The XX Factor

Are Women Passive When It Comes to Sex? My Girlfriend Is.

Photo by Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Earlier this week we asked female readers to write in telling us whether they experience their sexuality as relatively passive and male readers to write in telling us if they see female sexual passivity as the norm (or not). Many responded. We published some responses yesterday and today. Here is the last one.

From: Anonymous

My girlfriend and I had a fight recently after a weekend away in which we didn’t have sex. She was upset that it hadn’t happened, but had at no point initiated or indicated that she wanted to. (I was too tired to initiate by they time we got in bed, but would have been receptive if she had initiated.) After a year of dating in which I was the initiator 99% of the time she got used to assuming that I would do it—and had internalized my initiating as the fundamental indication that I even wanted sex with her. I, on the other hand, felt increasing pressure as it was clear that I was more or less solely responsible for our sex life happening at all. It was clearly a wake-up call for her when she realized that if I stopped initiating we just wouldn’t have sex. She has no shortage of desire, but I think a combination of inexperience, natural reticence and having grown up in a culture that strongly disapproves of premarital sex made it easy for her to leave the initiation to me—with eventual bad results (but we’ve made substantial progress).

Previously in this series:

Are Women Passive When It Comes to Sex? Yes, I Never Make the First Move.

Are Women Passive When It Comes to Sex? Yes, If the Risk Is Greater Than the Reward.

Are Women Passive When It Comes to Sex? Yes, and It’s Biological, Not Cultural.