Initiating Sex: Whose Job Is It Really?

advice: relationship lauren gray

Initiating sex in a relationship: Whose 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 I think both partners hold a responsibility — though their roles may be different — why you should never take rejection personally, how to initiate sex with your partner, and my favorite resources for couples looking to enjoy better sex and intimacy.

Dear Lauren,

Within the couple, who is supposed to initiate sex?

– Charles


Who Initiates Sex and Why


Both. Either. Everyone.

I’m going to answer your question more specifically but I want to make it very clear that this is not a one-size-fits-all response. 

It’s in trying to make sex a one-size-fits-all concept that causes so much of the confusion, misunderstanding, shame, and frustration between couples in the bedroom.

Having said that, I think the majority of the responsibility lies with the man because it can be both romantic and sexy when a man is "in charge." It often allows a woman to better connect with her feminine/sexual/sensual side when she feels wanted, admired, and desired.

While men also appreciate being wanted, admired, and desired, they usually don’t need it in order to connect with their sexual side.

Men on average have 10-30 times more testosterone than women. Testosterone is the "let's make sexy time" hormone that influences the sex drive. This means men often want more sex more often than women do.

IF the couple matches this description, then it’s a man’s job to convince and prepare a woman for sex through seduction and romance.

NOTE: Ladies with the big sex drive! You’re perfect just the way you are. You’re feminine and beautiful just the way you are. You don’t get extra credit for pretending to be shy, coy, or submissive. If you want to initiate sex, go for it! 


Avoiding Rejection


Part of this job for a man is accepting that he will be rejected sometimes.

It has nothing to do with how attracted she is to you or how much she loves you, she just may not be in the mood every time you are.

And here’s a reason why...

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.

It’s hard to have a sex drive when you’re so stressed out! Your body responds to this stress as if you’re running from a bear; hardly the bow-chicka-bow-wow vibe for relaxing into intimacy. The stress chemical cocktail is adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. The romantic chemical cocktail is serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.

Running from a bear vs. sex — wildly different hormones.

It's important for a man to understand this and not take her ambivalence personally. It’s not.

Over time, as a woman continues to “reject” a man’s advances, a man will start to give up. He figures if she’s saying, “No” so often then he’ll just wait around for when she wants to initiate sex. This seems a far more attractive option to “Mr. Efficiency” since he gets to do nothing until she takes action.

Unfortunately, this logic often drives a couple toward a “dry spell.” And without sex acting as an intimacy anchor, communication issues come up and the relationship spirals downhill.

So don’t let Mr. Efficiency make decisions when it comes to your sex life. Don’t go there. Don’t give up. Never surrender. If anything, work harder on your seduction skills.

My partner once told me, “Look, just assume I want to have sex with you all the time."

I looked at him and said, “I still want you to seduce me.”

And that’s the nuts and bolts of it right there.


Ladies' Choice


While a hormone discrepancy exists between men and women, it’s important for both parties to initiate sex.

It’s extremely sexy to a man when a woman initiates sex. Just make sure to appreciate these moments as a treat and not expect it to be the norm.

It’s also important for women to let their man know when they’re available for or wanting sex.

If you’re too shy to go up to your man and whisper in his ear, “I want you to rip my clothes off and take me right here,” that’s okay. There are other more subtle ways for you to go about it.


How Women Can Initiate Sex Without Taking the Dominant Role


Lots of women don’t like initiating sex because they don’t like taking on the dominant role in the bedroom. They want the man to drive. They want to be taken. They want to be swept away into a thoughtless land of sensation.

Men often experience the luxury of “thoughtlessness” in their cave time. But this isn’t an easy state to achieve for women. Our minds are racing all the time with random stuff like shopping lists, to-do lists, work, and all the other responsibilities women juggle…

It helps a woman stay in the moment when a man takes the lead and she doesn’t have to make any decisions.

If this is the case, her only job should be letting her man know, “softer,” “harder,” “left,” “right,” “hmmm,” etc. She should only be thinking about what feels good.

If a woman wants to let her man know she’s available for sex, she doesn’t have to sacrifice that role.

Here are two suggestions for initiating sex without taking the dominant role:

  1. Throw on some sexy underwear and greet him at the door when he comes home one day. He’ll get the hint and take it from there.

  2. Work out a code with him ahead of time that when you light a candle in the bedroom, it means you’re open to and wanting to be seduced. He’ll Robert Langdon that and take it from there!

Just because a woman initiates sex, doesn’t mean she has to give up the position of being the one who is wanted, admired, and desired. She’s just giving him the green light to do all the wonderful things to her that he’s been dreaming about all day.




As I said before, it’s in trying to make sex a one-size-fits-all concept that causes so many of the misunderstandings between couples. So I want to give you some helpful resources to guide you to create the best sex life for you and your partner. Here they are:

  1. This book changed my sex life and blew my mind: Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Negoski Ph.D. I personally think it should be required reading for any couple. Get a copy today. I am not an affiliate. I’m just a fan.

  2. If you or your partner are experiencing low libido, there are all-natural supplements that can help your body find balance so that you experience better performance, more interest, and enjoyment of sex.

  3. 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 Academy program Secrets to Great Sex. With practical worksheets, you can apply the learning to your life and enjoy the process!


With love,


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