I wrote a comment in response to ‘whatevershesays’ recently about hardcore femdom art and the lack of good art that depicts ‘female led relationships.’ I have been thinking about the distinction for a few more days and decided to post a fuller version of what I was talking about. This is not intended to be a direct response to that blogger, just a general comment on the widespread FLR / WLM meme, and where I am up to with it. My view has changed over the last few years, or maybe it has just solidified, I’m not sure.
First of all, I have never really been entirely comfortable with the terms ‘female led relationship’ and ‘wife led marriage’, or any similar construction, although I may have used them periodically. I think they sound kind of formal, especially with those capitalized acronyms FLR and WLM. It makes them sound like insurance companies or mortgage brokers. Sorry to those who dig on them, but that’s really what they sound like to me.
Very often, they are described as idealised conditions, that can be made real by particular forms of behaviour undertaken by both the man and the woman. They seem to invite the kinds of thinking which says: “we are having an FLR so therefore X will be true of us” as well as “X is true of us and so therefore we have an FLR.” Yardsticks for performance, success and ultimately, for happiness, are created when this kind of thinking occurs. Soon, the couple – particularly the sub – begins to define success and happiness on the basis of daily events in the relationship, and a close analysis of whether or not these appear to conform to the agreed picture of what an FLR should look like. I know this, because I have been there, when we first started out.
I can’t help but compare this with ‘femdom’, which in my mind, is a kind of funky, grunt-making sex that happens when the woman has nearly all the control, and might include BDSM, chastity or other kink elements, or might just be her getting her rocks off however she feels like. I’m not even sure that setting up this dichotomy between FLR and Femdom is a good idea, but maybe it will serve to make a simple point.
Just an example: Michelle decided toward the end of last year that I had annoyed her somehow and she wanted to enforce my submission through some very painful biting, followed by sex for her pleasure. It was a one-off act that had no follow-up commitment on her part or mine. There was no measurement of whether we were having a ‘kind’ of relationship based on this. When it was over, the question was simply, did we enjoy that? And hell, did I enjoy that. (I wish she’d do it again, but I don’t want to brat her.)
So I guess that’s where I see the difference, and it has to do with the creation of standards for success or failure, which really seem unneccessary to me in a lot of cases and can be quite counter-productive when all you are trying to do is make sure the woman’s needs are all met, and also to satisfy your own desire for rough treatment into the bargain. Surely the only question is, are you both having fun?
I don’t actually even have a particularly kinky relationship – chastity and light bondage is about as far as it has ever gone – and I won’t deny that sometimes this is a cause for disappointment to me. But I feel the least constructive thing I could do in this position is to create a pattern or a condition that I needed to achieve in our relationship, so that we can call it successful. Doing that would invite me to engage in controlling and obsessive behaviour. My needy, neurotic side would get a hold of something like that and worry it til it fell to pieces. Bad idea, full stop.
So, my question is: which actually ends up placing more emotional pressure on the woman (and also the man): some frivolous femdommery, lasting an hour, or a 24/7 WLM with rules and contracts and all the rest of it?
I am aware that many women find BDSM distasteful and therefore the FLR is the preferred option for those couples. I do wonder if in some cases it might be being used like a Trojan Horse to sneak in the BDSM, but in others it is probably genuine and both partners enjoy the man’s courteous and chivalrous service to the woman. Power to ya. The problem I see is where the construction of the rules of the FLR ends up setting standards for the woman that are actually twice as onerous as a simple request for pegging, but are couched in terms of being all about her own needs. How can she say no? At least with the open request for rough sex, she can just say no.
Anyway, I have fantasized about a more subtle kind of femdom art where the woman enjoys all the man’s services, not just the face-sitting, and also where she does not look like she spent several hours getting her costume on. But hey, I have also fantasized about being kept permanently chaste and forced to do all the housework while Michelle takes women into her bedroom. Both of these are fun, but neither of them have anything to do with the reality of my situation, which is that I am having a moderately kinky relationship with a wonderful women who likes to control me but not all the time, who likes a lot of time on her own, and who also doesn’t like to feel scripted or pressured about anything.
I don’t know whether this is FLR or femdom or what, really. I call it femdom, but basically I think all these definitions and terminology can create standards and expectations that have not much to do with happiness, and can have a lot to do with feeling insecure. I’m having fun, and that’s all I really need to know right now.