The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011, by Athol Kay: a book review

The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011, by Athol Kay: a book review

I'm not a huge fan of self-help books, but thought I would have a look at The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011, by Athol Kay, as there has been some talk about it on the Taken In Hand site.

The purpose of the book is to teach men how to get their wives to have sex with them and have a better, more happy and stable marriage. His solution is fairly simple: he thinks men need to combine the qualities of what he calls ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ men. He argues that women are hardwired by evolution to be attracted to ‘alpha’ men, but that the alpha qualities, undiluted by beta ones, are not necessarily what a modern woman wants or needs for a successful marriage.

You need both. To develop your ‘alpha’ qualities become more assertive, don't stand any nonsense, make yourself more attractive by working out etc. But you also need to have the ‘beta’ qualities, of being a good husband and father, helping out around the house, playing with your children, etc. There needs to be a balance of both.

Basically, he says if you are more alpha you need to develop your beta qualities, and if you are more beta, you need to develop your alpha qualities. You will thus make yourself utterly desirable and irresistible, and have a happier, more sex-filled marriage. Athol Kay modestly describes himself as being more of a natural beta really, but having learnt to work up his alpha side.

Well, I cannot deny that I find my husband more attractive when he is assertive (as opposed to being in a rage and yelling his head off). I think some husbands—perhaps many—will have success if they try this. I don't know if all wives get very turned on when their husbands start bossing them about, but I do. And it helps if he is good with the kids as well.

I can see that the working out and keeping fit bit probably would make many men more attractive. Might make mine more attractive, but I'm afraid it isn't going to happen. He's not interested in working out. The plus side of that is that I don't have to work out either. There is always an upside. Athol Kay suggests that if a husband who is about as attractive as his wife starts working out and thereby increasing his attractiveness, if she is wise, his wife will throw herself into working out as well, to keep up with him, and vice versa. A marriage between individuals of very different levels of attractiveness is not a stable marriage, he says.

There is some stuff that personally would leave me cold—his insistence on the importance of dressing well for instance, and his suggestion that wearing silk underwear is likely to get your wife excited. I personally am not that bothered by what sort of clothes a man wears (within reason) and I don't really go in for scrutinising their underwear that closely, I am more accustomed to my husband scrutinising mine. Knickers are something he gets excited about, not me.

Then we come to spanking. Yes, I perked up when I got to that bit: underwear doesn't interest me much, but spanking does. Well, he suggests that light spanking helps to reinforce a husband's dominance, and is sexy, but he is at pains to stress that it must be with the hand only, no implements, and the man should stop as soon as his wife's bottom gets pink. Well, I'm sorry, but a spanking as mild as that would simply leave me frustrated and wanting more. A recipe for irritation in fact. And I suspect many Taken In Hand inclined women would feel the same. We're after something a bit more intense.

Probably the bit I found myself most disagreeing with though was his apparent insistence that it is good for the woman to be a bit nervous of losing her man. If he is fit and attractive enough, he says, other women will start ogling him, and that will keep his wife on her toes. That sort of insecurity would not make me try harder to make myself attractive to my husband as Athol Kay seems to think it will, it would rather drive me in the opposite direction. I would think ‘oh well, if he's going to go off with another woman, what's the point of trying to keep him? I'm never going to be as goodlooking as she is,’ etc. I'm just not interested in competing for a man. Either he likes me best or he doesn't.

Then there is the list of qualities to look for in a wife. The list that appears in The Married Man Sex Life Primer 2011 appears to have been adjusted somewhat from the one on the author's blog. For instance, although he says ‘ideally a virgin’ he does admit that not all women who marry are virgins, and he observes, broadmindedly, that a woman of thirty will probably have some kind of sexual history. Very magnanimous of him.

And then there is the breast cup size. On his blog, I am pretty sure he stated that a B cup was the thing to aim for, but in the book he has adjusted this to a more flexible B or C cup. So there is hope even for ladies who aren't a B cup. Cheering news.

Athol Kay is very happily married himself, and like most very happily married people telling you how you can be as happy as they are, he comes across as a bit smug sometimes, but he does really seem to want to help people. And probably this book will help a lot of people. But like all self-help books, for some it will probably fall flat. Read it, but don't take it all too seriously.

Louise C

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Comments

Silly Dichotomy

I don't see how alpha and beta qualities conflict. If a man takes good care of himself, he's more likely to take good care of his family. And good fathering is and always has been downright sexy, not just helpful. The desire for good fathering did not arrive with the minivan. That desire is hardwired too.

Louise, what does Athol mean by spanking? Is he recommending actual spanking or just slapping that ass?

Um

Re: Silly Dichotomy

Well, Athol Kay considers certain qualities that seem quite alpha to me too—good parenting, etc, to be beta qualities.

He has some rather odd ideas about prehistory—what he refers to as 'the time before writing', when he seems to think men went around beating each other up, and the winner dragged the woman away to his cave to have sex with or something. He sees the tough man who got the girl as the 'alpha' man, undomesticated and savage.

In fact, there seems to be very little evidence to support the idea that this was how it was in 'the time before writing'. The only clue we have to how things might have been then is to observe the behaviour of the few surviving pre-literate societies in modern times, and they all seem to have quite elaborate courtship and marriage rituals, they don't just go around bashing each other with clubs and taking girls.

In his follow up book which is called How to Answer "Do These Pants Make My Ass Look Fat?" (a question I personally don't believe any rational woman would ever ask—what man with as much as half a brain would answer 'yes' to that?)—he declares that in The Time Before Writing 'women didn't have any choice about who they had sex with'. How exactly he knows that I don't know, but again i find it highly doubtful.

His view of what is 'alpha' and what is 'beta' is highly personal, but he thinks that the ideal man is Gamma Man, who combines the desirable qualities of both Alpha and Beta.

Louise

Athol Kay and Spanking

He recommends both light slaps to the ass, and actual OTK spanking, but he is emphatic that the spanking should only be by hand, never with an implement, and always very light.

There is a chapter in his new book which is called Taken In Hand vs. Captain and First Officer (if you want to read it without shelling out for the book you can find it on his blog archived in May 9, 2011). In this chapter he basically disapproves of the idea of spanking for discipline, because he says it reinforces bad behaviour, since the wife who craves spanking will misbehave in order to get spanked. He seems rather to have missed the point, which is that spanking reinforces dominance, restores the status quo, makes the wife feel more submissive and sexy etc, rather than being simply about 'behaviour modification'. There have been a number of articles on this subject on this site, and it makes you wonder whether he has ever actually read anything on here.

His idea is that a 'misbehaving' wife should be ignored rather than spanked. Hands up how many Taken In Hand wives feel that would work for them? Certainly not me. The idea that spanking is a simple 'aversive technique' seems to be firmly wedged in his head. To be honest, I think Taken In Hand is probably a bit too subtle for him.

Louise

Creepy

I just looked on Athol's blog, and I think his claim about the hotness of young women and their supposed desire for older men is kind of creepy.

Um

Care to elaborate and explain

Care to elaborate and explain what you find creepy, exactly?

Not knowing what you refer to: While the "hotness of young women" might be creepy, it also is a well established fact. That does not mean every man finds every young woman hot, but among the women that are perceived as "hot" by most man, the larger part qualifies as "young". Judging from literature, that has been the case for quite some time. Does that really bother you?

I don't mean anything against an age difference

My husband's older by several years, and I like (yes, very much like) that difference between us.

I just wonder why Athol (a middle-aged man) thinks describing the accessibility of young women is a way to build a better marriage with his wife. While young women often think flirting with a much older man is fun, it's largely because we trust that we won't be taken seriously.

Um

Sure

Yes, of course, younger women tend to be hotter than older women. However, though I've read very little of Athol's blog and don't know for sure, he seems to overestimate the number of older men who look like George Clooney. And more importantly, it's destructive and low to try to intimidate one's spouse with threats of infidelity.

I guess too a middle-aged man talking about teenagers makes me a little squeamish.

Um

Young women, old men, threats of various kinds

His logic, as far as I can tell, goes like this: Men are interested in looks, women in social status. Younger women tend to have more of the former, older men more of the latter.

"Threats of infidelity" is yet another topic. Athol teaches to keep a morally upper hand. In extreme cases, he suggests threats of divorce, though. Now, you and I might find divorce morally unacceptable. But in these extreme situations, the couple is headed for divorce anyway, and spelling this out early might help to prevent it, or make the persons involved more prepared for it. In any case it is not necessarily destructive, as the personal accounts of saved marriages on Athol's blog testify. As to it being "low": I don't know. Most people would say that about threats of physical violence to intimidate one's spouse, yet on this website here this is not universally frowned upon.

Social status?

Young women are interested in social status? That seems far-fetched. Young women are interested in sustenance and protection, sure, but a good-looking young man can provide that.

And aren't old men supposed to get wiser? I like to think of old men as wiser anyway. My grandpa's wiser.

Um

Yes, creepy

On his blog, I found another reason why Athol's interest in the appeal of young women is creepy. It is combined with utter contempt for their intelligence. He describes young women as incapable of performance in sex and conversation.

Um

The more mature person in a relationship leads it

Many young folk, male or female, due to lack of experience, find themselves lacking in the performance of sex or conversation due to the lack of maturity. For this reason alone I personally believe that the more mature person in a given relationship automatically leads it by default, regardless of gender.

--
Mick McCleod

Default Leadership

Mick, your comment seems reasonable: "The more mature person in a given relationship automatically leads it by default, regardless of gender." Sure, experience promotes confidence and skill, but is that the main – or overwhelming feature?

What about passion? Where does that figure in? A reserved mate would (regardless of age or experience) be less engaged in the relationship, instead taking a passive stance toward its development and maintenance. Judging from his website comments, Athol Kay is pretty tightly wound – and his wife must be very understanding and tolerant. His maniacal drive seems to be a primary factor in their marriage dynamic. Thoughts?

My wife and I are a confusing mix of age/intelligence/passion/wisdom/size/whatever. Sometimes I wonder how it all fits together. Eventually, I just shake my head in bewilderment – and go off to attack her. My question doesn't get answered, but it evaporates...

Maybe that is the true answer. Is sexual behavior coded deeply within our genes, after all?

Alan K

The Overwhelming Feature

Alan K sez "experience promotes confidence and skill, but is that the main – or overwhelming feature?"

I believe it to be the overwhelming feature. From what I have observed, relationships involve one dominant person and one or more submissives, who may or may not regard themselves as submissives.

Alan K sez "What about passion? Where does that figure in?"

Most prominantly, as long as the parties involved are secure and content with the existing balance of power.

Alan K sez "Athol Kay is pretty tightly wound – and his wife must be very understanding and tolerant. His maniacal drive seems to be a primary factor in their marriage dynamic. Thoughts?"

I see a contentment and happiness between them regarding the balance of power, which in turn seems to inflame the passion between them.

Alan K sez " Sometimes I wonder how it all fits together. Eventually, I just shake my head in bewilderment – and go off to attack her. My question doesn't get answered, but it evaporates..."

I think your question seems to have received quite an enthusiastic response from your wife, according to your narrative, if she receives pleasure from your attacks.

Alan K sez "Maybe that is the true answer. Is sexual behavior coded deeply within our genes, after all?"

Many better than I have attempted answers to that question without definitive results. My answer is, why bother with the question? Querying what makes one happy, content, and confident does nothing but waste time and effort if one is in a state that encompasses all three.

--
Mick McCleod

Pinpointing something

Quote: "Probably the bit I found myself most disagreeing with though was his apparent insistence that it is good for the woman to be a bit nervous of losing her man. If he is fit and attractive enough, he says, other women will start ogling him, and that will keep his wife on her toes."

The theory is that women desire men who are desired by other women.

Other women

My husband has been propositioned several times by female students. He has a prepared speech / apology / pep talk for it. The women aren't after a better grade. Usually they are upset about something going on in their lives and they want a relationship. They are very bold (rehearsed) at first and then shut down by his response very quickly. I would guess my husband is somewhat moved by these women, but thanks to Evolution, he has a functioning frontal lobe and makes distinctions between sexual arousal and actually wanting to f*** someone. Insecurity does not tend to make me behave better as a wife, so I try very hard to trust in my worth and his love. It really wouldn't fan the flames of my desire if he went on about how hot and numerous other women are. The very thought of that just angers me.

Um

I've read the book.

I've read the book, and I found it simplistic and verbose. I understand that this is his first book, and he is not a professional writer anyway. I also found Kay's humour to be weird.

Like previous commenters, I think the alpha/beta dichotomy to be wrong. Such dichotomy comes from the seduction community, which while has codified many useful principles, too often dumbs down concepts and is guilty of black-and-white thinking. The main reason I like this website is that, while holding a politically incorrect view of relationships, it is frequented by deeper thinkers.

Evolutionary speaking, whether he is dominant or not, it makes sense for a man to deeply care for his offspring if he wants his genes to be successful. As such, I've always considered the "alpha male" as defined by the seduction community to be fool's gold: a man who happens to display desirable traits, but for the wrong reasons.

@Um

Quote: "I would guess my husband is somewhat moved by these women, but thanks to Evolution, he has a functioning frontal lobe and makes distinctions between sexual arousal and actually wanting to f*** someone."

Interesting distinction.

Quote: "My husband's older by several years, and I like (yes, very much like) that difference between us. [...] While young women often think flirting with a much older man is fun, it's largely because we trust that we won't be taken seriously."

While I do think that only a minority of young women might be attracted to older men, and thus I agree with your last sentence, such sentence does not agree with the previous one: you start by saying you like being with an older man, then say that young women would not be interested in older men. Or were you talking about your girlfriends at the time? Thanks.

MMSL Forum

I've been visiting the forum for the site on and off, and frequently find myself taken aback by what I read there. The things that other women seem to respond well to continue to surprise me. The latest was a man who said his girlfriend texed him 'I love you' and he responded with ' I know.'. This is apparently a quote from a Star Wars movie, but the girlfriend didn't know this and was a bit put out by his response. As I would be. The man in question seemed confident that his response was good though, being Alpha, staying in control etc. Personally, I would still find it embarrassing that I'd said I Love You to someone who didn't say it back, even if it was a movie quote.

Older and much older

My husband is just shy of ten years older, and for me especially, this difference is satisfying psychologically. Growing up, I always thought of a man loving me (not sexually but deeply), not boys my age, so I didn't have the usual school crushes. My husband sexualized sex for me if that makes any sense.

I think an age difference -- even twenty years or more -- doesn't truly matter if people are in love. But reading on Athol's blog, my first thought was he's in his forties talking about nineteen-year-olds, yuck. Probably I wouldn't have felt that nausea if he wasn't married. I have nothing against much older men looking at young women, but Athol seems to recommend young women as a mating option for middle-aged men who might want to dump their wives if ignoring doesn't work. He qualifies this recommendation by classifying young women as starfish in bed and out.

My friends' dads are middle-aged. I don't want to suppose that they're sexually focused on women in their early twenties and only with their wives out of loyalty and memory. Maybe that's prissy of me, but maybe my prissiness about a generation's difference is natural too.

Um

Things have changed.

Quote: "But reading on Athol's blog, my first thought was he's in his forties talking about nineteen-year-olds, yuck."

I couldn't find Kay's post where he advocates that. Anyway, apparently he has changed his mind lately.

Maybe that's because he has received lots of criticism for his previous statements? I don't know.

Older Men

The main disadvantage to marrying a much older man is that you are liable to have a long widowhood ahead of you. My mother in law married a man 25 years older than her, and she's been a widow for 39 years now. Young women who marry old men need to be prepared for this eventuallity.

Louise

MMSL and Taken In Hand

I see Athol Kay of 'Married Man Sex Life' has decided to distance himself from Taken In Hand as much as possible. He has decided to ban any discussion of Taken In Hand, DD or BDSM from his site. He yearns for respectability and mainstream acceptance. He wants everything clean and nice. I wonder if it will work?

The Married Man Sex Life ban of discussion about Taken In Hand

I haven't been reading Married Man Sex Life recently so know nothing of this ban, and perhaps your interpretation is correct, Louise, but I can think of another possible interpretation. It might be that Athol Kay wishes his site to be closely focused on his MMSL idea rather than becoming a more general site, just like we here don't publish BDSM, D/s, DD and spanking posts unless they clearly relate to Taken In Hand, which most don't.

BDSM people are often annoyed by this, because to them Taken In Hand is BDSM, but as one who has not a BDSM bone in my body, and who finds BDSM literature entirely devoid of eroticism, and often positively nauseating (I am one of those who honestly did not find the BDSM book Fifty Shades of Grey in the slightest bit erotic), I do not see Taken In Hand as being part of BDSM at all.

Similarly, some of us might wonder why Athol Kay wants to distance MMSL from Taken In Hand, because to us they seem related in some ways; but if Athol Kay sees things differently I don't in the slightest have any problem with him banning discussion of Taken In Hand. It is his site, and he has every right to keep it focused the way he wants it focused. Indeed, it is not just his right to do that, it might be the best thing to do. Do we want all sites to become the same as each other? I don't.

MMSL and (my version of) Taken In Hand are Opposites

I haven't read there lately and wouldn't even if I could.

MMSL men and women are advised to think their spouse is replaceable. My goldfish is replaceable. Life is scary and ultimately painful (100% mortality rate) but worth it.

MMSL men are advised to show they don't care by wandering off to do something else if the wife resists sex. That would crush my feelings so badly! When I resist, my husband doesn't mind forcing me. He's a real sport about it.

MMSL men think they're funny but don't get their wives jokes. The men make a joke to "slap down the wife's shit test" but fail to recognize the funniness of the test itself. They get all insulted and must learn to "respond playfully," but they don't give her credit for starting the game in the first place. My husband is not a stick in the mud.

I think MMSL must work purely because of the physical fitness recommendations. It couldn't be the silky underwear that's the draw.

Um

More proofs of opposition I forgot

MMSL men are highly suspicious of what comes out of a woman's mouth. They claim women are ignorant and dishonest (to themselves and others) about what they want. How were they to know women want a man to be strong, capable, responsible, fun, and brave? Nobody ever told them! I call BS. I think women are (on the whole) honest about what they want, and men (and women, too, of course) are lazier than they are stupid. My husband respects me as an honest woman. When I ask him for something, he gives it or he doesn't, but he doesn't withhold whatever it is because he thinks my request a lie and he wants to prove he's alpha. Also, he doesn't get mad at me when I'm shy or suppose my shyness means I can't be bold.

MMSL people seem to think the boyfriend and girlfriend days are the height of the relationship and that domesticity is not sexy. I get excited scrubbing the kitchen floor (almost like I'm playing house but now it's real), and my husband actually is crazy about me in ragged pajamas -- he's no liar either.

MMSL people seem to think that because emotions are chemical, they are somehow not real or all that important. At the same time, they claim to be rational scientific people. Of course emotions are chemical and real and important.

Um

MMSL and Resistance

I think in fairness to the MMSL site it is true to say that the advice to not care if your wife says 'no' to sex is aimed at men whose wives routinely refuse to have sex, not in a playful way that invites playful 'force', but with what they describe as 'a hard no'. these are men who in some cases are getting sex once a month, or even less. Some of them are genuinely upset and depressed by the state of their marriages. 'Outcome independence' is advised to help these men cope with a very stressful situation. one man in particular who posts frequently clearly absolutely adores his wife,and is really distressed by her constant refusals to have sex. she's a very tough nut to crack.

The main problem with deciding that your spouse is replaceable that I can see is that it seems to make the whole effort to get your wife interested in you rather pointless. if she is easily replaceable, why not just replace her? this seems to me to be the main flaw in the MMSl philosophy.

Louise

Taken In Hand and MMSL

I never said Athol Kay didn't have a right to ban anything he likes from his site, and I don't have a 'problem' with him doing so, I am merely amused by his anxiety to distance himself from anything that might be perceived as kinky. Just making conversation.