For years, Persia Lawson believed she knew exactly what men were looking for in a relationship: a woman who could match them drink for drink on nights out, before falling into bed with them.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, she found plenty of willing partners, but none of them saw any need to send so much as a follow-up text, let alone suggest a second date.
Yet Persia, now happily engaged to be married, doesn’t blame these men for their ungallant behaviour — rather, her own ‘ladette’ antics.
Back then, she was ignorant of the need to ‘tap into her femininity’ to find love. ‘In days gone by, when we understood the importance of femininity, men wooed women and, if they were successful in their pursuit, considered these girlfriends a great prize,’ says Persia. ‘Having worked hard to win them over, men then took care of these women — a world away from the sort of “ghosting” so many of us are subjected to after sleeping with a man on the first date.’
A new breed of self-help gurus are making a mint from teaching female clients how to exploit their womanly wiles – including Persia Lawson (pictured), who charges £10,000 for a spot on her four-month, one-to-one Love For Leaders programme
Realising where she’d been going wrong, Persia drastically changed her approach, and has since written a book called Love Is Coming and joined the vanguard of so-called ‘femininity coaches’, a new breed of self-help gurus making a mint from teaching female clients how to exploit their womanly wiles.
A spot on her four-month, one-to-one Love For Leaders programme costs a whopping £10,000 — but the type of successful businesswoman who can afford that could well find her methods hard to swallow. Indeed, feminists may want to look away now — for Persia partly blames modern women’s failure to find love on equality in the workplace.
Equality, she says, has led so many to be driven by masculine, rather than their inherent feminine, energy. While this approach might serve a purpose in the corporate world, that same attitude can apparently play havoc with our sex lives.
‘Too often women used to taking the lead at work jump straight into the driving seat in a new relationship,’ says Persia. ‘It’s a habit that generally only proves popular with weak men who are looking for a mother figure to take care of them.
‘Eventually, many women become resentful, wanting their partner to step up and be responsible. They don’t realise that any man willing, or capable, of that will have been put off by the masculine energy they approach new relationships with.’
By the time Persia, 35, met her fiancé at a festival six years ago, she had clear — more authentically feminine, in her view — rules about relationships.
‘He walked me to my tent that first night and I made it very clear he wouldn’t be staying over,’ recalls Persia. ‘The following day I told him: “I don’t do casual sex, so if we sleep together it’s on the understanding neither of us is sleeping with anyone else.” Instead of running for the hills, he said: “Fine, that’s great.”
‘When, a few weeks later, he asked me to be his girlfriend, I said, “Let me think about it.” I told him I wanted the next person I committed to to be the person I would marry so I need more time before making that commitment.’
Nicole Bewley, 32, (pictured) a sobriety coach from Cumbria, has found love since doing Persia’s course in April last year
Persia believes most women go into relationships with faux casual indifference — a ‘masculine trait’ — because they fear any insistence on commitment will drive men away. In fact, being open about their intentions only repels the wrong men.
Once you’re in the right relationship, you need to stop taking charge: if you try to do everything most men will sit back and let you. This, according to Persia, creates a negative dynamic that can lead to ‘all kinds of tensions and resentments’.
She explains: ‘I encourage my clients, most of whom are hugely successful professionally but struggle to find lasting love, to allow themselves to receive and trust that their needs will be met by a man. Let him suggest a date and, if he asks where you should go, tell him to surprise you.
‘Most are amazed that the men step up and take charge, finding a primitive male desire in making their women happy.’ And if the date goes well? ‘Lavish him with praise for picking a great bar or restaurant.’
Persia insists this doesn’t mean becoming a nodding Stepford wife, but learning to step out of the driving seat in the relationship, resisting the urge to micro-manage everything.
My husband will say: ‘Honey, can I have my girl back? I don’t want to talk to the CEO’ – Sami Wunder
Sarah O’Connor, 35, who works in recruitment and lives in Northampton, raves about Persia’s techniques. Two years ago, Persia taught her to ‘take my hands off the wheel’ in relationships and, for the first time in her life, she now has a boyfriend who takes charge.
‘I used to complain that I never attracted responsible men, without realising those men are drawn to less driven, more feminine, women,’ says Sarah.
‘Persia taught me that to attract a capable man who could look after himself — and me — I needed to stop paying my boyfriends’ parking fines and redoing chores they’d done poorly. I also started shaving my legs every day, wearing nice underwear, red lipstick and even dabbing on a bit of perfume before bed, because I enjoyed feeling more feminine. I’m now dating an electronic engineer who wakes up on a weekend morning and says: “Let’s have a day out in Henley!” and I love it.’
Another of Persia’s clients, Nicole Bewley, 32, a sobriety coach from Cumbria, has also found love since doing Persia’s course in April last year.
Nicole, who says her new beau is the first man to take care of her, ditched her corporate suits in favour of more feminine kimonos. Pictured: Nicole and Persia
‘I ditched my corporate suits in favour of more feminine kimonos, flowing and colourful, that made me feel like a goddess,’ she says. ‘I was wearing one when I bumped into my friend’s brother in the supermarket a few months ago. Afterwards he persuaded his sister to ask me if I’d go on a date with him.’
At first Nicole struggled when her new beau said he had planned a surprise weekend away for them.
‘I was thrilled to find he’d booked a nice guest house in the Lake District, reserved a table at a lovely restaurant and hired a boat for us to sail on a nearby lake,’ she says.
‘He’s the first man to take care of me in this way and is always telling me I’m “beautiful” or “gorgeous”, all thanks to my new-found feminine energy.’
Sami Wunder, 33, is another femininity coach making her fortune from her clients’ approach to dating.
A former consultant for international development organisations, Sami set up her multi-million-pound dating and relationship coaching business — with the motto Lean In At Work, Lean Back In Love — nearly six years ago, after realising that many successful women struggled to find men willing to commit, provide for a family and pull their weight at home.
Seven ways to harness your feminine energy to find love
By femininity coach Sami Wunder
1 Don’t initiate contact, leave the man to do the running.
2 Resist the urge to plan, or even suggest, dates. Tell him to surprise you and then praise him effusively when he whisks you off somewhere special.
3 Don’t try to fix a man’s problems, that’s a mothering role.
4 Don’t fall into the trap of supporting a man financially; only a weak man would want this.
5 Open up about your feelings and vulnerability; it gives men the chance to play the hero.
6 Have an item of jewellery that you only put on after work which signals to your brain you’re moving into home and feminine mode.
7 If you feel yourself slipping into masculine, driven mode, slow your speech, listen instead of talk, and smile.
She now charges up to £10,000 for her one-to-one coaching — online courses start at £57. Sami teaches women to embrace feminine energy which she defines as the ‘being’ energy when it comes to dating and relationships while saving the ‘doing’, masculine, energy for work.
The effectiveness is evidenced, she says, by the 250 clients who have got engaged in the past five years and by hundreds of women who’ve written to say they’ve since found lasting love.
Despite being the breadwinner, mother-of-two Sami claims she is never happier than when switching off from spreadsheets, slipping into ‘wife mode’ and being taken care of by her husband, Chris, 34, who works in the aerospace industry.
‘If I take a bit of time adjusting and re-enter the home all action and fast-talking, Chris will say: “OK honey, can I have my girl back? I don’t want to talk to the CEO,” ’ says Sami, smiling.
Most of us might be tempted to throw something at this point, but Sami insists she doesn’t mind his tone. ‘I don’t resent it, I know that me being in my feminine energy is key to our happy and harmonious home life.
‘So instead of busily clearing away the kids’ toys and planning what we’re having for dinner, I abandon my managerial role, sit down, like a queen, and Chris comes and cuddles me, asks how my day has been and then he decides whether we should go out or stay in for dinner, which we would cook together.
‘When I’m around him, I abandon the need to be right and tap into how I’m feeling, trusting that what needs to happen will happen, under Chris’s leadership.’
This may sound irritatingly passive but it’s the way many men actually lead their lives, happily leaving spouses (often with demanding jobs of their own) to operate like the CEO, as well as general dogsbody, at home.
Given that high-achieving women tend to live inside their heads, ignoring how they feel in their bodies — another masculine instinct — connecting with the senses is a technique Sami teaches.
Her clients pour themselves a peppermint tea and Sami encourages them to spend several minutes quieting their thinking and focusing on the smell, taste and sensation of heat from the mug.
Femininity coach Sami Wunder, 33, (pictured) charges up to £10,000 for her one-to-one coaching and online courses start at £57
She claims this visceral approach to tuning into how our bodies feel is instinctively feminine. Responding with warmth and softness when the right sort of man does show interest is also vital to encouraging more of the same. Sami’s suggested, some might say coquettish, verbal responses include: ‘Oh, how wonderful to wake up to a message from you this early in the morning!’, ‘Oh, how lovely to hear your voice!’ and ‘Awww, this feels so good. Thank you for planning this date for us.’
For anyone struggling to adapt, Sami recommends putting on something different, such as a bracelet, a physical signal to the brain to switch from masculine to feminine mode, at the end of the working day — as well as slowing down speech, listening, instead of speaking, and smiling lots.
And while this might sound like an attempt to drag every right-thinking woman kicking and screaming back to the 1950s, Sami insists it will not only bag you a man like Chris, but pay dividends in the bedroom, too.
‘It has an extremely positive impact on women’s sex lives,’ says Sami. ‘They get in touch with their bodies and their desire for pleasure, which means they’re able to receive more of it from men who, instinctively, find women more attractive when they’re embodying their feminine energy.’
Another pitfall Sami avoids in her own married life is ‘mothering’ Chris, a characteristic she says many might mistake for femininity, but, when it relates to a partner, is actually highly masculine.
‘I might notice he’s spreading a lot of butter on his toast, for example, and have a real urge to tell him to use less, to fix him, but that’s what mummies do, that’s not what lovers do,’ she says.
And despite appreciating the softer side of his wife, Chris is not afraid to do his bit for equality; he is currently on paternity leave, looking after their sons, aged one and five, so that Sami can focus on her business.
‘What I teach is actually the next stage of empowerment for strong and successful women looking to genuinely have it all — not do it all as is the case for so many,’ says Sami.
‘If you want a great career, plus an amazing family and love life, the secret is balancing both your masculine and feminine energies, one for your work life and one for your love life.’
Natalie Deadman, 36, from Whitstable, Kent, was a nanny with a string of disastrous relationships under her belt when she started work with Sami Wunder seven years ago.
‘As a nanny you have to be in control and make sure everything gets done and I used to take that same masculine energy into my relationships,’ says Natalie.
‘It clicked that we see the best in men when we are more serene — two people displaying masculine energy are bound to lock horns — and men like to be heroic, to sweep in and save the day.’
Four years ago, Natalie met her now husband, Gavin, a senior product manager in the gaming industry, on Tinder.
‘He bought me a book for my birthday with details of local walks and every weekend I’d leave him to plan and arrange where we were going, right down to packing the bag with snacks and flasks of tea,’ says Natalie. ‘I feel so cherished.’
The couple had a big white wedding, in April 2018, in Argyll, Scotland, and couldn’t be happier.
Meanwhile, it was only through working with Sami four years ago that Katie Charlton, 45, a health coach from Kent, realised her lack of femininity was a factor in the breakdown of her past marriage.
Cat Shanu, 25, (pictured) who set up the Femme Guide, charges up to £10,00 for one-to-one coaching and online classes cost £35
‘I took the lead and never gave my ex the opportunity to step up and take charge,’ she recalls. ‘He became passive, disempowered, and soon I was thinking there was no sexual chemistry, no spark. I’m in a new relationship where I take a much more relaxed approach.’
Cat Shanu, 25, who set up the Femme Guide, has coached hundreds of women, also charging up to £10,000 for one-to-one teaching (online classes cost £35).
She explains: ‘Feminine energy is creative and intuitive, whereas masculine energy is very structured and authoritative. We need both to create polarity in the workplace and our romantic lives. True femininity is about being warm, open, kind and able to let other people help and serve you.
‘[Ambitious women] tend to lead quite rigid lives, ricocheting between home and work and leaving no time to dream or fantasise about fun things, which I very much encourage them to do.’
A self-confessed ‘girly-girl’ who is happiest in heels, full make-up and a tiara, Cat says it is often other women, not men, who shame the overtly feminine.
‘I remember being late for a class at university once, due to public transport delays, and a female student commented: “Maybe if you didn’t spend so long getting ready, you wouldn’t be late.”
‘Previous generations of women may have chosen to burn their bras in pursuit of equality, but I happen to believe that looking the best version of yourself and mastering social dynamics is much more helpful in getting on in life.’
And she starts with your walk: ‘If your dream man or, if you’re married, your husband before you knew him, was walking behind you, how would you walk? That is your feminine walk.’
And the ultimate femininity role model? Marilyn Monroe.
‘Watch how she struts into a dining room, hips swaying in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She knows she’s beautiful, she knows everyone’s watching.
‘She looks confident, but also kind, happy and fun. With her shoulders back and her head held high, Marilyn exudes the sort of femininity every woman (should they wish to be highly feminine) can strive for.’
persialawson.com; samiwunder.com; thefemmeguide.com