Saying "no", leadership and chocolate

Saying "no", leadership and chocolate

If I asked my husband to do something and he said 'no' it would be because he had a reason for not doing it, even if it was something he simply didn't want to do, I can't imagine he would ever say 'no' with the deliberate intention of hurting me, nor can I see how that would benefit our relationship in the least.

If the man doesn't say “no” sometimes, or if he has to state a good reason for saying “no”, then who is in charge? The man or the woman to whom he is “answerable”?

How does a leader set limits without saying “no”? Perhaps he precludes the request in advance by telling her that she can't have certain things. But that impedes communication.

If she can't ask for something without it being mandatory that he grant it, then she stops asking for things unless she is sure it is what he wants. In that case, she has taken charge in the relationship. She is leading, anticipating his needs and making decisions accordingly.

For my wife and me, it's the other way around. She asks. Sometimes I say “no”. Sometimes I give a reason, and when I do, sometimes the reason is pretty arbitrary.

Sometimes I just say, “no”.

I get to do that, because I am in charge. I get to make the decisions. If she doesn't like it, she tells me. I listen. Sometimes I am swayed by her, but usually not. Usually I have already taken her needs/wants/desires into account. I'm the one who anticipates and makes decisions.

But, even when I say “no”, I remember what she asked for. Later on I usually give her something else; something that satisfies her need but not necessarily in the way that she expected.

When I say “no” and she rebels against my “no”, I listen—and then I take her in hand. That's part of the price she pays for my leadership.

In fact, if I don't say “no” often enough, if I am not arbitrary often enough, my lack of arbitrariness causes problems. She gets restless, feeling like I'm not expressing my feelings, that she isn't experiencing my strength.

Under those circumstances, she's likely to start asking for things that she knows I will say “no” to, just for the comfort of hearing “no” and feeling protected—the comfort of having limits.

As for deliberately hurting, that's what punishment is. When you punish, you inflict pain—sometimes physical, always emotional.

Sometimes, saying “no” is the most effective form of punishment—or limit setting.

More often than not, I punish with words or by setting limits. I reserve physical discipline/punishment/correction for times when she is out of control or openly rebellious or when I am expressing feelings that need to be expressed physically.

... or for erotic effect, which is beyond the scope of this particular article.

Spanking, for us, is a way of effecting emotional change or expressing passion, not for the mundane issues of everyday life.

Spanking as a regular/frequent/mundane form of punishment is (for us) a sign of weak leadership. It is too much like “parental” behavior. It is too abusive.

If I can't rein her in on a day-to-day basis with words, force of personality, commanding presence, a stern look, saying “no”... those kinds of things, then something is wrong.

But, that's the way we do things; that's what works for us. It is driven by her needs for limit setting, feeling strength, protection, romance—and her need to surrender.

She needs to hear “no”—arbitrary, decisive and strong “no”—in the same way that she needs chocolate. She craves it. With it, she feels warm, loved and loving. Without it, she gets crabby.

CarlF

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Comments

Bodily control is important too

Well said. But you are mistaken about something that you say. Frequent spanking/whipping is necessary, especially early on in a taken in hand relationship.

Leadership by physically taking a woman in hand allows a woman to feel the control in her body. Sometimes she literally dances to the stroking of the whip on her buttox.

Limits stated verbally are easily misinterpreted and may sometimes leave her feeling insecure. When his words are followed by action—bodily control of her—she feels his masculine power—and his full commitment—body and mind—to her and to their marriage.

Whipit

It Depends on the Woman

Frequent spanking/whipping is necessary, especially early on in a taken in hand relationship. ... When his words are followed by action—bodily control of her—she feels his masculine power...

It really depends on the woman. In the case of my wife, Elle, there is some history that has to be taken into account. I hadn't included it before, hoping to avoid a direct discussion, but I suppose it would serve to illustrate the "each woman is different" issue.

Take a look at the following snippet from the original post:

Spanking as a regular/frequent/mundane form of punishment is (for us) a sign of weak leadership. It is too much like “parental” behavior. It is too abusive.

Spanking for mundane issues is, for her, "parental", "weak" and "abusive". The reason is that all of the spankings she received as a child came from her mother, and her mother was the weaker parent.

At first, there was nothing masculine to her about a spanking. In her mind, men didn't need to spank. Men could lead by use of their masculine strength. Only women—weak, abusive leaders—needed to resort to physical force in order to get their way.

For a long time, spanking wasn't a sexual thing for her. She had only received spankings from her mother and Elle is quite heterosexual. So there was no sexual connotation to a spanking.

It took a long time for her to begin to experience the potential masculinity of a spanking, and thus the sexuality of it and the potential strength of it.

So, in order to incorporate it into our sexual relationship, I had to slowly mix spanking with other sexual touching. I had to keep her in a sexual mood before, during and after so that it would continue to be experienced sexually.

Otherwise, a spanking would have distasteful homoerotic overtones. (Not that homoerotic overtones are distasteful in general, but they are for her).

As a part of discipline, she had to feel under my control *before* a spanking started. Early on, it had to be brief and mild in order to not "break the mood" of my control of her.

Over time I was able to increase the firmness and duration and still keep her in either a sexual mood or a submissive mood, but that took a lot of skill and patience.

So, if you are planning on using spanking (or anything else) as part of a Taken in Hand relationship, make sure you know what kind of associations is has for your lady.

No technique is going to be useful if, for example, it reminds her of her favorite cartoon character.

CarlF

Thank you.

CarlF,

Thank you for including such personal information about your wifes up bringing. I can totally relate. Sometimes when I read the post on this site I think, "That is not the way we do thing and I could never handle that." When I read this post I finally thought, "Well now there is a couple that is a bit more like us." I can now stop thinking that the way we do thing might not be the right way. I am now replacing that thought with, "This is the way we do things."

Thank you.

Weaknesses

I didn't say my husband HAD to state a reason for saying no, I simply said that he wouldn't say no with the deliberate intention of hurting me. He might just say 'no' because it's something he doesn't want to do, which is fair enough, but he doesn't get any pleasure out of disappointing me. He likes to give me pleasure, and he doesn't get any satisfaction out of denying me things I want. Evidently you enjoy disappointing your wife. My husband does not enjoy doing that. He has a generous nature and likes me to have what I want. His character is entirely different from yours. This is why I try to avoid asking for anything that I think he is definitely going to say 'no' to, because I know that he dislikes having to say 'no' to me. It disappoints him as well as me, he wants me to have everything I want, and always has.

I do not find being spanked abusive, but I do find having my feelings hurt abusive. In the days when my husband used to lose his temper and shout at me if I'd annoyed him in some way it used to make me utterly misrerable. Now he thrashes me instead, and this makes our life much more pleasant. "Taking it out on your bottom" as he puts it, makes him feel better, and makes me feel better too. It also makes me want to try harder to please him, which I would not feel if he was constantly trying to hurt me emotionally instead of physically. Using spanking for mundane everyday matters works brilliantly for us. Physical pain is satisfying, mental pain is destroying.

My husband can certainly rein me in with words, I have written about that on this site many times. If I am in a bad mood, sulking because he's told me off about something or whatever, he can stop me feeling that way with a few well-chosen words, or often just with a look. I find this immensely soothing, and it doesn't cause me any pain at all. But that's not the same thing as deliberately saying 'no' if I ask him to do something for me, which is an entirely different matter. He is quite comfortable with issuing orders to me about what I am to do/not do, and he is quite comfortable with quelling mutiny if I get sulky or rebellious. But he is not comfortable about denying me things that I want, that's just the way he is . If his natural generosity is indeed a sign of weakness, then that can't be helped. Everyone has weaknesses (except you, apparently) and that is one of his.

Louise

P.S.

Anway, if you know your wife likes you to say 'no' to her, then what's the big deal about saying it? since you know she's going to be pleased by being denied what she wants, you're just doing what she wants, aren't you? So what's the difference? You please your wife by saying 'no' to her, so how is that so superior to saying 'yes'?

Louise

P.P.S.

And another thing. You say that spanking for 'mundane' things is too much like a parent/child relationship. Well, to me, an inability to decide for myself what i should or should not ask for would be making me like a child. Children just ask for whatever they want without ever considering whether it is affordable/convenient/possible etc.

In my case, I try not to ask for things that I know my husband won't really be able to or want to do. For instance, if he's taken a day off work and he wants to spend it out in the workshop, I won't ask him to take me out, no matter how much I might want to go somewhere. Because if I do ask him, I know that he will probably say yes, and then he'll spend the day doing something he doesn't really want to do, while I will feel uncomfortable for having spoilt his day. If, on the other hand, he says 'no', HE will feel uncomfortable for denying me what he knows I want, and that will spoil his day as well.

However, if he offers of his own accord to take me out somewhere I generally say "yes", on the sound principle my father gave me—"Never refuse what is freely offered."

Louise

Differences in leadership

Louise, has it been a while since you were spanked? You sound a little bitter. haha! (just kiddin'!) ;) I do get what you're saying about not asking for things he may say no to as to not spoil things for both of you. I'm the same way in that respect. I don't feel I'm leading if choose not to ask for things he may not want to or can't do or provide. I feel I'm simply being perceptive and respectful to his needs or wants.

I do agree with CarlF that every woman is indeed different. I am also like his wife in that punishment for everyday, mundane things just doesn't work for me (or my husband). I do also like the mental aspect of control. I like having boundaries. It keeps me in a submissive state of mind. Very erotic.

I don't, however, think you can say that one is a weak leader because he chooses to spank vs. "just say no." Likewise, it doesn't make one a weak leader to say "no" instead of spank. What makes one a great leader is, in my opinion, the ability to lead in a way (whichever that may be) that brings out the very best in his spouse in any given moment. A *difference* in leadership isn't necessarily a sign of weakness.

Great discussion!

Dynomite

Spanking Isn't Weak Per Se

I don't, however, think you can say that one is a weak leader because he chooses to spank vs. "just say no."

You are right, of course.

The thing that makes it weak *for us* is the fact that it has an *association* with weak leadership/parenting. It reminds Elle of her mother.

Which is why I said "for us".

For the same reason, the taste of sour cream has a warm, loving connotation for me. This may seem absurd on the surface. There is nothing particularly warm or loving about sour cream. ("Warm sour cream" might even be an oxymoron).

However, it becomes understandable once I explain that my Grandmother (uniquely in my childhood) used sour cream in her cooking.

In fact, spanking has slowly come to loose some of its weak and feminine associations for Elle, but that is largely because I do it very differently from her mother, and I emphasize those differences.

Where her mother was out-of-control angry, I am calm or controlled-angry. Where her mother used a "thud" implement, I use my hand or an implement that has a "slap" feel/sound. Where her mother punished her harder if she cried, I often punish her *until* she cries, thus giving her an emotional release rather than requiring emotional containment.

If I were to "loose it", grab a wooden spoon and hit her with the handle, screaming at her the whole time, and then—when she cried—continue to hit the same spot over and over again, that would have a very different effect on her than my style of spanking.

And the fact that I use it sparingly, rather than on a routine basis, makes it all the more different from her mother.

The "emotional echos" of an action can have a much greater effect than the action itself.

Fascinating discussion

What a fascinating discussion. It so nicely illustrates the fact that different individuals and couples want and need different ways of doing things. The contrast between Louise's feelings about being spanked, versus CarlF's wife's feelings about it, and the difference between their feelings about the man saying "no", make it so clear for anyone who might hanker for a one-size-fits-all/cookbook style "how to" recipe for Taken In Hand.

To Louise, it looks as though CarlF enjoys being nasty to his wife, but to me, and presumably to CarlF's wife, it seems that CarlF is taking care to engage with his wife in a way that she prefers. Louise, I can imagine someone saying to you that your husband must be trying to hurt you if he spanks you, because spanking is abusive and no man should ever lay a finger on his wife, etc. (You know, all the usual silly things people say when they don't understand your desire for this kind of relationship.) I think that CarlF's wife enjoys her relationship with Carl (with the "no"s), just as you enjoy your relationship with your husband.

This is not to say that you would or should enjoy it if your husband adopted CarlF's ways of doing things. Both your husband and CarlF (and you and CarlF's wife) have evolved ways of doing things that suit the individuals you all are. And that is why your relationships work—precisely because you have not tried to follow anyone else's recipe for Taken In Hand.

Exactly Right

Sarah you were exactly right when saying:

It so nicely illustrates the fact that different individuals and couples want and need different ways of doing things.

I very rarely make comments but visit and read this site frequently.

My hubby and I are pretty new to this site and have been moving in a Taken In Hand direction for only 3 months so we are still in the learning stage on what works and what doesn't.

I like CarlF's way of doing things and, like Elle, I need to hear the word "NO" sometimes. I need to know that he has my best interest at heart. Like Louise's husband, my hubby wants to always say yes and give me everything that I might even suggest. Well, that is not good for him, me or us. He has developed the look, the tone, and the action and that is great. I have been physically taken in hand one time and really don't want to go there again (although I am sure I will).

It sounds like Louise and her husband are right on track for their relationship and that is great. However, CarlF and Elle's relationship sounds much like my own relationship and for me I need that day-to-day reassurance of knowing that he is in control and knowing that he can and will take it further if "NO" isn't enough. This does not make me feel like a child at all and neither do I act like one and just ask for things or to do something just to hear him say no. If he says no he always leaves it open for me to discuss this with him and sometimes (but sometimes not) he sees my side and then says okay. I respect his decision (may not like it sometimes, but this is what I want) no matter what.

Either way, each couple is different and what works for one may not work for another. I love the posts on here and have learned a lot from them. And mostly, this Taken In Hand relationship has been a wonderful thing for us and feels completely natural. For us being married almost 25yrs we both agree that this is what works for us and only wished we discovered this idea about relationships a long time ago.

To CarlF, thanks for sharing and I really thought it was a great topic and post.

Kimmy

Hmmmm

Well, like Elle, I like to be reminded of my husband's authority, but I think if I knew that he was arbitrarily telling me "no," just to exercise it, it might likely feel too much like a game. I feel comfortable deferring to my husband's decisions because I know he's thought them out, considered the pros & cons, etc. and that his "yes" or "no" will reflect that insight, especially with bigger decisions. My husband, like Louise's, wants to please me whenever it's in his power and his telling me "no" just to say it I think would make him just seem mean to me (not totally sure because I don't think he's ever done it.). Anyway, as other posters have mentioned, it takes all types to make the Taken In Hand world go-round. Different people derive pleasure from a wide variety of expressions of authority. To each his own.
Lucy

Don't like arbitrariness

I don't think it needs to be made too complicated over who is in control etc. It's simple—the man in charge is in control and his woman likes that so everyone is happy. You can spend hours writing about if she learns how to please him who is controlling whom and that she has a legal choice to leave so controls anyway but I think it's much simpler. He controls. That's it. If he ends up doing it really nastily she'll leave and hopefully if they have a good relationship they'll be able to talk about problems.

On saying no, yes, that's erotic and makes me feel cared about. I don't go along with the arbitrary thing although I've heard that argument made before now. I think it's been done a bit with me but didn't work. I want to please. I like to know where I stand and what's expected. I don't want ot be in the wrong or deliberately wrong footed so some kind of fake spanking can be done. If I'm to be spanked it's for his sexual pleasure, no need for it to be about wrong doing. So may be it comes back to the woman herself and the man.

Thank You, Ladies!

Hera, Sarah, Kimmy, Dynomite, Lucy, thank you!

You are each an example of intoxicating feminine strength. It is a pleasure to write for you and to read you.

Whipit, Stephen, I presume you are of the male persuasion (please forgive if I have misinterpreted) and I have enjoyed your words as well.

To follow up on Whipit's point, sometimes the most effective way to "spank" a woman, is to hug every *other* woman in the room.

CarlF

Response to CarlF

"You are each an example of intoxicating feminine strength. It is a pleasure to write for you and to read you."

What a compliment! Thank you, CarlF! :)

And thank you too for your insightful posts! My husband & I both have taken much from them!

"To follow up on Whipit's point, sometimes the most effective way to "spank" a woman, is to hug every *other* woman in the room."

Oh, now you KNOW that's not even right!!! LOL! ;)

Dynomite

Different Styles

Well, like Elle, I like to be reminded of my husband's authority, but I think if I knew that he was arbitrarily telling me "no," just to exercise it, it might likely feel too much like a game.

For us, sometimes it is a bit of a game. We like to have a certain playfulness in my leadership of her.

And yet, other times it is quite serious.

Sometimes Elle starts to get an edge to her emotional state and needs some restraining. At times like that, arbitrarily saying "no" to an otherwise-reasonable request can have the effect of reminding her of my authority and beginning to set limits on her.

It is almost like putting my arm around her and holding her in place for a moment.

I feel comfortable deferring to my husband's decisions because I know he's thought them out, considered the pros & cons, etc. and that his "yes" or "no" will reflect that insight, especially with bigger decisions.

Here is where I have a bit of a unique spin on things. I am not willing to allow my wife to be quite so unequal as that. The bigger a decision is, the more likely I am to require her to share the responsibility for making it, and share the responsibility for the outcome.

Now, having said that, there are times on a very big decision when she has trouble making the choice that she knows she needs to make. At those times, if I know what she needs to do (or what she deep-down *wants* to do) I will sometimes *tell* her what to do in order to push her over the edge.

But in any truly big decision, she needs to weigh-in and be on-the-hook with me. There are limits to my willingness to be "in charge" on the big things.

My husband, like Louise's, wants to please me whenever it's in his power and his telling me "no" just to say it I think would make him just seem mean to me (not totally sure because I don't think he's ever done it.).

There is an aspect of "leader as servant" in what you are describing. While that is a good thing to have in the mix, it isn't always my way of doing things. Sometimes I include the "leader as servant" paradigm in my actions and sometimes I don't.

For one thing, there are times when I actually don't want to please her; times when I *want* to be a little bit mean or selfish or to give her a taste of my annoyance or anger.

In a paradoxical way, she enjoys it. She likes feeling my anger; enjoys feeling that side of me. In fact, she gets jealous if I become angry at another woman. (I'll discuss that in another post sometime).

In a larger sense, I am already going out of my way to please her by taking her in hand. My leadership of her is a huge gift to her; one that she does not have any right to expect from me; one that carries a high price that she is willing to pay in order to maintain a balance in our relationship. (That statement may leave a lot of people scratching their heads, but I will have to explain it another time).

So, when I say "no" to her arbitrarily, sometimes it is pleasure-giving/limit-setting/strength-wielding to her. Sometimes it is my way of saying, "Look, damn it, you wanted me to be in charge. I'm saying "no" because I damn well fell like it!" (I don't usually say that in words. I voice it in the tone of my "no" and the look on my face).

Paradoxically, those are the moments when she throws her arms around me, holds me tight and thanks me for being such a wonderful husband.

(More head scratching? Sorry, you're just going to have to wait).

Anyway, as other posters have mentioned, it takes all types to make the Taken In Hand world go-round. Different people derive pleasure from a wide variety of expressions of authority. To each his own.

Exactly.

Lucy, I really appreciated the whole tone of your response—the way you expressed your opinion and wrestled with mine while showing respect for my feelings and my point of view.

We "alpha males" have feelings too and it is nice to have those feelings handled with care.

Thank you,
CarlF

Anger

I actually like it if my husband gets angry with another woman: I find it cheering that I am not the only woman who can irritate him.

When he tells me about some woman at work who is being really annoying and says something like "I'm going to have a word with her husband/boyfriend, and offer to lend him my steel ruler" I enjoy it.

Likewise when we're out and he starts making similar remarks about some woman driver who is annoying him, I am pleased that he doesn't find other women less annoying than me.

Louise

Going out of the way

I appreciate my husband's efforts to control himself and not to lose his temper with me, but I don't get the impression that he is actually going out of his way to do this. Having grasped that it works to his advantage as well, he seems to do it quite naturally. I feel that he actually enjoys this way of us relating to each other, and it seems to make his life better as well as mine. It's a mutual pleasure and satisfaction rather than a gift. Although both of us make more effort than we used to, it feels more as if we are going into our way, rather than out of it.

Louise

LOVE your articles as well as your well thought out comments

I am extremely new to this site and thoroughly impressed by the informative and highly educated view of this idea about relationships. I have especially enjoyed your articles as well as DeeMarie, Blush, Stephen, CarlF, and those of the boss.

This is a prime example of what I am looking foward to come naturally from my fiance. As of now, I have bashed him down to a passive form of a man. I am the classic parodox of a woman who wants the knight in shining armour to protect and ultimately dominate her, while at the same time verbal degrades and bullies him into submission of the modern, independent, "I can do it without you" woman.

Now over the past 6 months, my feeling of being wanted/desired has overwhelmed me, and I was convinced that it was all him not giving me enough of what I need. For some reason I thought that the disrespectful treatment would push him to give me what I want, all the while never actually telling him what it was I needed. Upon stumbling on the "Taken in hand" concept, I feel as though I have been awakened to the exact type of relationship that I need to flourish into the role of an obedient wife. I intend (and have been) putting 110% of my effort into establishing this.

My concern is that we have had A LOT of conversations on what we were going to try to do to make the both of us undeniably happy together, and they remained just that.....past conversations and nothing more. I would be devastated if this were to happen now. I approached my fiance with this 5 days ago. He was more than wonderful. He was open, intrigued, turned on, curious, and so much more on the first night I brought my thoughts and desires into the open, but the next few days have been silent. I've been following the act as if... idea as consistently as possible. He's expressed that he's noticed how good I've tried to be. I'm trying sooo hard not yell/ nag/ redundantly remind/ bully/ or generally annoy him. I've been asking his permission, subtly, for everything. I keep reminding myself to "trust" *keyword* that he is his decision to take it at his own pace and to his own severity.

He is very laidback, easygoing, and not strongly opinionated so this change to a strict (and almost shorter tempered, more demanding and selective) dominant male is not going to be easy nor automatic, in my opinion. What can I do to (should I) help him feel more comfortable changing his "never hit a woman" attitude into "my loving discipline and guidance is what she *wants* and *needs*". Patience is obviously my issue. I have lost faith in so much after going through many, consecutive, self inflicted troubled times. Trust is defintely a constant self improvement issue. I've trying to do nothing but be a major support system for him, and I want to make sure that I am doing everything within my power to help not hinder.

Thanks for all of your wonderful articles & advice. I look foward to sharing my experiences.

Tiffany Z

It takes time

"I approached my fiance with this 5 days ago. He was more than wonderful. He was open, intrigued, turned on, curious, and so much more on the first night I brought my thoughts and desires into the open, but the next few days have been silent."

I experienced the same thing. CarlF gave me some good advise. He explained to me that many men have a hard time going from 'it's not okay to hit a woman' to spanking her 'because I said so' (or just spanking her in general for discipline). In my opinion, that's when you know you've got a good man! He's truly concerned about your feelings (that's not to say that I believe that men that CAN make the transition easily aren't). I wouldn't worry, he'll probably come around! It took a while for my husband to absorbe everything & take action. Now he's getting more & more comfortable everyday. It's almost scary! Just give him some space on the issue. He'll come to you when he's ready. It's a big step for many men!

I'm like you, though. The waiting is hard. Especially when you feel it's so right!

Hope this helps! Best of luck!

Dynomite

Acting arbitrarily

Hi Carl,

I enjoyed reading your previous front page article for Taken In Hand and appreciate your perspective in this article too. Obviously you and your wife have discovered a way to relate that works for the both of you. I know what you mean about spanking for mundane reasons. When first beginning 10 years ago, I found micro-managing my wife's behavior distasteful. What do I care if dinner is late or if the house is not tidy? She works hard. If things aren't the way I would prefer, then I need to step up and help her get those things done. If I am too busy to help, then whatever it is can wait. Trying to control too much will eventually undermine a husband's authority. Frankly, too much micro-managing says more about a man's insecurity than it does about his authority within their relationship.

However, I do disagree on one point. I worry about saying no, or spanking for simply arbitrary reasons. It feels too much like he is trying to prove to her (or to himself) that he has the power. It feels artificial. Before a husband can control his wife he has to carefully think about what he wants to control. What behaviors and/or attitudes does he genuinely care about? It took me a while to figure this out. But once I did, I gained confidence in my decisions. Consequently, my wife gained confidence in me.

What makes a taken in hand relationship work, and what women find so thrilling about it, is when a husband has real authority to make decisions and to discipine when he thinks it is necessary. He need not exercise it frequently to prove to her he is the "man". It is not that an occasional "becasue I said so" spanking doesn't have its uses. Sometimes it is necessary. But over time, I think a wife would lose faith in her husband if he repeatedly said no or spanked her for arbitrary reasons. An arbitrary spanking would also lose its power to move my wife. I am no Solomon and my judgment is far from perfect, but my wife knows I am doing what I think is best for her and us. She relies on me to do my best to "get it right". And besides, my wife is naturally feisty and has a rebellious side that needs taming frequently enough. With this woman, I need not worry that she will be so good that she doesn't need some straightening out. lol

NO!!!

I think this has been covered really well already but I would just like to add a response to Carl's comment that

"As for deliberately hurting, that's what punishment is. When you punish, you inflict pain—sometimes physical, always emotional."

My husband would never deliberately hurt me emotionally. It would be so damaging to me. He can hurt me physically with great intensity and it leaves me feeling relaxed calm and happy. To hurt me emotionally would leave me confused and unloved.

To me it would be nasty to just say no for the sake of it. I view this as the type of behaviour one would expect of a petulant child.

I view the response of "because I said so" as something an exasperated patent would say to a child but would certainly not view the spanking I have as something that would be appropriate for a child.

It just shows that even on a site like this one woman’s bliss is another woman's abuse. One really must be careful and communicate effectively to find what works and what is doing harm.

Sully

To Tiffany Z

Thank you for your very kind comment, I am glad if anything i wrote was of interest to you.

I hope things will work out well for you and your fiance. I came to Taken In Hand from a rather different angle than you, in that my husband has always been quite bossy and short-tempered, and my own response to him was more that of sullen resistance than of trying to boss him. The big breakthrough for me was in realising that I didn't actually mind him bossing me, in fact I quite liked it, if he would only do it in a slightly different way. It meant that we only had to make a slight adjustment in our way of relating to each other, and perhaps for that reason, the change, although it has been great for both of us, was not as dramatic for us as it is for some other people. We had been, in a way, dabbling around the edges of a Taken In Hand relationship for years, so plunging right in wasn't really that difficult.

It sounds as if you are doing all the right things to encourage your fiancee in his new role. I hope that you will continue to enjoy each other and your new relationship.

Louise

More than you know

The advice articles that I have read so far have been perfect examples that show me precisely what to do during this "waiting period". I am glad to be able to directly intigrate the tips suggested instead of trying to "read between the lines" first. The bold, UNsugar coated honesty is greatly appreciated. I'm very confident that he will come to me when he has reached a comfortable place in his mind to absorb all "taken in hand" has to offer. It's my impatience that is getting the best of me.

Thank you so much, Louise and Dynomite. All of you ladies (and men too) warm words of encouragement are more than helpful; they're reassuring. Again, I am really looking foward to posting how everything moves on down the road. Wish me luck. ;)

Tiffany Z

The title scared me. All I c

The title scared me. All I could think was, "what mean man would say 'no' to chocolate?" So glad that's not what you meant :)

I hate the word no, but I know that at times even I can find it erotic. It all has to do with why I'm hearing it. "No, you can't have ice cream for dessert" (milk based products make me cough and wheeze, usually a little, and at times almost uncontrollably depending on type and quantity), is okay. I find that to be, while annoying, loving and protective. Even if I think I've requested a reasonable amount I know it's not to be mean. It's because he knows there's a potential that it could make me miserable. If I can feel love or protection behind the 'no' it is easier to accept.

If I hear abandonment behind the 'no' it is harder. "Do you want to go throw the baseball around a while?" or "Do you want to get a Frozen Coke and sit by the river and watch the ducks?" are requests that I tend to veil more because being told 'no' is painful. It's hard for me to hear that I can't have the attention I need. Of course I know it must be hard for him to sometimes not be able to get the space he needs, it just doesn't make the 'no' any easier to accept.

Is the tail wagging the dog?

In fact, if I don't say “no” often enough, if I am not arbitrary often enough, my lack of arbitrariness causes problems. She gets restless, feeling like I'm not expressing my feelings, that she isn't experiencing my strength.

Under those circumstances, she's likely to start asking for things that she knows I will say “no” to, just for the comfort of hearing “no” and feeling protected—the comfort of having limits.

I'm sorry CarlF, but I just can't help myself. I mean no disrespect, but I love a good debate. I must play 'devil's advocate'! :-) When I read the lines you wrote (noted above), I couldn't help but ask myself, "isn't the this a case of the tail wagging the dog?"

Louise made this point too (though, with a distictively different tone), but never the less it was still a good point. I was just wondering what your response was to this. Maybe that's just 'the dance' of a taken in hand relationship? The woman gets restless, rebels & consequently is punished. She rebels to get what she wants & wins. Is she leading?

I ask you because you seem to have a good grasp on what constitutes leading & following. I'm very interested on your take (& others as well) on this issue.

Many thanks!

Dynomite

Limits

I also enjoy my husband setting limits for me, but with him it's more a case of him laying down the law about how he wants things done around the house, what sort of knickers I should wear etc, rather than saying 'no' to direct requests that I make. If he says that I'm not to do this or that, or I am to do something, I enjoy it very much, I am constantly doing/not doing things that I don't particularly want to do/not do, but it is made pleasurable for me by having him lay down the law about it.

Since he knows that I don't ask for things unless I really want them, he doesn't get any pleasure out of saying 'no'. If, like CarlF with his wife, he thought that I LIKED him saying 'no' to my requests, then I'm sure he wouldn't have any trouble saying 'no' either. I don't really see what the big deal about saying 'no' is if you know that your partner likes that anyway. I mean, I don't see how a man who likes to say 'no' is any more dominant than a man who likes to say 'yes', assuming that you know that 'no' is something that your partner wants to hear.

I don't believe that the fact that my husband doesn't like to deny me things that I want (since he doesn't think that I actually want him to deny me things) means that he is not in charge in our relationship.

Louise

Yes, no, & who's in charge

"I mean, I don't see how a man who likes to say 'no' is any more dominant than a man who likes to say 'yes', assuming that you know that 'no' is something that your partner wants to hear."

I had to really think about this one. But I see your point. If she *wants* to hear 'no', then saying 'yes' may not be her desired response. Maybe there's more control in saying 'yes'? I gather from CarlF, though, that he does say 'yes' a lot, too much in fact. He has pointed out her restlessness from not hearing 'no' enough.

"I don't believe that the fact that my husband doesn't like to deny me things that I want (since he doesn't think that I actually want him to deny me things) means that he is not in charge in our relationship."

I feel the same way, however I don't think anyone here doubts our husbands' authority in our relationships. Our men do what works for them & us in our own respective relationships. That's what makes them in charge. Not doing what others do.

Dynomite

Saying 'no'

On reflection, my husband does say 'no' sometimes even if I do really want something. There's the dog for instance.

There's an episode of 'Poirot' which features a fox terrier of almost unbearable cuteness, and whenever I see this episode alonging to possess one of these dogs grips me, and the following conversation takes place between my husband and I:

Me: OH, look at him, isn't he gorgeous, can we have one of those?"
He: No! Who's going to take it for walks? whos going to clean up the poo?
Me: I'll take it for walks, I'll clean up the poo!
He: No, you won't, I know you!
Me: But he's so cute, can we have one, please?
He: No!

Then the longing subsides again until the next time I watch it, when same conversation takes place again.

So there you are, he CAN say no after all!

Louise

Doubting authority

I missed this comment first time around, and I realise it is a bit late to reply to it now. Nevertheless, Dynomite, if you are still reading this site, in fact Carlf has made it clear that he does not believe my husband has any authority in our relationship, because he doesn't like saying 'no' to me.

Go back to the beginning of this article, and you will see that he quotes something I said elsewhere, as a basis for saying that I am the one who is really in charge. Not that I give a damn what he thinks, but nevertheless he makes it very clear that that is his opinion.

Louise

Wagging the dog

In fact, if I don't say “no” often enough, if I am not arbitrary often enough, my lack of arbitrariness causes problems. She gets restless, feeling like I'm not expressing my feelings, that she isn't experiencing my strength.

Under those circumstances, she's likely to start asking for things that she knows I will say “no” to, just for the comfort of hearing “no” and feeling protected—the comfort of having limits.

I'm sorry CarlF, but I just can't help myself. I mean no disrespect, but I love a good debate. I must play 'devil's advocate'! :-) When I read the lines you wrote (noted above), I couldn't help but ask myself, "isn't the this a case of the tail wagging the dog?"

No disrespect taken.

Actually, our entire Taken in Hand relationship came about because of her desire to feel me dominate her. We do it because it fills a need for her. So, there will always be a "wagging the dog" element as part of the mix in our relationship.

However, there is also a matter of "testing the limits". I've noticed with a lot of women—and Elle in particular—that there is a strong need to push against strength or to push against limits to make sure that they/it are solid.

It seems to be a subconscious way of making sure that her man is still strong enough to protect her—both from herself and from external threats.

Think of it as a periodic "fire drill".

If she steps over the line and gets punished, she feels secure. If she steps over the line and doesn't get punished, she knows that her security system isn't working.

I was just wondering what your response was to this. Maybe that's just 'the dance' of a taken in hand relationship? The woman gets restless, rebels & consequently is punished. She rebels to get what she wants & wins. Is she leading?

"Part of the dance?" Yes.

"Is she leading?" No, she is communicating. She is asking for something (punishment) but that does not mean that she is going to get exactly what she asks for. I'm very careful to make sure that she understands that.

In particular, she does not get to decide *how much* punishment is going to be administered. If I have the sense that she is "topping from the bottom" (i.e. trying to lead), I will punish her severely.

At those times she has an "opportunity" to feel my anger.

As I have said elsewhere, I would prefer an equal relationship between us—one that has no leader. I am willing to accept an unequal relationship with me as the leader, because that's what she wants and I love her *and* I have found a way of enjoying it with her.

But having her "in charge" of our relationship—with me in a subordinate position—is not acceptable to me. That is one of my limits.

I ask you because you seem to have a good grasp on what constitutes leading & following. I'm very interested on your take (& others as well) on this issue.

Thank you.

leadership and saying 'no'

I know a woman who would enjoy the kind of relationship that you describe—one that constantly reaffirms traditional power structures; she puts great stock in them. I think that is behind her attraction to men in uniform—they represent that traditional authority figure. I hope she finds a man like you. The kind of relationship you describe would make her very happy. It would drive me nuts. She would drive my husband nuts!

I could never be happy in a relationship where the man was in charge because that's just the way it should be. I'm not willing to grant authority over me to a man (or to any other kind of 'authority'-- government, school or whatever) just because some tradition or even legal code specifies that I should. I find any kind of arbitrariness offensive.

Fortunately for me, on those occasions when my husband has said 'no' to a specific request, I have found his reasoning to be impeccable or I've found him willing to change his position on those occasions when I can convince him that there is a good solid reason that my request should be granted.

We still don't have a dog ;)

I still need to understand "why"

This would never work for me, I'm someone who needs to understand "why". If my husband (when I get one) were to tell me no over something, I would most likely ask "why?" Not to challenge him in but simply to understand. I have a deep need to understand the ways of things, even as a child if I was given some ridiculous answer like "because I said so" with no further communication, I would do what I wanted, as that was simply not a reason. Being an adult now, I doubt I would go against mt chosen leader's wishes or a direct order for that matter, but I would become very resentful if he couldn't tell me why. I am just someone who needs to know.

~Ambivalence~

saying no.

I don't think spanking as a form of punishment is necessary in a Taken In Hand relationship; it absolutely doesn't work for me, it makes me feel resentful and hurt. I'd rather him take a bad day of work out on the gym or something and if he's mad he usually steps away and takes some space, then later he'll talk with me. If someone's mad at me, I just become a complete mess, like a gigantic mess, for a few days and put myself through hell. Taking a breather and then talking to me later works. Spanking does NOT work for mistakes for me: if I forget something or accidently do something wrong, I want him to just tell me. If someone gets angry over that, then he/she gets angry rather too easily in my opinion.

I usually ask things for a good reason but I could probably learn to take 'no' better, I pout and start begging usually. But it's usually because I really really want it.

He often says no as a joke but then a few seconds later says okay lol, but when he's very serious about no, he doesn't budge. But if it's important to me, he might say yes when I ask it another day, like if there's something I want to do that day, we might do it another day.