The “Why” of a DW’s Submissiveness
A while back, there was a QOTD asking about sexual kinks you didn’t understand. My immediate thought on that was “a submissive male”, though I did not answer that at the time. Quite a few answers either said the same thing or gave an activity that would be a subset of submissive-male things.
I’ve been thinking about that thread for a while now, but most of my thoughts have centered on the related aspect–why do many women not only act in submissive ways with their DH, but often desire to be submissive and enjoy it that way? This includes not just in their marriage bed (MB), but also in other things like walking with their DH in public, finances, etc. It especially includes women that prefer not to be submissive apart from their DH–think work, hobbies, friends, child rearing, etc.–yet still prefer to be submissive to their DH.
I realize an easy answer is Eph 5:22-24, but I’m talking beyond that. As I understand, many non-believing women still act this way. As for Zelda, she can be very submissive in and out of our MB, and she wants to be submissive beyond Eph 5:22. She is a strong, tall, fully capable woman that does not need to be this way, but she clearly prefers my lead. I explicitly asked her about this a couple nights ago, asking about both in and out of our MB. Outside of the MB, she was able to give some explanation–she feels led by me doing this, and more importantly feels loved. However, she had no verbal explanation of why this was the case in our MB (yet it definitely is, and very much so).
So to keep from rambling about this too much, I’ll just make a numbered list of questions I have on this. Please feel free to answer any of those or any other related things.
- Would any of you DW’s that feel this way be able to explain it?
- Would any DW’s that do not feel this way be able to explain why they don’t?
- Would any DH’s that prefer to be submissive (in or out of your MB) be able to explain why? I once read about a man whose job/life was hyper demanding and required tons of controlling decisions…so he preferred to let go by being the submissive during sex…any other reasons out there?
- Is anyone here repulsed by submissive DW’s like some of us are repulsed by submissive DH’s?
- The female physiology somewhat leads itself to this (as the “receiver”). Do you think this plays a role?
Please remember that answers related to outside the MB are also fair game!
1. Genesis 3:16 – “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” That verse is nuanced, and indicates to me that there is something almost innate in desire toward submission for a married woman. I’ve had this conversation with nonbelievers who are appalled by it. But one has only to ask the question, “How many times have you read 50 Shades of Grey or seen the movie?” to bring pause for thought to an unbeliever. And the relationship in that plot isn’t even normal submission or BDSM. It’s abuse. Yet women drool over it. Whether we admit it or not, many of not most of us desire to be dominated by a romantic partner.
So… why? There is something very exquisite in giving oneself wholly and completely to the man I love. I spend a great deal of time in a man’s world, being extremely successful at things that are generally considered a man’s game. For example, wilderness survival is a skill I have, and the equally skilled men around me respect me and treat me as an equal.
Yet, I am inherently feminine, and I need for that part of me to be the bigger part. I am as comfortable in formal society in a floor length gown as I am in the wilderness in my gear. My submission to my husband, which only he sees in its full beauty, is not only a gift I give to him, but a gift I give to myself. It is a celebration of my love for him, but also of the joy I take in being female.
And we need the feminine. For a while I tried to repress it, but was told by an outdoorsy friend of mine not to shelter my femininity just because I’m in a masculine environment so often. He very accurately stated that women bring a different point of view to the table. In a life or death situation, you need to hear from all sides. I am, according to him, strong, capable, a good person to have around in a crisis, but also beautifully female.
And I love that my husband is the only one who gets the complete package. Submitting myself to him honors him.
5. Yes, basic anatomy lends itself to this. In the rawest definition of sex, the man is violating the woman’s body. That used to irritate me so much in my college years, when I as seriously contemplating what sex means.
The only thing that separates sex from rape is the woman’s consent. Take that a step further to the MB, and the woman is not only consenting to the violation, but she is doing so with love and trust. Biologically, we are putting ourselves at risk of pregnancy and complications that killed so many of us before medicine became more advanced.
Let that sink in. We are saying, “I trust that you won’t hurt me. I trust that you will strive to share your joy with me when I am at my most vulnerable.” We are giving something quite precious to our husbands every time we invite you in. Many of us have said that the moment of penetration is the best part of sex. It is for me, and the better part of that moment is the emotional connection I am allowing myself to share with my husband. It’s submissive, it’s beautiful, and… it’s hot.
Outside of the MB, it’s tougher for me. I want to be submissive beyond Ephesians as well. Someone has to be the leader in the marriage, and I want that to be my husband. I believe he needs it. He feels stronger when he is allowed to lead. But years of an abusive family, plus a bossy wife (me) have taken their toll on him. I am still learning how to submit without going overboard. He really can’t lead until I give that up. The stakes are high because he is an unbeliever, and I need to be the wife God intends me to be if I am to be the vessel that God uses to bring my husband home.
But we are both growing into our roles, and I pray it becomes easier.
Is anyone here repulsed by submissive DW’s like some of us are repulsed by submissive DH’s?
I am not repulsed by it. Yet, I do not “require” or pressure my DW to be submissive. When it comes from her heart naturally or as an expression of her love for me and her obedience to Christ, I see it as a thing of beauty. That is, a quiet and gentle spirit (1Pet 3:4). But, it also gives me a thrill to see her assert herself and move ahead with confidence when she feels directed by the Spirit to do so!
A good topic and good questions! Not so simple to answer. I feel my answer is rambling and not making a lot of sense. As I process more, and if things get clarified more, I will jump in again.
I think my answer will fall under Q1 & Q2.
I have always struggled with being submissive, my personality definitely doesn’t fit with what is commonly thought of as a submissive personality, or as a “gentle and quiet spirit” we read about in 1 Peter 3. With my God-given personality, birth-order, etc, and wrapped up with my childhood experience, I came out of the gate into adulthood with the vow, “No man will tell me what to do.” This was in reaction to living with a domineering father and a mother who was more of a doormat. Yet, I did desire a husband who would lead, but I also didn’t give my respect or submission freely, it had to be earned back then, and still does by any other but my husband. Back then I probably would not have been able to put words to my feelings, but now I see that I was desiring and looking for a man who was stronger than this strong woman, and even putting him to the test.
I didn’t want a dictator, and I would not be dictated….and I still really bristle when I get a hint of that kind of attitude in others, and I tend to want to (and often do) confront those kind of attitudes. Trust is critical in submission, at least for me. I have to know that love is at the root, I have to know that I will be protected and guarded, not used and abused.
I do think there is a difference between leading/submitting outside and inside of the bedroom, versus Dominating/submitting. I will address the leading/submitting (although I have always had an attraction to D/s.) It’s only been within the past 7 years that I truly felt like I surrendered to submitting. There is something very freeing to give up control and to not carry a burden that a wife was never meant to carry. I could literally feel a weight lifted off of me when I changed my ways. There’s something very peaceful about doing things God’s way. It’s nice to not always carry that burden of feeling like you have to be the protector of your family, to be the one in charge and in control.
When my husband leads I feel:
- Valuable, or that I have worth. I’m worth enough for him to do and decide hard things, to protect, etc.
- Unified, we are a team, each fulfilling our role, rather than working against each other.
- Protected, as a Type 6, security is very important to me.
- Rescued, sometimes I need saving from myself. I can get so caught up in all my “should do’s” and “what I want to do”, it’s very conflicting and very burdensome, and it’s a relief to have someone come in and be decisive.
- Covered, which might be a combination of other things listed, he’s like a shelter from everything that wants to take from me or even the world that wants to tear me apart.
One other reason I like him leading in the bedroom, he is the one with the drive. It’s so much easier to ride the waves behind him. My overthinking can be shut down. I don’t have to be the decision maker. I don’t have to be the mother. To take it another step further from leading, to being Dominate, all I have mentioned is taken to the next level. I can give up control when I trust he is acting out of love and with my interest in mind. When so much of a woman’s/mother’s life is focused on others, making sure everyone is safe and taken care of and being nurtured, it’s comforting and a relief to know you are being taken care of and that there is one who is willing and desires to pour his attention on you…. but there’s a balance, because it can also easily tilt to the side where it feels like it’s one more thing you have to tend to and take care of, it’s a cost rather than a deposit.
I think it’s also important to note that there is a difference between “domineering” and “dominate”. Domineering is really rooted in selfishness. It’s all about them and what they want, and they keep themselves first, no matter the cost of others. To be dominate, there is love at it’s root. They lead but they are looking out for others first, they are keeping the best interest of their loved one always in the forefront of their mind.
A universal attraction for women is powerful men. It could be physical (athletes, firefighters, construction workers) or societal (political/business leaders) but women are drawn to these types because it’s a turn on when a guy is in charge. SC touched on an important point, in that we constantly are taking care of others, so it’s really nice when someone takes care of us.
As far as the MB, for those of us who really enjoy our sexuality, there’s nothing sexier than having a husband who knows what he wants in the bedroom and isn’t afraid to ask/’demand’ it. *Caveat: in a normal, loving relationship.
#3 – Some men are just lazy. They don’t want the responsibility that comes with authority so they just don’t. Certainly it is a perversion of how God designed things. The devil wants to turn everything upside down, so he tricks men into behaving like women and women into behaving like men. It is a small pet peeve of mine, but one thing I find annoying is these guys who are perfectly content letting their wife drive them all over the place as they passively sit in the passenger seat. I had better have a migraine or be bent over in pain before my wife would be driving me around (and she is a fantastic driver). I’m not talking about someone with a medical issue of an older guy who has trouble with bright lights at night, I’m talking about these guys who want to take an inactive role when it is their job to take an active role. You can bet they take an inactive role in everything. Sin has a hold on both genders and there are just as many lazy, apathetic, inactive boy men out there who are afraid to lead and take any responsibility as there are unsubmissive wives.
#4 – Do you mean repulsed by unsubmissive DW’s? I’m always proud of Godly women who are submissive to their husbands, talk well of their husbands, respect their husbands, etc. They are doing what is good in a world that tries to deceive them not to. The world tells them they are a doormat, but truly they are stronger because being an undisciplined quarrelsome wife is certainly much easier. The verse that comes to mind is 1 Peter 3:5-6. Repulsed would be the opposite of a submissive DW, one that is not a crown to her husband, boisterous, rebellious, independent, thinks too much of herself especially in comparison to her husband, one who does not represent him well, one that doesn’t understand how to be who God designed her to be.
#5 -Absolutely, it is Godly design and there are both physical and relational components to it. Even some non-Christian couples can see the design in their bodies and follow the relational design without knowing it is from God.
My life experience has produced a very mixed up take on submissiveness. Neither re-marriage of my parents was ideal and I witnessed a lot of conflict handled badly. I saw both my moms receive treatment that they did not deserve, so I also said to myself, “I will never let a man rule over me!” and yet I crave my DH’s intensity and power in bed. I want him to be the alpha of our pack. (It’s actually viscerally satisfying when the dog recognizes him as Alpha.) Outside of bed, I actually wish he would take more of a leadership role–planning, decision making, guiding. His strengths are his weaknesses here; he is so kind to me he doesn’t call me on my crap when he should, and his commitment to Doing What’s Good and Right is so absolute that he just does it without a lot of naval gazing (as he calls it) and so for him life is simply taking each day as it comes, reacting to events…and letting me do all the “pondering”. (We’ve talked about this, so my comments should not blindside him.)
I have recently become aware though, that part of him not leading is in fact me not getting out of the way and letting him (i.e. forcing him to??) lead, so I’ve been (coincidentally??? I think not!) examining how I behave and looking for ways to step back and give him room to do what he is meant to do.
I totally agree with the comments about woman’s desire being for her husband (mine always has, even before I had a husband) and also about the vast (since universal was offensive) appeal of 50 Shades (I didn’t read it, but I got the gist of it.) Just look how many women stay in ridiculously abusive and neglectful (non-marriage) relationships just because “it’s better than being alone.” (Yes I know most of those situations have many more psychological aspects as well, but the “better than alone” philosophy is almost always at least a part of it.
Regarding being repulsed by the submissive wife: I think there is definitely a repulsion–or rather a disgust, certainly a disrespect for the too submissive wife; the doormat. I think that might be a part of the catalyst for abuse; bullies don’t respect victims who back down. At least that ‘s what I saw.
I am also another one that didn’t appreciate the doormat my mom was. I decided I wouldn’t let my husband do that to me. Its a chain reaction, though. My dad wasn’t going to let his wife be the boss, as my grandma was. But, I believe in my mom’s case, she has contributed a lot to that. Its not attractive to her children, at all.
But,I like my husband to be the leader. He isn’t my boss, nor does he control my every move or purchase. He doesn’t want to.
I have sometimes wondered, though. When I see a happy marriage, I don’t ever think that it sure looks nice that the wife is submissive. I don’t even think about it. All I notice is the mutual understanding and goodwill to each other. Should submission be something to be noticed? I sometimes think that by the time you see it, its getting to be overdone, or the wife is being submissive to give a good impression. It seems like it should be a quiet thing. But, I could be wrong.
Even in the animal world, the males are leaders. Maybe not in all species, but some. I bought a couple male animals awhile ago. I wanted to put them with the females. So I asked how to introduce them to each other. The guy I bought them from said, that because these were males, I would have no trouble. He said if they were females, there would likely be a lot of fighting. I wasn’t too sure about that, but decided to try. I penned the males up by themselves, and the females were in another pen, across from the new males. By morning, those ‘guys’ were in the ‘ladies’ pen and all good friends. The females completely let the males take over. I thought it was such a beautiful lesson for us humans.
I have thought about this a little more. I don’t know if this is applicable to all, but it might give another perspective.
***the term “boundaries” here is different than what is spoken of here, it’s more like a perimeter line.****
If the relationship “professionals” are correct, one of the greatest needs of a woman is security. Having a man showing his strength, leading, taking control, giving direction, being confident, all in the context of love and trust, with a tender and loving manner, even if it is firm and direct, provides the security a woman needs to feel. It feeds that inner need that she is protected, safe, and loved. A man’s masculinity and a woman’s femininity, is highlighted or even glorified (spotlight shined upon) when he takes authority and she submits (willingly places herself under.) He becomes the hero.
Now bear with me, because this might get a little long…. I like to say I am a boundaries girl, a rule follower, I think in black and white, and when I know where the boundary lines are, I have great freedom. When I am unsure of boundaries, I lose that freedom. There was actually a study or observation done with children on school recess and fences. They found that when there was no boundary, or fence, the children stayed huddled near the school. Once a boundary, or fence, was in place, the children spread out and played, all the way to the fence line. They knew exactly where they could go and still “be safe”.
Very similar to this^, I like to compare my boundaries in relationships as acreages of land with a home on it. On that home, there is a front porch, there is a fence that is around the front lawn, and then there is a fence that actually borders the whole property line. Knowing my boundaries, in any relationship, allows me the freedom to fully explore all the way to whichever fences edge. For example, with some, I have stricter boundaries, I only have permission to go as far as the front yard’s fence. Therefore, I know how far I can go and where not to go. With others, I have been given the invitation to fully know them as a friend, which would be comparative to the property line fence. When I don’t know my boundaries, guess what, fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUDs) do, they keep me firmly planted on that porch, right by the front door.
What does that have to do with submission in the bedroom? Having those distinct boundary lines set by us, and I know my husband has them, set them and will honor them, gives me the trust and the freedom to be sexually open and free. I can let myself go and explore who I truly am sexually. I can willingly let him lead me to where he wants to go, because I know that he will stay within the safety of that fence line. Our womanly nature isn’t usually to explore, because we can think of the “dangers” out there and safety often wins out, but a man’s nature is for adventure and exploration. So when we are secure enough that a man knows those boundary lines, and his first priority is to keep us safe, protected, covered (from shame) and loved, then we are willing to let him take us by the hand and lead us on the adventures of exploration. There are many beautiful things to explore, mountains, streams, gardens, etc, etc. God’s given an innate knowledge to the man of what’s out there or at least a desire to discover what’s out there, not so much to the woman. When my husband is unsure, and he waveringly tries to follow me, guess what that makes me do… it brings up and amplifies my own FUDs, it makes me feel insecure, and that makes me tightly pull everything in close to me and stay “safe” on that front porch. I need a strong, trustworthy man to help lead me through any FUDs that might raise itself against me. I need the reassurance that he is watching out for me and we will be okay. I need that hero to step up and step in.
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. Zelda did not know that I’d asked this until I told her, but she very much liked the question and responses. Not enough time to respond in detail right now (even though I had time to play with X vs. Χ in a comment), but please keep them coming!
@Tracker – because we tend to have some differences in how we define submission (and secular society will have yet another definition), I think it’s okay to leave it open to get a full range of responses. It can range from preferring he take a small lead to being a complete doormat, and that looks to be addressed in SC’s new thread!