Oh, my! Oh, my!
Ms. Bossy is having a problem. She’s so completely befuddled that she has written to Emily Yoffe, author of Dear Prudence.
You see, Ms. Bossy is a strong woman. She is in control. She is in charge. One suspects that she even climaxes during sex with her husband. And yet, and yet, she finds herself unsatisfied.
Having succeeded in taking charge of her husband, she now wants him to change his stripes and to become an alpha male. She wants him to ravish her in bed. One imagines that this has something to do with feeling like a woman, as opposed to feeling like a feminist.
It’s cognitive dissidence at war against itself.
Ms. Bossy—my epithet-- doesn’t say that she is a feminist, but you do not have to read between the lines or peek beneath the sheets to know that she is. It’s also easy to see that her husband is a good feminist, a sensitive, caring, compassionate soul who is happy to see her reaching her full potential by living out her bossiness.
Here is her letter:
I'm a take-charge kind of woman, and my husband normally is happy to let me control most situations unless they are serious issues dealing with our family. Our marriage works on that capacity. The trouble I have is, in the bedroom, I actually want the opposite. I want him to take the lead, be more commanding, and me to be more submissive. He goes along, does what I want, and half the time I have to guide him, goad him, and tell him to tell me what he wants or just simply do it. I'm finding it difficult to have a discussion with him about what turns my crank per se. Our sex life is good, we both walk away satisfied, but I just know it would be so much better (for me) if he went outside his normal personality a bit. How do you suggest I go about telling him, hey, I want you to be more demanding/bossy/alpha/dominant in bed?
Of course, the irony is especially rich: she is bossing her husband around and telling him to be more bossy.
Emily Yoffe gets it:
It is somewhat ironic that you're in the position of saying, "OK, next on the agenda, I order you to stop taking orders from me when we're in bed, and start acting more caveman. I want you to drag me by the hair (don't pull really hard, just kind of tug) and take me against the bathroom wall when we're getting ready to go out because you find me so sexy you can't wait." The reason the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was such a sensation is because lots of women, even alpha women like yourself, want to feel taken in bed. But when you are an alpha woman and you have an egalitarian relationship, it's hard to say, "Please be a beast!"
Yoffe recommends that the two of them have a conversation, but, it seems that that is more the problem than the solution. They have been having conversations. During the soulful communications she expresses her feelings and tells him what her needs are. Were he to do as she says, he would be playing a role in her script, thus, conceding his free choice, whatever is left of it, by taking orders from her.
One fears that this woman is in one of those situations where you can’t get there from here.
If she really wants him to become more of a beast in bed, she will have to learn to behave differently, to give up power, control and command, to become more feminine. Perhaps she would like to do so. I suspect that she doesn’t know how.
The unspoken side of the story is that if this goes on very much longer she will feel compelled to find someone who will ravish her… only it won’t be her husband.
Having turned hubby into Casper Milquetoast, she will now go looking for a biker dude, a bad boy, someone who is so completely incult that he’s never heard of Betty Friedan or Gloria what’s-her-name.
She will, in other words, find someone who will call the bluff, who will disrespect her sensibility, who will be the man that her husband has been warned not to be. She will find Macho Man… though probably not in the Village People sense of the term.