The female led relationship (FLR) has become more common than ever, as women are increasingly viewed as equal, powerful, and able to take on a formerly masculine role.
In this comprehensive beginner’s guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about female led relationships, including:
- Identifying the FLR
- The importance of boundaries in FLRs
- The different types of FLRs
- The perks of FLRs
- The drawbacks of FLRs
- How to deal with problems in an FLR
- How to decide if you’re ready for an FLR
Identifying the Female Led Relationship
Key factors to ponder when considering a female led relationship are the goals, needs, and desires of each partner. Lots of women prefer to be the chief decision-maker, and many men are happy—and even relieved—to forfeit their previous dominant role.
By making a conscious decision to reject societal norms, these couples are able to adapt their relationships to fit their dominant or submissive personas. While it may not be for everyone, this role reversal can lead to increased harmony and happiness for many duos.
It’s important to note that every relationship dynamic is different, so one female led relationship may look entirely different than another. The best part? You and your partner are able to build a partnership that works for you, both individually and collectively. There’s no need to conform to society’s ideal, because you make the rules.
The Importance of Boundaries in a Female Led Relationship
Speaking of rules, it’s essential to establish boundaries when entering or transitioning to a female led relationship. Although you and your partner will want to create relationship rules that work for your unique situation, the following guidelines should help:
1. Communicate Openly and Honestly
In any relationship, it’s important that both partners’ voices are heard, and a female led relationship is no exception. Effective communication fosters trust while warding off uncertainty and conflict. Relationships change and grow over time, so ongoing communication is essential as your partnership evolves.
2. Find a Comfortable Balance
Female led relationships are often misunderstood, as some folks believe the woman has 100% of the control. While this may be the case for some couples, the majority of FLRs involve shared decision-making and responsibilities. It’s up to each couple to determine how this dynamic plays out within the relationship.
3. Discuss Your Expectations
As mentioned previously, communication is the driving force in any healthy relationship. Along with deciding who will take on individual responsibilities, couples should discuss what they are unwilling or unable to do. Some dominant females provide a list of tasks they prefer their partner to take on, such as cooking, cleaning, or other traditional female roles.
When beginning or transitioning to an FLR, women should make their expectations clear, and men should mention any concerns right away. This open dialog will ensure both parties are satisfied with their expected roles.
Types of Female Led Relationships
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to female led relationships. There are different levels, and only you and your partner can decide which is right for you. Some relationships progress to higher levels of dominance over time, while others strike more of a balance as each partner’s needs evolve.
Below, I outline each FLR level and what it typically entails:
Level 1. Lower Female Control
This FLR level involves the least power differential. Both parties make nearly all decisions together, with the female taking control only in specific, previously agreed-on situations.
In some cases, couples decide to initiate an FLR, but transitioning to a power role is difficult for the woman. Asserting dominance may feel foreign and/or uncomfortable. Any hesitance often arises from societal expectations or the traditional male-female relationship dynamics these women witnessed growing up. It may take some time and encouragement for a woman to move from a passive to a dominant role.
It’s not uncommon for couples to shift to a higher level of female dominance once the woman’s comfort level increases.
Level 2. Moderate Female Control
When the woman takes on a more moderate level of control in the relationship, she’s typically more comfortable in her dominant role. She is generally the primary decision-maker. Men in this dynamic tend to enjoy taking on a more passive persona and prefer to be subservient in most areas of the relationship.
Although many couples are content to stay in a moderately female-controlled relationship, men who love to be dominated—and women who love to dominate—often up the ante by transitioning to a more formal level of the FLR. While sexual kinks are commonly explored at this level, the female isn’t necessarily “in charge” of the couple’s sex life, though her desires may be prioritized.
Level 3. Defined Control
In many ways, this higher level of the female led relationship is easier to establish and uphold. The woman commonly makes most decisions, taking on more of a traditional male role. Situations in which the man will take control are clearly communicated from the start.
In general, the male is submissive at this level, sometimes taking on a traditionally feminine role by staying home and/or taking care of the children. The female is typically the breadwinner, and both parties consider her the head of their household. In short, traditional gender roles are almost completely reversed.
Defined control FLRs are often more complex than relationships with lower dominance levels, as the female may take charge of the couple’s sex life. Most, though not all, of the kinks explored by the couple are based on the woman’s needs and desires. BDSM devices may come into play, along with other sexual exploration.
Level 4. Extreme Female Control/Immersion
Couples who enter into an extreme FLR are immersed in female domination and male submissiveness. The female takes complete control in the relationship, deciding how her partner spends his time and how finances are handled.
The male may act as a servant who is always ready and willing to submit to his partner. At this level, nearly—if not every—aspect of the male’s actions are dictated by the female. He’ll likely dress to please the woman and submit to her every desire, both inside and outside the home.
Sexually, every kink explored is based on the woman’s wants, needs, and desires. The couple may delve into hardcore BDSM. At the other extreme, the woman may require complete chastity from her partner. The man has little to no say in the relationship—or the bedroom. Previously agreed-on punishments can be a turn-on for both partners. As long as the dynamic is consensual, this extreme level of female dominance in a relationship can be successful.
A Few Notes Regarding the FLR Levels
Although I’ve broken the four female led relationship types into distinct categories above, it’s best to view the levels on a continuum rather than exclusive of one another. Couples in FLRs tend to transition to various levels, so I prefer to describe the FLR relationship on a spectrum.
My #1 piece of advice to couples entering a female led relationship—or progressing to more extreme levels—is to communicate about any modifications you wish to make before initiating change. While there can certainly be a natural progression, open communication is important to ensure both parties are comfortable and ready to explore new levels of domination and submission.
You and your partner will also need to decide on which level of dominance/submissiveness you want to present to the outside world. Some duos keep their dynamic completely under wraps, while others don’t find it necessary to disguise their true relationship dynamic. I would encourage you and your partner to consider how your status to the outside world will affect your relationships with family members, friends, colleagues, etc. Openness about FLRs can require tough conversations that some couples are ready to face, while others are not.
The Perks of FLRs for Women and Men
Some folks don’t understand the appeal of a female led relationship. Many see the entire dynamic as demeaning and/or unhealthy. I don’t think it’s necessary to justify your FLR (or any type of relationship) to anyone, but I find it incredibly encouraging that so many people are finally allowing themselves to explore their desire for a nontraditional relationship style.
I’m not at all surprised that FLRs are appealing to both women and men. There are perks for everyone, which I highlight below:
Why Women Love Female Led Relationships
I discussed FLRs with many happily-partnered women while preparing to write this guide. When asked why these ladies enjoy this type of relationship, they’ve offered the following answers:
“I like being in control. I like knowing who handles the finances (me) and who is in charge of meals and housework (him). My professional life is chaotic, stressful, and unpredictable, so I like having full control at home.” – Vicki R.
“I felt comfortable asking my husband if we could try a female led relationship because he liked to be dominated in bed. We had a great sex life, but he had zero motivation in everyday life and I was beyond bored with our marriage. Our new dominant/submissive roles have spiced up our entire relationship. He is completely submissive to me now, and we both love it! There’s no going back.” – Paige C.
“I’ve always found my boyfriend attractive, but he lacked a lot of the qualities I was looking for in a partner. By taking charge of our relationship, I’ve helped him become the best version of himself. He holds a powerful role at work but has become subservient at home. He enjoys the contrast, and I find him sexier than ever.” – Nevaeh H.
“Our relationship is a peaceful one. We have clear roles and rules, and we have no trouble sticking to them. We’ve both been much more content since transitioning to a female led relationship.” – Aimee R.
“I love being cherished. My boyfriend and I have been in an FLR for over 6 years now, and he has made me feel loved and appreciated every day. I’m very much the dominant, and he’s passive, aside from showing his adoration for me. This lifestyle just works for us. We both feel more valued than we did in our previous relationships.” – Kimber L.
Why Men Prefer Female Led Relationships
To an outsider, it may seem as if FLRs are all about the female’s needs and desires. That’s simply not the case. As I learned from my research, men love this relationship dynamic just as much as women. Here’s what they had to say:
“I have a tendency to mess up anything good in my life, so I prefer that my wife take charge. I don’t have to concern myself with decisions that could negatively affect our relationship. In all honesty, I just don’t like making important decisions. She does a much better job.” –Timothy J.
“There’s no power struggle since we’ve defined our expectations and discussed our roles at home. As an added bonus, it has made parenting 100% easier.” – Gavin H.
“My passivity has always been viewed as a weakness. My FLR has turned what was perceived as a flaw into a strength. I’m grateful my better half proposed this arrangement. I no longer wonder if there’s something innately wrong with me.” – Dominic S.
“I don’t view this lifestyle as a preference; I see it as a necessity. I work long hours and have to travel a lot for business. Home is my escape. By being in charge of virtually every decision, my wife makes my life much happier and easier.” – Norman K.
The Drawbacks of Female Led Relationships
I’m a longtime fan of FLRs for a variety of reasons but, admittedly, they aren’t for everyone. To thrive, each couple must find the relationship style that works best for them. It’s important to note that no relationship is perfect, and even good, solid relationships are rocky at times, whether it be a traditional relationship or an FLR.
With that being said, I’d like to share some insight I received from my interviewees regarding problems they’ve faced in their current or previous female led relationships. I’d like to add that most of the individuals I spoke with were able to salvage their relationships.
Let’s start with the guys this time:
Mark D., one of my interviewees, gave the best response when I asked if the difficulties he and his wife, Maddie, had faced were dealbreakers. “Absolutely not,” Mark said. “We’re determined to make this work. My wife’s dominance made me insecure after losing my job, so we reevaluated the power dynamic and established new boundaries. We’re better than ever.”
Along with Mark, I interviewed a few men who struggled to find their place in FLRs. This is what they told me:
“I felt like I was living a lie, because I couldn’t open up to my friends or family members about being submissive at home. The stigma is ridiculous, and I wish it didn’t affect me or my relationship, but it did. I don’t like feeling like I’m in hiding.” –Stephen A.
“When I feel uncomfortable with my wife’s demands, I have a hard time speaking up. I have always been relatively passive, but strangely, her dominance eventually made me want to assert my own power. We had to come up with new rules.” –Marcus O.
“I resented my girlfriend for making decisions without me and filling me in after making or canceling plans. She is always receptive to my concerns, so discussing it wasn’t an issue, but it was a source of contention for quite a while.” –Emilio S.
I was somewhat surprised to learn that despite most of my female interviewees being comfortable in a dominant role, they’ve encountered problems in their FLRs as well.
Here’s what the women had to say:
“It got exhausting. I’d work all day and come home to round two: home life. I was in control of pretty much everything, so I asked my husband to take on more responsibilities. I have the summers off, so I’ll resume my dominant role while I’m on break. Right now, I’m just too tired.” – Shana K.
“It took a long time to establish boundaries. We should have sat down and written them out from the beginning. It was have saved a lot of time, energy, and heartache. I’d recommend setting ground rules right away.” – Kylie S.
Dealing with the Drawbacks of a FLR: 7 Tips for Success
Hopefully the testimonials above will help you avoid making common mistakes in your female led relationship. Below, I’ve compiled a few more tried-and-true tips and tricks to help you deal when things get difficult:
1. Don’t rush it. When entering into a FLR, both parties should feel comfortable with the level of domination/submissiveness. If your partner is hesitant about his or her role, don’t discount those feelings. It may take time for the relationship to reach the desired level.
2. Talk it out. Don’t ignore the problem in hope that the situation will magically improve. Communicate with your partner to work out the kinks in order to move forward.
3. Be patient. If your partner is taking on new responsibilities to fulfill his or her new dominant or submissive role, he or she may need guidance, along with plenty of practice and patience. Not everyone is a natural caretaker, housekeeper, or chef. Be patient if your partner is still in the learning phase.
4. Keep an open mind. Just because you and your partner opted for a level 4, hardcore dominant FLR doesn’t mean you’re locked into it forever. Be open-minded about your roles in the relationship, and make modifications when necessary. People and circumstances change, and your relationship may have to be modified as well. It’s important to reevaluate your terms and roles from time to time.
5. Consider each other’s feelings. I’m all for going after what you want in your FLR, but be sure to take your partner’s feelings into consideration. At the extreme level, the man may feel as if his needs, wants, and opinions are secondary or not important at all. If you feel as if your partner isn’t being considerate, speak up. This will help stave off tension, repressed feelings, and unnecessary blowups.
6. Be mindful of your role. You’ll want to establish guidelines and rules to ensure a peaceful FLR. It’s easy for the woman to unknowingly transition into a mothering role, which can lead to resentment in the relationship. While it may take extra time and energy initially, defining your roles in the beginning—and reevaluating when necessary—will help your relationship stay on a healthy track.
7. Seek outside help. The complexities of a female led relationship can sometimes be difficult to navigate alone. If you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye, seeking outside help can be incredibly helpful. I recommend contacting a reputable relationship therapist or coach who is well-versed in FLRs. Without proper training and experience, a traditional counselor or coach may not understand the dynamics and complexities of your relationship.
Are You Ready to Venture into a Female Led Relationship?
Now that you know what a female led relationship entails, are you ready to dive in? It can be a difficult decision, as many men and women are hardwired to adhere to traditional gender roles.
Thankfully, people are pushing back against societal norms and pursuing the nontraditional relationship styles they deeply desire. After all, life is short, and we all deserve to be in satisfying relationships rather than blindly sticking to the status quo.
If you and your partner have touched on the subject of an FLR but haven’t discussed it in detail, read through this guide together and do additional research to ensure you’re both comfortable with the dynamic. It’s also important to decide which level to delve into together, and to be transparent with each other throughout the entire process. Testing the waters can be fun, but it can also be confusing and overwhelming in the beginning.
Remember: You and your partner define your relationship, and you can make adjustments at any time. There are no hard-and-fast rules in FLRs besides the rules you decide on together.
A Final Note on Female Led Relationships
Although I’ve covered a lot of serious points in this guide, I’d like to mention the contentment, excitement, playfulness, and downright bliss that often accompanies a female led relationship. Sometimes opening yourself up to new experiences can be life-changing in the best way. I’ve found that to be true in my own FLR, and I sincerely hope you do too!