In light of all of the crazy success and publicity of Fifty Shades of Grey, it would TRULY appear that something in the collective unconscious is being tapped into. Everyone is TALKING about it, yet is it what women really want, to be submissive to a man, to be dominated?
As a psychologist and couples counselor, I’ve been asked this question by men, women and couples for the last twenty years. I’ve blogged about this before, yet given the impact of 50 Shades, it seems worth revisiting. My specialty is helping couples bring back the passion in their relationship and using fantasy is one way of doing this.
I’m not going to address the whole S&M/B&D subcultures here, as it’s the larger issue that is being brought to the forefront of our consciousness. How much is fantasy and is better served staying that way and how much is worth exploring and experimenting for a couple?
It’s an individual decision for each couple. The fantasy of being ravished, being lovingly, yet forcefully taken by her man is consistently in the top five female fantasies, often the number one fantasy. This is different than the “rape fantasy” which has often been misrepresented.
Of course, women don’t want to be raped, this is an act of violence and power, not one of love. However, as revealed in the always popular romance novels, the fantasy of a strong, powerful man initiating sex with a woman, not accepting her initial reluctance, and then loving her passionately, is a popular fantasy. This is not about abuse and power, as in most of these novels (and fantasies), the couple ends up married and living “happily ever after.” And “50 Shades” is taking it to an entirely different level, beyond the “classic romance” themes that have been so prevalent for so long. Another perspective is being mainstreamed and explored.
So what’s the truth here, at least from a psychological perspective? When we first meet someone we’re attracted to we experience that initial chemistry and go into that “honeymoon” period, where our bodies are flooded with chemicals and we are “walking hormones.” To read more about this, you can see my article, “Three Stages of Relationship”.
However, this initial chemistry fades over time and we need to take steps to reignite it! To create sexual passion, there needs to be sexual tension and for this there needs to be strong sexual POLARITY. We need to CONSCIOUSLY create this in our relationship.
Polarity comes from strong masculine energy meeting strong feminine energy. Just like the positive and negative terminals of a battery create electricity, so will the masculine and feminine interact to create PASSION! Now each of us, male and female have an inner masculine and an inner feminine and either sex can express either aspect.
For the heterosexual female “ravish me, dominate me” fantasy though, we’re talking about the man embodying the masculine and taking charge with those masculine qualities to be focused, direct, relentless in pursuing his goal, in this case, loving his woman into “submission”. This can range from simply initiating sex, to be a little more assertive than usual, to being more aggressive, to being a little “rough”, all the way to role play and using restraints and sex toys.
To use a simple example, I’m 6’3″ and over 200 pounds and have found that many woman have simply enjoyed the weight of my body pressing into them and found that arousing. Perhaps that is enough to begin your journey. I also happen to have large hands (no euphemism here). I’m usually able to hold both of a woman’s wrists in one of my hands and even that small step can often be assertive enough to feed into the submission fantasy. Just consider what YOU can do to orient yourself in that direction, it doesn’t have to be “whips and chains.”
From an evolutionary psychology perspective, women want to know that their man can take care of them, can “hold” them, both emotionally AND physically. I have a female friend who is close to six feet tall and she LOVES that her husband can physically hold her, pick her up, engulf her and make her feel like she’s a little girl sometimes.
If we believe that “form follows function”, than if a man can open a woman sexually with his dominance, than perhaps he can also metaphorically open her heart with his dominance. Perhaps there is part of each woman who wants to have her heart ravaged open, even more than her body? Don’t we all want our partner to help open our heart and experience more love?
Now on the flip side, there are times when a man enjoys his partner initiating sex in a more dominant and aggressive way as well. Being stuck in ANY role will ultimately diminish passion. We need to mix it up. But that’s a topic for another day 😉
These are my thoughts about this question brought into the forefront by Fifty Shades of Grey. The question on the table is “Do Women Want To Be Dominated?” I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this and any other ideas for bringing back the passion in relationships.
Dr. Adam Sheck
If this “Do Women Want To Be Dominated?” article interested you and you’d like to find out more ways to bring the passion back in your relationship, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter at the top right of this page. You will also receive my Special Report, “20 Rituals for Romance!”