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How to Make the First Move

It goes like this: you’re in bed with your partner, and you’re raring to go, but your partner isn’t. Sex has been on your mind for the past week, but your partner has been preoccupied. You want to get them in the mood, but you're too "heady" about it. You don't feel comfortable enough to risk rejection. You're so used to your partner making the first move that you've forgotten how to initiate sex.

Where do we go from here? Here's what you should know about initiating sex to keep the fire burning.

...But should I make the first move?

Whether you’re already in a relationship or just meeting someone new, it can be intimidating to initiate sex. However, if you want to have a happy and satisfying sex life, taking that first step and initiating sex is a must. If you leave it up to your partner to make the first move every time, you're essentially signaling to yourself that your own sexual desires are secondary. This can lead to resentment over time, and can also cause a build-up of pressure on your partner. They may not always want to be the one to decide when sex happens. Share the responsibility for initiating sex, because you're both responsible for your own pleasure.

Knowledge is Power

If you need to feel more comfortable with diving in and making the first move, talk about your turn-ons together in advance. Create a safe space to share your desires, and to be open about any past sexual shame you're carrying and are comfortable addressing. This can help your partner understand what you need as well. Along with this, understanding your partner's desire type can unlock incredible benefits. If your partner's desire type is responsive, but yours is spontaneous, this means you may need to rely on visual or physical stimulation to get them in the mood. You can also take your knowledge to the next level by learning about your sexual profile type in the Lover app. After taking a quiz designed by real doctors, you'll uncover everything from your ideal sexual scenarios to custom recommendations for areas of development.

How do I tell my partner that I want sex?

Once you have made the effort to truly understand your own sexual personality and your partner's, you can communicate more effectively and you'll find it much easier to tell your partner when you want sex. Dr. Britney Blair, Lover's Co-Founder and resident sex therapist says, "Talk with your partner, outside of the bedroom, and ask them how often they’d like to connect erotically on a weekly basis. Then, set up a schedule that will work for both of you...While many people don’t see this as the sexiest solution, I often recommend setting a sexy schedule to get into the habit of switching off with who initiates, and when."

If you'd like your partner to initiate sex more often, Dr. Blair also recommends to "let your partner know that you’d like them to take a more proactive role. Make sure to share this in a sexy and positive way. Being critical is never sexy! Ask them to agree that you will each take turns initiating on the days you’ve planned to get sexy. If that time comes, and either of you are not feeling sexual, that is totally fine, but the not-so-sexual partner needs to initiate the next time, preferably within 24 to 26 hours. This will prevent one of you from regularly feeling rejected and the other one from feeling perpetually chased for sex."

Try These Responses, Together

According to Dr. Blair, there are four healthy ways for partners to respond to a sexual invitation.

1) "Yes! Let's go!"

2) "I'm not feeling very sexual right now, but let's make out and see if I can get in the mood."

3) "I'm not feeling sexual at the moment, but I'd love to create space for you to be sexual and/or to pleasure you."

4) "I don't feel sexual at the moment, but (insert: I love you, I think you're hot, etc.) and will get back to you (with sexual initiation) within the next 24 to 36 hours."

Try these out with your partner for clear and collaborative communication around desire.


Need more customized support for your sex life? In the Lover app, you can book a coaching session with one of our experts to address your issues and create a personalized plan for a better sex life. Download it here to get started.


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