(which results in you becoming enchanting and having life altering screaming crying growling sex and going down on your partner in the kitchen and you know all those other things you want the most but pretend you don’t)
If you want polarity in your relationship (read: magnetic attraction) one of you has to take the masculine, dominant role, and one of you has to take the feminine, submissive role.
We all have both masculine and feminine energies inside of us. Most men are more masculine-energy-dominant. Most women are more feminine-energy-dominant. Some are the opposite, and some people are pretty equally split. In any relationship, regardless of the genders of the people (and whether they identify with any gender or not), one person has to occupy the masculine pole and one person has to occupy the feminine pole for there to be much sexual charge.
“Masculine” and “feminine” are not the best terms, but we’re going to use them because they’re the best ones the English language has right now to describe this.
Masculine: energy that is dominant, penetrating, providing, hard, logical, scheduled, direct, doing.
Feminine: energy that is submissive, open, chaotic, soft, receptive, constantly moving, passive, fluid, allowing, sensual, being.
There is nothing wrong with having a relationship that is *not* based on polarity. It will be an equal relationship. It will feel like a friendship. It might feel super loving…. And you will probably feel bored sexually.
In the (much-needed) rise of feminism, the idea of “equality” has spread into our romantic relationships. We need equality when it comes to salaries and voting rights… but it’s really not that great once we enter the bedroom.
In my last relationship, I loved equality. We had an excel spreadsheet that calculated all of our expenses, which we split exactly evenly. We divided the household chores in half. We had pretty great sex sometimes (for what I knew was possible at the time), sometimes we didn’t have sex much at all, and mostly I still had this sense that a big piece of our sex life was missing.
I was a strong powerful independent woman!!!!
And I felt like I was pulling the weight, was making a lot of decisions, I was tired and annoyed, felt like I was asking for too much, and was confused.
I am one of the most feminine-essenced women I know. In the way I exist in the world, in the way I live my life, in the way my needs shift from day to day.
But in my last relationship, it felt like both of us were often in the feminine pole – and since the masculine is necessary for daily life, often I would step into that role.
I can play the masculine role quite well, as can most of us who have grown up in a world that rewards more masculine qualities. It exhausts me, and I become miserable – but I can do it well.
And so even though I am very feminine, there was a time (just last year!) where I truly thought that I might be kind of in between, or maybe I was more masculine. There was no one playing the dominant role in my relationship, so I took it on. I was often dominant during sex. I made the big decisions. I directed conversations. I directed our relationship.
It exhausted me. Now I recognize it’s because I was in a masculine role all the time.
But when we’re really used to being in our masculine, it can be tricky to surrender back into our feminine.
Especially in our culture. It can feel weird, like, “Aren’t I just being passive, then? Isn’t that wrong?”
And then once you get past that part… it can be hard to understand how to relate to your partner in a more feminine way.
A way this comes up significantly is in the art of getting your needs met and communicating what you want to your partner.
If you’re a feminine woman trying to ask for things from a masculine man, and you ask him directly to do exactly what you want, you are probably going to have a hard time.
Before you object to this, imagine something for me:
Your partner is super messy and this bothers you. You say, “Can you pick up your clothes?”
Do you feel good????? Turned on??? Happy???
Your partner never touches you gently the way you want him to. You say, “Can you touch me gently more often?”
Do you feel satisfied????? Turned on??? Happy???
No, you don’t. Because you wanted him to meet your need by himself in the first place.
If this happens to you, it is because you are a feminine person and you do. Not. want. To. have to order your partner around. Because this requires you entering the masculine pole. It does not feel good.
“But I am a strong feminist woman!!!!!” you say.
Great. Me too. I put menstrual blood on my face, I put my nipples on the internet, I tell people when they’re being sexist, and I would immediately knee a man in the balls if he touched me inappropriately.
And I consider myself submissive to my partner on a daily basis.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
It is actually quite powerful to choose to follow and submit to my partner when it is a consensual choice and it is in my pleasure to do so.
I have way, way, WAY more incredible sex when I am submissive to my partner. I get to enjoy the household tasks I actually love to do. I get to state a need or a feeling I have and he provides a solution to it. The chaos of my emotions is calmed by the strength of his presence. I get to feel like I am taken care of, like I am safe, and like I am free to fill up the container he holds with my beauty and love and feeling. I get to relax and talk and dance while he orders cabs, orders dinner, makes plans. He gets to do, and accomplish. I get to be.
Does this mean I am never masculine in the rest of my life? No. While I prefer to spend most of my time in my feminine because it makes me happy, there are times where it feels great for me to be in my masculine. I show up for my client coaching calls on a schedule. I coach. I set boundaries with other people. I am very direct. I write, I organize my finances, I build online courses, I go to the gym and lift using a structured program, I hire people to work for me.
And in my relationship, I am almost always taking the feminine role, because our sex life (and the state of my well-being, honestly) is a priority for me.
The feminine role does not mean you never ask for things. It just means that you can be very smart in the way you ask so it results in you keeping the polarity and also getting what you want.
I want my partner to feel dominant. I want to feel like he is meeting my needs. And sometimes I also want him to clean up his things, do a household task, get us a ride home, or touch me in a specific way.
How to ask for what you want in a more feminine way:
“I’m cold” instead of “can I have your coat”
“These things on the table make me feel stressed” instead of “can you clean up your things”
“I’m tired and I don’t feel like cooking” instead of “can you make dinner”
“I love being taken on dates because it makes me feel so loved by you” instead of “can we go on a date/you never take me on dates”
“I feel really cuddly today” instead of “will you touch me more”
All of these things give the more masculine person the opportunity to step in and provide – which is what they want to do (ideally, at least – see the Q&A below for what to do if this isn’t happening). That makes them feel good, and it makes you feel taken care of. When I tell Jordan how I’m feeling and he immediately provides a solution I feel like I am with the best man in the entire world. Whereas if I were to directly ask, he would feel resentful and so would I – because what I really want is for him to provide for me, not to have to order him around.
The feminine is a passive role – but it’s not passive aggressive. I do not say to Jordan, “These things on the table are stressing me out” with any sideways anger slipping through. I say it in a very innocent, pouty tone. I am not trying to be manipulative. I am stating a need, and I am giving him the opportunity to meet it.
Your partner will not meet all of your needs 100% of the time – nor should you expect him to. There will certainly be times where he misses a request, does not meet the need right away, or does not have the bandwidth available to meet the need. There will be times where he is not perfectly playing the masculine role. All of that is okay, and it’s your job in those instances to be a compassionate human being who can, in fact, meet your own needs and know it’s not the end of the world if this thing doesn’t happen the way you want it to today.
There will be times when you will have to take the masculine role. It isn’t about being in one role 100% of the time. If Jordan is sick and can’t do anything, for example, I’m going to jump into “doing” mode while he’s resting. This is normal life.
(questions pulled from Instagram stories)
Q: “I hear where this is coming from to let the masculine step us a caretaker. But also I feel like it is almost being passive in expecting them to read your mind instead of being just direct about what you need. Just wondering if you have any thoughts on that? Those are just my initial thoughts when I read this!”
A: You can be specific about what you need – there’s no mind-reading necessary.
You are still allowed to have preferences. If I say “I’m tired and don’t want to cook” Jordan might say, “want to go out to dinner?” And I might say “I don’t feel like leaving the house” and then he might say “ok I’ll make x” or he might offer delivery or find some other solution.
Like I said, it’s not 100% of the time – if a need is consistently not being met, then you can have a conversation with your partner about it. But even then it is best to have both: A. processed the anger around it first, and B. to still speak from a place of feeling. “I really would love to touch each other more because it makes me feel connected and loved” registers a lot differently than “you don’t touch me enough.”
It’s not that I never ask a direct question. It’s just that I try as much as possible to “ask” Jordan to do things by stating how I feel. And that helps keep us in a state where he gets to be masculine and powerful and I get to be feminine and submissive.
It’s also not that I never get angry – there are times when I do feel anger about something Jordan has said or done – but I don’t lash out in immature, unprocessed ways. I consider how I’m feeling. I process how I’m feeling. And then I say, “I feel angry about this, and this is why.”
Q: What if your partner does not respond to your “feminine” polarity or does not provide?
A: This is the big question, right? There are some men who are definitely more masculine by nature but are afraid of really taking the masculine role – having some compassion around this is necessary, too. Many modern men have been taught that many things about being a man are wrong – so they hide in a more feminine nature. This is their work to figure out, and to do.
If your partner isn’t responding to your needs, start by really examining the way you are showing up – are you holding onto anger around it? Are you truly asking passively, or can he feel your resentment? Many of us have been realllly used to inhabiting the masculine role – so it can be a good first step to commit to inhabiting the feminine role more consciously.
If he still doesn’t meet your needs, then have a conversation about it. Again, process your anger and resentment on your own first (hit pillows, scream, dance). This isn’t because you can’t show him any anger ever – but more because if you’re approaching the situation with anger, he will feel it and will get defensive (this isn’t exclusive to the masculine, either – this is a good practice for all people). Tell him you feel hurt when you don’t get x y and z needs met. Tell him you really love when you’re able to feel more feminine and you state a need and he meets it. Tell him it makes you so happy.
If your partner continuously doesn’t meet your needs, you’ve made your needs even more clear and known, and you’ve had conversations around how this is important to you, and he still does not step into a masculine role – then it’s time to decide if you want to settle in this relationship.
If your partner doesn’t meet your needs and is mean, critical, manipulative, or abusive toward you – then he is not someone who deserves your surrender. This is when your masculine is needed, actually – to stand up for your boundaries and to protect yourself, and probably to get yourself out of the relationship.
Q: How to communicate and distribute household chores?
A: There is no right or wrong answer to this, because what feels masculine and feminine to both of you might differ from others. Some men really love cooking and that’s how they provide – that isn’t them being feminine. So the real answer is you can distribute them in any way that feels right to you.
When Jordan and I needed to discuss how to split household chores, we sat down and had a conversation about it. What works for us is for the house to be mostly my domain – my responsibility on paper is all the cooking and laundry and basic cleaning. Jordan pays for our food and for a cleaner to do a deeper cleaning less frequently. He regularly helps me out because he wants to – he’ll do the dishes or change the laundry or cook if I don’t feel like it. I never ask him to do any of it, and because of that, he does it more. We have monthly check-ins that feel more like business meetings where we discuss how everything is feeling to both of us, and talk about things like finances, chores, etc.
When we had the initial conversation, I said, “I would really, really love if I never had to touch the trash.”
He said, “Ok, I’ll do it always.”
A week or so in I said, “Jordan, I really hate emptying the dishwasher.”
He said, “Ok, then never do it again.”
If there are days where he forgets to empty the dishwasher or the compost is full, I do not tell him to do it!!! I empty the dishwasher myself without resentment because I am a kind partner and person. I put the compost in an additional bag because the trash is gross (lol) and I trust he’ll get to it when he notices.
I never want to come across to him as a mother figure, and so I try really consciously to find the line between getting my needs met and not emasculating him. Ultimately, I respect him and how he shows up. This means that as long as my needs are being met and I feel happy in the relationship, I do not need to nitpick every little thing. This is not because I am a small afraid woman. It is because my sex life is a priority to me, and when he feels more masculine and I feel more feminine, our sex life is phenomenal.
Q: I would love to hear more about healthy passive requests, and the line between that and when it could turn manipulative, like a please read my mind sort of thing…
A: As I mentioned above – it only turns manipulative if there is resentment and anger laced underneath the conversation. The tone matters – are you asking in a soft and feminine way? Or are you clicking your tongue and saying “I hate doing these things?”
I always got yelled at when I was younger not to “whine” …… And yet, I find that a bit of gentle whining actually feels great to me and often gets me exactly what I need 😉
Q: How do you ask for your needs without asking if it’s a difficult conversation?
A: If it’s a difficult conversation, you’re not really needing to preserve polarity in that moment. If he is continuously critical of you, for example, and you want him to stop, you don’t need to say “I really love when you’re nice to me” – in that moment he is crossing your boundary, and you’re allowed to stand up for your boundaries. You can say, “When you speak to me this way it hurts me and I need you to stop.”
If he isn’t showing any ambition or motivation in his self-growth or his life and it’s wearing on you, you can get to the point where you say “This is a deal-breaker for me. This matters.” and see if he steps up.
If it’s any conversation where the relationship itself is being threatened, you can state what you’re needing very directly. Showing your anger and your hurt and your fire can actually even be quite feminine – you’re showing him that side of your emotions fully.
Polarity isn’t needed 100% of the time. Just most of it.
Q: I want to be desired and dominated sexually by my husband. How can I ask for this?
A: You: “Can I tell you about a sexual desire I have? I would looove to be tied up and gagged and slapped around and verbally demeaned by you. I would love to be able to surrender to you fully.”
Him: “Sounds great, babe. I don’t have any experience with that, but I’ll look up some articles on the internet to get us started”
(I mean, ideally he responds like that. Maybe it triggers him and he says he doesn’t know if he’s into it. Maybe he’s not into it at all. Maybe he tries to switch you back into the masculine role by saying “Ok, but I don’t know how to do that” and you jump in and say “I’ll research it all and tell you!!!” — don’t do that. Sit with it. Say “It sounds like it could be really fun if we could discover it together” or “I wonder if there are any workshops about it.” Stick with how you’re feeling – don’t jump in and take over and tell him what to do.)
Q: What about when you are a female boss and have men working for you?
A: You don’t need to have polarity in the workplace – if you’re someone’s boss, you’re not going to simultaneously be submissive to them (nor would you want to be – it’s kind of like a friendship. You don’t need polarity, because you’re not trying to cultivate sexual attraction).
But – something that will help you when working with men is to still understand the differences between the masculine and the feminine and to not emasculate them. The nuances of all of that are outside the scope of this article, but Alison Armstrong’s work does this well. I recommend reading this book – it’s an easy read and really shifted my relationship with men.
Q: I’m in a really masculine role all day at work. How can I shift into being more feminine once I get home?
Transition time! Having some sort of ritual can really help to signal to yourself that you’re relaxing, dropping down into your body, and moving back into a feminine role. It can be tiny – one of my friends does this by pausing to take a few deep breaths before she walks in the door. You can go into another room and dance to a song. If I’ve been in a more masculine space all day (which often makes me feel pretty heady and stressed) I’ll get home and say to Jordan, “I’m going to take a bath and then I’d love to hear about your day.” And I’ll light candles and put on music and even if it’s only for 20 minutes, I have some time to transition.
This can be more difficult if you’re a mother, because in some ways motherhood puts you in a more masculine role all the time, since you’re constantly “doing” and taking care of your children. Being super conscious of all of this and discussing it with your partner can be really helpful – are there some times throughout the week where he can be in charge? Can he make decisions on things that take up energy (deciding on the grocery list for the week, planning dates)? Where you can hire somebody else to be in charge? How else can you add more femininity into your daily life? Even tiny things – wearing more skirts and dresses, dancing with your baby, getting scented candles and cleaning products you adore, getting the fancy hair stuff or makeup etc – these things are small and they also can have a big impact.
Q: Any idea of how to make this a sustainable practice/mindset of being in the feminine?
A: It will become sustainable because it will make you feel so good. Once you get good at it, it doesn’t require energy or any real effort. It feels really natural and easy to me to just state how I feel out loud. Sometimes I think of something I want to ask Jordan and it takes me a day or two of wondering how I can ask for the thing without making a direct request. If being in your feminine doesn’t feel natural yet, try bringing it into your life more daily – things that get me into my feminine energy are wearing flowy things, dancing, cooking while playing music, getting dressed up to go out, hanging out with my female friends. But mostly just having the awareness around it will help the most – notice when you do it, when you don’t, and notice what happens.
If you want to learn more about polarity, the healthiest ways to resolve fights, the practices Jordan and I do weekly, and have a chance to ask us your live questions, check out POWER COUPLE – the event we are running on February 9th. It’s online, only $25, and you’ll get access to the recording if you can’t make it live. Learn more here!
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