Friday, April 04, 2008
Welcome to the April Updates
Someone wrote recently and asked what keeps us going with these updates every month. The secret to our commitment lies in our ever growing collection of success stories. Ken and I both know and appreciate the value of a wife-led household, and we will be around with this updates page as long as we believe we can nurture that dynamic in the relationships of those men and women who aspire to make it work for them.
I wanted to make a quick comment regarding a mention of our site on another LFA advocate’s blog. This woman, no doubt with our best interests in mind, suggested that her readers use our Google toolbar to do a search for a particular commercially available item, and that this search would actually yield a secret site when performed from our Google toolbar (and our’s alone). As far as I know, this was not the case. However, more importantly, this sort of suggestion violates Google’s policies of intentionally funneling traffic through our toolbar. I only learned about this when we saw a very significant increase in our Google traffic revenue and did some investigating. Therefore, while we love the support, please no special favors.
As always, our books and CD’s can be found at www.lulu.com/aroundherfinger/
Send questions, comments and success stories to Emily (dot) Addison (at) Gmail (dotcom)
Letters from Women
I’m a college student in a very large school in the Midwest. I want you to know that many of my female friends are big fans of your site, and it is fairly well known here at my school, at least in my circle.
I personally practice your methods with my boyfriend, and I am sure it is no surprise to you that he loves it. While I made him aware of the site, it was him that told me he wanted to try it, and not just play around with it, but really live it. I really do think the only downside is that since we are both still young and our futures are uncertain, so if I don’t continue dating him, he will probably never be happy unless he finds another woman that can have a similar relationship with him. I now also know for a fact that this is also what I want in any future relationships, but I don’t worry a bit about myself, as I think finding men that prefer a female-first relationship will never be a problem. I believe that this is what most introspective, emotionally mature men want. But for men, finding a woman open to these ideas may not be as easy. I think it is getting better, but still, women have the easier time of it.
I am writing because I have noticed that one of my friends has distorted your message (in my opinion). While her and her boyfriend practice “female authority”, she seems to miss the part about “loving”. For example, she will often tell him to stay at home while we all go out, telling him to do her laundry or clean her apartment instead. Then, when we are out, she will hook up with other guys and later openly flaunt it to her boyfriend. This has happened more than once and he continues to not only put up with it, but to thrive on it. She says she is in control in the relationship, and it is her right to do whatever she wants.
Do you feel that female power sometimes seems like more than just a strategy for relationship success, but that it is actually addicting to the men involved in these relationships, even if it seems destructive in the long run? Is my friend wrong if, as she says, everyone is ok with the arrangement?
Unsigned in Ohio
I actually get a lot of letters that refer to female intimacy outside the relationship, and almost never print them. When I do, I’m often criticized for doing so. In your case, I think you have couched this is simple terms, and you deserve a simple answer.
I believe that your instincts are correct. I believe that your friend is abusing the situation with her boyfriend. While I do not know the two people you mention, you paint a picture that does not appear to be a loving, mature relationship. If her boyfriend is having his submissive impulses satisfied for the first time, it may indeed be sexually and psychologically compelling to him to endure the intense sense of humility that her behavior no doubt elicits. However, is it really what is best for the relationship? Is she really nurturing intimacy in the relationship by her actions? I cannot say for certain, but I doubt it.
Strong female-led relationships are built on mutual respect, trust and above all love. Whether in a female-led relationship or in a traditional relationship, love is still two people who are selflessly committed to each other.
Kudos to you for taking positive steps towards enriching your lifelong relationships. I suggest your friend take a step back and re-evaluate her motives.
Letters from Men
Dear Ken & Emily,
I am a submissive married man at my wits end. I discovered my submissive nature many years ago and have tried over and over to suppress it. I tried using stealth submission to my wife, but soon realized it was unfulfilling. So I went to the internet and found another site offering advice and ended up revealing my desires to my wife. She wasn't too happy about it but decided to try it.
At first I was in heaven as I proceeded to wait on her hand and foot. She also seemed to like the new arrangement. But I got carried away with my selfish desires and tried to get her to perform more extreme activities on me. She became upset with it all and told me she no longer was interested in any form of a female-led marriage. I became embarrassed and withdrawn; she has become cold and distant. We have been like this for two years now. I fear for our marriage the way things are going. I truly wish I had found your web site before I approached my wife. I think if I handled things different that we could have a female led marriage by now. I don't think I’ll ever be happy in any other way, as I can't seam to ignore my submissive nature.
Do you think it’s too late to give my wife your CD as she already knows how I feel? If I could have another chance at this and do it right this time, I think I could make her so happy. I just don't know how to go about bringing it up with her again. If you could give me any advice, I would so much appreciate it.
Your website is the only one i will go on anymore as I believe it is the best advice for submissive guys like me. If I only would have known about it a few years ago.
Mike in Buffalo
First, thank you for your kind words about our site, but give yourself some credit. You took the bold initiative on your own, and having had a set back, you are still committed to moving forward.
I would reset my objectives before you do anything. I would tell your wife that you have no intention of asking her to change anything, but that you only want an opportunity to better explain your prior requests and put them in some context. I would then give her the book or CD in an attempt to create mutual understanding between the two of you. This shared understanding should be your priority… period.
If she can accept that your desire to serve her is motivated first and foremost by your desire to become closer to her, then this will represent a new foundation for strengthening your relationship and perhaps an entry point into rewarding and meaningful submission to your wife.
Emily/Ken: I read your posting of my letter on your website, I appreciate your response, and I am thankful for your stated position regarding unwilling men. You have labeled my thoughts "misinterpretation", which is entirely possible, but please allow me to point to the area from which my "misinterpretation" stems.
In your August 2005 response to Mary Beth in Atlanta, you are responding to your reader's inquiry about how to initiate male submission with her husband, as opposed to the larger majority of inquiries you receive regarding men persuading their wives or girlfriends to become dominant. Emily counsels the woman to manipulate her husband sexually to begin to make him more submissive. This counsel does not inquire as to whether the husband is truly submissive or not, which I would think would be the first step in going down that path. If the husband is not submissive, surely the wife's attempts to move him in that direction will fail. Of course, the point is made that most men will submit to their wives if their wives manipulate them skillfully and patiently enough. Furthermore, the counsel to the wife is to withhold intimate relations as a means to bring the husband to heel. This is to the point of what I am replying back to you about; this sounds more like a gradual manipulation of an, at least, unsuspecting husband, if not an unwilling one.
In other areas of your counsel, you are very strongly in favor of clear and concise communication between the couple regarding the wife's domination and the husband's submission. Why wouldn't you counsel Mary Beth to be open and honest with her husband about the type of relationship she desires, instead of suggesting she clandestinely manipulate him thru sex and the withholding of it in order to attempt to make him submissive?
Additionally, you did not address what I felt was the central point of my letter, and that is the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" point. I feel that anyone who is able to exercise complete control over another adult human being has too much power, no matter how much they love them or claim to love them. This condition can only lead to abuses of power and an addictive increase in the need for control on the part of the dominating spouse (this would be true for either sex).
I have enjoyed our communication and wish the both of you well. Our disagreement does nothing to dampen my respect for you both, and I hope we can remain friendly and on cordial terms. Have a great weekend.
Tim…touché. In re-reading my August 2005 response, I agree with you. I should have counseled open and honest communication between Mary Beth and her husband. A strategy of manipulation prior to communication is, as you say, not in the spirit of my philosophy. I suppose I was so taken by a letter from a woman wanting to be the one to take the first step, that I allowed myself to get carried away.
As to your latter point, we will have to agree to disagree. If built upon a foundation of trust, a man’s submission to his wife is no open invitation to corrupt anyone or anything absolutely. Even in a traditional relationship, both spouses have incredible power to impact the happiness of each other, and a loving wife or husband must be completely devoted to the other’s happiness in order to foster a healthy relationship. This is absolute power whether they appreciate it or not.
Kind regards and much, much thanks for your well-considered and well-written letter.
My wife of almost 17 years and I are in the early months (three maybe) of our female led marriage. My wife wants this to work, yet doesn't see any need to formalize our arrangement. If I make suggestions concerning exercising her authority she feels inadequate or incapable. I certainly do not want her to feel inadequate so I try to keep my concerns to myself. She just isn't very self assertive.
She has a job that would greatly benefit from her ability to project authority. I see flashes of it particularly in her tone with our eight year old, but she can't seem to make the leap to commanding respect from others. I came at this whole concept with the hope that it would give her "permission to practice" on me so she might gain more confidence in herself. We have had very frank discussions about this and she desires to be more assertive, but she professes that she doesn't know how. Also, she has a hard time accepting that LFA is what I truly desire. It’s like it just doesn't make sense to her. She read the first 70 pages of your book when we first began but hasn't seen fit to sit down and finish it, or to read the monthly advice in your letters column.
I'm delighted that she wants this relationship dynamic (or says she does), but could it be that she may just not be cut out for it? I will endeavor to submit even when its not particularly motivated by her, but in truth I don't think it will work long term without her more direct involvement.
I know you must get a lot of mail and probably much of it with similar concerns but I hope you will be able to find the time to respond. We both hope this will work out.
Al in Texas
I feel for you. Do not, however, question your wife’s capacity to grow into a more confident, assertive woman. She can be anything she wants to be. Instead, seek to understand her reluctance to make these changes and provide comfortable paths to growth -- on her schedule -- and in the context of what she wants to accomplish.
I would argue that this begins with either reading the (entire) book or listening to the CD. The CD is often an easier barrier to get over than the book. If you are really sure she wants this, then this should be no issue. Just ask yourself if she truly wants it, or if you just want to believe that she does. Either way, it will take ongoing dialogue and demonstrable service on your part to convince her of the merits of this path.
Finally, take note that our website, books and CD do not parallel your earlier approach of coming to this from the perspective of using LFA as a mean to “foster assertiveness”. We come to this as a means of fostering communication and intimacy… which is radically different than what you described as the virtues of LFA.
I introduced my Wife to Your website several months ago. She is interested in pursuing this dynamic in our relationship and would love to participate in a training seminar to explore how the ideas you discuss can be incorporated into our relationship. Having searched your site multiple times, I recall that at one point, you did discuss holding such a seminar. Do you plan to hold any seminars in the future? If so, how can we make arrangements to attend?
Jim, we did have a couples retreat once before. While we enjoyed it, and we have kept in touch with all of the couples since, it took quite a bit of planning and represented some risk (principally privacy risk) on our part.
So, while the event was a success, we are holding off until we initiate a new event. Stay tuned, as this is subject to change in the future.