Monday, April 5, 2010
Revisiting Vivian’s Domain, Part 4
(Continuing archival republishing of sections of “Vivian’s Domain,” an FLR website originally hosted on Geocities.com. This installment features the first-half of Vivian’s length, provocative and highly intelligent essay, “Toward a Fantastic Marriage.” In fact, I would not hesitate to call this an essential document in the Female-Led movement. Although subtitled “How and Why Domestic Discipline Works,” the essay makes the case for FLR (of whatever variation) about as forcefully and persuasively as anything I’ve ever seen, including my own attempts. The concluding half of the 10,000 word essay will appear in the next installment.—MR)
Toward A Fantastic Marriage: How and Why Domestic Discipline Works
Do you remember how your husband treated you when you were first dating? Was he more thoughtful then? Did he look forward to being with you? Didn't he try to please and impress you? If you've been married for any length of time you'll probably find that the man you married is a bit (or a lot) different from the man you're married to. Let’s talk about the reasons for that difference.
When your husband first became interested in you, he was unsure of the extent to which you were interested in him. He wanted you and he wanted you to want him. He looked to signals that you were interested. He thought about every word you said, every facial expression and every subtle inflection of your voice. He paid attention! And when he was not with you, he analyzed all these things looking for clues, clues to help him understand how to “win you over” and clues as to how he was faring in his pursuit of you. He thought about you!
You may not have noticed it at the time because you were too busy trying to win him over, looking for clues yourself. Odds are that the more difficult you made it for him to win you over, the better he treated you and the harder he tried to please and impress you.
One of the differences between men and women is their romantic/sexual attention span. A woman, generally, is focused on keeping the partner she has won. A man is wired differently. Once he has won his prize or achieved his goal, he is prone to look toward the next conquest. So, as a woman begins to nurture the relationship, the man begins to neglect it. This is why women so often become bitter or disillusioned in marriage. Her efforts at nurturing her marriage and pleasing her husband only serve to reinforce his sense that the chase is over. He becomes complacent. He expects more and gives less.
Even if in his true heart he loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you, on another level he became bored with you the moment he realized he “had” you. This is one of the reasons men are more likely to be unfaithful in marriage. Even for those men who are not technically unfaithful, this dynamic causes a sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness that often leads to other undesirable behaviors such as gambling, pornography, drug and alcohol abuse, workaholism, get rich-quick schemes, an overindulgence in fantasies about other women and simple irritability. All of those things deprive you, your marriage and your family of your husband’s active involvement and attention.
BEAUTY AND POWER
These are the things that pull his strings. A key component of every man's sexuality is awe. When he sees a beautiful woman's face or an attractive figure he is drawn almost against his will. The power that beauty has to take his attention is not lost on him. He is awestruck and overcome by that power. Have you ever noticed how men behave toward a beautiful woman? They fall all over themselves to please her in some way. Even when there is no way such behavior will result in a sexual experience, men become the willing servants of beauty.
Think about it. Your husband's in a traffic jam. He's mad. Somebody tries to cut in ahead of him. He curses and revs his engine and inches up to be sure the other car doesn't get an inch ahead of him. Another car comes into view and wants to cut ahead of him. A pretty face peeks out and waves a delicate hand. What does your husband do? If he's anything like mine, the same man that cursed and screamed at the car before suddenly becomes gracious. He smiles and nods and lets the lady pass. In this situation he may have his wife and kids in the car and be travelling through a place he will never be again. So there's no chance he thinks he'll ever see that woman again. Still, the instinct kicks in. There is power he cannot resist, and he is amazed at his own helplessness. He is in awe of those who can elicit that helplessness. And the most important thing I've found is that a man is most helpful to a woman when she makes him feel helpless.
POWER AND BEAUTY
The preceding observation is obvious to most women. We feel it far too often. We see our husbands looking at other women as if they were goddesses and looking at us as if we were mere functionaries, striving to be helpful to women they hardly know and ignoring the needs of the woman who dedicates herself to him and his family. Sometimes we become angry and resentful of our husbands, knowing that it is simply not right that he looks at other women with the passion that rightfully belongs to us. Sometimes we get down on ourselves, feeling unattractive and taken for granted and cheated out of his affection.
Although there are some exceptions (women who are so beautiful and remain so beautiful that they can inspire their husbands with that beauty even after years of marriage), for most women, even attractive ones, it is not possible after years of cohabitation and child bearing to become beautiful enough to inspire the kind of awe that will motivate her husband. So, what can a woman do?
She can understand this: Not only is there power in beauty, there is beauty in power! The “take my breath away” kind of awe that a man feels when he sees a stunningly beautiful woman is similar to the feelings he had as a young adolescent toward women of power in his life—teachers, neighborhood moms, and strict women in general.
In order to make your husband a better man and a better spouse, you need to make him eager to win your approval and fearful of earning your disapproval. You must exert the kind of power that grabs his attention, makes you beautiful to him and takes his breath away. You must make him adore you again!
Making him adore and respect you is a lot easier than you think
1. THE MORAL ADVANTAGES: Going Back to the Days When Men Respected Women
These should be quite obvious and require no explanation, but to some they are not so obvious. Many of the women I have “talked with” online do not see these advantages and even have concerns that Domestic Discipline is immoral. What I have found through those conversations is that such an attitude is usually the result of an erroneous understanding of power. In these women I have found an underlying belief that power is bad, that to want power is worse, and that to actually exercise power is evil. It has been ingrained in these women that they are not worthy of power.
My message is that power is all over the place and cannot be avoided. If you do not exercise power, someone or something else will. It is not only your privilege to exercise power but a moral duty as well.
Domestic Discipline is a wonderful way to re-energize a stagnant sex life in a marriage. If that were its only purpose it would be worthwhile, but it does not stop there. Domestic Discipline secures a marriage on moral ground. Even Freud recognized this when he wrote that “A marriage is not secure until the wife takes a maternal view of her husband.”
For some women this is a difficult concept to accept because we tend to confuse morality with convention. In America today discipline of any kind has become unconventional, but the tide is turning. We are starting to appreciate again the benefits of traditional discipline and the value of submitting to authority in our lives.
While most women understand their own need to submit to authority, they do not understand how important it is for their husbands to do so as well, and the difficulty they have submitting to an authority that is not tangible. If we look at the history of the church in Western civilization, we find that most of the truly steadfast submission to God and church has been practiced by women. Men have sought to make church an opportunity to gain and exercise power rather than to submit to it. Maybe it's easier to submit to a God of the opposite gender, that a quality of ‘otherness” is necessary to truly submit to another, or that there is an element of sexuality even in our spirituality.
We do not hear Domestic Discipline spoken of publicly by society's moral standard-bearers, and we certainly don't hear about it in most churches. It is practiced, however, in many more homes than you would think. Except for the few select friends with whom I have shared the disciplinary aspect of my marriage, no one has any idea that my husband and I are practicing this. Others do envy my marriage, the devotion my husband displays toward me and the ease with which we get along. I hear such comments with some regularity. Those who make those comments sometimes ask me for my “secret.” I usually just smile and tell them how lucky I am to be married to such a good man. And I am. The honesty and vulnerability my husband shows by accepting my authority are gifts that most men are afraid to give their wives. He truly is a good man, and he gets better all the time because I see to it that he does.
I have strayed a bit from the purpose of this section. The following are some of the moral advantages of Domestic Discipline:
A husband who is more faithful to the marriage in heart, mind and body
Safe, supportive and fun ways to release anger and tension in a marriage
Motivation for a husband to continually improve himself (“He who stops being better stops being good.”—Oliver Cromwell)
Increased vulnerability and intimacy in the marriage
The moral authority in a marriage in is the hands of the partner with the greater tendency toward traditional morality.*
Stronger marital bonding
The power struggles that can arise in a marriage and cause great problems are replaced with the peaceful acceptance of authority
(* Throughout this site, as I promote women as dominant partners in Domestic Discipline, I rely upon generalities. In some marriages it is the woman who has more difficulty with self-discipline and the man who needs to take the dominate role. There are sites devoted to male dominant/female submissive relationships and I encourage those interested in such a relationship to access them through my Links page. )
THE GIFT OF HOPE
I know you better than you know yourself. And I know what's best for you.
Many of the concerns I have heard from women for the past two years as I have been promoting Domestic Discipline is that its techniques may be demeaning to him, hurt his self-esteem, cause him to be resentful of me, encourage immaturity in him, etc. On the face of it, it seems a difficult argument to make that punishing, humiliating, and controlling a man's genital functioning will result in greater self-esteem and psychological health, but it is true.
A good place to begin is with an understanding of consensual Dominant/submissive sexual relationships (AKA D/s). As I've said, Domestic Discipline is not S&M, but it is informed by the S&M and D/s communities. In true D/s relationships it is understood that while one partner takes a superior/dominant role and the other an inferior/submissive role, neither party is truly inferior. In fact, it has been observed frequently that those who are prone to taking submissive roles are actually of extremely high intelligence and, in daily life, are commonly in positions of power and responsibility in the business and professional world. Accepting a submissive role is good therapy for one who must accept a lot of responsibility in other areas of life.
This is the model of understanding we use in Domestic Discipline. The model many women erroneously think of when considering Domestic Discipline is one of domestic abuse that we most often see men perpetrating against women. Those relationships are characterized by a man who has superior physical strength, and often superior financial strength, and is using that strength to dominate a woman in ways she does not want. The submissive partner in this scenario is forced into her role rather than agreeing to and accepting it. The submissive partner in a domestic abuse scenario does not have an ability to escape that role without leaving the relationship.
Domestic Discipline is quite different. By giving the physically (and often financially) weaker partner the dominant role, we assure that the relationship is not abusive, but loving. This kind of agreement is sometimes referred to in the S&M world as “consensual non-consent.” This is discussed in more detail in The Specifics, but every marriage that uses Domestic Discipline should have a “safe phrase.” This is a word or phrase the husband can use to end a disciplinary measure when the wife has taken him too far beyond his boundaries. Such a devise is not available to people in abusive relationships.
While we as dominant wives understand that we are superior in many ways (as I mention on the home page of this site), our husbands have many gifts and are superior in other ways. Men are generally better at competing than women are. They seem to have a proclivity for overt competition. That is why they are often better at making money. This is not to say that women are not making great strides in this area and that some women are not better at competing and making money than some men are. It is simply to point out that men are goal-oriented and wired to compete.
This male orientation toward goal achievement and competition is generally a good thing, but it can cause problems in a marriage. When directed outward toward the world with the objective of securing resources for the family, the man's need to compete, achieve goals and win is adaptive and helpful for the family. But what often happens is that the man does not see himself winning in his competition in the world and turns that competitive drive toward his wife. This is a terrible thing for a marriage. The wife who simply wants to be appreciated by her husband, not to compete with him, finds herself competing with him because he has initiated that dynamic, and it seems the only way for her to make him understand that he should appreciate her. This can be the death knell of a marriage.
Domestic Discipline squashes this dynamic immediately. There is no competition in the marriage because it is understood who rules. Just as when your husband first fell hopelessly in love with you, he understands that he has been vanquished. This understanding is reinforced with every disciplinary session and every time he has a sexual thought and is reminded that you control his sexuality.
This drive to compete and succeed is adaptive in many ways, but it can also lead a man to despair. Especially around mid-life when most men find that they have not achieved and may not be able to achieve the lofty, sometimes unspoken, goals they have set for themselves. The world seems a much tougher place to succeed in at 35 or 40 than it did at 18 or 25. The hope a man had of “making his mark” in the world turns into despair as he ages and sees his chances of achieving his grandiose dreams fading.
This is often the psychological dynamic at mid-life. Throughout most of his adult life he has been motivated by dreams formed at adolescence of being a rock star, a famous leader, an entrepreneurial phenomenon, top gun, universally adored hero, etc. At mid-life he sees the reality that he'll be lucky, if he works real hard and is very careful, to avoid being a dismal failure.
How does something as simple as Domestic Discipline help such a deep-seated despair? In two ways.
The first way is giving him something attainable to hope for—an orgasm. As I mention in My Story, men masturbate more often then we imagine they do. They have an erection and the first chance they get, whether they are alone or with us, they relieve their sexual tension with ejaculation. Most men do not have the self-discipline to refrain from doing so.
And most are unaware of the psychological and physical benefits of such restraint. Most modern popular sex therapists propagate the notion that relief of sexual tension is always a healthy thing. I agree that for the man who is not in a committed relationship, especially one who is young and flooded with testosterone and prone to sexual aggression, it is much better to masturbate than to act out sexual aggression in other ways. For the married man past his twenties, however, ejaculatory restraint works wonders to help him acquire extra energy and HOPE.
When a man is denied an orgasm for a period of time, the desire to have an orgasm becomes stronger. The longer gratification of sexual release is deferred, the more central it becomes as a goal to be accomplished. And unlike many of the goals middle-aged men set for themselves, this one is achievable.
He comes home from work thinking, "Maybe tonight?" He comforts himself when things are not going well with the thought that soon he may have an orgasm. The events of almost every day in the life of a middle-aged man offer proof that the ambitions he had for himself in youth will probably not come to fruition. That is why despair is so common in these men. Despair is the most destructive feeling a person can feel. It is worse than physical pain or humiliation. In any recipe for happiness, hope is the only universally necessary ingredient.
You may wonder why a man cannot simply deny himself an orgasm on his own. Why does he need your involvement and direction in the matter? While there are men who possess the self discipline for this (eastern celibates and accomplished Tantric practitioners), most men need help. For most men there is simply no point in this kind of restraint if it is self-directed. There is no fun in it either. While it is intensely erotic for a man to be intentionally denied an orgasm by a woman, self-directed denial feels pointless and the furthest thing from erotic.
That is why it is extremely important that the denial of orgasm be intentional. Some of the women I know who have come to realize the wonderful effects of sexual frustration on their men still fail to take overt control over it. They have a hard time saying no in general and in particular have a difficult time denying their husbands anything. So they make up excuses for why an orgasm is not possible at a given time such as, “I'm too tired” or “There's not enough time.” This is a mistake.
If a man feels that the reason he is being denied ejaculation is one of circumstance, he will simply masturbate and may resent his wife for being disinterested or neglectful. If, on the other hand, he has been brought to excitement and denied release intentionally and feels it is important to his wife that he not ejaculate, the experience is powerfully erotic for him and supports his commitment to self-restraint. When you deny him an orgasm, it is best to look directly into his eyes and tell him "No." Doing this provides him the psychological orgasm I have previously mentioned and intensifies his devotion to you.
Even if the real reason is that you are too tired or some other circumstance, tell him he may not have an orgasm for some other reason such as, “I don't think you've earned one yet” or “The time has not yet come” or even the arbitrary, “I don't feel like letting you have one yet.” This lets him know that you are in control of this, not mere circumstance.
Being so direct about denial is difficult for many women. Especially for those wives who enjoy pleasing their husbands and especially after he has already gone awhile without ejaculation and has been so wonderfully sweet to you that you want to show him your appreciation. You must remember that denial actually does make him happier. You may also want to simply indulge yourself in the feeling of power this gives you. When you take pleasure in this power, it is better for you and him. It is your power in the situation that makes it most erotic for him. Building up his passion until he is begging for release and firmly denying him can be a lot of fun for both of you.
Doing this also reinforces his feeling that ejaculation is an important goal. It is only by making this goal difficult to achieve that gives it the power to comfort him. If he can achieve sexual release any time he wants, there is little anticipation of it. The built-up anticipation leads to a hope that can overshadow many disappointments and prevent a generalized despair.
One word of caution. There are women who enjoy his atttiide so much when he is chastened that they make him wait so long that he begins to think he will never have his orgasm. These are the women who keep long-term chastity devices and methods in place for months or years. While it seems there are men who derive some benefit from this, most will not. This will eventually have a negative effect as ejaculation becomes another unattainable goal. I recommend parameters of no shorter than a week and no longer than a month or maybe two months for extreme discipline.
Along with the gift of hope is another psychological benefityou’re your husband in all this. One that also benefits you because of its effect on his behavior. This benefit has to do with his adaptation to the sexual frustration you cause him. It is known in psychology that an important determinate of depression is one's level of frustration tolerance. People with a low tolerance of frustration are more prone to depression. A higher tolerance for frustration is a psychological strength that helps prevent depression. The more sexual frustration you make him tolerate, the more he learns to cope with frustration and the calmer and psychologically stronger he becomes. This makes him a happier person and a more enjoyable person for you to share your life with.
The second way Domestic Discipline engenders hope has to do with its punishment aspect. Most men believe they are not fulfilling their potential and they are mostly right about this. If they acted as their best selves want to act, they would not only be better husbands but more successful in other areas as well. So, you can do your husband a great favor by offering discipline not only in matters important to you, but in order to support his own goals as well. Most men need external motivation to achieve their goals. So, ask him about his goals for self-improvement and, if they are acceptable to you, include them among behaviors that provoke discipline or earn reward. By using Domestic Discipline in this manner you are giving him a gift he cannot give to himself. He will be grateful to you and feel more hope in himself.
You should remember to apply discipline with the same fervor for his failure to live up to his own standards as you do when he fails to live up to yours. Aside from giving him hope, this also makes you a more constant presence in his mind and increases his devotion to you.
All of this may sound silly to many women. To a certain extent it is. What is wrong with a little silliness, though, especially when its rewards are so great?
(End Part One. Next installment: Conclusion of “ Toward A Fantastic Marriage: How and Why Domestic Discipline Works.”)