Survey Reveals the Majority of Brits Prefer their Partner to Initiate Sex Through Physical Touch

For most of us, the way sex is initiated can make or break an intimate moment. Whether you prefer a romantic dinner in a room filled with candles, or your partner’s foot gliding up your leg under the table, knowing which of your buttons to press (or caress) is important. With so many different ways of expressing a steaming desire, how do Brits usually prefer to be told to take their clothes off?

A new survey of 1,500 Brits from sexual wellness brand Lovehoney reveals the ways they most prefer their partners to get them into bed. They also spoke to Elisabeth Neumann, Head of User Research at Lovehoney, who explains why some of these techniques are more popular than others and shares tips on initiating sex when you’re at home for Christmas.  

Over half (51%) of Brits prefer sex to be initiated with physical touch

Physical touch ranks as the most popular initiation technique among Brits, with over half (51%) expressing a preference for their partner to convey interest in sex through gentle touches, caresses, and kissing.

Almost half (49%) of Brits appreciate romantic gestures, like creating candlelit dinners and intimate settings, as a way for their partner to express their desire for sex. 

Subtle non-verbal cues are the next favoured initiation technique, with nearly half (47%) of Brits enjoying it when their partner uses body language, eye contact, or touch to indicate their interest in sex.

Initiation Technique% who prefer this technique to indicate interest
1Physical touch51%
2Romantic gestures49%
3Non-verbal cues47%
4Direct Communication44%
5Mutual initiative41%
6Communication via text27%

On why physical touch and romantic gestures rank the most preferred ways of initiating sex, Elisabeth says: There is the assumption that the mind is aroused first, and then the body will follow, but it can totally work the other way around. Consensual touch, which feels teasing, tingling or otherwise erotic, might initiate mental and physical arousal. 

“Physical touch is an immediate and direct way of communication. I assume the 51% who prefer this way of initiating sex, appreciate the directness and the immediate physical connection that is built up. A romantic gesture, on the other hand, is more of an indirect invite. A partner must put some thought into it, and act on it. Even if it is “just” a sticky note with some loving words, it requires someone to put effort in. It is a nice way of letting your partner feel appreciated as well as seduced.”

Women prefer initiation through physical touch and romantic gestures, while men favour direct communication

Physical touch and romantic gestures are the most popular initiation techniques among women, with more than half (52%) admitting they prefer their partners to indicate interest in this way. 

Men prefer direct communication on the other hand, with more than half (52%) admitting that they would rather have interest and consent communicated clearly. 

However, the way people like sex to be initiated seems to change more significantly as we age. We found that romantic gestures are the preferred way to initiate sex among 18 to 24-year-olds (66%) and 25 to 34-year-olds (57%), and non-verbal cues (58%) are the favoured method for those aged 35-44.

Once we reach our mid-forties, it seems our preferences change to be slightly more direct, with physical touch being the most popular among 45 to 54-year-olds and those over 55. 

Scorpios are open to all initiation techniques, with a majority leaning towards non-verbal cues (56%)

Scorpios have a reputation for being a highly sexual sign, so it’s no surprise to see them well-represented across all initiation techniques. Although they seem to be down for sex to start in pretty much any way, they do have a slight preference for non-verbal cues and physical touch — so if you’re looking to seduce a Scorpio, body language is the way to go.  

Capricorns prefer physical touch the most among all the signs, with almost two-thirds (60%) preferring their partner to use this initiation technique. Capricorns are known for being reserved and value comfort in their sexual relationships, so when it comes to initiating sex, they may need clear signals from their partner before they can let themselves go and enjoy the moment. 

Expert advises how to initiate sex discreetly when at home for Christmas

With it being clear that many of us prefer direct ways of our partner(s) letting us know they’re ready to get hot and heavy, some of us may find it challenging to initiate intimacy over the Christmas period when we’re surrounded by friends and family. 

On how we can make sure we’re not having to hold back just because a family member may be in the room next door, Elisabeth has shared the following advice: “Physical touch doesn’t mean direct involvement of genitals or other explicit sexual areas. Touching in any way, secret eye gazing or a simple kiss can communicate a lot, without letting other people know.

Tatiana Rehmova

A glass half-full kind of a girl and a believer that everything happens for a reason, Tatiana works in Media Relations and is the Content Producer at Enhancv. She loves writing, spotting inspiring stories, and building meaningful relationships.