How to get your partner to initiate sex, even if they’re shy

May 04,2021

Are you tired of always being the one to initiate sex?

In most relationships, there’s often one partner who initiates the majority of the time. 

Initiating sex is really vulnerable, so if it almost always falls on your shoulders, that’s a lot of pressure!

Here’s how to get your partner to initiate, even if they feel awkward or shy about it. 

Tell them why you like them initiating

A great way to encourage your partner to initiate is to tell them the impact it would have on you. 

Give them specific reasons why you want them to initiate. For example:

“I love feeling desired by you.”

“It makes me feel really special when you tell me you want me.”
“When you initiate, it makes me feel like I’m the most important person in the world.”

Your partner is much more likely to respond to an emotional appeal than they are to something like, “You never initiate.”

Give them specific ideas

A lot of people feel shy initiating because they just don’t know how to do it! 

You can solve this issue for your partner by giving them some inspiration. 

Take the time to think of a few specific ways that your partner could initiate. What would really turn you on? Get as detailed as you can! 

Then share your ideas with your partner. 

If they know that these specific techniques will get a great response from you, they’ll feel much more confident trying them out!

Promise you won’t say “no”

Since initiating can be so vulnerable, I suggest that you agree that for a limited amount of time – perhaps two to four weeks – you won’t turn your partner down if they initiate.

Knowing that you won’t be rejected makes it so much easier to initiate!

Even if you’re thinking, “I would NEVER turn my partner down if they initiate!” it would still be helpful to set a specific timeframe for this experiment. 

Give tons of positive feedback

There’s no getting around it: initiating sex feels vulnerable. It has a way of stirring up our oldest and deepest fears and vulnerabilities.

When your partner does initiate, make sure to give them tons and tons of praise! Let them know how much it means to you to see them making this effort. 

Watch this masterclass together

Want to get even more ideas for initiation? We have a whole masterclass about it! 


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!