Why Do I Obey?

There's a scene in the musical "Oh Calcutta" in which two errant young women are taken to a disciplinarian to be caned. One girl is tied up and forced into position, the other bends over of her own free will. The disciplinarian refuses to cane the bound girl, saying that a caning must be received voluntarily to be effective. Non-consensual discipline is meaningless. He releases the bound girl and canes the one who submits of her own free will.

I think a lot about the issue of obedience and consent, particularly when I'm doing corner time. There's not much to do in the corner but reflect, and the topic of discipline is naturally uppermost in my mind during that time.

As I stand in the corner, occasionally for as long as an hour, I have lots of time to reflect on what keeps me there. I believe the reasons that I stay are what separates adult discipline from childhood discipline, and Domestic Discipline (DD) from abuse.

A woman in a DD relationship is definitionally there by consent (non-consensual DD would be another name for abuse). Perhaps more importantly, the woman is almost always the initiator of a DD relationship in that she asks for discipline from her partner.

Childhood discipline, on the other hand, does not require consent. Little kids have no choice but to submit to discipline (which is why punishments that may be appropriate for consenting adults, such as a severe spanking, are generally abusive or excessive to use on children). Parents are bigger and stronger than their children, as well as being the principle authority figures in their lives. When it comes right down to it, a child who refuses discipline can be physically and psychologically overpowered and forced to accept it regardless of their feelings in the matter.

But I am not a child; I am a grown woman. And what keeps me in the corner is not fear, helplessness or an inability to resist. I obey of my own free will, even when it's inconvenient, painful and/or embarrassing to do so.

So if the reasons I obey are different from those of a child, what are they?

Psychological imperative. I've written at some length about our inner psychological imperative for discipline in the article "DD as a Reaction to Me Generation Parenting." Those of us who have asked for the DD lifestyle recognize in ourselves a deep, urgent and unmet need for this type of structure, often due to a lack of discipline in our early lives. As much as we may not like or want the discipline in the moment, our primal need for it outweighs the discomfort or inconvenience of accepting it. The subconscious is a pretty powerful voice, and it's telling us in no uncertain terms that we need this and we need it now, whether we like it or not. I obey because the adult in me knows that the child in me needs to learn boundaries, and as a responsible and loving parent to my Inner Child, I want what's best for her.

Emotional intimacy. As my relationship with my partner becomes increasingly intimate as a result of practicing DD, I accept discipline because of a desire for the payoff that comes with obedience. On an immediate level, the powerful emotional connection we experience immediately following a correction is deeply emotionally satisfying in a way that very few other experiences are. On a larger scale, our relationship is exponentially more loving and rewarding when DD is working than when it's not. I obey because I want the emotional payoff that comes with submitting to my partner's discipline.

Respect for my partner. I also stay in the corner out of respect and love for my partner. Any man willing to enter into a DD relationship is taking a terrible risk. There's the obvious risk of being reported to the authorities as an abusive mate by an angry and vindictive partner. But perhaps more significant (and likely) is the personal psychological risk that the disciplinarian in a DD relationship assumes. It's an awesome responsibility to discipline another human being (adult or child). Whether he admits it to you or not, it can be scary to be the one holding the paddle. Refusing to accept the discipline that I have specifically asked for would undermine his feeling of safety and trust about our arrangement. It would also be profoundly unappreciative of his genuine efforts to give me something that I want and need. Accepting discipline shows my partner that I am clearly consensual in this and that he is safe, emotionally and legally, in giving it to me.

Justice. I stay in the corner because it feels fair and right for me to do so. I did the crime, I do the time, and I do it in a way that I've agreed to, that feels contained, safe and loving. I believe that human beings have a built-in sense of justice, and too often in our lives, there are no clear, structured ways in which we can pay for our mistakes. As a result, we often carry guilt over our misdeeds around with us that becomes far out of proportion to the original crime. But in our relationship, if I do something wrong, I am disciplined for it, and I'd much, much rather submit to a clearly defined consequence than beat myself up over my mistake for days, weeks, months (even years) afterward. Submitting to discipline satisfies my very human need for forgiveness and atonement.

Personal empowerment. It's the paradox of DD -- that submitting to discipline ultimately puts me more in touch with my own personal power. At the core, I obey because I know that DD makes me stronger, more effective, more confident, more productive. In short, a better person. The difference in what I'm able to accomplish in my career and in working for the causes I believe in with and without DD is so dramatic that my only regret is that I wasn't ready to live this way sooner. Without DD, I'd lose a most of my access to a part of myself that I cherish beyond all else -- my personal power. At the heart of it, I stay in the corner because I am a better person and the world is a better place if I do.


  1. Anonymous17:58

    I love what you're saying!

    A few months ago, I asked a new friend to help me address a specific personal issue through weekly discipline (or not, if I've had a good week). This was my first attempt at fulfilling my need for spanking and I am very happy. I'm hoping that our friendship will blossom into a DD romantic and sexual relationship.

    I haven't had to do corner time yet, but I know it's coming down the road. To me, it seems much worse than a severe spanking. He knows how much I hate the idea, and I'm fairly certain that he's just waiting until I'm a little less "green". I'm terrified being confronted with that level of embarrassment and dread the struggle that I know will lead to my eventual obedience.

    Obedience. I ask myself frequently why I obey him. It's not my personality to allow anyone to "tell me what to do" and, yet, I want to obey him. Even though it leads immediately and directly to an embarrassed mind and a very sore bottom.

    Your posts reflect my thoughts exactly. Thank you for taking the time to write them.

  2. Anonymous19:31

    I just found this. Thank you for articulating what I have not been able to explain to myself or my partner.

  3. Anonymous06:34

    Its so nice to read a well articulated article that reflects the inner challenges of learning to live a DD lifestyle. My partner and i are just beginning our journey and i am still learning to subitt gracefully to what my mind body and soul has been longing for. I particually appreciated the acknowledgement of what my partner may be feeling right now and how i can support him futher. God bless xx

  4. Anonymous20:07

    Thank you for posting this. It is forcing me to face a part of myself that I don't understand, but strangely, I really find comfort in your words and your lifestyle. I was searching for something else when I came across this.

    I've never had any discipline in my life from my family, nor any boundaries. It is the opposite of strict parents that I had: I've always been able to talk them into anything! I've been the disciplinarian in a sense, learning to manipulate my elders from a very early age. I know that my parents have and had nothing but love for me and that perhaps I was an especially challenging child for an inexperienced couple in their early twenties.

    Now, as an adult, I LONG for rules, boundaries, and what you call corner time. I constantly find myself "pushing it" with the men that I become romantically involved with: I rebel, am rude, whine, and fuss hoping to find someone who'll stand up to me! No one who has has stuck around for long... But it's funny how deeply I enjoy when I am told to stop or "disciplined" even though it's only ever been a verbal thing... it's totally been enough to make me feel safe. It makes me feel like there is a way to control me...

    This was very eye opening.

  5. I'm so glad you found the article helpful -- thank you for stopping by!


  6. Anonymous19:51

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