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Why Do Strong Women Like To Be Dominated?

Imagine a woman: She has a college degree and a job, she pays for her own house and car, and she’s not intimidated by any man for any reason. She’s smart, independent and strong.

Isn’t it a puzzle, then, that she has sexual fantasies of being dominated?

Actually, researchers say, it makes perfect sense. In perhaps the most fun assignment ever, Psychology Today‘s news editor, Matthew Hutson, has been blogging about why strong women fantasize about aggressive lovers. Mmm, do tell!

Way back in 1973, researcher and therapist E. Barbara Hinton interviewed women about their fantasies and—surprise, surprise—women said they fantasized being “forcefully taken.” She discovered women fantasize about aggressive lovers because it makes the women feel desirable, not because they like being physically hurt or rejected.

In recent years, University of Kansas psychologist Patricia Hawley has picked up where Hinton left off. In April, she published a paper in the Journal of Sex Research that studied how the genders respond to domination fantasies. Both men and women enjoyed fantasies in which they were dominant, but socially dominant women were actually more turned on than anyone else by submission fantasies.

This led Hawley to probe further. The rationale, her studies seem to indicate, is that ladies don’t enjoy the forcefulness itself as much as the idea that an overpowering passion is bubbling over behind that forcefulness. A socially dominant woman, in particular, was more likely to fantasize she was sexually irresistible and was turned on by the idea that her partner was so engorged with lust that he was going to burst.

But that’s not all—Hawley has performed yet another study on the subject. She asked both men and women to read six different versions of saucy vignettes so she could monitor the reactions. Five of the stories had a different sexy theme removed each time. As Hutson at Psychology Today‘s blog wrote:

“It turns out that force was the only element whose removal didn’t significantly reduce the vignette’s appeal, a finding that supports Hawley’s view that forceful submission fantasies are ‘generally construed as an ardent, passionate pursuit rather than force per se.’…For alpha females, apparently, submission is empowering.”

It totally makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s not the legions of women who like to be tied up or who enjoy a swat on the ass are pain-loving masochists—no, aggressive partners make them feel like they’re being lusted after! Men would be wise to figure this out.

Also, Patricia Hawley of the University of Kansas? Call us—we’d love to help you out with your studies! [Psychology Today Part 1 and Part 2]

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