If there is one thing that turns women off more than anything else, it's a man with a lack of dominance. And an attractive woman can smell a lack of dominance like a shark smells blood.
No one is attracted to someone who conveys a sense of being powerless. When it comes to being a man, however, power is not only important, it's everything. ... A woman is never attracted to a man who seems to be “equal” with her. In some major way, he has to be more than her. ... To feel feminine, she must be with a man who is masculine. When a woman is with a guy who is not dominant, she feels like he is just another girl.
Having written about the attraction of the alpha male and masculine power, myself, I can't help thinking that there is some truth in this—for me. But I know women for whom a dominant man would feel like a bully. These women seek men who are almost as soft as they are. (I also know women who avoid dominant men for political reasons in spite of themselves, but that's another story.) One friend of mine and her man have told me that they love each other because they are both “soft and giving”.
So I have long thought that not all submissive individuals enjoy being with a dominant person, and that not all dominant individuals would be happy with a submissive person. To some dominant individuals, submissive individuals are insufficiently exciting.
Perusing the internet when I should have been doing other things, I came across an article by Professor I. E. White in which he mentions some studies on human sexuality conducted by Abraham H. Maslow in the 1930s and early ”40s. Maslow interviewed many women and concluded that they fell into three “dominance groups”—high, medium and low.
According to White, Maslow found that high dominance women are: unconventional, less religious, less tolerant of stereotypes, extroverted, sexually adventurous, less anxious, less jealous, and less neurotic. Low dominance women were found to be: conventional, religious, conforming to stereotype, introverted, sexually inhibited, and more neurotic than high dominance women. White concludes:
Findings: High dominance women were attracted to high dominance men—aggressive, self-confident, highly masculine, self-assured. Low dominance women were attracted to men who were kind, friendly, gentle, faithful and showed a love for children.
Even more interesting is another passage I have discovered about the same research, this time by Colin Wilson, who wrote the book New Pathways in Psychology. Wilson says of the three dominance groups Maslow identified:
The high dominance women were, as you might expect, precisely five per cent of the total. Sexually, they were inclined to promiscuity and experimentation—many had had lesbian experiences or tried sadomasochism. They liked males of even higher dominance, and regarded the male sexual organ as beautiful.
Medium dominance women, the largest group, were basically romantics. They liked the kind of men who would take them to restaurants with candlelight and give them flowers. They were looking for Mr Right. They were capable of a certain amount of promiscuity, but it was essentially a second best—what they really wanted was a husband who was a good father and provider. They also wanted him to be slightly more dominant than they were, but not too dominant. Very high dominance males scared them. This group didn't have any strong feelings about the male organ.
Low dominance women didn't much like sex. They liked the kind of man who would admire them from a distance for years without daring to say so. They were terrified of high dominance males, and thought the male organ downright ugly.
But all three groups needed a male who was more dominant than themselves. One very high dominance woman searched for years for such a male and when she found him she was finally happy. But he wasn't quite dominant enough, and so she used to provoke quarrels that would end with him slapping her about, hurling her on a bed, and raping her. These sexual experiences she found most satisfactory of all.
- Colin Wilson, pages 27-28 in the introduction to The Gates of Janus
(Incidentally, Wilson also indicates that men, too, tend to prefer women in the same dominance group as themselves.)
Whilst this categorisation perhaps cannot be taken tooooo seriously, given that not all women prefer dominant men, let alone men more dominant than they are, I have a hunch that at least some Taken In Hand readers will recognise themselves or someone they know in this passage!