I’ve been getting some general concern that I’m shooting myself in the foot by using politically incorrect words like “dominance” and “submission”. I’ve also reached into the grab bag of f-bombs and slang to describe the lady bits. The thought being if I just eased up a little, I would start appealing to women more.

Ahhhh…. no.

I write about the appeal of the Bad Boy tempered by the Nice Guy. Thus MMSL is written with a mix of Bad Boy and Nice Guy. As soon as I start toning it down and start trying to appeal to women by writing like a Nice Guy, my female readership will start drifting away. Slightly more than half of MMSL’s readership is female already, so consider that to be the best evidence I have.

I write about how women like rough sex (if only some of the time). Seriously now, how does one talk about hair pulling, spanking and pounding her in the sack with politically correct flowery language? Exactly… you can’t. Words like “dominance” and “submission” are loaded with erotic capital.

Here, read this from a comment from yesterday…

For years I struggled to communicate what I wanted from my husband because I was using the wrong d$&@ word!  Maybe I was just dancing around the idea when I would say ” I want you to show me who’s boss”,  or “I need to feel your strength”.  I have to say that I, for years, thought that I was broken for wanting this and thought that using the word dominant, in my mind,  would only tell him just how broken I was, highlighting  how far off I was from the ideal, independent woman.  It was so lonely to want something so badly that would only prove how unworthy I was.  I finally ran across takeninhand and then MMSL.   That’s where I found the courage to finally tell him that I wanted to be dominated (especially in bed).  I could not believe his response.  He said “Well why didn’t you just say so?”.  I broke down crying, telling him that I’d been trying for 20 years.  Yes, I learned, word choice matters.

You can’t nice your way to primal sexuality. Women aren’t turned on by the nice, they are turned on by the edge. I’m not saying that you suddenly have to start up with the sailor talk, but if your language is falling all over itself to not offend, it’s basically neutering you. You’re a man. Say what you think. Don’t say what you think you should say.

Women are okay with a little smut. Seriously now, 50 Shades of Grey is flying off the shelves into the hands of a lot of hot and bothered women. Yeah baby. A man who can talk about sex with confidence and a little bit of an edge is telegraphing his ability to be good in bed to everyone around him. It’s an easy instigation move. It’s sexy.

For example, if you can’t even say the word “vagina” without worrying about collapsing from a panic attack, that’s pretty bad. Saying “down there” is a cop-out too. “Down there” is where you ain’t going.

So here’s the plan, I want you to out loud, strongly and firmly say the word “Pushy.”  I know it sounds strange, just do it. Get used to the word and say it until it feels relaxed and casual when you say it. Pushy, Pushy, Pushy.

Say it like this lol…

Jennifer:  He’s just like this in real life.  Laughing to himself as he wrote the Sean Connery thing.  (And yes, I do think Sean Connery is hot…I’m all for the foreign accents, baby.)


  1. I once had the hots for a guy, but didn’t go for it because I was in a relationship. Fast forward two years and I’m free, he’s free, and he totally blows it by playing “nice guy,” even going so far as to say “I want to make love to you.”

    Totally killed ANY desire I had. Felt like I was kissing my brother, and thus did not go any further.

    Just sayin’.

  2. Sean connery makes me want to go out and just grab women. What a character.

  3. Charles says:

    Pushy Galore?

  4. Rachael says:

    I don’t understand why people who don’t like this blog and what it stands for, and Athols terminology, why they don’t just piss off and find something that suits them. In my quest to find information on my submissive desires I found a few Christian blogs that I didn’t totally gel with, (I’m not exactly atheist, but I’m certainly not Christian either) but I didn’t slag off the author, or criticize their beliefs and terminology, I just moved on. And I’m thankful that I did; if I had stayed there and tried to bash the author into my idea of what was acceptable I would never have found MMSL.
    People please, if you don’t like it here, keep looking, keep searching for what you do want, it’s out there somewhere. Don’t bash Athol for for not doing it your way, find a blog that IS your way.
    Go on. Keep moving.

  5. ” Slightly more than half of MMSL’s readership is female already”

    I was kind of wondering. Particularly when I read some of the posts, it would be interesting to color code them. I read once on a blog “It was a nice discussion we were having, until some woman had to come along and make it all about her.” Sometimes, particular subjects on MMSL just seem to provoke that response.

  6. In the word is the deed, if you gussy up the language of something, you’ve also softened and neutered the concept.

    Interestingly, Athol has done plenty to soften up some of the very strong PUA-style language (“fitness test” instead of shit test). He’s kept the edge in the stuff that needs an edge.

  7. Christy says:


  8. Highlander says:

    Just goes to show what tormented/ self doubting or devious creatures women are. The idea you can live with someone for 20 years, go through everything life throws at you with them and they don’t think they can trust you enough to tell you what they want?

    What they actually tell you they want in plain English and what they really want (usually in Swahili translated from the original Greek) are two very different things. In some ways I think they really don’t want you to know exactly what they want. That would be giving away the candy store and most of the future excuses for poor behavior or infidelity, other than selfishness and Hypergamy. Either Chris Rock is right that you can never make them happy, or there is some Alien part in their soul they do not give to anyone for fear they’d loose all control. Personally after reading thousands of posts of MLC women claiming “he wasn’t meeting my needs” and husband replying ” WTF” I’m beginning to believe in the second one.

  9. I have written many posts on the importance of language. For example, I never call it “making love”. That evokes an image of a certain type of sex. There is a time and a place for “making love” but more often than not, we fuck, so I call it that.

    Of course stick with the language that works to spread your message. It’s the reader’s job to apply it to their lives. If they are not comfortable with some of the language then they can change it for their own use.

    Simple as that.

  10. Peregrine John says:

    Never mind the women drifting off. You water down your message, and we’ll drift off. So none of that crap, if you please. We are men, and prefer our truth straight up.

  11. I think Athol does a great job using the correct terms to get his message across. Some people are just going to be easily offended when it comes to frank discussions of a sexual nature. Nothing can be done about that.

    On the same note, it should be acknowledged that not every issue he discusses is going to have universal appeal. I tend to skip the ‘dominance and submission’ stuff, not because I find it offensive, but because my wife and I have been down that road and did not find much there that made our sex life better: she did not enjoy being tied up or ‘pretend raped’, didn’t finish reading 50 Shades of Grey because she found (both of) the main characters unappealing, likes rough poundng sex every once in awhile but not if it is complex enough to require planning in advance , and our attempts at role playing all ended with both of us cracking up laughing in a most unsexy fashion. As for me? I’m a guy. I am enthusiastic and proactive about trying new stuff, but unlike a woman I *always* enjoy sex as long as I get to come at the end of it… psychological games during sex don’t really enhance the experience for me.

    So I wouldn’t ever send Athol a message about finding dominance issues or SMBD subjects offensive, but I’ll admit when the posts go there I usually tune out.

  12. Yeah, screw that. We’ve seen three decades of marriage manuals that tell you creative ways of kissing your wife’s ass, and Athol’s dedication to writing in plain, blunt dude-language is one of the distinctive things about the MMSL approach.

    Women who fear the “dominance/submission” terminology and want something “nicer” aren’t ready to swallow the Red Pill yet, as the side-effects include a loss of illusions and rationalizations.

  13. I’d also echo what Badger says: if you think Athol is offensive try reading some of the other game sites.

  14. I was just about to write on a similar subject. This is 100% why women don’t understand us or even try to. We edit ourselves. She’ll never accept you or learn how you think if you’re constantly editing yourself so as not to offend. This happens to plenty of women who later on catch their husband’s watching pron or eyeing another woman. Then she goes into panic mode because she thought she married “one of the good ones.”

  15. FlyingDutchman says:

    Women seem to be biologically programmed to fight against what they want the most, which is why we have to deal with the one of the fundamental concepts of game, fitness tests. This is also why you can’t get any relationship advice from women. Every once in a while my wife tries to tell me that she has told me in the past that she wants me to be dominant, alpha, not take her crap, etc, etc. But, I swear she has never told me those things. Somewhere deep down she feels like she has, but if she ever did she was very, very subtle about it and her fitness test that would pull me away from an Alpha frame are anything but subtle.

  16. Dominance/submission is not primarily sexual in nature. It is the marriage relationship. It is the backbone of the writing. Athol refers to it as Captain/first officer, but it’s the same. The captain shows dominance, while the first officer defers or submits to the leadership of the captain. MMSL is all about dominance and submission. As a man applies MAP to his marriage is he is taking the dominant role in his entire marriage, not just the bedroom, and causing his wife to submit. You can change the terms but you cannot change the principle.
    I would like to expand on what Ian stated by saying that anyone who fears the terminology is not ready. It is unfortunate for anyone still holding to the societal fallacies taught over the last several decades that they may find themselves alone, but they will have been politically correct.

  17. I doubt that I will ever use the terms “dominance” and “submission” related to my marriage. The connotations are simply too negative for me. But, I really appreciate this site and have learned a lot from it. My husband and I are both applying MMSL concepts to our marriage and are very happy with the results.

  18. Jacqui,

    FWIW, I was speaking primarily about dominance/submission in relation to the bedroom. I mostly agree with what you (and Athol) say about it in terms of relationships. I was in sales for many years so my frame of reference is a little different… whereas Athol talks about Captain/First Officer I tend to think of it more as Salesman/Prospective Customer… In the Captain metaphor, when there is a disagreement, the merit for the man’s authority is based simply on being the husband. In the Salesman metaphor, the merit for authority comes from the man’s ability to make his vision look more appealing than the competing vision and convince her that what he wants is really what she wants, even if she doesn’t realize it yet… ;-)

    My problem with the Captain role is that, for me, it sets up an unrealistic expectation that my wife will *always and every time* defer to my authority because, after all, I am the Captain and the penalty for treason is death. If we have a major disagreement (which happens occasionally) and things don’t go my way, the Captain metaphor is shattered. How does a Captain ever trust a First Officer who openly defied his orders? With the Salesman metaphor, when things don’t go my way, it’s just a lost sale. There will be another opportunity, and I will probably do better next time because I’m a pretty damn good salesman.

    But really I think we are talking about nuanced differences of the same general concept, and Athol admittedly spends much more time thinking about and does a much better job fleshing his out than I do mine.

  19. Changed Man says:

    I agree with you, Dutchman.

    It’s been a very gratifying to experience my wife go through her own ‘red pill’ moment and becoming more ‘conscious’ in our relationship as I run the MAP. I’ve had a similar jump in just a few months, with respect to yesterday’s post, from phase 1 to phase 3 and my wife is very aware that I’m a couple ranks above her now and her response is textbook MMSL.

  20. Peregrine John says:

    “Anyone who fears the terminology is not ready.”

    Brilliant. Let those with connotation issues take note.

  21. If you start using words like “slap” you’re doomed.

    This is no longer Bond’s 1963 world.

  22. @Eric 10:23am: thank you for being candid, I relate very much to your post. There are many flavors in life, and we each generally prefer some flavors over others. Sometimes we do experiment and may or may not change our tastes. How literal or non-literal anyone takes the dominance/submission stuff is a matter of taste. I do want a strong leader of a man, and I want him to tell me what he wants from me, and I want him to listen to me without freaking out. A calm, strong leader of a man. That’s my flavor. I do find directness very appealing, and want him to tell it to me like he sees it, even if it’s hard for me to hear. But I also wanna be myself. With new things, i wanna test them out, see how they feel, and feel free to not like them. I am coachable, but dictatorial stuff is a big turn off. Yet I dont think less of people who get off on strong dominance stuff, or even those who are way kinkier than I. So you know, to each their own.

  23. @Eric:

    “In the Captain metaphor, when there is a disagreement, the merit for the man’s authority is based simply on being the husband. In the Salesman metaphor, the merit for authority comes from the man’s ability to make his vision look more appealing than the competing vision and convince her that what he wants is really what she wants, even if she doesn’t realize it yet…”

    You misunderstand the metaphor and how it works.

    The Captain’s authority comes not from merely being the husband-and-so-I-said-so-that’s-why — it comes from being consistently competent and in charge so ubiquitously that there is rarely any question as to following the orders. They’re good orders, because you’ve proven yourself a good Captain.

    The Salesman/Customer model is weak, in my opinion, because you are essentially forced to persuade your wife that your idea is the right way to go. Persuasion is a powerful male tool, don’t get me wrong — oratory is a cornerstone male achievement — but the fact is that you did all the “selling” you needed to when you proposed. She either accepted what you were selling or she didn’t — you shouldn’t have to re-sell her the same thing over and over again. Persuasion implies an attempt to establish a consensus, which is fine in some circumstances, but not when it comes to male-female interpersonal relationships. Why? Because consensus is the absence of leadership, and when your wife smells you not leading, i.e. persuading, then she has no implied obligation to follow you. You have abandoned your post as the family’s strong male leader and have, instead, decided to enter into the predominantly Female Social Matrix game of consensus-building.

    And then there’s this fallacy:

    it sets up an unrealistic expectation that my wife will *always and every time* defer to my authority because, after all, I am the Captain and the penalty for treason is death.

    Well, yes and no. Yes, it sets up the expectation that your wife will defer to your authority; but it is neither unrealistic (unless you’re just a complete idiot who can’t do anything right) nor is the penalty for treason death. It is perfectly reasonable for you to expect her to follow your reasonable lead and defer to your authority absent a compelling reason to do otherwise. If she has a compelling reason, then as FO she is obligated to bring it to your attention.

    And the penalty for failure isn’t death — it’s a shit test. Her purposefully bucking your authority without a darn good reason is a direct challenge to your authority, and she wants you to stand up to her on it. If you don’t — weak. In this case, persuading her of the error of her ways isn’t any better — it’s still weak. You’re begging her to be reasonable and see your side, not giving her a directive and leaving it up to her how she executes it. How does a Captain ever trust a First Officer who openly defied his orders? By patiently (and perhaps a little condescendingly) instructing the FO that they screwed up by doing so, that you are upset with her inability to follow simple instructions, that you have higher expectations of her, and that you expect that there will not be a repeat of this in the future. (Of course this assumes that she didn’t have a darn good reason and just couldn’t be bothered to do what you told her to do)

    Because it is, actually, a “lost sale” if she gets away with it: your value in her eyes is diminished — you tried to “sell” her that rare commodity known as “husband” and she rejected it. Next time she might buy, or she might not — but you’ve given her every indication that you don’t care if you lose a sale or not, so her interest in following your leadership wanes.

    I tried the whole “persuasive salesman” approach with Mrs. Ironwood once. At my most persuasive — and I can be pretty darn persuasive — she complained it sounded like whining and manipulation, and even when she did capitulate she didn’t feel great about it. Once I put on the Captain’s hat, however, she not only enjoyed the direction, she enjoyed it when I shot down her suggestions and appreciated me holding her tightly to account on some issues, like NOT following my leadership. Oh, and I started getting laid about three times as much, too.

    Just sayin’.

  24. FlyingDutchman says:


    So when you give her something to do and she doesn’t do it, and doesn’t have a good reason, then what do you do about it? Sounds like you are saying you would explain to her that its not acceptable. This is basically a lecture. My SO hates any “talks” and doesn’t respond well to them. Even if I’m right, there is really no point in talking about it. “You cannot win an argument with a women”, ever, and especially not if she is emotionally spun up.

    For me the only way to handle these situation is just plain dis-interest. Maybe a look or a very brief correction, but nothing more. Only thing that works after that is no reaction and maybe some distance (I’m not interested in bad behaviors from my SO). If I react to her test of not doing what I asked, then I’m upset and she won the test.

    This is a tough one for me still, because I don’t really want to be dis-interested very long. I mainly just want to have a good time together while we both work hard to take care of business at the same time.

    Any ideas from other guys out there who have this down?

  25. Ian, thanks for the all I can say is that has been my frame since long before I found MMSL, and it has worked well for our relationship so far (2 years of courtship and 12 years of marriage). It is also a model I learned from watching my grandfather, whose 70 year marriage is one I respect and try to emulate.

    And really a lot of your objections hold up well under both models: if you are a Captain giving bad orders, you will get mutiny. If you are a salesman pitching bad ideas, your customers will buy from someone else. Both models require a focus on excellence and for you to be a proactive leader in your household if they are going to be effective.

    Just as you say the captain’s authority is based on a history of making the right calls, the salesman’s authority works in the same way. You aren’t as likely to question the advice of a stockbroker who has given you excellent gains in the past, vs. one who has a history of losing your money. I don’t spend a lot of time trying to build consensus with my wife because she is not in the habit of questioning my decisions without good reason. We’ve never had a conversation about whether it is her duty to follow my lead or not, but she usually follows my lead because she expects good results to come from it. And in the rare occasions where she does not, my experience is that we both get better outcomes when I put on the salesman hat vs. the captain hat (and I have tried both over the years). That doesn’t mean I say “let’s just split the difference” or “tell me how you’d do it then” but it does mean I ask some form of “What are your objections to this course of action?” and try to address those objections. The response I have gotten in the past from shooting down her suggestions out of hand is very different from the response it sounds like you get from your wife. I have no problem being firm with my wife, and can comfortably slide into the role of being a dick (a role which has its time and place), but when she feels I am treating her as less-than-equal on matters of great importance, it can do major damage to our relationship. And honestly, I make so many of the “big picture” decisions in our household that every once in awhile I think she exerts some resistance just to make it interesting for me… because she knows I do enjoy the chase and the close.

    I also think it matters a great deal what kind of salesmanship we are talking about. Al Bundy and Don Draper are both salesmen in a technical sense, but nobody would ever call Draper’s style whiny (although it is manipulative, but then so is every single method for getting your way that has ever existed).

    Anyway, clearly Athol’s Captain/FO model works very well for many MMSL readers. Some men are married to women who are a little more touchy about the dominant/submissive nature of marriage, even if those women are fairly submissive. I just bring this up as an alternate way to think about it. It has worked well for me. Your mileage may vary.

  26. I’m a woman who has a problem with the word “submissive.” In my mind, the word means being tied, gagged, blindfolded with no control over what is sexually being done to you. In other words, a BDSM Sub.
    I can’t and won’t ever give up self control to that level. I am not a Sub.

    But I am a First Officer. I don’t want to be in charge, don’t want to have the ultimate authority. I want a man who is in charge of our relationship, but accepts that I will never give up my self-control.

    I like the Captain / First Officer idea. Picard never tried to control Riker’s every action, he gave Riker plenty of power, and refused to control Riker’s personal life (except where it affected the Enterprise). Riker wasn’t a slave, he was able to quest– ask for clarification on many orders, but in emergencies. He was under Picard, not submissive to him.

    Athol can, and should use any terms he wants. I know what he means when he says submissive. And I know this blog may have female readers but is aimed at Men, and they won’t read unless Athol uses words that won’t push them away.

  27. Z,

    I must disagree. If you know what Athol means when he uses the term “submissive,” then the rest of his audience can figure it out, too. Besides, “submit” and “submissive” are words used in the Bible. I won’t let a subculture of society redefine and take a word away from me that God thinks is good. :0)

  28. There’s relatively few serious decisions to make as a couple. That’s really when the Captain thing comes into play. Even then some of the decisions the Captain makes are between fairly equally good choices.

    The whole dominance and submission thing isn’t for everyone. There’s no requirement anyone does it.

  29. I think women are raised to deny themselves everything. We have to be “good girls”, we can’t actively enjoy food, can’t let ourselves go, can’t relax, always have to be perfect at everything, etc. Rarely will a woman even let herself enjoy a freaking cookie without guilt. So yeah – we all want to be dominated in bed and have a man that takes control and makes us feel safe and we want to eat well and also be beautiful (read : thin) and desirable. Giving in to our wants – is a very hard thing though.

  30. While, an exalted example (Admiral and Captain) was when Captain Horatio Nelson disobeyed his Admiral, who then ordered the rest of the Fleet to follow.

  31. @Jane: that’s just a mindframe. No one can be responsible for our feelings of guilt. We have to work that one out ourselves. Men have various stress factors of their own in their daily lives. The aging part does suck for us women though. I will give you that.

    On a side note, I do recommend the Atkins “Indulge” bars to satisfy the occasional sweet tooth.

  32. Rachael says:

    @Ian Ironwood.
    Very articulate comment. You make a great point. I totally agree with you.
    When my husband forgets to be captain and is more ‘equal’, for want of a better term, I actually feel a little disappointed. Even when I don’t agree with him, I still want and need him to be firm and decisive. I might be annoyed that he doesn’t agree with me for about 5 minutes, and then I can’t keep my hands off him because he is strong and in control. You would think that him giving in to me would make me happy, but it really doesn’t.

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