Ask Wendy

How Do I Get More Affection from My Boyfriend?

Reprinted from October 14, 2016
more affection sex matters
Dear Wendy,

I’m 63, and my boyfriend of 18 months is 56.

I have a need for more touching, kissing, foreplay, and sex than he does and I end up initiating much of the time.

I know men’s testosterone levels drop after 50; however, I find myself craving more of his initiating—it makes me feel desired.

We’ve talked and he’s noticed that I’m a much more passionate person than he is and he wondered if he was enough for me. I have let him know that he is a wonderful lover. I never criticize and always ask for things in kind and positive ways. I know about herbs he could take for the testosterone-level problem but have held off sharing about them.

I don’t want to start dating all over again. We have a nice weekend relationship, he is able to get it up, he has lots of great qualities and is a very good person, we dance every weekend, and he is able to keep up with me decently in other ways. Help!

Fanny W. - San Diego, CA

Hey Fanny,

Have you ever had a plant you forgot to water? Or maybe you watered it, but only once a month when it required weekly care. Maybe you just didn’t give it the attention it needed… What happened to that plant?

You, my love, are a luscious flower that needs to be attended to. The short-term effects of mismatched desires lead to annoyance and frustration; over-initiating will take its toll, and the long-term effects are detrimental to your essence. A sensual woman needs to feel desired or the fresh, juicy part of her spirit slowly withers and dies—which can be soul crushing. We passionate ones need to be wanted, crave to be desired and seen, and need to express all the amore there is to express.

Men’s testosterone levels drop as they age, it’s true. That said, there are plenty of men over 50 who have sex drives so high you’d be begging for a break. You’ll be better off addressing this from a compatibility angle rather than an age angle.

Take some time to think through what you really desire that’s missing. Can you pinpoint what “enough” looks like? Once you discover what “not enough” looks like, you can hold that as a deal-breaker.

Negotiate, communicate, suggest, talk it out, and see what’s possible with your man. I know this can be a hard subject to be completely honest about; it’s tempting to hold back. But if you come from a place of clarity, compassion, and partnership, you can’t go wrong. Try some version of one of these:

“Hey, can we talk about a sensitive subject? You’ve said you’re not sure you’re enough for me…

·      Can I tell you what ‘enough’ might look like?

·      May I suggest some helpful supplements?

·      [Etc.]

So we can work on this in partnership with each other?”

Or, my personal favorite, “Hey, can I tell you what I need from you to be happy and fulfilled, and you can look to see if you want to provide it?”  

Be ready to give him specific, measurable minimums he can wrap his head around and do something about.

A seventeen-year-old once told me, “My boyfriend doesn’t love me enough.” But after 20 minutes of me digging, she couldn’t tell me one single thing that was missing, or something he could do differently to prove he loved her as much as she wanted him to. This poor guy couldn’t win. Thank God we’re not seventeen anymore!

Don’t let your conversation be a one-time event. Dave and I have a full moon ritual each month where we ask each other a set of 15 questions. The questions never change, but the answers sure do! One question is, “Is there anything you need from me that you’re finding hard to get?” It’s a good one to keep asking because we humans change over time.

Once the two of you have gone as far as you can in learning if he can provide what you need, ask yourself, “Is this enough?”

If the answer is no, I see four options:

1. Break up. Finding out if you’re compatible is simply part of the dating process, and when you bump up against a deal-breaker, you won’t be happy if you can’t get what you need—no matter how great the person is in other respects.

2. Shift your relationship to a friendship. This is only if you value him in your life, like as a dance partner, a confidant, and a friend.

3. Shift your relationship to a non-exclusive one. If the two of you are open to this, nothing has to change between you. You get to keep the parts you love, and he gets to live in peace with what he’s not providing because you can now get those needs met by others.

4. Stay. Keep everything as it is now. Understand he can’t give you what you crave.

If you vote for option four, please, for you and for him, own your choice. This hasn’t happened to you. You’ve signed on for it. If you decide to stay, you also need to decide you don’t need what’s missing. Don’t complain about it, and don’t continue to ask him for what he can’t provide.

Sexy sister, I’m so relieved you’ve come to me with this issue now. One of the most common mistakes I see in long-term relationships is when a person knows they’re in a mismatch but chooses not to leave (because he/she’s nice, and dating sucks), and then tortures their partner (and themselves) for all eternity (sigh).

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