Maybe we don’t think enough about the fact that our male partners need to feel desired. We’re raised with these ideas that it’s the women who are to be desired and the men who are to do the desiring. And as women, we spend our lives so often trying to dodge unwanted affection and attention. So we can just get it in our heads that men spend so much time thinking about getting access to women that they desire, that they never even think about their own desirability. But that isn’t true. I’ve always felt that the idea that a man should constantly be working for his partner’s affection and that a woman should be treated like a princess and just judge how her partner showers her with attention was really…unfair. Antiquated. And actually, not at all feminist. The happiest of relationships consist of two people who constantly ask themselves, “How can I make my partner feel loved today? How can I make my partner feel attractive today? How can I make my partner’s day easier?” That goes in both directions. You can’t drop the ball on that stuff. Here are ways you might make your partner feel undesirable.
Never initiating sex
You may feel it’s enough that when he initiates, you go for it. You don’t say no. But he wants to feel that you want him so badly that you think about sex on your own. He wants you to initiate. He wants to feel that you’re enthusiastic about sex – rather than simply tolerant of it. You know how you love how much he wants you? He wants to feel that way, too.
Asking them to wrap it up
During sex, if your partner is the type of good dude who makes sure you finish first, appreciate that. Don’t then just wish sex were over, and quite clearly try to rush him. Don’t say, “You can finish now” or “Are you almost done?” He withheld, for your sake, and now he may need a minute to get there.
Never accepting a gift
He tries to buy you gifts. Sometimes he wants to cover the bill for something for the house like groceries or a new desk chair. He insists and insists. Then you just Venmo him for half of it. Don’t do that. It’s important to men sometimes to feel like providers. So let him provide when he insists. You can split costs at other times.
Don’t fill up your calendar with plans involving everyone but him, forgetting to leave time for him. You may do this as a passive-aggressive way to teach him to schedule you in advance, if he wants to see you. But he doesn’t pick up on that message. He just thinks that he isn’t important enough to you to make time for.
Teasing his tummy
Men are just as sensitive about their body image as women. Alright, maybe not just as sensitive. Women are subjected to a lot of scrutinies. But men are sensitive enough to not like it when their partners tease them for putting on a beer belly. How is your man supposed to think you find him sexually attractive when you pat his stomach and laugh at it?
Asking “Can you afford that?”
If he’s buying it for you, he can afford it. Even if he can’t, it’s clearly so important to him to buy it for you, that he’ll find some way to afford that. The question, “Are you sure you can afford that?” is terribly emasculating for a man. It tells him that you think of him as some poor broke dude. No guy wants to feel that his partner sees him that way.
Outsourcing physical work
If he wants to fix the sink, move the couch, install the shelves – whatever it is – let him do it. I know it’s an old fashioned concept, but it’s in men’s DNA to want to fix things like that themselves. When it comes to physical tasks, they can feel emasculated if you hire someone else to do it.
Recoiling at their touch
Sometimes you’re busy, and it’s not a good time for your guy to try to make out with you. Okay. Find a gentle way to say that. Give him a quick kiss and say, “More later.” Don’t wiggle away, grimace, and clearly recoil from him, as if you aren’t into him. He won’t try to give you affection again if you do that.
Skipping their hobbies
If he is enthusiastic about something and wants to share it with you, let him share it with you. Don’t make a judgmental face about the exhibit or show he wants to take you to and say, “Uh, no thanks. Not really my thing.” If he’s your thing, then his things are also your things. And when you clearly look repulsed by interests, he can feel like you’re repulsed by him.
Not participating in the playfulness
Sometimes, guys want to be playful. They want to tickle you. They want to play with your boobs and pretend the boobs are talking to each other. I don’t know. You know the stuff boyfriends and husbands do. Don’t look annoyed when he does it. Remember that he does that because he loves you and feels comfortable with you.
Asking other men to teach them
Oh, no no no. Don’t ever, without your partner’s consent, call up another man to teach him how to do something. Especially if it’s something “manly” like how to fix a car or where to invest. You need to leave it to your guy to seek out help on his own on these things. He never wants to feel that you think another man is better at these things than he is.
Never paying compliments
Men want compliments, too. We’re so used to getting all of the compliments, that we don’t always remember to give them to our partners, also. And maybe we think women deserve more compliments because society is so hard on us. But giving your partner a compliment shouldn’t be about combatting societal coldness. It should just be about wanting to make him feel good.
Rejecting their romantic gestures
When he wants to make you dinner, don’t take over, because you know how to make the recipe better than he does. If he wants to draw you a bath, don’t swoop in and add the oils and bubble bath you prefer, instead of the special ones he picked out for you. Just let him do the romantic gesture his way.
Only talking up other men
It’s okay to talk about other men in a favorable way, but make sure that when you do this, you also say something nice about your man – in fact, say even more nice things about him. Don’t just talk about how smart and impressive your friend’s husband is after a double date with them, and not say anything about your partner.
Handling everything yourself
It’s not about actually needing your partner: it’s about making him feel needed. Let him carry the bags for you. Let him help you fix that thing in the kitchen. Let him take care of you when you’re sick. Everybody wants to feel needed. And it’s nice to have someone to help you. It’s one of the benefits of a relationship.