Wanting your husband to take you in hand, maybe to spank you if you get out of line, to take control of the relationship, is not a fashionable way to want to live in this day and age. It seems to imply to those on the outside that the woman is deemed inferior to the man, that she has no say in things, that she has to do everything he says or else, and that she’s obviously just been lucky so far that he’s not asked—no, told—her to do something she really doesn’t want to do. And at that point it’s all too easy to point the finger at the man and cry “Abuser!”
It’s an understandable reaction given the emphasis placed on things like domestic violence and women’s equality. It’s a prevalent opinion that if a man hits a woman and they’re not involved in any obvious sort of BDSM then he’s abusing her. It’s also a prevalent opinion that a woman shouldn’t answer to her (male) partner in their relationship and that to do so is somehow being wimpy and letting the side down. But without knowing the more intimate details of a relationship, it’s very easy to draw completely inaccurate conclusions, and people seem to quick to think the worst of someone—possibly because the actual truth is inconceivable to them.
And in this day and age, it does seem inconceivable to some people that a woman would want her man to be in charge. Yet clearly many of us do. We want to feel his control and know it as an extension of his love for us. We want him to take us in hand and know that is one of the ways he shows he cares. We follow his lead, but we don’t expect to be treated as mindless automatons, but rather as a valued participant in the relationship.
Yes, we give him our consent to do what he likes—even to spank us if at the time he decides to, we definitely don’t wish to be spanked. Consensual non-consent is a simple enough idea, but to the unwary it could lead to a very nasty can of worms being opened. Which is why a sensible degree of caution is needed. The type of relationships discussed on this site seem to me to be more suited to long term relationships where both partners are prepared to invest some time and effort in simply getting to know each other and gradually scaling things up. However much you want it, however much you know he wants it, it can be a very scary moment when you say to your partner “I want you to be in charge.” But if you have some knowledge of each other than you can give what seems like blanket consent to him and still know you're going to be safe. If both partners are reasonable adults, if there is a mutual bond of trust, then any hiccups and problems are more likely to be talked about than ignored. If not, then whatever style of relationship you’re in, there's going to be problems.
There is potential for problems—someone desperate to explore her submissive nature may get taken in by a would-be abuser. But then again, so might someone desperate to lose their virginity. Taking risks is dangerous, but life is often about taking risks—the trick is in minimising them. Getting to know someone as a person before you embark on any sort of longer term relationship is a sensible precaution.
The real effort in maintaining this type of relationship—or any, I suspect—is hard to describe. It's more mundane than what is and isn't allowed, what has and hasn’t been discussed. It’s about all the little things—noticing how your partner reacts well to certain things and with repulsion and fear to others, and altering course accordingly. It’s about all the odd little chats and comments that somehow all contribute to the framework but are so hard to pinpoint. It’s about all the little rituals that mean so much to you and all the little irritants that really get on your nerves but—if anyone mentioned either you’d be surprised because until they’re brought to your attention you’re unaware of them. Consent becomes more than just the woman saying to the man he’s in charge—it becomes a complex dance with each reacting and adapting to the other’s reactions.