Chapter 14,

In which we note that marriages are different

Marriages and other committed relationships are different from uncommitted ones.  By definition, theyíre hard to get out of.  If you try to enslave your husband and fail, thereís almost no chance the attempt will end your marriage.  This offers you a measure of security, but it also means that if everything possible goes wrong, you canít easily change the history youíve written.  Unless youíre making a final heroic effort to save a marriage doomed by other difficulties, youíll be living with that man and that memory for years and years.

There are other differences.  You and your husband have likely been together a long time, and until now, you never considered the possibility of enslaving him, nor did he imagine becoming your slave.  The two of you built your marriage on a more conventional paradigm and youíve grown accustomed to it.  To change, you would have to overcome a great deal of habit, and habit is a powerful force.

If youíve been married more than a couple of years, your husbandís feelings for you have matured.  Heís not in love with you in the passionate and desperate way he once was.  He may like you and enjoy your company, and weíve already established that heís committed to you, but his affection lacks intensity.  In all likelihood, heís also learned to control his lust for you, and youíre not quite sure you could lead him into the Loop.

The two of you almost certainly live together; setting up a common household is a gesture of commitment so nearly universal that it seems part of the definition.  Cohabitation gives the process of sexually enslaving your husband a different feel from the process of enslaving a casual lover.  You canít easily separate from him by more than a short distance, nor for more than a brief time, so it takes greater determination to enforce a prolonged period of abstinence:  your own lust will tempt you to relent; he can wear you down with almost continuous protest; perhaps heíll even retaliate in nonsexual ways that make your life difficult.

These factors operate to different degrees in different marriages, but invariably they conspire to make the average woman reluctant to attempt the enslavement of her husband.  Still, some try.  What does it take?  First it takes motivation.  The woman has to want to enslave her husband, and her desire has to be great enough to overcome her reluctance.  Second it takes a beliefóa strong beliefóthat the attempt wonít harm the marriage even if it fails.

There are four circumstances that give rise to such a belief.  Your marriage wonít be hurt by an attempt to enslave your husband if heís in love with you.  Heíll forgive you.  If he isnít in love with you but likes you a lot, and your marriage is resilient, characterized by good humor, with no undercurrent of hostility, the same is true.  Heíll forgive you.

If your husband is so averse to intimacy that he spends as much time as possible away from you and seems emotionally withdrawn when heís with you, an attempt to enslave him wonít do any harm unless he has a girlfriend on the side.  If the attempt fails, his behavior wonít change whether he forgives you or not.  The availability of another woman introduces an element of risk because heíll be driven to seek comfort from her and he may never return.  (His aversion to intimacy doesnít preclude his having a girlfriend, just as it didnít preclude his initial involvement with you, because the circumstances of a casual relationship makes it easy for him to limit intimacy to a level thatís not a problem to him.  If he were to leave you and commit to her, he would soon become as distant and withdrawn with her as he is now, but thatís no help to you.)

Last and saddest, you canít do any harm if your marriage is already doomed and youíre considering female domination because nothing else can save it.

This taxonomy is subject to the flaws inherent in all generalizations.  Regard it with caution and skepticism.  When I advised Francesca to enslave Roy, their relationship was so resilient as to appear indestructible.  It was characterized by a high degree of good humor and there was certainly no hostility between them.  Still, she was sure that if she attempted to enslave him rather than just making bondage a part of their lovemaking, he would react so badly that she might lose him.  I think she was wrong, but there are other women who perceive their situations similarly and they canít all be wrong.  Trust your judgment above mine.

 

Iíve been using a couple of words whose meanings I ought to clarify.  When I refer to an attempt at sexual enslavement, I mean a wholehearted effort that wonít admit of failure, not a desultory gesture thatís intended to be easy to back out of at the first sign of difficulty.  The vast majority of married men strongly resist female domination until theyíve become accustomed to it; a serious attempt expects this resistance and confronts it with determination sufficient to prevail.  If your marriage is a happy one, or your timing is good, or you appear to be joking, your husband may agree to become your love slave too easily.  If youíre serious about enslaving him, youíll understand that it wonít be long before he tries to reclaim the control thatís traditionally his.  When that happens, youíll enforce the agreement even if he fights hard to back out of it.  Sexual slavery isnít playacting and it isnít a sometime thing.  It works only if itís always and only if itís real.

An attempt can fail in several ways.  You can give up prematurely.  Your husband says, ďMy father warned me youíd turn out to be a bitch,Ē and you apologize and repent.  Or he goes into a sulk and you canít bear to wait it out.  Or he ostentatiously books a tour of the brothels of Nevada and you take it as a serious threat.  If youíre going to enslave your husband, I urge you to decide at the outset that you wonít fail in this manner, then stick to that decision.  Youíd do better not to try at all than to make only a token effort and give up.

If you attempt to enslave your husband for the purpose of squelching a pattern of behavior so destructive that your marriage must end unless it stops, the attempt should be considered a failure if the destructive behavior continues or resumes.

If your attempt isnít a desperate effort to save a doomed marriage and you donít give up prematurely, itís still possible to fail.  Failure consists in being unable to make your husband turn on to you.  There are two ways in which this calamity can manifest itself.  The first is less painful.  You tell him, ďWe do sex my way or not at all,Ē and he replies, ďWell, then, I guess we no longer have a sexual relationship,Ē and all goes on with his life as if thatís the reality heís accepted.  He may leave you and sue for divorce; he may go on living with you, treating you as a dear friend whoís gone slightly mad; he may do something in between.  He may develop a novel adaptation all his own.  It doesnít matter.  If he accepts the end of your sexual relationship as an accomplished fact, absolutely rejecting the alternative of sexual slavery, and if his attitude persists over a sufficiently long time that youíre sure heís not faking, youíve failed.

If he accedes to your demand for sexual control but doesnít turn on to you, youíve also failed.  If he lets you tie him up but you find you canít make him come unless he cooperates, or worse yet, his cock wonít get hard for you, thereís nothing to be done for it.  He isnít going to be your love slave and youíll have to be satisfied with the more conventional commitment heís already given you.  This sort of failure hurts even if you know your partner loves you, but donít blame yourself and donít blame him.  These things happen.

Some relationships, by their nature, make female domination infeasible.  You wonít be able to enslave your husband if youíve grown to hate him, or if he hates you, or if he finds you physically repulsive, or if you find him physically repulsive.  Female domination wonít work in a marriage thatís become a battleground.  If you and your husband are always quarreling, not over one serious issue thatís threatening your marriage, but over everything, you may be tempted to enslave him to put an end to the fighting.  Not only will the attempt fail, it will become yet another subject of dispute that comes between you again and again.  Spare yourself some ugliness.  Donít try.

 

There are seven reasons a woman might undertake to enslave her husband.  One is that she knows it would be an enjoyable and exciting way to handle the sexual aspect of the marriage, but she didnít think of it, or didnít have the courage to try, before the wedding.  Another is that she sees it as a gift to her man.  She wants to relieve him of some of the responsibility he feels; she wants to save him from performance anxiety; she wants to create a context in which heíll know that every little kindness she shows him is given freely and lovingly; she knows itís just what heís always hoped for.  Whatever the particulars, the marriage is a happy one and her intent is to make it even better.

A third reason is that she needs control over the sexual aspect of the marriage because her partner has been managing it badly.  Francesca and Roy.  She didnít quite enslave him, but she did take control of their lovemaking, and she did it out of necessity.  Weíve also seen elements of this motive in the relationships of Denise and Paula.  True, Denise was planning to enslave Tony anyway, but his insistence on anal sex added urgency and focus to the project.  An allegation that Jimmy was mismanaging his sexual relationship with Paula isnít supported by the evidence, but she was uncomfortable, and she was able to relax when he agreed to be her slave.

Yet another reason a woman might set out to take control of her marriage is that her husband has been tyrannizing her and she wants out from under.  His tyranny might be subtle or it might be so ugly as to make the marriage insufferable.  He might be micromanaging her life to such a degree that itís no longer hers; he might be verbally abusing her; he might be guilt-tripping her into living by the rules of his church.  Tyranny comes in many flavors.

A woman might also enslave her husband to pull him away from a habit thatís destroying him.  Overeating and gambling are two examples weíll see in subsequent chapters.  In some cases even smoking can be cured.  Drinking, too, if it hasnít yet become a full-blown addiction.

The sixth reason is the one Iíve seen most often.  The woman wants her husbandís attention.  She wants to be as much the center of his world as he is of hers, while he, emboldened by the depth of her commitment, ignores her in favor of other interests.

Iíve seen this so often because men are raised to fear intimacy and seek distance in their relationships with women.  Itís a cultural norm, and so many diversions are available that itís easy to conform.  A man may devote his time and energy to his parents and siblings, to other women, to his job, to a club or hobbyóthe possibilities are endless, and it takes only one, immoderately pursued, to turn a husband into a stranger.  The more moderate pursuit of a variety of interests is harder to argue with, but no less effective as a means of distancing from a wife.

If you want your husbandís attention, and you apply the techniques of female domination properly, youíll almost certainly get it.  Indeed you can get it all.  This presents the often difficult ethical question of how much attention you should demand.  It would be unhealthy for him to have no outside interests.

If your husband is a computer programmer and spends every other evening out drinking with his workmates, it wouldnít be unreasonable of you to interfere.  Youíd be doing the both of you a service.  If your husband is a computer programmer and spends one night a week working a suicide prevention hotline, let him.  You may feel he should be spending the time with you, but if you cut the hotline out of his life, and then you cut something else, and then another thing besides, youíll eventually find that youíre married to an empty shell.  It isnít much fun, and thereís no easy way to undo the damage.

The issue isnít as simple as judging whether his interests have redeeming value.  If instead of a computer programmer who donates one night a week to a suicide prevention hotline, youíre married to a psychotherapist who does the same, your situation is quite different.  Heís an addictóan addict trained to diagnose and treat addiction, for that matter, and to recognize marital neglectóand itís entirely appropriate for you to take action.

Say your husband likes to go hunting with his buddies.  Youíve heard them reminisce about their trips, and it gives you a bad feeling.  They seem to have been drunk much of the time, even while afield with their guns.  That sounds dangerous.  They take a lot of shots that miss their intended targets.  That sounds worse.  Youíve read a couple of stories about the horde of prostitutes who converge on the hunting grounds every season to service men just like these.  You havenít overheard any mention of them, but then, you wouldnít.  Should you end your husbandís participation in this ritual?  It wouldnít be a bad idea.  Youíd get more of his time for yourself; you might save him from being shot; you might save him from shooting one of his buddies; you might even save the both of you from AIDS.

Now say your husband likes to go hunting alone.  He hunts remote stretches of wilderness, closed to motor vehicles, that most men wonít even try to get to.  He scouts his favorite places in advance of the season, studying the terrain and the habits of the wildlife.  When he hunts, he travels light.  He almost always brings something back.  If itís large, he constructs a travois for the purpose and drags it, alone, over whatever distance.  He never wastes game.  Heís built a little smokehouse and makes his own jerky, with which he fuels himself on subsequent trips.  He spends about fifty days a year on hunting and related activities, and youíd rather he spent that time with you.

Even if youíve sexually enslaved him because the idea turned you on, leave his hunting alone.  Youíll be able to stop him, all right, but the results will be bad.  Heíll change in subtle ways that donít seem to have anything to do with hunting.  Aspects of his personality that youíve always lovedólittle things that defy precise definitionówill fade away.  Bits of ugliness will creep in.  Give him his fifty days and enjoy him when heís with you.  With power comes responsibility.  Donít destroy what you love.

Though I know the stories of eleven women who enslaved their husbands to hold their attention, I wonít be recounting any.  They donít have much in common, and no single story is likely to offer much that will be useful to the average reader.  When I wrote out the best two and reread them, they seemed long but trivial.  Neither will I be repeating any stories illustrating the seventh reason a woman might enslave her husbandóthat is, to control some aspect of his behavior not subsumed under any of the reasons Iíve already listed.  Iíve known two women who enslaved their husbands to make better fathers of them, and I canít really argue with that, but all the other uses of female domination Iíve seen in this category have been downright petty.  Table Manners.  Household Chores.  Gawking at attractive strangers.  I know weíre both agnostics, but he should take the children to church.  No, no, no.

Yes, you can get away with using the techniques of female domination to short-circuit the ordinary give-and-take of marriage, but only for a while.  Then the marriage go pookie.

But you promised Iíd be able to make all the decisions!

Sure I did, but I also said youíd have to take your partnerís needs into account.  If you set yourself up as a petty tyrant, your relationship will deteriorate into a state of deep misery.  I promised that too.

Iím not saying you oughtnít use the power of your femininity to force an equitable division of chores.  Feel freeóif youíve enslaved your husband for the pure joy of it and the division of chores gets to be a problem.  But divide only those chores that you need done or he needs done, not the ones your parents need done.  Youíre grown up now, and you donít have to keep house to their standards, or pass along their religious traditions either.  And if this sort of issue is your primary motivation for enslaving your husband, youíre headed for trouble.

On the other hand, if the only question is which one of you is going to be the petty tyrant until you break up, it might as well be you.

 

If youíre married to a problem child (a compulsive gambler, a petty tyrant, a philanderer), and the marriage seems doomed, you have some serious soul-searching to do before you try to save it by undertaking your husbandís enslavement.  As Iíve warned, youíll fail if youíve grown to hate him, and thatís probably just what has happened.  To succeed, you really need to be the sort of saint whoís capable of loving the sinner even while hating the sin.  When you fantasize your future together, with him as your slave, what are the details?  If you see a loving partnership in which the issues that now threaten your marriage have lost their relevance, you have a chance.  If you imagine punishing him daily for what he once was, youíll fail.  Donít bother trying.  Your marriage is truly doomed.  Start the process of dissolving it now.  Donít give him a lurid story to tell the judge about what you tried to do to him at the end.

The other extreme is worse.  If youíre so desperately in love with your problem child that you canít bear the thought of losing him no matter what, then you wonít be able to enslave him because heíll bluff you into giving up.  It will be easy for him and painful for you, and it will be over in minutes.  Donít make the attempt.  My advice about doomed marriages isnít for you; itís for those women whose marriages really must end if not salvaged by the techniques of female domination.  If youíre willing to pay any price to keep your marriage alive, it isnít doomed.  Perhaps it would be doomed if you had a healthy measure of self-respect, but thatís not the same.  Donít try my techniquesónot yet, anyway.  Your husband will never let you forget the attempt, and his needling reminders will be pure torture.  You can reconsider when heís done enough damage that youíre no longer afraid of losing him, but donít be surprised if you go directly to hating him without passing through a period of relative objectivity.  Meanwhile see a marriage counselor or psychotherapist.  Your husband wonít go with you, so go alone.

 

Youíve probably noticed something missing from my advice.  I havenít told you how to figure your chances of success; nor have I told you, if you know your chances, how to use that knowledge to choose a course of action.  All Iíve told you is that under certain circumstances your chances are nil, and Iíve advised you not to make an attempt thatís sure to fail.

The omission is intentional.  Iím not going to tell you how to choose a course of action based on your chances of success, and the reason is that no one actually does things that way.  Women donít take calculated risks with their marriages, and I donít recommend that you be an exception.  When considering the sexual enslavement of her husband, a woman asks herself, Whatís the worst that could happen?  If the answer frightens her, she doesnít make the attempt even if the worst is unlikely.  My advice recognizes this and gives proper respect to the healerís credo, First, do no harm.

Still, I know from proselytizing to my friends that women contemplating the enslavement of their husbands are generally quite interested in their chances; itís a matter theyíve almost all wanted to discuss, so I feel obliged to present at least an overview of the relevant factors.

As weíve already noted, you have a better chance of success if youíre enthusiastic about female domination than if youíre not.  It also helps to be empathetic, a skilled communicator, a clever strategist and a natural tease.

Youíre more likely to succeed if your husband is in love with you than if he isnít.  Much more likely.  Indeed thereís a lot to be said for enslaving any man whoís in love, while heís in love, simply because heís in love.  Itís easier then, and it keeps him from falling out of love.  It gives you a ready-made handle on any problems that may develop later, and itís much friendlier than waiting for the problems first and then enslaving him out of necessity.

You have a better chance if your husband trusts you than if he has doubts.  If he actively distrusts you, you have almost no chance at all.

To sexually enslave any man, you have to lead him into the Loop, and you can do that only if you turn him on.  When a married woman contemplates the enslavement of her husband this is typically what worries her most.  If itís obvious that your husband finds you irresistible, you have an excellent chance of success.  More likely though, especially if youíve been married a while, your erotic effect on him isnít all that apparent.  The reasons fall into three categories.

First and most dismal is a lack of sexual chemistry.  Perhaps you never turned him on but he married you anyway.  Perhaps you used to turn him on but he changed.  Perhaps you changed.  It doesnít matter; thereís nothing for it.  A lack of sexual chemistry makes female domination unworkable.

Second, he may be bored.  Men are wired to be progressively less excited by a partner whoís always available even if the sexual chemistry is there.  This isnít much of a problem.  When you set out to enslave him, youíll be making yourself less available and introducing some novel and exciting situations.  His boredom will be relieved and heíll want you with all the intensity of the good old days.

Third, he may be deliberately concealing the fact that you turn him on.  Every man has an idea, gleaned from society at large, of how much lust is appropriate in marriage, and he learns to control himself to avoid the opprobrium of exceeding whatís proper.  This isnít as easy as he makes it look, nor is his control solid.  His techniques are crude enough to be transparent if you know what to look for.  He hides his nakedness when exposure would reveal his arousal; he looks away when the sight of you threatens to excite him; he desexualizes the atmosphere, either by dwelling on difficult or depressing subjects or by putting you on the defensive with petty criticism; he eats, drinks or exhausts himself to stupefaction.  Pick a good time, tie him up, and his control is gone.  Usually, enslaving him turns out to be easy.  He himself understands, and has implicitly acknowledged, that if you prove your ability to turn him on, your power over him is nearly absolute; otherwise he wouldnít be putting so much effort into seeming unmoved by your femininity.  It may have been society that taught him how much lust is appropriate in marriage, but itís you heís trying to impress.

If your husband doesnít seem to find you a turn-on, whatís the reason?  Lack of chemistry?  boredom?  a deliberate attempt to present a controlled demeanor?  If you wait until heís exceptionally horny and then tie him up and tease him, how will he respond?  If you try to enslave him, how will he take it?  You know the answers to these questions.  Every woman does.  Maybe youíre not quite sure, but how sure do you have to be?

If I set before you a pathway, a quarter of an inch wide and twenty feet longóthe edge of a piece of plywoodóraised four inches above the surface of an empty parking lot, and ask you whether you can walk it without falling off, youíll be able to give me an answer.  If your balance and coordination are about average, your answer will be no and youíll be right.  If we widen the pathway to six inches and repeat the question, again youíll be able to answer.  If your balance and coordination are average, youíll say yes.  That answer will also be right.  Contemplating the sexual enslavement of your husband is like raising the pathway fifty feet.  The questions become more worrisome.  Your uncertainties are magnified.  You know itís only monotony that makes him seem uninterested in you, but what if he really finds you repulsive?  You know heís easygoing and doesnít hold grudges, but what if you try to enslave him and he never forgives you the attempt?

If weíre talking about a pathway too narrow for you to walk even four inches off the groundóif youíre sure an attempt to enslave your husband will fail for reasons unrelated to your worryóthen donít try.  If weíre talking about a pathway you can walk easilyóif you expect that an attempt to enslave your husband will succeedóthen take a realistic look at how high off the ground the pathway is.  If itís only four inches upóif the attempt can do no harmóthen you donít have to be absolutely sure of success.  Go ahead and give it your best shot.  Do it lovingly, and have fun!