When I say strong women, I mean women who like to take charge in their relationship with men. That doesn’t mean they’re sadists or anything like that - only that they are natural leaders and prefer seeing themselves in the role of a leader rather than a follower. Now, for such women, finding men can be problematic. Wait, scratch that, “finding” men is easy, but actually making a relationship work for a strong woman, obviously requires a man who likes her dominance and, more importantly, is comfortable being the follower. This is the part that gets harder. You can’t have two natural leaders in a relationship without constant clashing and arguing. I should think two followers can probably get on much better than two leaders but that’s just a guess.
Are the numbers really so imbalanced?
If you can believe what online forums and communities seem to tell us about demographics, then you might think that there are very few strong women and a lot more men who are looking for them. Allowing for the fact that there are anyway nearly always more men looking for women in the dating game, there still appears to be an imbalance between strong women and men who like them. While I do believe that there are few truly strong women, I’m not so convinced there are that many men who like them as the numbers suggest. I’m mostly speaking from my own experience here so please let me know what you think.
Being a real strong woman
Emitting confidence and strength or being powerful are things that we see in people every day all the time. Women as well as men show this side of them mostly because highly competitive society requires this. But once you get underneath that façade, they usually reveal quite another side to them. Many who seem strong and confident on the outside turn out to be followers in their relationships. This is particularly common among women and this is why I believe there are so few women who like taking charge in their personal lives too. As one of them, I can easily spot the fake ones. It's one thing to be a leader in your job but it’s an entirely different thing being one at home too. Of course, hardly anyone is in charge 24/7 and that would be too imbalanced and exhausting for me anyway. Still, being in charge should come naturally to you and it should feel comfortable to be making decisions if you want to call yourself dominant in any way.
Finding men who like strong women
If you search the web, you’ll find countless dating services or forums full of men who say they’re looking for strong women. Seller’s market, right? Not so fast. Like I said before, finding people is easy but just as many women put on a façade of being confident and assertive, men are pulling similar stunts. Yes, of course, we all know about the macho façade that men put on. But there’s something else I’m talking about…
Strong Women only as a Fantasy
You see, the majority of these men have a vivid imagination and fantasize about being controlled by a woman. They get a kick out of that fantasy and this is what drives them to go online and search for them thinking they like strong women. That dream usually involves a woman with supermodel looks incidentally. Really analyzing it, they’re fantasies basically objectify women just as they do in most other fantasies - only with a little spice so to speak. If you think about it, the industry that sells such fantasies is definitely not helping us real people here.
But fantasy is not reality and when it comes to actually living together or committing to a relationship, then things start to look very different. Suddenly they will notice that not being in charge seemed a lot more fun when it was just a brief game to be played with a doll of a woman. But when it comes to being told what to do even when they don’t want to do it and even when the partner is not wearing that sexy outfit, that’s when the real test comes. That is when you find out if he’s really into being a follower in the relationship. I would like to see some numbers on how many of those men are actually around - definitely a lot less than those who just say they like strong women.
The real thing does exist
Perhaps I overstated the problem a little. Because I can testify that real men who like strong women definitely exist and, yes, I mean those who are willing to take on the more submissive role in the relationship permanently. Though my experience in reality is that both sides must be a little flexible and both sides tend to have an area where they are in charge after all. Nonetheless such men definitely exist. They are few though, that much I’m sure about. I can’t tell if there are more strong women than men who like them or vice versa. But once you get past the commercial element of online dating and things like that, probably there are similarly few on both sides. Just, for men, finding assertive women in the first place is significantly harder, while for women it’s the keeping that gets hard.
I’m hoping to hear some diverse opinions on this matter.
lovedoctor926 on April 09, 2013:
My mother raised me to be a strong woman and so therefore, I have a strong personality. I am kind and treat people with respect too. Definitely not a follower when it comes to relating to men and to people in general. Many guys have told me that they admire this quality in me. It's not a bad thing. A strong woman is someone who stands up for what she believes in and knows what she wants out of life and doesn't settle for anything less.
Jon N on March 02, 2013:
Great article! Idealistically, at least, I'm more egalitarian; however, it's frustrating when as a man I'm pressured to "be the man" according to societal (Hollywood?) norms. Personally, there are certainly areas of life where I definitely need a strong(er) companion. I know this and accept this without any qualms because I also realize I have unique gifts and talents, and that I can (and would) add a helluva lot to the relationship ... just not according to the more traditional model. Loving and living with a woman who is strong, or stronger, in areas where I am weak sounds ideal to me and, consequently, I would have no difficulty in following her lead so long as there is mutual (and genuine) love and respect.
Max Havlick from Villa Park, Illinois on December 06, 2012:
Thank you, Lucy83, for your provocative essay (and picture to match) which opened up a number of interesting questions, shown by the tons of good response it generated.
For myself, I consider no man or woman "strong" who dominates, or seeks to dominate, a weaker partner, no matter what the reason, what the excuse.
True strength looks instead for a balanced relationship of mutual respect that refers to each person's relative levels of skill and interest when dividing up those tasks essential or beneficial to both.
The same principle applies, or should apply, in groups like clubs, business firms, and the like.
This is basic Humanity 101.
cheetah786 on October 07, 2012:
i prefer woman who is mentally strong, not easy to mentally dominate and confident.. i am looking for such type of girl..
lilith on April 25, 2012:
There is one more kind of men who "like"(yes,"like"because it has really very little to do with liking,loving or carring for women) strong,independet women. I call them leaches. They want woman who can look after herself and take care of herself (so he doesn't have to),is happy and knows how to take care of her needs and feelings(yay!he is of the hook!lucky guy), is capable and can provide for herself (even better if for him as well..). On the top of it usually attractive-strong women are radiant,confident and well taken care of). This way he has all the benefits of having a great partner and none of responsibilities. However this type is a user not a submissive men (real men,submissive or not has dignity and integrity) so his supersized Ego gets in the way. He still wants to call the shots and be in control of a realtionship and her. Not in charge. Just in control. Fortunatelly if he gets lucky enough to get a real strong woman his bs wont fly and she will kick his butt big time and all over the place:D I do like men.I love the real Men. Submissive men are sweet,loving knights thou,not lazy a...
Have a great day:)
Joseph on March 28, 2012:
I find great pleasure to do what my women wants me to do. I encourage her to tell me what she wants or does not want. I try to think of anything to make her happy and will do almost anything she asks. This seems to make her even more sweet and beautiful.
Brian Mino on February 16, 2012:
I just love a big strong woman who is also loving:).
Michael J. on January 10, 2012:
I enjoyed the article immensely, as this topic has been the focus of many conversations within my social network. Raised in a home where my father was the leader, and whose mother supported him in that aspect while maintaining her individuality and independence, my brothers and I grew up groomed for family leadership. When I married, I stayed within my ethnicity(Italian), where strong male leadership within the home was valued and honored. The role requires great effort, commitment and personal choice sacrifices, yet, does not require pure submissiveness with respect to my wife. She was independent minded and a well know professional, yet truly enjoyed not having to be the leader she was at work, while in the home. It was a respite for her to be "Kept" and looked after in most regards. It is a simple arrangement, as alluded to by prior postings - our family has a streamlined hierarchy (A single figure head or CEO) and supporting leadership ( A VP or COO).
I have met several strong women in the past and the present who have expressed their opinion, that they would want to be the proverbial CEO or if with a strong man, be an equal partner. I speculate in your favor, given my personal life experience that "Equality", as you have suggested, would better serve the family with a division of responsibility, or caretaking of specific areas vs "everything" split down the middle. It will spare the entire family unproductive stress, dispute, etc. Even with that type of arrangement, the dominant male who is the family leader, one who was raised to sheperd his family in all respects, will provide direct input or have the expectation that his experiential knowledge will be a deciding factor or be the overruling motion for a decision made by other family members.
christine on December 23, 2011:
wow. I am very impressed by the people posting comments on this article. Whenever I read about touchy/contraversal topics, people tend to post angry messages to each other and get into heated arguments. They often resort to childish name-calling. I also thought the article was interesting.
David on September 16, 2011:
My wife is vary strong and controls my social life vary much than she knows. socially blinded by how much control she has. often I would do many of wife chores tend kids. this would continued if shone support. a questionare rang the other day asking house payment, bills I have no idea she compleate control of finance, truthfully i am comfortable as such. she has my submission to her level of domination. if she demanded more i would give in soon. David.
Lucy83 (author) on August 28, 2011:
thanks for your kind comment.
magictinopener from France on August 26, 2011:
Well thank you for posting this, it's exactly what I think and which I believe I've failed to explain when I tried to.
Nice article :)
4tune from Michigan on July 12, 2011:
I'd also like to note that when I say dominant I am not talking about being on TOP in the sex act for me, I prefer the man be on top - But as far as having a voice and a say in things to be a quiet submissive just sucks and really that maybe explains part of why I am so desirable once I hate a guys guts and wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole after having been so loving which I AM .. But loving don't mean just stupid either! ( Now I'm just pissed. ) Well past guys were jerks anyhow, But maybe just maybe I would like to be pissed without being told to hit the road when I am actually THERE and then need to cry or something.. Sick of tears give me some laughter sh*t I have so had it with trying for love.
Patrick on July 11, 2011:
I agree that it is a reciprocal relationship between genes and culture. Which came first? Why, genes of course :) I don't mean that we come off the assembly line with predetermined behaviors; that would be ridiculous. I think we have a range of tendencies, potentials, that can be encouraged or inhibited depending on the environment we're exposed to.
Good point about why culture has been male dominated, too. That's what has been most successful - so far. That doesn't mean that it's the "natural way" or that we should keep doing what has always been done. Of course, our world is undergoing change and I believe there is something to the theory that women may be better suited to the emerging society. If that's true, then our culture will gradually become female dominated.
It's interesting and exciting. I wasn't trying to make a case for male supremacy; just trying to offer an explanation as to why I believe strong women are hard to find, as you noted in the article. Of course, it's going to take a while for our biology to catch up with social changes, so it will be interesting to see if women embrace it or resent their new roles and responsibilities. I have a theory on that too but that would take this discussion too far off course.
Lucy83 (author) on July 09, 2011:
lol. That's so much like me. In fact at the early stages of our relationship, I was acting out the submissive girl role because I was convinced that's what he wanted. And the funniest part is he was doing the same in reverse. It took us months to open up to each other. The key moment was when he came out about his crossdressing. Now, looking back, I was so silly and immature not to be myself in the first place. Just glad we got through that early patch.
Lucy83 (author) on July 09, 2011:
you brought up a very interesting question: Did our culture shape around our natural tendencies to behave in a certain way or did our culture shape our behavior?
I think nobody can say that it's a strict either or because you can easily see that a case can be made for both. Nonetheless, like you said, culture doesn't appear from nothing. Most other species would never have been able to build a civilization (even if they were intelligent) because they are loners or too predatory. On the other hand, there's no doubt that culture reinforces and strengthens any naturally evolved behavior we might have. To what extent it does that is probably impossible to tell.
The fact that most cultures are male dominated means that that was the most successful setup. But that only explains what worked until now. Today and in the future, life is very different so it could very well be that female dominated cultures will be more prosperous. I'm just glad I live today and not earlier.
4tune from Michigan on July 08, 2011:
You know it's funny for so long I thought I had to be some submissive only to capture some guys interest, how stupid desperate that only made me feel,So low so weak and helpless, and how Damn UNNATURAL that ALL really was all of this BS wait for them to hunt you crap? God hunters are the worst undecided bastards in my experience.
Oh hell no it's BETTER for women to be in charge in some areas and Oh God how weak and bad some men really can be at certain things. leave some things up to them is like putting a lighter in a child's hands and just praying they don't burn the house down!
Screw the ones that don't like me this way I say because they had only taught me that the other way was so damned painful, waiting for someone to take the lead to make up their stupid minds about me as some timid weak thing, Hell that is when they cant make any solid real decision about you and THINK maybe they can do better and all that BS -God my self esteem was so shot by that crap - Hell NO I need a man that can take some orders once in a while, shape up or ship the hell out - "I'll never listen to that be a timid thing crap again as it just don't work for me."
Patrick on July 08, 2011:
I cited a scientific study. It's not my point of view and it's not a unique finding. There's a rich body of research available that demonstrates how our nature is shaped by our genes. We can study other animals and determine the basic nature of an ape, a zebra or a lion. Nobody would argue that their nature is not shaped by genetics. But when it comes to human beings, no, that's a simplistic view. We are the only animal that doesn't have an inherent nature. We're a blank slate. Who's really being simplistic, Anna.
Here's something to consider. Is it possible that our "culture" is driven by our inborn genetic traits? Where do you think culture comes from? It doesn't just spring up out of thin air or from our free will, any more than does the "culture" of other social species such as dolphins. It's in their nature.
Of course, I realize that women have been oppressed throughout human history. But that's my point; it is in the male nature to be dominant. I'm not condoning it but I think it's relevant to this article. Men are less likely to be submissive than women. That is not a cultural artifact, but rather culture has been shaped by this fact.
Pointing to a few rare exceptions from history doesn't overturn the overall trend. There are always outliers and exceptions. Saying our nature is shaped by our genes doesn't mean that we're automatons that all do the same things like mindless robots. We're talking about central tendencies. Which genetic predispositions receive dominant expression has a lot to do with the environment we grow up in as well as individual variances in temperament.
I agree with you that absolute equality is impractical. I am egalitarian but I like your idea of delegating areas of responsibility to each partner and then they are in charge of those decisions, rather than having to discuss every little thing. As in business, unnecessary meetings are a waste of time and energy.
Lucy83 (author) on July 04, 2011:
thanks for the feedback.
The problem with "total equality" is that it's not practical. There's a reason why pretty much all companies, public institutions, teams and armies are hierarchical. Of course, the fewer people are involved, the more you can get away with an egalitarian structure. Still it's not only more practical but usually also easier if one is in charge.
But this doesn't mean one person is in charge of everything. You can also have equality if you divide the areas in which one person is in charge equally between each other.
Anna_CATherine on July 03, 2011:
This is a very interesting post. Above all, I always prefer equality and solidarity over competition. A relationship where a woman seeks for domination is just as unbalanced and unequal as the one where the man dominates and controls the woman. In that way I agree with Torty.
=>Patrick: you point of view is very simplistic. No, it's not in our genes. Since the history proves existence of various female leaders (Cleopatra, Elisabeth the I,Empress Catherine the Great, etc.) and even female warriors ( the amazons). Yes, I know all these women were exceptions, but it doesn't speak for genetic make up. It was the patriarchal society that forced women to focus all their potential on reproduction, at the same time giving up all other areas of life. I know that this post is talking about leadership in the relationship. But I guess it is obvious why historically women were mostly the followers: men were the breadwinners and women were dependent on them. You don't bite the hand that feeds, do you?
Even now society looks down at leading women, both those professionally successful and those in charge of their personal life. If a woman decides not to have a family and focus on her career, she is being called "unnatural" (she is supposed to feel "maternal instinct", like all the "normal" women; or not?). If she decides to combine work and family,expecting her partner to take over (co-)responsibility for household and children (this might mean finding a partner that is either open for total equality, what I would prefer, or a partner that is submissive, what seems to be Lucy's preference), people accuse her of "neglecting her children" (since for some reason people believe that the presence of the mother is more essential) and her partner is being called a "wimp". And now how can you wonder that both genders still fall into the trap of traditional gender roles????
Sun-Girl from Nigeria on June 24, 2011:
Lucy, well i must congratulate you for sharing this piece of work which has a lot of lessons and information attached to it. Honestly, i think am a strong lady because after reading some of the things you stated in here i find out that i posses some of them but honestly i have always said to myself that i will not marry a quite man. Reason is that i will always like to be in charge of everything in our home and that is what i never wanted in life.
Patrick on June 06, 2011:
I think there actually are less strong women than submissive men,though I share your opinion that most of the self labeled submissive men are not submissive at all.
The other issue is that nobody can be submissive all the time in all matters. Maybe these men only want to be submissive in the bedroom. Is there anything wrong with that? I think not - as long as they are clear about their desires with their partner.
I like strong women - I think - but I'm a leader too. It's very difficult for me to sit back and accept someone's decree on all matters. However, if I trust the other person in a particular area because they've demonstrated competency that I know I don't have then there's no problem.
I think it's about properly identifying and commuicating your boundaries, for both partners. As you said, nobody is dominant all the time; nor is anybody submissive all the time.
But, in general, I think men are more likely to be dominant than women and both genders prefer it that way. In my experience, women are much more interested in a man that takes charge.
I read a study done in the field of evolutionary pscyhology where the authors argued this very point. In experiments with university students, in mixed gender discussion and activity groups the girls were much more likely to defer to the boys. In all girl groups the same girls were much more active in the activities. The researchers found no similar correlation with boys deferring to girls.
Using data from other studies, they argued that young women were even more likely to defer to older men, but young men were not likely to defer to older women. Interestingly, these deferrence patterns ceased when women reached menopause. Men tend to respect older women more as equals.
In conclusion, they attributed this behavior to the rugged upbringing of our species through evolution, where females and their offspring were more likely to survive predators if their children were fathered by a strong aggressive male. Hence, women being attracted to the bad boy type even if he is kind of a jackass.
Nice (submissive) guys finish last. Maybe it's in our genes after all.
torty from Knoxville, TN. on June 01, 2011:
I think that you are right about that there are not as many men who truly like strong women as there are strong women. Personally, I have never dated a strong woman. Not because I was unwilling to do so or because I feel as if I have to be the one leading the relationship all of the time. I never had the fortune or opportunity to meet a strong woman while I was single. Even though I have never dated a strong woman, I can definitely say that there is another group of guys in the world that is neither looking for a strong or submissive woman. That group consists of men that genuinely prefers a full partner in the relationship. My wife and I have that sort of relationship. We work together at making decisions. Do we do it for every single decision that we have to make? No we don't, but we do work together on most of them unless one or the other specifically says that we do not have an opinion one way or the other. Don't get me wrong, I am not putting down people that are in a relationship where there is a clearly defined leader. If both people in the relationship are happy with the arrangement, then more power to them. I just think that for the most part men are uncomfortable with giving up control and that going from a male led relationship to a full partnership type of relationship would be the type of baby step that most men would accept. If more men were willing to accept that sort of relationship, then it would help to pave the way for many more men to be willing to be submissive to their women in their relationships full time.