efforts so you get more in return and never burn out

But after you’ve done that…

It’s time to initiate some SEX.

But how? And who?


3 Easy and Effective Ways to Initiate Sex 


This part is the easy bit.

You’ve already laid the foundation with your self-care (hormonal balance) and your relationship care.

Now it’s just the Communication Cherry on top! Use all 3 suggestions or choose the one that matches your personality, your state of mind, and your relationship. Just as long as you use them!


  1. Keep sex alive in your relationship by talking about it. 
    • “I loved sex with you the other day; still thinking about it.”
    • “I’m so lucky to have sex with the best lover of my life for the rest of my life.”
    • “I’m looking at you and thinking, damn…I really like sex with you.”
    • “You know what I thought about when you said ‘mounting hardware’ at Home Depot? Sex. With you.” 

Keep it casual. Keep it part of the conversation. Then it’s not a far step from talking to doing AND your partner feels your interest and love consistently so they have the confidence to make a move. This goes for men and women.


  1. Tell your partner you’re open to or into sex today and if they are too, to just let you know.

Smile, kiss em, and leave the room. No pressure.

Sometimes I’ll say, “I’m open to being seduced. Not sure I’ll be into sex when we get there but I’m open to being seduced.” And he knows — GREEN LIGHT! — he can start touching me and kissing me and there’s no pressure for more.


  1. Light a candle where they can see it.

Let that be a code you have to let the other person know you’re interested in sex and they can take you up on it or not.


The key here to initiating is to make it:

  • Non-demanding
  • Full of love, playfulness, and sweetness
  • And to not take it personally if they’re not where you’re at at the exact time you’re there.


It does NOT mean:

It DOES mean:

  • Not now, not today. For whatever reason — usually a hormonal reason (stress) or relationship reason (not getting their core needs met).


And when you can let go of taking it personally — on both sides — you open the door for both partners to initiate sex in the way they like whenever they feel open to it.

If you want to learn relationship skills and communication tools to create passionate monogamy, rekindle desire and climax using the “Polarity Sex” method, check out John Gray’s self-study program Secrets to Great Sex. With practical worksheets, you can apply the learning to your life and enjoy the process!


The main things to remember are:

  • It’s a team effort
  • Your sex life is the direct result of Your Hormones + Your Relationship
  • In order to say YES to sex, you need to not take NO personally
  • A little communication goes a long way


With love,


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