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The Art Of Compromise: Affection Styles And Balance

What’s the best way to show affection to your partner? The answer might surprise you.
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Ladies, we span the whole board when it comes to sexual needs. Some of us are hypersexual creatures that would prefer to get busy multiple times a day, and others are content with far less than that. But what do you do if your partner considers sex to be “not enough”?

As someone whose sex drive falls a little lower on the scale than my partner’s (admittedly, by quite a bit sometimes), I can see the frustration that women who want more than sex face when their partner wants it more than they do. But I have also been the one who wants it more – so I do see why a “lack” of sex (even if only a slight decline) can be frustrating, too.

How can you bring yourself to show your partner affection the way she wants – without sacrificing the affection you want? It can definitely be a tough process, but it’s not impossible. Your best option may be to find the right balance between the different types of affection that exist. After all, very few things in love are cut-and-dry, one certain way. Most of the time, you’ll have to pick pieces that work and throw away the ones that don’t.


Affection Type: Romance.

For many women, affection is tied to romantic gestures. Maybe she wants a massage, or forehead kisses, or breakfast in bed. These things are often considered “sweet”, and most women respond well to them. They shouldn’t be the only form of affection you show, but they should make up a fair portion of it if either you or your partner is the romantic type.

When we show our love to our partner in non-sexual ways, we are reassuring her that she is more than just a plaything to us. We are showing her that we are attracted to her mind as well as her body, and this is a wonderful feeling to receive. Of course, it’s not something you can easily “fake”, nor should you try. But generally, you should be incorporating romance into your relationship.

Some simple ideas for those who are less romantic:

  • Make her breakfast in bed, or at least a cup of coffee or tea (whichever she prefers).
  • Send her a text message letting her know you’re thinking of her.
  • Offer to rub her back when she’s had a hard day at work.
  • Cuddle while you watch a movie.

For those who are more romantic, you’re not totally off the hook here, either. You’ll need to pay attention to the things she does and evaluate that they are romantic, even if subtly.

  • If she compliments your appearance, she may be trying to voice her romance. Try not to counter with an argument why she’s “wrong”; i.e. if she says you’re beautiful, don’t say “But I haven’t even washed my hair today” – say “Thank you!”
  • If she holds your hand in public (and she’s not particularly romantic), this might be the level of romance she’s comfortable with – accept that romance is, in many ways, a character trait.
  • Notice when she tries and appreciate her efforts. Don’t nitpick that her efforts aren’t good enough, or she’s likely to get discouraged and stop trying.

There are definitely a million other things that you could do to show your love in a romantic way, but they only come about with practice. If you’re not used to being romantic, the first few romantic actions you take can feel incredibly awkward (and sometimes downright uncomfortable).

Not every woman responds the same to romance – so you’ll need to determine what percentage of your affection should be shown this way.


Affection Type: Gifts.

The subject of giving your partner gifts is a loaded topic, to be sure. Some women (including me) are incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of receiving gifts from a new partner, and it may take them quite a while to adjust to the idea. It’s important that you realize that your gifts to her should not make up the entirety of your affection – nor should every gift be a huge purchase.

Small gifts go a long way when they’re being used to show your affection. You shouldn’t have to shower your partner with a million diamonds or a car or a huge chunk of money. Rather, you should be choosing small things that will make your partner happy. Any woman who demands bigger and better gifts is not in the relationship for the right reasons.

Looking for some gift ideas that will show you’re thinking about her without making you look like a sugar momma?

  • Flowers – always a good choice. It shouldn’t matter if they’re flowers you picked or flowers you bought.
  • A book, if she likes to read. If it’s a book she’s specifically mentioned wanting to read, even better!
  • Her favorite movie, if she doesn’t already own it.

When your partner gives you gifts, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.

  • Be thankful for the gifts you receive. No one likes someone who’s ungrateful. Even if the gift isn’t something you’ll actually use, you should accept that it was given with love.
  • Don’t ask how much she spent. Unless she used your money to buy it, it’s really none of your business! If she got you an inexpensive gift, it may have been all she could afford – if she got you an expensive gift, she may have had extra money saved up for the occasion. She is allowed to surprise you without an interrogation.
  • Do let her know if you are uncomfortable with the gifts she gives you. You should find a tactful way to express this, but if she is giving you things that you genuinely do not feel comfortable with (whether too sexual, too expensive, clothing that’s not your taste, etc.) you should speak up – otherwise she may assume that you liked it and continue giving you those types of gifts.

Any of these gifts will likely fall under $20, so they probably won’t make money-conscious women feel uncomfortable, but they also show that she was on your mind when you weren’t together. It’s up to you whether you save these gifts for a “special occasion” or if you give them to her on impulse – but generally, impulse gifts are more romantic because they don’t seem like an “obligation”.


Affection Type: Sex.

Sex is, of course, a strong way to show your affection. Depending on the type of sex you’re having, it can mean anything from “I want you” to “I love you” to “I want to make you weak”. Good sex generally involves communication, intimacy, and physical contact, although the lines aren’t always clearly drawn.

In relationships where the sex drive between one partner and the other varies greatly (as they sometimes do), it can be tough to show affection through sex, as the partner who wants it less may be under the impression that the need for sex is a purely physical joy. The partner who wants sex may feel that they are being neglected if they don’t get sex as much as they want it. The truth is, neither one is automatically right.

In an honest, loving relationship, there will be a mix of “loving” sex and “feeling” sex – sometimes in the same sitting. What’s important is that you find a balance that satisfies both of you, and you understand that your needs and your partner’s needs are both important.

If you’re the one who wants it more, there are a few things you can do to put your partner more in the mood when she might be less inclined to get naked:

  • Initiate sex with your actions, rather than your words. Don’t ask for sex – work to put her in the mood and see where it goes. Don’t beat yourself up if she still says no. If you respect her, you won’t pressure her into sex if she doesn’t want it.
  • Learn what turns her on and use this to your advantage. If you plan to use sex to show your affection, you should be focused on what she likes – otherwise her assumptions that you’re only after sex are really not that unfounded.
  • Be willing to put your sexual needs to the side if she needs something else. Pressuring her to have sex with you does not come across as affection, it comes across as control. Not everyone likes being controlled. In fact, most people don’t.

This isn’t to say that the less-sexual partner has nothing to do, either. There are things that she should be doing to accommodate her partner’s sexual needs as much as she is able to.

  • Try to be receptive. It’s hard to force yourself in the mood if you don’t want it (trust me, I do understand!) but you’ll need to allow yourself to be influenced. If you fight her every step of the way, you’ll never be in the mood, and she will understandably feel neglected.
  • Try to be understanding. Some women are not great at expressing their romantic intentions, and while she should be willing to try, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll get it right immediately if she’s never been the romantic type before.
  • Try to compromise. If you absolutely can’t put yourself in the mood, offer to give her something instead. Not all women like receiving, so this might not work in your situation, but in my experience most women will “settle” for getting when they don’t want to give.

Sexual chemistry might not be a “science” in the most literal sense of the word, but it is a learning process that can be changed to suit the needs of the couple in most cases. If you find that you and your partner have entirely incompatible needs, it might be best if you move on – but as long as the two of you are willing to work through it, there’s nothing saying that your relationship is doomed.


Affection Type: Communication.

Anyone who has read pretty much any of my previous articles knows that I am big on communication. Maybe that’s why I became a writer – I have a need to express how I feel, and I feel insulted when/if my partner doesn’t feel the same way. Communication is important in a relationship, always – but the amount of communication that you need may vary in every relationship you have.

There’s an assumption that, in lesbian relationships, both will want to share their feelings – because that’s what “women” do. I think that’s a load of garbage. Not everyone is into expressing themselves, and as someone who desires to see into the soul of my partner (figuratively, of course), it becomes irritating when she doesn’t want to communicate with me.

It’s important that those of us who value communication are able to take a step back and see the unspoken communication, too, as some women are more comfortable expressing themselves non-verbally. While it’s certainly easier to work with straight-forward words, non-verbal communication is just as important as the things we say out loud.

For those who aren’t good with speaking your feelings, there are a few things that you should work extra hard to make sure your partner knows. It might be hard, but they’re necessary parts of a “grown-up” relationship.

  • Tell her you love her – but only if you actually do.
  • Tell her the things she does that you like.
  • Tell her the things she does that you don’t (Don’t expect her to guess, and don’t keep them bottled up.)
  • Tell her how you’re feeling, if it’s something worth noting. You don’t have to share every thought that crosses your mind, or fill every silence, but if you’re in a bad mood, tell her with your words, instead of lashing out at her. If you’re happy with her, make sure you let her know. If you’re sad because you’re thinking about your dog who died when you were six – yeah, tell her that too! You should be able to share with your partner.
  • If any of these things is particularly difficult to you, you can put them in writing – most likely she will appreciate the effort you put forth to share what’s on your mind, even if you can’t bring your mouth to say the words.

For those, like me, who tend to be heavy on communication, there are a few guidelines to follow to make sure your message is actually being heard.

  • Do allow yourself to express your feelings. If your partner does not value your feelings or does not want you to communicate things, you have every right to be mad about this. She should listen to and respect you.
  • Don’t force your verbal right-of-way. If your chats turn into a shouting match, with each of you trying to speak over the other, it might be best to walk away and revisit the situation when you’ve both calmed down.
  • Don’t bottle up a fight, if it’s over something important. If there’s something your partner does that annoys you to no end, you can speak up about it – you deserve to be happy. You shouldn’t be fighting about every little thing, but you shouldn’t remain miserable, either. Find that balance that shows you care enough about the relationship to work out the kinks.

Just as with the other types of affection, in most cases communication will not be the only way you show your affection for one another – and it shouldn’t be. After all, if you’re just looking for someone to talk to, you can get a pen-pal or a cat. Your partner needs to know that you appreciate all the aspects of her person – even if you don’t love all the different pieces, you love her as a whole, and she deserves to know.


What’s the right balance?

This is where things get tricky. No two relationships will have the same ratio. It would be so easy to say it should be 25% romance, 25% gift-giving, 25% sex, and 25% talking… But does that seem realistic to you? All four components are necessary to some degree, but you will have to evaluate those degrees for yourself. Rarely will it be a completely equal distribution.

Say, for example, neither of you is comfortable with the idea of getting gifts, and you both have high sex drives. Would it make sense to give each other gifts as often as you have sex? Probably not. But most relationships won’t have both partners heavy in the same area – and this is where compromise comes into play.

The equality should work out such that yours and your partner’s needs are considered equal – that’s an absolute must. After all, this is a partnership, not a dictatorship, right? Be fair to each other, and find what works for the two of you. If you absolutely can’t agree, the relationship might not be right – and that’s okay too, believe it or not.


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Author
Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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