My wife never initiates sex

Tell your wife what you want her to do. Photo /

What you need to know:

  • Since behaviour is learned, it can also be abandoned and this means it is possible for you and your wife to have great intimacy when you find a solution together. 

My wife and I have been married for just over a year. We do not have children yet so, we are able to be free around the house, especially during intimacy. However, my wife never initiates sex. It has to be me and when I don’t, we can live without being intimate for months. How can I help my wife understand that it is okay to make the first move?

Dear Anonymous,

This is a common experience in most relationships so, you are not alone. Intimacy is key for sexual desire in a marriage and if you start feeling that your partner is less interested, it might bring a feeling of boredom and frustration. At the beginning stages of most relationships, intimacy comes easily because both parties share a strong, physical attraction. But with time, that attraction begins to fade.

However, culture can also be a factor that might hinder some women from initiating sex. In some cultures, girls are taught to be on the receiving end in a relationship and this might affect them even in adulthood. Since behaviour is learned, it can also be abandoned and this means it is possible for you and your wife to have great intimacy when you find a solution together. 

That old saying is true: A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.
Talk to your spouse and be clear about what you need. It is important that you allow your partner to echo the same. Doing this allows an opportunity to let both of you speak to each other  about what is not working  and how to solve it. 

In turn, it empowers positive change over the course of time. One of the barriers to initiation regards communication. Suppose your partner is only not knowledgeable about initiation? 
Intimacy is like a dance. It requires coordination, trust, and communication. It does not just happen magically.

Build your partner’s confidence. When she manages to initiate sex, remember to appreciate her effort. This might make her want to want to try again.  The most important thing is to let her know what makes you happy and to also meet her in the middle. Work together to come up with a solution that works for you both.

Evelyn is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

Reader advice

Love your wife
Agatha Mutesi.
Sometimes it depends on how free you are as a couple and how you embrace your wife. Some men are too uptight that they cannot even be free to caress his wife or peck her. Hence, the wife does not feel the force of attraction you have towards her, which makes her timid with low self-esteem to the point of failing to make any advances.

Tell her what you feel
Christopher Vuonze.
Maybe she fears you or thinks you may deny her. It is important to open up to her so that you calm her fears.

Be patient with her
Phoebe Miriam.
African culture trains a woman to be submissive and responsive.  Several women never initiate sex in their marriage but they respond well. Be patient with her as you teach her. Marriage is about accepting each other and learning from each other. It is upon you to communicate with your wife what pleases you so she can learn how to initiate sex. Alternatively, you could excel in initiating sex while you encourage her in another area so that you complement each other.

What are you missing?
John Mukasa.
It is natural to do more of something that is appreciated and encouraged. If you feel like your wife never initiates sex, watch closely for those signals you may be missing and take the opportunity to let her know you like what she is doing when you see them. This will encourage her to do more of it more often.

Help with chores
Joe Mukisa.
One thing women say keeps them from being as sexual as they want to be is being tired and stressed. If you can take over some of the chores or ease her load a bit then she not only will be appreciative, but she will also have more energy for you. This also increases her appreciation of you and your sensitivity to her. 

Make her feel safe
Joan Woods.
Show her you respect and value her. If she knows you value her then she is more likely to feel safe in your relationship. Feeling safe is a big part of trying new things and being adventurous, especially sexually.

Douglas Mulondo.
Flirting keeps the romance alive and reminds each of you that there is sexual desire underneath all of life’s baggage. It also keeps things fun. So, flirt with her and respond when she flirts with you. This is a fun and direct way to encourage her to initiate sex and show her your interest.