Saying "no" as code for "I care"

Just the other day, on a long and taxing business trip, my husband and I stopped at the gas station to buy refreshments. I was delighted to see that my favorite new fixation, Full Throttle Blue Agave Energy Drink, was in the cooler case. A beautiful shade of unnatural electric blue, loaded with sugar and caffeine—what's not to love?

I blissfully grabbed two cans, then turned around to see my husband staring down at me. “No”, he ordered, “put it back”.

I pouted, and I do mean pouted because tasty-sweet energy drinks are highly addictive. But he was firm; he had the quaint notion that too much sugar and caffeine might somehow be harmful to my already pleasingly plump backside.

“Please”, I begged. I wasn't deliberately trying to make bad soft drink choices; I just really needed the hit.

“No” he growled. He tipped back his cowboy hat and glared down at me. Suddenly I was aware that HE might somehow be harmful to my pleasingly plump backside unless I put it down—which I promptly did, with much alacrity. He replaced aforementioned energy drink with a digustingly healthful sparkling green tea. I did not care, because I was for some unknown reason completely entranced by his mastery of my baser instincts—and that made him very, very attractive to me in a very, very hot way.

He actually growled at me at a service station, and it was so totally erotic I didn't dare tell him. If he had said “let me buy you a new naughty nighty” it could not have been more sensual! I was a little confused for a moment, especially since I am not used to being in such a mood at the gas pump lately.

However, I think I have it all figured out.

It was just the idea that he cared enough to notice what I put into my body, and he cared enough to make a decision I really wasn't in the mood to make. He also was man enough to put his foot down when I really, really needed some help disciplining myself in matters dietetic...

He spends all day long making important decisions for other people, about business, about family, about money. For him to take the time to make decisions for us makes me feel I'm just as important as his business is to him!

That really is the crux of the whole matter, for a man to care enough to say no—especially when it is truly needed.

All day long, we walk through this world without a soul to care for us, unnoticed by the crowds. What a wonderful change of pace it is, to find someone who cares enough to actually notice when we go astray from our own best interests! And how much more wonderful it is, when a true leader intervenes with “No” to help us find our path again...

...especially when that leader is wearing tight jeans and cowboy boots!


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As Henry Kissinger put it...

What he said might ALSO have aroused you because he had the power to say it. As Henry Kissinger so aptly put it, "Power is the ultimate aphrodesiac..." most definitely including the power to say "No." In my case, I must admit, he could have turned me on the rack before I tried the sparking green tea...but then, I don't like those energy drinks either. :)

My Husband is like that too

He's very health conscious and we're both on a pretty complex program for diet, suppliments and HRT. So while he loves that I make him things like chocolate and strawberry cupcakes, 1 is the limit. And if I reach for a second (unless it's for use during erotic play ;-) then he lets me know right away of is disapproval. And I love it. I wouldn't be happy any other way. Because like you said, it's because he cares about me and doesn't want me to be unhealthy, and he wants me to feel good both physically and mentally about myself.

Funnily enough, he wears jeans and cowboy boots too! Rawr!

Good post! I enjoyed reading it.

Sex AND chocolate?

A CUPCAKE, during erotic play? You have found the way to combine sex AND chocolate? My mind is BOGGLING! But in a good way. :)

Heck yeah!

Especially when the cupcakes have a filling inside or something yummy like that.

We have food with sex quite often. It can be a little messy, but it's fun!

I'm a skeptic

The reasoning here—he cares enough to say no when I am being self-destructive by threatening to spank me—is commonplace among Taken In Hand women, particularly those who are thrilled by the threat of being spanked!

I'm sceptical. In my view, this is all ex post facto reasoning. First, comes the desire, the erotic disposition, to be in a Taken In Hand relationship, and to be spanked; then comes the rationale that defends the urge. Maybe he says no and threatens to spank you because he gets a kick out of being in control and putting his foot down just as it thrills the pants off of you when he does so.

I celebrate the mutuality of your erotic dispositions while being skeptical about the rationale that dresses it all up as a manifestion of deeper love.

My question is: why is it necessary to defend or justify our desires in this way? Why can't we simply celebrate them, especially if we are fortunate enough—as in Dandelion's case—to have found a compatibility of desires in our lovers?

I understand your scepticism.

I understand your scepticism. It does seem kind of like a chicken and egg argument I guess, but if you could feel it from my side, their would be no doubt. I could really relate to Dadelion's post because it is the comfort of that control that I crave. The feeling that someone is looking out for my best interest, even when I'm not able to do so myself, is powerful. It's powerful to be cared for in that way.

I will not deny getting an erotic charge out of it when he looks out for me. Yes it turns me on. If I thought he were only looking out for me because it turned me on, however, I would feel hurt. We look out for each other because we're in a relationship and we love each other.


Hmmm. Okay, what came first the chicken or the egg? I never understood the need for that WHY is it important? I can't imagine a man two hundred years ago thinking, "Hey, authority turns me on...spanking turns her on...therefore, let me find a REASON to do it."
I more or less think that many gentleman have felt they had no recourse to enforcing a 'rule' or 'thought' that would benefit their wives. Just because we Taken in Hand women offer them that recourse doesn't mean we are justifying anything.
Heck, I think we should 'celebrate' finally having a RECOURSE!!!!
When my husband takes the time and effort to be interested in my wellbeing, WOW. When he demonstrates his masculine power over me by telling me 'NO', it's incredibly erotic.
Lately, I am getting spanked if I don't make it to the gym five days a week. Or if my diet goes to pot. I have not taken care of myself since my last baby was born and he's concerned. He wants to have a long, happy, healthy life together. Since I don't have the will power to achieve what I know I want, he's putting in an additional incentive! LOL
Guess what? I'm thankful for it. Men on power trips, and my man...not even in the same category, sorry.

Eroticism invoked, not merely justified, by psychological needs

Thank you so much for your post!

I agree that we should celebrate the sheer physical eroticism of our lives, and shouldn't devalue it with meaningless analysis and evaluation. Attempts to justify our healthy and natural desires through psychoanalysis have taken the joy out of many a happy moment for many couples. But I assure that is not the case here—while your skepticism is understandable, it misses the entire point of the article.

The "no" is sexy BECAUSE it makes me feel noticed, not that I think it's sexy and need to justify it. However, that is a common misunderstanding about the sexuality of women. Current thinking frequently ascribes to the belief that women, uncomfortable with eroticism, will justify it through psychology; but in actuality, psychological need CREATES the erotic response...

On this board I have written about the "stand alone eroticism" of fantasy—without need of justification —and the celebration of said kinkiness. That eroticism does deserve to be celebrated on it's own, without my deconstructing it to make it acceptable.

However, in this case, the entire physical aspect of this verbal exchange is completely missing, and to tell the truth, I don't believe my husband was even aware of his sexual effect on me when he told me "no". He didn't threaten any "punishment", and he certainly didn't promise me any "erotic spanking" in the exchange. That's what made it so intriguing to me; how could such a "non-sexy" event, taking place in such a mundane environment, cause such a overt sexual reaction in me?

That reason for my reaction illustrates perfectly what most men (and a good many women) don't understand; the root of most female sexual fantasy is revealed in psychological as well as physiological needs. In my case, I have a deep-seated need for someone to verbally express that they care about my behaviors, good OR bad. Having grown up in a very permissive household, where no one would intervene unless someone was "actively bleeding or on fire" as one writer put it, I am always pleasantly surprised when someone notices me at all...

Not that my parents didn't care; they were just too busy nurturing our inner beings to notice that our outer beings were out wandering in the woods by ourselves with the bears and moose and sliding down a 40-foot cliff by a hanging vine (but I digress). I did have a wonderful childhood, it just left a certain need in me.

In this case however, if the "no" was merely rooted in his need for control, it wouldn't have the same effect on me, and in fact would have had the opposite effect. If "no" had just been about his need for control, then it would have been all about him, and my psychological need would have been unfulfilled—resulting in no erotic response to his demands...

As far as the "self-destructive" behaviors go, well, I'm not really sure that picking up one or two energy drinks would really fall into the "self-destructive" category (although I do think that bathing in them would probably be a bad idea). Agreed, if I were engaging in intentional attention-seeking bad behaviors, then it would certainly offset or even negate the joy of the erotic aspect. However, having grown up around people who engaged in self-destructive behaviors, I am VERY careful to never let myself fall into such ill actions. The *unintentional* bad choice I made was unnoticed by even me, due to a hurried schedule and late hour—but my husband took time to notice and add his opinion.

Oh yes, and he was sexy too. That did help...

In conclusion, the erotic aspect of this exchange was conceived in the psychological need; but that doesn't dilute either the eroticism or the psychology. Find that psychological need and fill it, and you will unlock the secret of most female (and many male) sexual fantasies. And that's certainly something worth celebrating!

It just proves that the most sexual organ of a woman's body is her mind...

But I think it IS a deeper love

I don't think it's dressed up at all. And I don't think we need to dress it up. For me, it stands on its own merit and proof in my own personal life.

For me, it's more intense, it's more passionate, and it's being more in tune with my partner, and my partner being more in tune with me. The level of trust is higher too. Heck, it just seems more advanced and evolved than the basic commonplace relationships that my real life friends have. I see them all. Most of my friends' marriages are miserable. The men are tired and beat down, and the women are sexually frustrated and getting more and more bitter every day.

Maybe I'm a simple girl, but I see a connection there. Of course that may not be the only reason, but I bet it's often the catalyst.

I don't mean to say that everyone should have a Taken In Hand relationship if they don't want it. That's their own business. But in my eyes, Taken In Hand relationships are definitely of a higher or deeper level.

Just my opinion, and I have nothing but my own perceptions to base it on, but it's still the opinion I have. However, I was just thinking that for a question that seemed to ask why do we have to analyze it to death, it sure did raise a lot of analyzation ;-)

Good point

BYP, I think you make a good point. I sometimes wonder about this myself.

In my case, I completely understand how having my husband say "no" to me could be reassuring and even a sexual turn on. I crave his attention, and feel loved when he lets me know that he is paying attention to what I do and will object if I am doing something that could be harmful to myself or to our relationship.

I have my own theory about why this is for me. I grew up with two alcoholic parents. I had to be the responsible adult for as long as I can remember. At twelve, I was responsible for making sure we had enough money to pay the rent. At sixteen, I was late for my History final because I was bailing my mother out of jail. At the time, I don't remember feeling much of anything about it. I was too exhausted by my constant vigilance, and tension about what they might do next. Only once I got married did I start to learn what a healthy relationship is like, and the effect that my parents had on me growing up.

I trace my intense desire for my husband's loving attention to this. Fortunately and unfortunately, he has been put into a position where he is in some ways giving me the parenting that I never got as a child. We've talked about this, he understands it, and fortunately doesn't mind. I feel that I should be a healthy enough adult not to need this from him, but I am not, and I can't seem to change that. Fortunately, he likes paying attention to me, and is happy to step in to provide some boundaries for me.

However, I remember having thoughts about spanking when I was as young as 3-4 years old. I didn't understand it at the time. I was merely curious about it, but I was aware that I was much more curious about it than I ought to be, and therefore stayed quiet about it.

So, you may be correct, BYP. Perhaps I do justify my spanking desires this way. But, I trace my need for his attention more to my treatment by my parents during my pre-teen and teen years. (I was raised by my very responsible grandparents until I was ten, and so got the attention that I needed until then.) So I think the most likely situation for me is that my need for spanking and my need for my husband's attention and boundaries are separate. I imagine if I weren't interested in spanking, I would still find my husband's attention incredibly reassuring. It is because I am turned on by spanking that it goes even further for me and becomes a sexual turn on as well. I consider myself lucky that these two separate needs work so well together.

Brief reply to the sceptic

If the reasoning were as you say then I would agree that it was fallacious. Luckily, that is not the reasoning. Of COURSE the desire comes first. That is completely obvious! And it is ONLY in that context that saying 'no' is code for 'I care'! But IN THAT CONTEXT, for those of a Taken In Hand inclination, it can be. That is not an argument, it is an observation about people in Taken In Hand relationships. If you want reasoning, see, for example, Why you should not withhold spanking! or She wants to be taken in hand against her will?!

Fuller explantion of my scepticism

I much prefer an exploratory discussion to a confrontation that may generate more heat than light. So let me begin by regretting the way I explained my scepticism. Inadvertently, I have disparaged Dandelion’s feelings of being well-loved, genuinely cared for, by her husband’s firm ‘No’ in response to her unhealthy food choice. That was not my intention. I am happy for Dandelion, and indeed for all of you who welcome your husband’s limits and firm hand as a loving form of control. I have no desire to cast a skeptical eye on your experience or the integrity of your relationships. I was trying to raise a concern about a way of explaining that experience, of giving it meaning and investing yourselves in it, which I shall call the paternal rationale.

Imagine if Dandelion’s husband had said: “It’s your choice to buy those drinks. You’re an adult; you make your own decisions. But it’s a poor choice from the standpoint of your health. You know that as well as I do. So would you please explain to me why you’re buying them?”

Surely, this response is as caring as a flat no. Does it not also stem from genuine concern for a spouse’s health and well-being? But it’s not really what most Taken In Hand women long to hear, and it sure isn’t sexy or enthralling! But nor is it wishy washy, indifferent, sullen or sneering. The man who responds in this way is not letting you off the hook, ignoring you, shaking his head in despair and walking away. Instead, he demands, when you are acting irresponsibly, that you take responsibility for your conduct rather than making the decision for you.

Most women would greet this “what are you doing?” response far more favorably than the flat “No.” This is because other women do not thrill to the threat of being controlled, and even if their relationship is male-dominated, they would prefer not to have their decision-making autonomy infringed to that extent. A confrontation may be tense, but they can handle that. A husband who treats them as if they were in need of his control would be completely beyond the pale. It’s not hard to understand why—they don’t have the desire to be controlled.

You do this because it is satisfying; it fulfills a deep need. I agree with you Dandelion, that this is not just about sexual desire; it is primarily about emotional connection. That’s the strongest grounds for a Taken In Hand relationship in my view—to foster a loving connection.

Finally, then, on men’s motives. The paternal rationale we hear from some DD folk breaks down badly here because spanking children and spanking one’s wife are—hopefully—two radically dissimilar experiences. It gives a healthy father no pleasure to discipline his children (however he does so). We fault him if he fails to set limits and trust that he is motivated by love for his children; we also trust that it gives him no pleasure to discipline them; he does so from a sense of concern and parental duty.

By contrast, it gives a DD man or erotic spanker great pleasure to ‘discipline’ his wife and lover—it certainly does me! I think we have a hard time saying this candidly for fear that it will denigrate the motive of loving care, of deep concern, for our wife’s health and well-being. I am not disparaging such motives! But a man may also be moved by his own desire to exert authority over his wife. Let’s not deny the enormous pleasure he receives from taking you in hand! Base pleasures of possession, control and mastery and selfless motives of loving concern can, and do, coexist, flowing together in the same relationship. That happens in a Taken In Hand relationship at its best.

No is erotic.

Back to the original post, yes, it's erotic to be told no in this sort of context. Of course you also need communication, previous discussion about health etc, need to feel listened to and all the rest but the no is fine too and erotic. You're lucky to have someone to care.

Well Put!

Don't worry, I don't feel disparaged at all! You are putting your thoughts out there quite well, and it leads one to think about it in a whole different light.

In fact, I think it's an interesting illustration of the differences in the intellectual superego/yang (in this case, male) vs. the sensual id/yin (in this case, female), and your hypothetical question brings this up quite nicely:

>blockquote>Imagine if Dandelion’s husband had said: “It’s your choice to buy those drinks. You’re an adult; you make your own decisions. But it’s a poor choice from the standpoint of your health. You know that as well as I do. So would you please explain to me why you’re buying them?”

In fact, my husband and I have had this conversation almost word for word. I think the difference here is it invites conversation, which invites analysis—which short circuits the purely physical. By calling me to think about self-discipline—especially my sensually-driven choices—he is calling me away from physical cravings/id and into the intellectual/super ego. While it leads to better choices in life as a whole, it deliberately calls the person analysing the choice away from gratification and towards willpower. That's very good for healthful lifestyles, but it is exactly the opposite of where I would usually need to go to become erotically involved. Because I am an inhibited person at many levels, as are many strong and willful women, it is the call to self-denial that frequently stands in the way of my own sexual self-fulfillment.

It would certainly be a more adult and normal conversation to have with my husband, and in most cases that is good. However, my husband, in this case, simply took a short cut and assumed the role of his sensible superego/yang and took my sensual id/yin in hand, thereby allowing me to remain in that sensual mode without calling me out of it. As a result the health results were the same—I didn't drink the caffeinated carbohydrate cocktail—and I continued following my sensual id-driven thoughts instead of answering an intellectual challenge.

Of course, had my husband challenged me to better self-discipline, my answer would have been, "You're right, Sweetie, I don't need it—but I want it. However, just because I want something doesn't mean I should be able to have it..."

Self-disciplinary analysis is a call for self-denial, trading the sensual for the sensible—which of course, is the exact opposite of the thought process necessary to enter an erotic mindset!

Conversation and Control, Both Needed

I agree entirely, Dandelion. Your husband, who balances the rational invitation to reflection and self-discipline with the abruptly erotic "No, or else!"—according to the purpose he has in mind and the response he is looking for from you—is managing you and the situation very well!

I like the balance, with frequent invitations to adult conversation and self-discpline, because it negates the paternal premise that you are incapable of acting in your own self-interest and making these kinds of decisions on your own.

Then, when he switches channels and says "No", with an implicit threat to spank, he triggers your erotic response. And regardless of whether you choose to comply or defy (depending on where you wish to take this charged moment) both of you know what's going on.

I must not be like most women, (no surprise, lol)...

Imagine if Dandelion’s husband had said: “It’s your choice to buy those drinks. You’re an adult; you make your own decisions. But it’s a poor choice from the standpoint of your health. You know that as well as I do. So would you please explain to me why you’re buying them?”

A question like this to a choice I make (poor choice or not!) will bring out the rebel in me. It is purely an emotional response, I'll admit, and most likely lies in my history with not only parents but also previous relationships. Nonetheless, it is the response most likely from me.

The firm "No" that Dandelion received would be much more likely to bring out both a submissive response and my rather sheepish admission that it was a poor choice. Of course, it would also elicit the erotic response. I have no problem with admitting this, and find no need to rationalize it to/for/with anyone. It just is.


Our rules

That's great! In fact, those are the only type of "rules" I have to follow. They all are geared towards mental & physical health. I love it, too. I like the fact that they aren't silly, petty rules to follow. He truly cares about me & my well being. It makes me feel so loved & cared for. Great post!


Long and taxing trips

Long and taxing trips are one of many things that bring out my husband's bossy side. Yesterday we were on the second half of a thousand-mile drive home (we'd done six hundred miles the previous day).

We stopped at a service station because he wanted to use the loo. The children wanted to go too. "Do you want to go?" he asked me. "I might as well" I replied casually. I didn't want to go to the loo, I just thought it might be a good opportunity for me to visit the shop. However, he divined my purpose without too much difficulty. "You're not going to the shop" he told me sternly(I had spent rather a lot in the one we went in the previous day). "I could just look, and not buy anything" I suggested hopefully. "No" he said firmly. "Well, I'll stay in the car then" I said sulkily.

When he speaks to me in that way, i find myself obeying instinctively even when (as in this case) I really didn't want to.


one question...

At first I apologize for my bad English—I am from Europe and English is not my mother-tongue. [That's what editors are for!—The Editor] But I will give my best and hope you can understand what I am trying to say :)

I have been following this website since two months and I really feel in love with the idea of a taken in hand relationship. It makes me feel warm just to think about it because it seems to me that this kind of relationship is (for me) the best way... Not for everyone of course, but I think for me it is.

I read this article and one question came to my mind which I wish to share with all of you... and maybe someone has an answer too :)

At first I only thought about this wonderful situation and I think it is really great to feel cared in such a way. Although "no" means (for me) most of the time very negative, your situation as you described it sounds very nice and not a bit negatively.

But after I thought about this for a few minutes a question suddenly sprung to my mind: Would a woman also be able to say "no" to her husband in such a situation, when HE wants to buy something unhealthy and she wants to avert it?

I don't think so... Am I right? Because would he then be the head of household anymore if she is also able to forbid something?

But what makes the man so much "better" than the woman? Why is he the one who can actually state that this is right and this is not (that it is right to buy such a drink or not) and why not the women? Who looks after the man? Who takes care of HIS health?

Of course a loving wife would tell him that she does not appreciate his choice and that she would prefer it if he buys something else. But she is not in the position to threaten her husband. To MAKE him change his choice.

Does this mean that he has more self-discipline? Because he has to make the choice on his own (his wife can only tell him her opinion but she cannot MAKE him to do it)? But in this case... does not this relationship demand too much from the man? Because he has to look after himself AND after his wife...

One Answer

I don't think it is really about the man being better than the woman, it is about people relating to each other in a way they both find agreeable. Having a man lay down the law about things he finds important can be extremely agreeable, if you resspond well to that sort of thing.

I would assume that the kind of man who worries about his wife drinking unhealthy drinks would be the kind of man who wouldn't drink that sort of thing himself. He'd drink—well, whatever it is that healthy people drink. I don't know. Water I suppose. If he is that concerned about it, he wouldn't drink those other things in the first place. But his wife, being less concerned, needed reminding not to drink them. It is the one who is less concerned who needs chivying (as I do about things like tidying up for instance, it is quite unnecessary to remind my husband about that).

This woman's instinctive, pleasurable reaction to her husband saying 'no' to her is something I have experienced myself. My husband does not find being told 'no' pleasurable, so it would not have this effect on him.

So this woman didn't buy the drink because her husband told her not to. Not because he could really have stopped her buying the drink if she had wanted to, but because the word 'No' induced in her an instinctive desire to obey, which is very agreeable, if you are that way inclined. But if you are not that way inclined it won't work.

It may not be quite fair, but it works for some people.