tagReviews & EssaysHer Page Turner

Her Page Turner


I have been in a relationship with the same woman for quite a while. In the passage of time, we both slowly—very slowly—learned, and now accept, that I am a submissive male. It is my nature. And it is her nature to allow me into her intimacy on her terms, rather than on mine.

I don't know if I would be submissive, or maybe if I would admit it, had I taken up with a different woman. I suspect each person encourages the development of various attributes of another person's nature within a relationship, especially a long one. Had I taken up with a less self-confident woman, who knows, maybe it would all be different.

It is not that she bosses me around, or enslaves me (other than in play sessions). We equally share responsibility in the sense that each of us informally controls a different set of concerns.

I am in charge of the more practical things, such as finances, insurance, retirement, matters having to do with dwelling, like house projects or maintenance, vehicle issues, etc. just because it is where my strengths lie. She, on the other hand, is in charge of "matters of the heart,' which includes all of the most important aspects of the relationship itself, such as health (she is a nurse), nutrition, spirituality (we are not religious, but do practice awareness of a higher being whom we don't assume to be able to define), emotional well-being, and most certainly our sexuality. That is where her strengths lie.

I like to compare our respective roles to that of a concert pianist, which would be her, and a guy who turns the pages for her. I might be able to turn those pages better than anybody, including her, but she is the one who has to actually play the piece. When you think of it, how important is that guy who turns the pages, anyway, no matter how good he is at it? He can pretty easily be replaced. I am so happy and grateful she continues to choose me to do it.

She has the major responsibility for setting the pace, the tone, and making it (the performance of our relationship) all work out beautifully. That's quite a responsibility! I have only a part, and I am the first to admit I can mess up.

It is not something I always admitted to. It has slowly developed as a realization along with the evolution of our respective understandings of our roles in the relationship. When I do mess up, she corrects me. It is not that she just assumes authority over me and then acts out in some tyrannical manner. Correction is a two-way communication for which we have developed a ritual that keeps us both (especially me) focused on what we are doing and why we are doing it.

Correction happens when she decides we need to review recent relationship performance. It is kind of like resolving to not turn the page too quickly, or too slowly, or not having pages out of sequence, etc. We are making repairs to our relationship, making it whole again after something has marred or damaged it. She is in charge of the performance, and I am the guy turning the pages—that's how we look at it.

That's all a nice way of saying it. The reality is, when correction is in order, she punishes me for my failures to the relationship. You might ask, well, what about her? What happens when she fails the relationship? Who punishes her? Well, that's not the point. She is the one making it all turn into something of beauty, so the major work is on her shoulders. Pitiful little failures on my part, and subsequent punishment for it, is an easy thing to bear compared to some major failure on her part, which would make our entire relationship hit sour notes and become discordant.

She is almost not allowed to fail, not in any big way. That level of responsibility I know I could never handle, so I defer to her. No, I would never think of correcting her for "matters of the heart," because that is her area, far above my area, and much more important to us than anything I am in control of.

In regard to practical matters, if she messes up in my area, such as forgetting to enter a check in the register, sure, I admonish her, and she accepts it. But, punish? No. Punishment is reserved for violations against important things, and the only important thing is the beauty of our relationship. Not the accuracy of our checkbook balance.

One time she totaled the car. Punishment for her? Absolutely not, just as she would not have punished me for wrecking the car. I mean, what's a car compared to the love we feel so dynamically between us? It was a 24,000-dollar car. My only concern was that she did not get seriously hurt. So, you get the idea.

As I mentioned, part of her area of control involves being in charge of our sex. This was not so from the beginning. After we had been together quite a while, one day I just had to admit to myself that I am not a very good lover. Oh, sure, she occasionally told me I was sweet, and kind, and romantic. But I knew that was usually not the case.

I was often moody, and irritable, and selfish about sex. Sometimes, with regard to sex, I would see hurt and disappointment in this beautiful person's eyes, and I knew I was going at it all wrong. It took me a long time to arrive at this realization, and through all of that time she was very patient.

I now know that much of the time, as I'm sure is true of many men, I am no more successful directing my sexual urges toward the woman I love than I would be trying to herd a wild boar through a gateway. Maybe in the past, primitive men, because they were forced to be so occupied trying to provide for their families, attended sexual relationships much more skillfully than we do. Selfish, misdirected sexual urges did not have such a hold on them as they have on us contemporary guys. Maybe some of us (I would never say all of us, nor even a majority of us) have lost a little our perspective because we have it pretty easy these days. Just a theory.

Anyway, when it comes to sex, she keeps us both focused. She just understands it a whole lot better than I do, and she understands me sexually better than I could ever know myself. One thing we practice is orgasm denial. Orgasm denial for me, that is. We do it in reverse now and then as part of our sexual play, but I am not very good at understanding how to make it a good experience when I am denying her. It is like me trying to play the piano. It is just something I am not good at. So, for the most part, when we are feeling ready for some more intense activity, she may decide to tease and deny, creating a scenario in which my focus is only to serve her whims, because that matches out respective natures.

It has a number of dimensions to it, some of which I mention here. First, it is a fun part of sexual play (although initially I had a hard time getting used to it, and often still find it difficult). Second, it is an excellent means of keeping me focused on our relationship and my random urges under control. Third, when she teases me to the point of begging for release, and then denies me, that terrible, frustrating, falling sensation of disappointment, and my acquiescence to it and acceptance of it, after a passage of some hours lights a tiny fire in the middle of my being that slowly develops into a warm flame of love and respect for her.

Of course, having been teased almost to the edge, sometimes for hours or even for an entire day, I am physically very uncomfortable. In simple terms, my balls may ache something awful. Enduring that for her, and knowing that she knows I am enduring it for her, allows me to experience urgent, passionate love her more than at any other time. Believe me, I am focused! In that state, I will do anything for her, and she (often waering the expression of a cat who swallowed the canary) quietly assigns me many duties to perform for her, some naughty and some nice.

Later, completing the sex act (in any of its variations), whether hours or days later, brings that sense of love and respect we share to a powerful, explosive, intense conclusion. Afterwards, we both feel at peace and our relationship basks in a sense of well-being, often for days.

So, you can see why I defer to her in these matters. She knows what she is doing. She is such an intimacy artist. I am just a guy turning the pages. I am thankful to be that guy.

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