A girlfriend took me to the movies one night. I didn't take her, you realize—she took me. On the ride over, I sat obediently in the passenger seat, and before we got out of the car, she leaned over, thrust her hand around the back of my neck and told me, "I'm the boss.” I gulped as a burst of lightheadedness hit, but my bulge sent her the message she wanted: "Yes, ma'am!”

Later that night—and every other night we spent together—she was on top. Sex was all about her orgasms, and I only got to come when she said so. Over time I came to understand I belonged to her. I stopped masturbating because she didn't like it. Sex was on her schedule, not mine.

Spot me at the bar swigging shots or on the court breaking ankles, and you'd never guess I like to be kept in check. I'm like a lot of guys: masculine, confident, secure. But behind the sharp suit, polished shoes and firm handshake, I'm different. I see women and sex differently than most guys. No desire to wear the pants in my relationship, except literally. That means if she wants drinks, dinner and dancing, she gets exactly that. Her wishes are my commands, in and out of the bedroom.

I'm not looking for a dominatrix, though—shit, I can pay for that—I'm looking for something more: love and romance with a dominant, take-charge woman. If she wants a night of sex where the only contact we make is my tongue on her, then there it is. If she wants to deprive me entirely? Fair game. She decides; I provide.

I first felt the pangs of it in elementary school, when my friend's mother threatened to spank me for swearing. I remember her coming at me in their family room, a strip of orange Hotwheels track in hand. She was angry, her eyes violent. Calling me out by my full name, she threatened to strip off my pants and teach me a lesson. I had never had an orgasm, obviously, but somehow I knew I liked this. She was a MILF, and the idea of getting a good ass-beating from a friend's outraged, sexy mom seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. It still does.

After rather desperate high school years—I was the guy who didn't get any—I hit my stride. It was the early '80s; Mr. Mom and women in power suits asking guys out. While most guys went running, I was having the time of my life. I could easily find women who not only liked being in charge, but insisted on it. I remember riding the streetcar in Boston one night, my girlfriend pulled me close, unzipped my pants and took hold. "Mine,” she whispered.

All of the women I've been attracted to shared that common denominator: control. They had it, and I didn't. They didn't want to whip, punish or abuse me—they just wanted what a lot of men want, someone who would give them love and sex on their terms, obediently and without question. In all other aspects of my life, I am actually competitive as hell, and professionally, I am very driven. But in relationships, it's a different game. So what separates the alpha males from the betas? Who knows.

When I first tell a woman, I usually get one of two reactions: The first is, "I'm not a dominatrix,” which is her way of saying she's not going to invest in a new wardrobe of leather and latex, that she thinks it's all about costuming, kink and games. These women may look the part—high heels and assertive attitudes—but the idea of being catered to and obeyed by a deferential guy isn't their thing. The reaction I hope for is a raised eyebrow, saying, "I'm listening, tell me more.” The dynamic suddenly changes. Deep down, I believe many women want the power in relationships. Getting a woman to come to terms with that is a tricky proposition, though. Push too hard, and she pulls away. Push too softly, and she thinks you're a wimp. The right push, a sincere explanation, and I might find myself on my back, happily doing things her way.

Of course, dating dominant women can be complicated. They have high expectations that can be challenging, if not downright scary. They may ask you what movie you want to see, but that doesn't mean you're going to get to see it. They can ask for a restaurant suggestion, but you're going where she wants to go. Ultimately, it's about ego: Hers is bigger. She makes the decisions, you accept it, and you both know it.

I was on a date recently with a self-described dominant woman I met through a personal ad on Craigslist. She was a hot soccer mom. She rolled up in her SUV, tall, fit, pretty, exuding confidence. We ordered a round of cocktails and got comfortable. She did most of the talking, interviewing me about what I wanted in a relationship, how long I'd been submissive and my opinions on a variety of social issues. When the conversation turned to her, she came right out and told me she had to have control of every aspect of her man in a relationship, that her ex-husband couldn't submit, and she had moved on. She would manage everything, from what I ate and how I dressed to when I could have an orgasm. And she wasn't kidding.
This was, in essence, what I'd been looking for all along. A job moved me across the country, but if we had continued to date, I would now be living my life under her roof in obedience and chastity. She told me she was an advocate of "enforced chastity”—my penis would be literally locked up in a Lucite device that doesn't permit an erection, and she would have the only key. That, I must admit, had me open.