2) Men like when women take control in the bedroom.
Women get all the attention for having forceful submission fantasies. But it’s a very common sexual fantasy for men, too.
Take the classic romance novel vignette of being led into the bedroom by someone who “hasn’t been able to take their eyes off you” and insists they must “take what they’ve wanted all night.” When guys read this from the perspective of a woman coming onto them so strongly, they were totally into it.
While some people have tried to shame women for submissive fantasies or explain it away as masochism, Hawley says no way. She and her team concluded: “we see little reason to invoke special theories to ‘account for women’s masochistic tendencies,’ especially since predilection for this type of material is shared with men.” The research found no evidence that wanting to be dominated is synonymous with masochism, for either gender. In other words, submission and self-respect can easily go hand-in-hand.
Other research confirms that dominant and submissive acts are seen as equally desirable for men and women to perform.
And in an earlier study, men had a higher preference for submissive fantasies than women. How’s that for mixing up the gender stereotype?
One last finding that may not come as a surprise now:
3) Fantasizing about dominant/submissive sex is normal.
The viral spread and bestseller status of “50 Shades” should be enough to convince you that submissive sex fantasies are common (and totally normal). In fact, 50 percent of men and women claim that this kind of kink makes up fully half of their sex fantasies.
And for anyone who assumes that women who fantasize about being dominated have “daddy issues” or low self-esteem, Hawley’s research shows we can put that prejudice to bed—for good. In fact, she found no correlation between neuroticism and women’s sexually submissive fantasies.
If anything, the book is allowing women to embrace fantasies that they were ashamed to indulge. “It eliminated some of the taboo characteristics of submissive fantasies,” says one recently engaged lawyer, of her experience reading the book. “It made them seem less ‘off limits’ for otherwise straight-edge women.”
While the book touches on S&M, and this research doesn’t, it may still help explain the appeal of submissive sex fantasies.
Whether you buy it or not, the research shakes up common stereotypes about sex fantasies, and explains why your neighbor has already finished the triology, and is encouraging you to start it.
The bottom line: Owning your lack of control in the bedroom doesn’t strip you of power, but can in fact be empowering.
Most likely, you’re being aggressively pursued because you’re just that awesome.
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