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The Submissive Woman Debate


As you know, the SBM staff loves to answer reader questions. We aren’t experts, but we don’t frown on giving you our true opinion and letting our community chime in as well. I received a few emails and questions all over in regards to one topic, so I figured I’d use social media and the good folks at SBM to provide insight. The question posed was in regards to women and submitting to a man:

Does being a submissive woman keep a relationship/marriage together? Does a man prefer his woman to be submissive sexually or in Lifestyle or both? Are men seeking submissive women weak minded and controlling?

Before I delve into the questions, I know that there have been talks on Women and Submission previously all around talk shows and the Internet. I had my own general views, but my peoples @JasFly put her thoughts so eloquently I wanted to share them with you (read from the bottom-up):

These thoughts lead me into questions 1 & 2: Does being a submissive woman keep a relationship/marriage together? Does a man prefer his woman to be submissive sexually or in Lifestyle or both?

To me, the answer to this question depends on the relationship. To receive a woman’s submission is the ultimate vote of confidence a man can receive in a relationship. She hands you the keys to drive the relationship in the appropriate direction, without fear of getting lost. If you do go off course, she has faith you will get each other back on the right path. Do I think it’s essential for keeping a relationship together? I don’t think so. It should be but one part of a much grander scheme for a successful relationship. If people look towards submission to be the main key to making a marriage or relationship work, then that is a problem. What about the relationship where a woman isn’t submissive that works? What about relationships where a man submits to the woman? I don’t know if there are many like that, but I think when used in its proper context (as Jas stated), being submissive will help more than hurt, if the man is even comfortable with the pressure and responsibility that a woman’s submission entails.

See Also:  Does Submission Give Women Power or Make Them Slaves To Their Husbands?

In the bedroom, once again it’s all preference. Some men like to take the lead, others want direction. I don’t think men think too deep with sex. If it’s a go, then we go! Nothing too complex, you know?

Are men seeking submissive women weak minded and controlling?

This leads me to believe that you associate a negative connotation with a woman’s submissiveness towards men. There is a difference between being submissive and being enslaved/a pushover/mindless. You can still take charge of parts of a relationship while being submissive. I think you are talking about a man ordering a woman to do any and everything and acting as her boss. Any man who does that to a woman in a relationship is definitely a control freak. He either looks at woman as play things to answer his every desire or it’s some type of backlash from other areas in his like that are lacking. A man who wants a submissive woman doesn’t want a woman who is easily controlled. He wants a woman who will entrust him with leading her and commanding their relationship to go far. I believe in men being a household leader and having huge responsibility, but you have to earn that from a woman. If he can earn that, then that means a woman truly loves you and trusts you. That’s real right there!

Did you enjoy the perspective offered in this article? Check out our homepage for more candid content from the SBM team. 

Women, what are your thoughts on the Submissive debate? Pros/Cons? Does it still mater in 2012 relationships? Men, do you actively seek a submissive woman?

See Also:  Can You Sleep With Someone Else While On A Break?

– Streetz


  1. agreed with @Jasfly for the most part. Submissiveness is usually ill-applied, to situations and relationships across the board even if they dont really apply. It only matters if youre looking beyond getting 'boo-boo'd down!'
    I view submissiveness as a must for me ONCE you've both decided to create a lifelong partnership. If you dont trust your partner to be able to lead, to run the home- why even get married?
    But hey – this is just my personal ideal- Im sure there are as many different dynamics in relationships as there are personality types.

    1. My best friend has just announced her wedding with a millionaire. They met via ) ==== cougarkissing_com ==== ( It's the best place to meet rich successful men & classy sexy women. Our members include CEOs, pro athletes, doctors, lawyers, models, and celebrities….Maybe you can take a try.

  2. Love this post and is so key in 2012! I ABSOLUTELY believe in the submissive woman role in a relationship as long as you're with a man who's worthy of that lead role! I think many professional and successful women dont know how to turn off the mentality of a power struggle in a male dominated work place when they're off the clock and too often make a relationship adversarial instead of symbiotic. BUT if a man wants to wear the crown he's got to act like the king! He has to assume the role of protector and provider and make the woman feel comfortable to leave the pant wearing to him and him alone-and not every man is able.

      1. You're right being the king doesnt mean clubbing people over the head or dragging back dead animals to the house to eat…Today acting like the king means taking the responsibility you are asking me to bestow on you as your partner seriously-my security, my health and that of the family you are to build with me should come second to none.

  3. Excellent article! Submission to one's husband does not equal weak-mindedness. Marriage should not be a struggle for power, but built on love, trust, understanding and the joy that comes with being with the person God designed for you. Ladies, only marry a man who loves you enough and who you love enough that you can happily submit to him.

    1. First off, it's not just about finding a man that you can "happily" submit to. This is becoming a tired old saying. There are other qualities to look for in a man. A relationship is NOT all about submitting. In fact, if you're in a loving relationship and neither of you is selfish submission won't be an issue because you will both be submitting to eachother and no one will really notice. Submitting only becomes an issue when the person who wants to be submitted to is "seeking" submission, in such a case that person (usually men) has an agenda – a self-serving one or some other issue. When I hear all this over-emphasis on women submitting in marriage, like this is all it takes to make a relationship work, it makes me cringe. If I met a man and this subject came up he will get read his rights and that will be the end of that.

  4. This is so 50 Shades of Grey!

    As I approach my first wedding anniversary I can definitely say that submissiveness in a relationship has to be a 50/50 compromise. I'm Mexican, I grew up seeing my mother being completely submissive to my father, that's their lifestyle, that's tradition, and even though I don't agree with it at least 70% of it (that's because my father is a macho) I have to say that I myself have found to have some of those same traits that my mother has. But its because I want to. I've never been the type of woman to be submissive to any one, but as I've come to realize, in order to make my relationship work, in some point, I am submissive.

    I believe that in order to have a successful relationship you have to be able to be submissive, and not just the woman, but the man too. When we marry you're giving your whole trust and life to your partner in order to build a life as one. With that comes being able to let go of things and being led, standing behind your partner and letting them lead, just like how you said.

    Quite frankly, I really don't think men are looking for 'weak, submissive' woman, I think men are just looking for a woman that will let them have their place and let them be a man. We women forget to let man do that. Just like how Serendipity said "women don't know how to turn off the mentality of a power struggle in a male dominated work place when they're off the clock…" we really don't. We have to, it gets tiring to always be in control.

    As far as being submissive in the bedroom… Bring on Mr. Grey and I'll oblige Sir. LOL!!!

    Great post Calle!

  5. I really want to understand what people mean when they talk of submission in marriage, but I can't fathom it. I can't imagine myself ever saying to myself, "I am going to submit to this man," no matter how much I love them. Maybe I will one day; but as of now, the only examples of marriage that I've seen where women were submissive–it wasn't good. I've seen women disempowered on all levels really because their husbands ran things. But this is making me think.

  6. Second time in a week that we really have to examine our semantics before we dive into the conversation too deeply. There's a big difference between submission and submissive. We're confusing the two when we have a conversation about submissive women. I think that Jas ended in the right place, but she started in the wrong place and switched terms which confuses us all most of the time.

    Submission means the decision to yield, not necessarily the inability to lead. Submissive means the inability to lead, or fear of taking the lead. Submission is a choice that one makes on a situational basis, submissive is a personality trait. Men aren't looking for submissive women. They are not looking for women who have the inability to lead; to lead in their absence or when they are incapable at the moment. They are looking to women who are willing to follow, in spite of, the ability to lead themselves.

    You know at my job there's some submission involved with my superiors. Submission doesn't mean that I believe that my supervisor is right or wrong, it just means that I have to yield to his final decision. But i'm not submissive. It's not like I don't get to voice an opinion, it's not like he lectures and then all the troops fall in line, it's just a decision to leave the final decision up to him. But that doesn't make me submissive and it doesn't mean I don't have the ability to lead.

    As I always say, I believe a man has to put forth a plan to a woman for where he hopes that they should go in life. It should include her, but he must chair that conversation. She should decide if she agrees with that plan and is willing to go along. If she does, then she should follow him as far as the end of the Earth.

    But let's look at another thing because I want everyone, especially men, to learn to focus on the next FIVE verses after these three "submit" verses.

    "25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body."

    You see a lot of men love to point to this verse about wives submitting to their husbands, but then they don't in turn love their wives like Christ loved the church. A lot of women have problems submitting to their husbands because they've never realized what their reward was and should be (or they've never gotten it). When you really break down the passage it essentially says, "Wives give yourselves to your husbands, and husbands give yourselves to your wives."

    And see that's where I disagree with a lot of the analysis of Michelle and Barack's relationship. It's not about power dynamics or who's in control. It's about the clarity that Michelle has said to Barack, "You have all of me" and Barack has said to Michelle, "You have all of me."

    1. Honestly, this is my very first time commenting on this site. I am a long time reader/fan.

      All I have to say is….this right here. Man. This is a pretty awesome post.

    2. This comment by Dr. J should really just put an end to all discussions on submission/submissive/lead now! I mean, is there really anything else left to be said??? He's covered it all for both men and women. The next time I come across this discussion anywhere on the internet, I'm hitting them with this this link.

    3. MOST people confuse submission because they don't understand it themselves – it is a mutual thing in a marriage. Ephesians teaching on marriage is just a "mutual" love and respect. If you ask me, God is placing greater emphasis on the man's submission to his wife than vice versa, but we read, intrepret, and focus on what benefits us and that's where the problem lies. MEN should not be concerned with what God has told wives and vice versa. Stay in your lanes!

  7. Submission isn’t a negative thing. Everyday, women and men go to jobs where they have to submit to someone’s ultimate authority. Like J said, its not that you can’t share your opinion, or even voice concerns over the course, but ultimately, someone makes the final decision and you submit to it. Surely, if you can submit to stranger, you can submit to your husband or your wife. And yes, sometimes men may have to submit to their wives. When it comes to household finances, my pastor submits to his wife. She is the numbers woman, she’s better with the money than he it. So, while he may have the final decision in other areas, he submits to her authority in relation to the finances. It works because they both understand the importance of submission within the relationship; yielding to another’s authority for the betterment of the relationship, the union as a whole.

    1. Dr. J: "There's a big difference between submission and submissive."

      "…at my job there's some submission involved with my superiors. Submission doesn't mean that I believe that my supervisor is right or wrong, it just means that I have to yield to his final decision. But i'm not submissive."

      If I would have read his first, I wouldn't have had to comment. I was going to use the work example too.

      1. The problem with the work example is that it is a FLAWED analogy. A marriage is NOT a boss/employee relationship – not even remotely close to it. That is MAN's way of seeing things, but I will stop there.

  8. I basically agree with everything Dr. J said. I’m also interested to expand the conversation to include women who do not or cannot submit (or choose to submit) to their husbands consider themselves? I’m unmarried so I don’t really have an opinion on the subject, although as I explained on Twitter, this conversation seems to mostly dominate the black community, which I find a bit strange. Are we the only one that deals with this issue or are we only one that talks about it at naseum, and why?

    As some have said above, I dont want a submissive woman. Its not like I sit around gauging women on how submissive they are or are not. That’s literally never been a deal breaker. However, I don’t want a woman that feels its her role to challenge me every 5 seconds either, simply because that is annoying and not what I expect in a partner, as opposed to an adversary.

    1. As a woman who cannot wrap her head around the "submit" /"submissive" thing, this conversation confuses me as well. Maybe it is semantics, but I want a partnership, someone who can challenge me and I in turn challenged him. To be better. To do better. I've worked too hard on myself and on my life (career etc) to diminish that.

      If there is something he can do better, by all means, do it. It's what I call teamwork…work to each other's strengths.

      While I've had this conversation with women of all races (yup, it happens to them too), I do fully admit that this refusal to submit has been a stumbling block in building a relationship with a brotha.

      I take it all with a grain of salt. But, if one more man tells me I'm "too independent/smart/blah blah blah" I'mma smack him.
      My recent post When Your Wingman Fails You…

      1. Exactly HLBB, it doesn't seem natural doesn't…I'm there's just no logic to it is there? You mean to tell me that as a wife I'm going to do something my husband's way because I'm expected to submit and let him lead? It's not about submission, but rather it's about doing what's best for the benefit of the marriage/family regardless of who's idea it is. This makes more sense. Again, the world's idea of submission and love is way out of whack with what Jesus says. And when I say the world I mostly mean these worldy "Christians."

  9. My parents have been married almost 40 years. My mama is smart, she is kind, she is impo'tant. She ain't no punk. And she ain't no pushover. However, some months ago my mom's sister (who is her best friend) was having issues with her grown son. My mom went to mediate. My cousin acted a fool and started threatning folks lives. It was a scary scene. My mom had my dad pick her up. And then she finished recapping it to me with this, "your dad said I can't go over there and get in the middle of it anymore." And that was that. Even though my mom loves her sister, my daddy has made it clear he would prefer my mom alive. That's submission to me. Recognizing your husband as a leader when you could clap back. Watching my mom, I see it's a skill, it's a difficult dance, and it takes trust, love and respect for your husband and vice versa.
    My recent post Building a Country

    1. Yes, that's your dad loving, caring, and protecting your mom. That's not him trying to push her around or be controlling and show that he's "the man" or anything. My parents have been married for 43 years and most people, unfortunately, will never get to experience the type of love my parents have for eachother. Not all this foolishness that's people believe today and all the ill-advice that's going around on the internet from people that don't know crap.

  10. Just a few verses above what Dr J quoted, it says submit to one another. I pretty much agree with that. And just as Dr J pointed out, you have to know what it means to submit. It's not about being controlled or weak. In my house, it's about trust and leadership. For a long time we did have it confused just as so many other people do. Now, I think what's most important is letting your expectations be known so you can both compromise and act accordingly. That's how you don't wind up with a power struggle. This was a great topic.

  11. Interesting. I like the connection of 'submission' being connected to the marital-type dynamic. I think, as some pointed out, men seek strong women who do have the ability to submit. But not in a negative way, just a confident women who trusts him to lead, support him when he hasn't completely got it right, and give subtle nudges of encouragement to get us back on track. Lifelong type dynamic.

    However, I am wondering if the dynamic gets skewed when the female is 'the breadwinner' in the relationship. In theory, I don't think it should. In practicality, I think it usually does.

      1. Hm. When I wrote the comment I had the latter in mind; when the wife simply makes more than the husband. But now that you have brought up the 'stay at home dad,' maybe that gets to the point I was trying to understand a bit more. The idea of submission usually falls into the female gender role category. So when the 'typical' gender roles seem to reverse, does/should the dynamic of submission change?

  12. I know a lot of DOMINANT women and honestly dominant might be an understatement lol. My mentor and her husband were at the grocery store he was just laid off from his job he put some chips in the basket. She said, "what are you putting that in there for?" He said, "I want some chips I'll pay you back." She said uh no you don't got no job! Put it back! She spoke to him like a little kid he wasn't a coward or nothing but she immasculated him in pubilc, he was so embarassed smh. What I'm trying to say is in the 21st century, society is influencing women to become overempowered to the point where it feels like there is two alpha men the relationship. No man wants to feel like they are in competition or they dating a person who is equal or overly dominant. A man already has to compete in the workplace. I don't think he would want to come home to that. Submission is simply letting your man do what he was designed to do. Or taking a break from being sistah Soulja all the time. Don't get me wrong I think he does want a little bit of a challenge. I think you just have to learn to balance out the two and know when to turn it off.

  13. The points that JasFly made are spot on. Yet, even she missed a few things. Yes submission is in the context of marriage, so unless folks are planning on going down that road, it’s ultimately a futile debate, IMO. Secondly, men want to throw out my wife needs submit to me, blah blah, blah. They tend to forget about the part about submitting to Christ. I’m not here proselytizing, but a wife submitting is a argument rooted in biblical principles, yet people want to apply it to a worldly situation; it simply doesn’t work. Men wanting a woman to submit, who isn’t there wife, will have a world of problems. The submission comes in when these men are ready to make a woman their wife, but also the men are ready to be the man who deserves to be submitted to.

    1. Glad you brought up this point. If he isn't submitted to Christ, I am not going to be submitting to him. It's a package deal. You don't get the benefit if you aren't willing to hold up your end of the bargain.

    2. Here is the question: Is it unreasonable to expect to see signs of an ability to do so before marriage? Scratch that. As a matter of fact, there's an obvious way to see it. If we (as men) are submitted to Christ, and we see she isn't or is unwilling to, there's our answer right there. It's not on us to make women submit, because the two can't coexist. Submission is a voluntary choice, not a choice forced; that would be surrendering. When I heard "a man has to make me want to submit", that raises a red flag to me. Just like if i heard a man say "a woman has to make me want to love her or treat her right", that's a red flag there, because it shifts responsibility to the other person to make them do right. Smh

  14. Man, if Dr. J didn't break that submission/submissive thing down?! That could preach!

    I choose submission…to a point, in my current relationship. He doesn't make decisions for my household…AT ALL…cause he doesn't live with me. However, when he and I are making plans/deciding things together, submission is applied as necessary.

    I don't believe you get married based on the potential of where a relationship can go. You get married to seal what the relationship already is and journey the rest of life together. That level of trust and yielding to strengths should be happening prior to "I do". There can't be two chiefs in the house. Someone has to have the final say cause you won't always agree on everything. The key is to be with someone you trust with the final say…someone who respects and considers your thoughts and feelings…and values your happiness. Then, you always win!

  15. I believe in the wife submitting to her husband, and that it's an important dynamic to a relationship. I can't go into too much detail here, but I can say that Queen Esther is a little known role model for wives (or those that strive to be wives) and what happens when they submit to their husbands. Read about it 🙂

  16. Submission can only happen when you wholeheartedly trust that your spouse has the family's best interest at heart. The husband and wife have to create their own dance. At times, they may come together, discuss and agree. However, at times a choice has to be made that the couple does not agree on. Those are the times the wife may have to concede to her husband. This is not an issue when you trust your husband. Even if the wife disagrees, she knows that a) he will make a choice that is best for the family and b) once the choice is made…he's responsible.

    The responsibility of the husband is a HUGE one. Being the Head of a family means more than getting to have a final say. Ultimately the success and failure of a family lies in the husband's hands. That's pressure man. Although I "help" my husband, he is the King of this castle and takes full acknowledgment for ALL that comes with it.

  17. "I laugh at women who put down a submissive woman for being who God designed her to be. Learn what submission really means. A submissive woman is far from weak because a true submissive woman knows how to carry the load for him and her both without him having to know it. She knows how to speak to his spirit & not his lust, she knows how to push him to his dreams instead of pulling him to destruction. She knows how to pray with him and not play with him, she knows how to be quiet even when her flesh wants to speak. She knows the value of his hard work not just his dollar. A submissive woman is his "LIFETIME", a submissive woman makes it easy for herself by making him EARN & not buy her" Anonymous

  18. Submission is when a woman trusts and respects her ability to lead, and thus supports him in his decisions regarding the spiritual, physical and especially financial welfare of the family. She believes in him.
    Speaking as a woman, I believe the real issue has never really been whether or not women can submit to their husbands; it is what you- men- are going to do when or if you have that level of power. I think the extent to which a woman feels secure in her marriage determines the extent to which she submits to her husband. A woman has to be assured that her husband will never use any superiority, real or imagined, against her.

    1. Amen. It's one thing to submit to your husband. It's a whole nother ball of wax if your husband can handle the responsibility of having his wife submit to him. I feel that with some men, the just want to control another person.

      1. Yes, that's what all this submission is about – CONTROL. Why else would a man feel so "entitled" to submission and be so focused on having his wife/woman comply with HIS wishes? Many think they are mini gods and want to be treated as such in their homes. That's what is all comes down to. You don't see any blogs with men so eager to live out Ephesians 5:25 do you? I mean that would be too much like right. But you see they (men) feel it's their job get women to submit and YOU women fall right in to it, on here trying to explain so hard what submission is/is not. Really???

  19. "He wants a woman who will entrust him with leading her and commanding their relationship to go far. I believe in men being a household leader and having huge responsibility, but you have to earn that from a woman. If he can earn that, then that means a woman truly loves you and trusts you. That’s real right there!"

    This ^^^^ pretty much sums up how I feel on the topic. If I trust a man with my life, that is the ONLY way I'll allow him to lead.

    Although, one question I have is this. If we are supposed to submit to our husbands, now that we have this courting/dating scene, does that mean that we should save submissiveness for our husbands and not just dating/relationships?
    My recent post Be With the One You Love…

  20. My view is unique, but just right!
    I have learned to become into submission at a very young age. It's a natural instinct that over time can grow with you as an adult or be suppressed and turned into misguided energy that fuels negative greed for power to become a "FEMALE-emasculator" Now, all the woman I just outted hate me right now! But, that's okay! I am getting to my point! The fake me out power struggle is old . As little girls we where sold on the fairytale of this perfect world we could create. Some of us out grew it and accepted reality and some still don't know the difference and got worse with age. It's never to late to find yourself and get out of your own way. Breakdown the wall and don't be the victim that you so well learned to protect. Women are mental and Men are physical for the most part when it comes to emotion. It's not equal and you must understand what that means. People are different for a reason, but moving towards the same goal. To love and be loved. Answer: To submit you have to be mentally NAKED. Be a grown up and take the risk because your smart and wise. Women need not be afraid of growth and the pain that will come. But ,you will gain the next level of self! Being a woman is beautiful and hellfasexy! Realize it soon. It's sad to see men turn to each other to run away from the undo pressure from woman! God bless! Thank you for reading my view…

  21. I request that Dr.J does an entire posting on Submissive vs Submission, and to site his sources for the definition of the two. I am not saying he is wrong. I was schooled by his response to this post and would like to see him address the topic more indepth.

    1. Because Dr. J doesn't know what he's talking about either. It's just some more complicated b*****t to give people another way of looking at things. The Biblical marriage model (Christ and the Church) is really simple (although a standard that's hard to live up to), people just compliate things.

  22. "To receive a woman’s submission is the ultimate vote of confidence a man can receive in a relationship."
    If you change "relationship" to "marriage" I 100% agree with this statement. I think, overall–based on my experiences–women put too much negative on it and men don't understand how important it really is.
    It's all a moot point outside the marital relationship, though.

  23. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with submission. The problem comes in when a man has an issue with his role as the head and what those duties look like. There is no way you can lead when you don't know where you are going and your pride won't allow you ask how to get there. Show me a man who can lead as well as follow, show me a man who can take instruction and not be intimidated or feel slighted, show me a man who knows their duties as the head and can demonstrate them, and I will show you a submissive woman. Women find strength in men who can not only identify their weaknesses, but those who are on the path of doing something about them.

    Check out my blog post on submission: http://therelationshipchronicles.com/who-is-the-h

  24. I don't like the idea of submitting to another because it does allude to a power struggle. The idea that only ONE can be a leader in any type of group or family simply isn't true, IMO. Both man and woman submitting to EACH OTHER, on the other hand, makes so much sense. When each party trusts the other completely, and both parties are looking out for eachother….conversation and compromise will come very easily. One person shouldn't be designated with veto power because they have a dick or a vagina.

  25. That last was exactly on the money. It is about the woman having so much trust and confidence in her husband that she willingly follows as he leads the relationship. Earning that trust and confidence is the ultimate for an alpha male.


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