Taken in Hand (sometimes abbreviated as TiH) is a neologism that refers to a style of monogamous, heterosexual relationship which is male-led. The female submits to her male partner’s decisions in matters of everyday life.
Most Taken in Hand relationships exist between couples who are married or at least highly committed. The root of the idea of a Taken in Hand relationship is that the female will submit to the male in matters of everyday life. To what extent and which areas this covers varies from couple to couple, from a general avoidance of conflict by letting the male partner “get his way” to almost complete submission to the preferences of the man in matters such as clothing, friendships with others, styling of hair and many other things. It is quite common in TiH relationships for the woman to generally curtail her social life significantly so as devote more time to the relationship. Unlike BDSM relationships, TiH relationships are strictly “real life” rather than consisting of negotiated scenes. Whilst many BDSM activities take place mostly within the bedroom or the “Scene” (parties, clubs etc.) TiH relationships place a great deal of emphasis on everyday “vanilla” submission to the authority of the male as “Head of Household” (HoH) in a committed and long term relationship. Generally the male partner is expected to be the final decision-maker in most matters, and the female is expected to submit to him. This is generally regarded as being for the ultimate benefit of the relationship in reducing conflict and fostering closeness and trust. In some ways TiH could be and often is regarded as a very old-fashioned marriage, and many conventional marriages do fit unknowingly into the TiH dynamic.
Discipline is a fairly major aspect of TiH relationships and is used by the man on the woman to either punish a transgression (flagrant disobedience, arguing etc.) or as a means to end an unending dispute. The discipline rendered may be verbal scolding or loss of privileges, but is most often physical (usually a spanking). In this context it is intended to be un-erotic and not desired (though it is consensual).
like Master/slave relationships, the woman in a TiH relationship is regarded as owned . However many couples in TiH relationships feel that a strong feeling of possessiveness and protectiveness by the man for the woman is an essential ingredient of the relationship, which is also commonly accepted in western culture. This does not however extend to a concept of the woman being owned property. Although it is often said that not all TiH women are submissive, and not all TiH men dominant, it is generally accepted that a large proportion of both do regard themselves as such.
There are few facts or rules when it comes to TiH relationships, but speculation as to why this type of relationship has gained some popularity of late has lead some researchers to the conclusion that it is derived primarily from the sex life of the couples involved. The naturally penetrative and dominating sexual position of the man and the receptive and submissive position of the woman, which leads to fertilization, could indicate one reason for the popularity of TiH relationships.
The sexual dynamic of Taken in Hand relationships is seen as an extension of the non-sexual dynamics. Although the female partner will almost invariably be submissive and passive to the will and wishes of the male, it is not a must. A Taken in Hand relationship may have both authoritarian and cooperative aspects, and it is up to each couple to determine how sexual power will be handled in their relationship.
Although corporal punishment is employed in Taken in Hand relationships literally as discipline for transgression, erotic spanking is fairly common as well. For Taken in Hand couples who also enjoy erotic spanking, a variety of ways to differentiate between erotic and disciplinary spanking have been developed, mostly having to do with the intensity and duration of the spanking.
The issue of consent
At the beginning of the relationship there is an understanding that this is the kind of relationship both parties really want, and consent is given for all or most things that the relationship entails, much like old-world marriage vows. There is also a strong idea of “consensual nonconsent”, particularly when discipline is involved. There is much debate over exactly where the lines are drawn concerning this and quite what it encompasses but the general idea includes both “Consent through silence” (very common in TiH relationships in the “I actually disapprove but I will say nothing so as not to be disobedient” context) style of consent and the idea that although on the surface a woman may say no, on a deeper level and from the beginning of the relationship consent genuinely was present, and on that deeper level is still strongly given.
The issue remains thorny, more outside of the TiH world than within it however. To outsiders, TiH relationships are often regarded as old fashioned.