Make A Move, Or Wait For Her To Make One?

Reader:  Athol, I have a question for you and or your readers.  You have stated that a guy shouldn’t be concerned about being the one to initiate sex most of the time.  Does this go for flirting and texting an so forth too?  You’ve had some good posts about sending texts to get things pointed in the right direction for the day, leading to bedtime later. In all these examples its always they guy doing the initiating.  Many of the Alpha moves, even though Alpha, are still with the guy initiating the attention.  Do you do most of the initiating in your relationship (affection, flirting, sex)?
It seems Beta in a way for the guy to do too much initiating of attention.  It can come off as needy which we all know is a huge beta turn off.  I also feel like if I’m giving out more attention than I’m getting from my wife, then I am in some way lowering her attraction (and her attention) to me.  What do you think?
Athol:  That’s a good question.
I think the key is to not get hung up on the outcome of the flirting / request for sex. If she reacts positively, cool. If she reacts negatively, move on with your day. But don’t just hang around her looking like a sad panda. Also by making a move on her and not hovering around her when she doesn’t want it, her shields don’t go up nearly as quickly. Constant hovering and circling around her and she’ll go to red alert every time she sees you.
The frame is that you are asking for attention and she either gives it or doesn’t give it. But you don’t wait on her giving her a ton of attention for no reason or return of attention.
There’s quite a bit of difference here between dating and being married with instigation and attention. If you’re dating and trying to create a relationship with someone, then Roissy’s rule of only contacting her twice for every three contacts she makes with you, is the way to go. It creates a sense of uncertainty and a sense that you’re in more demand than she is.
But in a marriage, you’re always going to be seeing each other and there’s always going to be a multitude of things to contact each other about. So it’s vastly harder to set her hamster spinning that another girl might get to you first, if in fact you’re in line of sight in the living room.
Female sexuality is generally responsive to male sexuality. So in a marriage the wife will tend to calibrate to her husband. So you waiting to make a move until she makes one… well you may be in for a very long wait. You’re far better off making multiple moves on her in the hope that her general interest in you perks up based simply on you acting more interested in sex and confident.
In terms of Jennifer and myself, yes I do about 90% of the initiating of things. Whether that comes across as needy or not very much depends on Jennifer’s interest level in me. If she wasn’t that interested in me, she’d say I was needy and it would be a turn off. But because she’s interested in me a lot, she enjoys the attention and my insistence that she pay attention to me. Overall I’m just a force of nature with her and she tries to keep up with me.
The goofy and groping thing is also great for recovery moves too. You can either just laugh things off as “just playing”, or you can up the ante with a recovery line.
“Oh wow that line completely failed didn’t it. I’m so embarrassed at myself. You can feel the awkward in the air can’t you. Oh god the awkward is everywhere. You’ve got some on you actually, let me just brush that off your breasts…”


  1. Love this! Yes, I do wait for my husband to initiate. Especially with sexting… He's busy, and I want to respect his time. I do crave his attention, but don't want to be seen as needy myself, so I try not to be the clingy girl all men despise.

  2. You struck the balance nicely.

  3. Ian Ironwood says:

    It's interesting, once you get this down, just who is "initiating" becomes cloudy.

    Athol's point about female sexuality being responsive to male sexuality is dead on, and that's a foundation of Game Theory. Especially within a marriage or LTR, once you understand this point instinctively you become far more aware of the subtleties leading up to actual initiation. And once you do understand it, and your wife begins reacting to you more regularly, then patterns evolve in which SHE will let you know that she's interested in you initiating sex through some small symbolic gesture, phrase or mannerism. It might be as mild as a playful dig or discussing someone at work's sex life, but if you carefully observe her behavior then you'll start to pick up on these cues.

    That's one thing that the feminist revolution really messed up. In promoting the idea that women could initiate a sexual relationship and have sex without it having been initiated by men, it spread the erroneous idea to men at the time that since these fully-empowered, sexually active women could initiate sex without being condemned for it, that they would naturally start initiating sex roughly half the time.

    That took a lot of pressure off of dudes, because the less they initiate, the less they get rejected. But after the novelty of early sexual exploration wore off and young couples had to face the intricacies of a day-to-day sexual relationship in a long term relationship, men continued to expect the more aggressive sexuality of their woman's single years, i.e. she initiates sex about half of the time, whereas their women usually lapsed back into the monogamous pattern of waiting for their men to initiate, as Nature programmed in us. And when the menfolk just didn't, because they took the feminists at face value and backed off dominant tactics, frustration and anxiety set in on both sides.

    So the best thing you can do is suck it up. Accept the fact that despite what our popular culture might be saying, in fact the female sex drive tends to be reactive, not proactive, and that you will have to put forth more effort than you'd probably like if you want to improve your sex life. Deal with it.

    The ideal goal is to get to a place where your ability to initiate gets distilled down to a comfortable, easy-to-recognize signal that immediately dampens panties. That's the beauty of Married Game, and the difference between it and Dating Game. In Dating Game, the goal is to establish a relationship that leads to sex with the least amount of effort and expenditure of resources as possible. Married Game's goal is to establish a pattern of sexual behavior in a relationship that encourages an interpersonal intimacy in which sex is not "if" but "when".

    It can be hard. Once you take the Red Pill, and understand the realities of the situation instead of focusing on some theoretical ideal of sexual equality your relationship is supposed to measure up to, then you can accept the idea that initiating sex is your responsibility as a man, not your responsibility as a couple. If her sexuality is reactive, and you aren't proactive, then she's going to sit there in neutral and start doubting her own attractiveness, and therefore the strength of your relationship, and that way lies madness.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Have been watching a lot of old movies and have been surprised at how assertive the men are with women. I watched "Roberta" and it was so interesting to see the two male characters,physically so different, and their strong confidence and again that word,assertive and initiating.

    Many of the older movies are like this,leading my daughters and I to wonder if all the real men were from World War II. We are so silly that even the lengthy obits in the paper on some of these men, extolling their accomplishments,bravery,post war successes and lengthy marriages send us sighing! (Not talking about movie stars but real life every day "joes").

    Qualifier–there actually were movie stars that were heroes. super masculine and terrific husbands such as Jimmy Stewart.

  5. I have been following Athol's blog since the summer, and have been trying to incorporate a lot of his concepts since then.

    I admit, this point about initiating and coming across needy etc… has been the one major improvement for us since the summer.

    Before I would get mad or pout or whatever if she didn't want to have sex, now… not a big deal, play it cool etc… I also don't hung up on who "starts it," if I want it I go for it.

    9 times out of 10 that I go after her she responds positively, and lo and behold, she initiates it more now than before proving what Athol said about the woman coming up to the man's level of interest… at least with us.

    Everyone's relationship is different, but this concept has been the one that I have gotten the best improvements from.

  6. I still struggle with this. I am uncomfortable initiating most of the time, even though my SO has never turned me down. I imagine it is baggage from my previous relationships and/or older hang-ups. I can't even logically say what my issue is, other than the feeling that initiating all the time makes me needy/clingy/or worse, perverted or abnormal.

    It seems like such a simple thing: ask for what you want. But I spent many years believing that asking for what I wanted was bad, selfish, and sexist.

    Honestly I've been with my SO for over two years now, and we have a great sex life in general. But I am still working this out. And she hasn't once given me reason to believe I would be rejected, its all in my head.

    It sucks when you are your own worst enemy…

  7. This has been the hardest concept for me to accept. It still bothers me that my wife does not seem to think about sex, and that she rarely initiates. I would love her to say, "Take me upstairs and f**k me now!!" One change that I have made is to expect that we are having sex. So I initiate and she usually goes with it. If she does not, I just go about my day or evening (this has been a big change on my part, along with not expecting that she always have an orgasm).

    I came across this quote, "…University of British Columbia psychiatrist Rosemary Basson, M.D., discovered in interviews with hundreds of women. Contrary to the conventional model, for many women, desire is not the cause of lovemaking, but rather, its result. “Women,” Basson explains, “often begin sexual experiences feeling sexually neutral.” But as things heat up, so do they, and they eventually experience desire."

    That is my wife. I know this in my head. So I know I need to get over it…and I am working on it. We had the, "I sure would like for you to initiate more" discussion the other night. She said, "You really have not been giving me a chance!" So my question is, should I give her more of a chance to initiate?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Anon 3:10am

    I've never heard that all men despise a clingy girl. It is certainly a turn-off to a woman to have a clingy guy, but I personally like my wife to be a little clingy with me. Call it submissive, affectionate, or a little clingy. Shouldn't this be coming from the girl? Totally clingy and non-confident would be annoying, but small displays of affection and submissiveness are what guys like.

  9. Anonymous says:


    +1. I agree with you and struggle with this myself. If I just take the lead and do 95% of the initiating my wife is generally responsive. If I want her to initiate then I have to lay back and wait and then we would go back to having sex a couple times a month instead of 4 to 5 times a week.

    What I wish the ladies would understand is that us guys are fine taking the lead in the bedroom almost every time, we just want you to show more interest outside the bedroom leading up to sex. Flirt, tease, on "egg us on" a little bit. You do a little bit of that and us guys will be more than happy to do all the leading into the bedroom and leading the sex.

  10. @Anonymous

    I don't think it would be that infrequent with us. It would be more like once a week instead of the 3-4 times it is now. But your point is well taken. I hope Athol will weigh in on this at some point…maybe Jennifer too.

  11. Ian Ironwood says:

    If you're still having feelings of guilt for being too willing and eager to initiate sex with your wife, feelings that might have left you feeling bad, selfish, and sexist, then take some solace in the fact that leading feminist sex researchers are actually now reaching this conclusion, although their interpretation is a little different.

    Check it out:

    Also went into this in more detail in today's post over at the Red Pill Room.

  12. Thanks, Ian! My problem is not feeling guilty, but I clearly need to get over her lack of initiation. I don't know how I missed your blog…but not anymore!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok, so I get that displays of submissiveness are goos. But isn't initiating sex dominance? Maybe I'm just thinking about this the wrong way.

  14. Anonymous says:

    OMG!! This totally makes sense! I want him to initiate, but I have *no* problem letting him know I'm already receptive. This just unlocked something huge for me!

  15. yeah, it is dominance to an extent. But, the primary reason I would love for my SO to initiate more often is I want to feel like she wants me, without having to jump start her drive, so to speak. Just once in awhile, I would like to think she is so wound up thinking about sex with me, that she just takes the wheel and drives.

    Its powerful, so much that thinking about it is actually exciting…

  16. Thanks for the link Ian!

    I saw your writing over at HUS and added your blog to my reading list last week. LOVE your stuff. ;)

    And yes, I know that this issue is in my head, and mostly driven by years of feeling that "being horny" was bad/evil/sexist/whatever.

    But beyond all that, there is also a part of me that likes the idea of my SO being so hot for sex with me that she can't help but jump on and take over. THAT is hot shit right there!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I get it! Now, to get over the whole "good girls don't" crap that us Christians were taught. I sure as hell am thinking about sex with my husband all the time, I just don't know how to express that!

    Any and all suggestions are welcome. Any thing from walking up and grabbing the package to a surprise srtip tease (omg. That takes guts!). What works? Yes, i'll ask my man, but I want to surprise him with some stuff, too.

  18. Ian Ironwood says:

    I hear you, man. What I can tell you is that if you study and apply Game consistently to your relationship, that your chances of that happening go up dramatically. Every man likes to feel desired by his woman, and we accept our validation in the form of sex better than any other way — when a woman initiates, it's not only easier for us, it is also powerfully validating.

    But it takes some time to get to a place where she's comfortable enough with your proactive style to feel that she can initiate herself. Usually that happens when she perceives your Sex Rank going up and she wants to help keep hers balanced, relative to you. By being more sexually aggressive within the context of the relationship, she is giving you DHVs by initiating.

    You can't just ask for those, however. You have to inspire them by buffing your own rank to the point where she a) feels the tingle and b) is tingly enough to subconsciously worry about other girls' tingles vis a vis her man. THEN she'll feel comfortable making the effort in the context of a more-sexual relationship.

    And thanks for the compliments. This is some important stuff for all of us, and I can't thank the Manosphere in genera and Athol in particular for all of their hard work.

  19. Anon – I don't know about your guy, but honestly it doesn't take much for me. Something as simple as walking up behind me while I'm cleaning up after dinner and whispering in my ear "I want you now" would do the trick. ;)

  20. Ian Ironwood says:

    * "thank enough". Sorry.

  21. "By being more sexually aggressive within the context of the relationship, she is giving you DHVs by initiating.

    You can't just ask for those, however."

    Oh I know that all too well.

    It's kinda a bit like a catch 22. I remember months ago talking to my SO about "dominance in bed" and she has always been upfront about liking it. But I said, "if you wanted more dominance, wouldn't it make sense to simply ask?" She said, "sure, but that would defeat the whole point."

    This seems to be a different facet of the same issue. I can ask her to initiate more, but it really wouldn't fix "the problem" as I see it. I want her to want me WITHOUT having to ask.

    Ya know, I may have been unhappy pre-red pill, but life sure seemed a lot simpler. :p

  22. Anonymous says:

    And I want to be proactive in lavishing him with those DHVs *before* he feels like he has to go flirting with other women in order to pull my attention!! I HATE letting it get back to that point, because it destabilizes me so much that I totallly freeze, and risk losing him all together!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ted, that does help. Maybe I'm putting too much prrssure on myself. Thanks!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ted, we have this dynamic where I will write a rrquest… Maybe it's a link to an article… And I try to be as clear as I can. But I make sure to use a one-way channel so that he can just read and act. I sent.him an article or two on dominance and submission. It was my subtle way of asking for it.

    This may be a case of "less words" being better. He didn't discuss it with me, so it wasn't this loaded talk that sounded like I had to ask for something I thought I shouldn't have to ask for. Sonetimes he'll ask a question for clarification, but it's never felt like we had to decide it together, or I had to hear him say, "yes, I'll do that for you." He just does. Or doesn't. In the cases of "doesn't," if it means that much to me, I'll ask about it. Yes, Athol, in a reasonable tone. ;)

    That's how we get around it, anyway. No one is a mind-reader

  25. Anonymous says:

    @Anon 1:17

    I'm curious about the dynamic of your relationship. It sounds like you are a woman who wants more sexual attention from your man? Is that right? Most guys on this site are Athol's target audience, which are guys that want more sexual attention from their woman. This is possibly a sensitive question, but since your anonymous anyway, I hope you'll answer it. Can you describe the sex ranks of you and your husband/SO?

  26. I think the true test that you have enough "alpha" is during the week she ovulates. If she's all over you during that time, then she's turned on by your masculinity and dominance. Coming from the alpha side of the spectrum, I've historically been lucky to receive the initiation from her during these times.

    However it is the other 3 weeks my alpha behavior back fires. I conjecture that she doesn't initiate during these times because it is the time she wants me to offer her comfort and safety – not turn her on with my muscles or dominant behavior. So I struggled with this too. I just need to remember to show a little more beta and make sure I make her feel special so I can get sex during these other times. :)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Actually, i'm trying very hard to be proactive. Too much so sometimes. We have an intetesting and long story, but we're not a young couple. So, some of the rules do not apply. I *know* he could pull a woman much hotter than me. He thinks I could pull off sone serious hypergamy. Truth is, we have serious oneitis for each other. I'm simply recovering from a bad history and very eager to be the best woman I can be for my man.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I have discovered that my wife WANTS me to make the move. She will hardly ever initiate. But she NEVER says no and always is enthusiastic when I do.

    I am like Chip. It takes some getting used to, to just assert your sexuality, admit that you want to get laid and take what is yours.

    But my wife even told me a while back to just ignore her protests that she has some blah blah blah thing she has to do for the next hour and can you wait until after that. She told me to let the cake burn in the oven. Just take her by the hand and tell her "we're doing it now".

    How cool is that? My wife told me that she is available anytime anywhere. I just have to be man enough to demand it and she will go for it.

    Athol's advice has been an epic win for my wife and I. She MELTS when I dominate her. Who would have known? This is not what men are taught these days.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hm. I think my assessment above is wrong. I need more beta. More security in our relationship. I generally feel very destabilized because I do see him as a few ranks above me. I'm constantly battling tbe ghosts in my mind. Constantly trying to be sexier than whatever woman he may encounter on any given day. Working to keep me on his mind. He's extremely attractive, and everyone loves to be around him. He's been stolen once (not from me) and I fear it happening to me. So, i'm constantly seeking to improve my game. Full-out raw truth that i've never even admitted to myself before. Ouch.

  30. Anonymous says:

    We do love it when our man can lead and take charge. Sometimes you just have to show you're the boss, especially when it comes to sex. Just make sure you know exactly where the right spots are, and you'll discover that deep down, us women crave the whole "dominance in bed".

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