Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dominant Women in Literature and Real Life

By William Gaius

I was born in Canada during WW II. The men were off in Europe kicking Nazi butt, so my earliest memories are of a world run by females. The heaviest lifting was done by the younger women, who worked in the factories, fed their families after work, and managed the large and small tasks of the household and society in general. They were a generation of iron women, and they ran their world efficiently and in peace. As a small boy, I was safe with my mother and a circle of aunts who combined feminine gentleness with work-hardened minds and bodies.

Then Hitler died and the Bomb went off. The men came home, expecting to slip comfortably back into their places at the head of the table. But power is habit forming; during this time, I witnessed the tension and outright battles between the newly empowered women and the men reclaiming their entitlement. Since that time, I've been particularly attracted to women who resembled those of my early memories: at once strong and assertive, kind and loving. I've gone so far as to marry a woman like that, and my most admired female friends are cast from the same mold. So also are many of the female characters who find their way into my stories.

'Female domination', or 'femdom', is really two nearly distinct subgenres. The one that comes most readily to mind is 'classic' femdom—the Amazon in the opera hose and faux-Nazi uniform, brandishing a whip over a cringing, naked male. Writers in the genre know it for what it is, a fantasy scripted by men and imposed on women, a quirky extension of the testosterone-fueled paradigm we all know and loathe. How many women, really, are amused by dressing up in rubber bustiers and thigh boots and tormenting men? It's a big world; no doubt women like these exist, but for the most part they are a figment of men's fantasies.

The matriarchal apologist William A. Bond wrote, "Because [femdom] was created by men, many of its symbols and methods of domination are very masculine." [Note 1] In real life, relationships of this sort are probably rare, for one important reason: there's nothing in it for the woman. To my knowledge, few women delight in watching a man prancing about in a maid's uniform, or bound to a whipping post, screaming in pain. Kidnap him, dress him up in women's clothes, piss in his mouth, share him with friends, beat him unconscious. They're all products of the male hypothalamus.

From behind the bushes, another, kinder, gentler femdom is emerging. Too new to have a consistent name, it's been called 'femdom lite', 'female-led relationship', 'loving female authority', or, most descriptively, 'she makes the rules', or 'SMTR'. [Note 2] It's a relationship where women are freed from the pressure to take their cues from the classic femdom canon. These women really do write the scripts. They've found that they don't have to sacrifice their own needs, limits, or femininity to get what they want, yet they can still satisfy their men's kinky desires. They only have to study and accept the head-scratching complexity of the male fantasy life, then go forth and simply take charge.

Some women readily buy into the SMTR paradigm, rejoicing, "Where has this been all my life?" To some men, such a woman is a gift from God. A much larger number are led into it by men who've examined their own fantasies, found them wanting, and channeled their imagination in new directions. To put it simply, these men love their women and want to give them a happy and pleasure-filled life. If done right, submissive men can satisfy their fantasies, and women get a vastly improved sex life. If they play it right, their daytime domestic life can improve, too. These men are turned on by a woman who demands cunnilingus; assigns housework duties; and controls the household finances—all within the context of mainstreet family life, with children, dual jobs, and monthly bills. Men and women who've entered this lifestyle report greater intimacy, improved fidelity, and more creative and satisfying sex lives [Note 3]. This is the case, even though one of the chief tools borrowed from classic femdom is the strict rationing of the male orgasm, which perversely supercharges the male sex drive and realigns his mental gears so that he's ready to do absolutely anything to please his woman.

Recently, there have been a few—a very few—sex manuals that address the SMTR lifestyle (though all predate the invention of the term). The classics are Ian Kerner's 'She Comes First' (now found only in a Kindle edition), Ken Addison's 'Around Her Finger', and Mark Remond's 'Worship Your Wife'. Each of these books proposes the same approach to relationships: a guiltless assumption of authority by the woman and contented submission by the man. The womans' pleasure is foremost; the man's is secondary, often to the point of being denied entirely. In a relationship of the female-led variety, the woman chooses those things that pleasure her most: backrubs, having housework done for her, sex her way, even a return to the days of courtship when she was the center of his life. Sounds too good to be true, but she can, in fact, have it all.

What happens to men's sense of masculinity in all this? How do they hold their heads up among the good ol’ boys down at the tavern (assuming their wife allows them to go at all)? Are these men pussywhipped? By any definition of the term, yes. But are they emasculated wimps? Most will beg to differ. Some in the lifestyle refer to themselves as 'knights', pledged to serve their woman with all the courage, strength and will they're capable of. Many feel that their identity as men has been strengthened by their service to one woman.

Mark Remond, in ‘Worship Your Wife’, quotes Clairette de Longvilliers, "If you want your wife to be a Goddess, first worship her." If any one statement can be taken to incorporate the guiding philosophy of SMTR, that is it.

My earliest attempts at novel writing were built around this theme, though I was unaware of it at the time. 'The Sisters of Kali' (1996-2003), my first attempt, concerned a group of women, selected apparently randomly by God to prevent an apocalyptic religious war far in the future, specifically by beginning the change of world societies to matriarchal ones. (Events so far this century have obviously overtaken and overshadowed this premise.)

In 2005, after some abortive attempts in other genres, I began work on a frankly erotic novel that had stewed in my brain for several years. This time, I planned explicitly to incorporate an SMTR relationship. 'The Ancestors of Star' is told from the point of view of Tim Hyatt, 22, testosterone-charged Big Man on Campus. He takes a year off college to work at a clinic on an Indian reservation, part of his master plan to gain admission to medical school. He figures the reservation experience will strengthen his case for admission, and might even help him win a desperately needed scholarship. To his bemusement, he discovers that his new boss, 46-year old Elaine Yellow Star, a smart and assertive Native woman, hires a young man every year to help out in the clinic as well as perform certain, ahem, 'personal services'. Though prepared to resist, Tim is soon ensnared, and the services she demands of him could scarcely be more personal. Still, to the consternation of both, love grows between them. After numerous adventures, the two end the story in a committed relationship.

Tim begins to guess what awaits him when, after an afternoon of unrequited cunnilingus with Star in the mountains, he is summoned to her room next door, presumably to take up where they left off:

"You read much fiction?" she asked.

"Some Michael Connelly and Robert Crais and Lawrence Block. Suspense and mystery. That type of thing," I said. "Why did you page me?"

"Get me a meat sandwich and a bottle of cola from the cafeteria, Tim."

"I beg your pardon." I gaped in disbelief.

"You heard me. You're my assistant, and I'm hungry. Please take care of it. Get some lunch for yourself, too."

"Isn't this some kind of employee abuse?"

"I don't think so. In any case, you weren't there when I needed you this morning, were you? Don't be long."

Tim is repeatedly used and abused by Star, but when he attempts to break free, he is pulled back by her unabashed exploitation of her sexuality:

She shed her nightgown, held me by the waist and stroked me very slowly until I gasped, "I don't think you want me going off this soon."

She stopped stroking, and said, "Tim, I don't intend to let you go off at all. Will you let me get away with that? I wonder if it will excite you half as much as it excites me?"

I turned to whisper in her ear, "You can do anything with me that you want, and you know it."

"Yes, I can, can't I?" <

Star, as strong as she appears, carries serious damage, the result of a gang rape at the age of 20. She's been unable to sustain a permanent relationship with any man. When she finds herself falling in love with Tim, she struggles fiercely against it, insisting she will only use him for the year and send him back to his fiancée in Chicago. But at the end, Tim overcomes her emotional resistance, and she agrees that he can stay with her indefinitely: 'The Ancestors of Star' is an exploration of love and its blossoming under unusual conditions, and the rewards of persistence:

At last, she let the wet flesh slip from her mouth and looked up at me. Her eyes shone with lust, even in the dark room. "Tim, you know nothing in this room will change for us. You'll still do my laundry and cleaning. You'll have to resign yourself to being teased mercilessly and then left without coming. Most of the time, anyway. You know how it excites me to do that."

"It excites me, too," I whispered, and a thrill rippled though my body as I realized that Star was no longer speaking about the short term. She was referring to a future together.

"It took a long time for this kink of mine to develop, Tim. It won't go away overnight. Perhaps never. I can't apologize for it, either. I enjoy it too much."

I tried to keep my voice calm as I smiled back. "I'm surprised at myself. A year ago, I'd never have believed I'd let any woman torment me the way you do, or that I'd come to need any woman so much. But I'm not going to be like Jeff and go away when I'm told. Whatever it takes, I'm staying."

She kissed my thigh, and looked up at me as if seeing for the first time what she had created.

The story is also about life on a modern Indian reservation: the poverty, the encroaching plague of drugs, and the attempts by the People to keep alive their culture against the forces of assimilation and exploitation.

I've been heartened by the reception of 'The Ancestors of Star', and I've gone on to work on other books on the same theme. My current work in progress is 'Mortal Turpitude', a modern biotech thriller incorporating an SMTR relationship.

William Gaius lives and romps with his Queen in the American Southwest, where the life and landscape have long inspired him. Find 'The Ancestors of Star' in e-book or print at:


1. William A. Bond, "Femdom and Brainwashing Techniques" in his blog, 'Femdom Matriarchy'. URL: Bond's writings on the wisdom and practice of matriarchy are extensive and found all over the Web.

2. Information site managed by two women who are in the SMTR lifestyle.

3. Forum part of the above site. Requires signup, but contains a vast archive of posts and discussions.

(From Lisabet: You can read my review of The Ancestors of Star here.)


  1. William, what a wonderful post. While reading, I found myself nodding time and again.

    A quote:
    The one that comes most readily to mind is 'classic' femdom—the Amazon in the opera hose and faux-Nazi uniform, brandishing a whip over a cringing, naked male. Writers in the genre know it for what it is, a fantasy scripted by men and imposed on women...

    YES! So many people don't 'get' this. Women aren't interested in being men or acting like them. Oh, happy wiggle here.

    I'm off to check out your site and blog.

    Lisabet, thanks so much for finding William for us.


  2. Coming from you, Jude, that's a great compliment. Thank you!


  3. Jude, I was doing the nodding thing as well, especially at the notion of SMTR.

    I really enjoyed the background and excerpts, William. As I put in my take earlier this week, the whole idea of femdom is an empty bookshelf in my mind, ready to be filled with ideas. Thank you for your well-done post, and I will be following up on your work. :)

  4. Hello, Bill,

    Thanks so much for joining us at the Grip. The Ancestors of Star was a breath of fresh air for me. I really wanted to get your take on the subject of female dominance, and your response is even more erudite and thought-provoking than I expected.


  5. Hi Bill,

    Great post. Interesting research. I feel the same way about femdom--or true femdom, as far as I'm concerned. You're right, women are not men and we don't think, or derive pleasure, in the same way men do. Being a shrew and berating men is not my idea of a good time. Having him focused on my pleasure is another thing all together, though. (That's not to say a nice whipping or spanking doesn't get my engine purring.)

  6. William,

    Wonderful post. The reality concept of SMTR makes more sense than the femdom world of corsets and cruelty.

    Very interesting points and a pleasure to read.



  7. Hi Bill!

    Welcome to our blog! I'd never heard before of this particular variation SMTR and I thought it was really interesting. It had me wondering what it would be like to be in such a relationship and whether I would welcome it or not.


  8. Thanks for the kind comments. Like any variation on the conventional themes of love and sex, it's not for everyone (did I forget to say that?) but for some, it's a happy compromise between fantasy and life. At its best, it brings years or decades of power struggles to a peaceful and often titillating end. The first-person tales told on She Makes The Rules range from the ecstatic and the delighted, but also to the disappointed and the sad.

    Curiously enough, I've lived such a lifestyle for over thirty years without knowing there was anything special about it, until I began to write. When I write, it's the one subject that seems to flow naturally for me.

    Bill G.

  9. Mark Remond give this supercondensed manifesto on his blog here: