Thursday, September 19, 2013

ALPHA_BY_DAY: THE FLR & FEMDOM DIVIDE

As still very much a newbie, I find it fascinating to explore the many aspects that surround female led relationships. My understanding continues to evolve, and I waiver between “what I know I know” and “what I think I know.” You know?

One of the biggest surprises for me on my journey this year has been the perceived divide between those who espouse “vanilla” FLR lifestyles and those who espouse “kinky” FLR lifestyles. And my premise going in was definitely that we, the lucky few who acknowledge both the benefits and atonement that come with FLRs, are all one tribe. To some degree, perhaps a very important degree, we are kindred spirits. 

I consider myself to be a very inclusive person. I love the differences in people and truly enjoy learning from those who with different backgrounds and beliefs. Intellectually, I find it stimulating and emotionally I find it gratifying to cultivate diverse friendships. I’d love to talk with anyone who lives in an FLR lifestyle. I don’t care what else you do or don’t do, I’m interested.

I set up a group on a social network a few months ago with the intent of finding others in my area who are interested in female led relationships. Naturally, in the key word descriptors I used a wide range of adjacent topics. They even recommend it as you set up your group because casting a wide net is how you build a successful social group, right? Makes sense. I used words like “romance,” “courtship” and “female empowerment,” but I also used words like “BDSM relationships” and “femdom.” After all, FLRs are different things to different people. Not better or worse, just different.

One of the male members sent me a message that caught me off guard:
Can I just say that I find the description of FLR's as "BDSM Relationships" here on the site to be a negative? I think women find 'bdsm' off-putting and way too sexual to be appealing. The description 'FLR' was created to make these women-led relationships more appealing and palatable to women who [don’t] like the overly sexualized imagery that bdsm offers. Men, like me, are seeking strong confident women as lovers and leaders; not dominatrixes.
Now I certainly respect his opinion. And I very much agree that some women have exactly the opinion he expresses. And I’m great with that. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge that FLRs can include BDSM aspects as well. Some women enjoy it, some do not. Just like some women like Italian food and others do not. Life is a menu with limitless options. I don’t see this as any different really.

I have met a wide array of people this year with an interest in FLRs and they are as disparate as any other subset of society. I met a dominant woman who’s an accountant. I met a submissive man who’s also an accountant. I know several dominant women who are small business owners and consultants. I know dominant women and submissive men who are in sales and marketing. One likes ultimate Frisbee. One likes photography. Several eat primarily organic, non-GMO foods. Some have kids. Others do not. Some like cats, some dogs, some both.  Some neither.  And yes, some like kinky stuff and others don’t. Some are heterosexual, some not. Yes friends, believe me, there are plenty of FLRs between two women.

As a result I find it hard to judge any of these people as better or worse or one FLR any more appropriate than another. We all believe in female leadership and the benefits that come from it. From every one of them I have learned something this year, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

One of the things I’ve gained is a certain perspective. For instance, as I discussed in an earlier guest post, I’ve long had a problem with the term “submissive.” (No one in my vanilla life would believe me if I said that I’m a submissive man; it just doesn’t fit my personality.) But if I have a visceral response to the term “submissive,” others may have the same response to “dominant.” It may conjure stereotypical, porn-induced images. I get that. You don’t need a riding crop and corset to be in charge. And obviously BDSM isn’t for everyone. Heck, there’s a lexicon all its own and some of the practices under the BDSM umbrella are pretty severe. I can certainly see where that could be off-putting for many folks; indeed, some of it is off-putting to me, as well.

A wise woman whom I regard as both mentor and friend described “kink” as a big tent and under that tent, she said, all are welcome. I like the metaphor. So if I happen to have this interest and you happen to have that interest, we’re all just doing our own thing and should reserve judgment.

I would like to think of FLRs in very much the same way. Surely, we have enough commonality in our thinking around female empowerment and leadership that we can all accept one another’s variations on the main theme, especially in regard to what goes on behind closed doors. It’s encouraging to see more and more people interested in female led relationships. I have tried for many years to convert girlfriends to the belief, only to have them misinterpret or flat out reject the idea. So I can certainly appreciate the sensitivity around the adjacent imagery and bizarre stereotypes that can be associated.

Here is the response I gave to the comment above:
You make an interesting point. There is no right or wrong way to view female-led relationships. Each relationship is whatever the two participants choose it to be (BDSM, vanilla, or otherwise). Also, please remember, when you say "I think women find BDSM off-putting," you are forgetting the essential qualifier, "some." Some women find BDSM off-putting, others certainly do not, something I have personal experience with (in both cases actually).
I'm quite sure there are plenty of women seeking exactly what you're looking for, but we are not here to condemn anyone's viewpoints on FLRs or any adjacent topics or activities. One of the discussion topics lists a variety of "types of FLRs." Clearly they are not all BDSM-related.
All are welcome here; please keep an open mind to the viewpoints of others.
For me, the bottom line is that an FLR can be whatever the two parties consent to within the guidance of her leadership. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've always preferred the term matriarchal marriage or relationship.


Uxorious

Giles English said...

You get something similar in BDSM. Some people see kink action as to do with trust, spirituality etc. Others - like me - have a darker take.

Nice post!

Anonymous said...

I think if we could just clean Google from all the amount of garbage content on the matter then more Women and the men who love them would be OK with any term we used, whether Femdom, Matriarchy etc.

Anonymous said...

Great post and good comments.. Have been in a FLR for over two years and my wife and I both love are marriage more than ever. RR

Antwerp said...

I'm interested in the group on the social network. Where is that?

pagan boy said...

Good post. As a relative newbie to a FLR that also combines elements of BDSM, I've very much noticed the divide you're talking about.

It also seems to be mostly based around terminology and definitions, which are always going to inadequate and subject to quite varied definitions.

The path you took to end up in a FLR also seems to influence the terminology you favor. For us, the entry point was BDSM, so we're more comfortable with the terms dominant, submissive, etc. In practice, however, most observers of our life would find in remarkably similar to to one identified as a 'vanilla' FLR.

Anonymous said...

BDSM is a very broad set of practices. The middle part of the acronym is D/s, Dominance and submission. FLR relationships are based on female dominance and male submission, and to me, that makes them BDSM. I think the FLR enthusiasts who don't like the BDSM label are reacting to the stereotype of the whip-weilding, leather-clad dominatrix. But BDSM doesn't have to involve pain, or leather.

alpha_by_day said...

Thanks for all the comments!

@Uxorious, I like that one too. Very comfortable to use in vanilla circles too.

@Giles, good point. Seems like people come into BDSM from many different angles.

@Anon1, we are simultaneously empowered and enslaved by the First Amendment.

@Anon2, Bravo! You and your wife are living the dream, my friend!

@Antwerp, it's on Meetup

@pagan boy, you make a great point. We are definitely influenced by our paths and the semantics we grow familiar with.

@Anon3, just to clarify BDSM and D/s are different things but your point is well taken. BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline, Sadism & Masochism. D/s relationships can definitely exist without any of the above.

Again, thanks for all the comments so far.

Anonymous said...

This is a follow-up by @anon3.

Actually, alpha_by_day, the acronym BDSM is formed my mushing together three 2-letter acronyms, not just two: B&D,D/s, and SM. The Wikipedia entry on BDSM begins: "BDSM is a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission,..."

To be fair, a lot of people into BDSM focus on the leather and pain, and wouldn't recognize a FLR as being BDSM. But it's clear to me they are.

Thanks for sharing your journey on this blog.

Anonymous said...

The very truth about this lifestyle is that we relish in the thought of Female Supremacy (Superiority -- yes, as in better and all that).
We are able to create such a world, so please, all those who want to talk about WHETHER Females are Superior or yes, they are (those are the two viable options) should consider that we can decide that they are (meaning Females can decide that). Not going to get into it any further than that for now!

So... I think some households should exist were there is Maternal discipline of all males involved including spankings and why not, whips and maybe even canes. After all, why not? People like that so please, all those who "dislike it"... well, you don't have to do it yourselves.

I think there should be houses were males don't vote or run for office of anything political. The world needs better leadership and by insuring it's all Female we have much better chances of it happening (btw, look at Germany under Merkel or England under Tatcher... whether you like or dislike the two, what great LEADERS! and btw, best economists ever for them).

But mostly, I think we should allow to fantasize and then sometimes translate that into reality. What I mean is this, for instance. I am very much into things like inequality, males speaking only when spoken to, role reversal of the traditional roles (with sissification and all that included), and overall Females being the active, agressive, take-control sex. In that world, it's typically Women who are walking in the street and look at a guy while he is bending over to grab a falling pen and it is a guy who might feel a bit uncomfortable with it all but, like in past decades, has to just swallow the whole thing.

So... what can we do about it? We can blog about it, we can make munches and parties about it, and whether or not we "preach" this kind of lifestyle to a wider audience we should still preach that it is a VIABLE and ACCEPTABLE thing to be "into". And we should do that. Because I think it's really just about viability and acceptability, once those are there, then people can play around with it but find what they like. Because believe me, Femdom is a huge human component (like many other things) and it's here to stay. A lot of people just don't know about it!
--Alex
PS, I was thinking of suggesting this: could you take off the captcha before posting for verified users? is that even possible? (viable and acceptable? just kidding)

BOB said...

I have a few BSDM fantasies. But i like that this blog focuses mainly on the day to day "Vanalia" aspects of FLR .Since there are way more BSDM internet sites than FLR internet sites

I also think that many submissive guys confuse the two.And then complain that thier wife "Doesnt want to be in charge" because she is put off by the idea of him and her dressing in fetish gear,ect.

There is nothing wrong with having kinky fantasies.Or even in trying to fulfill them. But the challenges should be recognised

Whereas ive never met a woman that didnt want to be in charge.. Ive never dated or lived with a woman that complained about me cleaning or doing the dishes. Or was upset at me for doing as i was told by her

These werent" official FLRs", in the sense that she or I declared that she was in charge. I simply did as i was told.

In other words, it may be nice to fantisise about serving your wife and her girlfriends while being naked or in fetish gear. Butoften its not doable[although in some cases it could be] Whereas ive never had a woman complain when i fixed and served food and drinks to her and her girlfriends [while clothed ]

This wasnt "Stealth submission". I wasnt trying t o lead the women into an FLR. The facts were that i was living in an unspoken and undeclared FLR . So didnt feel the need to "up the ante" any more

Giles English said...

Perhaps in that light, an explicit FLR with built in kink is really just the man getting something in return for his efforts.

alpha_by_day said...

Interesting thought, Giles. I can see where that could work for some folks. Certainly nothing wrong with a couple choosing to indulge each other.

Personally, I would like to explore a woman's kinks rather than anything in my own head. But then again, I've never had a true FLR so I'm not really in a position to speculate on the viability of that scenario longer term.

Giles English said...

My take's a little different in nuance. It boils down to, "If you want a slave, then you have to treat me like one." At some point punishment becomes real, and it's no longer about fantasies.