Home » Blogs » Reaching Life Goals » What To Do If Your Partner Never Initiates Sex

What To Do If Your Partner Never Initiates Sex

man woman kising

Tips for when your partner never initiates

Are you in a relationship with someone who never initiates? Have you grown tired of (yet again) having to be the one to get things going?

Wondering if your mate still finds you attractive?

If the answer is yes, you’ve wouldn’t be alone. One of the most common reasons people seek out therapy relates directly to this issue.

Let’s be honest – when you’re always having to coax your partner, it can take a major toll on self-esteem. As time goes on, this can lead to:

  • Boredom
  • Resentment
  • Frustration
  • Body shame
  • Irrational assumptions

Can you relate? If so, is there anything you can do to create positive change?

I’m here to tell you – the answer is yes.

But there is a catch. You first must erase that bucket full of assumptions about “why” things aren’t happening.

Instead, center your attention on the what.

What can be different?

After you do this, read the points listed below with an open mind. My hope is that you’ll walk away with a new perspective.

Check it out.

1. What could be different with intimacy?

Intimacy is a major aspect of creating sexual desire. At the beginning stages of most relationships, intimacy comes easy because both parties share a strong, physical attraction.

But as time marches on, that attraction begins to fade. When you factor in the reality of living a busy life, touch becomes even more of a premium.

That’s why creating time for intimacy is critical.

As yourself when is the last time you did any of the following?

  • Held hands?
  • Went beyond a “peck on the cheek” and actually kissed?
  • Offered a compliment on your mate’s appearance?

Yep, intimacy takes time. And rebuilding it takes even more time. But if you want change in this area, you must make your relationship the priority.

2. What are your partner’s assumptions?

OK, this one may sound silly and you may be wondering if your mate understands you at all. But, intuition is a real thing.

Some people have fragile egos, particularly if they have a history of being rejected in relationships.

That’s why initiation can be a real challenge.

Here’s some questions:

  • Do you send out a vibe you aren’t in the mood?
  • Does your partner struggle with body shame? If so, does your mate think you don’t find her/him attractive?
  • Does your mate know what turns you on or is this person too afraid to ask?

As with all the points explored here, communication is essential. I realize these can be uncomfortable to discuss. But if you don’t, how can change happen?

3. What are the patterns?

If the norm has always been such that you are the pursuer, a pattern may have been set up where things are now concretized.

In other words, your mate may not know it’s OK to initiate because it has never happened this way.

This is where that “what” question pops up again. Here are some things to consider:

  • What would it be like to engage in role-play and allow your mate to be the initiator?
  • How can your partner be active in the idea generation process?
  • What would it be like to use actors from movies and TV as idea fodder?

Back in high school, you learned that spontaneous generation was a farce. So, if it doesn’t happen in science, why would it happen in your bedroom?

I realize this step may be awkward. But the process of change is never easy.

4. What’s your definition of intimacy?

Has the situation been such that you always do the same thing in the bedroom? On the flipside, is it the same for your mate?

Should the answer be yes, one or both of you are probably bored.

That’s why reexamining your definition of intimacy is key.

In other words, not every bedroom encounter needs to be groundhog’s day. It also doesn’t need to be the Fourth of July.

Simple, meaningful (and sometimes quick) things can pack plenty of punch. Read between the lines here folks and use your imagination.

That old saying is true: A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.

Talk to your mate. Be clear about what you need. Allow your partner to echo back the same.

Doing this allows an opportunity to let both of you speak to your more carnal parts. In turn, it empowers positive change over the course of time.

5. What’s not being communicated?

This final suggestion has been woven throughout this piece but now comes to the forefront.

In my experience, one of the major barriers to initiation relates to communication – or lack thereof. Here’s a question for reflection:

What if your partner doesn’t know how to initiate?

Don’t assume she/he does. That could be part of the problem. If your mate doesn’t, are they too embarrassed to admit it?

Intimacy is like a dance. It requires coordination, trust, and communication. Contrary to what some might think, it doesn’t just happen magically.

If you want change in this area, engage in confidence building. When your partner does initiate, let them know it’s appreciated. Reinforce desired behaviors with positive comments.

Summing Things Up

If you want to get your mate to initiate, it’s critical to focus on those “what” questions.

One book I’d like to recommend to you is called The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman (See Amazon). You’ll find lots of practical insight with many hands-on tips!

To keep up with my posts, please follow me on Facebook!

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos


What To Do If Your Partner Never Initiates Sex

John D. Moore, PhD

Described as folksy and down to earth, Dr. John Moore infuses current events and pop culture into his posts as a way of communicating wider points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsessionand Editor in Chief at: Guy Counseling.

19 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Moore, J. (2019). What To Do If Your Partner Never Initiates Sex. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jun 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.