This is the third of a three part series of articles written on sexually dominant women and sexually passive men. And while most of the responses thus far have been favorable, it is clear that some men have taken exception to the subject matter. Most of these critics are of the belief that there is an institutional emasculation of men taking place in our society and that my articles contribute to this discrimination. I can assure you—the reader—that I do my best to present “what is,” rather than try to persuade you of “what should be.” I do at times warn about the potential pitfalls of certain behaviors, but my predominant objective is to present difference in all contexts; to inform you of the variety of characters who along with us all, participate in the daily theatrics of life. To perceive their behaviors as good or bad is left to you. I only ask that you accept their existence.
I also wish to make clear that while some sexually passive men might be of a masochistic nature, they are not necessarily “out of control.” On the contrary, the literature has found that men usually initiate this type of lifestyle, and try hard to convince their female counterparts to join them. Why? Because the humiliation they get is worth the arousal it brings. Remember, men seek out the services of dominatrices and gladly pay hefty sums for the opportunity to be sexually humiliated. Some male cuckolds actively solicit men to have sex with their wives and enjoy watching the action.
A related point is that every couple’s therapist knows that relational success is about the matchup. Many sexologists agree that a fetish is extremely difficult, if not impossible to completely eradicate. However, Money and Lamacz (1989) claimed that someone with exhibitionistic tendencies will have a better chance at relational success if married to someone with voyeuristic tendencies. Hence, a male cuckold will have a better chance at relational success if partnered with a sexually dominant female.
A third point that runs counter to the notion of institutional emasculation is the fact that some men actually punish their partners for refusing to take a sexually dominant role. For example, a couple presented for marital therapy because the wife had decided that she no longer wanted to practice BDSM in her marriage. Her husband preferred that she tie him down and whip him just prior to having sex. It’s easy to label this man a passive masochist. However, even to the utter dismay of his wife, he soon retaliated by cheating on her for abdicating her sexually dominant role. Is this man truly a martyr worthy of our sympathy? In his book Masochism in Modern Man, Theodore Reik (1944) claimed that men who engaged in punishing behavior did so as a way to “achieve a sense of victory through defeat.”
Some clinicians argue that even if a man possesses a strong desire to be sexually dominated in the ways described in this series, he should still be considered damaged or perverted; a perspective steeped in history. Kraft-Ebing (1886/1965) found male masochism to be a congenital disorder. Freud (1906/1953) contended it was a conversion of guilty feelings for the wish to dominate. Stoller (1975) found it to stem from early maternal humiliation. And Abrams and Stefan (2012) saw it as an adaptive response to abuse: anger and shame are integral to sexual arousal.
From the experience generated by my clinical practice, I’ve found that men who are attracted to sexual humiliation attempt to give their female partners to other men as a way to make up—in real time--for taking their mothers from their fathers as children. That is, when young these men were held too close to their mothers thereby supplanting their fathers. While this can produce erotica—being “the man of the house”—it can also lead to guilt for emasculating their fathers. As adults these men pay for their sins by giving their wives or girlfriends back to the deserved “real men” (i.e., their fathers).
Until this is revealed to a man wishing to make unconscious amends, there’s less of a chance this behavior can be controlled to the extent that it won’t completely ruin an adult relationship. The concept of control is vital because in reality the man doesn’t really want to lose his partner, just as he never wanted to suffer the complete loss of his mother as a child. Rather, he only wishes to “lend her out.” A psychic compromise, if you will. This is the somewhat paradoxical answer to why a man who has such a powerful desire to allow his wife to have sex with other men reacts so strongly if he in fact loses her to another man. It’s a compromise to the internal dilemma of apologizing for something he at least partially enjoyed. In this case: the dilemma of keeping or giving up one’s partner. And with any compromise, it’s far from perfect.