Sleeping positions, rituals and control

Over the past few years—the years in which Elle and I transitioned into a Taken in Hand relationship—we have changed sleeping positions. It didn't happen overnight (pun intended), rather it was an evolutionary process.

We used to sleep on our sides in the “spoon” position. Sometimes we faced one way, sometimes the other. Often, we would switch during the night.

As she became more and more submissive, more comfortable and assured of our new relationship, she began to sleep flat on her stomach. I began to sleep on my back. We would often start out in different positions but eventually end up in the new default position.

One night, after we had acclimated to our new sleeping positions, we were just about to drift off to sleep when Elle asked me, ”What's wrong?”

I was mildly annoyed about something—the nature of which escapes me at the moment—but it wasn't that big of a deal, and I hadn't wanted to make an issue of it. I asked her why she thought something was wrong.

She replied, “When you put your arm across my back, I know you aren't mad at me. You never put your arm across me when you're mad.”

I hadn't realized it. I'm not sure how it developed, but somehow I had gotten into the habit of putting my arm across her back in a particular way. Just before falling asleep, I would move my arm across her, just above the small of her back, holding her in place, holding her down for a moment and then resting my arm there.

It was probably just my way of giving her a little taste of dominance so she would know that I hadn't forgotten; a kind of reassurance that “I'm in charge here, you're safe.”

Regardless of why it started, she had gotten used to it. Somehow, holding her down for a moment—a gesture that a few years before would have been oppressive—had come to signify “whatever I may have said today, I'm not mad about anything.”

When she feels that, she can fall asleep knowing that all is well. When I didn't do it, she was restless and couldn't fall asleep.

Her need for me to give her a nightly reminder of dominance—and the fact that she noticed its absence—was one of those clues that she really did want it. She wasn't just doing it because she thought I wanted it or as a fun fantasy every once in a while. It was a deeper need, something that she craved every day.

Since then I have added something to our little ritual. Her wants/needs for my control were being satisfied so I decided take some pleasure for myself.

Now, every night before I put my arm across her back, I rest my hand on her bare bottom as a prelude and give it a few pats; nothing painful, just the kind of pat-on-the-bottom feeling that says, “I might just have to spank you,” and of course, “I like your bottom”.

It is pure pleasure-taking for me, but it is also fun for her. She usually wiggles a little, maybe purrs, maybe giggles, and then I move my arm up to her back as I described earlier.

The first part is for me; a taking of a husband's liberty for my own selfish pleasure. The second is for her, so she can rest assured. The fact that she enjoys both is an indicator of how much our pleasure is wrapped up in pleasing each other.

Of course, if we are in a particular mood, if she opens her legs and wiggles seductively, if she raises her hips inviting an actual swat—or if I'm just feeling randy—our ritual might be interrupted by several hours of passionate lovemaking.

Even the sleeping positions have made it more conducive to having sex. By laying face down, she is making herself available to me at my whim.

Reflecting on everything that has changed between us, I think our nightly ritual and our new sleeping positions are the most symbolic: together, they are a daily reminder of the way things are.


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Little signs of dominance

What a beautiful piece! I love those moments! My husband has his own subtle way of dominating too. Just the other night we were on a date. We were walking around holding hands. I noticed as we would walk through a crowd, he would place his hand on the small of my back, guiding me through. I never noticed this much before. Maybe he always has. But it felt nice. I felt very loved & protected.

We also held hands. His was always in front (on top) leading mine. Looking back, we have always done it this way. It just feels natural. It's kind of funny. The more I look back on these little things, the more I realize we've been steering towards a taken in hand relationship all along!



Nice article but my wife is a restless sleeper tossing and turning from one position to another so your idea wouldnt work . What works for us is that no matter how she turns or what ever position she sleeps in she sleeps below my arm which is streached out above her on the bed. I am 6'4" and she is 5'4" and no matter what position she reachs out and and places her hand above her and places it in mine. She says the knowledge it is there is her security all is right in the world and falls back to sleep.

That must be wonderful!

I would love to have something like this, too, but it is not that easy in our case.
You see, I am very "lively" while sleeping, I toss and turn all the time, I even might hit the other person in the bed! Additionally I sleep very deeply, I do not wake up from my own restlessness. Lastly, I go to sleep early and get up early—not just because of the children, but I because I love the early day and would feel miserable if I missed the dawns.
Now my husband is the exact opposite. He sleeps almost without moving and very lightly, which means that every little noise or movement around him wakes him (in fact he hears everything in our whole house!). He goes to sleep late and gets up late—not just because his job wants him to but because he likes late nights and feels miserable early in the morning.
When we moved together, we tried to sleep in the same bed for about two weeks. Then, after a sleepless night when I was constantly trying to be silent and not to wake him and consequently could not sleep a minute myself, I just gathered my pillow and cover and moved onto the (big and comfortable) couch in the living room where I gratefully slept until noon.
Ever since then we have kept sleeping not only in separate beds but in separate rooms and are both happy with this solution. But of course we, too, have our night-time ritual. When I am done in the bathroom I got to him and say good night. Then I go to bed and in one or two minutes my husband comes and kisses me. His kiss is always very telling, it is easy for me to see whether he is satisfied or "pissed off". It is nice to fall asleep after he has smiled at me!
And about him leading me through a crowd: funny, he does it the same way Dyomite discribed! Even when we cross a street together he would take my hand, hold it very firmly and lead me to the other side after he has checked the traffic! Whether I have looked is irrelevant, it is him who decides when to walk across the street and when to stop. I just love it! (One more bonus for Taken In Hand—just the simple act of crossing a street can make one hot with desire!)
Saskia Weisser

Sleeping with Noise

Saskia, I understand the difficulties of different sleeping needs, although ours are not quite so drastic. Elle snores quite often, not so much as to require treatment for apnea but enough to keep me awake. I keep a pair of earplugs in the headboard and use them about half the time.

Have either of you had a sleep study? One or both of you might have a sleep disorder that can actually be treated with medication or some simple treatment.

A friend of ours slept restlessly, kicking her feet, tossing and turning, gritting her teeth etc. She had a sleep study and is now doing much better with meds and a mouthpiece to protect her teeth and jaw.

Just a suggestion. In the U.S., sleep studies are usually covered by insurance. In other countries, your mileage may vary.

Not feeling so sexy in bed...

Its funny you mention that... I did the sleep test two years ago when I was 35 and found I have moderate sleep apnea (I've been a snorer since 3) so I need to have my breathing machine now. This creates such a non-sexual feeling for me when I'm in bed!! Mind you I know that though I couldn't live (literally) without my machine, I just don't feel very sexy and am still trying to adjust. Thank God my husband does not mind it one bit though and actually likes the white noise it creates (much better than snoring), but it looks terrible in my opinion and I have to face my nightstand where it's plugged in rather than cuddle to my man. Of course, I am not always wearing it right when I go to bed (hint hint), but if he wakes me at night, I hate that he sees it on me—It's SO medical!! Anyhow, I'm so envious of all of you lovely couples and your sleeping rituals. Cherish it.


Well, I do not think that I or my husband have any disorder! Mind you, neither my husband, not I snore or grit teeth—we are both perfectly normal, we just differ very much in this field. I would consider a sleep study if the way I or my husband sleep were somehow harmful for either of us. As things are now, we are not unhappy, we rather cherish our separate bedrooms, furnished and lit in our very different personal styles and standards :)
Anyway, thanks for the suggestion! Should I ever feel that our sleeping styles endanger us, I will surely seek professional advice!

Saskia Weisser

What a lovely article!

What a lovely article that resonates with my husband and my sleeping rituals. Ever since the first night we shared a bed, I have always slept on my side, facing him, with my head in his chest; his arms around me, and my legs tucked between his. Sure, this is not the most convenient on those terribly humid summer nights that the midwest can yield, but then I lie on my stomach beside him, and he always has an arm or leg over me.

He also always comes to bed after me. Even if we are going to bed at the same time, which is usually the case, I crawl in first, while he does the final "walk through" of the house--making sure the doors are locked, lights are off, etc. This makes me wonderfully safe and "looked after."

In past relationships I had never felt comfortable sleeping so closely with another--I usually waited until he fell asleep, then move myself to the edge of the bed to find comfort. However, with my husband, I look forward to curling into his chest every night, and usually waking up to his advances, which of course, I heartily accept! :)

on the stomach

Enjoyed the article quite a bit, but have to laugh. The one position my chiropractor has told me is an absolute no-no is sleeping on my stomach!


I have been thinking...

I have been thinking about this article for a few days now, and I have noticed a few similar things. As our relationship has become more and more Taken In Hand, there are several things that have changed in this way. As we used to sit on either end of the couch while watching TV, we now sit on one end of the couch together. My favorite position is me lying with my head on his lap and his hand on my bottom. In bed we used to sleep on either edge of the bed. Now we sleep in the middle of the bed together. I am usually somewhat lower in the bed than he is, and he usually has one limb or the other over my body in one way or the other. This has affected his sexual style too. I always feel held, and cared for. He has always held my hand whenever we are out. However, his grip has firmed up recently. I am forever reminded that he has promised to take good care of me. I do feel very safe, and turned on.

Funny: I just got to thinking that people who do not know better might actually think that we are in physical contact with each other all the time. That is not the case. He works full time outside the house and I have chores and responsibilities every day of the week. My point is that every time he has the opportunity to show his loving control, he does not pass up that opportunity. I am so glad I for it.