Who wears the pants? Are there pants?

Dishevelled Domina has written a great post about F/m D/s relationships, drawing attention to the fallacy of female supremacy and female led relationships (FLRs) as the ‘One True Way of D/s’ for dominant women and submissive men to be in a relationship.

While I agree with the overall point (that F/m relationships do not have to be defined in any one way, except to suit the participants), and her preference is equality in her own relationship outside of their love life, I offered the following comment since the question it raises for me is “What is an FLR, anyway… and who actually has ‘equal’ relationships?”.

___

I don’t identify my relationships as FLR, but I do think your definition seems quite narrow (though you don’t define it exactly).

I appreciate the idealism of assuming equality in a relationship, but the fact is that I have never been in an equal relationship in my life, vanilla or no. It really has nothing to do with superiority or supremacy or FLR. It has to do with preference (am I nitpicking semantics now? Not sure, so I am soldiering on…).

In vanilla relationships, I had the power because if I didn’t get my way, I would become unhappy and I would leave. Yeah, that sounds all chest thumpy (and petulant and childish!), and believe me, it’s not that simple (insert lots of angst and trouble and fighting and all that here), but it’s the fundamental truth. It’s a key reason why I seek out submissive men now.

It’s not about me micro managing everything and it’s not about him asking for permission for everything and it’s certainly not about him NEEDING me to make decisions for him (really, the ‘so he’s a child’ argument sets my teeth on edge). It is about me recognising that anything beyond superficial compromise makes me resentful and unhappy. I don’t want to fight about the things that I want and I also don’t want to give them up, so I need someone who gets pleasure out of saying “Yes, Ma’am” to things he may not always agree with. Is that an FLR? *shrug* Don’t know, don’t care, really, but I suspect it would fall under that definition to many.

To peroxide’s point [another commenter], if he wants Chinese for dinner and I want Mexican, we have Mexican and we both know that and there will be no argument about it.

GD Star Rating
loading...

You may also like

33 Comments

  1. “To peroxide’s point [another commenter], if he wants Chinese for dinner and I want Mexican, we have Mexican and we both know that and there will be no argument about it.” ~~ Exactly! To me it really is a simple thing. I don't want to aruge about it. I don't want to 'wrestle' submission from my sub. I just want it my way.

    I had ended several relationship before I met my sub on what others would consider to be unimportant issues. Really? To me, those unimportant issues point directly to a path. That path points directly to trouble ahead. As in your example, if I had to argue about where we were to eat…what was going to be next? I do not like to be told what to do when I'm in a relationshp. It doesn't matter what we are doing. It is almost a guarntee that if my sub tells me to do something (gasp, yes it happens) that I will do the Exact opposite. He has learned that the best way to approach those types of situations, is to Suggest something.

    I do not intend to sound like we never do anything that my sub wants to do. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but I hold the right to change plans to do as I wish.

    Yikes! What a ramble!
    Faith

  2. For some reason, I had a gut 'the hell?' reaction to this. Probably because I had to fight my boyo to get him to even express his opinions years after the fact. Then again, I like input. I might (definitely) have a bit of a thing about knowledge and communication. Even if I blithely continue on my previous path without heeding his opinion, I'd prefer to know what it is.

    *muses* However, I don't recall that I've ever done anything I did NOT want to do in my relationship. I've never even considered not doing what I wanted. People do that?

    Further thought makes me rather agree with you, despite my initial reaction. To use your example, I've discovered my boyo will eat anything, and unless I prod he won't even tell me that he's not a fan.

  3. Faith: “…if I had to argue about where we were to eat…what was going to be next? I do not like to be told what to do when I'm in a relationshp.”

    *nod nod* I have trouble separating my obedience kink from 'how I am in a relationship anyway', and I do think they ARE separate.

    There are so many areas of a relationship that I really don't care about in terms of making a decision about it, but I rail against it when I *do* care and have to compromise, or (worse!) when HE cares and expects me to do things *his way* just because.

    “It doesn't matter what we are doing. It is almost a guarntee that if my sub tells me to do something (gasp, yes it happens) that I will do the Exact opposite. He has learned that the best way to approach those types of situations, is to Suggest something.”

    *laugh* I can hear the bristling from here! I have discovered that things that build up resentment will destroy my relationships very quickly, and I need to cut them out.

    I have no problem with my sub telling me to do things or suggesting them, but yeah, that doesn't mean I'm going to do it and he has to be ok with that. From the other side, if *I* suggest something, I am NOT ok with him not doing it. It's fundamentally unequal.

    BUT, is it an FLR? I don't think of my relationships that way, and I am not sure why, really. I just never used the term for myself.

    “I do not intend to sound like we never do anything that my sub wants to do. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but I hold the right to change plans to do as I wish.”

    Yep, makes sense. For those areas where I really don't care, I will happily 'go along'.

    “Yikes! What a ramble!”

    No, I totally got it!

    Ferns

  4. OnyxCoquelicot: “For some reason, I had a gut 'the hell?' reaction to this.”

    Oh? To which bit? I wasn't sure.

    “Even if I blithely continue on my previous path without heeding his opinion, I'd prefer to know what it is.”

    I agree, I can't know what is going on with him unless I get information… what I choose to do with it then is up to me. I want him to be happy (for us both to be happy), and that always factors in as the balancing factor.

    *muses* However, I don't recall that I've ever done anything I did NOT want to do in my relationship. I've never even considered not doing what I wanted. People do that?”

    *laugh* They do! It's called compromise. From my perspective, I am fine with compromise, but not COMPROMISE. The capitalised version consists of either major things or endless small things… either way, it makes me feel resentful, and that shit will build up.

    Ferns

  5. Wearing the pants, hm?
    I would so have him in a kilt if it weren't breezy so often, or wait…
    :p

    I am working with a 20 year relationship, and there has been a lot of flex over that amount of time. I have compromised, and I have even COMPROMISED on occasion, and so has he. We have managed to pick our way through resulting minefields and arrived at a point where we know each other pretty well.
    In many ways I am the stereotypical middle child, easy-going, etc. and he has a very typical only-child approach to life which did cause conflict for a while, because while I can often be persuaded but I absolutely will not be pushed.
    I actually asked him this evening who usually get their way, because I wanted to know what he'd say.
    He answered with exactly what I would have said, that he usaully gets his way on a day to day basis, but I do sort of carry executive veto power. If something really matters to be, I am probably going to have my way.
    I have no idea where that falls on the equal to off-set power balance scale.
    Nevertheless, my point, which you reiterated very nicely, still stands-
    we all get to do our kink however it best suits us! YAY!

  6. dishevelleddomina: “I would so have him in a kilt if it weren't breezy so often, or wait…”

    Me too me too!! Kilts… yum!! I found this ages ago while looking for porn… um… I mean while doing research: Men in Kilts. Brilliant!

    “In many ways I am the stereotypical middle child, easy-going, etc. and he has a very typical only-child approach to life which did cause conflict for a while, because while I can often be persuaded but I absolutely will not be pushed.”

    Surprisingly, I am very easy going also (SHUT UP, PEOPLE!)… There are a gazillion things that I simply don't care about and will happily 'go along', but, put simply, consistently doing things I don't really want to do makes me unhappy. I wonder sometimes if I am not fully one of the most selfish people ever! Probably, I'm ok with it!

    I do, though, separate my obedience kink from my needs in a relationship, though they end up blending for all practical purposes, and all going well, they dovetail nicely.

    “Nevertheless, my point, which you reiterated very nicely, still stands – we all get to do our kink however it best suits us! YAY!”

    Absolutely it does and we do! Yay!!

    Ferns

  7. I was going to say something kinda clever along the lines of “when it's going well no one should be wearing pants”(I didn't say terribly clever) but right now I'm having a hard time picturing a Mexican restaurant down-under.

    What do Spanish words sound like with an Australian accent anyways?

  8. I've seen the Men in Kilts truck on the freeway! My galpal and I had a great time talking nonsense about that while her husband, who was in the backseat, just shook his head and grinned (he is also a good friend of mine who very kindly paused a movie we were all watching to make sure I didn't miss the bit where Jason Statham had his shirt off, wonderful man).
    Also, you can find some really fabulous kilt porn on Tumblr as well, and yes, I have gone looking
    :p

  9. The real joy of this from my point of view is that “not getting what you want to eat for dinner” now becomes a turn-on rather than an irritation :-) *sigh* I miss this kinda thing!

  10. As a submissive man/boy I think that there is a lot of interesting things in this. In my own relationship, I would say that we've not got it quite right yet, haven't had that long to get used to it – it generally works out that 'my' Domme will get her way if she really wants it, but on everything else, even if we disagree, I will generally get mine. I'm not sure if that's such of a good thing, because it feels inequal in the wrong direction.

    But there are ways of saying things, and she makes it very clear if I'm to do it with no argument or if there's leeway simply by her tone and words. And even if it was a tiny thing, I wouldn't think of disagreeing with it…so maybe it's okay.

    I think that as long as she is never the first to back down in a real debate, then the dynamic is there and it's okay.

    After that long thing, I have a question – what's the 'so he's a child' argument?

    bryndon (first comment ever!)

  11. Peroxide: “I was going to say something kinda clever along the lines of “when it's going well no one should be wearing pants”(I didn't say terribly clever)”

    Boom-tish!

    “but right now I'm having a hard time picturing a Mexican restaurant down-under.”

    *laugh* Well, the waiters are kangaroos… does that help?

    “What do Spanish words sound like with an Australian accent anyways?”

    Howla, mate. Gizza tawr-tiller willya? Crikey, those tawr-tillers are bonza!! Grass-ee-arse.

    Ferns

  12. bryndon:

    Thank you for your first comment and for sharing so openly. It was most excellent!

    “…'my' Domme will get her way if she really wants it, but on everything else, even if we disagree, I will generally get mine. I'm not sure if that's such of a good thing, because it feels inequal in the wrong direction.”

    I don't think 'equal' or 'unequal' is the measure, the measure is 'are you both happy?'. If the answer to the latter is 'oh hell yes', then it's a good thing. If it's a new relationship, and if you are both new to D/s, it will take a little while to figure out what works, and that's a natural exploration.

    I know it's a tricky thing with all the 'noise' out there about 'how things should be', but when you read 'stuff', or someone tells you 'stuff', it's good to listen, then take what you think is useful and ignore whatever doesn't feel right for you. There's no right or wrong, just what works or doesn't for your relationship.

    “But there are ways of saying things, and she makes it very clear if I'm to do it with no argument or if there's leeway simply by her tone and words. And even if it was a tiny thing, I wouldn't think of disagreeing with it…so maybe it's okay.”

    *smile* Oh my, you are lovely! If you ever have doubts about whether it's ok, talk it out with her. If she is new at this, she might need to know from you that it is ok if she pushes a little harder.

    A fear for many new Dommes is that her submissive will be unhappy if she asserts herself 'too much', she may fear that he will say 'what?! No!' and that can be a huge blow to anyone's confidence.

    “After that long thing, I have a question – what's the 'so he's a child' argument?”

    I hear this a lot in a negative way in response to dynamics that are very controlling, or when there are elements of 'checking up on him, monitoring, punishing' in it. The statement usually has an element of this:

    “I've already raised 2 kids of my own and don't need another one!”.

    The implication is that he is a helpless child in the relationship and the Domme is his mommy. It's essentially a dismissive way of going 'your dynamic sucks, your submissive is co-dependent, it's unhealthy, eeuuuwww!' etc and it bothers me because I *do* some of that, and it displays a fundamental misunderstanding of that kind of dynamic.

    I get that it's not for everyone, but I am touchy about it being stated that way because, for me, it is not that he NEEDS those things to function (which seems to be the assumption when someone plays the 'so he's a child' card), I do it because it reinforces the dynamic, because it's frigging hot and unfair and close making and and… hot!

    Ferns

  13. Nekki: “The real joy of this from my point of view is that “not getting what you want to eat for dinner” now becomes a turn-on rather than an irritation”

    YES!!! *laugh* And this, folks, is why I love submissive men!! Getting my way AND he gets a hard on… what's not to love about that?!

    Ferns

  14. “In vanilla relationships, I had the power because if I didn’t get my way, I would become unhappy and I would leave.”

    But, that's also true for your partner–it's a power that both people in a relationship have.

  15. submissivedude: “But, that's also true for your partner–it's a power that both people in a relationship have.”

    Yep, that's 100% true, but in real terms it has never made a difference to me.

    I have rewritten the 'why' several times now, and am deeply unhappy with it! *laugh*

    The simplest way to put it is the mercenary statement that I am sure you have heard before that whoever is most willing to leave, has the power. I was usually the most willing.

    It never manifests as a statement in the relationship, that would be beyond ugly, but in my experience that imbalance is ALWAYS there, ALWAYS. Even when it feels equal.

    In my vanilla relationships, my tolerance was always lower than his; his willingness to compromise higher than mine. And the point at which I would become unhappy always seemed to be closer for me than for him. And I was mostly willing to leave.

    It took me a long time to learn how this worked for me, but I pretty much have it sorted now. Now it's “I know what I want and won't accept less, so you either think that's awesome, or this isn't going to work”. So thankfully, it's now more accurate to say that it's about weeding up front rather than leaving a relationship that is already established.

    I'm still really unhappy with that explanation… *sigh*, but for the moment, it will have to do.

    Ferns

  16. Thankyou for that response/answer to my big ramble, Ferns!

    I think the answer to 'who wears the pants and are there pants' is that yes, indeed, there are pants, but both Dominant and submissive are wearing them…only the Dominant's pants are far more colourful, and they get cool shoes too, with which they may stilletto-stamp on the submissive's pants if they so wish….(probably while the sub's still wearing them)

    Long metaphor, probably makes little sense…

    bryndon

  17. That's the first explanation I've read of a 'female-led relationship' that actually makes sense to me. I have my own set of things I'm just not willing to compromise on, and I understand your frustration with not being able to explain it very well.

    It just sounds so petty for me to say I'd break up with someone if he wasn't satisfying me sexually, but sex is something I just can't happily live without. If I wasn't getting my needs met, my resentment would build up and build up until we ended up having a huge screaming match and then never speaking to each other again. To my mind it's better to notice things aren't working and call off the relationship while we can still do so amicably.

    But back on the subject of FLR, most of what I've read about it was written in a way that completely turned me off. I like getting my way in the few areas I really care about, but I'm simply not interested in micromanaging. The explanation of why you like obedience makes the desire for obedience make so much more sense to me. Finally, the lightbulb switches on :)

  18. bryndon: “Long metaphor, probably makes little sense…”

    No no… it made perfect sense.

    “only the Dominant's pants are far more colourful”

    Though of course, I know you meant “…the Dominant's pants are leather…”, because, you know… the clown pants aren't quite working for me.

    Ferns

  19. Stabbity: “That's the first explanation I've read of a 'female-led relationship' that actually makes sense to me.”

    Thanks!

    Even though I was musing that the term could possibly be applied to my relationships, I really don't use it because I think that if I label it that way, it becomes a picture in someone's head that is hugely unlikely to match what I actually mean.

    “It just sounds so petty for me to say I'd break up with someone if he wasn't satisfying me sexually”

    No, not petty at all! And your explanation of the resentment is *exactly* what I mean.

    “But back on the subject of FLR, most of what I've read about it was written in a way that completely turned me off. I like getting my way in the few areas I really care about, but I'm simply not interested in micromanaging.”

    Yep, me too. And the question this then raises for me is “where is the tipping point into an 'FLR'?” If there are 5 fundamental things you want your way on, are you then in an FLR? 10? Only the BIG things? 2 BIG things and 20 little ones? *shrug* I have no idea. And do you *need* to micromanage to call it an FLR as it's understood by most?

    Honestly, I haven't looked closely enough into how the term is generally used to say yes or no to that. I think I don't use it because for me, labelling it that way means I have to explain the term *as well as* describing what I want… Bah, who can be bothered? It doesn't necessarily mean I don't have one though *eyebrow waggle*.

    “The explanation of why you like obedience makes the desire for obedience make so much more sense to me. Finally, the lightbulb switches on :) “

    Ha! Yay for lightbulbs! I will pretend that my rambling above did not make it flicker and turn off!!

    Ferns

  20. “And the question this then raises for me is “where is the tipping point into an 'FLR'?”

    Great topic and discussion. I have always been another one that stayed admit against doing it the way some book told me and I really hate what the labels seem to imply. But I still view our D/s dynamic as a FLR. The amount of control is really a sliding scale. What tips the scale in my view, is that ultimate veto power. What I choose to control in a daily, weekly or monthly basis is irrelevant. The real control IS that ultimate veto.

  21. Maggie: “The real control IS that ultimate veto.”

    I think that's a fair enough definition to use and boils it down nicely.

    I guess it leads to a follow on question relating somewhat to my last musing(rhetorical, really, I am not actually expecting you to answer it, but you are welcome to!)… over how many things do you need that veto power to consider it an FLR? Do you need veto power over *everything* (money, job, car, friends, family)? 51% of things? All 'big' things?

    I suspect those who *embrace* the terminology probably also have passionate and heated discussions about what constitutes an FLR, same as any other BDSM terminology.

    I guess I am ultimately coming to the conclusion that as a descriptive term, to me, it kind of fails (like most of them, really). Using it is the start of a discussion. Having said that, I have previously mentally skipped over submissives who said they wanted one because 'I don't really do that', when in fact, I may well do, I just don't use the term. So, I guess I learnt something! Yay!

    Must have a nap now.

    Ferns

  22. Honestly:

    Female Led Relationship-

    Ultimate Veto on all things relating to the relationship that involve both of you. The man can have Veto on a few things , mostly involving either things he does by himself or outside activities (maybe he works and its an important part of his identity and provided he is giving enough time to you it's really not your concern). And of course in areas in which you have no Veto or he has no Veto you both deserve to be “heard”.

    That's my definition anyway. Obviously some take this ultimate Veto power to every aspect of the relationship (though in that case it's definitely Mistress/Slave and can easily become unhealthily balanced) but you asked what “the minimum” was. If he always got his way EXCEPT in the bedroom, I don't think I'd call that FLR.

    Clarence the Thoughtful

  23. “over how many things do you need that veto power to consider it an FLR? Do you need veto power over *everything* (money, job, car, friends, family)? 51% of things? All 'big' things?”

    I tend to see it like Clarence defined it…”Ultimate Veto on all things relating to the relationship that involve both of you.”

    Where the confusion can come from is what people would consider pertaining to the relationship. Depending on what level that relationship stands, this could be more or less the majority of the males life. In the early stages, where the couple is simply dating.. it would be FLR if she ultimately controlled the who, what, where, when and who pays for the date part of the relationship. But she probably isn't controlling the man's money, career, home, car, etc. In a marriage, I would expect a FLR to be her controlling the majority of the relationship… including all the big ticket items.

    In mine.. we live together but are not married (nor plan to be). When we entered the relationship, we agreed that his child custody arrangements and job schedule was his to control. I am just to be informed as to their status so I can work around them. I choose not to manage his finances, but instead dictate what his household contribution is and let him manage whats left. Outside of that though, I DO control ultimate veto on everything else. BUT… I rarely choose to control too much of him. 90% of the time, he chooses what to eat, what to wear, who he socializes with and even which chores around the house to do. Though I still have the ultimate veto to send him back upstairs to change, to put something back into the fridge, etc.

    So to me.. it's not what I control on a day to day basis.. it's more a case of where does the buck stop. With me and my boy, the buck stops with me.

  24. Though funny aside in reference with the title… If you ask my children who wore the pants in my marriage or in my current relationship, they will both not hesitate to tell you that I do! LOL

  25. Clarence: “Ultimate Veto on all things relating to the relationship that involve both of you… If he always got his way EXCEPT in the bedroom, I don't think I'd call that FLR.”

    To me, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable explanation if we don't have to define what things fall under the umbrella of “relating to the relationship that involve both of you”.

    In practice, if the ultimate veto was never exercised, is it still an FLR? That is, to all intents and purposes, he makes all the decisions and she is happy with it. And a step further, if he *drives* the relationship, tells her what to do (make my dinner, do the washing), and she is perfectly happy with all of his choices and chooses not to veto them… still an FLR?

    I guess what I am getting to now that I am thinking about this some more is that 'female led' implies some sort of *active* leading doesn't it? Not just 'saying no if I don't like it'. If we are defining FLR by veto power, then don't most traditional male-led vanilla couples do that?

    Ferns

  26. Maggie: “Where the confusion can come from is what people would consider pertaining to the relationship.”

    Agreed.

    I think your situation sounds like a really practical and working type of FLR (quite lovely, actually *jealous sigh*!).

    You talk about control, and the stages of it, which I love. It sounds like you get to the point of 'ultimate veto' when you have *established* your control, set your boundaries, he knows your desires, and you choose to exercise your veto only when you feel like it.

    I'm following on from my thoughts above to Clarence. It makes perfect sense to me that you have done all the work to set it up the way that works for you, so while it *seems* like it's about the veto, really the 'veto power' is the *result* of the work you have done to make your relationship what you want. You control, guide, make decisions along the way and when the relationship is *established* the way you want, it kind of settles down into 'veto power' which you rarely have to exercise.

    Am I anywhere close?

    Ferns

  27. Maggie: “Though funny aside in reference with the title… If you ask my children who wore the pants in my marriage or in my current relationship, they will both not hesitate to tell you that I do!”

    *laugh* Kids see everything, they know stuff!!

    Ferns

  28. Madame Ferns the Lovely and Dominant and Always Angelic & Brilliant:

    *hey, gotta practice my ass kissing and flirting so I don't get TOO rusty lol*

    I suppose you are right. I should also have added:
    When things involve the two of you, the female usually sets the agenda.

    Male led relationship would be the opposite. But if the “agenda setting” is roughly equal then it would default to who had the final veto power. Make sense?

    Have a great weekend.

    Clarence The Philosophical Brat aka BratBoy Wonder

    *still chuckling over “Fernsmobile”..

  29. I am curious if you would not define your relationships as Female Led Relationships than do you define them at all?

    “It is about me recognising that anything beyond superficial compromise makes me resentful and unhappy. I don’t want to fight about the things that I want and I also don’t want to give them up, so I need someone who gets pleasure out of saying “Yes, Ma’am” to things he may not always agree with.”

    Funny because in all of my relationships others have always described me as a “yes baby” person.(their actual words). See I don’t want her to compromise. The idea of her compromising makes me unhappy because it defeats the purpose of who I am with her. I am happy giving her what she wants, desires, and needs. If she is compromising I am not fulfilling who I am really either.

    But this is my problem I keep running into…people see her not compromising and me being the “Yes Ma’am” person giving her the final authority as me being a pushover and willing to compromise myself.

    Respectfully,
    mysticlez

    1. I have a blog post brewing that is kind of about this.

      But let me say this:

      “people see her not compromising and me being the “Yes Ma’am” person giving her the final authority as me being a pushover and willing to compromise myself.”

      If you worry about how people see you (as a couple), then that is ALWAYS going to be a problem.

      I absolutely understand the instinct others might have to worry about you. Unhealthy abusive relationships look a lot like that.

      I find the best response is to smile and say ‘This is how we like it, it makes us happy’ and be done.

      Ferns

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.