I think you want to differentiate between actively soliciting feedback about particular aspects of your job performance about which you are uncertain and simply soliciting positive reinforcement.
Asking for an assessment periodically about areas of performance you may be concerned about is a great idea. If you're worried that you are behind schedule frequently, even if everyone else is too, it's great to get time with your boss and ask if he's upset about this.
It's similarly OK to request a sit down to talk about growth opportunities and whether you are ready for them and/or what your gaps may be in terms of growing as an employee.
In all these cases, the key is that you are asking for an honest assessment with the purpose of improvement. It may be that you are simply awesome and the boss will tell you so, but it opens the door as well to points for improvement.
A fair point - we all need it. When looking abstractly at motivation and management - it's pretty clear - EVERYONE does better with positive reinforcement. And there's never really enough.
Trick is - your manager does have to be even handed. Praising one employee when all are doing the same level of quality work is favoritism and it isn't fair. At best, him praising one person and ignoring others will be demotivating to the rest, at worst, it's grounds for a lawsuit.
So, in an environment where praise is rare and highly prized, it's going to have to be rare and highly prized for everyone. There are bosses in the world who's praise is hard to earn.
Look for little things
Being someone who thrives on positive reinforcement too, I found sanity in looking for the little things - the obvious respect of my peers (whether or not anyone says anything, you can see it in their eyes), knowing I can help someone with a hard question, being able to measure and see improvements in my own performance over time, knowing on my own that I've been honest and respectful with others - it all adds up to a good days work and I can force myself to realize that on a daily basis. Also - I look for how other opportunities may be a sign of good things - suggestions for interesting training classes, interesting assignments, more responsibility - are all signs you are a trusted member of the team.
Asking for Feedback
Every boss is different, every company is different. A weekly or biweekly meeting to touch base is widely considered a good thing, but may not always be part of the culture. A big status check and feedback session every 6 months is a pretty uniform standard in American knowledge working careers. But no matter how you solicit it, how it's presented has a lot do with your boss as well as the corporate climate.
Be open to how this rolls. Ask your boss about a frequency guideline - how often should you check in, how often is annoying? What are some indicators of success that aren't verbal?