Do you hate having to do this?
Do you struggle with initiating sex?
Maybe you get shy and awkward, and end up tripping over your words. Maybe you’re too uncomfortable to initiate at all!
Or maybe you feel OK initiating, but you’re confused about why you frequently get turned down by your partner.
This month we have a brand new theme: the mistakes we all make around initiation and consideration.
Consideration is my word for how you respond to your partner’s initiation. Most people don’t realize that there’s actually a process behind deciding what your response is going to be, and how you’re going to share it with your partner.
Each week, I’ll share a super common mistake that most of us make around initiation and consideration. (I think some of them will have you chuckling!)
Towards the month, I’ll also share a fun way you can get even more comfortable and skillful with initiation and consideration!
Initiation and consideration mistake #1 – Getting annoyed that you have to initiate
The funny thing is that both partners in a relationship often feel annoyed about initiation.
Typically, there’s one partner in a relationship who initiates a whole lot more often than the other partner. That partner often feels frustrated that they’re constantly in the vulnerable position of putting themselves out there and asking for intimacy.
But often, the partner who rarely initiates feels like initiation isn’t or shouldn’t be “their job,” so they get annoyed about the idea of doing it too!
I most frequently see this dynamic with heterosexual couples, where the female partner may think that it’s the male partner’s responsibility to initiate. (This gets back to the crappy gendered socialization we all receive.)
Even when she wants sex, she gets frustrated because she thinks he should be reading her mind and initiating. For example, “We haven’t had sex in a week. Why doesn’t he come kiss me?” or “I can’t believe he’s not taking the bait… I’m literally sitting here in my underwear!”
None of us like to initiate.
Initiation is hard, scary, and vulnerable!
But the bottom line is that we need to feel all of those feelings and choose to initiate anyway.
Being an adult means asking for what we want, even when it’s really hard.
And amidst all of our discomfort around initiating, we tend to forget this crucial reality: What we’re trying to initiate is connection with our partner!
Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s awkward. Yes, you’re going to get turned down sometimes.
But experiencing connection with your partner is worth continually fighting for!
Your action item for the week:
Have a conversation with your partner where you ask, “What were you taught to believe about how initiation is supposed to work in a relationship?” See if you’ve been operating under those unfair gender stereotypes.
Then ask, “How do you want initiation to work in our relationship?”
When you feel frustrated, tell yourself, “I’m frustrated that I have to initiate because of [fill in with your particular reasoning in that moment]. It’s OK for me to feel that. But I’m going to choose to initiate anyways because [fill in your specific reason why it’s important to you to be intimate with your partner].”