We know from past years that there is often a run up in the number of men that use the holiday as an excuse to introduce their wives to Around Her Finger for the first time. If you were one of these men, we encourage you to send in your experience so that we can share it with others in our next update.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Note from Ken:
Our updates section will be a little different this month as it will begin with a recap of the Around Her Finger retreat which was just held this past month. As a result, the letters sections will be much shorter than usual, but hopefully still valuable.
Also, I want to take a moment to extend warm Valentines Day wishes to all of you. For those of you who have still not shared your interest in Loving Female Authority with your wives, I hope this lover’s holiday gives you the inspiration you need to do so.
The recap of our retreat, as promised, follows:
We have just recently returned from the first ever AHF couples retreat. Emily and I met with four other couples (a fifth couple had an unfortunate last minute cancellation) at a beautiful resort property in the Southeastern United States. The event was a great success, and we both wanted to share some details of the gathering here in our update section.
We all arrived at different times on the first day. We first met as a group for a small cocktail party in a private suite that evening. This was especially nice, because it provided both privacy and comfort as we all got to know each other. Emily and I had all spoken on the telephone numerous times to everyone at the event, so we were already somewhat familiar with each of the couples. Nobody else had met or spoken to each other before that night.
The couples ranged from their early thirties to mid-fifties. I would characterize their experience with wife-led marriages as very similar to that of Emily and me. We had all been successfully practicing loving female authority for at least two years. We had all had our ups and downs, but for the most part we had a good sense for what worked and didn’t work from a long-term perspective. We were also all very committed to the fact that we could continue to grow as couples with loving female authority as a guiding principle.
It was nice to see a true matriarchal dynamic in the room. To be in the company of other couples where there are no secrets regarding how the husbands and wives have chosen to relate to each other is refreshing to say the least. The men all doted on the women. None of the women were wanting for anything. We were all eager and happy to serve the ladies the wine and snacks that we had set out. When it was time to leave for dinner there was a small scuffle at the door as the different husbands raced to see who could have the honor of holding the door open for the ladies.
From the cocktail gathering, we all went down to one of the resort’s restaurants. We had a wonderful meal and talked about how we had all first met our spouses, how the female-led dynamic had begun and evolved in our marriages, and to some extent, where we wanted to take the dynamic in our relationships. Much of the conversation was also devoted to the sort of perfectly mundane small talk that characterizes any group with similar interests who has a genuine desire to get to know each other.
After a wonderful dinner, the women dismissed the men. We were asked to go back to our rooms and to prepare everything necessary to give our wives a romantic massage when they returned. In my own case, this entailed setting up the portable massage table that I had brought along. It was a full two hours before the Emily returned to the room. The women were having quite a good time and ended up extending the dinner conversation to the hotel bar after they had dismissed us. Apparently the after dinner drinks had relaxed the women’s inhibitions enough that a host of new topics for the following day’s workshop sessions had been suggested.
The initial sessions were held mid-morning and had the men and women separated into different rooms. The men’s session was focused exclusively on how we could better serve our wives. This included not only sharing ideas on the things that our wives like and expect from us, but also how to manage those times when stress, frustration and distractions get in the way of submission. There are times, for example, when even I am too tired for Emily’s late night massage requests. This issue was common amongst the husbands. The key to overcoming these short-term and selfish moments is to just press forward, honor the request and know that her comforts are more important than your own. One of the husbands offered that his wife allows him two “get out of jail free cards” a month, where he is allowed to respectfully turn down his wife’s request. She can override his free passes if she likes, but apparently has never done so.
The woman’s discussion was also an idea sharing session. However, they focused on some of the ways that they have been able to maintain the husband’s submissive intensity by introducing different approaches to maintaining sexual energy in the relationship. This included a very engaging discussion on orgasm management, but also topics that frankly go beyond what we have set as the boundaries for our site. It was clear that some of these women wished they had a forum where the felt they could continue this dialogue beyond the retreat. Emily noted that concern and is considering a way to provide such a forum without jeopardizing the mission of this site.
That afternoon, we all participated in a session with the wives and husbands together. Emily and I had prepared for the session by developing a number of questions, printing them out and pasting them to three by five cards, and then putting them in two separate bowls in the middle of the group, one for wives and one for husbands. The husbands each took their turns first. Some of the husband’s questions follow:
- What activity creates the most intense sense of intimacy with your wife?
- What is one thing we have never done together that I wish we would?
- What is the most romantic evening I could imagine preparing for my wife?
Some of the wives questions included:
- Is there anything your husband could do to make you feel more loved?
- Is there anything you miss about a marriage of shared authority?
- Is there anything you desire that you hesitate to ask for from your husband?
These all generated great discussion in the group, and hopefully that discussion extended back to each couples own room when the activity ended.
Early that evening, Emily had arranged to take all the wives on a horseback riding tour of the area surrounding the resort. The husbands remained behind playing pool and having cocktails. When the women were scheduled to return, we went out to meet them. There was more than one comment from the husbands about how wonderful if was to greet our wives with them on horseback and us on foot. It certainly gave the woman an air of authority to tower above us on such strong animals.
All the couples then returned to their rooms where the husbands helped prepare the wives for the final group dinner of the retreat. This turned out to be another wonderful meal, and as with the last meal, the men were dismissed early while the woman remained behind to finish the last couple bottles of wine without us. When the women finally returned to the men, they were once again welcomed by their husbands with whatever preparations had been requested. In my case, the massage table was again set up and candles were lit throughout the room. We awoke the next morning and had one final group breakfast before we all made arrangements to return home.
For Emily and me, and I believe for the other couples as well, the event was a huge success. One, it was an opportunity to safely dialogue with others who share this somewhat extraordinary and certainly very personal relationship dynamic. Emily and I are typically very private people, and I know that for us, this was one of the first occasions where we opened up about intimate details of our lives to others. Secondly, the event was a chance to examine what works best in our relationship and what opportunities for improvement might still exist. We challenged our thinking on many of our long-held ideas and boundaries, and we explored new paths and thinking. The open and candid dialogue was a catalyst to push our relationship even further ahead, and we are both closer and our intimacy is stronger as a result. Also, I am sure that the coming months will bear the fruit of this reinvigorated energy level in our relationship.
Finally, I offer all of my thanks to the couples that attended the retreat. While we have sent you all personal notes of gratitude, we want also to make this public acknowledgement of our debt for all of the warm friendship and open spirit that you each brought to the sessions an dinner conversations.
Will we do this again and open it up to new couples? This remains to be seen, but our success on this initial event certainly opens up that possibility.
Letters from Women
As I read your site, and also your letters section, I get the feeling that you are often coaching the husbands into manipulating their wives to behave in a way that they, the husbands want. It seems like the one pulling the strings is really the husband and not the wife.
How do you respond to this?
You are certainly not the first one to make this observation. In all fairness, I definitely see your point. In ninety-nine percent of the cases, the men are the ones that want to initiate loving female authority. Women will almost always warm to the benefits that LFA offers them, but they often approach the concept with an initial skepticism. Much of the advice that we give to these men is geared at gently nudging them into a female-led relationship. Then we further the council the men on how their wives can comfortably come to understand the underlying principles of a practical, ongoing LFA relationship. Could this nudging be considered manipulating? Yes, I think it could, and this makes me guilty as charged.
Before the publication of Around Her Finger, and long before our site ever came along, there were and there remain a great many sites dedicated to female led relationships. While most of these sites are nothing more than pornography with the window dressing of female authority, some of them are actually well-written, genuinely intelligent sites. Some of even include advice for men that want to nurture the dominant characteristics in their wives or girlfriends to open the door to LFA. They advocate service to their wives as a gateway to an open and honest dialogue about their submissive nature and where they ultimately want to take the relationship.
I think this is a wonderful approach, and for many, it is certainly successful. But I also think there are many men that need more than just this simple formula. I think many men need constant support and encouragement. They need examples and success stories. I also think they need alternative ways of initiating the “I want to submit” conversation. Furthermore, they need alternative ways of accelerating the relationship dynamic once it is established. They need to understand the steps along the way, and they often need the same encouragement for incremental steps forward as they did for the first step. Orgasm management, for example, is so crucial, yet so often underutilized, that we believe that we could never offer enough advice and tips on reinforcing its necessity in the wife-led relationship.
The other thing that we believe is needed is a place for men to send their wives to learn about the virtues of this relationship. Even the men that muster the courage to share their submissive desires with their wives are often not articulate enough to communicate these desires on their own. That does not take anything away from these men. Sharing deeply held emotional feelings is hard for almost any man. Couple the fact that these feelings and their implications are as complex as those associated with their submissive natures, and you have a recipe for an awkward conversation. That is why we not only continue to maintain the introductory tone that we do on this site, but we also offer tools to men to make this initial conversation easier. These include the books and confessional CD’s which have received so much praise from our readers and listeners over the years.
Others would tell submissive men to just obey and serve their wives as an end in itself. It is not that I disagree with this advice. On a philosophical level, I think it is beautiful advice and represents a very pure expression of submission. However, I have been involved in this community too long to think that this will be enough for most men. There is a sense of fulfillment that can only be met in a submissive man when there is an open, shared and very formal acknowledgement that she is the one in charge. In fact, I believe that the most significant contribution that Ken and I have made to the progress of wife-led relationships is that we reject outright the notion of “stealth” submission as a satisfying long-term strategy. Until the woman formally expresses her expectation that her man will obey her, then loving female authority remains unconsummated in the relationship.
So in the end are we enabling the man that wants to encourage new behaviors in his wife? Yes, we are. However, we do so with the larger goals of fostering greater communication, greater intimacy, and a more natural and perfect order in the relationship.
Letters from Men
I divorced over five years ago. I would not say that my ex-wife’s lack of interest in my submission was the deciding factor in our divorce, but I would say that our marriage could probably have been saved had she been more open to it and had I understood it better myself. At the time, there was nothing like your site available. I didn’t even understand what it was I wanted, and my submissive [nature] expressed itself primarily as a list of sexual activities in which I wanted my ex-wife to participate. I very casually grouped her lack of interest in these activities into a label of “sexually unadventurous” which I was quick to apply to her. She grouped my great interest in these same activities into her own adjective, but I will spare you and your readers that detail.
So ultimately I always felt like there was something missing in our relationship, and we ended up going our separate ways. I was divorced for over three years before I discovered your website, but once I did, I was absolutely committed to the idea that my next wife would understand this side of me before we got married, and she would be willing to take the head of the household role in the relationship.
A long story short, I ended up meeting that woman, and I am now engaged. We have had many conversations on this topic, and I feel like we really connect on the subject and that we can make it work for both of us. We are scheduled to be married this June.
My question to you is regarding my future last name. It seems as though the right thing to do is for me to take her last name. After all, I already willingly submit to her, and she it clearly the alpha-spouse (as you like to say) in the relationship. At the same time, it seems as though it would be an awkward thing, and I would be forever explaining it to others. I have yet to speak to her about the topic as I would first like to hear your advice.
Gary in Arizona
The context of your letter is more interesting than your question. It is amazing for you to look back in hindsight and see that a better mutual understanding of your submission could have rescued your marriage. When the need for female authority is filtered through the male mind, the sexual components are often the only ones to surface. Both parties don’t realize that these same instincts can foster intimacy that goes beyond conventional expectations for a relationship. So while that last chapter in your life ended sadly, I am at least encouraged that this new chapter seems to be off to a good start.
As to whether or not to take her name, I think it is of little consequence. Inside your marriage, you will both know that she is in charge and behave accordingly. This is really what’s important. Taking her name would make what is typically a very private element of your lives and wear it on your sleeves for others to see. If this is what you want, there is nothing wrong with it. Just be prepared for the consequences.
If you are troubled by the issue, perhaps a good compromise would be to each keep your own names. This is a very common trend, and it would certainly not attract any attention. In fact, when I showed your letter to Emily, this is what she suggested.