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.