Let's get real: couples can start getting lazy initiating sex. Who here hasn't tried to initiate sex by clumsily groping at their partner, or blurting out, "I guess it's been a while. Should we do it?" It might feel easier, but it can also feel wildly impersonal. Let's talk about how to initiate sex in a way that will make your partner actually want to say yes.
One great way to stop sabotaging yourself is to extend a more personal invitation to your partner. Make your partner feel special and desired when you ask, and incorporate some of the unique elements of your relationship. Here are some ways to bring more excitement to those times you want to pull your partner to the bedroom, along with specific examples!
Think about what has worked in the past
One of the best ways to improve your initiation skills is to find inspiration in the past. Jot down a list of four or five of your hottest sexual experiences with your partner, then try to look for similarities in how those experiences were initiated. Were you laughing and teasing each other? Was it slow and sensual? Did any of those experiences end up creating lasting inside jokes between the two of you? This can be a fun conversation to have with your partner too, so don't feel like you're the only one who has to make an effort.
Give a compliment
The best way to make your initiation feel more personal is to tell your partner exactly why you want them in that moment. Say something like, "Your arse looks so incredible in those pants. I want to get my hands all over it", "I can't control myself when I see you stepping out of the shower", or, "I can't believe how lucky I am to get to look at you every day." If your partner is sensitive to feeling like you want sex just to get off, tell your partner why you're wanting to connect with them in that moment. For example, "I love how close I feel to you when we're in bed together."
Help your partner relax
Some people need a bit of time to unwind and get excited for sex. If your partner has a hard time relaxing, ask them, "What can I do to take care of you tonight?" or "What can I take off your plate right now?" Better yet, suggest something specific that you know your partner would appreciate, like, "I'm going to take the dog on a walk. You just stay here and kick up your feet." If your partner has been sorely lacking alone time, try to support them in getting some. Try, "I know how much you love baths. Want me to draw you one?"
Be a tease
Drawing out your initiation can be really freaking hot. It gives both of you the chance to prepare for sex mentally and build anticipation. Send your partner a text during the day saying, "I'm wearing those underwear you love. See you tonight!" Or parade around in said skivvies but tell your partner you're "off limits" until later that evening. You can try stringing initiation and foreplay out over the entire day, by exchanging kisses and meaningful touches, then tauntingly walking away.
Go the sentimental route
Incorporate some of those aforementioned favourite sexual memories directly into your initiations. Say something like, "Do you remember that time in Hawaii where we didn't leave the bed all day long? What do you say we try to repeat that this weekend?" Or, "I can't stop thinking about how incredibly sexy you looked on our last anniversary."
Turn up the heat
When we're dating or early in a relationship, those moments leading up to sex — or asking for sex — are insanely erotic. As time goes by with the same partner, that intensity tends to fade. It's understandable, but of course unfortunate. We all want to feel wanted by our partners, even if we've spend more of our lives with them than without. Try to channel some of that original passion you used to feel for your partner. Bust out that move you used to do all the time but haven't in a while. Maybe on your first date, you pushed your partner up against their door and kissed her until you were both panting. Or perhaps you've forgotten how much your partner loves when you sneak up and kiss the back of his neck. Or channel your intensity through your words. Tell your partner, "I need to have you right now" or "I've been driving myself crazy thinking about you all day." Of course, being this direct can feel super vulnerable, and it can make a lower-desire partner feel taken off-guard, but nurturing passion in a relationship is important enough to run these risks!
Sex doesn't always have to be so serious. You might feel way more comfortable (and even way more sexy) being silly and playful. A friend of mine once shared a technique she learned from her favourite TV show: Either she or her partner would text a simple question mark to the other during the day when they were both at work, which was a signal that they were interested in having sex later. The other one would respond with an exclamation point if they were in the mood. It made them both laugh, but it still felt enticing. Or try making bets where the winner gets an-extra special prize. For example, "If the Niners beat the Seahawks, I'll give you a blowjob."
You don't need to strategize or overanalyze every single interaction with your partner. Rolling over to their side of the bed for some lazy Sunday morning sex is great. But it is nice to put in a little extra effort every once in a while. It helps your partner realise what makes sex between the two of you so special, and makes them want to hop into bed with you!
Vanessa Marin is a licensed psychotherapist (#78931) specializing in sex therapy. It's her mission to take the intimidation out of sex therapy and bring the fun back into the bedroom.