Do Women Want To Be Dominated Sexually?

50 Shades Of Grey Confuses Men About What Women Want Sexually

Do women want to be dominated sexually? Do women want to be submissive in the sexual relationship with their mate in a committed relationship? What do women want in a committed relationship sexually? Do men understand what women want in a committed sexual relationship? Does the 50 Shades Of Grey movie explain what many women want sexually? Or rather has it spotlighted the confusion some men experience as to what women want? It does appear that some men are confused about what women want sexually, based upon varied male reaction to the 50 Shades Of Grey movie. This movie has opened up the lines of communication for these very questions to be asked.  As a Relationship, Marriage and Family Therapist/Psychotherapist counseling couples, individuals and families since 1993, I will share with you that the 50 Shades phenomena is quite interesting certainly, but not surprising at all. Why is it not surprising to me? The answer is simple: many women enjoy relationship development in stories and the topic of love in stories. Many women also enjoy the sexual dynamics between a man and a woman in stories. The 50 Shades movie is both. Although not all people hold this analysis/perspective in response to the movie. In viewing the movie, my analysis is that it presented as a story in which two people are exploring what they know and do not know about how to express emotions, thoughts, fear, frustration, care, and love through the vessel of human relational sexual expression. It is my analysis in response to the movie that the main characters are each discovering themselves through their sexual interaction with one another as they are on a journey of uncovering and discovering what is healthy vs. not healthy in sexual expression for their own self and their mate. This blog article is going to take you through the following four main topics:

  • Women and shame/embarrassment over their response to the movie
  • What many women want sexually
  • What some men are not understanding about women and sexual desires
  • Men and women both want a fulfilling sexual relationship

First, it is important for me to note that this article is with the guiding concept that my articulations are in reference to the monogamous male-female relationship. Also, I am not speaking on behalf of all women nor all men. Rather my assertions you are about to read is based upon my experience in my understanding of many men and women over the course of my 20+ years counseling both genders, as well as male and female reports in sharing with me their thoughts, feelings and reactions to the movie 50 Shades Of Grey.

When the first 50 Shades of Grey book came out, many were referring to it as “mommy porn”. Why? Answer: there were many women who were married (or unmarried) with children, of whom reported their excitement in response to the book. Note: whether the book or the movie, married women or unmarried, women with or without children, women came out in record numbers to watch this movie, including women who read the book/books as well as women who did not. For those who read my blog, or have seen me on TV, you know my style is that I tell-it-like-it-is, and I am passionate about sharing my insights and tips. I hope you find this article informative.

Is There Shame In Wanting One’s Mate To Be Assertive Sexually?

During my interview in The Boston Globe for an article entitled: 50 Shades Of Sheepish, I was asked why some women feel shame and are embarrassed about going to see the 50 Shades movie. You see, what it really comes down to is that many women have learned that they are not to rely on men, as women know themselves to be leaders, and strong. This has somehow inferred that a woman is weak and reliant and not independent if they desire to have a man as a leader in any way shape or form in their relationship dynamic.

Many women have the same set of responsibilities and obligations that men do; work, children, family. Many women have learned that they are to be independent not dependent and that they can do everything on their own, they do not need nor should they need a man. So, where does that leave women? It leaves some of them to experience feelings of embarrassment that they actually do want a man to take care of them, in certain aspects of their lives. It leaves some women to feel shame that they want their man to be assertive in the sexual relationship and be a leader. This shame is in direct association with the brain washing that was done directly inferring that to feel turned on emotionally and sexually by a man that is dominant and a leader in the sexual relationship is somehow seen in direct contradiction to what women have learned about who they are supposed to be. The reality is, women want both. Yes, they do. And that confuses men, but it doesn’t have to confuse men. This is not an “either/or” debate where either women should desire to be dominated and dependent OR they should want to dominate and be independent. In fact, being dominated sexually and being dependent in a relationship are not synonymous with one another nor is being independent synonymous with being the dominant partner. Rather, women desire to have aspects of their life where they are the leader and aspects of their life where their mate is the leader. And within those very categories, it is not all one way all the time. The pendulum must shift. For an example, in the sexual relationship, for many women some of their interactions with their mate they enjoy being assertive, and during other interactions they enjoy their mate to be assertive. The balancing act of the sexual relational pendulum shift some may find it confusing; man or woman. I am here to say it is the reality.

What Do Women Want Sexually?

My tip is that rather than feeling confused about wanting it all, let us all acknowledge that both men and women enjoy sometimes being the leader and other times the follower. Sometimes taking care of one’s mate and other times being taken care of. Sometimes being dominant and other times being submissive. The terms “dominant” and “submissive” although often used in ways in which represent more extreme forms of sexual acts, let’s just take the words in their very basic form. There are many women who sometimes want their mate to lead the sexual party from start to finish, and other times it is fun to be the leader, and even other times it is fun to have a mix of back and forth throughout the sexual encounter between who is more of the leader and who is more of the follower, who is more dominant and who is more submissive. It is this very understanding and navigation that is a challenge for many couples. In my book: Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual  I discuss the importance of ‘watering the plant of marriage’. The term I use; ‘marriage’ can indeed be taken quite literally or figuratively, in that my book is meant for any couple of whom is in a committed relationship and desire for it to stand the test of time successfully. This means it is imperative to make the time and take the time to attend to what I refer to as the ‘three legs of marriage’: 1. emotional intimacy, 2. physical intimacy, and 3. sexual intimacy, with the stool top of communication and trust. If any of the legs is missing it affects the entire balance of the stool. Without the stool top, that affects the standing of the stool. All are needed for the ongoing development, health and wellness of couples.

What I believe the book and the movie did was open up for women the opportunity to talk about their desires sexually, to confront their sexual needs. It also opened up the dialogue for women about how different people in their couple relationship express and show care. The exploration of how one’s childhood shapes and forms our very understanding of how we show care, love, hurt, and pain is also a significant theme throughout the movie that offered women the opportunity to consider their own childhood and how that has played a role not just in their sexual selves, also in their way of expressing needs, wants, feelings, and love. It also opened up the opportunity for women to consider their mate’s childhood experiences and how that has played a role in how he expresses his thoughts and feelings and love. Even one’s drive or lack thereof as it relates to one’s professional accomplishments is a topic that becomes analyzed and considered when watching this movie. The concept of what is healthy in a sexual relationship and what is not, is also an important topic to be considered when digesting and analyzing 50 Shades.

Although there are those of whom appear to not understand the book nor the movie thereby feeling that the whole story is all about sexual deviance, it is not for me to tell someone what message to take or not to take from their analysis. Though I am taking the time to write this blog, in an effort to help those of whom may be completely misunderstanding the fascination for many women. The topic of dominance and submission in the main characters relationship was their story of sexual exploration and self discovery, as well as their journey of discovering how they express emotions and feelings and how they experience expressing love. When the 50 Shades book came out, I wrote a blog article in response to the female obsession. Specifically my article is entitled: 50 Shades Of Grey – Relationship Expert Explains Obsession. There is much reader commentary in response to that blog that continues to date, and I continue to respond to reader write ins. I invite you to check it out. In that blog I explain the 3 reasons why so many women were obsessed with the book, thereby directly explaining the 3 things that women want in their committed sexual relationship with their mate. Interesting that of the multitude of articles I have written some of my top reader commentary in terms of sheer numbers is 50 Shades Of Grey- Relationship Expert Explains Obsession, as well as my blog entitled: Sexual Deprivation In Marriage. Hm, well, maybe not that interesting, perhaps the male-female sexual relationship is an important topic.

What Some Men Are Not Understanding

It pains me for women and men, that men seem to either have the wrong impression as to why this female obsession, because they simply do not understand, or, they do not want to understand the obsession of 50 Shades. For to understand the obsession might mean that men have to do something about it. If the joke is that once women get married sexual desires decline, then why are so many women hot and heavy for this movie? Why do some men get frustrated and offended with my blog article explaining why women are obsessed with 50 Shades, whereas others get it? The men who “get it” are the one’s reporting a satisfying sexual relationship, doesn’t that just say it all right there? If the word/joke on the street is that men have a higher sex drive, and if it is too often assumed that there are men who cheat because the woman the man is in a relationship with is not sexual enough – I ask again: why is 50 Shades so appealing as a movie for so many women? Then I also ask you; why do women cheat?

Are men doing something wrong? Are women doing something wrong? Does it really come down to women just want men to take charge sexually? Is that the bottom line? Do women just want to be dominated sexually and they don’t want to admit it because that is in direct contradiction to the concept of what women have fought for? Or is the term “dominated” confusing, because it’s not full on domination that women want, it rather is that they simply want a more assertive, creative, and passionate man who takes the lead in the sexual relationship? Or are women admitting they want their mate to be more assertive, creative, and passionate but men feel that they are unable to act on what they are hearing because the message rather they feel that they have learned is that they cannot be assertive with their mate for that may appear controlling? What if men think that to “take care of” their mate’s sexual desires may be viewed as too controlling and thus what if men think their mate actually wants them to be more passive, more submissive? Whether holding a door open for a woman, paying for dinner, initiating the sexual relationship, … are men experiencing that they are not supposed to be assertive, because that may appear aggressive in too dominant of a form and that they are not supposed to lead? What if it is as simple as, just as the concept that has been asserted through the years that men want a mother for their children but a date in the bedroom, if it is the same concept for women? In other words, just as men want to be loved and nurtured and taken care of in a nurturing, kind and compassionate manner, so do women. Though, what if they each also want a sexual relationship in which the other person makes it happen, is passionate and makes the sexual experience hot and “takes care of” them?

In my work with divorced women, they report in terms of quality and quantity while married the sexual relationship was low, why then as divorced women is the quality and quantity of sexual relations with their dates high? In my work with divorced men, why is it that man after man reports that each woman they date has such a high sex drive in contrast to what they experienced while they were married? How many stories do I hear of men reporting to me that divorced women are tigers, they are sexual dynamos and are assertive in their sexual desires whereas their wives were not? What is it that men are not understanding about women in terms of the sexual relationship? I will tell you. The answer is: many women DO want the man to take the lead in the sexual relationship. It is not uncommon for many women to want what is shown in the movies and in books. What is the theme in all of these sexually charged interactions between men and women that women are so hot for that occurs in books and in the movies? It is that the man is assertive, the man is creative in the sexual encounter, the man is invested in the pleasure of the woman. The man takes charge and makes the sexual encounter exciting.

It is not uncommon for some men to feel angry when reading my articulations for they find these notions frustrating as they take from this that ultimately they are responsible for the sexual relationship. Why is that a bad thing if that were true? It is not, for they are not only responsible for it, as there are two people in a sexual relationship. Though from this article as you can see, men are an important part of this equation. Men are living in a time where many women are assertive in all aspects of their life. Women believe in equality. Women are leaders. Women have a voice. Women are mangers in the family making decisions. Somewhere along the way, women being assertive in the many areas of their lives has led to the outcome where some men think that means that women no longer wish for them to take the lead, ever, in the sexual relationship and thus take the back seat in the sexual relationship with consistency. For many monogamous committed couples, no one person wants to be the consistent initiator, the consistent leader. Therefore, for those men who are not understanding what many women adore about 50 Shades, I shall provide you with the insight I have obtained in my work with women and that is; many women do indeed yearn to have a sexual relationship where their mate initiates, is a leader sexually, is creative in the bedroom, is passionate and hot for them, wants them and takes them. If you have not read my earlier blog article that I wrote post the 50 Shades book frenzy, and wish to learn my 3 sexual tips that many women are yearning for in a committed sexual relationship, I invite you to check it out: 50 Shades Of Grey – Relationship Expert Explains Obsession.

Men And Women Both Want A Fulfilling Sexual Relationship And To Be Taken Care Of

Here’s my bottom line: many women and men want the same thing – a sexual relationship that is fulfilling, that’s really what this all comes down to. Whether some men may not like what I am about to say, here it is. Just because women wanted the option to work outside of the home, just because women wanted to be able to vote, just because women want to share laundry and household chores, just because women sometimes like to act on their sexual impulses and initiate and lead the sexual experience does not mean they want their mate to be: a) boring in the sexual relationship, b) lack assertiveness sexually, c) lack leadership in or out of the bedroom, d) lack excitement, e) lack drive and ambition whether in the sexual relationship or in other areas of his life, and e) lack passion for their mate. The same concept holds true for men. What I mean is, just because many men want a wife who is attentive sexually and who is a partner in life (e.g., parenting partner, financial partner…), doesn’t mean they no longer want someone to take care of them emotionally (e.g., cook for them on occasion, patiently listen to their thoughts and feelings about their day).

The male-female relationship is a forever journey of discovering and re-discovering in all aspects of the relationship, the sexual part is just but one piece, and it is an important one piece of an entire puzzle of important pieces. So, for those men who are trying to understand the female fascination with 50 Shades the movie, I hope this helps. The question is, are you comfortable enough to take action on this information in your committed relationship to be more assertive, more creative, and more of a leader who displays passion for your mate helping to enhance and grow the sexual relationship? Rather than feeling annoyed that your mate should take action on this rather than you, rather than feeling annoyed that it is somehow unfair that you should be the one to take ownership of this, consider the new found knowledge that you have. Consider that the sexual relationship can be enhanced by actions you can take. Try it out, not just once, not just twice, go through a journey of sexual exploration and lead the way! All it takes is for one person to make a shift in a relationship, to start a journey of further relationship growth. That very shift one person makes can have an amazing affect on the couple.


10 thoughts on “Do Women Want To Be Dominated Sexually?”

  1. All I know is this 50 Shades thing has made me feel completely inferior as a man, and husband. It has gotten to the point where I’m seriously considering not ever going near a woman again including my wife, because obviously I’ve been doing everything wrong all those years, and instead of communicating with me or taking initative herself, she’s been just pretending she was satisfied all this time? Because if she was happy with our sex life, I don’t really see why those books would be interesting for her? Feminism encourages society to bring up boys to feminised men, and then women are saying they don’t get turned on by feminised men? It’s just not fair, and very soul-damaging.

    1. Hi Magnus,
      I am sorry to hear that you are feeling “inferior as a man, and husband”. Hopefully you can have a dialogue with your wife and recognize that perhaps she may have been both satisfied AND desire more. As contradictory as that may sound. And, if she is not fully satisfied and is interested in books that promote male creativity and male-female sexual exploration and discovery, and if that is affecting you negatively rather than leading you to experience curiosity to learn what she might be interested in, that is a shame for you. For there is an opportunity here for your couple-hood to grow for both of you. Why not embrace that? If one is not growing one is stagnant. For some, stagnant consistency is indeed satisfying, for others it is monotonous and one would appreciate more.

      It is an interesting commentary you are stating here to suggest that “feminism encourages society to bring up boys to feminized men, and then women are saying they don’t get turned on by feminized men”. I don’t believe that is what feminism encourages. I can understand how some men may have received that message, though feminism is about women and opportunity, women and rights, women and having a voice. It is not about feminizing men. I’d like to believe that women can experience empowerment, be leaders, have rights, have opportunity and have a voice WHILE men have those things as well. Does one gender have to become feminized and the other gender become more masculine? I think not.
      Dr. Ruskin

      1. There is also nothing wrong with feminization and indeed many women DO get turned on by feminized men. A whole range of constantly changing sexuality can be found in our species and there really is less of a general and static idea of desire than many assume.
        Perhaps Magnus will find that a lot of his worries are in his mind and that books and fantasies are never a threat to love.

      2. 50 shades is a billionaire dude.

        Lets talk about the dude who is exactly the same in the sack but living in mom’s basement.

  2. This is difficult and it could be long winded, so I will attempt to keep it short, to the point. My wife initially tolerated my advances, however I never really felt she was interested in me. But I persevered because I thought she was shy, and that things would change for the better. She ever enjoyed oral sex, and always put on the brakes when I attempted to please her. She has never satisfied me that way. After dealing with some reproductive issues that were mine actually, she was all on board to have intercourse and initiated it, but that was all she wanted. Over time, we conceived our first child. Then, eventually our second. Suddenly, after we conceived our son, she completely shut down. As I look back, hindsight right, I realize something is seriously wrong. It’s been almost 3 years since I have been intimate with my wife or any woman. She said she has no interest, does not want to “go down that road” and also reported she would rather divorce than have sex. Sounds pretty hopeless yes? I am 20 years older than my wife, in very good physical condition, and have a very powerful sex drive. We also have 2 beautiful children together. She has me over a barrel. I won’t leave my children, she knows it. Yet I am suffocating. At this point, I don’t know what to do. Im afraid this is having adverse effects on my physical and emotional health. Any tips would be helpful. I miss the touch of a woman, at this point, not even sure if my wife could ever fulfill my needs. God knows I have always wanted to meet hers, but I don’t think she has any. Thanks for reading this

    1. Eric, Do have your wife read, listen to on audio, watch the movie, etc. to the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy; it has changed everything. I have been married almost 20 years and have 2 children. We both were inexperienced when we married sexually and were raised to not discuss sex openly. Some aspects have gotten better over the years, but the lack of communication in the bedroom, inexperience, and just life getting in the way, had made it very scripted and more of an obligation. I read the books after catching the movie in privacy on HBO. I felt guilty for being drawn to “mommy porn” but just could not put it down. I realized that we (as women) really do desire and want more in the bedroom, just maybe differently than men instinctively give it to us. We are more like slow cookers rather than microwaves. It is feeling beautiful, treasured, and desired that fulfills our emotional needs which then inspires us to reciprocate in the bedroom. Disregarding the BDSM, Christian Grey possess the qualities that most women need to feel complete. I just finished the books this week and am inspired to initiate more emotional communication between us in all aspects of our marriage. I would encourage you to just buy your wife the movie and the entire book series. The spontaneity will probably be welcomed and she may have already been interested, but just too embarrassed to ask or admit. I can almost guarantee that this introduction will jumpstart your sex life again. My husband is completely at a loss and does not know how to respond. This would be the perfect opportunity work on meeting her emotional needs. Remind her of what it felt like to be cherished and longed for.

  3. So in the stool, what encompasses the “physical” leg. I loved the article and am hungry to learn more.

    I have always been the sexual leader and have been working on the other aspects of the stool, with heavy focus on the emotional. Where I am troubled is my wife has vowed to work on the “sexual” and initiate more often as to make me feel more wanted. Months have gone by with very little improvement while she acknowledges great strides in what I agreed to work on. This is causing some resentment and I am at the end of my rope, the patience has run out. I feel cheated. What can I do to reset my attitude and try again? (because now I am allowing the resentment and frustration to take over)……We all know, that is not a good path.

  4. She needs to be just as flexible as him. I can do dom or sub, but I resent women demanding me only dom, and I not show any sub tendency. Also, most subby women cannot negotiate and demand their dom be what she wants without her telling him verbally….then there is all the arbitrary life requirements that actually do nothing to make her horny.

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