The heart of an alpha wolf

When thinking deeply about taken in hand and the relationship I have with my husband, I can't help but think about the wolf pack. The wolf pack is a family to the utmost. The pack lives for each other, to provide, to protect, to nurture, to reproduce, and to sing together.

Wolves have been my favorite animal since I was little. I have done research on wolves for years. One thing I have learned is that there is no wolf pack without its alpha male. The wolf pack is a family that survives and thrives on the fact that they have a strong leader, their alpha. The alpha male makes the decisions for the pack, he leads them where they should go, he hunts to feed his family, he makes sure the family never withers and picks a female for himself to care for and reproduce with. He breaks up fights between his pups, and makes sure no pack members act dangerously. He establishes his authority by standing tall and proud, making sure that the pack members respect him. Most of the pack will hunch lower to show their status before him. If a pack member does not submit to the alpha, he uses physical force to remind the pack member that he is zlpha.

This alpha male wolf reminds me of the alpha male in a taken in hand relationship. He is loving, caring, protective, and a provider, yet authoritative and strong.

My husband had never made me relate him to an alpha wolf before until he stood tall, proud, and caring of me one night. We had been in a disagreement with each other, both in our bedroom at night. The argument was intensifying and anger was rising. My husband suddenly got up out of bed and started to go downstairs. I thought he was walking away from me (he was really just getting a drink cause he was thirsty).

I had been with him when he was still a teenager, when he use to walk away from an argument that was getting out of hand. It always made me look down on him when he did that, and if I was to refer to him in wolf pack terms then...he would have been just a beta wolf.

Now as my anger rose because he went downstairs, I decided to get up and I was planning on going downstairs and staying on the couch that night for as long as I wanted to. Somehow my husband knew this, and before I made it down the stairs he ran to the bottom of them, took hold of the stair rails with his hands and stood in front of me. He completely blocked my way with his large, tall body. My first instinct was to be mad and try to push through him somehow, but my body was not going through with this instinct. I wasn't even looking up at him. I didn't want to look into his eyes. Then I realized, he wasn't walking away from our argument. He was standing tall, strong, and proudly in place. Realizing this, I looked up at him. His eyes were saying "you're not getting past me," and "please, come back to bed with me, I love you so much," at the same time.

The anger in me simmered down to nothing, and I actually smiled at him. He said, "Please let's talk," and he led me back to bed with his hand on my back.

My alpha male rose in my pack. It made me melt in his arms. And then we both were happy, and couldn't even remember what we were arguing over. To this day, I still can't remember.


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More like Disney wolf.

Wild wolves are extremely timid animals. Look at one up close, not on television. Its fear is unmistakable. Foxes are audacious by comparison. They will approach you individually. Wolves are bold only in a pack, and then only when they've chosen a decidedly weaker prey. Together they'll separate a moose calf from its cow and tear its throat out, or drag a sick old bull down by its snout and eat it while it still kicks.

You are right that wolves higher up in the dominance hierarchy are very brave with those below them. And Japanese Imperial Army officers bravely slapped their enlisted men, who knew they would be flogged and jailed if they breathed a word of complaint. Sorry, leadership is more than dominance and courage is more than bullying.

Your adulation of human "alpha males" is as ill-informed as your paean to wolves. Men, as individuals, are no better measured by female fantasy than women are by pornography. I've known certified "alpha males" who pissed their pants because a perfectly innocuous bear wandered into the campsite, and I've known gay sissywimps brave enough to stand up to a man with a gun. My father was a cold, authoritarian man who tolerated no disobedience from his wife, children, employees, waiters, service station attendants, or anybody else the situation allowed him to dominate. I suppose you could say he was "alpha." He was respected, but not loved.

I'm glad your husband, on this occasion, did as you preferred. I hope he also preferred it. But I suggest you see it as his growing ability to read your needs, not as some primal male assertiveness. This "alpha male" business is a gross oversimplification if not an outright myth. I've done my duty under fire, literally, and I've also been so depressed I just sat and drank and felt sorry for myself. Which was the real me? Both.

Yeah, but. . .

"I'm glad your husband, on this occasion, did as you preferred. I hope he also preferred it. But I suggest you see it as his growing ability to read your needs, not as some primal male assertiveness."

Yeah, Retiarius, but I think the poster's point was just that it felt really good to her when her husband handled their situation the way he did--I don't see where she ever mentioned it as being primal male assertiveness. My guess is she doesn't care where it came from, she's just really glad it showed up.


From your post "Why does it work" is becomes clear that you don't quite understand Taken In Hand, nor are you really interested in it. That's perfectly fine. I just wonder why you frequent this website then. (I thought there were many odd conclusions and fallacies in your post, btw.)

I confess I am not a biologist and don't know too much about the life of wolves. But I hope I do understand something about Taken In Hand relationships. Frankly, so what if KoiKitty uses the "Disney wolf" as an analogy for the Taken In Hand relationship? It's an analogy which describes it well. You may not understand the dynamics of such a relationship, you may not like it either (obviously), but that does not give you the right to deny other people their idea of a perfect relationship. We all have one and I'm not so sure why yours (whatever it is) should be superior.

"And Japanese Imperial Army officers bravely slapped their enlisted men, who knew they would be flogged and jailed if they breathed a word of complaint. Sorry, leadership is more than dominance and courage is more than bullying."

Your comparison shows the very typical misconception that many people have about leadership and Taken In Hand relationships in general. Many articles on this site describe what leadership is supposed to be like and it's certainly not bullying. Please read them carefully.

"But I suggest you see it as his growing ability to read your needs, not as some primal male assertiveness. This "alpha male" business is a gross oversimplification if not an outright myth"

In your opinion and in the opinion of every other overly politically correct person it might be a myth. As a "new man" (for lack of a better word) you of course cannot subscribe to the notion of a husband happily in charge of his wife to the delight of both, but that does not mean that many people do not find the idea extremely tempting. You may frown upon it, but then you do not seem to be a man a Taken In Hand inclined woman would find interesting.

So, KoiKitty seems to be happy in her relationship (if you like it or not), and that is what counts.

Jessica Rabbit

Thank you Jessica Rabbit. I

Thank you Jessica Rabbit. I was by no means saying my husband was using some primal male assertiveness...though I do believe husbands are to lead their wives, and wives are to obey their husbands (if you know your husband is acting in yours and his best interest).

My husband reacted in this way because he knew it was best for us. He has grown into a man that can face an arguement with his wife instead of walking away.

Thank you for your kind response.

Me again

Hi KoiKitty, you're welcome. What just really bothered my about Retiarius's answer was his tone. It was condescending.

I just don't understand why people come to websites aimed at a particular audience, whatever that may be, if they don't understand or agree with the ideas presented. I am a straight woman who is interested in monogamous relationship. I don't visit gay websites or websites that promote promiscuity, because I am not interested. I may not like/understand their lifestyle, but I most certainly don't go to these websites to put other people down. It's counter-productive.

Jessica Rabbit

I would like to apologize to KoiKitty and Brenda

My tone in the post above is a bit snarlish. Brenda is, of course, right: KoiKitty was describing her experience, not writing a field report about wolves. At some later time, I may post something about why animal analogies for human behavior bother me, but for now I am simply sorry I didn't treat another poster here with the respect she deserves.


Wow...I wasn't expecting such replies as these. I know wolves are not nice disney characters. They are timid of humans...but what does that have to do with what my article was about? Yes wolves also hunt viciously (they eat meat like we do, they don't have a grocery store to go purchase their meat from, so they have to hunt whether humans like it or not)..what does that have to do with my post? I was simply referring to the wolf pack as a family, and believe me an alpha wolf is never timid of its own family, only outside threats.

Also, I don't see what my husband did in this situation that would make him a bully. In fact I believe he acted with authority, but in such a tender way. Also, if my husband was faced with a bear, I'm sure he would be scared and run too, but yet again what does that have to do with the story?

My husband and I have a wonderful relationship, and we are both learning and growing in the way we want and think is best for each other. I bet any person would agree that it is always best to talk things out, and does no good to walk away from each other. You don't need to be in a taken in hand relationship for that to be true.

Dominance makes me feel safe...and hot


While reading the exchange with your husband, I was right there with you. I would have felt the same way at every turn. I've been in relationships where my partner would walk away, shut down, avoid, and ignore a problem. Nothing makes me feel less valued.

I understand that sometimes, when an argument is getting intense, it can be more productive to 'take a break' to calm down before continuing to discuss it. But usually, in the past, when my partner has walked off and shut me down, calming down to finish the discussion was never the goal--it was always to then pretend nothing was wrong and just move on. UGH! Not only is the problem not solved, but my respect and admiration was diminished!

My fiance' feels just as strongly as I do about communication and the importance of resolution. He will stop an argument to 'calm down', but he states clearly that that is what we are doing in a take-charge way that makes me feel like (even if I don't like it at the time) he's the man, he's the leader, he feels we both need to take a break and gather our thoughts. And he always resumes the communication to resolution.

He also has done what your husband has done. Made me face a feeling or emotion that I may not have wanted to. He's felt my vulnerability and my 'walking away' in my mind and took hold of my shoulders and made me expose myself by dominantly forcing the issue. Where I have not felt safe in prior relationships, he proves that I am safe with him. I feel like I am so important to him when he takes control of our relationship like that. So often it's the woman who monitors, and needs to control and foster the emotional side of relationships.

When he proves how engaged he is in the relationship in these ways, I admire him and find myself so attracted to him. I can be angry and turned on at the same time. His dominance always makes me hot !

Yay for your Wolf!

Agreeing With You Red

Red, thank you for your comment. You seem to feel the exact same way as I do about this. I too can be angry and very turned on at the same time, and anything he does that shows dominance always makes me hot too...well most of the time. Sometimes it all depends on what the issue is. Most of the time I get royally mad at myself for feeling turned on when I am angry, therefore making me angry at myself instead of angry at him. Most times I would never tell him I am turned on because that would just make him smirk evilly and he would turn happy and go from his discipline to touching me sexually. Sadly though, a good number of times, he can tell that I am turned on. Sigh...I can never win with him haha.

I enjoyed "More like Disney wolf"

While Retiarius's reply did not fit KoiKitty's post very well, he has apologized for that, and she has forgiven him.

But I like his post here on its own, and I think it's worthwhile to caution women with this kind of sexuality against wolves--bad wolves, not KoiKitty's husband, of course. Retiarius's tone is professorial, not condescending, and I happen to like professorial tones. Conversation becomes much more interesting when people disagree, and new ideas are productive if you're brave.

Loving dominance is risky, and while KoiKitty may not have needed the warning, my husband thinks I do occasionally.

"loving dominance"!

What a neat expression!

Like Um, I enjoyed Retiarius

Like Um, I enjoyed Retiarius's comment, and I can't wait for his post about faulty analogies between animal behaviour and human behaviour.

As a side note, the overuse of the term "Alpha" amuses me, because in hierarchies inside packs there is only one Alpha, and it is the one at the top, and even then it's only until it manages to keep its place.