On Wanting to Be Wanted

I am currently making my way through, among other pertinent reads, Otto Rank’s, Beyond Psychology. (Additionally, I have decided to include an up-to-date list of books I am reading under the main menu/sidebar for anyone who is interested in doing their own reading on the topics discussed here. I was inspired to do so by a recent post on NancyRuns&Writes.) The other morning, I found myself pulled into a thoughtful discussion of the need, in the late 1930s, for a feminine psychology. Ranks asserts, “Whereas man’s will in its free expression is simply ‘wanting,’ in woman’s psychology we meet the paradoxical will-phenomenon of wanting to be wanted. Such reversal in the expression of the will raises the question as to whether we are to see in it another perversity of human nature or a genuine expression of woman’s natural self.” I cite this passage because it gave me pause. I first asked myself about the relevance of the example, wanting to be wanted. How do I observe this phenomenon within myself—if I do at all? Is it really a reverse expression of will? Or is the phenomenon of wanting to be wanted, like so many of the other phenomena I’ve described, or attempted to describe, here simply best understood through an entirely different lens? And isn’t that what Rank is suggesting, anyway?

I also had to ask myself, if I go on long enough elucidating these feelings, motivations, and sexual/sensual experiences, could I eventually develop my own theory of the female psyche, or at the very least, of female eroticism? A lifelong endeavor, perhaps. I mean, is that what I’ve already started to do? Talk about bizarre and (marginally) unintended consequences. But, I digress…

I have decided that wanting to be wanted fits in squarely with the other aspects of female eroticism I have discussed previously. It is very much a charged experience, for me, anyway. I do not believe it is rooted in insecurity, nor is it reflective of a desire to be taken care of, to be objectified, or placed, unintentionally, on display. It doesn’t feign modesty or helplessness. Rather, I see it as a need to be admired, or more precisely, as a desire to command desire. I say that because wanting to be wanted produces a kind of ferocity in me. It bites.


When I want to be wanted (would I, by the way, be terribly remiss not to mention the song?), I want to draw desire out of a man. It is the dance I crave. I am hungry for the chase. It is just as straightforward a desire as “wanting.” Indeed, it is its own form of wanting. More than that, it is its compliment. Wanting to be wanted is a very powerful and energizing desire to exert control (to a certain extent, though never completely) over a man’s desires. To make him crave me. To render him helpless to his need for me. That’s part of the hunt. And it’s what women are good at.

It’s in the way we flirt.

It’s in the way we dress.

It’s in the way we walk.

It’s in the way we pose.

It’s written in our smile.

It’s embedded in our stare.

And we do it on purpose. Because it feels sexy. And it feels good. And it feels powerful. Indeed, if I want a man to make me want to submit to him (perhaps a topic for a post of its own), then I must first go through the ritual of making him want me. Isn’t that right?

The more I probe these complex erotic experiences, the more convinced I am of their interrelatedness. And the more clearly I can see how they operate by their own set of rules. I often think that, although I am able to articulate these feelings somewhat straightforwardly, they are best expressed creatively. Through art. Through fiction. Through poetry. That is the reasoning behind The Vixen Diaries (which received a great deal of attention, including a much-needed makeover, during the last 24 hours): to use my creative abilities to enhance my understanding of those otherwise inarticulable phenomena within myself. To venture across that often unsteady bridge between thought and feeling. As far as it can take me.

Adobe Spark-90

28 thoughts on “On Wanting to Be Wanted

  1. And we’re glad you do all of it. I’m pretty sure if a woman’s sending this kind of message, there’s a part of our brains that’s tuned into that frequency very well. The crossed signals are a whole area of comedy and tragedy. I’ve been paying attention to the Grope Sagas and can’t understand why any guy would do that. There must be a switch in some men’s heads that has to do with being turned on by domination. I think–I hope–they’re a minority. Weinstein must have been that kind, given that he looks like a toad. I’m not a groper, and remember the embarrassment of thinking someone was sending *that* signal a couple of times only to find out she was trying to suppress a sneeze. Oh, man. Awkward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! You’re so right about crossed signals…I never understood the groping thing, either. I think it must make some men feel good about themselves—to be able to cop a feel or something. I honestly don’t know, but I can tell you that I’ve developed a pretty thick skin when it comes to that kind of thing. I think most women do. Sadly. I think I mentioned to you previously that I had one job in particular that placed me “on display” in a way (I was a flight attendant.), and I still think that most men who approach women in an unseemly fashion are just clueless in a harmless sort of way. But, the gropers are a different breed. You can almost sniff them out. I get the Weinstein thing. Using his power to get what he wanted. Why else would any woman want him? I think most women know that when we put ourselves out there in the hopes of receiving good attention, we’re also going to get some of the bad, unfortunately. Maybe someone should do a study on why some men become of the groping kind. I’d be interested to know! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s good that it’s all getting aired. I have some Pakistani friends, mostly expats living here (long story), and a discussion thread about how much worse this all is in that conservative culture has blown up. The women started opening up, the men tried to shush them and that was a mistake. 😜

        It’s ignited in France, too. Probably others. The internet means it can spread and not be hidden.

        Did you happen to see this today?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My favorite part of that article was the last paragraph. I take some issue with the way “sexual predation” is being defined in some of these news pieces following the grope scandals. The definition is getting more and more liberal. And that’s a problem. Being a predator and being a jackass are two different things. It would be better for all of us if we knew the difference. I like as much as the next person when Hollywood is in the spotlight for this kind of thing, and I believe wholeheartedly that predators and harassers should be called out for their behavior, but I am not sure I like where it all might be going…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, a fair amount of virtue-signaling, score settling and some pretty wimpy victimhood, too.

        If a guy grabs you, i think you should either smack him hard or just push off, depending on what he grabbed and how. And yell for help if he gets aggressive. But to carry the “ordinary” clumsy or clueless move for years seems a bit too much. But a regular thing with a boss or someone in the family is the real thing, and probably not rare. And that needs to be exposed.

        The women i knew growing up would have taken direct action, but i think it wasn’t as necessary as it is now. But they just seemed to expect respect, and got it.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I agree with what you say about bosses and men in the family—men in power who abuse their power. And also about men who are stupidly aggressive. They need to be told (or shown), in no uncertain terms, where to go. Your last sentence, by the way, speaks volumes. The same idea I was attempting to get across in the post you requested I write. Anaïs Nin wrote an essay, published in the ‘70s, titled, “The New Woman,” in which she describes her vision for a new, more enlightened woman, the woman of the future. She says, “I imagine she will be very tranquil about her strength and serenity, a woman who will know how to talk to children and to the men who sometimes fear her.” Yes. I think so, too. I think women can do more. We can’t just sit back and grieve. And be helpless. What kind of existence is that?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s not a life to be afraid all the time, or to think of yourself as a victim. I know it hasn’t been the same everywhere. But wonder what was going on where it was?

        Women’s strengths are different, but i like “serene”. 😘

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I have a similar ideal in my own mind of a quiet kind of power that women wield, or, rather, a power that we can wield with a quiet confidence. What would jackass guys who like to “cop a feel” every now and then do in the face of a woman who was quietly confident—serene—in her own power? Maybe not in this generation, but the next. What if that was the version of womanhood they came to understand? Idealistic, perhaps. But, I see it, too. The possibility, anyway.


  2. Ah, but back to the old favorites. Why mess around? This is what I’m thinking…

    “…your skirt of crystal, your skirt of water,
    your lips, your hair, your glances rain
    all through the night, and all day long
    you open my chest with your fingers of water,
    you close my eyes with your mouth of water,
    you rain on my bones, a tree of liquid
    sending roots of water into my chest.

    I travel your length, like a river,
    I travel your body, like a forest,
    like a mountain path that ends at a cliff. ”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed this – yes, I’m in agreement, I belive it is part of the ‘feminine’ – a need to be wanted sexually. Fine as it goes, and very nice, thank you, but that doesn’t mean we’re inviting groping as we go about our business…I just wish women had said no to all this earlier, despite jobs on the line. What did we fight for all these years? Personal and private sexuality and respecting people’s public space are two very different matters. And this abuse of power has to stop. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like the idea that “wanting to be wanted” is a primary desire, owned by women, and not merely a derivative of a man’s “wanting.” Yes, the two are complimentary. I can testify that men feel “wanting to be wanted,” too, though perhaps we are socially conditioned to play it down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think it’s most helpful to understand as a desire in it’s own right—not as a derivative of man’s wanting and not as a negative form of objectification. I believe that man probably have an equivalent of that feeling, though the experience of it and it’s significance in the mating game might be different. Thank you for the feedback!


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