Two blog posts sometime ago brought this subject to my mind. Mission: Wife shared the results of a sexual satisfaction survey, specifically the replies to the question “If you could get across one thing to your wife about sex, and know that you could say it in a way she would totally understand it, what would it be?” The word “initiate” showed up 10 times in the husbands’ responses. Then Sex Within Marriage had a post on whether husbands really want their wives to take the lead in sex.
Should we wives indeed initiate sex more (or rather any, if you’re not doing so now)?
I considered my own marriage specifically because my husband and I each initiate about half the time. He used to initiate more than I did, but my confidence and higher drive (with the kids a bit older and less physically demanding now) tipped the scale back a little.
However, I wonder whether husbands really want us wives to be sexually aggressive or simply more receptive to their lead. Do they desire us to knock on that door, or simply leave a key for them to know they can come in when they want? Is it best to initiate or flirt with your husband to have sex?
So I asked. I posted the following on Twitter and Facebook:
HUSBANDS: Please answer this question: Do you prefer your wife to initiate sex or just to be enthusiastic when you initiate?
Here are some of the answers I got:
YES and YES does it really have to be an either/or question?
I like it when she initiates and I wouldn’t want to say that I prefer her to do so. We should pursue each other sexually and not have only one initiating. I know that I jump for joy when she initiates and it makes me feel great if I see and feel her enthusiasm when I initiate. It makes us both feel loved when the other is just as excited about making love, whoever started it.
I agree with [1st answer]. I love it to be initiated. Lets me know she needs me as much as I need her. But, if I do initiate and it’s enthusiastically received, it’s a real turn on! Makes we want to do more. Doesn’t have to be that way every time, just like I do not have to be Mr. Romance novel every time.
I guess if I had to have a preference, I would say that I would prefer that she would be enthusiastic (not fake) rather than her initiating. Just knowing that she is really interested sends me over the top!
I asked my hubby . . . he said “Both!” He has no preference . . . he loves when I initiate and when I enthusiastically respond. What he prefers at a certain time depends on his mood.
I’d prefer some initiation.
Both. What’s not to like?
Do I have to choose? Both are great. when I suggest it there is always a chance of a negative response but if she asks . . .
I think every marriage is different in that regard, but across the board, I would say both, just depends on the situation.
A happy & healthy blending of the two.
either, anything, something!
What struck me about these answers is the reciprocity of sexual enthusiasm these husbands desire. They want to know that their wives desire them sexually. This is something my own husband mentioned in Monday’s post.
In truth, we wives want to feel desired as well. Some wives don’t always understand it in sexual terms, but being pursued and focused on is a demonstration of love. When one of you in the marriage is always the one to initiate sex, it can feel like your spouse doesn’t care . . . not just about desiring sex, but about desiring you.
Of course, this isn’t a scientific study. But I was a little surprised by how open men were to experiencing both being the lead and being the follower to the marriage bed.
The one comment that intimated it would be better for the wife to initiate was “when I suggest it there is always a chance of a negative response but if she asks . . .” This plays into my post about being your husband’s “sure thing.”
Of course, some of you higher-drive wives would like to know that your husband is your “sure thing” and desire that he initiate sex more often!
The point here is that reciprocity matters. Can you imagine a friendship in which one of you was always the one to initiate contact or conversation? Would you feel valued if you always had to be the one to set up the lunches or tennis dates or girls’ weekends or whatever? What if you stopped pursuing that friendship and chose to wait on the other person? If that person never initiated, your friendship would likely fade into oblivion.
You certainly don’t want that to happen to your marital intimacy.
I don’t think it has to be a 50/50 proposition. One of you (in friendship or in marriage) may be the natural starter, the go-getter in personality or desire to stay in touch. The other may be happy to engage but more comfortable in a receptive role. That’s okay. But sometimes it’s worth shaking that up. Sometimes, the non-starter should initiate and let his/her spouse know that the desire is mutual.
What do you think? Should wives (or lower-libido hubbies) initiate? What do you prefer in your own marriage?