The Sex Files with Emily Morse

Ask Emily: Why Won’t My Boyfriend Initiate Sex?

Hey Emily!

I’ve been with my boyfriend for three-and-a-half years and the sex is great! We both get wonderful pleasure from each other and are open to trying new moves. My issue (one that has been evident from the start of the relationship) is that I am always in the driver’s seat when it comes to our sexual experiences. I always make the first move. I have tried to talk to him about it but he’s not willing to do anything differently. It feels like he doesn’t even want to have sex with me unless I make him.

Like you said in one of your podcasts, a common female fantasy is that of being dominated—well, I want that! I got him to do this once and I loved it, but it hasn’t happened since.

Initiate SexI am exhausted from having to take the lead all the time. I just want him to want me more. How do I get him to initiate sex with me more often?
Please help me Emily!


Hi, Alexandra!

This is a bit of a tough one to answer because there are a lot of guys out there who—for one reason or another—just don’t initiate. There’s a stereotype we’ve all heard that “men always want sex” which just isn’t true, and it leads women to feel like they are not desirable when their guy isn’t constantly trying to get it on.

I would say that your real obstacle seems to be one of communication. A lot of people think that if they say something to their partner once or twice and nothing changes, it means their partner is disregarding their needs or is incapable of change, which is just not true. Behavioral changes like this don’t happen overnight. This type of thing is likely deep-rooted—he may have a passive personality, or maybe he’s faced a lot of rejection in the past. So while he may really want to make you happy, it’s not as easy as just telling him what you’d like him to do.

You need another plan. Maybe he literally does not know how to initiate—not that he doesn’t want to! For one reason or another, he has mental blocks that he might not even be aware of. I think you need more information. Have another talk and say something like “I know you love pleasing me, and I love our sex life. But when you think about initiating sex, what comes up for you? What stops you? Do you ever think about initiating sex with me?”

Just be warned: It’s very likely that he doesn’t really know or will say he doesn’t know. It just might make him uncomfortable. So be sure to ask him what would make it easier for him to initiate? How can you help him? I get that you might want him to come up with it on his own, but expecting this to happen out of the blue is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Try this, let him know exactly what you need—how you’d like it to go. He might need you to walk him through it, so practice with him. If you start with something like “I’ve been thinking about you kissing me all day,” it gives him an opening and helps him become more aware that this is something you want and that he doesn’t have to worry about rejection.

You could also try role-play—show him step-by-step how you’d like his initiation to go down. So if his reasons for letting you take the wheel are that he has no idea how to go about initiating sex or taking control, now he does!

I know you’re exhausted, I know you’re tired of feeling like the leader all the time, but you might need to be patient a little while longer. Continue to show him love and affection and make him feel good about your sex life. And with better communication, you can also help him learn how to give you what you need. If you’re in it for the long-haul, it’s worth the investment!


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