What To Know About Female-Led Relationships

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, the disparity in heterosexual relationships became even more obvious than it had been in the past. With kids not being in school and learning from home, the burden of keeping up a full-time job, being a full-time teacher, and doing the usual domestic tasks largely fell onto women. In some cases, women were forced to quit their jobs just to keep up with the demands at home. Some experts suggest that the impact COVID had on gender equality set women back 10 years (via New York Times).


"The pandemic has fundamentally impacted gender equality in both the workplace and the home, rolling back years of progress," managing director of the World Economic Forum Saadia Zahidi said in a statement to France24.

Although it's disheartening to see progress move backward in any realm, there are ways, at least when it comes to our romantic relationships, that we can do something about it. While we may not be able to change the damage caused by COVID or how the world continues to thrive on the disparity between men and women, we can at least make conscious steps to take the upper hand at home.

What are female-led relationships?

According to a January 2020 Gallup poll, when it comes to household chores, women are still the ones doing all the work. As the poll found, women are 58% more likely to do laundry than the 13% of men who were willing to do it. Cleaning the house? That task fell to women 51% of the time, compared to only 9% of the time when it was something men did. It's as if the women's liberation movement of the late '60s never happened — and these stats are before COVID got officially underway.


So, how can we get our control back? Enter female-led relationships.

"In a female-led relationship, the woman is in charge and makes the decisions," chief dating expert at Match Rachel DeAlto tells Cosmopolitan. "When you're in charge, you less frequently doubt your own ability or worth. You're also less likely to be emotionally manipulated or controlled by your partner."

Female-led relationships (FLRs) do stem from the BDSM community where power play is often at the center of kinky relationships (via The Body). But with FLRs, women being in control doesn't necessarily have to be in the bedroom. Instead, women can call all the shots in every corner of the relationship. And why not? Isn't it time for a change? If you ask your grandmother, she'd probably respond with a resounding YES.


How to make your relationship female-led

When it comes to female-led relationships, there are four levels of control: low, moderate, defined, and extreme (via Stylecraze). Naturally, what type of control you want in your relationship is dependent upon what you and your partner agree to. Some men in hetero relationships aren't comfortable giving up complete control because of society's rules and expectations, while others eschew these social constructs and are more than happy to step back and let their partner manage everything.


But in order to let go, the man needs to trust that his partner is capable of all decision-making in the relationship, from finances to social events that they'll attend. In turn, the woman needs to respect that with such authority comes a lot of responsibility, especially in a culture that is so man-centric in regards to who's "in charge." Because of these factors, communication is paramount. It's not a good idea to hide your feelings in this kind of relationship (or any other relationship).

"The very kinky and taboo nature of an FLR urges partners to triple-check the quality of their communication and ensure the existence of mutual enjoyment and consent," professional dominatrix Empress Jordyn Burell tells Cosmopolitan. "For the relationship to even function, trust is an absolute must."


However, it should be amplified that the "kink" aspect here is because FLRs go against the grain, and not necessarily kinky in a sexual way. After all, Merriam-Webster defines a kink as "a clever unusual way of doing something." 

If this all sounds appealing and both partners are ready to switch around the gender roles, then maybe this "clever unusual way" to have a relationships is right for you. You won't know until you give it a whirl.