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Why Men in Relationships Need to Feel Desired


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Would it come as a surprise if I tell you that all men want to be admired and desired, or that they want to be complimented, or want someone else to occasionally make the first move in bed — especially those men in a long-term relationship?

There has been so much press these past few months about men with high testosterone levels who abuse their powerful positions; men who never take no for an answer; men who expect sexual compliance from the women around them; and men who show no softness or even awareness of the damage they wreak on others’ psyches. But this is not the guy you’re married to or dating. Most men do not try to force the women around them to watch them masturbate (although they might ask or hope).

The point is, most men are as shy as most women are to ask for what they really want sexually, and as afraid that they would be greeted with shock or ridicule. Most certainly, they are unlikely to ask to be the passive one in bed occasionally or to request that you say something nice to them. In my 35 years of being privy to people’s most intimate thoughts and feelings, I have heard men confess shyly, many times, that they would like all the things the magazines constantly broadcast that women want — to be the recipient of her attention, to be wooed and to be made love to, to know that their woman still finds them attractive and desirable.

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When the women in my office hear this, either from me or from their male partner, the reaction usually is, “But I don’t know how! What would I do? How would I start?”

You start by telling your guy how you feel about him, and what you like about him. You tell him how handsome he looks in that new shirt. You caress the back of his neck when you pass his chair. In bed, you reach for him and give him a more than usually enthusiastic goodnight kiss, or move closer to him and begin to caress him. Most men will be able to read the signals.

I’m suggesting this not as a once-in-a-lifetime event, but something that will become a usual part of your togetherness. Compliment him, three times a day. Caress him in passing at least two times a day. Make the first move in bed once a week. Make all of this a habit (as hopefully, he already does for you). He is quite likely to respond positively. Wouldn’t you — or should I ask, “Don’t you?”

Your partner is first another human being, more like you than different. The “men are from Mars, women from Venus” stuff is an artificial construct. We all want love, friendship, and to be safe in the intimacy of a loving relationship — he as much as she.

You might ask your man some quiet evening if he feels loved by you, safe in your company, and, if not, what you might do to make that so. That ought to start an interesting conversation, don’t you think?

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Written by Isadora Alman MFT, CST

Originally appeared on Psychology Today

Printed here with the authors permission

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Why Men in Relationships Need to Feel Desired

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Isadora Alman MFT, CST
Isadora Alman, M.F.T., is a California licensed marriage and relationship therapist, a Board-certified sex therapist, author and lecturer. Her syndicated sex and relationship column 'Ask Isadora' an in alternative weekly papers worldwide for 25+ years. Web surfers can find some of her columns on her Sexuality Forum is external).
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