In this article, we examine what a lack of affection outside the bedroom means, why your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, and what you can do about it.
You are dating this amazing guy, and you seem to have a lot in common, but only one problem, he is only affectionate in bed.
When in a relationship, you want someone who gives you attention and affection all the time, not only when he wants sex.
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, it may be an issue in the relationship. As a lady, you want a boyfriend who shows you he loves you always; you want hugs and kisses.
However, according to Brian Jory, a relationship expert and author of Cupid on Trial: What We Learn About Love When Loving Gets Tough.
Sometimes your boyfriend may withdraw affection because he is struggling with stress, illness, mental stress, or trauma, and they are inwardly focused and stop paying attention to you.
So, if your boyfriend is not affectionate to you outside your bedroom, it may not be something you did; it also doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you anymore.
Reasons Your Boyfriend Is Only Affectionate In Bed.
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, it may cause some strife in the relationship. You may wonder why he is the way he is and what it means for your relationship.
Here are some reasons your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed:
1. There Is a Breakdown In the Communication
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, it could be that you have a breakdown in communication. You may talk, but your boyfriend may not understand what you say.
Tom Jones, a therapist, says, “An interruption in affection can often mean an interruption in connection or communication. Often our response when we see this behavior will be to fear the worst.”
If you tell your boyfriend you need kisses and hugs, he may take this as a form of foreplay for sex, while you mean you want an affectionate kiss that does not lead to sex.
This communication breakdown will lead to your boyfriend not being affectionate with you outside the bedroom because he feels his advances are not welcome.
This is scary for most people because you feel like you have lost chemistry with your boyfriend, and all he wants from you is sex. Jones says these questions may be catastrophic and overwhelming.
On the other hand, your boyfriend may only be affectionate in bed if he doesn’t know your preferences.
If you don’t tell your boyfriend what you need, he cannot read your mind, and you will resent him for something he has no control over.
So, articulate your needs to your boyfriend. For example, if you love being touched, tell him to touch you and tell him exactly how you want him to touch you.
If you love kissing and cuddling, tell him; this is your love language, and you deserve to be loved right.
2. You Have Created A Vicious Cycle
According to Neil J. Lavender, a licensed psychologist, and professor, couples create a vicious cycle in their relationships which leads to a lack of affection.
For instance, if you argue with your boyfriend, he will withdraw affection and may only be affectionate when he wants sex. The disagreements in relations may lead to resentment and bitterness.
If you are in some rut in the relationship, you should both take responsibility for it.
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you may not appreciate his affection when he tries to get affectionate with you.
For instance, if you disagree with your boyfriend, you do not want him to touch you or get close to you; he will lose interest in touching you even when you are on good terms.
Instead, he will only want to touch you when he wants sex, making you mad, and the cycle continues.
Your boyfriend could withdraw affection if he is dealing with some past trauma. Trauma can manifest in different ways in different people.
For instance, if your boyfriend went through sexual abuse when he was younger where someone touched him inappropriately, he could associate touch with sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, a 2017 study shows that one in eight adults worldwide has reported childhood sexual abuse.
Your boyfriend could be having PTSD from the past trauma, and your need to have affection outside the bedroom won’t sit well with him because he will associate it with abuse.
Talk to your boyfriend about his needs and reasons for not being affectionate.
4. You Don’t Have Sex Often
If your sex life has taken a hit as your relationship progresses, your boyfriend may only be affectionate in bed.
When you start dating, your sex life is on fire; you can’t seem to get your hands off each other. However, as the relationship progresses, you get comfortable with each other, and sex takes a back seat.
If this is the case, your boyfriend will take any signs of affection as an invitation for sex.
He will also try to initiate affection when he wants sex because he feels it may be the only way you will want to have sex.
If you never have sex, your boyfriend will return to his younger self, where he was desperate to get to second base.
So, he will try to get you in bed any chance he gets, and he will want all forms of affection to lead to sex.
5. His Upbringing
One’s upbringing affects how one views relationships. So, if your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, it could have something to do with his upbringing.
If your boyfriend grew up in an environment where he never saw people affectionate, he would be reserved.
For instance, in most African homes, affection is not displayed. I know people who have never seen their parents hug or kiss.
If your boyfriend grew up in such an environment, he would not show affection outside the bedroom. Because he believes affection is for the bedroom only.
According to research, if your parents were nurturing growing up, you will likely have healthy romantic relationships and high self-esteem.
So, if your boyfriend’s parents were not nurturing growing up, he may have problems marinating a healthy relationship.
How Does Your Boyfriend’s Lack Of Affection Outside The Bedroom Affect The Relationship
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, it will take a toll on your relationship. Here are some ways it can affect your relationship.
1. Resentment And Bitterness
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you will become bitter and resent him because you feel he does not consider your needs.
If you want your boyfriend to kiss you and hug you and he doesn’t, you will feel he does not care for or love you.
This makes you bitter, and you will start resenting it little by little. He will never know if you do not tell him what you need, and the resentment will increase with time.
2. You Feel Like He Is Using You
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you may feel like he is using you as a sex object.
When you are in a relationship, sex should be a mutual agreement and a symbol of your love for each other.
However, if your boyfriend does not show you affection outside the bedroom, you could feel you are there to fulfill his sexual desires and not get anything out of the relationship.
We all want someone who shows us affection and loves us all the time, and if this is not happening, you feel like you are an object your boyfriend uses to satisfy his sexual cravings.
3. You Feel Rejected
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you will feel he doesn’t love you and feel rejected. There is nothing that hurts more than the person you love rejecting you.
Rejection in relationships may lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. If your boyfriend rejects you, it will stress you out.
4. Lead To Breakups
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, it will lead to strife in the relationship. You may feel your boyfriend doesn’t love you and is only using you.
Naturally, you do not want to stay with someone who is not affectionate to you and who you feel is using you and does not consider your feelings.
So, you will break up with your boyfriend and look for someone who loves you and shows you affection in all forms, not only in the bedroom.
What To Do If Your Boyfriend Is Only Affectionate In Bed
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you will want to improve the situation and have a healthier relationship. Some of the things you can do include the following;
1. Talk To Him
Communication is the key to any relationship. If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, talk to him. Have a candid conversation and tell him what you need from him.
If you want him to touch you and kiss you, tell him. Show him how you want to be kissed and touched.
Sometimes he may only be affectionate in bed because he does not know how you need to be loved.
Different love languages are okay, but you should strive to understand each other’s love languages. So, tell him your love language.
2. Teach Him How To Love You
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, teach him how to be affectionate. If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed because of his upbringing, teach him affection.
Sit him down and show him how he can be more affectionate. Give him a list of things he can do daily to improve your love life. With time, your boyfriend will come to like the touches and initiate them.
Here are some things you can do to help your boyfriend be more affectionate.
- Cuddle with him when watching a movie.
- Touch him on the knee when you sit near him.
- Hold his hand when walking together.
- Brush past him when passing each other in the house.
- Hug and kiss him every day before and after you go out.
- Brush your feet on his legs under the dinner table.
- Hug him from behind when doing chores.
Affection in relationships is all about the small things. So if you keep doing these things to your boyfriend, it will be normal for him, and in time he will initiate the affection.
3. Don’t Nag him
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you will want him to do better. However, no matter how much you want your boyfriend to be affectionate, do not nag him.
If you keep telling your boyfriend repeatedly to be affectionate, he will interpret it as nagging.
No man wants his girlfriend to nag him, which will piss him off and make him avoid conversing with you.
So he will close himself off, and you will achieve your goal of having him become more affectionate.
4. Create Date Nights
Create date nights if you want your boyfriend to be affectionate with you outside the bedroom. Date nights will allow you to show your boyfriend how you want him to love you.
For instance, walking under the stars and moonlight will allow you to hold his hand.
Moreover, if you go for a dinner date, you can blush his legs with your feet under the table.
However, start small because you do not know how your boyfriend feels about the public display of affection. You do not want to make things worse than they are.
In addition, a date night will be a good time to introduce the topic of affection and talk about it in a neutral setting.
5. Seek Professional Help
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed and you have tried all avenues to get him to be more affectionate to you, you may want to seek professional help.
A therapist will help debunk the reasons behind your boyfriend’s lack of affection.
For example, if he lacks affection because of childhood trauma, a therapist will help him deal with the trauma and start his healing journey.
He will also show you how to support your boyfriend through his recovery.
Moreover, a couples’ therapist will help you communicate better with your partner and understand each other’s needs.
It will also give you a space to discuss your issues in a neutral environment without attacks and defensiveness. A professional will also give you tips on how to improve your affection.
Affection is important to have a healthy relationship. If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you may feel like he doesn’t love you.
There are many reasons why your boyfriend may lack affection; there may be a communication breakdown in the relationship, he may have past trauma, or he may not have experienced affection growing up.
Lack of affection can affect the relationship and may lead to feelings of rejection, resentment, bitterness, and even breakups. You may also feel like your boyfriend is using you as a sex object.
If your boyfriend is only affectionate in bed, you will want to remedy the situation; you can talk to him about your need for affection and teach him how you want to be loved.
However, do not nag him; instead, create date nights to show him affection. If this does not work, you can seek professional help to help your boyfriend heal from his past traumas.
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Sarah Williams is an author at CandidHaven.com she is an expert in human psychology having graduated with an M.S. in Psychology.
Sarah has extensive experience in relationships and dating therapy having worked for over 6 years with different groups of people including teens, dating couples, and married people.
She is a lover of life, and self-development and believes everyone deserves to be in a fulfilling relationship. Sarah loves reading self-help books and doing research on human psychology.