I have been hearing a lot from women at Maze about tension around the issue of initiating physical intimacy from hugging to sex. Both partners waiting for the other to initiate contact- each accusing the other of not making the first move.
Ideally, it seems that both partners ought to initiate equally. However, in most relationships, usually one person initiates more than the other. Even when the non-initiating partner graciously and enthusiastically engages, the initiator is often tempted to read significance into their partner’s failure to have initiated themselves, concluding that deep inside, their partner isn’t truly enjoying their lovemaking.
The phenomenon of initiation is not so straightforward when it comes to sex. Sex can be a loaded topic stemming from a myriad of reasons such as:
- An early belief that sex is “dirty” or bad
- Feelings of sexual insecurity thereby wanting the other in the relationship to take the lead
Men seem to initiate more than women, possibly because women have been conditioned that “good girls don’t ask for sex,” as well as the idea that sex is set aside for special moments of emotional intimacy. Also, men and women have different patterns of sexual arousal and men tend to respond automatically to visual cues which helps explain why men typically are initiators.
Whatever the reason, when one’s partner doesn’t initiate sex, don’t assume that they don’t find pleasure in physical intimacy. It may be that they are more at ease being sought after, or their arousal pattern is different from yours.
Enjoying physical intimacy together is the goal, so keeping score as to who initiates may end up with a scoreboard of 0 to 0. Who wins then?