Has your husband ever said he would like you to initiate sex more?
Mine has. It used to be that when he would say that, I would tell him that since he was the one who wanted sex so much, he needed to initiate it. It made absolutely no sense to me that I would initiate something I didn’t even want to do.
The closest I ever came to initiating sex in those days was to say, “I suppose you want to have sex, so let’s get it over with.”
As part of my effort to grow as a wife, I have made a point of initiating—a lot.
Or so I thought.
A few months ago, my husband and I were listening to a marriage podcast while we were in the car. One of the hosts was talking about how much he loves it when his wife initiates. I sat there feeling all smug, thinking about how nice it was that I had that one figured out.
Big Guy burst that bubble, though, when he said words that sounded all too familiar: “I wish you would initiate more.”
“What??!!! I initiate a lot. I initiate more than you do!”
It turns out that he and I don’t define sexual initiation in the same way.
I always thought it meant to bring up the topic of sex—you know, initiating the conversation that led to sex. If I said “how about some nakey play time?” or “how about it, Big Guy?” or “let’s go to bed,” I was initiating. If I grabbed him by the hand and walked him to the bedroom, I was initiating. Standing naked in front of him in the living room? Initiation!
If I did anything at all to indicate that I was interested in sex, or even just available and willing, I thought I was initiating.
It turns out that his definition is completely different.
For Big Guy—and, I suspect, for most guys—initiating is more than getting things started. It is also keeping things moving.
I admit that I haven’t been so good at that. Sure, I occasionally plan and prepare and take charge of part of a sexual encounter (see here and here). Generally, though, I let my husband do the driving once things get underway.
Even when I would initiate according to my definition, once we got started, I let my husband take the lead. I may offer suggestions, make requests, ask if something is okay, and redirect, but he is generally the one who sets the pace, decides what we are going to do and how, and does the work and decision-making.
Like many women, my sexuality tends to be responsive. My husband acts, and I respond to him.
Although my husband loves my sexual responsiveness, there are times he wants me to make love to him. He wants me to lead the charge.
A husband wants to feel desired by the woman he loves most in all the world. Initiation shows him that in a way that speaks deeply to him. Yes, that may be a generalization, but I’m pretty sure it’s true for a lot of husbands.
If your husband says he would like you to initiate, ask him to describe what he means. You may be as surprised as I was.
Whether you are still learning to be the first to indicate an interest in sex or you’re ready to figure out how to ravish your husband, I’d like to offer some suggestions of things you can do to initiate.
This list begins with starting the conversation that leads to sex (what I always thought initiation meant) and moves toward making love to your husband (what initiation means to my husband).
- Think sexually. If you have even one sexual tingle, mention it to your husband. If it happens during the day when you’re apart, text him to let him know.
- Translate. If you want to feel close to your husband and you know that sex will accomplish that, translate your mental I want the emotional closeness of afterglow into words you speak to your husband: “I want sex” or “I want you.”
- Use words. Whispering spicy language into your husband’s ear when you arrive at his parents’ house for Sunday dinner can let him know he can look forward to some sexy time later. Remember that unspicy language can be just as expressive: “When we are in bed tonight, maybe I could kiss you all the way from your toes to your head.”
- Communicate non-verbally. Some men would love to be grabbed or caressed between the legs. You can also wink or make kissing or licking motions with your mouth, slowly unbutton the top button of your blouse when you know your husband is looking, or hold his hand and walk him to the bedroom.
- Be direct. Many men say they just don’t pick up hints. You may think that throwing your leg over your husband and stroking his thigh with your foot is obvious, but he may have no idea that you are trying to initiate sex.
- Be selfish sometimes. Think about what you would enjoy. Not sure? Think of things you’ve enjoyed in the past and pick one of them to request that you and your husband do together. If your husband touches you somewhere, tell him you would rather have his mouth there instead. This may not seem to have anything to do with initiating. However, it is a way of helping you express your desire and sexuality to your husband in very specific ways. It also helps you get more comfortable making decisions about how to proceed.
- Do something unexpected. If you and your husband have a usual progression of things (such as you kiss for a while, then you fondle each other’s sexual parts for a bit, then he stimulates you to orgasm, and then you move to intercourse), do something out of sequence—like touching him between the legs before you even start kissing.
- Offer your husband a sexual treat that you know he likes. Instead of waiting for him to ask you for oral sex, just start doing it. (Check out these posts if you are not yet comfortable giving oral sex: Oral Blessings, Dealing with a Gag Reflex, Because He’s Worth It, and Oral Blessings: More Resources.)
- Make it all about him sometimes. Think of things he has enjoyed, and do them. Be sure to let him see how much you enjoy his responses. If there is a position he loves that doesn’t do much for you, do it for him. I don’t mean to just let him have his way with you. I mean to offer and enjoy giving him the things he really likes—as a way of actively blessing him. Sex shouldn’t be just about him all the time (or even most of the time), but it’s a good thing to do now and then. (I’d like to note that it is also a good thing to let your husband make it all about you sometimes. It is a blessing to receive as much as it is to give.)
If you have a history of rejecting your husband’s sexual advances or initiating only by telling your husband you’d like to get sex over with, any of these things is likely to thrill him.
Start where you are, and move forward.
Get comfortable letting him know you’re interested, gradually work on being aware of and communicating your desire for your husband, and then work on lavishing him with your love.
Bless your husband with your desire for him. Give generously, seeking his deep pleasure as well as your own. Let him know that you want him and that you enjoy pouring your sexual attention into him.
It will help him feel loved in a way only you can do.
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.
Song of Songs 5:16
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