For the last month or so, we’ve had a survey open about how you prefer to have your spouse initiate sex. If you never got a chance, you can fill it out here. I do sometimes delve into old surveys to answer new questions, so more data is always good. I was curious what people would say. There were really 3 basic questions we asked: Do you prefer your spouse use words or touch, be subtle or direct and do you like to be surprised, or know it’s coming? And then a bunch of demographic questions just to be able to see trends.
Ultimately, my guess is that people are unique. They like their own things for a variety of reasons. But I am curious if certain styles are generally preferred by each gender, or perhaps even by age, or length of marriage. How do things change?
So, without further ado – here’s what people said.
When your spouse is initiating sex, would you rather they use their words (verbal) or touch (physical)?
65% of wives and 70% of husbands said they’d prefer their partner to initiate using physical touch rather than words.
Now, the men didn’t change much based on marital status, but the women did. Turns out that prior to marriage women seem to prefer physical initiations – 74% of those who are single and 84% of those who are engaged.
Now, I know someone is going to get upset that I asked singles and engaged people about their sexual preferences. Let me be clear – this is not an endorsement of what they’re doing, but we’d be foolish to think it’s not happening.
In fact, if I had to make a guess, it would be that there’s an increase in women wanting to be seduced physically rather than with words prior to marriage, because verbal initiation still requires them to respond in some way to get things started, whereas a physical initiation you can be a lot more passive. I think they can rationalize the idea that “well, they did it to me” and that somehow makes it easier to accept the idea that they’re having sex before marriage.
Interesting, the men’s numbers don’t change much. That reminds me of this verse:
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. – 1 Timothy 2:14
In other words, the women are being seduced / deceived, but the men know exactly what they’re doing and are choosing to engage in sex prior to marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re both in the wrong here, you are responsible for your own actions, but I wonder if the men have the lion’s share of the responsibility in the majority of cases. I don’t think that’s the case all the time, and it’s just a theory.
When your spouse is initiating sex, would you rather be approached subtly or directly?
61% of wives and 87% of husbands prefer the direct approach. I definitely get where the men are coming from here – we generally aren’t so good at subtle. We tend to like things as subtle as a hammer, that way there’s no change we’ll miss out.
Single women on the other hand seem to prefer subtly – 60% of them anyways as do 33% of the men. I think maybe direct sexual expression might be more uncomfortable when you aren’t used to it.
However, 68% of engaged women prefer a direct approach. Again, I wonder if this is because a subtle approach requires too much responsiveness. Engaged men on the other hand are split down the middle.
When your spouse is initiating sex, would you rather be surprised, or to see it coming?
61% of wives want to see it coming but 67% of men would rather be surprised. Why is this?
My guess is that women tend to be more responsive, and they also tend to have more insecurities about how they look/smell/feel, etc.. So, knowing it’s coming let’s them prep, both physically and mentally.
Men on the other hand tend to miss how things were at the beginning of the marriage (or even before marriage), which tended to be a lot more spontaneous sex. And if you look at the stats from those who were engaged, sure enough, now 64% of the women prefer spontaneous sex. Again, my guess is because they know it’s wrong and too much of a heads-up makes them think about whether or not they should be doing this.
The engaged men again are pretty evenly split down the middle.
Moving to the single phase, even more of the women (69%) prefer to be surprised (my guess is the same reason). The men are still pretty evenly split at 54% preferring to be surprised.
What’s the best way to initiate sex with your spouse?
The women have an easier time of it here. 43% of husbands prefer to be surprised, for their wife to be direct and for it to be physical. Really, just grabbing him by the penis (nicely) has a pretty good chance of working.
Really, anything direct is likely to have a better chance. In general, the husbands aren’t a fan of subtle initiations.
For the husbands … well, that’s a bit harder. The truth is, you should probably talk to your wife about what she likes, because women are sort of all over the place. They tend to like to see it coming rather than be surprised, and they tend to prefer physical initiations to verbal ones, but they’re not super strong trends either way.
And you aren’t married – well, I’m not giving you tips on that except to say you should probably have a discussion between the two of you on whether or not your actions line up with your convictions. And if you want to know why I think unmarried people shouldn’t have sex, check out Question #8 in this post. It’s a pretty quick rundown.
And I’m not sure I have anything else to say on the subject… Honestly, it feels a bit weird ending a post this quickly. Under 1000 words is highly unusual for me. If you have any questions that weren’t answered that might be in the data, let me know. Happy to dive back into it to check a correlation I might have missed.
And stay tuned for more surveys by subscribing to our mailing list if you haven’t already.
37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex
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