...to want to say 'honour and obey' in my vows?

(522 Posts)
SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 13:46:00

Background: we're both feminists. He's a strong personality, very intelligent, very loving, considerate, supports my career, does (more than) half the housework, cooking etc. We're not Christian or conservative.


I am completely submissive to him and he sets the tone in every aspect of our relationship. Obviously there is a strong (and very hot!) BDSM undercurrent to all this. But it goes way beyond the bedroom: he leads, I follow, it's obvious and noticeable, and we both love it.

He's 'in charge'; never controlling. I am always listened to, and feel completely equal. I just do as he says and trust him to do the right thing. We're not ashamed of how we are, it's fundamental to us and because of that we want it to be included in our vows. He says it's up to me but he would like it very much, and I really, really want to say it.

BUT: it would mean outing our 'activities' to all our family and friends. I don't want our wedding to become all about that one line. Maybe no one would really care or give it any thought? We're happy to simply say: 'that's our dynamic and it works for us', to most people, but he has a 20-year-old daughter and it's her we're most worried about. She's sassy and worldly and she'd get it at once and probably be fine with it in private, but might find it really embarrassing and awkward... argh!

Help! It's the whole please ourselves or please others thing, I suppose...

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 08-May-14 13:47:34

Wouldn't 'out' you in the slightest. If anyone notices (which I doubt) just say you like the traditional words... hmm

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 13:47:38


MagnaCharge Thu 08-May-14 13:50:07

I am pretty sure not many people notice or care what marriage vows others make. In fact people sitting further back than the front couple of rows won't hear anyway

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 13:50:40

It's a civil wedding, that's all... and no other words will be all that traditional - basically it'll be obvious we've stuck 'em back in. I really would love no one to really notice / pay any heed though, because it's for us and not them! So just a big fat overthink on my part?

MaidOfStars Thu 08-May-14 13:50:53

Maybe no one would really care

If I hear someone honouring and obeying, I assume (rightly or wrongly) that they are a bit religious. I certainly couldn't give a shit if it actually refers to their bedroom antics.

You're not "outing" anything, except in your own head.

WipsGlitter Thu 08-May-14 13:51:11

I'm sorry you think using the word 'obey' will lead people to realise you do BDSM? You're overthinking it, I would not have thought that until you mentioned it. No one will care or notice. They will just want to get the service over with so they can get the free booze.

What utter bollocks.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 13:51:36

I doubt anybody would notice, and if they did they'd wait until another time to mention it, or at most they'd mention it in a jokey way on the day.

I don't see why you can't promise him the obedience stuff privately though? I can think of all sorts of things that dp and I would promise in private that are not for public consumption, especially with kids earwigging.

Don't invite people to watch you make public vows that you can't publically support.

MagnaCharge Thu 08-May-14 13:51:59

Also you say 'obviously' there is an 'undercurrent'. What nonsense nobody (or very fee people) would assume that because you choose to make traditional vows.

LoopyKitten Thu 08-May-14 13:53:16

Could you tell me more about your relationship? I find it fascinating.

On the vow front, just do it. People will probably ask you why, but you could either tell the truth or say the traditional thing as above. Your call.

crazykat Thu 08-May-14 13:53:35

When we got married we were asked if we wanted to say "honour and obey" as some don't want it to be part if their vows while others do.

If you want to say it then do. If anyone asks (which I doubt) just tell them you wanted to say the traditional vows.

MaidOfStars Thu 08-May-14 13:53:43

Just to be clear, I'm assuming that you aren't going to draw attention to the "hidden" meaning during the ceremony because you sound like the kind of person who might

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 13:53:45

I kind of wonder if you wish people would make a thing of it tbh.

Fwiw, no one will be listening, just looking at you both getting married and looking forward to a party

No one will notice and if they do they will just think you prefer the traditional service part.

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 13:54:27

cross post maidofstars. Yeah, I thought that too!

LoopyKitten Thu 08-May-14 13:55:04

Ah, I'd love to see a BDSM version of 4 weddings or Don't tell the bride. Brilliant.

Oh and even if they notice they will be too polite to comment

At least that's if they're normals - if you're having a gimp wedding and there's a load of leashes about someone will say something grin

Thurlow Thu 08-May-14 13:55:33

I'd say it's an overthink. If I heard honour and obey in the vows I would think you just wanted the old vows, not that you were in a BDSM relationship.

It's your wedding! Stop overthinking and go with what you want to do on your wedding day.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 13:55:35

The dubious word in your OP is not "obey" but "feminist". Follow whatever crackpot dynamic you want, but you are in deep denial if you think you are a feminist.

LoopyKitten Thu 08-May-14 13:55:41

Tarts and vicars, sort of

clapofthunder Thu 08-May-14 13:56:06

Huh? What a strange AIBU.

No-one will care or even remember.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 08-May-14 13:56:27

Supposing your DP were the submissive partner, would you consider using that particular vow? Or is it only okay because you're female?

steff13 Thu 08-May-14 13:57:48

It's your wedding, say what you want.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 08-May-14 13:59:32

Omg you are so ridiculous. Seriously get back into the real world. Do you really think people are sitting there dissecting your vows for hidden meanings.

Blu Thu 08-May-14 13:59:36

It would be interesting if other couples were allowed to hide (or declare - depending on which way you look at it) their sexual dynamic / bedroom practices in their vows.

Unless you explain it, people will think you are bizarre, and yes, you will spend the whole day explaining. And then discussing, and getting irritated or frustrated, presumably.

Unless you could compose or adapt one of those wedding invitation poems that explained it in advance? I am sure one of the MN wedding poem experts could help?

And - to live a certain way you don't have to promiose to it as part of your wedding vows. After all lots of things that people commit to in theier marriage is not spelled out in the vows.

And - the marriage service is a contract. Your current dynamic is concensual.

And - it sounds as if you do equate the onbey business with your hot sex life -do you really want to bring this into your marriage service, in public? It seems a bit tacky. Not your sexual dynamic, but putting it in the wedding service.

claraschu Thu 08-May-14 13:59:53

I sure as hell would notice if one of my friends said that. I think everyone I know would notice too.

I have trouble believing all of you people wouldn't think twice about it.

They may not let you put that phrase in a civil wedding ceremony anyway; most registrars are very wary of bits that have been taken from traditional church wording, because of the "no religious content" rule (even if the lines aren't themselves religious).

Blu Thu 08-May-14 14:02:29

I would absolutley do a double take if I heard someone (well, a woman - it isn't in the man's version, is it?) promise to 'obey' in this day and age.

I would definitely notice, because I would be listening, and I would assume they were very conservative, religious in some way or so carried away by tradition and wedding fever they had lost their marbles.

In fact the OP's real reason would be the only one that would make sense to me - and then I would think it tacky - to bring it into the wedding.

iK8 Thu 08-May-14 14:03:11

I don't think it's part of the civil ceremony any way is it? confused

I would totally notice. Even my granny thought it was old fashioned and didn't have it in her vows in 1950s.

Famzilla Thu 08-May-14 14:03:28

I doubt anyone would notice or care. On the tiny chance that they do, I still doubt they'd be so crude as to ask outright why you said it. The way your OP is worded is kind of like you want people to ask about it.

PuppyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 14:03:28

I wouldn't think you were into BDSM if I heard those vows. I'd think you were simply a boring, old-fashioned couple and be quite sad for you.

TheGirlFromIpanema Thu 08-May-14 14:04:26

I'd be really hmm if a friend of mine used those words in their wedding vows.

Its old fashioned and a bit odd in my opinion.

I would not connect it with any particular sexual practice though confused I'd just probably spend the rest of your marriage the day feeling sorry for you.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 14:05:32

I don't think either of you understand feminism.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 14:05:37

Me too blu. If any of my friends said it I'd spit my Prosecco out and start choking, but I think it's assumedthat many brides basically go bonkers in the name of tradition around their weddings.

TereseaGreen Thu 08-May-14 14:06:29

I suspect you would quite like everyone to know.

TheGirlFromIpanema Thu 08-May-14 14:06:37

Is it crude then? To ask a friend why they have promised (in public) to honour & obey someone?


I think it demonstrates openly that one person is the 'boss' in a marriage and is an awful way to begin a lifetime partnership with someone.

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:07:15

Yes, I think you both misunderstand feminism!

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 14:08:44

Of course it isn't crude. If somebody invites you to sit and listen to them make a public declaration, you can say what you like about it.

I guess maybe not on the day though.

ShoeWhore Thu 08-May-14 14:10:00

I'd be surprised if I heard a bride say obey these days.

But I wouldn't make the leap to BDSM. hmm I'd think you were a bit downtrodden though and I'd feel sad for you.

fingersonbuzzers Thu 08-May-14 14:11:55

Well, for me, the real issue isn't what you say at your wedding or anything to do with your sex life.

It's the fact that you let somebody else make all of your decisions for you, which I find creepy and strange.

But you didn't post about that, soooo....I don't think it matters what anyone thinks of you, does it? Since you're so happy to be bossed around in the course of living your life why don't you just nail your colours to the mast and own it?

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 08-May-14 14:12:11

Are you ashamed about it, because why would you care if people did notice.

CecilyP Thu 08-May-14 14:13:30

In a traditional church service, I might notice and, like iK's granny, think it a little old-fashioned, but no more than that. In a civil ceremony, I would definitely do a double take and think it more than a little weird, and wonder why you asked for it to be added. Here, it would have absolutely nothing to do with tradition - it has never been part of the wording. Honestly, your wedding guests really don't want to be thinking about your sex life.

sparechange Thu 08-May-14 14:13:37

I don't think it would 'out' you as anything other than a traditionalist.

But do you really want to be technically breaking your vows if he asks you do empty the dishwasher and you don't?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:13:40

Hmm. Think we'll just do it. Sound like no one will notice or really give a shit.

Not doing it for attention. Don't want the attention. That's the whole point of potentially not saying what we want to say. And it's a dynamic that goes deep and means a lot to us, more than a sexuality: agree bringing sex games into a wedding would be tacky.

Martorna: I'm a strident, active feminist. This is not about what gender I am, or what gender he is. Feminism is about equality and choice.

BreconBeBuggered: brilliant question! I'd like to think we would, yes, though we'd have to have this same discussion x 10 as it would be waaay obvious to all concerned then...

LoopyKitten: maybe PM me? Not sure gory details would be all that welcome here!

fingersonbuzzers Thu 08-May-14 14:15:06

"But do you really want to be technically breaking your vows if he asks you do empty the dishwasher and you don't?"


Bathtimesoaker Thu 08-May-14 14:15:06

I would in no way associate this line with bdsm and I think a wedding is flexible enough that you can put in a more appropriate and discreet line somewhere else. Also I think you are relating this to one area of your life and it's a very easy vow to break in most other parts of your life. Yes you may obey him in the bedroom but would you obey him if he told you to take the wrong turn when driving for example. I took my vows seriously and don't want to break them, that's why I could never promise to obey.

sparechange Thu 08-May-14 14:15:22


You couldn't use that wording in a civil service
It is taken from the CofE book of common prayer and as such would be classed as religious and therefore not allowed in a civil ceremony...

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 14:15:50

I would definitely notice if a woman said 'honour and obey' as part of her vows. BDSM wouldn't be my immediate thought, 'fool' would be.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:15:50

PS that I'm such a mouthy feminist is what will make it obvious (in my over-thinking mind at least!). People will know I wouldn't choose the traditional vows to be traditional. If they give it any thought that is, which hopefully they won't.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 14:17:28

"Martorna: I'm a strident, active feminist. This is not about what gender I am, or what gender he is. Feminism is about equality and choice. "

Feminism is about not putting women in crap positions. And being subservient to a man is a crap position.

Please do not bring children into this seriously fucked up relationship.

fingersonbuzzers Thu 08-May-14 14:17:47

How can you be a mouthy feminist when you have to rely on your partner to make all of your decisions for you?

ViviPru Thu 08-May-14 14:17:55

What TheGirlFromIpanema said.

I'm also a bit confused, you say it's an obvious and noticable aspect of your relationship beyond the bedroom, and yet you say you're reluctant to out your activities to your friends and family. Either it's obvious that you are submissive outside the bedroom and comfortable with that being public knowledge, or you're not confused

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 14:18:29

As an aside, I don't think the 'honour and obey' vow is the best example for a 'feminist' man to be setting his 20 year old daughter. If she questions it will you tell her the real reason?

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Thu 08-May-14 14:18:52

Well I wanted obey in my vows (but the vicar forgot.... It is a bit of a joke now), but ours is not a BdSM one... So I wouldn't assume anything. Btw. Submissive (in the vows from which you take these words), does not = doormat... (In fact, I have it somewhat easier than DH... From a traditional vows point of view).


Perhaps you could introduce a few props so people are clear on your meaning? Then they won't ask. But am guessing some of your friends at least will share your world view? The 20yr old is a grown up. She probably know what is going on anyway. Hey if my sister can have zombies and heavy metal, you can have this. My only query will be if the reg office will allow it (as might be seen as referring to religious vows), my sister could not even have a secular song with the word Angel in it! Zombies and hard core metal yes, angels no.

PrincessBabyCat Thu 08-May-14 14:18:57

Anyone that catches that you have a steamy BDSM life behind closed doors off two words from your wedding vows is seriously reading way too much into them. I mean, unless you do a slutty voice with a suggestive gesture, not one will think anything of it.

On that note, we went to a Christian pastor to ask him to do our wedding. He insisted that my husband was the leader responsible for our faith, and me. My husband spent the rest of the day putting up with my immature bullshit with me making blasphemous jokes and telling him my jokes were more on him than me. Honor and obey were not in our vows. Our vows were actually very nice, I think we wrote them? Or we were given some samples to pick from?

Anyway, I can't even remember my own vows wow that sounds terrible, I highly, highly doubt that anyone else is going to think anything of it.

eurochick Thu 08-May-14 14:19:03

As others have said, I'm not sure that you will be able to include those words in a civil ceremony anyway.

If I heard them, I wouldn't make the BDSM association. I'd just think you were a bit downtrodden and pathetic, tbh.

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:19:12

I do think your relationship sounds unhealthy (from what you've said - I appreciate that in rl it is more nuanced than can be conveyed on here). WHY would you want to be submissive(in life, not sexually, sex games are fun I guess) to someone? Why give control to another person? Sure. he's great now, but people change.

basgetti Thu 08-May-14 14:20:01

You're not a feminist. All the mouthiness in the world means nothing when in practice you act like a doormat who has to be told what to do by a man.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Thu 08-May-14 14:20:37

I'd think you were a doormat, I wouldn't think you were sexually submissive. I don't think I'd raise the issue of the vows with anyone, it's up to them. I'd just judge them privately.

CecilyP Thu 08-May-14 14:21:44

^You couldn't use that wording in a civil service
It is taken from the CofE book of common prayer and as such would be classed as religious and therefore not allowed in a civil ceremony...^

Sparechange, in that case OP has the choice taken away from her as she said upthread it would be a civil ceremony; and just as well, in my opinion.

SueDNim Thu 08-May-14 14:22:03

When we had out civil ceremony there were 3 choices of words, one with 'thou', one with 'you' and one where you just say 'yes'. I chose the latter, but the registrar told DH it was really for people who can't speak English. There is no 'obey' option.

Do you intend to have children? I would be worried about the rolemodel you might be to children. Obviously the way you act in your relationship is mutually agreed, but I wouldn't want a daughter to internalise that as a norm in case it resulted in her tolerating genuine abuse from a future partner. Or a son believing it is the normal way to behave towards women.

LoopyKitten Thu 08-May-14 14:22:04

Not the sex bit, it's the obeying in daily life bit I would like to know about (really DON'T want gory details!)

Thanks though

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:22:10

...and yeah, you're not a feminist. Feminism is as feminism does. Submitting to another person, nah, that isn't feminism.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 14:22:19

And exactly what message does this send to your partner's daughter about him? That he publicly expects his wife to "obey" him? Jesus.

ViviPru Thu 08-May-14 14:23:28

Haha Testing, "I'd just judge them privately" - me too. I do enjoy a nice juicy bit of private judgmentalism.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:23:34

I immediately thought 'ooh, I bet they are D/s!' when I read the title. But then I go around trying to collar spot too, so I doubt I'm normal...

I'd leave it out, precisely because of the ignorance and other bollocks around bdsm - you can see in this thread that people think consensual lifestyle choices are anti feminist, that relationship dynamics exist only in the bedroom and so on. Until we live in a world where people realise feminism is about choice (and bdsm/open/whatever relationship issues always get flamed to hell on here and that makes me really angry) then we have to keep some of our choices hidden unless we want a fight.

Can you maybe do a second celebration/event at a fetish venue or something?

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 14:23:53

I'm with claraschu & Blu. I absolutely would notice this, & if I knew you weren't some sort of conservative evangelical Christian, or weirdly old-fashioned, I'd definitely be speculating that it might reflect a BDSM or dominant / submissive dynamic in your relationship.

And I'd wonder why you would want to include that in a public ceremony, yes. Though you do say the dynamic is "obvious & noticeable" anyway, so maybe it won't be a surprise to most people there? If that is the case, why isn't it obvious to your partner's daughter? Do you tone it down when she's around?

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 14:24:28

they're your vows, say what you want. (within the rules.) I don't think any relatives etc would notice anything more than they hadn't already about your relationship.

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:25:46

Feminism is NOT about choice! There are numerous treatise on this subject.

Feminism is about EQUALITY for women.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:26:03

How the FUCK is making a carefully considered decision to live an alternative lifestyle not feminist?

Feminism is about CHOICE. As long as the OP is free to discuss, change or leave, and has made the choice freely, then it is nobody else's job to tell her that her choice is wrong just because it doesn't match theirs.

worriedabout Thu 08-May-14 14:26:54

Interesting thread. Depends who you are as to whether you choose to obey. I always said I would obey my DH so long as his requests were reasonable. It then gives me a way out. Obviously, this was not included in our vows - in civil ceremonies there isn't an option of it nowadays.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:27:21

Oh. Now loads of people are saying they WOULD notice. Which, given I'm a very assertive person in every other aspect of my life, is what I thought.

What saddens me the most is people assuming I'm a doormat and he's a tyrant. It's an easy and obvious conclusion, and I know I'm not 'normal' in wanting this so understand why lots of people would think that way. Still a shame though, because essentially it's not accepting that other people can be different, that they might not think or feel the way you do. I've always seen the way I am as a distinct sexuality that affects my entire lifestyle and all my relationships, a little like being gay.

As for the vows, I've flipped back to no. Which is a shame, but we can always just do that bit in private, as someone said.

And if he asked me to empty the dishwasher, I'd do it. I wouldn't make vows I planned to break! We've been doing this for ages now so it feels very normal and natural to me.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:27:23

Nethuns - please give me a link to any respected source that says feminism isn't about choice.

And there are plenty of male subs.

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:28:11

Choices are not made in a socio-cultural vacuum.

Think about it.

SteadyEddie Thu 08-May-14 14:29:10

I would have never, ever thought anyone who said 'honour and obey' in their wedding vows was into BDSM.

I will now though!

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:30:15

I shall! Off on school run, but in the mean time there's absolutely loads of discussions on forums (including here) with links to scholarly publications. And just because men do it doesn't make it ok.

MaidOfStars Thu 08-May-14 14:30:25

And if he asked me to empty the dishwasher, I'd do it

No questions asked?

nethunsreject Thu 08-May-14 14:30:48

(will do it after school run that is!)

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:31:28

The thing about feminism, right, is that you don't get to pick and choose which women you support. As long as she has made the choice freely and isn't hurting anyone, I would support a woman's right to choose to get an orange tan, dress only in leaves and communicate through the medium of interpretive dance. Not what I would choose, seems bizarre to me, but as a feminist I would support that choice.

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Thu 08-May-14 14:32:59

I submit quite happily (in a non sexual way... Dh doesn't force any issue... ;-) ). but I have to say it only works well when both are singing from the same hymn sheet. I have a say, I am totally free, but he has the deciding vote (after I have convinced him what that should be... ;-) ). DD is clearly ok witnessing this. She only intends to get a husband so that he can look after the babies while she runs her own business... (Apparently, this is the solution to child care issues...).

The key here is REPECT. DH respects me, and doesn't use me. The children know it is not right to submit to abuse (entirely different to what it actually means).

If she is wilfully submitting in her own way, that that is fine... She isn't being 'made' to submit. This is probably why she sees herself (and her to be DH) as feminists.

I don't see myself as a feminist at all as I don't require a label. Clearly I am raising one tho... :-/

kentishgirl Thu 08-May-14 14:34:04

I would totally notice. I would notice and it would raise one of my eyebrows in a church ceremony, but I'd assume they just wanted the old fashioned vows.

But in a civil ceremony - it's going to stand out a mile as a deliberate statement.

Civil vows are simply:

I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, _may not be joined in matrimony to _

I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, _do take thee, _, to be my lawful wedded husband/wife.

Some registrars will allow a small amount of personalisation as well, some won't. I've seen people make little personal 'speeches/vows' to each other of a few sentences that promise to look after each other and so on. I guess if your registrar allows it you could sneak it into something like that. I still think it'll stand out a mile.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:34:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 14:34:50

I repeat. What sort of a message do you think this would send to his daughter about what sort of man her father is?

Feminism is about choice- the ability to make choices that don't perpetuate oppression, and don't make other women's lives harder.

OP, out of interest, how old are you and how old is he? And if you have a daughter, how would you feel about her seeing her mother being submissive to her dominant father?

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:35:31

This is like saying that makeup is inherently anti feminist. Just because some women are or feel forced to wear it doesn't mean that it is impossible to wear lipstick and be feminist. Marriage is the same kind of thing.

There are some problematic elements within the whole bdsm culture/lifestyle, but that doesn't mean everyone with these identities shares the problems.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 14:36:42

And I find it deeply depressing that you describe being assertive as "being a sassy bitch".

JaackSparroww Thu 08-May-14 14:37:02

I'm the submissive in my relationship and although it's not every single word, i do "obey and honour" him. He listens to me and helps with my problems and makes me feel very special, which caters to my type of submissive.
He leads, I follow. Like a dance! I see it as very exciting, romantic and spontaneous. I don't see a problem with these vows grin
No one will think anything of it, they'll just think you've opted for traditional vows. It's very obvious to everyone that I am his submissive. I've outed myself to a lot of people. We don't really have the space or privacy to explore our bdsm fantasies, but we try to and that flows into our every day lives. Anyone can tell you that bdsm is more than just a sexuality, it's a lifestyle.
It's all about respect so YADNBU. wish you luck! thanks

WipsGlitter Thu 08-May-14 14:38:42

Well, people are also saying you can't do it anyway because it's a civil service so it's a moot point?

Of those who say they would notice, it's more they think you are a doormat that linking it to the bedroom.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 14:39:06

And if you had a daughter, jaaaackspqrrow?

basgetti Thu 08-May-14 14:39:52

Feminism doesn't mean that anything goes as long as the choice is made freely. I think feminism had a wider responsibility than that. I wouldn't support a lap dancer who makes an informed choice, because their job contributes to women being viewed as objects. I also wouldn't support the choice of a high class sex worker who loves her job and pays her taxes, because she is attempting to legitimise an industry where women at the other end of the scale are trafficked and abused. Feminists aren't obliged to support every decision made by a woman.

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 14:40:12

'No one will think anything of it'

Well that's not true. Lots of people would be very surprised to hear it.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:40:59

Mortorana: my stepdaughter's words. Not mine.

Shallishanti Thu 08-May-14 14:41:21

I'm another one who would definitely notice. BDSM would not be my first thought (until now) instead I would be wondering if I had slipped into some kind of time warp.
No real feminist would do this- it flies in the face of 100s of years struggle for women to have equality in marriage and elsewhere. Do you want to ask permission to sign a credit agreement or similar? because that's what the reality of 'unequal' marriage means.
I can just about get my head round the idea of consensual BDSM practice in a sexual context (although I think it's dodgy and dangerous) but I cannot see it a s healthy outside the bedroom.

AliceInSandwichLand Thu 08-May-14 14:41:31

Brittapieandchips, if I could like your post I would! Completely agree. Feminism is about not being compelled to do or not do anything on the basis of gender, surely? If the OP and her fiancé have this dynamic and they both are willing and happy partners to it, that says nothing in itself about anyone else's relationship. Just because most women would not choose this does not mean the OP hasn't exercised free will. I choose not to dye my hair or wear makeup and I don't see why I should, but I would absolutely support the right of other women to do so. It's like anything else in a free society, freedom of choice means freedom to choose things that other people would not choose, surely?

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:41:53

I've honestly given up expecting any respect or understanding on here for my consensual choices. angry

I suggest you do the same sad

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:41:55

Thanks JaackSparrow! Hurrah! Someone who gets it!

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 14:44:29

I notice nobody is addressing the point about children in such relationships? Will you submit to your sons and encourage your daughters to submit to both their father and their brothers? Children learn how relationships work from their parents......

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 14:45:26

Well, I hate phrases about "wearing the trousers" in relationships, steely, but I get what you're saying.

Definitely with Britta on this, too. I wouldn't want this sort of relationship myself, but I don't see it as intrinsically unfeminist. I don't think what the OP is doing, given the way she's explained it & qualified it, perpetuates oppression or negatively affects other women's lives in any way.

And if adopting a submissive role towards a man does does have those effects, why is it okay when it's "just" part of sexual activity (& most people seem to assume it is)? How can BDSM in the bedroom just be trivial fun & games, even in a serious relationship / marriage, but then become a damaging antifeminist statement the minute it extends into other aspects of someone's relationship? I find those assumptions odd - & a bit trivialising towards deep-rooted sexual preferences.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:45:26

Britta: yups. seeing that! As for those saying what about if I had a daughter, I have feminist discussions with my man and friends all the time, about how things seem to be going backwards, over-sexualisation of young girls etc. I'd talk like this with any daughter I have, as with other political and topical issues, and she'd have her own mind on the subject, I would hope.

Shallishanti Thu 08-May-14 14:48:02

it's much easier to make a case for wearing make up etc as a choice freely made compatible with feminism than it is for voluntarily entering into a relationship which reflects the patriarchy around us- where men have power and women don't. Will you still vote?

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 14:49:36

I am gobsmacked by the "feminism isn't about choice" statement. I'm not up on feminist literature but I'd always thought feminism meant supporting women to lead the life they wanted?

there isn't one type of "one size fits all" feminist lifestyle, is there?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:52:22

oh my god of course I'd vote! Aahahahaahahaaha

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 14:53:14

But I presume you're told who to vote for?

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 14:53:17

It's not 'men' who have power, it's the dominant who has the power, whether they are male or female.

The people claiming it is anti feminist... How do you feel about a female dominant and male submissive? Or gay D/s relationships? Is it only not ok for straight women to make this choice?

Nousernameforme Thu 08-May-14 14:53:21

Regardless of your lifestyle unless you say obey "nudge nudge wink wink ooo matron" in manner of carry on films you won't get more than an slightly raised eyebrow try promising to be buxom in bed and board if you want to go completely traditional grin

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 14:53:30

I'm not inclined to judge others relationships choices but I have to admit to being really intrigued by the feminist/submissive role you have in your relationship. I don't really understand how it is equality if you don't get an equal say in decisions? I don't understand why anybody needs to be 'in charge' in a relationship, and I do wonder about the type of man (or woman) who is happy to exercise that level of control over their partner...why would they want that?
I really don't mean to be rude I just struggle to get my head round it.

SnotandBothered Thu 08-May-14 14:54:45

I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

My saying you 'Promise to honour and obey' as part of your vows, you are saying just that. The operative word is actually 'promise'.

If, in the future, you decide that the dynamic of your relationship has changed - whether in the bnedroom, or anywhere else - you are still 'bound' by that promise. The relationship you describe is one where you have chosen to take a subservant role and can do this comfortably because you know he is not asking/demanding it of you.

A vow goes against this idea of choice.

I honestly son't think you do 'promise to honour and obey'. You 'like to honour and obey'. Currently. Because it currently 'works for you' and not because you believe that a wife 'honouring and obeying a husband is the foundation stone for all marriage. Fr this reason, I wouldn't make the vow because i think that whatever you are 'secretly imagining it to refer to' is not quite in tune with how you say you live.

Does that make sense?

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 14:55:54

snot, that makes a lot of sense.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:56:40

Squoosh: no. He could, I suppose, but he never would. In any case we're both raging lefties so it wouldn't much matter.

MaidOfStars Thu 08-May-14 14:57:55

Feminism doesn't mean that anything goes as long as the choice is made freely. I think feminism had a wider responsibility than that

Agree. For me, the problem with the female submissive role is that it invokes a whole lot of symbolism and historical significance that is definitely anti-feminist.

(Ready for flaming) Consider a different -ism: racism. If we were to observe our white neighbour housing a black person in his shed, putting them to work in the garden every day, shackling them to a post so they couldn't escape, whipping them, and so on, what would we think? Sure, the black person might be there of their own free will - they may have chosen to live like that. But it's a very uncomfortable situation to allow, and one that would probably make an observer question the psychology of the black person in question. How can this be really what they want? Have we not done enough to remove this tableau from our consciousness? Have we failed this particular black person?

Bathtimesoaker Thu 08-May-14 14:58:23

Surely feminism is about giving women the same choices that men have. If you can highlight one man who's promised to obey as part of his marriage vows then this becomes a real debate.

SnotandBothered Thu 08-May-14 14:58:36

Phew FourForks, I know what I am trying to say... grin

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 14:58:39

It's much more benign that you might think. Like he'd never tell me how to have my hair, whether or not I could smoke, whether I could go out with friends etc. It's not a controlling thing. He'd feel those things were crossing an important line.

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 14:59:24

Steely, why would he want to control you? What sort of person wants to control their partner? I genuinely don't understand but that might be because it's so far from what I would want, I would hate to be in control of someone else and I would hate for someone else to control me. It really baffles me why this would be desirable.

U2TheEdge Thu 08-May-14 15:00:04

Yes, I would notice if someone said those words in their vows but it is your day so you get to decide.

However, I get very confused on this feminism thing. I though a feminist was someone who simply believe that woman should have the choice , if a woman wants to be a submissive wife and isn't being coerced into it then how does that not make one a feminist?

Does anyone have any good links to articles that explains it because people telling the OP she isn't a feminist is very confusing. I thought it was all about having the right to choose just like men do.

noddyholder Thu 08-May-14 15:00:11

You are not a feminist and are using the 'choice' argument tentatively here. Say what you like they are your vows. You are buying into a regressive tradition though sad

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 08-May-14 15:00:15

Feminism is about CHOICE.

But not every choice is a feminist choice.

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 15:00:28

Oh sorry, x post. So (forgive my nosiness) what sort of things does he control outside of the bedroom? How does it work in practice?

CinnabarRed Thu 08-May-14 15:00:54

DH and I were not allowed to add any additional words to our civil ceremony.

XH and I were allowed to add a couple of sentences each, providing none were religious and none were from any other marriage service (i.e. of religious origin).

You will not be permitted to say these words by the registrar.

Have you realised this?

On the voting: if you wanted to vote for candidate X, and your husband told you to vote for candidate Y, who would you vote for?

U2TheEdge Thu 08-May-14 15:01:53

women not woman* in the second sentence.

CorusKate Thu 08-May-14 15:02:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Thu 08-May-14 15:02:43

How can she not be her husband's equal? As a human being surely she is equal to him. She just chooses to take the submissive role in the relationship. With mutual respect that works, better than the ones where the 'ship' is being pulled two ways! And not being submissive does not prevent abuse, or mean a woman is any more likely to recognise and do something about it. Surely that is a dangerous and simplistic judgement to make?

I am guessing you do not consider yourselves to be inferior to any bosses/managers/the PM? Someone technically 'in charge' of you? You submit to laws/rules, but that does not make you less important/equal as a person? My husband genuinely does not treat me as an inferior, I genuinely submit (in the religious sense). I know I am lucky (I guess), but I have seen relationships where other things have led the way, and they were not pretty.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 15:02:49

I have no idea about their wedding vows, but there are plenty of men wandering about wearing collars.

I do think snot makes a good point though. I know you mean what you mean, but it's worth thinking about.

Then again, swingers promise to exclude all others if they get legally married, and just redefine it to their own personal definition in their head.

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 15:03:11

steely, in that case, apart from sex, what exactly do you mean when you say you obey him? do you only submit on agreed areas? how did you two come to know that if he asked you to behave in certain ways re hair, smoking, then that would. be crossing a line?

bigkidsdidit Thu 08-May-14 15:04:34

Just because a woman makes a choice, it isn't automatically feminist. And choices are not made totally freely - we all carry centuries of conditioning around with us.

CinnabarRed Thu 08-May-14 15:04:34

It's much more benign that you might think. Like he'd never tell me how to have my hair, whether or not I could smoke, whether I could go out with friends etc. It's not a controlling thing. He'd feel those things were crossing an important line.

So he doesn't actually tell you what to do at all then? confused

Can you give us some examples of where he makes decisions and you follow?

Whether to go on holiday at all? When to go? Duration? Where to go?

At the moment it sounds an awful lot like two very compatible people who want to do the same types of thing and who happen to be into BDSM. Great news for your marriage, but information to be kept in the bedroom surely.

WorraLiberty Thu 08-May-14 15:05:43

Firstly, this has nothing to do with BDSM and every thing to do with having a sub/dom relationship. If that's the lifestyle you choose, I'm surprised you don't even know what it's called.

Secondly, if that's the lifestyle you've chosen, why are are you so ashamed of it? You'll need to toughen up.

Thirdly, was there really any need to name change?

I really think you're assuming people will actually care, whereas I don't think you could be further from the truth smile

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 15:05:48

Mrsd, I don't consider myself to be inferior to my boss as a human being, beaut I do consider myself to have less power and status in the workplace. I can't imagine wanting to feel that I had less power and status in my relationship with a partner.

Nancy66 Thu 08-May-14 15:06:24

Is this that stupid movement started in America? The 'surrendered wife' shit?

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 15:06:58

* but not beaut!

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:10:38

He just wouldn't do it. He doesn't want to control me like that - he wants me to have my hair how I want, smoke if I want, vote for who I want etc.

He loves and respects me, ultimately, and I trust him, that's whole incredibly intimate beauty of it. He decides what we do at the weekends, says I should have a manual car rather than auto so we can share cars more easily, that kind of mundane, everyday stuff. He isn't constantly bossing me about.

DisgruntledAardvark Thu 08-May-14 15:11:13

This all just sounds like an post-watershed version of the whole I'm mad, me! thing, tbh.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:12:16

I get a say in all this stuff too, by the way! But he has final say. We discuss most of it, and he's measured and reasonable. Works beautifully for us.

PoundingTheStreets Thu 08-May-14 15:12:55

I probably wouldn't notice because while I love a good wedding in many respects - all that happiness and hope for the future, what's not to like - the actually ceremony is, let's face it, really boring unless you're one of the two getting married or an extremely close relative/friend. I tend to zone out and thought most people did TBH.

If I did notice, I'd assume traditionalism far more readily than I'd ever think of BDSM. And I'm not at all sure that your feminist behaviour up to this point would make people think it's unlikely. Some of the most ball-breaking (to use a stupid but point-making phrase) women out there can be highly traditional when it comes to marriage, taking their DH's name, etc. I don't think most people would give it a second thought.

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 15:13:02

I don't get it. But I believe you have a right to live in whatever way makes you happy.

I too would worry about kids growing up with this dynamic as their norm.

I wouldn't think BDSM if I heard this. Maybe I will now blush

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 15:14:21

Happy, but I can't understand zillions of things about the way other people choose to live their lives - does it really matter? The desire to control / be controlled isn't part of my psychosexual make-up either, but then neither are lots of things.

I don't think in reality I see too many relationships where there is 100% equality, anyway, thinking about it. I often have stronger opinions than DH & he's more laid-back - I'm also a bit more organized - so I guess I exercise a bit more power on a day-to-day level. It's not a formal adoption of roles, like in the OP's relationship, but then we all often end up adopting roles that haven't been set out explicitly, just because of the personalities we are. When does that become a problem?

I also read about plenty of relationships on here where control is being exercised in horrible ways - often by a man refusing to communicate, forcing a partner to "nag" in order to get him to take on a fair share of housework / childcare, etc. etc. I find those scenarios much more disturbing.

And those of you who keep saying the OP is making a retrogressive / antifeminist choice, really need to answer Britta's question. Are D/S relationships only unacceptable when it's a heterosexual women taking on the submissive role, or are they unacceptable full stop? If the latter, it can hardly be on feminist grounds - surely - that it's not okay for a gay man to submit to another gay man? So what is the problem?

If the former, this leads to a position where straight women have fewer "acceptable" choices in their personal / sexual relationships than straight men / gay men & women. Very bloody feminist.

CinnabarRed Thu 08-May-14 15:14:32

He decides what we do at the weekends, says I should have a manual car rather than auto so we can share cars more easily, that kind of mundane, everyday stuff. He isn't constantly bossing me about.

Then it's all a bit of a non-issue, isn't it?

And I utterly fail to see how it's obvious and noticeable if it's as you describe it. Or, indeed, anyone else's business.

You seem quite attention seeking on this, TBH.

Xihha Thu 08-May-14 15:16:12

They're your vows so promise what you want.

Without the back story I doubt anyone would think it was anything other than for the sake of tradition, my mum said honour and obey in her vows and until I read this it never occurred to me that it might be anything more than because it's traditional and even her very loud, outspoken best friend hasn't commented (if there was any hint it was a sex thing the best friend would have made a smutty joke, that's just how she is)

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 15:16:54

Loon, no in the grand scheme of things it probably doesn't matter but when I find something confusing and I have the opportunity to ask questions to try to understand it better I will take that opportunity.

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 15:17:04

loon, marvelous post.

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 15:17:39

Fair enough, happy!

Whitewaters Thu 08-May-14 15:17:46

I don't think this makes any difference, because, as others have said, the registrar won't let you say it! There can't be any religious connections.

The civil ceremony vows are quite basic, and not in the same tone so tbh it would stick out like a sore thumb. ^ For what it's worth, I would notice and think that's really odd but probably not get the BDSM reference, so I'd then spend the rest of the day wondering why you'd said it. ^

Why not write your own vows and incorporate something similar into them? That way you could make the promises you want but without making it really obvious and weird.

MaidOfStars Thu 08-May-14 15:18:54

He decides what we do at the weekends, says I should have a manual car rather than auto so we can share cars more easily, that kind of mundane, everyday stuff

Golly, today I learned that sometimes I am the sub (is that the right term) is a D/S relationship....

I mean, deciding to have a car that maxmises the needs of the family, that's dominant?

Does he tell you how to spend your money?

CinnabarRed Thu 08-May-14 15:21:24

Yup, MaidOfStars - turns out I'm a dom. Who knew? Not DH, that's for sure.

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 15:22:28

I don't care what people get up to in their private lives although I would be aghast at a female friend of mine being submissive to her male partner in all aspects of her life. My main concern would be children born into this relationship who would take their parents model as a relationship template.

Bathtimesoaker Thu 08-May-14 15:27:03

In what other relationship are the vows allowed to use the word obey? A gay marriage wouldn't. In a hetero marriage, no man would be allowed to say obey. Why oh why oh why, is it always the woman who has a choice in whether they obey or not?

Why don't we ever hear men worry about whether they should promise to obey in their wedding vows? Oh yes.....because it's not allowed or accepted that they would obey.

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 15:28:15

squoosh, yes, I agree, it's like it takes other options away from the children because they haven't learned about them.

hope that makes sense, confused

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 08-May-14 15:29:36

A PP asked for articles on the choice question. Here is one:


worldgonecrazy Thu 08-May-14 15:34:48

Late to the party, and having skim-read the thread, I see you're having a civil service so will not be able to use the words anyway.

But if anyone else is still reading and thinking about using the words, they can only be used in a church wedding if the other partner also uses the same vows, which for the man state that he will "love, honour and WORSHIP". [hmmm]

You say that at the moment he only gets to decide the mundane stuff and dominate you in bed? So why do you want to make a vow to obey him without any qualification? You say he doesn't get to decide important things, but what if he disagrees with you on something important? If you wouldn't obey him then I don't see the point of vowing to obey him at your wedding.

Personally I don't think any sub/dom relationship is a very healthy one by definition. While I'm being judgmental I'm also of the opinion that a relationship where one of the participants behaves very differently within it compared with the rest of their life and personality, is also probably not a very healthy one. If I was one of your friends hearing you say those vows would just make me more worried about you than I would be already.

whatever5 Thu 08-May-14 15:36:32

Maybe I'm in the minority but wouldn't be impressed if someone said that they would "honour and obey" their spouse in their wedding vows (if I was listening to the vows that is). It wouldn't occur to me that they were doing it because they were into BDSM though. I would just think that they aimed to be a Stepford Wife.

KissesBreakingWave Thu 08-May-14 15:38:11

Not seeing that it's a feminist/not feminist issue. I've had a few D/s relationship in my time and in all but two the submissive was male. Some people naturally dance follow. The anti feminist thing is insisting women must or must not have a particular role. As for insisting that a consensual power gradient inside a relationship makes any difference to the political or economic equality of the partners: no. That kind of thinking is what patriarchy is based on. Because my Dp is submissive between us she has to be subordinate e to all men? Take that and shove it. As she'd be first to tell you.

LeBearPolar Thu 08-May-14 15:39:54

Your relationship sounds a lot more mundane and everyday than you made it out to be in your OP. I thought that it was all sub/dom and him taking control and instead it appears to be that you have a conversation about what car to have and then he makes a final decision confused

How tame! After all this drama over the vows as well - I don't think there seems to be anything for people to notice about your relationship. It sounds like a billion others in this country to me!

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:46:14

Ha! Yes the everyday stuff is mundane. There are quite a few aspects to it, but it really isn't about him telling me who do vote for and stuff like that. That's what I was trying to get across.

God, this is hard. I feel an overwhelming urge to explain myself and answer everybody's questions and maybe I should step back. I suppose this is what I was afraid might happen on out wedding day - or a version of this, at least!

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:46:41


SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:47:49

PS we didn't have a convo about the car. He told me straight on that one. I do have a small say in what we do at the weekends though ;-)

MaidOfStars Thu 08-May-14 15:48:36

I suppose this is what I was afraid might happen on out wedding day - or a version of this, at least!

Not really, because on your wedding day, you aren't going to qualify your desire to honour and obey by introducing the nature of your sexual relationship.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 15:49:07

I didn't think you could make those vows in a civil ceremony, and if you did, I'd notice because they're so traditional/churchy. I wouldn't be judging you as 'pathetic' hmm though, I'd just assume you liked the feeling of tradition (Even though I don't like the traditional vows much myself, I think there can be real appeal in following a formula repeated down the ages which your great grandparents said, and their parents, and theirs, and maybe a feeling of connection?)

On the subject of feminism and BDSM in the bedroom...we find pleasure and fulfillment in various different ways of having sex. Some people like oral sex, some people hate it and can't imagine finding it pleasurable. Some people find the experience of mild (or more than mild!) pain arousing and very pleasurable in a sexual context. Some people find "submitting" and letting their partner choose how they're going to have sex, to be much much more pleasurable than anything else

If I happen to like a certain way of having sex and don't like the experience of 'being in full control' in bed, than screw it, I'm not going to be told to have sex for the rest of my life in a way that I hate, just to conform. Sacrificing your personal sex life on an alter of 'we all must suffer for the society we want', sounds pretty fucked up to me, as well as totally pointless. Telling individuals to sexually and emotionally repress themselves is wrong.

And screw being told "sorry, if you want to be a good person who makes the right choices, then you've got to give up the sex acts you find pleasure in, and just find sex unenjoyable for the rest of your life" by someone who is not in your position.

I don't find it any different than me being told by a conservative Christian "sorry, God thinks you having sex with a woman is wrong, and you can't go to heaven if you disobey God, so you have to have unenjoyable sex with a man for the rest of your life". Screw that as well

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 15:50:12

steely, sorry if you feel badgered, I'm just trying to understand how it works and how it is any different to any other relationship.

As an individual, I do feel it's your right to live a sub dom lifestyle but when you have kids would you be imposing that lifestyle on them? (do we all end up imposing our lifestyles on our kids? that's where they learn their norms.)

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 15:50:17

Being a feminist is about being a full human being. Submitting to someone in a relationship where you are either being dominated, or opting out of being taking responsibility as an adult, is not acting like a full human being.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:50:44

Whatever: you aren't in the minority. Pretty much everyone said that.

Kisses: spot on. I am submissive to no one else, never have been. I've genuinely longed to find someone I could submit in the way I can with him. All that respect and trust. I don't and physically couldn't go about submitting to any old chump.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 08-May-14 15:51:46
ShakeYourTailFeathers Thu 08-May-14 15:52:50

My cousin's wife promised to obey on their wedding day. Mum and I had a stereo hmm moment.

I'm never going to look at cuz's missus in the same way now, am I ? grin

Nancy66 Thu 08-May-14 15:53:11

how does the submissive thing work in the bedroom if he wants sex and you don't. Do you have to do it any way?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:53:28

Oh god. I'm an active feminist. How many times? This is my sexuality: a deep, basic part of me that shapes how I form relationships and live a fundamental part of my life. It's not about jest gender I am. I can't help being like this.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 15:53:51


CluelessCrapParent Thu 08-May-14 15:54:45

If you want to say it, say it. It's only an issue to you, it's a non issue to other people I think.

I don't think it is necessary to project your own feelings on it and assume other people think about it the same way you do....unless you start making into a discussion point, that is.

LEDPenguin Thu 08-May-14 15:59:01

Back to the talking-about-bedroom-stuff namechange I go! I'd notice if you made those vows, because they are unusual these days. And I might suspect an undercurrent of D/s, (as I did upon reading your thread title), but only because I am in some contact with that lifestyle myself, although I'm not in a 24/7 D/s relationship as you are. As such, having noticed it, I would proceed to not say a bloody word. Because it's rude. If I weren't already familiar with it, I would probably just assume you a bit oldfashioned and/or religious. But as people say, you probably won't be allowed to use those vows in a civil ceremony.

Regarding the BDSM and feminism debate: that has raged for many years, and will continue to do so. Anyone interested, go and look it up. Plenty of good stuff online - from both sides of the debate. For me, I'm going to continue to have a sex life that satisfies me, being the consenting adult that I am, involving other consenting adults, and harming precisely no one. And I will also continue to speak out against inequality, against sexism, for feminist issues, I will continue to be an advocate and an activist. I may not be the world's best feminist because dammit none of us are perfect, but I won't be told that I don't understand feminism at all, just because of what I choose to do in the privacy of my home.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 15:59:04

I think people have serious misconceptions about what most D/s relationships are like. It's not one person bossing the other around all the time, and micromanaging them. It's a much more subtle dyanamic

As for kids, well, I don't see the issue. Again, it's not micromanaging and bossing around. They may notice one parent taking on certain tasks (if the parents have a 'sub does all this, this and this work, which is hardly always the case), which is no different to many other. The parents will love and respect each other as much as any of their friends parents do. So what, the kids see two parents who clearly love each other and have a good relationship? They don't see nasty controlling behaviour. D/s relationship does not equal controlling or abusive relationship.

If both parents are gay, are they 'imposing' on their kids?

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 08-May-14 15:59:13

There are feminist choices; there are neutral choices; and there are anti-feminist choices. What two people do in the privacy of their bedroom is their own business and in most cases largely a neutral choice, I think. But where a woman totally submits to her husband and makes a public avowal of it--that is not a feminist choice, that is a choice that reinforces and sustains societal norms that collectively oppress women.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 16:00:42

* to many other households where circumstances mean one parents always does certain tasks

whatever5 Thu 08-May-14 16:00:49

SteelyMindedLiberal - Out of interest, have you been in the relationship for a fairly short time and is your partner quite a bit older than you?

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 16:02:46

Great posts, Lilka & LEDPenguin.

FourForksAche Thu 08-May-14 16:05:13

lilka, interesting post, I kind of think every home situation ends up imposing it's own set up as the baseline for what a child believes is "normal".

MichaelFinnigan Thu 08-May-14 16:06:11

I can't help thinking that all this dom/sub stuff is dressing up a fairly usual situation as something a bit daring and special.

I mean a decision has to be made somewhere by someone and some point. So you're husband comes up with most of the answers, i don't know if that makes your relationship so special it needs a name.

My husband also makes most of the decison because he is infinitly more sensible and knowledgeable about some stuff than i am, no not how i wear my hair and what i wear but certainly about cars and where would be most fun to go at the weekend. Doesn't mean we need to label our relationship

scallopsrgreat Thu 08-May-14 16:08:16

Feminism has never been about choice. It has (until very recently it seems) about the liberation of women from male oppression. More choice for women is a by-product of that.

Not all choices are feminist. So wearing make-up isn't a feminist choice (because of patriarchal beauty practices etc etc) but that doesn't mean to say a feminist wouldn't choose to wear make-up. We get by in this world.

The OPs choices of being submissive to her husband whether in the bedroom or elsewhere in their relationship a're not feminist acts. They uphold the patriarchal norms of male domination/female submission. They blatantly fly in the face of what feminism is trying to achieve.

OP you say you ate a feminist but haven't offered any evidence for that. So althoughI wouldn't like to dismiss that as a claim but surely as a feminist you understand structural oppression and how you are playing into that?

And supporting women does not mean agreeing with or supporting every choice a woman makes. Especially if those choices continue to damage women as a class.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 16:08:53

That Onion link is superb! Painfully spot on.

Can anybody explain what is actually different about these BDSM relationships then, if they're based upon mutual love and respect and not somebody telling the other what to do?

That sounds just like my own relationship. What are the differences? OP said the differences with her were noticeable but the manual car seems a bit of a non event. I probably wouldn't have noticed that if a friend of mine bought a new car that her DH recommended.

fingersonbuzzers Thu 08-May-14 16:09:53

So.....it's Saturday morning. You really want to go to the cinema, and he really wants to go for a bike ride.

What happens?

Because it's either something like:

a) You explain why you really want to see the film - that it finishes today, that you can go for a bike ride on Sunday and anyway the weather will be better then and he decides you'll go to the cinema.

In which case - he's not dictating, because your views are being acted on.

Or is it more like:

b) You explain why you really want to see the film - that it finishes today, that you can go for a bike ride on Sunday and anyway the weather will be better then and he decides you'll go to for a bike ride because that's what he wants to do.

In which case - yep, you're a doormat!

I don't think you should say these words out of respect for women in general.

It may work, for whatever reasons, in your own relationship, but that's no reason to promote the idea more generally.

Just keep some stuff private?

scallopsrgreat Thu 08-May-14 16:10:10

And supporting women doesn't mean we can't analyze or question the choices they make.

coffeetofunction Thu 08-May-14 16:11:58

I would suggest researching the original meaning. I remember when my friend got married she'd said those words, she been told the history of it & that seemed to give her more reason to want to say it...

scallopsrgreat Thu 08-May-14 16:12:17

OP, sexuality, at least in part is constructed by the society we live in. It isn't just some magical coincidence that you have chosen to be the submissive partner and him the dominant.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:14:03

Yes he's older than me. All my partners have been, because of how I am. We've been together 3 years and it's the best relationship I've had by miles.

I am deeply offended and hurt that people who have never met me are declaring that I'm not a feminist. I didn't choose to be like this. I've made my peace with it and accepted it, but that took years. My carefully formed and informed opinions about feminism and equality come from an entirely different place. This is my sexuality, it doesn't spring from a worldview. I get that it's alien to some people, but I am a feminist, I bloody am, an active, vocal one, and my sexuality, which I cannot control, does not prevent me from believing women and men are equal and should be treated so worldwide, in the workplace, and in the home, unless they expressly choose otherwise.

I have made an individual, very personal, very important choice in the full knowledge that my partner loves me, respects me, sees me as an equal and would never abuse his position. If I suspected for a second he had some dark patriarchal motive, I couldn't do this, because of my politics and world view. But he is a feminist too. We do this because it feels incredibly right to us, and natural and intimate and loving and close. IT IS NOT ABOUT GENDER.

This is exhausting. I hate that something I see as genuinely beautiful has to stay hugely private or be torn apart like this.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 16:15:18

Exactly scallops. Just as it isn't a magical coincidence that loads of people want to have the same surname as their children, but only women want to change their own surname to achieve this.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:15:24

Scallop: I get that. I accept that. So society created this in me. But so what? I'm still a feminist. So is he.

You might also be interested to know that on thd 'scene' submissive men outnumber sub women (and Dom w

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:15:50

...women by MILES

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:16:08

Sorry, hit send too soon

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 16:16:32

My baseline for a relationship was to see two heterosexual partners, who were physically affectionate (as in hugs and small kisses in front of the kids!), never hit each other, occasionally wound up in furious verbal arguments complete with swearing and (empty) threats, but always made up. I saw women (not just my mum) doing ALL the cooking and cleaning and caring for the kids, whilst the men worked long hours in manual labour/the traditional Northern industries, and expected dinner on the table when they got home.

How much did that impact on me? Well, I don't think any worse or better than if I had had two parents who were in a D/s relationship. Maybe in a D/s relationship the scary verbal slanging matches wouldn't have happened so much or at all, but I can't think of any other serious differences that I would have noticed as a child. I never wanted to emulate certain aspects of their relationships or believed that 'this way is better' (the heterosexual part, for instance, is not for me!)

Children will see their parents relationship as 'normal', yes, but there's nothing about the vast majority of D/s relationships that would be at all harmful to a child.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 08-May-14 16:16:51

This is my sexuality what, getting a manual car?

Depends what you're doing with the gear stick, I suppose.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 16:17:42

Steely, surely you can't be surprised by the reaction here?

Most people feel deeply suspicious of relationships where one adult is the boss. Have you found otherwise anywhere else, in real life?

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 16:18:05

I see nobody has addressed the issue of children in these relationships- OP, how would you model a man/woman relationship for your children?

Oh, and I'm not sure how you choosing a manual car makes it easier to share cars- unless your partner is too manly to drive an automatic? Or was it a typo and it was you having an automatic that made it easier to share cars - in which case I apologize.

Shallishanti Thu 08-May-14 16:18:11

I agree scallops. Just because you say something/someone is feminist doesn't make it so. Sexuality and worldview are deeply entwined.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 08-May-14 16:19:19

I think you're making a bit of a weird fuss about nothing.
Like many people, if I heard a bride say 'honour and obey', I'd think, blimey, thought she was better than that! I would not assume some big deal, unless she said it it a meaningful way with pauses and a husky voice on obey.
Nobody at all has to talk about this, but starting an AIBU about it was probably not the best way to prevent them from doing so.

WorraLiberty Thu 08-May-14 16:19:20

So why are you hanging around an internet forum trying to convince people OP?

It's your relationship, just include the words or don't.

It's hardly an unusual thing for a woman to be submissive to a man in a marriage. I know tons of women like this because it's part of their culture and religion.

I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve with this thread...do you want everyone's 'acceptance' or something?

Why would that be important to you? We're just internet strangers.

TereseaGreen Thu 08-May-14 16:20:19

My sexuality is important to me but it does not define me or my relationship. I think this is where I am failing to understand the "roles". I cannot apply the logic to the parameters set in my own relationship. This is my own ignorance of course. It does make for interesting analysis. Watching with interest.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 16:21:18

OP has also been told numerous times that she won't be allowed to use those words in a civil ceremony but the debate has moved on I guess.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 08-May-14 16:22:01

A poem in the invitations is the way forward.

We hope youll come to share with us
This very special day
And please don't shout or make a fuss
When I promise to obey.

Somersetlady Thu 08-May-14 16:22:03

SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME SORT THIS OUT i agreed to love honour and obey my husband during our vows not realising it would expose our alternative BDSM antics of which there are none do you think I should write to all the wedding guests and explain that I am not my husbands sexual slave and will not do whatever he instructs of me just because he demands it of me obviously thats what all our guests must have been thinking for the last 4 years or do you think i should just risk that no sane wedding guest ever would assume this from use of a traditional vow????

But can't you see that accepting the idea that they should obey their husbands has damaged many women's lives Steely

And I don't get why you have to half share your private life in your vows when you've said it will be a problem if people want to know more and ask you about it afterwards?

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 16:22:19

Is it a coincidence that more men than women prefer to be sexually submissive, in my experience?

Maybe, maybe not, but in many ways it flies in the face of the general pattern in society. Either way, if they're happy and fulfilled then that's great

CluelessCrapParent Thu 08-May-14 16:22:26

I think you're making a bit of a weird fuss about nothing.


SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:22:30

I'm sorry, I can't be bothered to detail endless conversations between me and him to prove some point. I tried to through in an everyday example, and you all howl: TAME. If I told you some stronger stuff, you'd slap that doormat label down.

There is nothing submissive about me, nothing, in every other aspect of my life. Only in relationships with men, specifically this man, because in years of searching, I've never been able to submit to any other because I didn't respect them enough and my personality's too strong.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:22:58


MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 16:27:13

You're beginning to sound scary now, or rather, he is. Sorry. You've finally found a man with a personality strong enough to submit to. I don't think most women would be glad to hear that from a friend or family member. It just sounds like the biggest red flag in the world.

WorraLiberty Thu 08-May-14 16:27:36


Martorana Thu 08-May-14 16:28:29

Could you elaborate on the car thing? And on how you plan to bring up any children?

And honestly- and I say this as someone a lot older that you- if you think we might throw the "doormat" word at you, just consider if it might be true.

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 16:28:46


TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 16:35:11

Op I'm sorry if it feels like we are pestering you. I am genuinely interested in trying to understand, and I obviously don't want to know the ins and outs of your bedroom activities! So I was just trying to understand how the submissive thing works in practice outside of the bedroom. You are right the car thing does sound like what goes on in many relationships, as does having huge amounts of respect and trust, so I guess I'm still no clearer about what makes your submissive/dominant relationship different from any other relationship?
I'm not looking for opportunities to call you a doormat, I'm trying to understand what you mean when you use the words submissive and dominant because I have no RL people I can ask!

ToffeeMoon Thu 08-May-14 16:37:30

Good grief. What an existence, whether you've "chosen" it or not. Is there a reason you can't be trusted to use your own brain to make decisions? What a stand-up guy. Real hero. I would weep if you were my DD.

I'm sure you'll think I'm narrow-minded and don't "get" your special relationship, I think you have issues.

Oh, and if any of my friends vowed to obey their DH, I would be horrified. I wouldn't think they were into S&M. I would just think they had lost their mind. And I wouldn't think well of their new DH either.

CinnabarRed Thu 08-May-14 16:37:46

I hate that something I see as genuinely beautiful has to stay hugely private or be torn apart like this.

My sexual relationship with DH is, to me, a beautiful thing. And a deeply private thing that should stay deeply private.

I see no need to flaunt it all over the shop.

Maybe you don't think you're flaunting yours.

But you are, by making such a fuss over words you're not going to be allowed to say anyway.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 16:39:34

Okay, my take on a car thing would be (if it's been agreed and both partners prefer to work this way):

When it comes to big decision, the sub gets an input and expresses their preferences, and the Dom should be taking their opinion into good consideration - because they respect their subs opinion and trust it's a opinion based on good reasons, and I can't think of any Doms I ever met who wouldn't have thought carefully about balancing what their sub wanted with what they wanted.

However, on the final decision, it's the Doms decision, and the sub doesn't get to veto their final decision. If they don't like the car, they put up with it, tough luck

Voting is WAY more of a contentious issue, it's a debate and a half among the BDSM community. People like me think that telling your sub to vote for a certain party is wrong because it's giving yourself more than one vote, and some people don't see the problem (especially people who can't even see the point in voting in the first place!)

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 16:43:23

Martorana, responses have been made to the children issue - see Lilka's post upthread.

You're reminding me of people who used to (poss. still do) "worry" that gay parents would lead to a child being more likely to grow up gay. We all know sexuality's not like that, & I can't see how OP's kids would pick up D/S sexual tendencies. People (of both sexes) seem to have them or they don't.

Re. children seeing dominant / submissive roles in their parents as the norm - well, that certainly is a problem, I think, when you have situations like conservative Christian parents bringing up kids to believe that women SHOULD submit to men, that only men can have leadership roles, etc. etc.

In this case I don't see an issue unless OP started telling any children that their Dad was the Head of the Family, or the boss, or anything that impacted on their ability to take equal parenting roles or on the children's relationship to them. Re. anything else, it can just be put down to "what works for Mum & Dad, but it's not right for everyone".

I strongly suspect that the arrival of children would change the dynamic to some extent, anyway - I think most people's sexual relationship (& this really is part of OP's sexuality, not her belief system about men & women - she's made that so clear, so many times!) tends to slip down the list of priorities when children are on the scene.

This idea that a straight woman choosing to take on a submissive role somehow bolsters a patriarchal system & needs to be seen in a wider political sense, could of course be extended to heterosexual relationships as a whole. I've read at least one article by Julie Brindel defending political lesbianism, & making very similar points about how our sexuality isn't formed in a vacuum, we're all part of a wider patriarchal society, etc. etc. , & the very act of having sex with a man is contrary to feminist belief (penetration being dominant by nature, etc. etc. ).

I don't agree with this, & I don't think most feminists do. I think most of us would think "fuck that" if told to deny our sexual needs in order to promote a non-patriarchal society. But that's what you're telling the OP to do.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 16:44:57

I'm sympathetic to your position. But let me put it another way.

Currently your formal relationship and your D/s status are maintained by mutual consent. You both consent to cohabit, share bills, etc. You consent to submit; he consents to take over responsibility. Within the scene it's well known that although the D is in charge, the s actually holds the power, and can withdraw consent at any - literally any - time.

When you get married, your finances are inextricably linked by law and you no longer have the choices surrounding linked finances, medical decisions, children if there are any, etc.

But you can't, and shouldn't, make a public declaration or private contract (fuck you, Grey) of your current dynamic. Because it can and will change one way or another as you age together and as circumstances external to your marriage change. What if in fifteen years' time he develops dementia? Must you obey him even if he isn't capable of reason? He's making no corresponding promise to make decisions always in both of your best interest, is he?

The vows including "obey" come from a time when a man had some legal responsibility for his wife's conduct. Regardless of the dynamic in your relationship, that no longer applies.

An interesting zombie thread about D/s lifestyles was resurrected recently with very intelligent discussion of their impact within a post-feminist society, relevance to equality and liberalism, and so on. If I can remember what it was called I'll try to link it to you by PM as it's well worth a read.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:45:12

I do what he tells me to. I trust him not to tell me to do anything stupid or harmful. He doesn't, but he's demanding. I get spanked a lot. That's about the size of it.

Bravo to the right-on Mumsnet sisterhood for telling me my sexuality disqualifies me from being a feminist. Perhaps I should see if there are any shrinks or camps I can go to that can help turn me vanilla. That way I can stand up for women's rights again, because apparently all I'm good for at the moment is believing all women should be sweet, oppressed 'lil housewives who kowtow to their man.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 16:48:34

Oh, who was it that objected to the expression 'bdsm' being used to describe a D/s relationship?

Because everything I have ever read/been told says that it stands for bondage + discipline, domination + submission, sadism + masochism. D/s is right there in it, and ime is seen as a big part of the scene (not everyone is into D/s, but not everyone is into sm either) - more people understand bdsm than D/s so that is the easier term to use.

noddyholder Thu 08-May-14 16:49:23

Not wanting to be hit by your partner isn't vanilla

ginaschmeena Thu 08-May-14 16:49:26

Yuck. Sorry. He sounds deeply creepy.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 16:49:31

"You're reminding me of people who used to (poss. still do) "worry" that gay parents would lead to a child being more likely to grow up gay"

Wow. If I could be arsed I'd take offence at that, but hey ho.
So you think it's absolutely fine for children to be in a family where they ask their mother if they can go for a bike ride on Saturday, and she says "we'll have to see what daddy wants to do" because the Dom is in charge of what happens at the weekend. And if they query it, it can easily be sorted by saying "this is how Mum and Dad's relationship works, you can have one that's quite different if you like"

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:51:18

Thanks Fatal. If he got dementia I would take care of him, and wouldn't be obeying him anymore, because that would be ridiculous and our love for each other comes first.

We have a private contract already. We wanted to make it official with marriage but we probably can't anyway by the looks of it, and I'm not sure I could take the outpouring of sympathy anyhow about what a poor oppressed wee pathetic little mouse I am (even though I'm actually massively satisfied and have everything I always wanted).

Think after seeing how quickly and completely folk jump to conclusions, we'll keep it to ourselves!

bigkidsdidit Thu 08-May-14 16:51:34

But how is him choosing your car about your sex life? And why can't he share a manual car if that's hat you prefer?

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 08-May-14 16:51:48

I am not saying your sexuality disqualifies you from being a feminist. I am saying that a woman promising to obey a man, especially in a public ritual, is an anti-feminist act.

TheHappyMonkey Thu 08-May-14 16:53:30

But surely you can understand how a relationship where a woman does what a man tells her to, and declares herself a feminist at the same time, is going to cause confusion?
I really appreciate you taking the time to answer questions here. I'm still struggling with what kind of man wants a partner who does what she's told and never makes a decision of her own. I think my partner would be embarrassed for me if I was like that but each to their own.
I guess it's just extended role play really. From what you've said if he told you to do something that you really objected to (eg sleep with someone you found deeply unattractive) you would say no, so if the game is that he only ever tells you to do things that you are happy to do anyway, then he's not really dominating you, you're just playing those roles. Nothing wrong with that really.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 16:53:54

It's not "vanilla" not to want to be hit.

Please don't go down the "oh, all you boring missionary position mundanes have such vanilla lives". As I said, I am sure I am old enough to be your mother- possibly even your grandmother, and I have had experiences you couldn't imagine. And I say get out while you can. And do not have children with this man.

AWombWithoutARoof Thu 08-May-14 16:54:19

OP, can you answer the bike ride/cinema question?

In terms of the vows, is it true that you can't add any vows to a civil ceremony that are from other ceremonies? If so, surely this whole thing is irrelevant?

If I were going to a civil ceremony I'd think it was odd that someone had used a bit from what I'd consider a religious service within a secular one, so yes, I'd prick up my ears at that point. I don't think I'd make the assumption of a sub/dom relationship though.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 16:55:15

It's possible to be in a D/s relationship and be a strong woman and a feminist. It does rather depend on where you draw the line, though.

I suspect you want to say it because it will give you a momentary thrill and forever afterwards he can growl "on our wedding day you promised to obey me" ::wibble::

You can make those vows in private on the day, later. It would be more intimate, more thrilling, more committed.

It's the publicity, the proclamation, that's really rather tacky, sorry. You're not going to wear a collar on the day exvept on your ring finger and it's nobody's business but yours (plural).

aquashiv Thu 08-May-14 16:56:03

Did you get your ideas from Madonna Op?

Shallishanti Thu 08-May-14 16:57:04

I don't really see how a sexual preference = being told what car to have

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:57:05

Oh yes, he's a terrible creep. It's not like I asked for this, and told him he could be harder when he started out so gentle and tentative, and told him it's ok for him to be his natural 'in charge' self with me because I genuinely love it, even though he always tried so hard to temper it.

It's not like he sees how massively turned on I get when he spanks me or similar, and how incredibly content and sated I am afterwards. It's not like he wants to make me happy, or fulfill my deepest needs with this...

Oh, wait.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 16:57:39

Private contract?

To be honest, that proves to me you're playing. Which is fine, and fun, and healthy. You won't explain it to the MN collective satisfaction, and that's fine too.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 16:58:24

I'm so glad I mentioned the car. It's not like anyone's used it to trivialise and mock this discussion or anything.

ginaschmeena Thu 08-May-14 16:58:36

Um, yuck? Leaving this thread now. TMI!!

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 16:59:00

I totally agree with you LoonvanBoon

On sexuality, children need to hear that there is no one right way of doing things, and I do see a problem with telling a child that there is a 'right' sexuality and 'wrong' sexuality, whether we're talking about sexual orientation, or certain sexual acts etc. Emphasising choice, and emphasising that ALL relationships (whether D/s or not) need to be founded on respect, trust and love, however exactly this is expressed.

subs aren't by definition non-assertive or unconfident people in their daily lives (they might say, run an office and have great leadership qualities and charisma), nor are Doms by nature controlling or unempathetic etc. You dont just 'submit' to anyone either. Like pretty much nearly all relationships, you don't go all the way at once, and meet one day and marry the next day and have the relationship you're going to have after years together. You build a relationship with time, with respect, and as trust grows (and trust which has been earned is a HUGE thing in most D/s relationships) you gradually give more of your submission in increments, as you both feel comfortable with, up to the level you are both comfortable with.

On a tangent now. Either way, there's nothing about the idea of D/s in itself which could preclude having kids

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 16:59:34

Forget the car. It made perfect sense to me!

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 17:00:23

It is definitely a sexuality. It developed alongside the rest of my sexuality and personality, from a very young age, and I tore myself apart thinking I was an awful person for that.

It's not the same as gender preference, because I think that has a lot more going on and a lot more discrimination in general, but imagine being constantly told that what you fantasise about, what makes you feel happy and safe, what you enjoy, etc made you a bad person, a joke but also dangerous.

Why Mumsnet as a community seem to like joining in with the oppression of a lifestyle and sexuality not their own is beyond me.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:01:18

Yes, from Madonna aqua. I'm a pathetic person you see, with no mind of my own, so my sexuality and lifestyle is a construct borrowed from an aging idol.

Are you serious? Can you even see how offensive you're being? I don't deserve this, I really don't.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 17:01:23

I'm not using it to trivialise or mock the discussion. I just don't understand why you having a manual car makes it easier to car share, that's all.

And you still haven't answered the point about children in this relationship.

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 08-May-14 17:01:23

Op I don't think you are explaining it very well.

My DH always picks the cars, as I am more swayed by the gadgets. DH looks at the boring stuff like tax, insurance common faults, safety aspect.

I see your relationship as a submissive is that you are allowed to make some choices, but when it comes to the big decisions you have no input.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:02:02

Britta: thank fuck for you. I feel under seige.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 17:03:27

I think it's like having a boss at work, tbh. A good boss trusts his employees to get on with their jobs most of the time, and only "pulls rank" if they're going too far from the agreed plan.

Fairenuff Thu 08-May-14 17:03:54

She's sassy and worldly and she'd get it at once

OP it's a little concerning that you think his 20 year old daughter would show any interest at all in your sex life.

How you get from 'traditional wedding vows' to 'his daughter will realise he's into bdsm' is quite astonishing shock

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:04:00

I have answered the children thing. Look up thread. I said it about a daughter because that's what people were talking about, but it would also apply to sons.

I think it's best we all forget about the car.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 17:05:26

Lila- so if, as the OP said, the dom is in charge of what the family does at the weekend, how do you address the issue of the children asking the sub if they can do one thing, and her having to tell them it's up to the dom to decide?

If the sub allows the dom to have the last word in every domestic issue,which is what the OP seems to be saying, how is that modelling a healthy relationship to children? Are daughters expected to submit to the dom as well?

CluelessCrapParent Thu 08-May-14 17:05:30

I'm missing the point of this thread...what is your question OP ?

For us to tell you what to do or to decide for you what you should want?

Thurlow Thu 08-May-14 17:05:36

LoonVan - I think most of us would think "fuck that" if told to deny our sexual needs in order to promote a non-patriarchal society. But that's what you're telling the OP to do

I agree. The OP and her DP have a d/s relationship in their private life. It's what makes them happy and, leaping to assumptions, also what they enjoy in their sexual relationship. I don't quite see how that somehow disqualifies her from having opinions of feminisms and equality of the sexes?

I do agree that bringing what is commonly a sexual element of a private relationship into your marriage vows and therefore the public arena probably isn't the most appropriate thing to do, especially if you don't want your family and friends to know about your d/s relationship. But if that's what makes you happy in your private life, fine. One person's happy home life is another person's nightmare.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 17:05:43

I don't really see how a sexual preference = being told what car to have

It's not really sexual preference at this point - D/s is about how you relate to each other on a much wider level than just in the bedroom. Your whole relationship is working on the dynamic that you both find very fulfilling

D/s relationships will by definition involve some elements of BDSM in the bedroom (not necessarily bondage or pain, but the dominance/submissive dynamic), BUT not all people who really enjoy BDSM in the bedroom, will be in a D/s relationship, in fact most of them won't be.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:06:09

It isn't astonishing. She knows me, she knows him, she knows we are the opposite to traditional, she will realise.

I know her, unlike you. I don't want to embarrass her. It's a moot point anyway, I think it's clear we won't be saying it.

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 17:07:57

No, I don't think that would be okay, martorana, & I clearly said that above. The OP has given no suggestion that her partner's dominant role towards her would extend to a dominant role within the whole family, in which Dad gets to make unilateral decisions about what everyone does. There's also no sign that he takes that kind of role with the daughter he already has, is there?

Obviously that would be a different situation & one that personally I would see as negative in feminist terms, as opposed to neutral (which is how I'd understand the situation outlined by OP). I would actually be interested to hear how OP envisages whole family decisions being made, given the D/S dynamic with her partner. But she's probably buggered off, & I don't really blame her.

Amethyst24 Thu 08-May-14 17:08:12

I can't help thinking that you would make the vow fully intending to break it, because if you always, without fail honoured and obeyed him then there'd be no spanking for you and presumably no getting off of rocks for him

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:08:19

Clueless: the point was to see if saying those vows in a non-traditional setting would be a big deal, of any kind of deal.

I don't need other people telling me what to, ta. It was just a sound-out thread, like most of them on here.

LEDPenguin Thu 08-May-14 17:08:42

You aren't alone, Steely. I don't feel qualified to help you explain, because although I've explored it in the past, I've come to the conclusion that 24/7 submission is completely unsuitable for me - I could never quite get my head around it. For me this is confined to bedroom activity only (I don't even particularly identify as submissive - if anything, I'm a masochist, and even that's a label I'm not totally comfortable with), but I have enough insight to not judge those for whom it isn't. I just can't help you explain.

And like many others, I recognise how it's something that you don't choose. It's just there, from a young age, and you recognise it and agonise over it because does it make you a bad person and a bad feminist and is there something wrong with you that you enjoy this? And that takes time, and you feel awful, and eventually you meet other people who have felt like that and suddenly you realise you're not a freak, and you have to offload years of internalised selfloathing.

grimbletart Thu 08-May-14 17:09:04

OP - it's your life, do with it what you will and if you were totally happy with your choice you wouldn't give a flying monkeys what anyone else thinks and your wouldn't need to have come on to MN to discuss it.

Personally I'm just happy to exist in the 21st century as as an autonomous adult. If you want to play the faux child, well, whatever floats your boat.

But please don't insist you are a feminist. That is being in denial of gigantic proportions.

Funny how no many ever wants to say in his wedding vows that he wants to honour and obey his wife isn't it? Wonder why?

Fairenuff Thu 08-May-14 17:09:23

Also, you said 'I am completely submissive to him and he sets the tone in every aspect of our relationship'

but when talking about the vows you say, 'He says it's up to me but he would like it very much' confused

It's not really clear how this works. Surely if he would like it very much, he should just say that is what you are doing and you say ok?

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 17:09:26


Fairenuff Thu 08-May-14 17:12:32

It isn't astonishing. She knows me, she knows him, she knows we are the opposite to traditional, she will realise.

She will realise what though? You honestly think she will link wedding vows to bdsm?

Surely, if she knows you both well like you say she does, she already knows that you do everything he says so it will no surprise to use those vows, won't even register with her that it's out of the ordinary these days.

Why would she jump straight to thinking about your sex life.

RabbitFromAHat Thu 08-May-14 17:13:10

I've got no issue at all with BDSM and understand the dynamics of the sex part, as someone how dabbles. However if I was to hear those vows - particularly from someone who self-identifies as feminist - I would be all over wanting to hear why, so I would ask. And I do NOT want to hear about the sex lives of friends and family.

Therefore I think YABU because you will leave yourselves open to questions that you cannot adequately answer without making your friends' and family's ears bleed. Don't do it, it's not necessary.

RabbitFromAHat Thu 08-May-14 17:13:27


SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:14:45

No, daughters wouldn't submit to the dom. How peculiar that you should think that after everything I've said.

We don't have kids yet, but won't be fucking them up when we do. Don't let that stop your prejudice against my (entirely involuntary) sexuality though, sista.

CluelessCrapParent Thu 08-May-14 17:15:48

Apologies but the way you are assuming other people would read into it based on your own projections sounds awfully like you are carrying it like some sort of guilty conscience.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:16:49

Fairenuff: she might not. But then again she might. It wouldn't be astonishing if she did. Not after that shit book fifty shades has been everywhere, anyway.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 17:16:58

Lila- so if, as the OP said, the dom is in charge of what the family does at the weekend, how do you address the issue of the children asking the sub if they can do one thing, and her having to tell them it's up to the dom to decide?

It would be easier to tell the kids that for a family outing, both parents need to want to go. This happens in most households,

If the sub allows the dom to have the last word in every domestic issue,which is what the OP seems to be saying, how is that modelling a healthy relationship to children? Are daughters expected to submit to the dom as well?

It's not micromanaging or 'every last issue'.

As for 'daughters' (why daughters? We've been pointing out again and again that people involved in D/s do NOT see it as a gender issue, and are equally comfortable with the idea of a F/m relationship, but you're either wilfully ignoring us, or confusing D/s with certain conservative religious sects, which run on a 'men in charge' principle, which has NOTHING to do with D/s), frankly in most households children are expected to repsect their parents and generally do as they are told. If the sons AND daughters aren't obeying BOTH their mum/dad (on a consistent basis, not normal naughtiness) then there's a problem, and it isn't a D/s problem. The parents will have decided the ground rules of the house in advance, so there is not going to be a situation where they are disagreeing over things like bed time in front of the kids. They'll be presenting a united front

Given that submission includes sexual submission and the emotional 'in love' dynamic, I bloody well hope you aren't trying on the 'Doms are paedophiles' line which is just as annoying, offensive and stupid as 'gay men are paedophiles'

comingintomyown Thu 08-May-14 17:17:30

What a lot of twaddle

Sorry but to my mind you aren't a feminist and don't really see why you want to claim to be one under the circumstances apart from attempting to mitigate the fact that your partner commands you.


SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:17:53

Clueless: nah. It's just normal to me so I probably assume people are more up on it than they actually are.

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 17:18:49

'Given that submission includes sexual submission and the emotional 'in love' dynamic, I bloody well hope you aren't trying on the 'Doms are paedophiles' line which is just as annoying, offensive and stupid as 'gay men are paedophiles'

hmm hmm

No one has brought that up but you.

Viviennemary Thu 08-May-14 17:19:03

Say what you like. It's your wedding.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 17:19:15

I am a feminist, coming. And you have no right to deem me otherwise based on something you don't understand.

noddyholder Thu 08-May-14 17:20:45

Children are not blind they would see this and think it the norm and may feel unable to move beyond that. It does send out a message no matter what you think. If its just sexual then whatever you like but if its a whole way of being and living outside of the bedroom then if you have children you need to consider it.

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 17:21:11

Why daughters? Because most people don't want to raise a daughter who thinks being submissive to her partner is the normal thing to do.

You might not see it as a gender issue but the children you're raising might easily.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 17:22:15

Implying that Doms want their children (oh no wait 'daughters', cause all Doms think women are inferior to men) to 'submit' to them, when we've just spent half a thread talking about submission in a sexual context, is weird, and given that submission in a D/s context INCLUDES sexual submission

It implies either a warped view of Doms, or completely confusing conservative religious sects with D/s relationships

Fairenuff Thu 08-May-14 17:22:56

Believe me, OP, no-one, but no-one wants to think about one or both of their parents having sex. Brain bleach is required immediately to eradicate such fleeting images. His dd will not be dwelling on this.

The bottom line (pun intended) is that no-one is interested in your sex life. Say it if you want, or not. It will make no difference to anyone else.

noddyholder Thu 08-May-14 17:24:13

I don't think its about want ing their children to submit to them I do 'get' it. BUT if a child grows up with "We have an automatic car because what dad says goes/or dad chooses weekend activities etc' then it gives a skewed view of an equal relationship.

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 17:25:00

The concern is not that the children will be submissive to the parent. I'm talking about the long-term. It's about children seeing one parent as being extremely submissive to the other and then thinking this is the norm for adult relationships.

Somanystrangepeople Thu 08-May-14 17:26:51

hmm Wtaf

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 17:28:27

Children don't grow up in a vacuum with only their parents relationship as a model. If you have strong connections wih other couples your children see often enough, it presents a view to children of multiple kinds of relationships.

Children whose parents have a D/s relationships don't see extreme submission or doormatness all the time.

WhistleTopTomato Thu 08-May-14 17:32:54

I also don't understand why self-identifying as a feminist is so important to you.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 17:32:57

It wasn't me raised the "what that family does at the weekend" thing- the OP said that's one of the things her partner decides. I was wondering whether he would continue to decide when there are children. I'm not actually interested in the sexual side of the relationship- there are plenty of people who act out this sort of stuff in the bedroom, but the OP says that their whole life is lived in this way. So presumably he would have ultimate say over the children too. And the children would grow up seeing their mother submitting to their father in all things. Which can't be right

LoonvanBoon Thu 08-May-14 17:34:25

Lilka, your posts are clear & excellent - & OP, you've been both brave & patient here. I think a lot of what's been written here is sheer prejudice, though, dressed up as feminist scruple, & I do see it as analogous to other forms of sexual prejudice.

And the absolute refusal of the vast majority of OP's critics to address the issue of whether it's ONLY D/S relationships where the woman is submissive that are to be seen as a problem - & if so, why - says it all really.

Hope everything goes well for you, OP.

squoosh Thu 08-May-14 17:34:38

No children don't grow up in a vacum but the relationship they see played out between their parents has a profound effect. Doesn't matter if their best friend's parents, or their uncle and aunty are completely different, many people replicate what they were brought up with.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 17:43:03

OP, you'll never get people who don't have the deviant gene to get this. The deep link between day of day submission to sexuality is a difficult enough thing to understand when you have it. I would know exactly why you said 'obey'.

I'm a dominant woman in a female led relationship. We're getting married later this year, and we had exactly the same discussion as you but very quickly decided it wouldn't be appropriate, particularly as it would be even more unusual for a man to say those words traditionally spoken by women. People would notice. We live without dependents and keep our relationship dynamic to ourselves with subtle signals understood only to us when we are with other people who are not in our kink circle of friends.

In our relationship we each actually get our own way about as equally as any normal, emotionally healthy couple when they negotiate differences - it's really more the way it is dressed up to lead us both to feel our respective roles more strongly. It is a game, however seriously you take it - lifestyle D/s people often don't use the word 'play' in the kink sense, but it is play... although no less valid a lifestyle choice that the game features heavily. even if you have not overtly outlined the rules (we did) you are quite free to walk away from it at any time.

You sound grounded and happy. You are lucky because for so many, the exact match with the opposing D to their s (or the other way round) is a very elusive creature. I feel like that having found my partner too; it's amazing, exciting and sexy for us, and has been for years. It's comforting and playful and feeds a need we have both felt starved of for a long time before we met.

Of course the submissive is in a position where he or she can be genuinely abused but no more often than in vanilla relationships from what I have seen after many years of living and socialising with other like-minded people.

And I would strongly argue with those who say you can't be a feminist and a submissive - the consensual game of power-play is personal, not imposed or preached to anyone and be played alongside general socio-political beliefs which contradict the role-play. I am not religious but I like praying.

But OP, always remember it is a game we play to meet our needs, and those needs are a hot-wiring of sexuality to submission or dominance, and that is really hard for others to get. I would leave the words out, and keep it between yourselves.

Chippednailvarnish Thu 08-May-14 17:43:44

I've never read Fifty Shades of Grey as it sounds like total bollocks, a bit like the OP's "romantic" view of her relationship and her non-existent dilemma.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 17:46:20

One of the reasons "Fifty Shades" is bollocks is its portrayal of a D/s relationship!!

ToffeeMoon Thu 08-May-14 17:52:04

I'd love to hear more about how your DH is a feminist.

See, he sounds like an abuser but perhaps he's swell once you get to know him.

struggling100 Thu 08-May-14 17:52:42

I would say that the premise of consent ('I am doing this because of an acted role that brings mutual sexual pleasure, but I could stop at any time I wanted') kind of undoes the 'obey'. It's only really obedience if it's non-consensual, which is why so many feminists have a problem with it.

This is a paradox at the heart of BDSM relationships, and one that makes them a whole lot less 'deviant' than those who participate like to think.

TillyTellTale Thu 08-May-14 17:53:08

Disregarding the tangent of this thread, I don't see why quote-lifting 'honour and obey' from a traditional Christian service would be desirable for a modern healthy D/s couple choosing civil marriage, who already have a far more relevant personal contract.

That section of marriage rite, from a time when girls had their husbands chosen for them, and had absolutely no rights to leave, and were forced to submit, rather than choosing, should have absolutely nowt to do with modern life.

And I would very much question a dom who called him/herself a feminist who wanted to cherry-pick that bit. What is he? A bloody Gorean?

But meh. Call me judgmental and mundane if you want. And try a specialist D/s forum.

ToffeeMoon Thu 08-May-14 17:54:23

Also, does he ever get to be the submissive one? Or can only a female be submissive?

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 17:58:31

And I would very much question a dom who called him/herself a feminist who wanted to cherry-pick that bit. What is he? A bloody Gorean?

We can cherry pick whatever we bloody well want, they are our relationships.

Igggi Thu 08-May-14 17:59:35

I think I've changed my mind re the "can't possibly be a feminist" issue. The submission is just a role play, a choice you have been free to make as has your DP, even if you practise it in all areas of life. Bears no relation to the dominance exerted over so many women in the world who genuinely have no choice in the matter.
It's just a game, no matter what you elevate it to, unless you are in a situation where you have no choice but to obey the other person. You're not.

Southpaws Thu 08-May-14 18:01:55

This thread has made me feel like I need a shower. OP why would you want to make any reference, veiled as it may be, in your wedding vows? It is deeply tacky. No other couple I have ever heard of have even thought about their sexual relationship in the context of their wedding. If there is a remote possibility of his daughter working it out FGS don't say it. I cannot imagine anything more cringe inducing than my dad and his new wife referencing their preferences, (be they vanilla, wild or otherwise) in front of a room full of people <shudders>

Igggi Thu 08-May-14 18:02:04

Struggling you've said what I was attempting to say, far better than me smile

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 18:02:32

Also, does he ever get to be the submissive one? Or can only a female be submissive?

Haven't we been over this multipl times already this thread?

People have personal preferences as to whether they like being dominant or submissive, or whether they like doing both (a person who will play as both, is referred to as a 'switch'). Those people may be any sexual orientation, but they won't play in a role they don't find pleasurable.

Given OP hasn't said whether or not her DP is bisexual or a switch, clearly we can't answer that question.

But believe me, there are MANY F/m, or M/m (or F/f) relationships, and in my experience the majority of men I saw who were into D/s, were submissives. The women were a more evenly mixed bunch.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:03:18

Excellent post from ImOnTop with a proper understanding of the scene and of the dynamic.

And yy to her reiteration that it's a game regardless of how earnestly we play it.

TillyTellTale Thu 08-May-14 18:03:19

Your relationship, yes. However, at this point, you'd be cherry-picking bits of religious ceremony (while wanting a civil marriage) and ignoring the historical context they developed in.

It's is apparently, definitely not the OP's religion, otherwise there would never have been an issue. And no, no-one really gets to own religions.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:03:51

Absolutely Igggi. And harmless to others which is why I don't get the abuse the OP is receiving on her thread.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:04:55

And yy struggling too re the paradox.

Apparently my posts are invisible as I brought this up earlier and nobody listened wink

LEDPenguin Thu 08-May-14 18:05:20

Some wonderful, well considered posts from Lilka and ImOnTop, among others. Expressing things far better than I could.

TillyTellTale Thu 08-May-14 18:06:28

Or did you miss, by any chance, that the legal position is "you don't nick bits of the CoE service if you're specifically choosing the secular ceremony"?

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:07:16

But Tilly, promising to obey is not an intrinsically religious statement. It can be said in a secular sense. There is not 'before God' aspect to those words on their own.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:07:29

Tilly that bit really is very important in the context of the thread, although OP says she's abandoned the idea for other reasons anyway.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:08:24

ImOnTop she can say it, just not as part of her legal ceremony.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:11:57

I get that now- not an expert on matrimonial law. But I stand by what I said earlier - I think it is not massively appropriate because the D/s thing is essentially a game we play.

TillyTellTale Thu 08-May-14 18:11:58


It's a direct quote from a religious ceremony, in its secular equivalent. We all know the source. If you tried that kind of thinking in your own writing, be it fiction or academic, you'd not only be a plagiarist, but a crap one!

CorusKate Thu 08-May-14 18:12:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:16:21

I agree about "the game" - in fact several on this thread from the scene have used that phrase, although notably not the OP. Each couple probably draws the boundaries of the game slightly differently, but I don't know any who completely suspend body autonomy, for example.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:17:38

Cross post (didn't refresh).

"The game" doesn't mean "the sex game" even though it does include sex. Like "our marriage" means more than just "my sex life with DH".

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:17:48

Good grief, some of you manage to make our sexuality seem so nasty and sordid. I wonder if this is how Gay people were made to feel when they mention non-directly-sexual aspects of sharing their life together in the past.

Perhaps we'd all better go and have a shower.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:18:35

Yy FatalCabbage.

TillyTellTale Thu 08-May-14 18:18:58


Yes, that's my problem. Having that bit seems inappropriate for a healthy D/s relationship. It's like a D/s couple having readings from 50 Shades of Grey at their wedding!

CorusKate Thu 08-May-14 18:20:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:25:43

There is a delicate balance to be had with this. It is awkward for others but it's also sad that you don't get to say what it's important to you to convey to your partner within your relationship at your own wedding.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 18:25:45

Erm... Sexuality doesn't just mean sex...

FindoGask Thu 08-May-14 18:26:57

"I also don't understand why self-identifying as a feminist is so important to you."

Um, really? We're not talking quantum physics here... you couldn't hazard a guess?

Steely, sorry you've taken a drubbing from a bunch of asshats. I'm as MOR as they come, sexuality wise, but just wanted to wish you all the best with your wedding, whatever you decide to do about your vows.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:28:05

Gay marriage isn't just marrying to have gay sex, it's to share your lives based on a mutually pleasing and hopefully romantic partnership in which your sexualities match.

Same with D/s people.

Kundry Thu 08-May-14 18:31:04

But as loads of people have already said, and the OP has not acknowledged, she can't have the wording in a civil ceremony anyway. So no wedding sex games.

You can have the vows they suggest or write your own, non-religious ones. Taking the wording from the Book of Common Prayer and removing the God references is not allowed - I know because we tried.

(BTW no way was I including obey as even a civil ceremony was a feminist nightmare)

MorrisZapp Thu 08-May-14 18:31:26

The comparison with gay people is irrelevant. Gay people, like straight people, are entitled to privacy in their sex lives. When one of them promises to obey the other, suddenly it doesn't feel so healthy and equal.

Look, is this a sex thing or not? I have zero interest in what consenting adults do in private. Spank away, it's none of my beeswax. But being a lifelong liberal I will never get behind the idea of anybody, male female gay or straight, behaving as subordinate to another in their daily lives.

I have loads of gay friends who have entered into civil partnerships. If I was attending their wedding I'd be aghast if one of them promised obedience to the other.

It's totally at odds with modern values.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:35:53

I don't have the answers to that. But I do know that it's a sexuality which is deeply inbedded and in the case of the people I know, something that you have always known you had as part of you in a weird way, even before you are old enough to link it to sex itself. It's almost impossible to explain it to people who don't have it and you can spend many, many years feeling a sense of shame for having those feelings.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:38:43

It feels like it is a kink gene which is probably shaped to an extent by even transitory experiences at crucial stages of life.

It's a huge relief when you realise you aren't the only one who feels like this. You can life for years with it locked up in your head.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:39:31

Sorry about typos.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:41:51

We know that you don't get it; equally we can't remember not getting it.

I don't get how people can not want to progress in their career; to be intelligent and capable but pass up opportunities to progress (logistics excepted - taking a promotion that scuppers family life, for example). And I could argue against it rationally. But ultimately some people aren't driven by status and I just have to accept that.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 18:43:58

Cross post. Yes.

And when you add in previous sexual assault and dealing with concepts of "wanting it" (no) or having been started off by it (also no)... well, damn.

Are private contracts actually a thing? I thought they were just a 50 Shades thing...

Is this like how Game of Thrones fans are naming their daughters Khaleesi? grin

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:55:26

Some D/s people may have private contracts but they would be meaningless in law of course. More part of ritual for those who enjoy that type of play.

We just negotiated what felt right for us, which includes keeping it private, dropping the game totally when it comes to his or my work and relationships with extended family (so for example, I would never rule on when he called or saw his parents, or make decisions about his employment) and most importantly, honest dialogue about anything either of us was unhappy about.

Blistory Thu 08-May-14 18:56:12

Feminism is about achieving the liberation of women.

And whilst I agree that feminists can make anti feminist choices and still be feminists, willingly giving up liberation to a man is so fundamentally anti feminist that I don't see how you do that and still be a feminist. You're not just accepting a patriarchial way of life, you're supporting it. That's as anti woman as you get.

A man truly supportive of feminism wants an equal partner. So he's not a feminist either. All you seem to be doing is pandering to his ego and I can see why it makes you feel good. If I abdicated all responsibility for my life choices and day to day decisions to someone else and expected them to shoulder that responsibility, my life would be stress free.

I don't care what the dynamic in your relationship is but I do care that you think you are a feminist voice.

And the dynamics of other relationships aren't relevant because none of them have the oppressive dynamic that comes simply from a man/woman relationship dynamic in a patriarchal society.

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 18:58:56

Private contracts came way before that crappy book. It's a way of laying down expectations and consent from the off.

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 18:59:50

Blistory, what about my female led dynamic then? Am I allowed to be called a feminist in your eyes?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 19:04:54

Thanks ImOnTop, Ilka, Loon and all the others who are open-minded and actually listening to me.

It's quite shocking how some posters are denouncing me and saying they're liberal in the same sentence, but you're right, it's outside the scope if their understanding and I do get that it's not 'normal', I've always known that.

Blistory Thu 08-May-14 19:07:32

I don't know, ImOnTop. Are you one ?

whatever5 Thu 08-May-14 19:11:20

Yes he's older than me. All my partners have been, because of how I am. We've been together 3 years and it's the best relationship I've had by miles.

You are contradicting yourself a bit. You say that all your partners have been older than you "because of the way you are" but you also keep saying that your partner is the only person you have wanted to submit to.

I can understand people wanting to be submissive in the bedroom if that turns them on but wanting to expand that to the rest of your life seems a bit pathetic. I also think that it's very contradictory to call yourself a feminist but to then want to publicly declare that you will obey your husband. I know you're not suggesting that everyone should do that but if enough women did we'd go back in time. You really wouldn't be doing feminism any favours.

WhistleTopTomato Thu 08-May-14 19:11:45

"Anyone who disagrees with me is close-minded" is such a shit argument.

DisgruntledAardvark Thu 08-May-14 19:17:09

I think comparing practising BDSM to being gay is a bit distasteful, to be honest. Being criticised on the internet for liking to be spanked (or whatever) is hardly the same as facing homophobic abuse on a day to day basis.

NeilDiamondRocks Thu 08-May-14 19:19:47

The message you are giving, whether you like it or not, is one that states women should obey men, and this is to be taken SO seriously that a vow is made. Once you say this vow, it is out there, and people listening, such as the young daughter and all other women, are affected by that.

Feminism is NOT about choice. Individual woman's choices about how they live their life when it impacts NEGATIVELY upon other women, is NOT feminism and their choice does NOT trump other women's rights to live with complete equality without messages like this being sent!! If you give a message that states women are inferior to men, even if it is YOUR choice, that can impact upon other women's RIGHTS, which are more important and more true to feminism.

If you and your partner really were feminists, you would be thinking about OTHER women and how this vow of yours might affect them. But as you don't, then you aren't.

KeepOnKeepingOnAndOnAndOnAndOn Thu 08-May-14 19:21:15

Steely> I am a liberal and a feminist. Feminism is nt a radical ideology; it is simply about equality.

If you wanna bow before a man and e submissive , gofor it! I personally cannot think of anything more detrimental to who I am, personally. But, as you say, it is your choice. Good luck.

WhistleTopTomato Thu 08-May-14 19:21:35

I think comparing practising BDSM to being gay is a bit distasteful, to be honest. Being criticised on the internet for liking to be spanked (or whatever) is hardly the same as facing homophobic abuse on a day to day basis

Maybe pretending to be persecuted when you're not actually being persecuted is fun. In the same way that playing at being powerless when you're not actually powerless is fun.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 19:28:28

I don't think submitting to a man is anti-feminist, although declaring that you are doing so could well be.

Comparing BDSM and homosexuality probably isn't helpful, as you're comparing what you like to do with who you prefer to do it with - not the same.

But there are some similar features, most notably that people on this thread are saying this is how we were born and we don't remember feeling any other way, even before we were old enough to be sexual beings, and some people are telling us we're damaged, sick, wrong and weird.

The main difference is that you can't tell by looking at me and DH what we are into, but if we were the same sex you'd probably guess we were gay. So there's less abuse/discrimination because it's largely invisible - like a bisexual woman wouldn't attract homophobic abuse if she happened to be coupled up with a man.

Bathtimesoaker Thu 08-May-14 19:30:01

OP, I'm just curious whether you feel more or less likely to promise to obey after reading this thread?

But the only way you're subjected to discrimination/judgement is if you choose to put it out there. If any of my friends decided to incorporate their bedroom antics into their wedding vows, I'm sure they'd all get hmm faces from the guests.

"I solemnly vow to piss all over your chest forevermore"

ImOnTop Thu 08-May-14 19:42:10

^Comparing BDSM and homosexuality probably isn't helpful, as you're comparing what you like to do with who you prefer to do it with - not the same.

But there are some similar features, most notably that people on this thread are saying this is how we were born and we don't remember feeling any other way, even before we were old enough to be sexual beings, and some people are telling us we're damaged, sick, wrong and weird.^

It was me who used the comparison and I apologise because people are right, it isn't the same thing and it probably wasn't helpful.

But fatalcabbage is spot on here.

KissesBreakingWave Thu 08-May-14 19:50:37

I have to say, speaking from memories of a time when I Didn't Do Women, the horseshit about bdsm being spouted on this thread would've filled a homophobia bingo card, had I bothered to bring one.

Not that I feel persecuted: bigotry can and should be laughed off.

CrotchMaven Thu 08-May-14 20:30:16

I'm glad Blistory brought up the Feminism being liberation of women thing. I think, perhaps, that's where the misunderstandings come from. If you don't believe that's what Feminism is and think it's simply about choice, then you won't believe that submission to a man is problematic.

Do what you want. Feminists who subscribe to the liberation of women definition are surely delighted by your support in areas in which you both overlap. You can't be surprised that there is a fundamental disagreement on this one, though, can you?

SnotandBothered Thu 08-May-14 20:34:12

I am not sure but I think that the lack of understanding/open mindedness comes about because you happen to be on a forum that people use for many situations - but within the relationship boards in particular - to discuss abusive relationships.

I understand and respect the dynamics of your relationship, although I don't live this way in everyday life, I would say that to a degree I live it in the bedroom and I had quite a big 'eureka' moment after seeing the film 'Secretary; for the first time grin

However, if this element/gene/need is completely absent in someone, and therefore the pleasure you derive from your role seems utterly alien, it would, I suppose, be natural/easy, to read the 'dom' traits as abusive and your sub behaviour as 'doormat'.

I don't think being a sub and feminist are in any way in conflict within a healthy relationship FWIW.

I still stand by my earlier post about the vows. I still say that you are choosing to obey - for reasons of your own - and not submitting to obey for reasons imposed by the institution of marriage, and it is therefore not relevant to your relationship.

Maybe you could draw up a new contract based on your relationship but recognising your new 'married status' instead?

Good luck OP.

kungfupannda Thu 08-May-14 20:38:17

I think it would be noticed.

I was at a wedding where it was "reinserted" by the couple who are quite traditional in a lot of ways. Lots of people noticed, and it was talked about at the reception. We later found out that the groom asked for it to go back in and were a bit hmm

I don't think it crossed anyone's mind that they were into BDSM though!

sarinka Thu 08-May-14 20:38:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 20:41:45

Patriarchy has traditionally taught us that a man should be dominant in a Het relationship. You are simply following traditional patriarchial thinking, that a woman should submit to her Husband. There is absolutely nothing transgressive or alternative about this. In fact it is incredibly mainstream.

Feminism teaches us that women should be liberated, and that in a healthy relationship, nobody should be dominant or submitting to the other.

I suspect you think your relationship is transgressive or alternative. It really isnt. It is incredibly traditional and fits in with the ideas of the most conservative right wing thinkers, even if you do dress it up with sex toys and a bit of leather.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 20:57:09


I see several humungous differences

The first is why you submit - traditional patriarchal thinking is not that submission is something that is only to be done when fulfilling and feels right to both parties, but something that must always be done by every woman to her husband because "all woman are xyz".

The second is the gender thing - traditional patriarchal thinking is that it's gender which determines who submits to who, and that all women submit to all men, whereas D/s is about individual choice and preference determining who submits, and it is equally acceptable and equally as good to have a man submitting to a woman

Which lets face it, is absolutely unaccepted by patriarchal thinking, because they see submission by a man as somehow inherently wrong, whereas in D/s it's absolutely a-okay and common

People in the BDSM community do not think that women should submit to men. That's bollocks, there's no gender bias attached to the fulfilment people find in BDSM or Ds relationships within the community

Now, if I was in a D/s relationship, I wouldn't want the traditional vows in the ceremony, because they represent an institution which definitely isn't what D/s relationships (for me) are about, and so i can see the argument that using traditional vows of a patriarchal instution in a formal ceremony could be construed as not a feminist choice...but I just can't see that a community that is very well know for not pushing people into certain roles based on gender, is an anti-feminist community

TalisaMaegyr Thu 08-May-14 20:58:24

TOTALLY what turgiday said.

whatever5 Thu 08-May-14 21:02:01

I think that it is an anti-feminist community if women but not the men in that community start vowing to honour and obey their partners in public.

sarinka Thu 08-May-14 21:02:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CorusKate Thu 08-May-14 21:03:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 21:04:50

Lilka - The basic idea that someone in a relationship submits, and someone dominates, is patriarchial. The fact that some BDSM couples turn this round so that it is the man who submits, does not erase this dynamic.

Feminism is about respectful relationships where nobody submits or dominates.

In terms of why you submit - justify it however you want. But the idea that people "choose" to submit or dominate free from the influences of our culture, is I think rubbish.

PenelopeKeeling Thu 08-May-14 21:06:17

I just think it's weird to have a line from the Book of Common Prayer in a civil marriage service.

I don't really think there is much of a dilemma here - you can have what you like, as long as you don't mind people thinking it's slightly odd. BDSM has become so popular and over-publicised as to be almost mundane anyway.

Lilka Thu 08-May-14 21:07:01

But how do you know that men who are marrying are not making those committments in ceremonies (providing it's legally allowed)? They certainly make these vows and promises in non-legal ceremonies (eg. I once attended an event in a home that was a committment ceremony between the partners, it was a F/m relationship, there were quite a few of us as guests and witnesses)

It's just the OP in this situation is a woman

Coldlightofday Thu 08-May-14 21:09:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 21:14:49

Why do you identify as a feminist OP?

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 08-May-14 21:28:09

It is an interesting debate feminist in a bdsm relationship.

I don't know the right or wrong answers on this, but my view is that femism is about having the same rights and opportunities as a male.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 21:33:26

The right to submit to your Husband as women have done for hundred of years? If that is what feminism was about, I wouldn't be a feminist.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 21:53:53

Frankly, I don't care what consenting adults do in the bedroom. I do care when somebody says they are a feminist! and then says that she is submissive to a man in all aspects of a relationship.

I also care when anyone, man, woman, straight or gay consistently dominates or consistently is submissive to another person in anything but bedroom fantasy life.

And I care very much about children being brought up to believe that to be submissive or to be dominant is a good way to be in a relationship. And if that is what they see modelled by their own parents, that is what they will see as the norm. No matter how many other couples they interact with- their primary model is the on their parents give them.

And nobody has told m what will happen if the OP has children, and they ask to do something at the weekend and He Who Must Be Obeyed, and who is is charge of weekend activities isn't there to ask. Does she say "We'll have to wait and ask daddy?"

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 22:15:21

Martorana if she's anything like me she'll say "well that sounds like fun - let me check with daddy that we don't have anything else on / that we have enough money" or whatever. Which weirdly enough is also what he says, but in reverse...

Because at work a customer or supplier might ask if we can manage a meeting, and I provisionally book before checking my boss's availability; just as my boss checks mine before committing me to anything.

It's like having a boss, not a Joffrey Baratheon!

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 22:18:19

So you lie to your children to cover up the fact that you aren't allowed to make any decisions? Then if he says no, you lie again?

Does that not bring it home to you that this is not a healthy way to be?

JapaneseMargaret Thu 08-May-14 22:22:28

This thread is unintentionally hilarious.

He tells you to get a manual car instead of an automatic.

Wow, sexual...

I think the reason people are being derisive is not because they're not as 'liberal' and 'open-minded' as they like to make out ... but because you contradict yourself profoundly from one post to the next, and you don't even see it.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 22:23:23

Children are not stupid. If one person is in charge, they figure that out. And the fact that you try and lie about that fact to your children that that si what is happening, simply isolates them.

turgiday Thu 08-May-14 22:26:53

You know what amazes me is how people fool themselves into thinking what they are doing is transgressive and alternative, when it is actually about as conformis as you can be. I see this elsewhere, not just with the OP. Very traditional patriarchial behaviour being dressed up as alternative by a few superfacial props.

Brittapieandchips Thu 08-May-14 22:37:24

I was just about to post asking why this assumption is always made on Mumsnet that people making different choices are somehow in it for the thrill of it being different and if it was mainstream they would be bored and stop it.

How about it's just something we are into that we don't feel is anything to be ashamed of?

I would actually say that one of my favourite things about events in the bdsm/fet world is the feeling of being normal. Being able to be myself, do the things that make me happy and talk about them freely with people who understand (even though, shock horror, some if us are into different things, we manage to be respectful). Bear in mind that a lot of events are basically some people having a pint in a normal pub in normal clothes - it's nothing shocking at all, just people trying to feel accepted.

KissesBreakingWave Thu 08-May-14 22:37:59



What do I win?

TalisaMaegyr Thu 08-May-14 22:40:45

A MASSIVE butt plug Kisses grin

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 22:43:08

Turgiday: I'm a feminist because women are still treated as inferior by some in our society, not taken seriously in the workplace, not paid the same, seen as weak or silly or less cabable in some quarters. Many women feel they have to look a certain way or act in ways that make them uncomfortable to fit in or be seen as attractive to men.

It's outrageous, it's not over, and in some ways we're sliding backwards. This situation in Nigeria is horrific, and women across the globe face massive oppression everyday. Here in the UK, the current forore around women on the frontline, for example, is ridiculous. Women are not delicate flowers. They have proved their capabilities and should be treated equally in all respects.

To tell me that I have no right to fight for that equality, to speak up and stand for what is right, because of my deeply embedded, involuntary sexuality and loving, consensual relationship, is offensive, blinkered and deliberately obtuse.

We're going round in circles here. It's been said repeatedly on this thread that D/s often applies to gay relationships and female dominants. I happen to be a straight woman, that's all. I need this on a fundamental level, and I'm happy.

Luckily I don't need anyone to approve my feminist credentials to write blogs, join protests and engage in gender debates. Least of all narrow-minded folk in forums.

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 22:44:21

Come on, kisses- don't play the " Oh, I'm so persecuted" game.

What you do in bed or wherever is your own business. But acting out Anastasia and Christian about what car to buy and whether or not the windows are clean enough is a lifestyle choice. And one which has a profound effect on any children. I presume you have children?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 22:49:01

Japanese: I don't contradict myself at all. It's every aspect of life, not just the bedroom. I love my automatic car. He says I have to have a manual next time, so I don't forget how to use a gear stick. So I will. It's a deliberately mundane example to highlight the day to day. Try not to get hung up on it. I don't think many posters would thank me for talking about the sex stuff.

FatalCabbage Thu 08-May-14 22:51:38

No, because I am allowed to make decisions hmm confused but in a partnership one person doesn't necessarily have all the facts.

So if the DC said to me "can we go to the cinema this weekend?" then I wouldn't necessarily know that DH had planned a day out elsewhere; if they asked him he might not know that we were already committed to a party.

Seriously, nearly all the time it makes zero difference to the children's lives. And the theoretical 0.1% (incidentally I don't remember a time ever where it's come down to our ideas being in conflict and the only tie-breaker is his dominance) wouldn't be presented as "because daddy says so" because (a) that would be pathetic parenting and (b) he isn't an arsehole.

basgetti Thu 08-May-14 22:52:10

Turgiday: I'm a feminist because women are still treated as inferior by some in our society, not taken seriously in the workplace, not paid the same, seen as weak or silly or less cabable in some quarters.

Yet you are helping to perpetuate some of this. You are acting inferior to your partner, your views and feelings are worth less, he makes all the decisions. Is he stronger, less silly and more capable than you then? If not, why do you hand over control of your life to him?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 22:52:35

Martorana: we don't have children. So not relevant here. I do feel persecuted by you. I can't help how I am. I need this to be fulfilled in a relationship.

Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. Nor is my sexuality. How dare you trivialise my relationship by bringing functional characters from a trashy novel into it. What do you know?

Martorana Thu 08-May-14 22:53:23

Steely- what if you have a baby and he decides that you should or shouldn't breast feed?

SteelyMindedLiberal Thu 08-May-14 22:54:44

*fictional characters. My sexuality, my loving relationship, other people's healthy and consensual BDSM relationships - these things are not a joke, or disgusting, or wrong.

CorusKate Thu 08-May-14 22:55:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.