The practical guide to marriage for alpha females with Suzanne Venker

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When I shared on Facebook an excerpt of Suzanne Venker's new book, The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage: How Love Worksout this week, many people dismissed it entirely because it was on, a network where Venker is a frequent contributor. Prepping for this interview, I asked my boyfriend if he thought I was an alpha, and if so, difficult to date. He recoiled at the notion that anyone could be boxed into any category (I'll take that as a ‘yes' and a ‘yes.').

All perfectly reasonable reactions, but let me tell you this:

Read the freaking book.

If the title alone irritates the crap out of you, it means it triggers something deep and important in you.

So read the book.

Since New York Times bestseller got a deal to write this book is only a testament to the fact that there are a lot of alpha women out there — women with difficult marriages, women searching for romantic love, women who worry their skyrocketing career and direct ways threaten her marriage — or the prospect of finding one.

Progressive brethren, I hear your objections. I get that women should not hold themselves back for the sake of their relationship. That men need to step up and accept strong women.

But what if you are just an intolerable, domineering bitch who needs to be called out?

What if you are just annoying?

What if you tried an experiment, and simply tried a new way of interacting with the men in your life? Just as a test, to see if it works?

I read the book, and I am here to tell you that Venker — a longtime married, Midwestern mom of two teenagers — has a refreshing new way to manage your relationship. Maybe you follow her recipe, step-by-step (I suggest you don't as there are some very flawed messages, read on). Or maybe you glean a few tips, a strategy or two to reinvent a relationship that isn't working so great, or to attract one that really, really will.

I can tell you that I am trying out some of this advice with my new man (“Have zero expectations.” The root of all misery, after all), and some of the insights are golden when dealing with my ex (“A man’s reaction to being told what to do by his wife is to do the exact opposite,” and “Stop arguing with him.” Golden, ladies. Golden.).

Ultimately, this book recognizes feminine power, and encourages women to use it to better their relationships and family life by taking control of their own happiness and wellbeing – and stop trying to control men. It's about recognizing that you want a masculine man, and that men like feminine women, and ultimately, women want to feel feminine. This is truth:


Most women do want to feel safe in the arms of someone who is stronger than they are. They want their man to be the dominant partner in the relationship, and the only reason they don’t feel comfortable admitting it is because the culture won’t let them. The culture wants women in charge.

The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage isn't perfect. My beefs include:

  • Her only answer to the very real problem of breadwinning women being a challenge to heterosexual marriage is for women to hold themselves back professionally. Reject!
  • There is a difference between controlling your own behavior for the sake of changing your relationship dynamic and manipulating your significant other. She advocates for full-frontal manipulation in many cases.
  • There's hardly any sex in this book. The topic of alpha, breadwinning women is really about sex. The lone, final chapter on this book dedicated to having more and willing sex with your husband struck me as dated and not relevant to the unabashedly sexual women that I know. Plus, I just wanted more sex in this book.

Additional reading: The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today's Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling by Dr. Sonya Rhodes

About Like a Mother 

Celebrities, bestsellers, turd-stirrers, advocates, everyday people with amazing stories, and call-in guests to discuss what smart moms really care about: Career, money, business, parenting, feminism, dating, sex, success, love and relationships.

“Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” —U.S. News

Other ways to listen: iTunes  ♦  Stitcher   ♦  TuneIn   ♦  SoundCloud ♦  Google Play

Full episode transcript of Like A Mother with guest Suzanne Venker

Emma Johnson: This is Like A Mother with Emma Johnson, for moms who think. Ladies, this is one I'm so looking forward to. I have Suzanne Venker. A lot of people that follow me bristled that I was sharing her stuff because she is a Fox News contributor, but let's keep an open mind please. I loved, I will say, 85% of her message in her new book, which will probably be yet another one of her best sellers. The title really kind of says it all. The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage: How Love Works. Got that? The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage: How Love Works.

Emma Johnson: And if I could give it just a nutshell summary, I would say that it is really just a practical guide to marriage for alpha females. Would that be fair, Suzanne?

Suzanne Venker: Yeah, I think that's great. I think that's a very good way of putting it.

Emma Johnson: Okay. But this is stirring a lot of turds. There's just a lot of women and men, I will tell you, I asked the guy I'm dating what he thought and we'll talk about that later. Women are pissed off about this.

The controversy over Suzanne Venker’s book, The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage

Suzanne Venker: Some are. Some are. And of course you hear from them because they're louder than the ones who are extremely supportive and thankful. I try to get all their stuff up in the front of the eye as much as I can because actually, to be honest with you, 85% of the response has been phenomenal. But you're right, there are people who are upset because it's upsetting the applecart. It's very different from what they're used to hearing. And I truly believe that we are initially fearful when we hear something that goes against what we've been taught forever, or if it's just something new that's just different.

Suzanne Venker: And so it takes a while to kind of swallow it. In fact, I literally just today saw another new, I can't call it a review because she's not reading the book. In fact, she specifically says she refuses to get it. And she was angry in her piece that she wrote. And yet, here's the funny part, she rants and rants and rants about how awful I am and all these terrible things I've said, but then she says, but I admit I actually struggle. She's a single woman by the way, single for seven years to date, she said, whatever that means, I think she's looking to find someone that hasn't.

Suzanne Venker: “I admit, I actually struggle with embracing my feminine side. I rarely let a man help me or even take care of me. I often shut down their compliments, and I'm quite competitive. I always believe that I can take care of myself, and I'd rather do things my way. I am one of those aforementioned females, raised by an alpha mother to be a leader, not a wife.” And then she goes on to say that she's not going to read the book, but she's definitely going to be conscious of the energy now that she's putting into her relationships as a result of reading about the book.

Suzanne Venker: So that gives you an idea of the pull, the push and pull that this is causing for some people.

Emma Johnson: Yeah. This is complicated and I was so hungry to read this book and I'm so grateful you jumped on my interview so quickly. I struggle with this conflict every single day, every single day, and all the women in my orbit, whether they're married, happily married, miserably married, single and looking, single and happy, we're all struggling with this dynamic and you are just offering one answer. You're positioning it as the answer, which of course that's what we do in media because otherwise the books are not going to sell and you're not going to get on Fox.

Suzanne Venker: You're right.

Being an alpha female or alpha male

Emma Johnson: Which I'm learning. I'm watching and learning, but the reality … This is what I have to say, what the idea of being an alpha, alpha female or alpha male for that matter, being an alpha female and say, “Well, this is how it's going to be, and the world's got to conform around me and the world is wrong and I am right. And boo hoo I'm single on Valentine's day once again. And I want to get married, have babies, but I'm 42. The world is wrong, and I'm right.” Well, that's sociopathic, but it's just not working for so many women where we're at in this moment in history. It's not working for so many women or men or couples or families.

Emma Johnson: So let's just open our minds for a moment and have a listen to this idea, which personally, it very much resonate with me on a very visceral level.

Suzanne Venker: Excellent. What did you love … What worked for you?

Emma Johnson: Well, what worked for me, and I have to say, I appreciate your story. It works because you talk about one, your family background and your mom was the Super alpha. Well, she was alpha and beta, but you also put it in the context of her time and place, but she was a stockbroker in the '60s.

Suzanne Venker: '50s.

Emma Johnson: In the '50s, and in the Midwest. And then she became a housewife. So she was working out this dynamic with your dad who was also struggling with these changing gender roles in his own journey. You go there. His first wife was a devout Catholic that was so upset that he withdrew during sex that she took out one of his nuts.

Suzanne Venker: Oh my God. That's the first time I've had that said out loud.

Emma Johnson: Yes. I was very grateful-

Suzanne Venker: Putting it in the book was hard enough.

Emma Johnson: Yeah. I was very grateful that you put it there because it just speaks to how fraught these times. They were that fraught in the '50s, and it's no better today.

Suzanne Venker: There's different issues. This is different issues.

The issue of gender and power

Emma Johnson: It's the same issue. It's gender and power. You talked about your own journey, and it made me reflect on my own journey and my own marriage. I am divorced, I've been single for seven plus years, in every kind of romantic configuration over the last seven years. And you have a little quiz in there, like, “Are you alpha and is it destroying your marriage?” And it made me really think about my own marriage. I married a Greek American guy who was very macho, and I loved that about him.

Emma Johnson: I loved that he was macho. He was really professionally ambitious, very chivalrous. I loved all of that, but man, we fought. We just fought and fought and fought. Everything was a battle. I see that now, but I would like to think that I've really evolved so much since then. So some of the messages that you go into, it's just like stop giving a shit about stuff. For example, it doesn't matter where you go to dinner, it does not matter where you go to dinner. And I remember being so upset like if we had to wait in line or the service wasn't perfect or my steak was too done, or whatever.

Emma Johnson: And it gets my panties and a giant tizzy, and I'm sure I was a lousy company. And now, I literally do not care where you go to dinner. I could care if he's making the reservation and he's taking me out and we're having a good time, then that's it, and I got that. That's a big life lesson. And that permeates everything in life, not just your date or your relationship, but everything in life. It's really, gotta have taken it way down, a lot.

Suzanne Venker: That is so significant because it may be one example, but you can apply it across the board in so many ways in your relationships because that's exactly my story. That's exactly what I learned to do. I don't dictate, or as my husband would say, direct his traffic. Which is what he kept saying, “Stop directing my traffic. Stop directing my traffic.” Because I naturally do direct traffic, I wasn't trying to direct his traffic, that sounds funny, consciously. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful or anything, but it was just natural for me.

The push and pull between inner alpha female and beta female

Suzanne Venker: So I had to accept and learn that, you know, it doesn't have to be a horrible thing in certain arenas, but it is a horrible thing in this arena. It doesn't work because A, he doesn't want to be bossed around, he's my husband, not my kid. Number one, he's a man and men do not like to be told what to do. Number three, he is in particular, really adamant about not being told what to do, and I think that goes back to having a mother … or being a product of divorce and left to his own devices, and he had the opposite kind of mothering that I did, which was hands on, in your face, controlling.

Suzanne Venker: And he had complete hands off, and he is not used to that at all. While he liked my personality, obviously, he didn't expect it or want it to be used against him. He wanted to enjoy it from, this is going to sound funny. He wanted to do enjoy it, but he didn't want to be the recipient of too much strength to the point where I'm, you know, nobody does. But really, you could not tell him anything. And so it took me a really long time to accept I cannot tell this man what to do. He's going to have to figure everything out on his own. And guess what? I learned that he's capable of doing that on his own.

Emma Johnson: Let me just quote you from your book, this is sort of the nod. It says, “The essence of the book is that we live in a time when we're trying to figure out the pay gap. I feel like it all comes down to we measure gender equality by the pay gap. That's like the most concise metric by which we can measure gender equality. And so we're all about encouraging women to be successful in academics when they're young, and then in the career, and then equal opportunity in corporate boards and in government, all these things.

The importance of switching gears between work and love

Emma Johnson: So the nurturing of the female alpha, but you say, “Work is about making money or having power and influence. Marriage is about love. If you want to be successful in both arenas, you'll need to be able to switch gears.”

Suzanne Venker: Absolutely.

Emma Johnson: And that is where people, that is where women especially, get upset.

Suzanne Venker: They're threatened because they think I'm telling them that they have to change, and God forbid they have to change. But actually, I'm not saying you have to change, I'm saying. “It's in you already, but it's been so suppressed because you haven't been allowed to develop that side of you that's natural in most women, and that is actually powerful.” Because you've been hearing this message that's saying, “Get rid of it because you've got to climb your way and crawl your way to the top by emulating men.

Suzanne Venker: But you're missing the point. That might work the workforce, yes it does, but you're missing a whole piece here. And that is that, don't get rid of it when it comes to your romantic relationships or love because it's your power. It's your power.

Emma Johnson: The Feminine Power. Somebody commented and said it on Facebook when I was posting some articles that you've written about this, and she said, “Emma, you don't strike me as somebody that would compromise yourself in a relationship. So are you suggesting that you're going to have to compromise who you are?” It's like, well, who's to say that me being so dominant is really who I am? That's simply that my culture has informed me for the 40 years I've been on this earth. You're suggesting that there is an innate, inherent feminine power in every woman that she is just returning to. She's not introducing something new. You are just returning to this?

Suzanne Venker: Correct. To what's rightfully yours, and it's just sitting there for the taking and you're just ignoring it. You don't have to change at all. It's in you. It's about harnessing that energy for a change to see what wonderful things will come of it in your personal life.

Harnessing your alpha female energy in a tactical way

Emma Johnson: Its tactical. What your advice is, is tactical. And I'll just run through a few things if you want to elaborate. Well, one, you say that men are going … the best husbands or decent husbands want to make their wives happy and that's pretty much it. If he feels that you are happy, then all good things stem from there, but it all comes down to you. You are really dictating the tenure of your home. So if you're happy, he's well laid. Your conciliatory, you're not combative, but here is where things veered off and really made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, frankly.

Emma Johnson: It's like there was a lot of suggestion, frankly, of manipulation.

Suzanne Venker: Well, it's interesting because I don't think of it that way at all. I think of it as working with nature, and how it's supposed to work naturally, and that it's like a Yin and Yang thing with masculine and feminine energy. To me manipulative is so … I can see how a person could think of it that way I guess, but I've never even dawned on me that way. I just thought, “Wow, I do this natural thing and this is the natural response for it, so I don't manipulate.”-

Emma Johnson: I'll share this example that stood out to me. We watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding in my family because-

Suzanne Venker: My favorite.

Emma Johnson: It's so fun. It's about the Midwest. You and I are both from the Midwest, but my kids are Greek American, so they go to Greece every summer with her dad. I used to watch it with their dad. I don't know, I love it and have like a personal connection to Greek culture. So there's the thing where Toula who is being raised in this extremely patriarchal household, her dad is a sweetheart, but he's an oath, and she wants to go to school and she doesn't want to stay home and make babies, except she finds a gorgeous husband later and then does. But she wants to go and work and be a woman and independent. All these things.

Emma Johnson: And her mother says, “Okay, what we're going to do is we have to convince your dad that it's his idea.” And so all the women in the family, the aunts, it's like this old world. This is how women had power because they didn't have economic power, they didn't have reproductive power, they didn't have political power. So all the women were manipulative and they all just did mind games on the men around them to get what they wanted. That's where it veers off from just harnessing your power to being consciously strategic about it.

Using your feminine power strategically

Suzanne Venker: Or as I used to say, “Using your feminine wiles.” Yeah, but you said that, big time back then. You're right. I guess as a source of manipulation. Yeah, I guess that word would apply. It has a negative connotation, I don't ever think of it that way, but I can see. I can see that. And then Big Fat Greek Wedding, I actually quoted it a couple of times in the book because it's a brilliant book for understanding. That's where the manipulation part, I never think of it that way because to me it's all about understanding men in a way that I don't think women do today that our mothers did back in the day.

Suzanne Venker: I think they understood men because in those days, it was accepted that men and women are very different. And those qualities, it was very clear as to how women typically operated, how men typically operated. And with all the gender roles and all the changes of the last 40 years, it's all got mixed up in all this other stuff that's happening. And I'm saying, human nature doesn't change. We may change, the roles may change, but the rules of love still remain. So how are we going to move forward in our ‘progress' or moving in this other, some would call it progress, some would not.

Suzanne Venker: But we're going to move forward with these changing roles and lives, but we have to work with the things that's static. And so the thing that's static is this Yin and Yang between men and women and how that works best. So that's what I'm trying to do, is marry those two things, which is what's, I guess, makes it kind of timely, very timely.

Emma Johnson: It's very, and it's been timely for like 100 years.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah, but even more so now, because as I say in the book, there were fewer alpha females back in the day. And by the way, I reject the idea that the alpha woman … If you Google alpha woman or alpha female, in addition to getting all this stuff on my book right now, you'll also see people writing about the alpha woman as just this career woman. I'm very clear that this is not about the career woman, although clearly many career women are alphas, but there's plenty of women who are in the workforce who aren't alphas. And the other piece of that that's missing is that there are plenty of women at home, full time with their kids who are absolutely alphas because …

Understanding men like our foremothers did

Suzanne Venker: In fact, I even argue that they might be more alphas-

Emma Johnson: I too.

Suzanne Venker: Because they have no boss. At least if you're in the workforce, most people have a boss. Even if you have a high up position, a mom, a full time mom has no boss. She is it, she's in charge. So it's even maybe more difficult for her to shift from being a mom all day to being a wife at night.

Emma Johnson: Yes. I think we all know woman, anecdotally, it's very easy … She knows the house is her office and the house is her domain, it's like there's one way to parent, and there's no room for the husband and father to parent, and then she might be complaining that he's not parenting correctly and he's not cleaning correctly or enough, but what's his incentive when he's constantly being criticized?

Suzanne Venker: Totally. That's it in a nutshell. And that's been going on for eons. That goes back to any era, because that's why I'm trying to hone in on the alpha woman as being just the career woman. That's not really the direction I was trying to go. I was trying to talk so much about a personality as opposed to what you do during the day, if that makes sense.

Emma Johnson: Well, absolutely. I'm going to pause on my big criticism. When we're talking about income inequality, when women earn more, because that is really, I feel like the nod of what we're going for here. So there's been other books written about that, and you really hear … I pulled out your little pull code about this, and it is, “The happiest marriages are those that are more traditional in nature. This does not mean that the wife never works outside the home or that the husband isn't an engaged father, it just means that the husband makes a larger income, and when he does both partners are happier.”

Are traditional marriages the happiest marriages?

Suzanne Venker: I believe that. I do believe that. The research actually bares that out.

Emma Johnson: It does. And the divorce rates … But just let's sum this up for people because that is going to tick off so many people. I know this very well and it's true. The divorce rate's something like 50% higher when wives earn more, there's a disproportionate number of women who just at the moment when her income is about to eclipse her husband's, she drops out of the workforce, which to me speaks to the number of women though out there who are married and are holding themselves back professionally for the sake of their marriages, which is a whole nother episode. That's the pay gap.

Suzanne Venker: Well, except that then they're gaining, presumably in their love lives, even if they're losing a little bit professionally. And if they flip it, they'll gain professionally and lose in the love department. So pick your poison, right? We all make choices.

Emma Johnson: Well, that's the question. That's right. You make the choices, but how are women ever going to be equal politically? Definitely economically, socially, if they are always going to be inferior in the workplace and income.

Suzanne Venker: Well, see, I take issue with that whole narrative, I don't even agree with that. I don't agree that you're less than or that you're inferior or that you're … I don't even think of equality and the same way a lot of other people do. To me, equality isn't 50% of women in the workforce with men and 50% of men at home with women. I just reject that altogether.

Emma Johnson: Why?

Suzanne Venker: Why do I reject it?

Emma Johnson: Yeah.

The narrative of equality in the workplace and the home

Suzanne Venker: Because I think that's a faux version of equality. I don't think equality is based on our leading identical lives, because the premise of that argument is that they're unequal to begin with, and if you place more value on the outside sphere, then on the inside sphere and you think the in inside sphere is lesser than, then your whole narrative from there flows into this other thing. I reject the base of it. I don't think you're less than in any way. I think if anything, you're more than by getting it right on the inside of the home. And I don't look to the outside as superior in any way, personally.

Suzanne Venker: So your whole equality message doesn't resonate with me because I reject the inferior/superior narrative that it's based on if that makes sense. Those two roles are distinct, but I don't compare one as being superior to the other. So that's a whole other conversation.

Emma Johnson: It is. You understand the pushback when .. What is the answer? Let's say they meet when they're 25, everything's great. Maybe he likes a little more and their careers, go this way and that way. And ultimately, what's the takeaway to that woman that you should always hold yourself back a little bit professionally for the sake of your marriage?

Deciding where you're going to focus your energy: financially or domestically

Suzanne Venker: No, that you should incorporate, that you should decide from the get-go. Are you planning on getting married and having a family? Is that a goal? If the answer is … and I don't care whether you do or not. I don't have any opinion about that, but since most people do, I'm saying this is going to be the most important thing in your life. I guarantee you that. Getting it right is going to be the most important thing in your life. I don't care what you do in the world professionally, it will never compare to getting this thing right.

Suzanne Venker: Therefore, where is the majority of your time and your energy and your effort going to be? Mentally and even in reality? Where do you want to spend most of that energy? And for me, I've worked everything in my life around that home base set center and trying to get that right. I was never career focused, and then kind of figured, “Oh, I'll get married, have kids around that, whenever I can get it in.” I flipped that completely. I did what most modern women didn't do, and I put being a wife and mother at the center of my life, and I incorporate everything else in around that.

Suzanne Venker: And that's what worked for me. So that's what I'm, for example, passing on to my daughter. So I just have a very counter-cultural view of this whole topic in a larger sense, anyway,

Emma Johnson: Speak to that 25 year old. She does want to have a marriage, a heterosexual longterm, monogamous marriage and children, and she's also has professional ambitions, and she's going gangbusters and maybe she's quite bright and she has a lot of potential. What is the message to her in the context of the statistically, it's very true that her marriage has a much higher chance of ending if she earns more than her husband. What's the message?

Suzanne Venker: So the message is, decide what's most important to you. That's number one. Is it being successful in this realm? No holds barred, whatever comes from that, whatever bad comes from that ‘bad' or whatever negative falls from that. So be it. Or do you want to have both love and however you want to … I don't know how you want. I don't talk about this so much in the book, so I'm clamoring for the right words. I never thought about it in terms of comparing career and marriage.

Is superior income and career the crux of being alpha?

Emma Johnson: Well, it's income. It's not the career. Let's say they both start, and he's an engineer, and she's a nurse. And 15 years later you know he's making $50,000, and she is just about to get a promotion where she's going to go from making $45,000 to $70,000. Should she take that promotion?

Suzanne Venker: Gosh, you know what I thought of a second ago, was La La Land, but I guess like if everybody hasn't seen it, I guess it won't make sense to talk about it.

Emma Johnson: It's already in the Academy Awards, go for it.

Suzanne Venker: Okay, the storyline, look at what happens there. Isn't that exactly what you're talking about. These two were on this path, and their paths were the kind of paths that you can't very easily incorporate marriage and motherhood and fatherhood into it, because you're talking about major acting and they wanted to be actors or-

Emma Johnson: Performers, artists.

Suzanne Venker: So they both wanted that. And they got to this point in their relationship where they said, well, okay, she just got this big deal out in France and he had to stay there for his career. And they said, “What do we do?” And they ended up parting ways. And then at the end of course, the very ending was terribly sad, but it didn't have to be sad. I wish they hadn't done it that way because it turns out that she got a very lovely life. So I wish they kind of showed that in a better way.

Emma Johnson: I see what you're saying. I saw this with my eight year old, my kids and my daughter's eight years old, and she and I had a very different take on that movie, which will lead me to my next question. My daughter and you had the same take, and she goes, ” hated how that ended.” They were supposed to wind up together. You wanted the fairytale Hollywood thing. Where I said, “No, it was a beautiful relationship, and it set them on their own unique courses of success, and they both have such lovely marriages and it was part of this longer journey of art and love and romance and memories and story.”

“La La Land” is a great example of love and success taking its course

Emma Johnson: And I said, “It wasn't. It was bittersweet, yes, but it was not a failure.” And I think that's leading me to my next question, which is, why are you so hell bent on arguing for the sake of marriage? This traditional marriage, which I will point out, which I always say, this idea of the marriage that you are so strongly arguing for is a brand new concept. It's like in the history of humanity, the idea of a love marriage is only 150 years old. Marriage was always an economic institution, usually arranged.

Emma Johnson: It had nothing to do with passion or romance or anything. It was for procreation and sustaining generational wealth. I always say, well, it's a failed experiment. It was a nice idea of having a love marriage, and now young people are not choosing marriage. 57% of millennial mothers are unmarried. Marriage rates are lowest they've been in history, and it's simply, you can argue, a passe concept, so why argue for it at all?

Suzanne Venker: Wow. Again, going back to that basic narrative,

I just reject that. I don't see me … No, I don't reject. Let me clarify. I don't reject anything you said about historically, that's absolutely true. But here we are in a completely different place, and yet most people still want to marry. That's the issue. It's not what's right or what's wrong or what's happening or what's not. It's that all the research shows, and by their actions they show, that most people choose it, which signifies that they want it even in an age when they ‘don't have to have it'.

Suzanne Venker: And I'm saying, okay, so given that, what can we do to make that work for you? How can we have a peaceful marriage of today's generation and make it so that … By the way, this is not for perfection, this is not for ideally even, it's just I'm very practical person. I will talk all day-

Expectation is the root of all disappoinment

Emma Johnson: And it's in the book. By the way, in the book, one of your big message is just for the readers because listeners and potential readers are going to buy and read this book, but you have … It's all about lowering your … Not lowering, but not having expectations, going on the maxim that, expectation is the root of all disappointment. It's really about contentment, opposed to happiness, which is this fleeting, elusive thing. It's about making yourself happy within yourself and leading your family through your feminine wiles or through your feminine power, and choosing a solid partner who will be a good partner, but that is not going to be the source of like this romantic bliss all the time. That is the root of your message. A lot of it, I think.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah, although I have to say part and parcel of that is that a larger, or maybe a larger piece of my message is I'm also suggesting that people can get back what their relationship began with by doing these things because when … I gave this example of how when you first started out dating, think back. When any of us think about how our relationship began for X amount of months and even years, nine times out of 10, it was the guy calling the woman and the guy paying the bill, and the guy making the choice on where to take you out and you are the receiver of his actions.

Suzanne Venker: That's what I'm talking about in terms of a natural state of man makes the move, female responds. It's been this way since the beginning of time, and I think it's still that way. And we naturally go into that dynamic happily. And the sexual energy is so great when you have that. And then over time, life sets in, kids come along, years go by, and we lose that which to some degree is absolutely expected, and I get that. And life changes, and you have all these hardships, but I'm saying, the best chance of kind of keeping that dynamic at play is by not changing out of those energies that you started with.

Switching from alpha female at work to beta female at home

Suzanne Venker: For example, when I started to be more, what I call in the book beta at night with my husband as opposed to staying in my alpha 100% of the time, it was so immediate. The feeling that I had when I started with him and him with me was so immediate and who he was as a man and as a husband, was so much better in my mind and my eyes, whether it was real or not, I don't know, but it was happening and it's so addicting, but it's so easy to keep up with it. That's the funny part, once you get past the whole, like, “What?! What are you saying?! What?!”

Suzanne Venker: I'll give you a great example. My very first girl who reviewed the book, it major progressive, very proud of her, very liberal, mindset and her followers are all the same way, and she read the book like you did. Thank you very much because not everybody does when they interview me. And she called me at home and she said, this is one of two people in the last week, the other one's a guy and also a big liberal out at LA. But this girl called me at home and she said, “I have to tell you. I started reading it and my horn started to come out. and I said, ‘What, what, what, what, what?'”

Suzanne Venker: “And I just kept reading and I kept reading and the more I read, the more compelling it was, and I had just broken up with my guy.” She's in her 50s, has five kids, lost her husband like 10 years ago. And she'd broken up with this guy and she decided to put some of the principles in the book into action, and in a few days, I got an email from her that said, “You're a genius.” I did not know what she meant at first, because I hadn't known his backstory, but then of course I'm not a genius. The point is that I had just, I said, “Look, this is what work for me, try it out if it's causing you problems.” She did. She said it was within days and they're back together.

Suzanne Venker: And so that was so satisfying for me because if I can get someone who is initially put off by it, because believe me, there's plenty of people … We keep talking about the people who are put off, there are plenty of people who are not put off that you maybe not hearing from that I'm hearing from, that are just glad for the message because they don't know what to do and they don't understand why things are happening the way they are, and then they'll say, “Oh yeah, that is it. Let me try this.”

The message of sex as an alpha female and being submissive

Emma Johnson: It resonates with them, but what resonates with me is listening to you tell the story about the switch in your own marriage and you, by the way, listeners, we're doing this on a video Skype chat and your cheeks got flush and your body language just completely lightened up and you could hear it in your voice. listener, like you could hear in your voice like the magic and it's sex. And you know what really pisses me off about this topic, because people have written lots of books about breadwinning, wives, about this alpha-beta, male-female thing, and you have a whole chapter which I will point out, is the last chapter in the book about sex, but it was still very unsatisfying for me.

Emma Johnson: It was basically the gist of your chapter is, guys like sex more than women, so you need to make sex a priority because then you're getting your feminine power on, make it his idea and just have sex a lot, and it'll put you both in a brilliant mood and bring you closer together. Okay. I'm going to pick that apart like one. I feel like that's a very dated message and I don't see that happening with women my age and my followers. But then again, my followers are unmarried so they don't have very available sex, like snoring in the bed next to them all the time. It is different, but I think there's a much different message out there.

Emma Johnson: I think women that want and crave sex and they do own their sexualities, and they get that. The message is like, and you address this, we're the hunted and guys will just fuck anything or like, what is it? Mary Mallon, God bless her, her mother told her that a man will screw a snake, if the snake was to sit still long.

Suzanne Venker: If the snake sit long enough. Isn't that great?

Emma Johnson: But we're not talking about the sex itself because … You had one line and it was not sufficient, Suzanne. It was one line and I'll tell you what it was. It was, “Most women do want to feel safe in the arms of someone who is stronger than they are. They want their man to be a dominant partner in the relationship, and the only reason they don't feel comfortable admitting it is because the culture won't let them. The culture wants women to be in charge.” All right, let me just … I think what you're trying to say is that women want to be dominated in bed. And I would say I totally agree with that, and that is the gist of it, right. That is the only reason. That's it.

Suzanne Venker: What happens in bed is linked to what happens during the day.

Emma Johnson: 100%, and that's where I get it because, just my own personal story. I've been unmarried for seven years now and I've had a total sexual awakening. I've enjoyed sex, and I was pretty healthy sexual young woman before I was married and during my marriage, but now I've just completely had these wonderful sexual experiences and really been able to explore my own sexuality. And I find that to be a very common story about women outside of marriage now, later in life, or mothers. It's a really remarkable story for another podcast, but the consistent theme is, women like dominant men.

Women like dominant men – let him be the man in the relationship

Emma Johnson: We like dominant men. And a lot of what I'm seeing as working for women at this stage of life, of which we are millions. We are 10 million unmarried mothers in this country, that's not a small demographic. And often what is working is that women have very full lives with children, careers and they have lover. And maybe that's a boyfriend, that's part of family, but he lives over there and has his own life and he is a very important part of her life largely because of what he provides for her sexually. So if we can learn from that, I would say all you married ladies or women who want to be in a traditional marriage, how are you going to get that itch scratched in bed and in life?

Suzanne Venker: I love that. This book will tell you.

Emma Johnson: So go buy it.

Suzanne Venker: If you want to keep that sexual spark alive, then you've got to let him continue to be the man in the relationship. I'll just tell you a little personal thing. My husband has been the breadwinner our whole life, our whole marriage. We've been married 19 years this year. My career has a little more cache. There's just a little bit more to it in terms of-

Emma Johnson: It's cool to be a writer, in media. Yes. It's cool.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah. And his is more like a regular steady job, but he's always been there. Every two week, his check goes into our account. While my work may have a little more cache, he makes the money, so we even each other out in that respect. Now, that's my story. Someone else's is obviously something else, but ultimately in the money chapter, I think is actually something much more significant than the sex chapter because it talks about that everything that comes into the house has to be in one pot and that, even if you manage separate accounts for convenience purposes, that everybody knows what's going on, both people.

Suzanne Venker: I'm not into polygamous marriages. Both people know what's going in and out at all times. And that all the decisions are made together because once you start breaking it up in a marriage, then that becomes the mine and versus the yours instead of ours. And I'm very focused on everything, being it's a family, it's one pot. And I think with, going back to the breadwinning wives, that's where the problem becomes because problems arise when you really, really out-earn your men. I'm just the messenger, don't kill me. I'm just passing on the research here and the research shows, in fact, I'm working on a book with a professor who works, he has been doing this for decades. The research shows several things.

Money and finances – when the man makes more, the power struggle isn't an issue

Suzanne Venker: Number one, the more advanced women get in terms of their education careers, the more they want their man to be more educated and have more money, they don't want to go the other direction. Well, that's a big problem with where we are today in our culture. That's one issue. The other is that money and marriage, when the man makes more, it's not a power struggle because he's not expecting his wife to make more and he doesn't look at her differently if she doesn't make money, because he's not looking for that from her, and so there might be fights over how the money is spent that she's spending, but it's not a power thing.

Suzanne Venker: And when women make more, that's what the psychologists say is happening in their offices. They come in and that money is used as a power play. It's a completely different dynamic, and that's I think where the problems are with those higher earning wives who are married to lower earning husbands.

Emma Johnson: Yeah, absolutely. But I want to just point out what you just did there. I wanted to talk about what people are doing in bed and you said, “Oh, I'm going to tell you a personal story,” and then you totally changed the subject. I'm so disappointed.

Suzanne Venker: No, I'm not talking about my personal life.

Emma Johnson: You set me up, and on behalf of listeners everywhere, we're so disappointed, Suzzane.

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The topic of female breadwinning and domesticity

Emma Johnson: So, on the breadwinning. I think there was a story out, it must be almost 10 years ago now. It was in New York magazine and it was the talk of the town at the time and it was like when we very first started talking about this breadwinning wife thing. And there's a quote in there that is so perfect, yet no one ever goes there, and I'm so angry at you and everybody else that reports on this subject, because this one quote sums it all up. And this woman said, she goes, “I'm not going to go out and make the money and come home and suck his dick.” And that is it. And that is so difficult to overcome. It's like once that thought is in someone's mind, how do you salvage a marriage?

Suzanne Venker: I really believe that there are very, very, very few marriages that can survive that kind of dynamic. I really do, because I believe … I'm very much a nature person. Human nature, the working with what we've got and swimming with the tide instead of against it. And I believe that sexual energy stems from these different needs and wants that women bring into a relationship and that men bring into it, and that when you go with it, sparks fly and that when you mess with it, that's when the problems arise. And that's where we are today. It kind of is a giant mess, which, going back to that, the girl that you mentioned at the beginning that I quoted, your friend?

Emma Johnson: Yeah. You can. She's in the book, Terri Trespicio.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah. And after I had written this piece four years ago, The War on Men, she came on and did a video saying that, exactly what I was trying to say is that, she had been raised to think, “Well, you don't want to be needy with a guy because a man doesn't want a needy woman,” which is true, and I think that goes both ways though. So she's always gone out of her way to make sure she's strong and independent and they know that he doesn't need her, but that this hasn't worked out for her in her relationships. And the reason why is because she conflated the idea of being needy with being vulnerable. Vulnerability in a woman is extraordinarily sexy to a man. That's what he wants.

Suzanne Venker: He wants you to be your raw self and be a little needy in terms of not clingy, but that you need him for something because a man is not a man if he does not feel that he serves a purpose. And he's got all these women around him saying, “I don't need you.” Even if they're not saying it, they're saying it in some other way, and they have nowhere to go. And until you can learn how to be self-sufficient on your own when he's not around, but then when you're with him, incorporate him into your life by saying, “Yes, could you do this for me?” Or, “Yes, I would really love it if you would help me with this because I don't know what to do.”

Be vulnerable with your man, be self-sufficient on your own

Suzanne Venker: And even if you do know what to do, who cares? You've got to get to the point where you're mature enough to say, “It's not important for me to be right anymore. It's not important for me to … make sure he knows that I don't need him. I'll just pretend a little.” You called it at the beginning I guess manipulation and I just think it's just being smart.

Emma Johnson: It's like you can be so right that you're lonely and horny.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah, totally. Exactly.

Emma Johnson: But I would say though, there's … This is taking this on another level of like personal development. It's not just in this romantic dynamic, the whole vulnerable. It's a very tough thing because society is telling you to be self-sufficient, your mother or your grandmother, everyone's telling women to be self-sufficient. And many of us find that at some point we do have to be self sufficient at least largely, my jam is single motherhood and it can just feel … Because here's the thing about that, you go from crisis to being able to do it and it feels so amazing to do it. It feels like, “Oh my God.” It's like this insurmountable mountain and you've got to the summit.

Emma Johnson: And it's like, “Wow, I'm never going to let that feeling go.” But I think what you're saying and I would echo is that, yeah, but you know what? What if you had like a really cool friend along with you to help drag you up the mountain when you got really tired? And that's really freaking, really, it doesn't take away-

Suzanne Venker: It doesn't take away from it to let him in. How is it doing that? How is it doing that? You can still go out from 9:00 to 5:00 and do whatever and not need to do that at home with him. I don't understand. For me, the whole freaking reaction to it is … I get it to some degree because obviously, I was not doing it right myself in the marriage and then it's taken me a long time to now where it's more second nature, but I don't see what the big deal is because to me, it's the best of both worlds. To me is like win/win.

Emma Johnson: I 100% support everything you're saying, I just can lend my own personal feelings about it and I do struggle with that. I'm dating this wonderful guy now, it's a new relationship, and he's offered, I'm doing some little home improvement stuff around my apartment and he's like, “Well, I'll paint your apartment for you just whenever you want.” He was being super sweet about it and with zero strings attached. He just genuinely likes to do that. He wanted to do that for me, it was something that would genuinely give him pleasure to paint my apartment for me? And I was like, “Whoa.” I had to process that.

Let the man do things for you

Emma Johnson: And needless to say, I haven't taken him up on it yet. It is hard because it's like, “Well, what's his agenda?” Or, “I can just pay somebody. I got my own money, I can pay somebody to paint my apartment.”

Suzanne Venker: I'm going to stop you right there. I'm going to stop you right there. I'm going to say two things. Number one, I challenge you to the next time you see him to say to him, “I was thinking about your offer, I would just love it if you would paint my room. That would take such a big load off my plate. Thank you.” And see what happens in your relationship after you do that one thing, just that one small thing. See how the weeks go after that. That's one comment. The other one is, look at what you just suggested and admitted to me that you're bringing to the table, your initial reaction to a perfectly lovely offer to do something for you, which by the way, if your friend, if a girlfriend had offered it, you wouldn't have had that antenna go up, would you?

Emma Johnson: No. But I'm not dating my girlfriend.

Suzanne Venker: Right. So I'm saying, it's your attitude and approach to men and love and relationships that is impeding you. You're the only one getting in your way. He didn't do anything, but just offering it to you.

Emma Johnson: No. He isn't doing anything but be wonderful all the time.

Suzanne Venker: Exactly. And your mind put up the roadblock, not him. And he can't get in until you remove that roadblock.

Emma Johnson: No, you're 100% right. If you were to leave alpha women, and by the way you, I took this quiz because you refer to it as it's somebody else. She had another book about alpha women, Dr. Sonya Rhodes and it's fun. It'll take you five minutes to do this little quiz and then I'll give you a color coated analysis of how alpha you are. I have it, I'm 72% alpha and 42% beta. So what's that tell you?

Suzanne Venker: That's about like me, I don't remember the exact percentages. It was about like that.

Emma Johnson: Yeah. So you can do that.

Suzanne Venker: So that told you, you have enough beta in you that once you open yourself up to this idea, it's going to work for you. Because if you had a really low beta threshold, if you were like 10, 15, 20%, you are so locked into your alphaness that there's probably no hope for you.

Emma Johnson: Oh, I always like to leave people with some hope.

Your own percentage of beta and alpha

Suzanne Venker: I'm just kidding. But that's technically what it's supposed to mean. Like the more percentage of beta you have actually the better. I was so glad when I took it that I was somewhere in the high, I think it was a high 40, like 49 or something. I'm like, “Oh good.” Because that makes sense to me, because I am willing to collaborate and compromise and do those things. I really genuinely am, and I can get off my train or I can let go of the wheel a lot more easily than you might think, even before I wrote this book and went through this process.

Suzanne Venker: I was in there somewhere, but I think if you're really, really low, I just think you have some work to do. I think if you're really, really low on the beta scale, if you came out 15, 20, 25, 30, then really what that's saying is that you have something in your head that's keeping you from getting the love you want. It's not the world or men or marriage, it's yourself, it's you. It's something inside of you that you need to work through and get comfortable with so that they can come into your life.

Emma Johnson: Right. I just put this on like the pantheon of self help advice of which it's like there's a bazillion books out there, there's a bazillion self help gurus out there promoting themselves that everybody's got some answer about making yourself better, making your love life better, but this one, man, people have a hair trigger response to it, which good for you, book sale's catching.

Suzanne Venker: Speaking of personal transformation, I was so excited when I saw it's like number one right now in marriage and love and romance in Amazon, but when it hit number one or one of the top best sellers in personal transformation, I did get a little excited because this is my fifth book actually and it's the most personal and it's the memoir. It's got memoir component to it, which my other ones do not. So this is a different kind of a book and I was thrilled to see that it was in that department, in that personal transformation because that really is what it is. You're right. 

Pissing people off means you're doing good work

Emma Johnson: Yeah. I'm grateful for this book and I'm grateful for you, pissing so many people off because then you're doing good work.

Suzanne Venker: It seems to be part for the course for me, because I'm just so counter cultural.

Emma Johnson: But it's so funny. But you sounds like you have very conventional life in middle America, and you've been married forever and you probably have a very nice two story house, I'm envisioning.

Suzanne Venker: It's a ranch.

Emma Johnson: Even more conventional, really.

Suzanne Venker: Although in 19 years, this is our first ranch, we just got it three years ago. Up until then, it's been two story. That is really funny that we landed in the ranch.

Emma Johnson: You're just like super main stream and you're blowing everybody's mind.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah. It's kind of a paradox. It is. Like my mother was, very much like my mother was.

Emma Johnson: Well, and you know what though, and that's the thing, people push back and they're like, “Well everybody … ” And you've very much addressed that. You say everybody, like you're a high beta and alpha as are mine, people are nuanced and complicated and they can change and grow. And it's not everybody's a one note. You needed a title for your book obviously, we wouldn't be talking, but you're forgiving of people's nuances, I think.

Suzanne Venker: I hope so. I try to be, and that's why I was honing in on that spectrum so that this is not … Of course the media and people will freak out and say that I'm boxing people in. It's very clear that I'm not when you read it, but you have to read it to get that, I guess. Because on TV, it has to be all one or nothing.

Emma Johnson: Soundbites.

Suzanne Venker: Yeah. Soundbites.

Emma Johnson: All right. Well, leaves us with three tips. If women are like, “Oh my God, this is speaking to me.” What can I do in my dating life or in my romantic life today to change things up? Three things.

What you can do in your romantic life today to change things up

Suzanne Venker: First, I'm going to tell you the two things that were both the hardest things, but ultimately the most transformative and thus made the chapters, the two of the 10 chapters, the easiest to write because it was so personal and easy and I just described what happened. The first one was stop saying no, that's what I titled the chapter, and now that chapter is about, was basically to saying, stop arguing with him. If there's one thing men or husbands in particular don't like, it's when the woman they love constantly argues with them.

Suzanne Venker: They're out all day just like we're out all day for some of us, depending on what we're doing, in a certain mode, that has nothing to do with what we do at home. It's a work mode, or even if you're raising kids, it's just a totally different mode from at home. We all want peace in our relationships, but men specifically, crave calmness and peace with their woman. They just want, going back to that full, wanting you to be happy thing. When you are naggy or you're whining about something or you're saying no, or you're complaining or you're playing devil's advocate, which I would do a lot because that's what I do during the day, it does not work.

Suzanne Venker: So if you completely flip it around, for example, and just … In fact, my husband would get to the point where he'd just say, “Can you just say, okay. Just say okay, even if you don't like it, just say okay.” And getting my head around that was so hard because, “Wait a minute, I got to tell you what I think, I got to tell you if I don't agree, I got to tell you if you're wrong. That's just who I am.” This took me a long time. But when I finally got my head around just shutting up and I would say a mantra over and over, which is how I did this, is I would come up with the quote is like, “Just say nothing.”

Let of unnecessary confrontation and be a better team player

Suzanne Venker: It can be as simple as say nothing over and over in your head, say nothing, say nothing. And then it became more second nature and the minute I started doing that, it was transformative within. I seriously am not exaggerating when I say ours. I could tell within 24 hours he was so much lighter and so much happier because he doesn't have to fight me, which I wasn't trying to fight with him, it was just natural for me.

Emma Johnson: It was a habit. Basically, you're training yourself, and think about that. There's all kinds of books about that. It's everything I buzz feeded, every entrepreneur that I conversed, it's all about like teaching yourself new habits, how to be more productive, how to stick to your New Year's resolutions. Here's how to be happy in your marriage, just train yourself not to be, I think bitch.

Suzanne Venker: I should have called the book that, although I do not think my husband genuinely would ever say that I ever reached that level. Thank God.

Emma Johnson: No. It's really … I'm going to add one thing to this one. Just be a little more conciliatory, which is true. You would apply the same thing if things are not going well at work and you manage some people or whatever, your team at work. Just be more conciliatory, be a better team player. If you are bitching with your mom all the time, just agree to her, whatever. But the other part of it is, you're saying you just be happy, if you're complaining all the time and being argumentative all the time, something is not right within you.

Suzanne Venker: You. Exactly.

Emma Johnson: You need to align yourself where you can chill out and just agree to go to the restaurant he wants to go to or just agree to, if he wants to like paint a room, the bedroom again or whatever the thing is, just say yes because it's not that big of a deal and sometime maybe you're going to have to put your foot down and argue for your thing, but it doesn't have to be all the time all day.

Suzanne Venker: That's it. You just said it for me. That's number one. That's perfect. The second one was, so that was not arguing what we just said, it was basically to stop saying no. And then the other one was speaking less to say more.

Speak less to say more

Emma Johnson: Oh man, that's tough.

Suzanne Venker: That was probably … I don't know which one was harder to be honest. Those were my two biggest. So what did you get out of the chapter that said speak less, you'll say more. Do you remember?

Emma Johnson: I don't know. Well, basically I'll be honest with you, I skimmed over because it's so upsetting. I've been thinking because I turned 40 this year and I was like, life assessment. I'm like, “What do I really love doing? I'm never going to be a super athlete because I don't care. I'm never going to like do crafts with my kids because I do not care. What am I going to do?” And I just like to sit around and talk. That's all I do for my job, I'm good at my job. That's what I do with my girlfriends. I'm like, “Oh, I should go and do work. I could take trapeze lessons with my girlfriends. No, I don't want to do that. I want to sit around and drink and talk with them.”

Emma Johnson: And that's what I like to do. Well, with the men in my life, I like to talk and eat and have sex. I don't know.

Suzanne Venker: The second two of those is great for him, but the first one, not so much. And people get on my case about this because they think that I think like men are like, you're supposed to treat them like they're a neanderthal, or they just grunt or something. No. Of course they want to talk about some stuff of substance, for sure. The thing is with us, half of what we talk about, is not substantive, it's just stuff. At least I found that for myself when I stopped talking so much and I closed my mouth and I asked myself, “Do I need to say this? Is this important or is this just me letting off steam or wanting to … ” Just stop to talk because I will just talk to talk.

Suzanne Venker: If I want to talk the talk, then I'll talk to my girlfriends because they'll hear me and it won't cause any problems in my relationship with them, but the more I talk and since that's not my husband's language, the less he hears me because I'm talking too much. That's the whole point of the chapter, is just take stock of your speech and how often you're asking things of them, how often you're sharing your feelings, how often you're just opening your mouth. And if you just try this for a day or two and you stop, they're going to be so thrown by the fact that you're talking their language now because they don't talk like we do. They only talk …

Suzanne Venker: In fact, wait a minute, I've got it here in my book, we women talk 13,000 words more per day according to research than men do, and that makes sense. I can totally see that. I didn't checkup on that step, but that's what I found. And if you start to speak his language, all of the sudden, because you're talking his language, he's responsive because he gets that. It's sort of like the respect. I've talked a lot about respect. If you're respecting him, he's going to respond to that because he craves respect and he gets that from other people, but if he's not getting that from you, you're going to have a major problem in your marriage. But the minute you start showing him respect because he shows you respect naturally, most men, not all men.

Suzanne Venker: The reason why they show you respect is because they like it themselves. We all kind of do what we identify with, and so it's just all about speaking his language and then watching him respond so positively that it's addictive, you just keep up with it.

Emma Johnson: The takeaway is stop arguing and shut up.

Suzanne Venker: And then have sex.

Emma Johnson: Yeah. Just go have sex, it's good for everybody, just go and enjoy yourself. But the one thing I will say that you leave us with in the book, which is like, just try it, try it for a week, just try it. And just like if something's not working in your life, just try something different. This is just one more thing to try.

Suzanne Venker: Exactly. And if it gets you mad then don't open the book. Don't buy it and don't-

Emma Johnson: No. If it makes you mad, it's hitting a nerve with you, figure out why. Ask yourself why it's making you so mad. And then read the book.

If these concepts make you angry, figure out why

Suzanne Venker: Definitely. And I want to say one thing about sex and it's not about my sex life. We were talking about how some people take offense to the whole idea that sex, you should manipulate that or use that or whatever. But the bottom line is, since men are so sexual and so much more visual, typically speaking, all it takes to get them back in a good mood if they're in a bad mood or to get them to be more responsive, is literally … Do you remember the sentence in there where I said, “It's flashed in my hoo-ha”?

Emma Johnson: Yeah, of course. Because that's the only time that you're sexy in the whole book.

Suzanne Venker: I didn't know you were looking for so much sex in the book.

Emma Johnson: It's all about sex. This whole topic is about sex and all I got was one hoo-ha.

Emma Johnson: Is it liberating to let your hoo-ha show to the world? It's like, let your sexuality hang out.

Suzanne Venker: That's as risque as a Midwesterner gets, I guess, on paper. No. I said, if I'm really in a rut and I can't get us out of it or him out of it, all I have to do is just flash him or just something sexual, anything, and he's immediately malleable. It's easy, it's something that you can use. So yeah, I am big on feminine wiles. I don't think there's a thing wrong with it. I think it's fabulous, I think whatever works, do it and I think it's unfortunate that we make that a negative thing, it shouldn't be.

Emma Johnson: All right. Suzanne Venker, this is so fun. We're going to have to figure out another reason for you to come back on. The Alpha Female's Guide to Men and Marriage, don't believe everything you read on, just come here, listen to it. Seriously, it's a great … It's a quick read, but it's really smart. Keep an open mind and read it.

Suzanne Venker: Excellent. Thank you, Emma.

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. douglas blais on February 23, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    feminists are not strong women they are weak and fragile thats why they want all that special treatment

  2. Tanya Roberts on November 24, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    I just listened to your podcast episode with Suzanne Venker. What an absolute load of bull*&@t! When she implied that women need to drop out of the workforce as soon as they start surpassing men in their earning potential. Complete and utter NONSENSE! I shuddered a little when she explained that women would lose out at work but gain on the homefront. How sad. This is the kind of rhetoric that keeps women in the dark ages. I’m what she describes as an “alpha female,” and I’m in a very happy marriage with a wonderful man who is equally driven and equally supportive of me earning as much as I can. It’s pretty sad that some women have to worry about breaking through a glass ceiling at work and in their relationships now. This whole “channel your femininity” nonsense is a tactic to help women feel in control; that’s all. I believe we should treat men like equals, and we shouldn’t dim our own shine to placate their insecurities. Her definition of “being feminine” is basically just not berating your partner and treating him like a child and being a giant a**hole.

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