Lori Ann Lothian wants to know if she’s wrong for wanting to be ‘ravished’.
First time I was ravished, I was 23. It was in a university building stairwell. He grabbed my hair in one fist, pressed me against the cool cement wall and kissed me with such ardor it took my breath away and elicited an instant wet-panty response. I married him two years later.
This passionate engagement became the yardstick by which I measured all future suitors. And I admit shamelessly to wanting a man to take charge sexually and to not ask permission to love me aggressively. I even remember telling one timid man, post-husband, “Don’t worry, I won’t break.”
But I recently discovered that these days both genders resist the idea it’s okay for a man to fiercely love a woman. I learned this through the more than 150 public comments and hundreds of private emails sparked by my article A Call to the Sacred Masculine: Ten Daring Invitations from the Divine Feminine (a piece that soared to over 60,000 views and 16,000 Facebook likes).
Obviously the idea of a feminine call to the masculine struck a collective chord. It elicited overwhelmingly positive feedback from men to invitations like show us your heroic heart, slay your demons, care deeply and dare to dream.
But when it comes to the invitation to just take a woman, without apology? Some women clobbered me with the dictionary definition of ravish, which includes the word rape. Some men asked if I wanted them to revert to brutish macho stereotypes. Both men and women asked me if what I wanted was to go backwards to a time when women were chattel, an asset in the possession of mostly abusive, power-drunk men.
Gosh no. I was simply suggesting that men be, well, manly. Or at least this woman’s definition of it.
The unexpected popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray (which makes Harlequin romance look like high literature) speaks—no shouts—to the wimpification of men in the era of the Sensitive New Age Guy (SNAG). In the self-help, spiritual growth driven western world, women have sent men the not-so-subtle message to buck up and become more emotionally available.
Yet something has gotten lost in the translation of this request for vulnerability. Instead, I’ve seen men have become emotionally tentative and sexually tepid. When a man I’m in relationship with seems to be asking for permission to sex me up, rather than making his move and letting me choose a yes or no, it’s as if I’ve been given all the power and control. And, unless I’m a dom, that is simply not a turn on.
It is arguably this very desire to relinquish control that accounts for the 60 million sold copies of Fifty Shades—simply, the storyline gives women the option to surrender, to opt for the fine print clause of letting go. It’s a story of a 21-year-old college virgin (yeah, right) meeting an emotionally tortured billionaire man who at first wants to make her his 12th submissive but in the end falls in mutual kinky love. And yes, he spanks her, ties her up and even flogs her (without the genital clamps or fisting, items virgin girl wisely takes off the contract.)
That a bondage-domination-lite hit the mainstream best seller charts is perhaps likely because the mainstream woman (housewife and working girl) is tired of being in charge.
We women have become super-manly in our pursuit of independence to the point that trashy, badly written smut like Fifty Shades strikes a nerve and hits the best-seller charts. The invitation of this book is clear—it’s the woman saying, “Show me your troubled male psyche so that I feel connected to you and dominate me so that I can let-the fuck go sexually and otherwise.”
The lure of being not only not-in-control, but out of control, is a potent elixir for some women who have been asked to step up and compete with men. We don’t want to battle for supremacy in politics, corporate power structures or even sports teams. In fact, we women would prefer to collaborate.
But the feminist agenda has got us women all tied up in the mental knot of “never depend on a man” and “anything a man can do we can do, better.”
Which brings me to this big question: where are we as a gender-neutral society, where women are asked to be strong and capable and men are expected to be sensitive and emotionally available?
We are probably missing out on the juicy current that the natural polarity between a man and a women (an unadulterated feminine and masculine energy) generates. This is a current that writers like David Deida make into big selling books like The Superior Man. Books that ask men to look at their own chest thumping, warrior-hunter nature and say, yes! Books that tell men to penetrate their woman’s moods and remind women that it’s okay to admit they want to be ravished. Because according to Deida, a truly feminine core (in a man or woman) wants to be taken.
Deida sidesteps the whole ravish versus rape debate with this distinction. “The fundamental difference between rape and ravishment is simple: love.” In other words, when a man loves a woman, his forceful passionate engagement is not only welcome, it is desired. When I want to be ravished, I am really saying I want to be loved with fierce abandon by the man I also fiercely love.
I loved a man once, for two years. Yet in the end, I left because he was not willing to man-up (he hated that word) and love me with a ferocious current of the warrior-king. Instead, he wanted to be my equal to the point that he also wanted to be my buddy—not my lover, not the one who would just press me against that wall and bind me with his kisses.
In the admittedly cartoonish film 300, Spartan king Leonides has a queen. Gorgo not only has hot sex with her man, she advises him post-coitus on affairs of state. She is also in many ways, as the film progresses, demonstrably as powerful, clever and brave as the king.
I remember seeing this film years ago and thinking, this is really what I want. I want to be a queen to my king. I want a man who loves me with passionate hands-held-over-my head power and yet, who also recognizes me as his partner, his ally and his equal.
Because I am not the lesser half. Or the better half. I am simply the other half.
And as that half, I am also whole. Within me, I carry the current of masculine and feminine. And it’s clearly my feminine essence that wants to play in the playground of Jane and Tarzan. Of Leonidas and Gorgo. Of heck, yes, even of Anastasia and Christian.
I just want to feel like a woman. Even though I am as powerful as a man.
This article originally appeared in a shorter version in issue 8 of Origin Magazine.