In fact, the noted psychologist and sex researcher, Dr. Albert Ellis, has declared flatly that women are ``sexually superior'' to men. According to Dr. Ellis, the average 20 -- year old American woman is capable of far greater sexual arousal than her partner. Not surprisingly, Dr. Ellis says, some recently enlightened wives are out to claim these capabilities.

Yet, paradoxically, according to Dr. Maurice Linden, many wives despise their husbands for not standing up to them. An aggressive woman wants a man to demand, not knuckle under. ``When the husband becomes passive in the face of his wife's aggressiveness,'' Dr. Linden says, ``the wife, in turn, finds him inadequate. Often she fails to gain sexual satisfaction.''

One such wife, Dr. Linden says, became disgusted with her weak husband and flurried through a series of extramarital affairs in the hope of finding a stronger man. But her personality was such that each affair lasted only until that lover, too, had been conquered and reduced to passivity. Then the wife bed hopped to the next on the list.

In some cases, however, domination of the sex act by one partner can be temporary, triggered by a passing but urgent emotional need. Thus a man who is butting a stone wall at the office may become unusually aggressive in bed -- the one place he can still be champion. If his on-the-job problems work out, he may return to his old pattern. Sometimes a burst of aggressiveness will sweep over a man -- or his wife -- because he or she feels age creeping up.