Re: Differences between female & male practitioners
Random late-night, post-practice thoughts:
Mike, hate to say it, but if that black belt said you were grabbing her neck too hard in irimi nage you were almost certainly screwing up the technique, and it has nothing to do with wimpy vs. "realistic" practice. You were just wrong (and it's a common error). Tell her thank you the next time you see her.
Like Mary said, use words. Perfectly fine to say, "Can you give me that attack a little faster? I want to try it at speed." Or, "Go ahead and throw me for real. You don't have to hold back."
Jackie, let us know how that works out for you. I'd say that in the US, after what, 30 years of Title 9, the difference in gender expectations are way less than you think. The distinction is less gender than what people want out of their practice. I'm still thinking of the lovely young lady who I will swear picked me up to shoulder height in a tenchi nage before burying me in the mat. Would you deprive me of an experience like that?