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Who Initiates Sex?

145 women and 342 men have answered
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  • Seventy-eight percent of men say they initiate more than half the time. Forty percent of the women said they start sex more than half the time.
  • If results came from couples the above would show a difference of how husband and wife saw it. As we are not surveying couples, it is more likely a matter of some of our respondents being the more sex positive/desiring spouse.
  • Twenty-two percent of women say they initiate less than 10% of the time. Only 4% of men said the same.
  • Two thirds of men say they initiate sex more than 70% of time.
  • Of the men who left comments, 38% expressed an interest in their wife initiating more often. For example: “My wife’s refusal to initiate ever is a big source of pain for me. Makes me feel ugly and unwanted .” Likewise, some women who do most of the initiating express a desire for him to start things more often.
  • In the comments both men and some women said they have stopped initiating do so less than want because they have been turned down so many times.

Women’s Comments:

  • We have chosen to follow plan we heard about on one of Sexy Marriage Radio podcasts, where one of us initiates, then the other has to within 72 hours. Works pretty well, and gives each of us a chance to initiate regularly.
  • I only “need” sex about every 6 or 7 days but I know my husband needs to have sex every 2 or 3 days so it really doesn’t matter who makes the first move as long as we both have our needs met. I make sure he’s satisfied every couple days either through intercourse if I need the feeling of him in me or by getting him to climax manually or orally. If we’re not together, he knows that I am fine with him taking care of himself when he needs to.
  • We have sex every week. I pick the day and let my husband know a few days in advance so he can be ready. I put on some lingerie or just some shear panties or nothing at all and make sure my husband gets a good look at my bum and lady bits so he knows what he’s in for. Sometimes I like a lot of foreplay and my husband stimulates my vulva, clit and uses his fingers on my G spot for 30 minutes or more to get me ready for intercourse. Other times I just want to feel him fill me so I manually play with him until he can’t hold off and is ready to climax and then I guide him into me. When I match his thrust, he climaxes quickly and I almost always climax when I feel him ejaculate in me.
  • His idea of initiating is rolling over to me when he wakes up aroused in the middle of the night.
  • Usually I initiate because he knows when he does, I may not be in that frame of mind.
  • We’ve see-sawed in our marriage with who has the higher drive, and thus who initiates. But it’s definitely more me now. As long as the other is receptive, it doesn’t really matter who gets things started.
  • Only because I get turned down and that feels awful so I let him but I’m always more than willing
  • The reason it is him initiating, is not because I don’t want it, but because when I hint, ask or initiate….it doesn’t happen. He turns me down or plays dumb. We have sex when, and only when he wants it, my wishes and desires are not considered. That being said, I willingly and lovingly participate, and am thankful for it and enjoy it.
  • I wish my husband could realize how sexy it is to be wanted. If he initiated more, we would definitely have more sex.
  • We usually only have sex once a week, even though I have repeatedly suggested more. I used to initiate more, but I don’t even bother anymore because if I do initiate, the only person who ends up sexually satisfied is me as it turns into oral for him. Now I just wait. It makes me sad.
  • I’m pregnant, in my third trimester so things are uncomfortable. I don’t seem to get much patience though…
  • Now, it is completely up to my husband to initiate — but only because he asked me to stop about 9 months ago. I told him if he wanted me to initiate again, he had to let me know, and he has not done that. In 15 months of marriage, we have never had sex even once when I initiated. In fact, trying to ask for sex usually meant we’d skip a week. We have sex roughly every 10 days, and that just doesn’t vary.
  • Sex is on the table (no pun intended) pretty much every night unless one of us is sick. The expectation is “yes” unless there’s a legitimate reason to withhold. Variety is important. It’s has always worked for us.
  • I quit initiating as much as I’d like because he turns me down most of the time.
  • I used to attempt to initiate all the time but was turned down almost every time. My answer may be deceiving because I don’t initiate anymore but we don’t have sex very often either.
  • Sure wish he imitated some time Would help me feel wanted and desired
  • My husband has a higher drive that I do, so he often waits for me. He has learned that pressuring me is counterproductive. And I have learned not to wait too long. If it has been a couple days I will initiate even if I am not in the mood. I always enjoy being close to him and he makes sure I GET in the mood. 😉
  • I was often rejected early in our marriage, so I no longer initiate.
  • He like to wake me up in the middle of the night which I don’t mind at all mmmmmm
  • But the week I’m really in the mood me 70 to 90. Lol
  • Our sexual dynamic has changed. I used to initiate nearly 100% of the time and he was a refuser. We worked through some stuff and my hormones changed, so now it is more 70-30/60-40 in his favor.
  • He does because, if I initiate, and he wasn’t expecting it, then he has a “hard” time getting into it…
  • He says that I shut him down early in the marriage so, he doesn’t try anymore
  • He used to be the only one to initiate sex until I started to see he didn’t just want the physical release but he also wanted me to show he loves me.
  • I have yet to become comfortable with outright asking for sex. We have not been married quite 2 years and I have been pregnant most of that time which has hampered my sex drive. I desperately wanted lots of sex during the months I wasn’t pregnant but the first three months of marriage I chose to do my “initiating” by hints like putting on my sexy lingerie, lighting candles, and turning on special music. The months between pregnancy #1 and #2 I felt that if he wanted it he would say something and otherwise I was afraid he was tired from work. We had a big discussion after I got pregnant again and I realized this was wrong. But now I am so tired and lack drive so I still haven’t felt much like initiating on my own. We need more discussion (which I intend to initiate) for me to work on this.
  • With 2 kids under 3, sex is sometimes the last thing on my mind when we both get to bed. But I’m glad my spouse initiates, because usually all it takes is him taking the lead to make me forget my day and enjoy our time together!
  • Rejection is hard. I’d initiate more, like twice as much if I knew my odds were better. We have a fantastic sex life, great marriage, the older I get, it seems, my libido is more heightened, I’m 47, he’s 57…maybe that’s where the disconnect is.
  • We seem to be equally interested in regular sex!
  • He doesn’t give me the chance to initiate!
  • Wish he would initiate more.

Men’s Comments

  • I hate the fact that I’m the only one who initiates, does all the work, while she gets her orgasm (she comes first, which is completely ok with me, and I love giving it to her, but) then does nothing to engage in effort while I finish. A selfish, lazy lover, I’d say.
  • I have almost given up initiating altogether because of the constant rejections. We only have sex when she wants; never when I want.
  • Wife never initiates
  • From talking with my wife previously, she has said that “I wanted to but you didn’t”, so maybe I was too caught up with me, or just didn’t expect her to be initiating anything, but neither of us tend to be forceful, so she would take a perception as evidence that I wasn’t interested (rightly or, probably, wrongly).
  • My bride is a work in progress. She still has no desire until after activity starts but then she gets into is and no longer fears sex. I’ll take that for now.
  • It’s a little tricky to say what exactly counts as the first move. She gets more credit for responding with the first move as acceptance of my overtures
  • My wife is the higher drive one in our marriage. Due to a medical condition, I don’t get erections easily or often. My wife needs to climax at least every few days. When I do have an erection, we take full advantage of it until she has several orgasms. But most of the time, I can help orally or using vibrators – both internal and external – or my fingers or all of these to get her there as much as she needs. If I’m not up to it, she will satisfy herself using toys.
  • “Initiates” is not the right word for what happens. There is always someone (usually me) who asks about sex in the morning or the day before. Then, as we have both aged some, we sometimes get caught up in things and forget (even me – which was unthinkable even 5-10 years ago). But if it happens, someone mentions it again and we get ready for bed and snuggle. From that point, she mostly becomes passive and I initiate any action that takes place. From that perspective, I would say I always initiate because when it comes to a physical start, it is I who does it. But it is not always I who bring the subject up in the first place. I would be willing to say that my wife doesn’t know how to initiate the action. She doesn’t know how to start or at least never starts anything going. It is a frustration for me, but I have lived with it long enough that I don’t think of it much at the time.
  • I didn’t know why I think women need to be creative and set the tone or mood sometimes
  • Most of the time it doesn’t work out well if I initiate.
  • She is almost always willing but I initiate the majority of the time. She will bring it up maybe 10-20% of the time.
  • My wife initiates every few days. She will change into sexy, see-through bra and panties or just one of my dress shirts or tee-shirts with no panties or something else provocative and walk around the house when she wants sex that night. This, together with her grabbing my crotch or ass me every time she gets close to me leaves little doubt as to how the day will end. After a few hours of teasing, she’ll lead me to the bedroom or whichever room she wants for sex. A little more visual stimulation by her gets us ready for some intense sex. I always make sure my wife climaxes more than once before she finishes me off.
  • Sexless marriage for almost 4 years 🙁
  • I get turned down a lot as well.
  • I do wish she would take the lead more often.
  • It’s very, very frustrating for me that I am the soul initiator. And she does not want to talk about it.
  • I really wish my wife would initiate. Since I have to do the asking, I feel like she is perfectly fine doing without sex, when going without sex for as long as I do makes me so sad.
  • She initiates because she is the low desire partner and demands control of all physical intimacy.
  • I don’t think she’s ever initiated it. And most of the time, it’s a rejection.
  • I wish I wasn’t always the initiator but that isn’t the case. She rarely denies me, but is never what I would call enthusiastic either.
  • More like 98% of the time it’s me. Biggest issue we have.
  • I wish she would initiate. I like feeling desired too. I sometimes feel like I’m not allowed to have foreplay but it’s required of me to give. I love my beautiful wife and feel loved outside the bedroom. Would like just a little more.
  • She mainly initiates to let me know she is finished with her period
  • Our biggest issue is being too tired! But once we get going – it’s always great!
  • I only get it when she wants it. It’s like a blue moon. She gets me to cuddle her so I start it or I don’t get it.
  • I gave up initiating more than 7 years ago, as every time I did, she wanted to fight about it.
  • Wonderful when she initiates, it is very rare. Makes me feel loved.
  • I let her initiate every time now because I just gave up and quit. I’ll never initiate again. if she just can’t muster the desire more than once every six or eight or twelve weeks, cool. Fine. Me either. Have it your way. But I haven’t begged or bothered her for sex in years, and I never will again. I hate it, but I have some pride, and so she can initiate 100% of the time, which is equal to a few times a year.
  • You didn’t list me 100% of the time? The few times I have asked about it my wife always tells me she is a lady and it’s not appropriate, trust me, she is. While I have been initiating for our 31 year romance I have rarely ever been turned down, but I can almost never remember a time she started the proceedings. I would like it to be a little different, but I am mighty happy with what I have. I will go to the grave with some fabulous memories, and I know she will as well. Nothing like being physically and mentally attracted to one another your entire life.
  • My wife is very intentional about never saying no to my initiation. Sometimes it may just mean she takes care of me manually, but that’s fine with me because she cookies it fun the heart. However, it is rare that she initiates.
  • Near sexless marriage. Mostly given up hope but somehow manage to keep trying.
  • This has shifted slightly for us. It used to be pretty much me, but as we have aged it seems to be slightly more her.
  • I let her know I’m interested quite often, but because she has the lower drive and it hurts to continually hear “maybe tomorrow”, we’ve agreed that she initiates most of the time. I just show her how important she is to me, how attracted I am to her, and how interested I am in being with her, then let her initiate when she’s ready. I wasn’t sure how to answer the question, but I answered “my spouse 50% to 70% of the time” which seemed to best reflect our situation.
  • I almost always initiate, but only if she does some things before bed that let me know she is receptive to the idea.. But even then if I don’t make a move nothing will happen.
  • My wife will NEVER initiate sex.
  • It used to be me who started it 99% pf the time, but like a light switch my wife turned on now she starts it the majority of time.
  • My wife was abused as a child and is unable to deal with it so we live in a sexless marriage
  • She controls the frequency. Why waste time trying and getting turned down?
  • I feel that when I try to initiate sex I have to work to get her in the mood, usually a half hour endeavor. And even then, she doesn’t always want sex. That’s why I wait until she’s either in the mood already, or it seems like I won’t be denied and warming her up will be relatively short.
  • Been rejected to many times to make the first move
  • Wed mornings, @ 9:15, like clockwork.
  • It’s probably more like 90+% of the time because the only time she ever really “initiates” (if you want to call it that), is when she knows I’m frustrated because it’s been a while.
  • In the past, I would have said that it was I who initiated sex probably 99% of the time. But recently I’ve tried very hard to cut out most instances of “duty sex”. This means we have much less sex than before but it has been interesting to note that my wife now initiates sex much of the time now. It still appears that she has no inherent drive of her own and that she’s initiating because she knows we need to do it. She now tells me that she feels less pursued without me asking for duty sex all the time. I’ve stopped asking unless I am fairly certain the quality of the experience will be mutually enjoyable. My guess is that the initiator role is somewhat fluid over time in many relationships.
  • Because my wife has an ironclad grasp of control over any and everything that happens in our bed, I have pretty much given up any hope or interest in asking begging cajoling or convincing her to do anything other than the most plainest conservative sex you could imagine. She pretty much drives that boat and rather than fight like we have over the last three years of me attempting to assert control, I have finally surrendered for the sake of peace. It’s not ideal nor what I want but it’s the reality I have.
  • Nearly 99% of the time it’s me asking and asking and asking
  • I usually get turned down or asked for a rain check.
  • 100% me. If I didn’t, we never would.
  • Initiation doesn’t always mean follow through either way. Also, I accept more often than she does. None of which is news, I’m sure.
  • Wish it were more balanced.
  • I wish it was initiated by her more than once in a blue moon
  • As we have journeyed together we are more atune to each other and wife has greater confidence in initiating.
  • When we were dating and engaged. She use to initiate sex a lot more than now
  • If I didn’t initiate or attempt to initiate, we wouldn’t have sex.
  • My wife takes birth control pills and lacks desire for sex almost all the time. This is a part of the side effects of taking birth control.
  • I have to wait on her, cuz it seems like when I make the first move I get rejected
  • We my wife does initiates its normally out of me asking and been refused and her finally asking like she is saying ok I guess I’ll unload the dishwasher
  • Sexless marriage for 4 years
  • I’ve basically given up on initiating sex, as my wife doesn’t respond to my advances more often than once a year. So, I’m stuck with waiting for her to decide she wants sex. Not a good system, and I really don’t like it; but I haven’t succeeded in coming up with any way of making it better (and it’s not for lack of trying).
  • For the majority of our marriage, it was always me. But I got tired of being turned away constantly for one reason or the other. So I got to the point of waiting on her to initiate. Since our sex life has improved in the last 15 years, we are now closer to a 50/50split.
  • Perhaps because her drive is lower than mine (I like to have sex 3-4 times per week, wife is content with 1-2 times). I have waited often for 10 days, until I’m crawling the walls, to see if she will initiate*. *By initiate, I mean simply touching slightly, indicating that I should do my necessary obligations to get her aroused, do all the work, while she awaits the orgasm.
  • It didn’t use to be this way. But through healing and understanding I feel more free to initiate now than I did 2 years ago. I guess now I have embraced my wife’s ‘indicators’ if you will and know when it is ok to initiate. Also we are more relaxed now as a couple in our relationship and also in our relationship with Christ.
  • Most times the man makes the move but it should be anybody. Thank you.
  • DW is the lower drive spouse and rarely initiates. I absolutely love it when she does and I tell her so.
  • I would love for my wife to initiate. No need to ask, hint or even wonder. Just go for it. I wouldn’t stop her. I’ve voiced this to her.
  • My wife’s refusal to initiate ever is a big source of pain for me. Makes me feel ugly and unwanted
  • It’s a mood thing. If/when she is in the mood, she will let me know. i don’t initiate anymore because more often than not, she’ll be too tired or not in the mood. It’s an issue we see and are working on.
  • If I do I get shut out.
  • It’s pretty much a given that we will have sex most nights, so kind of hard to say. It’s part of our bedtime routine!
  • I wish she would initiate from time to time!





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