I think I mentioned a while back that I joined a newly formed Yahoo discussion group called Venus On Top that was initiated by Barbara Wright Abernathy, author of the book by the same title. The purpose of the group is to promote “VOT relationships,” which is to say, Female Led Relationships. The moderators, who are all dominant women, and who, were they in public relations would be called spin doctors, refer to this lifestyle as being “vanilla with a twist,” which is to say, “Oh hell yeah, we ‘twist,’ but we don’t want to get into any specifics that might scare away anyone who might be considering this lifestyle.” So they edit and even reject member posts in an effort to maintain what Goddess Barbara envisions as a more mainstream (read: more marketable) approach. As time goes on however, one can see that the moderators seem to be struggling within their VOT-VWAT framework.

All a noble effort—I guess, if it helps promote Female Led Relationships. Personally, for real, unexpurgated and HONEST talk about FLRs (read: FemDom, as in female domination, because we are really talking about relationships in which the female dominates the male on all levels), I much prefer reading what Elise Sutton has to say. Quite frankly, this woman scares me at times with some of what she writes, but I’ll tell you, this woman has it all going on. Again and again she demonstrates remarkable insight into how men think. I don’t agree with everything she says but that’s one of the cool things about her. She says again and again that one needn’t buy into all she professes. In her book and on her website she repeatedly says that FemDom is a big tent that covers many different expressions of sexuality and female domination of the male sex. She doesn’t endorse all of them, but simply represents them for what they are. The choice is left to the reader.

I like choices because I believe I am capable of selecting what works for me and what does not. I’m capable of giving something a try if I’m not sure one way or the other. Later I discover I’ve chosen incorrectly, I’m also capable of choosing differently next time around. Some choices I can make instantly. Yes! I’ll have a pizza—because I love pizza, even cold for breakfast. Some choices may take deliberation. Definitely no anchovies, too salty, but mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni, onions, hmmm, lemme think a sec. Some choices are more difficult to make than others. Should I spend money on a soft shell crab for dinner? It looks disgusting and yet people I trust assure me it tastes great. Wouldn’t it be a shame to miss out simply because I was afraid to try it once. Only one way to know for sure.

I dislike being controlled and herded along by those who would limit my choices, thinking that too many will confuse or intimidate me. I believe I am no smarter than many other people, so I don’t understand this notion of sugar-coating FemDom. So many people out there seem to assume that just because it happens that some folks in this lifestyle are into one particular kink or another, a vanilla woman will read/hear this and immediately be put off about giving FemDom a try. Are not most women intelligent enough to think: Hmmm, I like some of what I hear about getting help around the house with chores; I’m not sure if I want to take the lead in the bedroom but I guess I could try it to see how it goes; and I’m definitely never going to command my husband to clean the toilet with his tongue.



Lady Julia said...

Very well said. I read a comment by "Goddess B" which I believe is Barbara Abernathy. She said, "The Venus On Top Society is for people who are interested in real world female led relationships, not male fantasies. We emphasize the relationship, not BDSM, fetish or extreme sexual activities."

She also remarked "As the spokeswoman for our group it’s important that mainstream people identify with me as a normal-looking person who could be their next door neighbor."

I'd suggest she attend a few munches if she thinks all this exists only in male fantasies. Attendance would also allow her to see all the "normal-looking" next door neighbor types - nary a whip in site.

I appreciate some of their work, but this is another group of people who are sending a message to the world that any sort of kink is abnormal, perverted. Pretty sad.

Queen'sKnight1 said...

I am a member of several online discussion groups related to interests in my life outside FemDomme. These relate to interests from childrearing to technical. The one commonality I have found in all of them is the propensity of the "owners" to censor what others say in order to control the direction of the underlying philosophical bent. I guess I have simply come to expect it. Even most bloggers delete extreme comments they don't like.

Abernathy and the Addisons are the only advocates of whom I know who have a sincere interest in attracting those women who may be interested in being the leader in a marriage, yet have no interest in BDSM. Respectfully, I do believe those women deserve a safe haven where they can feel comfortable discussing Female Led Relationships, but without the exposure to those things which discomfort them. If they grow to embrace the "Vanilla with a Twist", they also will eventually encounter a plethora of sites and sources which advocate deeper D/s. Those who wish to can then investigate more deeply, and those who do not may decline. I don't believe the Addisons have a discussion site, and thus for the women in this niche, VOT is the only place they have for a safe haven. And so, from this perspective, would you still begrudge them this?

Lady Julia said...

Queen'sKnight1, I certainly don't begrudge their forum. I see nothing wrong with advocating "vanilla with a twist" if that is what people want. However, I think sending the message "anything kink related is abnormal" is in the end going to cause problems for a lot of people. If for example a wife does embrace a FLR that is "vanilla with a twist", what happens when the loving husband feels he must more openly admit to his kink proclivities? She's for some time been receiving the message that kink is abnormal.

Words are powerful.

helpmate hubby said...

I am a proud member of Venus on Top, but agree that they censor too much on the yahoo group site.Perhaps they could put more of the vanilla oriented stuff in the free section of their paysite to accomplish their desired goal, and allow its members free debate on all the wide range of FLR topics.

Glad to read your praise of Elise Sutton, i agree with your comments about her exactly. She was the one who exposed this way of life to so many of us and i feel a great many of us are in her debt.

Jamie said...

I've been following the Venus On Top discussion group since its early days, and I guess I'm OK with thier point of view. It's not that I'm not enamoured of the kinkier side of female dominance, but that I don't think that's coming to a life near me any time soon.

So I'm glad there's a forum that discusses the "leadership" side of female led relationships without the sexual kink side. It's really the only site I can think of recommending to my wife. Which I hope we'll get to. From much water over the dam, I'm fairly sure anything presenting the "smorgasbord" approach you talk about would scare her away.

I think of kind of like their party: it's their house, they get to set the tone and the mood. Fortunately, there are plenty of places for other kinds of discussion. It may be a weakness of the open-membership discussions that flourish (rightly so) on the web, that they tend to veer towards including extremes.

I don't hear anyone at VOT saying "kinky is wrong" only that "kinky can be off-putting" and that they're trying to create a place that looks more "mainstream."

Queen'sKnight1 said...

Lady Julia,

I apologize if my comment seemed directed at You personally. It actually was directed to VK.

I do agree with You that it is unhealthy if they demonize all things kinky. Though I have not delved deeply into the VOT site, I do know that in her VOT book, B.W.A. gives a very fair and balanced treatment to kink in Ch. 6, Men and Sex, in the subchapter entitled But What if He Really is Kinky? She discusses Safe, Sane, and Consentual, role playing, bondage, etc. Though only pp.146-149 are addressed to this, She encourages Women to be open minded, to research other sources, and make up Their own minds about differing kinky activities. She states that 5 to 10% of the general population engages in kinky activities and that they are included in the typical "neighbors next door."

To me, this does not sound like someone who is anti-kink. Perhaps the moderators desire to keep the kink discussion toned down for the sake of those who want no more than Vanilla with a Twist. Or possibly financial consultants who care not about the message, and only about the profit, have convinced Her of the monetary gain to be had by making a more PC message, which will generate more book sales and paid site memberships. I have no qualifications nor information to make such a judgement; I simply hope it is not true.

Note to VK: By not deleting my posts, you have demonstrated a commitment to freedom of speech that many in the cybercosmos do not value. Thank you for having the integrity to allow those who disent to have a voice.

brdspet said...

Wannabees like me really appreciate sites like VOT or the work of the Addisons. They are possible avenues toward fulfilling dreams. Their vanilla or wife-next-door approach is not necessarily naive. Its intention is to present female led relationships as a real possibility to wives or girlfriends who would be offended by BDSM.

Lady Julia said...

Queen'sKnight1, I didn't take offense :) I certainly don't mind someone disagreeing with me and in fact, appreciate your comments. You had far more information than I and your last comment helped to enlighten me and change my mind at least enough to know that I want to look into VOT more before forming an opinion based strictly on what Ms. Abernathy said on that particular web page.

Thanks to you all for sharing your POVs. As always, you made me think :)

VeezKnight said...

First off, I'm not knocking the VOT Society, not really. As was said, it's their house and they should be able to do what they wish within it, just like this is our blog and we'll say what we want here.

But is VOT a "safe haven" for women interested in a FLR that is devoid of male fantasy? I doubt that very seriously. One never knows about lurkers who join and never never post comments. But those people who do participate in discussions do not seem to be anti-link, not even the moderators. They just don't want to allow discussion about it for fear of alienating vanilla women.

All I am saying is that people should be smart enough to decide for themselves about whether or not a FLR is an option that might work in their relationship and if so, what it might include, based on the honest interests of both parties. Plus, my opinion is that female leadership within a marriage or long-term loving relationship is based on a certain degree of kink in that a woman openly uses her sexuality to control her man. And when she makes use of his interest in kink it kicks her power into overdrive.

Biff said...

Dear Veezknight,
In a word ... No. Most women are scared by the concept of female domination. In fact, the very terminology is off-putting. It contradicts the basic beliefs of most women about an equal partnership, nurturing, domestic bliss, etc. All one has to do is look at the number of men who respond to your blog, mine, others wishing their wives or signficant others would adopt any form of the LFA lifestyle, but who remain disappointed because the women want nothing to do with it.
Sugar coating the lifestyle to be more palatable to women is essential if more adherents are to be recruited. The less association with the imagery of leather corsets and riding crops, and the more with ceding household control (followed by sexual control) to the woman, the better. Otherwise there will continue to be an abundance of very frustrated men out there.

Anonymous said...

... and why, do you suppose, Miss Sutton refuses to reveal her identity, not even telling us where she got her degree, and in what field of study? As long as she was strictly private I could accept that, but that is no longer the case - she's making money from her writings. Certainly "dominant"
must include some measure of courage by any standard!

VeezKnight said...


Geez, I dunno. Why don't you ask Ms. Sutton and tell her how you feel. I'm sure she'll snap-to, considering the commentary is from... oh damn... you're anonymous too, aren't ya.

Anonymous said...

If I were asking you to pay, then
I would provide my name and credentials. Would you take medical advice from a physician who
wouldn't reveal his or her name?
Isn't the possibility of harm also
present here?

I did ask, and received no useful response.

Anonymous said...

As someone formerly close to people in V.O.T, I agree they are attempting to teach female led relationships to the masses, which is admirable.

Unfortunately they are willing to shame those living the kinkier side of female dominance in the interest of more income. I won't be shamed for enjoying bdsm between two consenting adults. I am also sick of the editing, rejecting, and cyber-screaming done to us for not being vanilla enough.