Have you ever driven a car that seems very foreign to you? I remember driving a friend’s Italian sports car that had five gears when I was used to four. The dashboard had a unfamiliar layout. And everything was labeled in Italian!
Or maybe you’re a Mac gal and every once in a great while you have to work on a PC (or a PC gal working on a Mac). You know the results you want to create, but you have to really focus to figure out how to open the applications you want. And the keyboard has a different layout than you’re used to. While you know you can achieve what you want, it just takes a little longer as the keys and shortcuts you’re used to aren’t easily apparent.
So it is when becoming intimate with a new guy for the first time in midlife, after you’ve been with your former mates for years.
You know what you want to accomplish — or what you want him to accomplish. But just like the above examples, the key behaviors he’s used to doing — and getting a reasonably predictable response — may not work at all with you. You are an Italian sports car, and he’s driven an automatic Chevy truck for 20 years. He’s used to turning the key, and the engine hums. Now he tries the same action, but he’s forgotten to engage the clutch, so the engine doesn’t respond.
How do you help your guy have a quick lesson on what makes your motor purr, without insulting him? Unlike the Mac/PC example, there’s not a handy “Help” menu he can refer to when flummoxed.
I’m afraid that Help menu or owner’s manual is you. And while some men are embarrassed or feel uneasy when you guide him through what works for you, the savvy ones are appreciative. If he wants to make you happy — and why would you be in this position with him if you didn’t think he was interested in making you happy? — he will listen and follow instructions. And assuming his efforts are successful, he’ll make mental notes for the next time.
And the same goes in reverse. Don’t be afraid to ask him what he likes. If he doesn’t give you the verbal or nonverbal feedback you’re expecting, ask him to share what works. Some men don’t like to talk during the act, and if your guy is the silent type, talk about him about what he likes before the next time. It may seem a bit stilted at first, but you will both have a more satisfying experience. And talking about it ahead of time sometimes heats things up a bit.
And just like with the computer example, you’ll want to make sure virus protection is installed.