Your Call: My Wife Never Initiates Sex

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

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Dear Em & Lo,

I’ve been married for five years, and my wife and I have a great sex life. We have sex probably two or three times a week, and I’m pretty sure we both have a good time — we try new things, we try new positions, the whole deal. The problem is, she NEVER initiates sex. I’ve told her many times that this bothers me and she always promises to make an effort and then never does. She says she’s just used to me making the move, and forgets to do it herself. She always seems happy to have sex when I initiate, so I don’t understand why she never makes the first move herself? And what more can I do to make her realize what a bummer it is never to be asked?

— Wallflower

What should Wallflower do? Leave your advice in the comments section below.





  1. I’m just goint to follow up on what Johnny said about the possibility of your wife being sexually submissive. If that’s the case, then maybe you two can work out a compromise. Maybe doing something that overtly initiates sex just doesn’t come naturally to her, or part of what turns her on is you starting things. To make you both happy, you could try to come up with some sort of signal that she can use to indicate that she’s receptive to sex that isn’t really “initiating.” For example, it could be a way that she touches you, a way that she moves her body, or a piece of jewelry that she wears. That way, you are the one who actually “initiates” sex, but you are getting that feeling of being asked that you are missing, because your wife has a way to communicate to you that she wants to have sex.

  2. From a woman’s perspective: my husband and I had a similar conversation. I actively tried to initiate sex in ways that worked for me: nibbling his ear, climbing into his lap, etc. For me, I was all about physical contact. And yet, every time, it led to nowhere, unless I actually said something, which I don’t like to do much. So keep in mind, she may be doing things that, either because she’s passive, shy, or has low self-esteem, to HER seem like she’s initiating,but that don’t even register for you. She may even be picking times of day that you don’t associate with sexy time. Either way, she still clearly loves you and is super attracted to you, so at the very least, try not to stress too much about it and focus on the awesome parts of your relationship, instead.

  3. Johnny said it pretty well but I’m gonna add that, if you keep pushing the issue, the pressure may put a damper on the good sex you are having.

    There’s no such thing as the perfect sex life. Nobody gets every single thing they want. At this point, I think you should just accept her as she is and focus on all the good things you’ve got going on.

  4. She is probably turned on by sexual passivity/submission. She likes the receptive role. She likes the man to make the move. You’ve told her how you feel. She’s made zero move to accommodate your wishes. She doesn’t want to do it.

    In fact, if my guess is right, your “communication” on this matter probably sounds decidedly un-manly to her and is a turn-off. Probably sounds like whining.

    Five years, ample communication on this matter, no change. This is your wife, dude. There are worse things. Some guys initiate sex every time but get shot down almost every time. At least your wife is still enthusiastic about having sex with you.

    In fact, if you want to keep things interesting, test my theory that she enjoys being dominated. Push those boundaries!

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