Initiation

Over the next few weeks, I am going to ask you and your partner to examine your unique sexual dance – the choreography you go through each time you have, or don’t have, sex. The goal is for you to gain some objective perspective about your patterns so that you are ultimately able to change them. Let’s start from the beginning.

Who Initiates Sex and How?

The first thing to look at is your pattern around initiating, or not initiating, sex. Couples who are struggling with sex often end up with one person doing most of the initiation, in whatever form that takes. Looking at how and when that is done, with all the subtle signals you read in each other, is part of the process of acknowledging what you both know is unspoken. Consider both the verbal requests as well as the physical bids for sex that one or both of you make. Go through these questions as a couple and discuss each one:

  • Which of you will typically initiate sex? How?
  • Does one of you initiate considerably more than the other?
  • Is the sexual initiation verbal or physical? What exactly happens in this situation? Does the other person recognize it?
  • If you’re the one initiating, or at least used to be, what made you decide to do it then? What makes you back off and not suggest it?
  • How much are you “reading the room” to make your decision, and what do you see that makes you approach or avoid sexual initiation with your partner?
  • What signals do you throw out to keep your partner away or to invite them in?
  • How are the two of you communicating about what you want and don’t want without words?
  • Do you acknowledge what’s happening or let it go without addressing it?
  • If one of you is avoiding sex, how are you accomplishing that? How are you disguising that avoidance?
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