Women's sexuality and its overt, liberated expression is on the rise. It is pouring out of the once forbidden, obscured shadows and into the sexual mainstream.
For many women this means learning about self-love, positive body image, sensuous touch, sacred sexuality, neo-Tantra, goddess worship, sex toys, g-spots and other meaningful intimate excursions into their personal sexuality.
For other women, their sexual awakening has a kinkier, edgier expression.
These women, by their own admission, seek to be ravaged, taken, grabbed by the hair, pushed against the wall. They want their partner to show up sexually in his fierce, dominating, primal desire.
This growing interest in Kink, Dominance and submission and BDSM by millions of women worldwide has been highlighted by the 50 Shades phenomenon. Fifty Shades illuminated power-exchange driven Kink as a sexual undercurrent that has been rising into mainstream culture and women’s sexuality since the 1970’s.
Paradoxically the current cultural conversation about men’s sexuality is often seeped in the contexts of rape-culture, creepiness, porn addiction and patriarchy from the left and immorality, sin and the work of the devil on the right.
The notion that men’s sexuality is dangerously aggressive and must be contained has proliferated along the ideological edges of the political left and the moral right for several generations.
A positive, welcoming or celebrated view of men’s sexuality or masculinity is hard to find across the mainstream political, cultural and moral landscape. Men are acceptable in this landscape if they have toned their primal sexuality way down. Men’s sexuality is often bullied down, shamed or just not discussed as an important topic of conversation.
This toning down over the last half century, has been critical in numerous ways to fostering full autonomy for women over their own sexuality and bodies, and to push back forcefully against non-consensual male sexual aggression.
While this was fully justified and necessary, it had inadvertent and unanticipated consequences in shaping the contemporary sexual expression between many hetero men and women.
This contemporary man intends to be a “non-aggressive” man. He is, by social or moral construction, not an overtly sexual man. The modern sensitive man has emerged thusly, as a nearly asexual being.
Many men are not quite sure where their own sexuality belongs anymore or how it fits together with this non-aggressive masculinity.
Over the last 50 years a great number of men have attempted or were raised to be the nice, sweet, considerate guy. What modern mythologist Robert Bly coined as the “soft male” might be an accurate representation of this sector of the masculine in these current times. These are men who lost their edge. They gave up their voice. They’ve failed to push back or hold their ground in their relations with their partners.
There is some significant population of men whose sexual engagement style is toned way down consequently, if it has not been bullied or shamed into full conformity by conservative, religious morality, an emasculating environment and/or our generally sex-negative culture.
The truth is, both men and women’s inner sexual yearnings and their intimate relations with their partners are way more complicated than any social, political or religious ideology can dictate.
For many people their sexual yearnings can and do range far beyond simplistic, prudish, morality or the socio-political reduction of male and female sexuality.
Predictably enough, after several generations since the 1970’s, there has been a sexually dissatisfied murmur rising among a growing number of women. Over this last decade, numerous of my women clients, discussions with my peers and all manner of social media postings have noted women lamenting the irony of having a considerate man on board for an egalitarian relationship, but he won’t engage them sexually with that ragged edged bad-boy. Where is the aggressive, even dominant man a primal part of these women crave sexually?
If this lament seems shocking, offensive or dangerous, you may be out of touch with the depth of primal passion emerging in the liberating sexuality of women.
I don’t know what the stats are, but in my professional practice and other networks I associate with, this complaint by coupled women, that they wish their partner will stand up to them, push back, and/or sexually ravage them is not uncommon.
There is a yearning for a certain intense, even fierce primal sexuality that many contemporary women long for. And to be clear this can include the woman as the aggressor, as well as the other way around.
But in this case, I am describing the view of a woman desiring her partner to be sexually aggressive in some way.
We have so much culturally induced shame and fear about sexuality that these kinds of frank talks about our edgier desires do not happen as often as they should in our relationships.
But as women’s sexuality flows into the culture in torrents, many women are starting to lead the way in opening up that conversation.
“I want you to dominate me in bed!” Surprisingly or not that petition by the female is often met with a frustrating amount of resistance, if not refusal. “ I can’t dominate you. I respect you too much.”
I’ve had women clients question whether they can stay in their relationship because they “need a man who will ravage me sexually” or more explicit scenes.
Sexual frustration is a real issue in their relationship.
For women with such a desire, the problem is that many men seem incapable, uncertain or reluctant to push their edge in this regard.
For some men this may indicate that they have an innate, natural boundary around rough sex as the aggressor, for others perhaps they have the desire to be dominated themselves, and for many other men they may desire to, but are afraid to show aggression.
They may have a conscious or unconscious fear of being accused of misogyny, privilege, sexual-assault, being part of rape-culture or thought creepy. They may just be trying their best to be a sensitive man.
For many men, considering such a request from their partner might feel impossible or repulsive. It may go against the grain of every cultural, moral and religious message they have been raised on.
They may deeply aspire to be peaceful men committed to respect a woman’s rights sexually and otherwise. They understand and support a woman’s autonomy over her own body.
This noted cultural shift in the masculine psyche from aggressive to passive has worked so well over the last few generations, that many men from the center to the more progressive ideological ends of the cultural spectrum have aspired to and have become “nice sensitive men”.
For all that this has been refreshing and enriching territory for the masculine psyche to open to, it has in many regards also banished the wild, primal, instinctual masculine along with the classical “bad-boy” at its raggedest edge.
This more progressive population of men may face the greatest challenge in reconciling the "good man" they have been aspiring to be, with the sexual "bad boy" that may be lurking beneath the surface.
If it is still present, but has been carefully hidden for decades, many men might find it terribly hard to reveal that they still have a sexually dominant, aggressive male deep down.
For these men it may be a great opportunity to do some deep personal work to examine and heal from shame, fear or negative judgment they may hold about their sexuality or masculinity. They may then begin to learn how to reclaim and engage their sexuality in a conscious negotiated way with their partners.
For most men, however, bridging this gap between the sensitive man they aspire to be and their inner brute may be a short if not complex journey. That is because there is no real actual split. And both aspects of this divide in the male psyche are natural. They are like yin and yang, not good or bad.
The key is to bring the primal aspects and sensitive aspects of the masculine into conscious consensual, negotiated balance.
Bridging this split in men’s psyches may ultimately be a significant development in welcoming men’s primal sexuality back from the banished erotic wilderness, and re-integrating it into a more well-balanced contemporary man.
Wherever you fall on the sensitive man/primal man spectrum, the bridge is learning about conscious engagement of your and your partner’s sexuality. Getting the request to be sexually aggressive is just the opening gambit in this potential journey into a new level of erotic ecstasy with your partner.
Even if your kinky Dom fantasy meter went off the charts at the thought of your partner’s compelling invitation, do you know what to do next?
Do you know how to reach mutual consent by negotiating all aspects of an initial D/s-BDSM encounter? Do you know how to establish clear boundaries, discuss the erotic personas being called for, choose safe-words? Are you familiar with techniques to build intimacy, trust, pace and connection with your partner before beginning the scene? Do you plan to discuss mutual care for each of you after the scene and beyond?
Step one on your part, as a man receiving this request, is to let your partner know you are very intrigued and want to know more. Ask what that might look like for her. Actively engage in listening to her.
I would encourage setting aside a specific time to talk, so you can both be focused on and prepare for this discussion. Learn about what she means specifically by rough sex. Talk in terms of what you both might be willing to explore in an initial sexual scene.
Claim and discuss what YOU want from the engagement as well. Acknowledge and discuss what parts of you might resist engaging or other concerns you have. Have the intention to make this initial exploration simple and allow you both to get a feel for this edge of the sexual spectrum.
Get specific. Ask, does rough sex include hair pulling, spanking, slapping or other…and what does it not include?
Ask about languaging desired and languaging that she would want boundaries around. Consider attire, props or toys that may be included. Remember – keep it simpler to start.
Think of creating a compelling ambiance for the first engagement to take place in. Ambiance includes enlivening music, colors, lighting, texture and more that might relax and enhance the experience for both.
Be prepared for considerate care for each other after the scene. Plan a discussion a few days after to review any concerns or new insights that may have come up.
There may be more considerations personal to each of you.
If you go slow and easy at the start and use common sense, you and your partner will find your own rhythm and erotic sensibility the more you explore.
For those men and women who are excited by these possibilities, do your research. Become familiar with the easy-to-follow protocols of engagement that the various Kink communities have as guidelines.
All these offer important considerations to review, before you have an initial negotiation about a Kink power-exchange scene with your partner.
A clear negotiation session is vitally important before you engage in any rough kinky sex, or other aspects of D/s-BDSM.
And if you are a man who would like to consciously, consensually dominate your partner, and she hasn’t asked, then take a risk. Ask your partner if they would be interested in having a conversation about whatever it is your “bad-boy” may desire.
And for the women, this is your time. Speak up about your own desire.
You both have every right to speak honestly about your sexual desire.
As it is for everyone, your sexuality is your birthright!
For a deeper insight into all the nuances of Kink, Sex and Relationships go to GalenFous.com for info on my book, Decoding Your Kink - Guide to Explore, Share & Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires, take the FREE Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey taken by over 2,500 people so far, and learn how I work with clients striving for shame-free sexual authenticity.