Hehe….I give the lady credit…she got me to post something!
Our good friend, Lady Misato has taken her website and turned her concept into a book. I’m not sure exactly how I appeared on her list, except I have discussed her ideas before. So she sent me a free manuscript of her book and I decided to give it a read.
My first encounter with her and her beliefs were years and years ago in a Usenet group that was devoted to marriage. I was intrigued by her ideas but did not place particular stock in them back then, but she was an interesting and colorful character. After a few years, I revisited her website with renewed interest and thought seriously about giving her ideas a try. She has moved from her Geocities site to a new one (www.rwddh.com) but it remains very similar to the site even as it was in 1998. Same color scheme, pictures and similar links.
Lady M’s book has much of the material from her original website, however she has refined her content and added excerpts from real couples that add interest and color to the ideas she is suggesting. These narratives help illustrate her ideas in real, concrete and practical terms which is something that was not necessarily the case with her original website. While I enjoyed her ideas before, these added narratives add some welcome insight from the perspective of both sides of the relationship. The couples describe what they are doing and how they feel in their own words.
The linchpin of Real Women Don’t Do Housework is the concept of erotic power, specifically the idea that women can use their sexuality to manipulate their husbands into courting them and meeting their needs. Reading what I just wrote, you can see the hardest sell here. You have to convince women that it is not only possible to do this, but that it is okay. The whole concept of “manipulation” has some negative connotations, especially if you are in denial of the fact that you are already doing it. Everyone attempts to manipulate their environment in a way that optimizes their happiness even if its done unconsciously. Lady M simply makes this process overt and purposeful. Being willing to explore the possibilities is the first prerequisite for getting through the first 20 pages.
After an initial introduction, Lady M describes in detail about how to get your relationship where you want it to go. In “Getting Started” she describes exactly how to get the ball rolling. This procedure is pretty simple, but it has the potential for being powerful. But there are some demands here that are not necessarily apparent, namely a certain degree of confidence in the wife in order to get her to this point and seeing it through. As a guy reading this, I can attest to the power she’s channeling but this might not be so readily apparent to a woman who herself might have numerous body and confidence issues.
The next chapters address such topics as training, submission, control and management and eventually it enters the darker areas of punishment and rebellion. It’s during these latter phases that you are either open to her ideas or you decide to close the book. The narrative interviews do help soften some aspects of these topics, but for me they were probably the most difficult to read and accept. It’s basically at this point that a person is either committed and “all in” or not and it goes beyond the fun little experimental game at the beginning into more of a committed lifestyle. Eventually she introduces the idea of the token economy, which is a well-known intervention in behavioral circles, basically using sex as the back-up reinforcer for any desired behaviors.
The book eventually leads into a totally wife-led marriage and includes chapters on taking control of the marital assets and finances as well as all of the major decision-making.
The end of the book included a couple of intriguing parts that are worthy of mention. Lady M is willing to help coach and personally give advice. And Lady M is also looking for a successor to carrying forth her message. I admire her for her commitment toward saving marriages, even if her methods are unorthodox and find it interesting that even as she is on the cusp of success in publishing a book, she is already looking at retiring from what seems to be a labor of love. She’s been at this for almost 20 years, which is a long time to serve what has been a fairly small niche in the area of marriage enhancement.
Lady Misato’s ideas are still as radical today as they seemed to me in 1998 and they are definitely not for everyone. She states many of these qualifications upfront. If there is a history of abuse, this is not the book for you. There are also some other qualifications that are not explicitly stated but that are going to to be obstacles. First off, the woman has to have some openness or a willingness to be open to expanding her sexuality. Embracing erotic power requires at least a fundamental sense of and comfort with sexuality. If there are other sexual issues, this approach is not likely to work.
And this is where I inject some of my personal experience. Other books that I have read actually encourage and incorporate certain aspects of Lady Misato’s approach in a more conventional and less manipulative manner, mainly using erotic touch and stroking to help deepen the connection between the married couple. Sometimes it is mutual stimulation and perhaps even using aspects of the “conversation” approach to encourage intimacy. In my own marriage, Arwyn was never comfortable touching me this way, although she did try it a few times at my urging. I can attest to the power of suggestion Lady Misato describes. However, Arwyn was never comfortable using this technique and in her mind she really couldn’t wrap her mind around the idea and thought I should be simply willing and able to talk openly without her having to touch me.
The second major pitfall is oral sex. In Lady Misato’s approach, this is a a major aspect of gaining and maintaining control, namely making sure that the woman is fully satisfied during each and every sexual encounter. In Arwyn’s world, oral sex is not pleasurable and is in fact unthinkable. Even touching her with my hands has always been a no-no. Which means satisfying her has never been an easy task. One time, I even tried to use a cock ring in order to maintain my erection longer. Even this small thing distracted her and made her freak out and loose interest.
Clearly there are problems in my marriage that transcend Lady Misato’s approach. Would I be amenable in another life? Perhaps.
This book and the techniques would hold promise for a couple whose marriage has settled into a rut or perhaps even a state of boredom where the wife might feel unappreciated and taken for granted. Resentment might be taking hold, and it might be time for things to change. Passion and spark might be gone and the attention the lady once enjoyed might have been supplanted by attention to work, hobbies or other interests. In any case, a wife might want to get her husband’s attention, keep it and focus it. Lady Misato’s techniques are based on behavioral approaches that are fairly simple and effective. But I think there might need to be a slight increase in emphasis of these being applied in a loving way. This is your husband, one that you love and cherish and that you want to keep loving and cherishing. I could see where this fact might get lost in many of the technical aspects of applying the behavioral techniques she describes. And when she describes getting a lawyer in order to obtain the power of attorney and micromanging his life it starts to veer farther astray of this essential truth. Keeping score with a token economy, keeping track of receipts and written contracts and promises start to look like more bother than it might be worth not to mention it undercuts a great deal of trust that should be present in a mutually loving relationship. And there might be far ranging consequences of some of the legal controls put in place that would need to be thought out. In the same way many women today find themselves at a distinct legal disadvantage when their husband dies, such legal wrangling could put the husband in a similar needless disadvantage.
Not all women are comfortable making all the decisions and some might even rather have their husbands be more dominant. If that is the case, this book is not for you.
I was able to read this book of 93 pages in just a couple hours, which also includes a bit of time writing this review. I enjoyed revisiting some of the things I had seen on her website, and I still highly recommend it as a place to look at some unconventional thoughts on thawing out a marriage that might appear to be frozen. I don’t believe most men would succeed in introducing or talking their wives into this, but I do believe there is a population of women that could successfully apply many of the principles and techniques to improve their own situations. With the right mixture of openness, willingness and intelligence it might be just the thing to revitalize their marriages. It certainly is worth adding to the list of things tried well-ahead of getting an attorney to fill out divorce papers.