Women want men who are more dominant

Michael W. says that he used to think that women liked it if men seemed soft, weak, and romantic, but now he says that women want a man with “unstoppable power”! He tells men—

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!

the boss

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High, medium or low?

Well, I don't know where I am after reading this article. I mean, I seem to have characteristics from all three groups, so I don't know where that leaves me. Unconventional, unreligious, intolerant of sterotypes,introverted, neurotic,sexually promiscuous (though not lately), hate restaurants and flowers, and I certainly don't regard the male organ as beautiful (useful, yes, beautiful, no). As I've always suspected, I don't fit into any group anywhere. Does it matter? Probably not. And I certainly agree that not all women want dominant men, some loathe them. People are always trying to categorise other people, but I don't think you can, there are too many variables with human beings.


I've inherited my prejudice against cut flowers from my mother, who loathed them. She was always quite rude if anyone sent her some. Even after my father died, when people sent them to her, she threw them contemptuously into the back garden, with abusive remarks. I think she felt about them the way George Bernard Shaw did. Spike Milligan tells the story in one of his war memoirs, how Shaw was visited one day by Nancy Astor, who noticed he didn't have any in the house and asked him "Don't you like flowers?" "Yes" he said "I like flowers. I also like children, but I don't cut their heads off and put them in bowls around the house."


I like flowers and will often buy them for myself. Yet I am sometimes turned off when a man brings me flowers. It depends on his motives. If he's "sucking up" to me I find it distasteful. But if they're from a dominant man who I respect, flowers and similar gestures can be a good thing--sort of a sign that my vulnerable side will be safe with him. But it only works if there are more tangible, meaningful signs that he's trustworthy.

I NEED a man who is more dominant than I

I think Wilson is pretty much on target, although people never sort out quite that neatly. I think I'm somewhere between medium and high dominance. Definitely NOT submissive. But I NEED a man who is more dominant than I am, that is if the relationship is going to work, and I like it if he occasionally brings out a submissive side that I wouldn't otherwise know I had.

But if a man talked to me in a harsh or degrading manner when I was feeling submissive and vulnerable, he would come home the next day to find me gone, leaving only a restraining order behind. So that's one thing I agree with Noone about: choose your man carefully, make sure you've got a good one.

As a lurker, I've identified quite a bit with Louise and think she seems to have the kind of complex but satisfying relationship with her husband that I'd like to have (um, not with HER husband).

Well, I'm rambling when I should be working...

Complex but satisfying

Yes, I think that's a very good description of my relationship with my husband. As you say it's the sort of relationship you'd like to have, I take it you're probably not in one at the moment, if so I hope somebody nice will turn up for you soon. I'm glad you've decided to stop lurking and start writing.

Cut flowers

I'm not sure why I dislike them, but I do. Far prefer pot plants (as, regrettably, do the cats, so I don't have many of those around the place).

Restaurants I like—if they're informal and only when I've got to know a place... which makes it a little hard...

Closest match is probably high dominance. Certainly nowhere near low dominance.


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

Those unappetizing posts

There are two basic types of men:

* Those in secure long-term relationships.

* Those still on the prowl.

The former can afford to be uncompromisingly honest. The latter must walk more gingerly or sleep alone.

Dishonesty or just disagreement?

Ye-es, Noone, but, you see...

It really is possible for people to see things in a very different way without them necessarily being insincere, disingenous or politically correct (ie "modishly left-of-center in an insincere way"). You know what works for you—you also seem to know what works in your relationship with your wife—these are wonderful things, truly.
But I do think that you find it hard to believe that your truth, (which really does reflect what you believe and have experienced), ain't necessarily everyone else's. Some of the posters here really do seem to be in committed, long-term relationships, and really do seem to understand and experience them differently.

I think your inability to imagine that things could differ in any serious manner from the way you see them makes your writing more compelling to read than humbler writers who tend to qualify their vision and equivocate—it certainly makes disagreeing with you much more fun. But it also tends to make what you're saying less persuasive to me—what to you may be uncompromising honesty, might to me be the purest of nonsense.

Beating the bush for a quickie

Things can always be different. Nature is not above experimentation—neither is the human race. The real question is what is sustainable over time.

Alternative apologists are—much like promiscuous American teenagers—quite good at confusing means and ends, and justifying it while trying to conceal their inner turmoil and desperation.

Understand the *why* of taking a woman in hand and things do look much different than when it is use merely as a short-cut to getting the latest *love* in his life to drop her knickers for a quickie!

Another one who doesn't like flowers

I don't like them but would never dream of making rude comments to a person who gave them to me.


Dominance Levels

Interesting article. One thing, though, I would not take too seriously something written so long ago on women's need for dominant men being applicable today. Mores have changed; society has changed. Whether the desire for a more dominant male is a constant in the last 70 years isn't completely clear.

According to the profiles I'm definitely a high dominance woman but I prefer and am married to the kind of man a medium to low dominance woman would prefer. But as pointed out, high dominance women are unconventional, so who cares if I fit in with the mold? LOL.

I like flowers just fine but I don't particularly hope for them. I think it is rude to reject a gift of flowers though. My mother worked in a florist's shop and once wasn't exactly gracious when a man brought her flowers. That was the end of that relationship. I think when offered a gift the correct response is, "Thank you."

A dominant alpha female

Mores and society may have changed in the past 70 years but human nature, the basis of our primal urges, has not. (Of course, I say that as a alpha dominant female who is happy to be 'unconventional' and true to my urges...)

What if we have changed?

When we were first married, my husband was dominant, and I was submissive, but neither of us thought of it that way. It was just the way we were. Over the years, and for various reasons, I became more self sufficient and felt the need to stand up for myself. He has often said that he wants to be in control or nothing, and it is true. I have teased him about his "all or nothing" approach. Now that we are no longer responsible for other people and have just the two of us again, a lot has changed. I want to be more submissive to him including physically. We enjoy our sex life, but I am far more interested than he is. Concerning our lives as a whole, he seems to think almost everything is too much effort, especially taking control.
Any help out there?


re “what if we have changed”

Hello subdesire, I am not at all sure that I know the answers to my own life's
problems, let alone yours, but here are some thoughts that crossed my mind when
I read “what if we have changed”.

First, I think many men are motivated to action when they sense or perceive
a woman's desire for security or for some external strength that the man can
provide.  There is nothing wrong with this and in the early years of a
relationship when a couple are young and generally incompetent this response
might by itself be sufficient to keep them growing together and enjoying one
another.  Later in the relationship when both partners have gained and
proven competence it could be possible that the woman no longer projects any
need for security or strength precisely because she now has it; she has learned
to trust her husband and the relationship and has increased in her own ability.  In
effect there would then be little left for the husband to be in control of,
unless it were to be some artificial notion of control, and he might feel a
little redundant if he perceives that your need for him has decreased.

My second and related thought is to wonder if your husband has lost some of
his self confidence.  Increasing experience sometimes forces a person to
realise that, actually, they are not as strong or as wise or as competent as
they might once have thought or as they might like to be, and a lack of self
confidence can be a savage destroyer of motivation.  A husband who was
caring wouldn't want to lead or control if he had lost faith in his own ability
to do so.  Also, in the earlier years of your marriage your smaller amount
of self-sufficiency would have brought attention to your husband's strengths,
reflecting them back to him, but now, perhaps, his strengths are less visible
to himself in your increasing brightness.

With regard to his apparent indifference, any changes would have been slow
and perhaps your husband hasn't yet become consciously aware of a problem in
order to start analysing it.  Equally if the problem stems from reducing
self-confidence it is possible that he will be reluctant to discuss his thoughts
with you.  I would tend to regard indifference as a symptom of a problem
and not as a problem in its own right.

What to do?  Discussion could be useful but if you suspect reducing self-confidence
then I'd converse gently.  Some new challenges might prove beneficial but
exactly what they could be will depend on your particular circumstances.

Good luck.  I have found many intelligent and constructive articles and
opinions in this forum so perhaps one of them will provide you with some useful
insight or inspiration.


Reply to LifeOfCuriosity

Do men step up to the plate? Where's your evidence for that? My daughter who's just 15 years asked me how to deal with a boy that's fallen for her & is acting submissive & asking her permission to go to the restroom or get a drink. My daughter didn't use the word "submissive", she called him "weak" & complained he has "no balls". Already she's aware she's strong and he's weak & she doesn't like it. She says most of the boys are like that & she wants to know how to deal with it because it's not comfortable for her. I'm like, I don't know what to say, because all the grown men I know are the same way. What can I tell her?

Why do high dominance women want to submit?

I can't speak for other women but I've never been happier than I am now, with my quietly dominant husband. But why is it that it seems like it's the most dominant, strong women who become the most submissive when they get with a truly dominant man?

Not "dominant" but 'alpha'

I think they're not talking about dominance but 'alpha' characteristics, strength of mind, forceful personality. Viewed this way even the most 'dominant' woman can be submissive. 'Alpha' females want an alpha male; beta females want a beta male and feel overwhelmed by an alpha male.

In response to the above comm

In response to the above comment about weak men, all I can say is that to me the man who asks permission for everything is doing his best to show he cares about your feelings in the only way he knows how. What's wrong with politely telling a man, "you don't need to ask me to do that"? A lot of them may find it liberating to know that you won't be offended when they just go for a night with the guys, or when they just leave the table to pee.

In response to the topic of the post, I suppose I'm pretty low dominance, but like the others here I feel you really can't generalize things too much. For one thing having a man who was as low dominance as myself would drive me crazy. I do want a "nice guy," but I also want someone who isn't afraid to take charge of the relationship. Why should I always have to decide where to go to dinner, or what to have for dinner if we're making it at home. I like a little over protectiveness and dominance. It makes me feel loved and cherished.

Dominant in the Right Way

I want my husband to be dominant but not like he is. It's like he's dancing around trying everything Dominant EXCEPT the Taken In Hand relationship I want. HOW do I explain it?


Explaining it.

I think the only way you can explain to him what you want is to just tell him. What is it that you want? Do you know yourself? If you do know what you want then why can't you explain it to him? Maybe you could try asking him what he wants? Is he really happy with the idea of being in charge? Maybe he really wants something different from you. I don't see how you can get him to understand other than by talking to him.

You could try showing him some of the articles on this site, the ones that appeal to you. Taken In Hand means different things to different people, you need to decide what it means to you first before you can make him understand. The degree of dominance that women are comfortable with varies a lot, as does the extent to which men wish to be dominant. You and your husband need to reach an agreement about what it all means to you. That means talking about what he wants as well as what you want. Keep trying.

Any advice?

I'm a wife of a Marine officer. He is dominant by nature...he's a Marine!! I'm not really having a problem, but I need him to come out of his shell sexually. He is sexual, don't get me wrong, but he seems to be apprehensive to just "do it". Meaning do something new and exciting. Crazy or wild. He's very controlled with his actions, probably because he is a Marine, but I want him to let loose on me. I'm doing a lot of researching and self improvement while he is deployed to Iraq this year. Yes...gone for a WHOLE year with no sex! It's rough, but it will be awesome when I see him!! With that said, I want to please him SO badly, but I just don't know how to show him what I want without taking away any of his masculinity or making him feel unaccepted. I want him to be more dominant, but how do I slowly introduce more of that to him. He isn't a wuss by no means, just reserved. I don't want to shock him by just coming out and telling him of one of my fantasies of being taken and raped. I don't think like a dominant man, so I don't know how to bring that out in him!!

Thank you!

womens attitudes to men

Women purposely choose aggressive dominant men who often cheat on them and fool around, but still they keep going for the same kind of man. Some women even date men old enough to be their father, which is unnatural and they often lie about why they like older men. Some women say older men are maturer and more settled, but you should ask yourself what kind of a man would date a woman young enough to be his daughter. The answer is a man who can't cut it with women his own age, a sleazy man, a man who is more interested in sex than in a relationship. I often think it's only very immature women who date older men, because they need to be fathered, pampered and taken care of. More often than not, it is the decent and faithful man that is left behind, because he is not dominant enough or doesn't have the right amount of cash in his wallet.

All through history men have sacrificed themselves for women's lives. Women rarely think about the man who will love her the most and be the most loyal. It's always the strongest most dominant male who gets the girl and often he is an arsehole. Yet women who go out with these arseholes stay with them a while, break up with them and complain all men are evil. Women too are just as guilty for judging the opposite sex by their looks and women have got change because men changed a long time ago. Women need to stop being so sexist, maybe ask a man out on a date instead of always expecting the man to ask you. There are more decent guys out there than bad ones. So women have to stop acting like little princesses and give the good men a chance.

I understand where you are co

I understand where you are coming from. I am a naturally shy person, and I understand that some men are shy as well. Asking someone out on a date is a huge emotional risk. It's setting yourself up for rejection, and perhaps it isn't fair to ask men to always be the ones to face potential rejection.

That being said, kind heartedness isn't all that people look for in a relationship. The thing that initially draws people together is a spark of attraction. I am attracted to men who appear strong enough to take care of me. If that makes me sexist and immature, so be it. I would never say that you were immature if you prefered petite blondes to fat brunetts. I'd simply say you, like most men, were attracted to beautiful women. I am attracted to strong men. I see no need to apologize for that attraction. It really used to bother me that men always wanted to be with women who I felt were "beautiful bitches." It doesn't bother me anymore because I realize that attraction is part of a relationship. If you look around I'm sure you can find a woman that you wouldn't consider dating because she is not attractive to you. If she asked you out, I bet you'd be really polite...you might even take her out once and tell her you had a good time, but you'd know that there would be no way you'd get involved in a long term relationship with her. Physical attraction certainly shouldn't be the only thing that you look for in a partner, but it's hard to make a relationship work without it.


There's no point in pretending that looks don't matter in a relationship, because they do. My husband was initially attracted to me by my looks "I didn't half fancy you" was how he put it to me when discussing it with me a while ago. The fact that he still appears to find me just as attractive 22 years on is very pleasant even though I am pretty ancient now. I think looks are less important to women than to men, judging by the number of attractive women you see with much less attractive men, but there's no doubt that they do still matter. There has to be a physical attraction between two people as well as a mental one. You say men have changed, but I seriously doubt that most men have changed so much that they don't care what a woman looks like.

And I'm not sure about men going out with younger women because they can't 'cut it' with women of their own age, or women going out with older men because they are immature. That may be the case with some of these relationships, but surely some of them must be based on genuine attraction between the people concerned? The only person I know who is in a relationship with a much younger partner is my sister, her boyfriend is 22 years younger than she is, and they have been together now for 16 years. I think their relationship is one of genuine attraction and affection despite the age difference, and I would hope that many older man/younger woman relationships are likewise genuinely happy.

As for asking men out on dates, some women are simply too shy to do that (I doubt I would have been able to bring myself to ask a man out if my life depended on it). It is true that some women prefer assertive men, and I am one of them. A man who was too diffident to ask me out probably wouldn't have attracted me, but even if I was attracted by shy, diffident men I still wouldn't have been able to do it. It's not a question of being a 'little princess', it'sa matter of temperement. It is possible for a man to be dominant and aggressive without being a cheat.

I suspect from the tone of your post that you have some bitter personal experience that is making you pissed off with women in general. Better luck next time.


I definitely want a dominant man

Thank you for this article. I typed into Google a few days ago, "I want a dominant man", and it led me to this site. Now I'm a member.

I have to say I am a highly strong, independent, attractive, intelligent, and assertive woman who fits comfortably into the High Dominance women group in the study you mentioned. (I most definitely regard the male sex organ as beautiful). I do have to say I also like flowers and romantic dinners and a "provider", but it's not the core of what I seek. Necessary, but not the bottom line. And I suspect my definition of a "romantic dinner" is a little different then the medium woman group. It certainly doesn't involve equal sharing and intimacy....but that's note for another topic.

What I want to write about here is the identification I have with I myself being highly dominant and the challenges I face in finding the type of man I seek. I find that because of my own dominance, I need, I crave, a man who can match me, if not fully overtake me. Because agreeably, soft and emotionally sensitive men are NOT my cup of tea.

It's challenging to find men who fit this dominance need. I am very powerful. Yet in my relationship, I desire to be taken. Loving taken, but taken. Yet I find it impossible to surrender when I feel less power in my man. And this can show up in so many ways. Like if my man has less money, less looks, less presence, etc. I am not a playfully willingly submissive woman; but I want to be made to and able to submit because of a man's inherent power. All-encompassing power. Bascially, if I step-up, I expect my man to step-up, continuously, by matching me or supassing me. Because I'm going to test him (all be it unconsciously)...constantly...because I need to feel I can trust him to take me.

So I like the idea that not all dominant people want submissive individuals. Rather perhaps that dominant men (archetypal masculine) want other dominant women (archetypal feminine) they can truly overpower. I really want that. To really feel the man overpower me. That way, I can truly relax and soften, at the deepest level of who I am, and be fully open to whatever he gives me. But if I can give more to myself, why should I yeild to him?

I too have had relationships where I've provoked being slapped, hit and sexually forced into highly rough sex (which I really wanted). But these quarrels die quick and are short-lived if the man is not really dominant in all areas of the relationship.

Anyway, I hope I've made my point and would love some feedback from people who can relate. I have one dear highly dominant girlfriend, whose happily married to a wonderfully dominant man, who I know feels as I do, but we don't talk about their relationship so much because he wouldn't approve. If THAT doesn't sum up my point, then I don't know what does.

Lacey Sullivan

Same here

I definately feel the same way you do. My hubby says submission cannot be taken but given, and I am like "inspire me dammit!". Right now, I am trying to figure out if the problem lies within me, him, or both, and what to do about it. Check out my recent posts in "Why you should not withhold spanking" to see what I am talking about.


Taking and giving

I think the problem is that some people (I am one) need to be dominated before they are submissive. If my husband is assertive towards me then I cave in very easily, but if he isn't dominant then I don't feel submissive, and I need to feel it in order to be it. If he doesn't exert himself to be dominant, then I simply don't feel submissive. He doesn't have to do much to make me feel that way, usually a few well-chosen words are enough, sometimes just a look, but if he doesn't do SOMETHING, then I don't feel any inclination to submit.

I don't think of it as him taking submission from me so much as drawing forth a submissive response from me. Pressing the right switches to get the response that both of us want. He likes me doing as I'm told, and I like him making me do as I'm told. I need to feel that he is involved with me. If he wasn't willing to exert a little gentle pressure to get me to respond to him, then I couldn't do it. I need to be motivated. Inspired, as you so neatly put it.

Mind you, some women seem to need a lot more than that, and if I was a woman who wanted to be physically overpowered all the time then I'm not sure he could cope with that, he might find himself a bit out of his depth. He doesn't mind doing a bit of overpowering now and again, but if he had to do it every time he wanted me to do something, I think he might find it a bit wearing. We're neither of us getting any younger.


Women want men who will TAKE CHARGE

Yes, i also agree with this article. Women like those men who are powerful and who take charge. Mostly they get attracted towards them. Even its the same with me: I too like a man who takes charge.

Women want men who TAKE CHARGE

I am VERY new to this website. It was suggested to me by my boyfriend.

This is so true! I am in a position of power at work. I work in a profession that is 98% male, and everyone under me is male. By the time I get home, I want a real man. A man in control. A man who knows what he wants from me and isn't afraid to tell me. I have dated men who don't take charge in the past, and it simply dosen't work. I walk all over them. There is something so comforting, so sexy about a man who takes charge.

Thank you for this website!!