Nice guys, in the most straightforward use of the term, should be a great source of desirability, fun, and chemistry for those who are attracted to them. Almost everyone wants a partner who is gentle and kind, right? However, nice guys have earned a reputation not just for finishing last—but also for getting friend-zoned. Nice guys are also sometimes associated with using friendship as a means to “earn” sex or thinking that their kindness entitles them to get laid, which really isn’t very nice at all. So, whether you’re a nice guy or perhaps dating one, let’s talk about how to avoid the pitfalls of those who are overly nice.
Why Nice Guys Aren’t Always Nice
A lot of great things can be said about nice guys. Typically, nice guys prioritize friendship and value being low-maintenance and easygoing. However, nice guys are human and they still have needs, and no one can go on forever without addressing that.
Men, in general, are often socialized to believe that needing anything is a weakness, and this leaves many men neglecting and denying the existence of their needs. This habit is particularly pernicious for nice guys who may be passive or docile and resort to getting their needs met through manipulation. They may subconsciously believe that if they are friendly or helpful and thus meet someone else’s needs, that they deserve to have their needs met, even though the other person did not agree to this arrangement. Or, if they do not get their needs met, they may find they have become very bitter and resentful.
Having Sex With Nice Guys
Nice guys sometimes have complicated relationships with sex. Since they are often unwilling to bring up their needs to their partners, issues crop up around sexual fulfillment. When nice guys do not express their inner sexual needs with their partners, this leaves room for resentment and isolation. If you’re having sex with a nice guy, you might find that they’ve taken to addressing their own needs in the form of pornography or frequent masturbation in a way that seems to exclude you.
Another issue that can crop up is a nice guy’s tendency to need to please their partner. While this may sound like a benefit at first glance, the problem is that their deep-seated need to please means they may want to only do what works without exploring much further. Exploration is riskier than merely playing a rerun of the sex you had last time. All of the pressure and anxiety around making sure their partner has an orgasm can even lead to more difficult situations—like erectile dysfunction.
Overcoming Debilitating Niceness
Whether you identify as a nice guy or you’re involved with one, you can use some tips to help navigate the bedroom just a little bit more easily. First of all, you should bring up what your needs are in the bedroom. Opening a conversation about needs can help prompt a nice guy to realize that they have needs, too, and can talk about them with you rather than just hope you’ll intuit them.
If it is hard for you or your partner to articulate your needs, start by tuning into them. Make a list of things that would help you feel better about your life, reduce your stress, and give you more confidence in the relationship. Once you have a reasonably complete list, you don’t have to rattle them off to your partner all at once. But you can bring them up as they arise naturally in conversation. Notice how you react to mentioning what you need, and try to maintain assertiveness even if you feel nervous or uncomfortable.
Next, practice asking each other for what you want. If you create a safe and symbiotic relationship where you both state your needs, it won’t feel unfair, intimidating, or resentful, and you’ll both get better at advocating for yourself. Any lingering neediness will start to subside once you are confident that the other person cares about what you want and can give it to you.
Overly nice people can feel very anxious when having conversations about needs with their partners. Setting up an appointment with an experienced therapist can ease the tension and help you both get more of what you want.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist. Download her new ebook, How to Increase Your Libido – For Women, here.