How to Get Your Partner to Initiate Intimacy

When it comes to sex, relationships are a two-way street. It's easy to feel anxious and frustrated in the bedroom if no one else is making any attempts to get your attention or make a move on the situation. Hence, it is essential to let your partner...


When it comes to sex, relationships are a two-way street. It's easy to feel anxious and frustrated in the bedroom if no one else is making any attempts to get your attention or make a move on the situation. Hence, it is essential to let your partner know what's going on if you don't want those feelings to spiral out of control. 

So, how do you ask your partner to do more of the initiating when it comes to sex? It is not an easy subject to bring up, especially if you and your partner are not used to discussing your sexual life freely.  

Why doesn't my partner initiate intimacy? 

  1. Your partner doesn’t feel very comfortable communicating their feelings.
    Intimacy involves feelings, connection, communication, respect and honesty. If your partner rarely initiates intimacy, you may be left wondering if there’s a possibility you do not satisfy your partner enough in bed. However, there may be more than meets the eye. You have to ask and observe whether your partner has been open to communicating all of their feelings.

    Have they ever let you know how they feel about you or themselves? If the answer is no, it’s a sign that your partner is not yet entirely comfortable with you. Your partner needs to be assured that you are their safe place to talk to about anything, including your sex life. 

  2. Your partner doesn’t know how to talk it out.
    Your partner may know how initiating sex should be both of your responsibilities. However, they have no idea how to do it. Your partner may already have all these ideas they keep to themselves because they are worried and nervous that you will not pick up on the signs, hence their reluctance to initiate intimacy. This is why initiating things can be very complex.

    The idea of initiating sex and going for it repetitively may seem odd to them. This puts the pressure on you to initiate it first. However, just like the previous reason, it is essential that your partner feels connected and feels comfortable with you. 

  3. Your partner thinks you’re not in the mood.
    This might sound contradicting and ridiculous. Putting yourself out there sexually can be terrifying, especially for women, as they may have been raised to believe that men are the only ones to make the first move.

    If their partner isn’t making the first move, there must be something wrong, whether feeling like they did something wrong or as if they are not sexy or attractive enough. This worry of rejection may make your partner dismiss the idea of initiating intimacy altogether.  

  4. Your partner is afraid of being rejected.
    Rejection can diminish a person's self-confidence. Your spouse is likely hesitant to begin sex with you because they fear you might say no. 

  5.  Your partner is not confident enough.
    Your partner may be scared that they will fall short of your expectations in the bedroom or will fail to arouse your interest. Sexual intimacy can bring on feelings of nervousness and fear of failure in some people. Thus, they expect you to be the initiator. 

  6. Your partner needs to be turned on first.
    Some people have a difficult time getting into the mood. Sometimes your partner wants to have sex with you, but they need you to go first.

  7. There's a problem in the relationship.
    If your partner suddenly loses interest in sex, there may be an issue in the relationship.
    A lack of sex might signify anger, boredom or frustration in a relationship. Talk to your partner gently to figure out what’s going on. 

How to get your partner to initiate intimacy?

Start slow

Start by always taking it easy and start small. Don’t just get to third base immediately. Hold hands, give each other compliments, tell them they are desirable, often cuddle, slowly build up your way there, anything that would bring comfort and warmth to the bed.

Set the ambience

It's impossible to become aroused in a messy and brightly lit area. A pile of work documents on the nightstand and the news on the TV in the room won't help create a sexy ambience either. Your partner will be less likely to become turned on and initiate sex if the bedroom is uninviting. Hence, ambience significantly impacts the level of intimacy that can be achieved. Light up some candles and use aromatherapy based on your partner’s favourite scent, like lavender, vanilla, or jasmine.

Straight to the point

Once you feel comfortable enough with your partner, it is safe to say that you both are confident enough to proceed. The thing is, subtlety has never really helped anyone; instead of making indirect comments or critics, be bold. If you feel like getting intimate, talk to your partner about it, see how they respond to your mood, and respect the feedback whether they’re down for it.

Get touchy

If words don’t suit you well and talking about sex makes things awkward instead of getting things going, then you can use the power of your hands. Be touchy with your partner’s parts and begin to whisper sweet things in their ear. Be creative, lead your partner to the top of the bed and the whole intimate and passionate skin-to-skin contact.

Dress up

Talking about clothes, the way you dress will affect intimacy, especially after the honeymoon phase is over, as things may start to become vanilla. Therefore, you’ve got to spice things up a little bit. Wear your best tight suit, costume, silky pyjamas, robe etc. 

Role play

Also, you can spice things up by bringing one of their sexual fantasies to life. Channel your adventurous self and be wild! Play a character that your partner wishes you want to be. 

Be active and get moving.

Once you have decided to initiate sex with your partner, be sure to own it. You have to be active and enthusiastic. Show them that you are really into it. Be eager, use your hands, get on top, take charge and enjoy yourself.

Schedule it

It may not sound like the sexiest thing, but scheduling your “fun time” can be hot. It takes all the pressure out of the argument because no one has to initiate, and there is no potential rejection. Mark the time and date, and while you’re at it, connect with your partner non-sexually to keep your intimacy levels healthy.

To sum things up

Initiating sex won’t always be the same as your relationship grows. Reassess your approach for better sex and growth as a couple. Intimacy requires coordination; remember, “it takes two to tango”!

Contrary to what many might think, it does not happen magically. Both parties need attention to every detail, so make sure you move in ways each person likes to experience sex. Open up to communication and be connected. Nobody wants to go on with a one-sided conversation. 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

for the latest information, research and insights focused in sexual health, relationships and overwell wellbeing

CTA Banner

Feel in control

Start with a 3-minute assessment

Take our quick 3 minute quiz to understand the severity of your issue and how we can help.

Start with a 3-minute assessment

Take our quick 3 minute quiz to understand the severity of your issue and how we can help.