Givers, Takers & Partner Pleasers…or Not!
She likes being on the receiving end but never reciprocates.
I was shooting the breeze with my client the other day. He’s an awesome guy who’s recently divorced. He’s handsome, brilliant, successful, and fit. He was dating this woman who happens to be an amateur triathlete. He really liked this gal and would do thoughtful things to try to make her happy. He planned extravagant dates and made special efforts to try to please her. Not to impress; he’s just that kind of a guy. He told me that he’d always go down on her, but she would never, ever reciprocate, and it really bothered him. He was a giver & partner pleasure & she was a taker. She’s now history.
The truth is that she likes oral sex. He married her.
We know a couple. She was a young widow. On the first date, she tells him that she likes giving head. At the end of the date, she runs off to her car. He’s a gentleman and follows her to make sure she gets safely to her car. She hugs him – no kiss good night - and drove off. He married her.
If someone shares something like this with you on a first date, they likely are telling you the truth. They probably are not purely trying to titillate, but may be interested in you in a serious way. It’s not an open invitation to be immediately pursued. Don’t say, “hey, let’s go!” Just keep it mentally on file, & note that this person may be a giver or a partner pleaser.
I was chatting with my gf last week. She’s super cute, smart, & vivacious. She’s in her early 30s, never married, dates tons, but rarely has bfs. She meets guys everywhere she turns, both in “the real world” & online. She’s had plenty of one-night stands from guys she’s met on Apps. At the moment, she’s in love with a poly guy. The trouble is, he’s banging everyone with a pulse, and now, she can’t handle it.
Our girl-talk gets really granular. We start talking about sex; BJs, in particular. She tells me that she loves receiving oral sex, although she refuses to reciprocate. She said she can’t stand kissing it. She likes her lovers to perform oral sex on her, but there’s no way in hell she will return the favor. I ask her if she knows what she is doing. She won’t even discuss it. She adds that she wants a real relationship. She says she wants to get married & have a baby. She dates casually, yet rarely has boyfriends.
Do givers and takers in relationships translate to sex?
It makes me think, “are you really a giver or a taker” in dating, relationships, and between the sheets. Does this behavior correlate to how you are treated outside of the bedroom? You would presume that the giver is a thoughtful partner. Conversely, is the taker a narcissist?
Relationships are a push/pull. If you are always the giver, the receiver may take advantage and disrespect you. Ultimately, givers may feel devalued, and lose both self-respect & self-esteem.
According to Adam Grant, “Takers have a distinctive signature: they take more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their favor, putting their own interests ahead of others’ needs.”
If you are consistently the taker, you may be a self-centered narcissist. This is a slippery slope as, for this diagnosis (narcissism), there is no cure. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d venture to say that the narcissist is not a relationship partner.
Sex is somewhat of a relationship metaphor in this context. And may make you reflect. Healthy partnerships are built on trust and mutual respect.
Should you have sex with this person?
In sex, if there is something you don’t want to do, don’t do it. Perhaps, it’s your gut instinct warning you that you should not be engaging in sex (yet?), or a particular sex act, with this person. You may want to explore it with a professional. It may have deep seeded, religious, roots. Biblical, Adam & Eve, apple/snake type shit. Is there something in your past that is holding you back which may require deep introspection? Or, is it that you aren’t into this person & shouldn’t be engaging with them?
I have a friend who is a professional athlete. She’s been sleeping with a former NFL player. Both are single & never married. She says he just lies there in bed and expects her to perform sex acts on him. He doesn’t lift a finger, or anything else for that matter, in return. She says he really sucks in bed. She figures that he’s had tons of women after him nearly all his life. The types that are seek out athletes for status needs. Yet, he doesn’t seem to put any effort into love making to try to please his partner. A taker. He has never mastered any skills or technique. She says he’s an entirely unfulfilling sexual partner.
At times, it seems we try the hardest for the takers. The people we put ourselves out for the most, those with whom we expend the greatest energy and focus, be it love, friendship and work, can be the least appreciative. Do we try harder and extend more effort with them because we are desperately seeking their approval? As in the Seinfeld episode where George has “no hand” in the relationship (Seinfeld: Season 3, Episode 14, The Pez Dispenser).
Frequently, the people we are more lackadaisical about are our pursuers. It seems to be human nature, for some, to want what they can’t have. This said, givers are better positioned for meaningful relationships.
Make time to meaningfully consider what you really want
Many people crave the desire to be in a viable relationship, yet do not invest the time or effort to try to make it happen. Carve out time to do truly meaningful soul-searching. Really meditate on it. Think about what you desire want from the 40,000-foot level.
If you just want to get laid, that’s one thing. However, if you want a relationship, you may need to reconsider:
- whom you choose to date
- why you select or agree those you date
- how you are going about meeting people
- your dating & sexual behavior
If your analysis is unsatisfying, you made need to make some bold changes to shift the paradigm.
 Grant, Adam. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (Viking, 2013), 4.