Exactly How To Initiate Sex Without Feeling Awkward

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
Last year, an invention that claimed it would revolutionize how we initiate sex went viral — for all the wrong reasons. The LoveSync consists of two small, silver buttons, designed to be placed on either side of a couple’s shared bed. If each person wants to get it on that night, they tap the button. If only one person taps, nothing happens. But if both do, the buttons glow, signaling to the couple to go ahead.
LoveSync’s Kickstarter campaign promised, “With LoveSync there's no rejection, no guilt, and no missed opportunities.” But although the Kickstarter met its goal, many thought the invention was needlessly complicating simple communication. The product was roundly mocked and memed, and when the inventors presented the button on SharkTank earlier this month, all five sharks declined to invest. “Why don't you just talk to each other?” one wondered.
Initiating sex really is that simple: Just talk to each other. If you’re in a long-term relationship with someone who’s comfortable with it, nonverbal communication — think slipping your hand under their waistband while making out — works, too. Consent is necessary, but it isn’t complicated. All you have to do is care about what your partner wants, and pay attention to their reactions.
Still stuck? Here are some ways to initiate sex.


As your parents probably told you when you were a toddler, Use your words. Ask, “Can I kiss you?” or, “Where do you want me to touch you?”

Get Romantic

Do those suggestions feel too clinical? Try something like, “I’ve been dying to kiss you all night” or, “I really want to go down on you.”

Use Dirty Talk

Asking for consent can be sexy. Think, “I want to f*ck you right now," or, "You make me so wet." Hot and effective.

Initiate Foreplay

If you’re with a long-term partner (whether that's a spouse or a friend with benefits) and you know they’re comfortable with it, an action can work as a form of nonverbal consent. Think leaning in for a kiss, coming up to hug them from behind, or kissing your partner’s neck. If they lean into the touch, that’s a sign to continue. (Though again, if you’re unsure if they're into it, you can always ask.)


If you have a date planned for later that night, amp up the anticipation by describes exactly what you want to do with your partner over text. If they don’t seem into it — responding “lol” to your detailed beej description, for example — take the hint. If they respond with steamy sexts of their own, that’s a green light.

Schedule It

If you’re in a long-term relationship and feel like you never have time for sex, talk to your partner and see if they’re open to scheduling it. Pick one night a week — or every other week, or once a month — and set a calendar reminder. Of course, if either of you isn’t feeling it when that night comes, you don’t have to keep to the date — but planning ahead will make sure you both have your schedules free and are in the right frame of mind.

Have A Bigger-Picture Convo

According to Psychology Today, studies indicate that everyone has a different preference for how their partner initiates: “Some people love to have clear, verbal invitations to sex; for them, talking is a form of foreplay. Others are turned off by the use of words; they would rather be turned on with a graze of their skin or a prolonged hug or kiss,” Petra Zebroff, PhD wrote in an article on the subject. 
“Some people love to lay their cards on the table, with direct requests or suggestions that leave no room for misunderstanding: ‘Are you in the mood?’ or ‘Get into bed now!’” she continued. “But others would find such directness startling, cold, or abrupt. Instead, they’ll talk about a preference for the seduction game, with subtle teasing or flirting that allows them to get them in the mood. One person may want to anticipate, think about, and/or plan for the event as their arousal evolves, while others find that their arousal erupts when they are surprised.” 
Don’t know which one your partner is? Have a bigger-picture discussion — one where you’re both clothed — and ask how they like to be seduced. Share what you like, too. If your styles aren’t compatible, you can always take turns.

More from Sex & Relationships