8/25/96 Advice Column
I've discovered a great deal about myself by reading the many pertinent articles in Dr. Tracy's online Library. For example, I realize that much of what I do puts me into the "Achiever" category in your rogue's gallery of men to avoid; likewise, I find the female "Achiever" profile attractive. I've had a few committed relationships in my life, but I seem to be repeating a frustrating pattern. Even Achievers deserve love, so I thought I'd send this along.
What's missing is a feeling of physical attraction for my partners. They just don't turn me on! Each woman hasn't quite looked good enough for me, and although I've learned to respect the other things about her, and I've always done my best to appreciate her opinions and world view, in the end I just couldn't forget her physical un-stunning-ness. I felt I was somehow "supposed to like her" because she was smart and caring or because we were compatible, but the spark was never there. Like a good boy, I did what my mother would have wanted, which was to overlook such "unimportant" concerns as her looks, and went instead for the deeper core of her identity. I hated the experience.
I hated it because all the while, I couldn't help but look over her shoulder and wonder, as I saw a California beach blonde jiggle by, "why can't I have THAT instead?" It's not been particularly fair to any past partner, I freely admit, that I've had wandering eyes, or that I got into the relationship without a burning desire for her own unique physique. But (and this is the pattern I referred to above) I've never been able to choose my partners. I wasn't going to say no to any of these women who were NOT my physical ideals, because THEY were doing the asking and, as mother would say, "don't look a gift horse in the mouth", especially when the only detriments to that gift are something as inconsequential as looks.
To put it simply, if a woman looked good enough for me, she said "no". So I ended up dating the other ones, the ones who asked me, instead. There are, indeed, many helpful hints in the Library about how I can learn more about the art of seduction, or how I can stop giving too much too soon to the women who DID bowl me over, hints that might give me an advantage for future encounters with women I'm attracted to. But meanwhile I want to know, am I just a shallow jerk? Or do I have a serious case of "greener on the other side" syndrome, in which I want that which I can't have? How do I know?
Why is physical attraction so important to me? The women I HAVE dated, according to my male friends, have been generally "almost" perfect 10's, but "almost" wasn't good enough for me. Should I learn to "lower my standards", and if so, then how? Will my hormones dwindle with age, or will I carry my frustration with me to the grave? I hate demeaning the women that I care for, by being unable to ingore (or learn to like!) physical shortcomings in them; I hate having never dated a woman whose looks kept me coming back for more, from whom I was not tempted to stray; and I hate thinking, that I'll always be tempted by somebody else, even if I DO hook up with a "perfect" 10, considering that there's ALWAYS a new young 11 or 12 out there somewhere, and my 10 will be aging all the time. At 30, my chances of landing that 10 are already beginning to diminish; how will I feel at 75?
What I yearn for, is a knockout to make love to, so I can build love with her for a future when she isn't physically such a knockout, and when I'm no longer in the market for such knockouts. And when I say "make love to", I don't mean "have sex with". I mean, I want to be in a committed sexual partnership with a woman who, physically, leaves me breathless. The looks, I feel, would contribute to my sense of desire for her, to my willingness to contribute to intimacy, to my respect for her opinions, and to the whole gamut of love-building emotions. I've read the warnings about the "Starlet" type in the Library, but I want the opportunity to take my own risks, and learn the hard way, and maybe beat the odds that suggest a beautiful woman is often shallow, self-centered, or uninteresting. That doesn't HAVE to be the case, and (as Dr. Tracy says) "looks DO count".
Again, is there some way to reduce the impact looks, and their essentially shallow trappings, have on me? Or will unreasonably high standards, and a lack of lust, always be in the way of love, for me? And how do I change the pattern of dating the ones who ask me (considering that they've all been GOOD prospects, according to all my criteria except looks, and certainly according to Dr. Tracy's criteria in her Library) to dating the (more beautiful?) ones whom I ask? Am I just going to have to admit that the others don't LOOK good enough, Political Correctness notwithstanding, and date only Vogue-magazine models until I find one who isn't a Starlet-type? Seems like there would be prohibitive competition there.
Thanks for your help, because I can't stand having so shallow an attitude, and also because I recognize what seem to be inevitable pitfalls of this attitude.
You remind me of the guy who just can't say no, but never means yes. What woman would want you? Too many, it seems, and you will keep hurting each one, over and over. What a sad life you are dooming yourself to -- as well as the women who become involved with you.
You are the kind of guy who will always be looking around for someone else, no matter who he has. You ask, are you "just a shallow jerk"? It sounds to me like you are the King of Shallow.
If, as you say, you can't stand having so shallow an attitude, why don't you change?
I'd suggest you begin by seeking real values in your life. It will be a shock to your system, but try volunteering to help others. You won't change until you learn compassion and empathy. Begin giving back to society because it seems to me that you've already taken much more than you deserve.
Have you ever heard of females having spontaneous orgasms in their sleep? I have never had an orgasm when having sex with my husband (who is the only partner I've had), and masturbation has not led me to anything remotely arousing; I like it better when my husband touches me. However, I have found myself awakened by this intense, contracting sort of feeling in my pelvis, along with a desire to copulate with my husband, several times. I remember having an erotic dream only once when this happened.
I puzzled over this for days when it finally occurred to me, maybe that was an orgasm. I had studied the physiology of sex but had never experienced it, so I was a bit naive. I had never heard of women having "wet dreams" but I suppose that's what it might be akin to.
I'm too shy to discuss with anybody other than my spouse, and I haven't seen it recorded in any medical literature, or on the internet, yet. Care to comment?
Dreams are often wish fullfillment. We frequently dare to do in our dreams what we can't do in reality. Sure, you can be having wet dreams or orgasms in your sleep, which is encouraging because it indicates you are capable. When you awake with the desire to make love with your husbnd, why not do it while the memory of your sleeping orgasm is still fresh? That way, you can begin to translate those sleeping feelings into waking ones.
Although I have looked in your library for a similar situation I could not find an answer to what has been becoming an ever increasing burden on my thoughts.
I have been dating exclusively a single woman for the last 6.5 years. The relationship is very good in virtually every aspect, except for the fact that she is still a virgin, and intends to stay one until her wedding night. I love this woman very much, and would like to spend the rest of my life with her, except for that I feel the intimacy that occurs between two people after having shared this experience leaves me at a loss to make the final step toward marraige even though I love her.
My father has often confided in me that he and my mother have not had a strong intimacy, and I am rather afraid of spending the rest of my life in a relationship where the physical and emotional closeness are non existent or rare.
Unfortunately, I do feel as though it is time to make a decision as to what my future holds with this woman. I do not expect her to wait much longer while I try to decide on whether to "gamble" with her, or to allow us both to move on in separate situations.
Please understand that your advice will not make my decision for me, and will only give me the clarity to see my way to what I feel is right.
I'm sure that even though your relationship doesn't include intercourse, you've had lots of opportunity to cuddle, neck, pet and everything short of intercourse. Surely by now you know if you're sexually aroused by this woman. Certainly you have a sense of how physically interested she is or how compatible the two of you are. The fact that you're still there tells me you're excited about the possibilities of a future with her.
I don't see where you're making a big gamble. You've been trying this relationship out for longer than many marriages last. What are you waiting for? You have little to lose and everything to gain by marrying her. By not marrying her you have everything to lose.
If married intercourse turns out to be something less than your fantasy, you can always consult "Spicing Up Your Sex Life" for ideas on how to turn your inexperienced bride into an exotic lover.
Dr. Tracy says, "Is your question urgent? Many of the most beseeching, desperate messages I get are not answered in this column because the answer is just a couple of clicks away in my Love Library. Have you tried my Love Library? I know that nobody goes to libraries anymore, but check this one out -- it's so easily searchable that it's fun and easy to use!"
If you can't find your answer in the Library and you feel you MUST have an answer, you can get a personal answer from Dr. Tracy within 48 hours by availing yourself of her inexpensive private counseling.