It's not because he's infallible

A question often asked is how, in Taken In Hand relationships in which there is an element of corporal discipline, do the husband and wife think about the fallibility of the husband? Is he deemed infallible? Is there an assumption that the woman is more fallible than the man? If not, why is the punishment all one way?

The reason why I get spanked and my husband doesn't is that I like being spanked and he doesn't. It has nothing to do with him being infallible, which he certainly isn't, and I find that an applling notion. I have never met an infallible man and wouldn't want to. I know men like that exist in DD fiction, but such a perfect creature would be extremely trying to have about the house in real life.

I would simply hate having to spank my husband. It would make me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed and it would also be a big turn-off for me. If he felt that way about spanking me it would be a serious problem for us, but happily for me he doesn't. It gives him satisfaction to wallop me when I've done something that annoys him, whereas it wouldn't give me any satisfaction to whack him if he'd annoyed me. And he would absolutely hate it.

It's not about him being better than me, or not ever making mistakes. It's about what suits us. I totally agree with the person (I think it was fortysomethingwife) who said “If our positions were reversed I could find as many reasons to spank him as he does to spank me.” It's purely about fulfilling our personal needs; it has nothing to do with him being infallible—God forbid.

Louise C

Take the Taken In Hand tour


Male control and fallibility

I am not at all sure, paradigmatically, that Louise is the one to best respond to these questions of warrant and guarantees. I am not dismissing her response, for it is thoroughly consistent with everything she has written here. These are her druthers. It "suits us.” At the same time, I view her perspective as one that is really at the far pole of a dimension that runs from a sense of light-hearted, playful, perverse indulgence of a capricious personal preference that means little beyond itself to, at the other polar extreme, a fiercely earnest commitment to what is, by all intents, a metaphysical view of male/female dynamics that carries crucial, intimate, personal meaning. I leave you to surmise which polar express I am aboard.

The easy answer to all these fairness, justice, and omniscience questions is: because we like the dynamic, our lives are our own, and we freely, consensually, pursue our relations in this manner. Socially and politically, nothing more need by said. These are private matters.

I will assume the real question here is what makes this tick, why would one accept such terms. I will attempt to give more vividness and clarity to certain psychological realities that many are failing to come to grips with in all of this. I would like to step things up to a higher level of abstraction—absorbing without comment “punishment” and “correction”, specific implementations of male authority that I consider dicey and thin icey in many respects and to which I have no wish to give some kind of blanket personal endorsement. The best focal point is perhaps the issue of male control. And I think it is important to remind ourselves that we are considering private, intimate behavior that falls under the radar of social and political norms and conventions. Part of the deliciousness of all of this is that it is perverse and exceptional—we are in the realm of special concessions we make to another precisely because they are so crucially important to our personal happiness. There are quite simply many normal, sensible, rational rules and norms that have no scope in this private realm.

Many of the specific protocols, rituals, “corrections”, and so forth discussed here—most of which to me personally are “don’t cares” and irrelevancies—must, to make sense, be understood as assertions and re-assertions of the context of the male led dynamic. While we tend to think in terms of who is “right” it is important not to lose sight of a priority that trumps issues of “right”, “fair”, “arbitrary”. Let me try to make this a little more clear. It is often said, men cannot take criticism. Fair enough—the fragile male ego and so forth. Is the implication here that women can take criticism? I can see us headed for a wrangle here and it may be beside the point. I am inclined to suggest that the issue is not so much for some men the irk of the point of the criticism nor a felt attack on his purported inflated ego but a more fundamental sense that the dynamic with his woman has gone awry. I am not wishing to assert that men are never peckerheads, clearly we are. Are you asserting that women are never bitches? Surely not. Loving, supportive people cut each other slack. It takes at times heroic efforts both to convey and receive criticism in a loving, supportive way. We often fail at this. It can be a matter of immense pride and ambition to a man to maintain what he feels to be the proper emotional context of the relation. I suspect that the irk and the hurt of criticism from his woman lands at this target rather than at any particular point of disagreement.

Permit me to state the obvious. There is something curious about the obvious; in an odd sort of way, some things are so obvious that we can come to consider them somewhat unreal. It is baffling, but there it is. This is a site devoted to a male led dynamic. Women here say, again and again, they like male control. They like male control. I am perhaps being a little goofy here, but we really need to let this sink in. I personally do not understand why this happens, but there’s some kind of inclination to whitewash or try to explain away what folks are saying when they make these sorts of foundational statements. So let me insist: they are saying what they mean, and they mean what they are saying. They like male control.

I am sometimes tempted to think there are congenital differences between humans on this kind of issue. As if there is some fundamental incapacity to grasp what it means to mean.

Let me now state the reciprocal. As a male, I love to take control of a woman. It is funny, internally, that what we take to be axiomatic leaves others baffled. So if you ask me why, I am tempted to ask back: don’t you know what fun is?

I’ve a notion that my answers to these control and discipline issues will leave many deeply unsatisfied. I sense that this is because the answers can only be understood biologically and organically. At this level I am willing to concede gaps in understanding that I cannot cross, gaps that are no different than my failure to understand at this level the preferences of a beloved younger brother who is gay. It is not an issue of lack of sympathy or retreat from a live and let live ethic. It is one of those I-don’t-get-it things that I don’t care to get.

Returning to the infallibility issue posed to Louise. Clearly, no one gets to be pope. As Aquinas said citing Aristotle, there is no sound argument from authority (If you do not get this joke, please reflect for a moment). As to the fears that there may be abuses and unfairnesses in a man’s treatment of his woman—and these are certainly valid concerns—we must not assume, voyeuristically peering in on this intimate dynamic that we occupy some privileged ground from which to adjudicate matters from a perspective of omniscience. We have just agreed, there is no such perspective (on what grounds do we assert for ourselves a loophole or exemption we are not willing to grant to the man in question?). There is nothing to fall back on here except the man’s honor, integrity, and objectivity. Should the woman lose trust in him, she is free to boogie.

There are a couple of different ways of phrasing the “coercive”, controlling aspects of male/female relations. As I have suggested, many will not like the language. They put me on a risky edge where, through guilt-by-association, I can easily be lumped with some rather unsavory associates. Tant pis! I wish no one harm but I will not let others’ delicate sensibilities and failures to understand hold me back from going after what I want. I do hope the faint-hearted are on their swooning couches.

1. A man is stronger and he can. There are primitive animal factors of male animal energy and exuberance.
2. She dares him and he takes the dare. There are teasing and mock-fighting aspects to this that are heavenly.
3. Boys and their toys. Men enjoy mastery, control, and use of complex, sophisticated, sensitive, quick-to-the-helm gadgetry. Think of it as biological engineering.
4. She fills him with desire and he has the nerve to act on that desire.
5. A man feels that choosing a woman is a promotion—of her as a uniquely special value, of himself as being ennobled by her acceptance of that choice.
6. There is no issue of superior/inferior. There are factors here of simple recognition, acceptance, and celebration of biologically natural facts.
7. Aggressive men love to prevail. Aggressive women reach their bliss losing control and surrendering to their man.
8. He carries the certainty that his initiative will bring her pleasure.

There is a kind of self-sanctioning warrant in pure deliciousness. I’m not sure I can push analysis of this much further. At some point we reach the irreducible and I think we are at bedrock. I am fully aware that I am plop in the middle of that lame territory called she’s-asking-for-it. I make no apology, but I will remind that we are on a site where women are asking for it. To state essentials is not to ignore or dismiss the qualifiers and conditionals. Be wary and careful in your selection of a man. If you want a guarantee, hook up with the pope or buy a toaster.

Asking for it

Women on this site are 'asking for it', but what they are 'asking for' means very different things to different women. A lot of women are into forced sex, the 'rape' thing, which doesn't appeal to me at all. Likewise the 'consensual non-consent' thing, which would drive me perfectly frantic. I find the mental control that my husband is able to exercise over me much more satisfying than I would any amount of brute force. I find it very soothing when he is able to calm me down and make me feel submissive towards him when I am in a strop about something, where physical force would not soothe me at all. When he says 'come here' to me in that certain tone of voice I always come, because he is able to override whatever surface emotions I may be feeling, and get at the deeper desire I have for him to take control. Sometimes I find this slightly annoying, when I am feeling really pissed off and not at all submissive, but he is able to override that.

Women on here quite often write that they have chosen a Taken In Hand relationship in the face of 'society's' disapproval. I, on the contrary, have never got the impression that society does disapprove of male-led relationships. On the contrary 'society' in much of the world actively encourages them and women have no choice but to be in them. My own unease came more from the notion that I am making a sensual pleasure out of something that for the majority of women in the world is a grim reality, women in most societies are in such relationships, whether they like it or not. I am not afraid of abuses in my own relationship, because nobody can force me to be in it if I didn't like it, whereas most women in the world have no such choice.

I personally am bored by the biologocial argument. Reducing what to me is something fun and sensual to the level of mere tedious biology robs it of all romance and glamour for me. It's a huge turn-off. I prefer to think of it as a secret and sensual pleasure, not that I am merely obeying some dreary biological imperative.


Yes, VelvetHammer!

Dear VelvetHammer, I would like to thank you for your elaborations on this topic. I enjoyed them very much and I agree wholeheartedly. (Even if it is always difficult for me to follow your refined texts, English being only my third language.)
My own view is as follows:
I am a very strong, independent woman myself, so much so that I spent about 15 years of my life trying to find my match, that is a man who is able to relate to me "in the right way", which to me means real male superiority. I very often rejected men who were not strong enough to cope with me, to "tame the shrew", because I did not want to "play" Master/submissive (or whatever you call it), but feel it, live that way. My husband now is the first man who did it, who tamed the shrew, who made me (and himself) happy. This would never have been possible if he were not superior to me. I am not trying to say that he is infallible. But statistically seen he is much more often right than me, he is intelligenter than me, he is quicker to decide, consequenter to escalate (or deescalate) matters than me. This is the reason why it is a realm of possibilities that he correct me—otherwise I would sent him to hell, or much simpler, I would have never married him and gave him two sons :)


It's because it's erotic. Some men are submissive and find being spanked erotic. I'm not quite of the same view as you about the punishment side—I like to comply and being spanked is erotic fun but not much to do with things not having been done rightly or wrongly; that just confuses things for me.

Who is in charge?

I have found that absolute surrender to my lovers meant absolute control of my lovers. If I absolutely obeyed my lover, I would absolutely command my lover.

Velvet Hammer, I really enjoy your writing. I must confess that I have struggled with your handle. I have spent most of my life on the wrong side of the tracks and after seeing your handle I sniffed and thought that you would fare very poorly in my old neighborhood. What good is a velvet hammer?

But wait! You are such a good writer; there must be some purpose for the velvet hammer? I have got it! You could choke someone very well with a velvet hammer. It is so totally brilliant, it is uncanny. It would work wonderfully for that 'special' occasion where one is forced to be creative and subtle and not vulgar per say.

Would it be blue velvet? No, no. It is too easy to be caught with a blue velvet hammer. Someone is sure to figure it out. I propose it should be candy striped red and white. It should be small so that when the lady is finished with the deed at hand she can daintily hang it from the Christmas Tree and smile sweetly, escaping all suspicion while it placidly swings under the garland.

male infalliability

When I am taken in hand, whether rightly or wrongly, I feel loved, protected, and safe. He feels in control, admired, and adored. It is win win.

some replies

Hera, I am much less vested in goofy punishment notions than you apparently think.

Louise, if you will reread I suggest that you will find no "biological argument". We are born savages and must be civilized. Had I obeyed biological imperatives alone I might by now have impregnated half the women on the planet (I just haven't traveled all the way around the globe).

If it is tiresome to read proposed explanations of why we are the way we are, if this unweaves the romantic rainbow for you, if you get a charge out of thinking you are some kind of miraculous mystery stuff, haphazardly housed in but somehow detached from your biology, fine by me. But I will note the irony of the complaint of biological reductionism coming from the one who most celebrates the smacking of, and fondly treasures her man’s gaze and hands upon, precisely, her biology. If you think you have cornered the market on delicious pastry of perverse, private and mischievous fun I urge that you are making a mistake. I make so bold as to assert that the naughty goodies are better at my shop. See you at the Pillsbury bake-off.

I have assumed that women here want to know what an aggressive man thinks and feels, perhaps simply to understand or cultivate certain tendencies in their own man. I hardly need say that I don’t speak for them, I speak for myself. I sometimes use somewhat generalizing speech simply because I doubt very much that I am unique. For all I care, I am, for that is where I am healthy and alive. I am somewhat irreverent. Don’t be fooled. I am at the same time in dead earnest. Package deal. (It does somehow bring to mind the irony of women wanting a man with a sense of humor, especially about himself—“but not about me!”)

Just as this site raises the bar of a standard of happiness that is far too low, in the sense that if offers a vision of a human potential that some may choose to realize, I try to suggest in my own quirky way that there is more good stuff in full intimacy than you can imagine. They are things that I have lived. It is, of course, totally take it or leave it. The kick for me is encountering folks who catch my drift.

Turning to these, I sense a curious resonance with the tango ladies. I know not a thing about this form of dance. To flag how grotesque is the ignorance, the only image sequence on the inner cinemascope is John Revolta doing the tango hustle in Saturday Night Fever—how’s that for an atrocity, Empress? As some have noted, first the Lady Di tango, then Saskia’s, now that of the Empress. (If we are one-upping here I shall take on the challenge, study the dance form, and write my version as a fandango of pure erotica).

I wish to thank you, Saskia and Empress, for the appreciative words. Saskia, I sure enjoy your enthusiasm. I wish to forestall a suggestion of any assertion on my part of “superiority” that I tried to take care not to make. My closing remarks certainly add up to a certain assertion of male dominance (golly moses crikey, in the very limited context in which we speak) but I do wish to make myself utterly clear on this. There are a few expressions that I take as especially precious. “Freely given.” “No holding back.” Those are my terms and I insist on them, I’ve no interest in any others. I have no truck (other than my pickup) with anything that would seem to imply diminishing, demeaning, or harming. These notions are to me senseless and the mere suggestion of it would immediately kill all desire. Believe or not, a man can be just as good-hearted as a woman. Intimacy is not some kind of zero-sum deal where one party gains at the expense of the other. (Forgive the cautionary scold, I sense that you understand these things but sometimes clarity must be, a la Jack Nicholson, crystal.)

Empress, you are up to poetic mischief and have made of the apparatus some kind of darkly used peppermint stick, candy cane qua Christmas ornament. The handle is actually not quite so mysterian and dates from soirees spent in dance clubs in Savannah. You could look it up, for it names a delicious beverage concocted from vodka, crème of cocoa, and triple sec blended with healthy dollops of Breyer’s natural bean vanilla ice cream. Goes down very smooth, packs a wallop. By extension, so to speak, some fond ladies have applied the expression. I coyly avow it is not self-nomination. One sweetheart, sometimes rather harshly treated, has suggested, a bit luridly, that these are the two poles of my Jekyll-Hyde person. She has entertained me with highly cathartic erotic imaginings of a Punch and Judy nature where she is alternately petted and pleasured by Velvethand and roughly used by Hammerhand.

The name does represent a sort of ideal for me, one which I am usually far short of. The notion is, of course, to be firm but gentle. It will escape no one, the ancillary notion of hammering velvet.

I admit to curiosity about your notions of who is in charge. If you are saying that in total surrender to a man you find fulfillment of your needs and wants I certainly agree that this is the right path to attaining a man’s full focus, attention, and desire. It is commanding in the sense that you can become his world, with background drained of all interest. I agree as well if you mean you find this empowering, for it is how you ladies take wing and soar.

There is wonderful drama and a kind of thought in motion vividness to your expression, a kind of raw, nakedness of style. But wait! I’ve got it! The Empress has no clothes!

“It was a sublime synergy and the only leader was the music, the fire, and the blazing starry sky.” Starlit outdoor romp. Just checking. This was dancing, right? Yum.


I am an individualist, and therefore dislike the idea that what I am is what everyone else is. The 'all men are naturally dominant, all women are naturally submissive' argument is one that leaves me personally cold, though it does seem to appeal to a lot of people. I don't believe that all women are like me, and I KNOW that all men are not like my husband, who in any case is dominant only in specific areas that he cares about, in many other ares he's a pushover. I don't think biology is the answer to why I am the way I am, because why then don't all women want the same kind of relationship I do? Because many evidently don't.

Whether half the women in the world would have been willing to be impregnated by you I think is a moot point, I imagine that here and there you might have encountered perhaps one or two who didn't fancy the idea (especially if, like me, they're not fond of beards).

However, I only understand about 1% of what you write (and that's giving myself the benefit of the doubt), so I really can't comment on most of what you say because it is quite incomprehensible to me. Most of what you write might as well be in Sanskrit for all the sense I can make of it.

The part of the Empress's tango article I liked the best was where she said that there were no leaders and no followers, everyone just dancing and not caring who was leading or following. I recognised having felt, in a pale watered-down sort of way, something of the same emotions when I was doing country-dancing when I was young. Dances where you whirled around dancing with everyone and not being a leader or a follower were the dances that exhilarated me, everyone just having fun and not worrying about all that leader and follower stuff, that was pure enjoyment.


Quips and quotes

I too am an individualist and I’ve no gripe with anyone about the way they choose to live as long as they stay out of my way. I do find it unmannerly to bash each others brains in, dine on one another, and take somebody else’s stuff. I do object to propositions attributed to me that I would never be such a goofball as to utter. In the context of a forum explicitly devoted to a male/female dynamic that is fully consensual and flagged with cautionary warnings that such a dynamic is likely suited to a very limited subset of folks it baffles me that you could think I am asserting such things as “all men are dominant.” That is dopier than asserting that all folks are hetero. It just ain’t so.

Our statements are made in a context. It is a mug’s game to pluck “sound bites” as sweeping universal statements. Think of the feeding frenzy on the boss’s notorious article. There is something heart sinking in being so willfully misunderstood and misinterpreted.

To further learn that you admit to almost total lack of comprehension of what I write really gives pause. It really would have been much more honorable to leave a comment: I think this is gibberish. Here I was carrying the boy scout notion that you had read, understood, and were taking exception. It really takes some dignity from the whole proceeding, turning it into a kibitzing, quipping, bullshit session. I know that you are very light-hearted about these matters—in fact I share your light-hearted spirit in many ways—but we have folks here looking for ways to understand and find a deeper sort of human happiness, and that really matters. To the extent that they have come to respect your thoughts you give a highly misleading flavor to my remarks. Agreed, this is each person’s look out, but still.

These issues of preferences are obviously a very complex matter. Now that the taboo has lifted on the politically correct notion that there is no human nature, that it’s all culture, it is becoming possible to speak more than stuff and nonsense about male/female differences (need I say that all evidence shows that these things exist on a continuum with many crossovers?). Recent studies, for example, in brain physiology and function are utterly fascinating.

It is interesting that you mention beards and your prejudice against them. You are happily paired and I am quite delighted for you; alas, I would otherwise tout the virtues of a soft manly beard on tender womanly parts. As a young bearded man, my unshaven state precluded meeting the philosopher/novelist I most admired. She didn’t trust men with beards—they had something to hide. Funny, but a fact of life, some of the most brilliant people on earth can, in many respects of their personal lives, be utter loons.

It is deeply ironic that you have closed your note by invoking the joyously euphoric piece the Empress wrote on the tango. I share that joy of the romp and in fact closed an earlier note citing, precisely, the summarizing poetry of that shared, leaderless joy. I would prefer to not be made out adversary to the things I most deeply love.

To VelvetHammer

Well, I took stab at answering your comments because you were commenting specifically on something I had written, but I find most of what you write in general completely incomprehensible. For the most part, I can only echo what Sully quoted her husband as having said about your writing "Oh my God, I just want to drill a hole in my head".

I'm sure there are plenty of people on here who do understand what you write, but personally I am on this subject at one with Sully's husband.


Not THAT boring

I can see Louise, in the wider context of your last remarks, that my comments on your thread put you in a rather awkward place. It is fair to say that I barged your discussion and, without intending to, had you sort of cornered. I am sorry to have been so loaded for bear in my follow on remarks.

I am expecting a post-holiday season bonus check from the folks at Black and Decker. It would seem I have boosted their sales of power drills.

I Share Your Sentiment

Louise, I agree that I can't get into the "all women are submissive and all men dominant" biological argument, and it definitely rubs me the wrong way also.

I also find it hard to understand Velvet Hammer and I'm pretty well read. I get the feeling he writes obscurely on purpose. This actually detracts from his ability to communicate. A few $50 words as they are called are fine but when there's a whole string of them, people lose the drift and can't respond.

It's funny but that "no leader and no follower" aspect of the tango and the country dances you describe fits right into MY idea of an ideal relationship. That is, the boundaries of leadership are fluid. Sometimes I'm the leader, sometimes he is, we have different areas of expertise and it dovetails and works very well. It's a lot like dancing the tango. Now all he needs to do is stick a red rose stem between his teeth, and off we'll go!


$50 words

Well, I'm relieved that you find VelvetHammer difficult to understand, I thought it was just me, and probably due to my lack of a university education.

Frankly, I regard the 'no leader, no follower' relationship as the ideal one. Despite the fact that many people on here say things like "it takes a strong woman to submit" I tend to see my own desire to be in a male-led relationship as a weakness rather than a strength. When I read something like the description of the dancing with no leaders and no followers I think "that's how it should be really".

And I cherish the vision of your husband with a red rose between his teeth!