"Maintenance" vs Discipline: A Question of Conscience

Most of the spankings in our relationship in the past few months have been "maintenance" spankings -- meaning, spankings that aren't motivated by any particular misbehavior but are intended rather as a general attitude adjustment or stress reliever.

I suspect that the emphasis on maintenance spankings in our relationship is largely because my partner and I are still struggling with the Big Problem we have with regard to DD (Domestic Discipline): I rarely misbehave in a way that, to me at least, is unambiguously my fault. (see "When I'm Angry").

I virtually always believe that my behavior is either not inappropriate at all, or if it is inappropriate, is a response to something nefarious and egregious that he did first, and thus my misdeed is at the very least, equal to his and therefore justifiable -- and therefore shouldn't merit a one-sided discipline. (and no, there's no way in h*ll I'd even consider spanking him. That would, I believe, completely ruin the archetypal male/female energy of DD and undermine his role as an authority figure much the same way that a child spanking a parent would).

At any rate, the reason that I generally receive maintenance spankings is most likely that they're safer than disciplinary ones because they don't require a judgement about fault or blame and can be given "just because."

Our habit, therefore, has become to ignore anything that would require an actual, specific disciplinary response and focus on periodic, general-purpose maintenance spankings instead.

This is, of course, a problem in a DD relationship, as there's a reason that it's called "Domestic Discipline" and not "Domestic 'Just Because'".

In addition to the problem of the Perfect Paddle, I suspect that the emphasis on maintenance spankings is equally responsible for the disappearance of all those wonderful empowered feelings I used to get from DD that have been noticeably absent since my return to my partner's city.

The disciplinary "bad girl" component of a spanking, for me, is crucial to the overall experience. I need to feel the knot in my stomach (and nervous tingling elsewhere) that tells me that I've done wrong and now I need to pay. I need to feel the embarrassment and humility of knowing that I've "got it coming" for a specific mistake I've made, that what's to come is not a favor or a way of helping me relieve stress (not directly anyway), but a fair consequence for an error that I've made.

And I need the security of knowing that when things go wrong in the relationship, there are specific, concrete consequences rather than the vague, silent tension that exists when there is no specific discipline given. And in the moment, I need my disciplinarian to be stern, distant and without visible compassion, not loving and supportive (that comes after).

Feeling guilty, then punished or disciplined, and then subsequently cleansed and forgiven, is so much a part of the cathartic, transformative experience of DD for me that without it, it's pretty much just theater. Perhaps minimally satisfying in the moment for its sexual subtext, but without any lasting psychological or relationship benefits.

This cycle of guilt/discipline/forgiveness is one of the many elements that separates DD from more deliberately erotic and sexual forms of pleasure/pain play, and puts it closer to the cathartic ritual pain practiced by many religious movements throughout the ages (starting well before the Catholic monks) as well as traditional parent/child punishments.

As human beings, most of us have consciences -- and a desire to cleanse them periodically. Unfortunately, our culture has precious few outlets for clearing one's conscience. The Catholic Church has the Rite of Confession, but most of us, of course, aren't Catholic. For most of us, unless we receive a speeding ticket, a library fine or a reprimand or other disciplinary action at work, there are very few healthy mechanisms in contemporary culture for expunging adult guilt for a transgression (and precious few mechanisms for kids either, thanks to so-called "progressive parenting" -- see "DD as a Reaction to Me Generation Parenting")

Much of the power of DD -- whether we realize it consciously or not -- comes in its ability to formalize and provide a safe, contained way of cleansing our consciences for wrongs that we've done to ourselves and those around us. To remove the element of guilt/punishment/forgiveness from the DD experience by giving too many spankings "just because" risks removing the basic psychological element that makes DD "work."

That's not to say, of course, that there isn't a place for role playing, erotic spanking and other non-disciplinary activities -- of course there is and those things can be a lot of fun, but at their core, they generally (though not always) lack the psychological element of conscience-cleansing that's inherent to DD. As an example, my "Perfect Paddle" was indeed perfect -- for sex play and fantasy, but not for discipline. (and has accordingly been shelved by mutual agreement between my partner and myself)

The difference between DD and these more sexually-oriented activities is that DD speaks directly to the very real, very human need to pay for one's crimes. And I suspect the growing appeal of DD has much to do with the lack of socially-acceptable ways for adults to pay for our transgressions, in a culture where anything goes and too many people seem to believe they have the "right" to treat anyone any way they please without consequences. (If you want to experience this lack of personal responsibility directly, just try asking someone to put their dog on a leash or not park their SUV in a compact spot and see the reaction you get.)

Deep down, the wiser, better part of us knows we don't have the "right" to behave badly just because we're adults, whether we push that knowledge away, cover it up with aggression and bravado, or acknowledge it. Those of us who recognize our need for DD are fortunate to be at least a little bit more in touch with our social and personal consciences than many of those around us -- which gives us a better-than-average shot at being better, more decent human beings than we would otherwise be.

Whether or not DD is ultimately a viable lifestyle option remains to be seen -- the surge of interest in this lifestyle seems the beginning of a social experiment in human behavior, sex roles and power in relationships. Time will tell whether or not the Big Problem of how to deal with the dominant partner's transgressions will be DD's undoing.

But divorcing DD from its fundamental role as a mechanism for regularly and safely experiencing the cycle of transgression, justice and forgiveness is doing the lifestyle and the people who take great personal risks to practice it a grave disservice.

If there is an answer to DD's Big Problem, it lies somewhere beyond removing one of the primary elements that make DD such a potentially healthy relationship choice.

34 comments:

  1. "I rarely misbehave in a way that, to me at least, is unambiguously my fault"

    I am exactly the same way! If I do something wrong, I can often justify it as his fault and then decide that I don't deserve a spanking. I don't do any of the silly/naughty things stories are written about: spending too much, not paying the bills, speeding, forgetting to call home, etc. Isn't it really the paradox of d/d, that it takes a great deal of maturity to successfully engage in a d/d relationship but then the maturity should also keep you out of trouble the majority of the time. And I think those of us who want to have rules and discipline are also sticklers for following the rules.

    I don't know where this all leads us, except to the occasional fight at my house. I don't like the idea of maintenance discipline but my bf seems to get bored if we don't get to do a disciplinary spanking at least every once in a while. And I think that leads spankers to *reach* for reasons to spank, which is never a good thing.

    Sorry that I don't have any good solutions but I find your intelligence and writing to be very refreshing and enjoyable. :)

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  2. Anonymous02:41

    Well done Vivian on another thoughtful and incisive post.

    My feeling is that if discipline is working, and is thus a valid tool to be using, then it should need to be applied ever less frequently. We should learn from our mistakes, and with the added incentive of avoiding a spanking, we should learn all the more readily.

    If mistakes are still being made and cp is being used all the time, then it is clearly not working to purpose and is therefore being used for other reasons. The participants fool themselves if they think it is having a useful disciplinary effect.

    Some people approach this "Little Problem" with DD by making the rules ever more onerous and petty.

    This seems as if they are being used merely as an excuse for the disciplinarian to reach for reasons to spank as Angel says, and not for any valuable improvement in behaviour on the part of the spankee.

    It is one thing for us to seek perfection in our behaviour and our thought-life as defined by God, but as defined by another fallible human? The Little Problem may be just as significant as the Big Problem, and time will tell what will happen to DD as you say.


    As for maintenance, I suppose it is intended to reinforce the assymetric nature of the relationship.
    If nothing has gone wrong, no mistakes have been made, no discipline is needed, what shall we do? What must we do?

    Spank the woman of course!

    opb

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  3. Anonymous07:27

    Yes I also agree that this could be a problem area.

    I have had two failed marriages in my life and because I do not want to repeat this mistake again I have searched my mind and soul to find the clues to my failures. Both of my husbands made significant errors in judgement that caused me to lose respect for them. I in turn said nothing to them and refused to discuss it. I often went for weeks or even months not talking to them much at all about anything after these letdowns. In my second marriage I harbored ill feelings for years at the end. True these transgressions were serious but I was unable to submit to discussion to clear the air about anything large or small.

    I think what needed to happen was for my husband to demand I discuss the reason for my silence with him and when I would not he should have found a way to coax it out of me. In those days spanking me was not an option as I did not ever let him know it was what I wanted or needed. I knew but I was afraid of these wants and needs I had and thought I was flawed in this way and alone on this earth with it.

    The lesson I have learned is that like you I could "NEVER" spank a man for a serious transgression but if I clam up because of it, which is in my nature to do, he should spank me till I agree to talk, then spank me more till I beg his "permission" to talk about the problem. It is quite possible after discussion he would see the error of his ways and have the opportunity to apologize for hurting me and vow not to ever repeat it. To conclude, by not admitting my needs, and by refusing to discuss what bothered me I robbed him of his place as my husband. The spanking would have been justified not for "Him" the transgressor but for me the one who would not allow him his place, the opportunity to make ammends and grow. If DD had been available to us in the early days of our marriage I might not be alone now. My thinking process has changed, I understand.

    Sorry to be so long winded

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  4. Vivian, there are a number of rather involved experiential and philosphical reactions I could make to your quandry but I am going to be more parsimonious.

    You have an intense and deep seated need to be disciplinarily spanked which is likely essential to who you are. It is not frivoluos. It is not simply an erotic "fetish." (although it is likely erotic..which is not to make less of it, but rather to make it tremendouly more important.)

    You are an adult and an accomplished professional. You are not an out of control child. You do not require discipline as you would if you were a child or even an adolescent. If you try to behave to create that necessity (in other than some sort of playfulness perhaps) you will make yourself unhappy and likely hurt your relationship.

    Adult disciplinary spanking is not childhood spanking. It involves real, sincere, severe spankings because they fulfill you, they fulfill your partner, they fulfill your relationship.

    Discipline is a discipleship. While Discipleship may involve punishment, punishment if not frequently part of discipleship. If it were to need to be you would likely not be a disciple.

    I have had several disciplinary relationships. When those relationships in fact had target behaviors we were working to modify or extinguish, the behavioral goals were usually reached pretty rapidly. If most willing adults are punished ruthlessly and skillfully, they change behaviors quickly rather than repeat traumatic consequences. That never in any case, however, ended the need of the bottom partner to be spanked or my need to spank her.

    You are party to an adult consensual disciplinary spanking relationship. That is because you need disciplinary spanking. You do not need to have "behavior infractions" to justify your spankings. You do need spanking.

    If on rare occasion my swan needs sincere discipline as punishment for some sort of "wrong" she has done, I have no trouble giving her a blistering that she does not confuse as being of "the other sort." They are effective and connecting as well.....but they are not the essence of our relationship and they are rare.

    I'm sure you've seen people respond to something someone has said by saying, "Grow Up!" Well, I'm not saying "Grow Up!" I'm saying, "You have grown up!"......long ago. You've grown up to realize you have a core need to be spanked, and you've grown and learned enough to embrace who you are including that essential need.

    All the best:)

    Tom

    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

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  5. Vivian -- There is so much here, and you are so "tangled" up with your needs and your thinking and your perceptions... You will, I'm sure, work through it all for yourself in time.

    One thing I did pick up on that I can address from personal experience is this:

    "I virtually always believe that my behavior is either not inappropriate at all, or if it is inappropriate, is a response to something nefarious and egregious that he did first, and thus my misdeed is at the very least, equal to his and therefore justifiable -- and therefore shouldn't merit a one-sided discipline. (and no, there's no way in h*ll I'd even consider spanking him. That would, I believe, completely ruin the archetypal male/female energy of DD and undermine his role as an authority figure much the same way that a child spanking a parent would)."

    I live in an M/s dynamic. He has the absolute authority within our household. He is utterly Dominant by His very nature, and there is no question at all about who is "in charge." AND I am empowered, by Him, to discipline Him should His behavior be such that it endangers His well-being or damages our relationship. I have done that. It isn't easy or enjoyable, but it is effective in establishing the balance and "rightness" that you point to and struggle with.

    There was, for example, an incident that occured about 2-1/2 years ago. He had a period of several days during which He was experiencing chest pains. Believing that they were probably acid reflux, He said nothing about them until they became severe enough that He finally decided that it warranted medical attention. At that point He told me about His "pains" and I took Him directly to the emergency care center. I also questioned Him about the circumstances. Learning that He'd been having the pains for DAYS, I was both frightened and furious. As it turned out, the pain was indeed related to acid reflux, and He was not in any direct danger. When we got home, however, I did seriously SPANK Him and make it clear that ignoring such a significant indicator of a potential health risk for that long was unacceptable. When it was over with, we were both shaken and drained, but clear with one another. It did not change our dynamic. It did make a very important point.

    I can discipline Him in serious times, precisely because I love Him and respect His role in my life. The fact that I might, occasionally hold a paddle does not change who He is for me or for US. If it did, there would be a much more serious problem than the question of who spanks who. Trust, Honor, and Respect are relationship level investments. WE make the choice about whether we will invest those things with a particular individual, not based on their gender, but based on their character and personal strength and integrity. It is not the male/female energy that is at risk when we spank our dominant partners. It is the reality of their Dominance. If that is solid and sure, there is no risk at all in a deserved spanking delivered in a timely and loving fashion.

    swan

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  6. Anonymous10:17

    Vivian,

    I am overwhelmed by your intellect in this article. You must have at least a master's degree; it is so well writen. The depth of insight is breath taking. Who would of figure you could apply so much academic forsight to such a simple subject of spanking. Well done!

    I look forward to reading more of your material

    Clayton

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  7. Thanks for your very generous praise, Clayton.

    I can't resist responding to your comment re: master's degrees and writing ability, two things which in my professional experience, are often inversely correlative. Though there's always the exception, I've found that academia tends to be very unkind to people's writing ability, rendering it almost incoherent to the average person!

    Thanks for reading.

    -Viv

    PS -- Thanks also to the Heron Clan for posting thoughtful comments to this post. Your comments have sparked several new article ideas, at least one of which will hopefully appear as soon as my schedule allows.

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  8. Anonymous07:44

    "inversely correlative"

    Brilliant Viv.


    opb

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  9. Good afternoon.

    I found your post via way of The Heron Clan. I hope you don't mind a few thoughts.

    What I'm reading you say is, in essence, 'I need to be spanked, even though I haven't transgressed to earn the spanking. Therefore, I'm not DD.'

    As a person who engages in DD in a context of a wider power exchange relationship, I'd like to offer these thoughts...

    You and yours define the relationship. DD is a concept and an approach. It's a journey, not a destination. The fact that you're deviating from a principle of DD (spanking only when in error) doesn't invalidate your DD, doesn't make you a child or pervert, doesn't mean that your concepts of punishment are invalid - it means that you've opened your eyes to further possibilities.

    You mention a spiritual aspect and I'd like to touch on that as well. Exploring the use of physical input as both a discipline device and a means of 'balancing' oneself isn't at odds with each other. Athletes regularly punish their bodies through activities to find a spiritual (and physical) high. Many religious cultures include physical pain as a way of elevating their consciousness to a higher plane.

    The fact that you find such physical activity both cathartic for discipline purposes and for personal reasons is OK. I think there is room in someone's relationship for both DD and for exploration as you've been doing.

    Sometimes facing and admitting one's inner self is just as freeing as the release you've found through DD. The time you spend spinning to reach those realizations can be upsetting and confusing.

    I wish you much clarity.
    Kindest regards,
    EO

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  10. Hi EO,

    Thanks so much for reading and your thoughts.

    I'm glad you posted, as I didn't realize until I read your comment the potential for misunderstanding in my last post.

    What I'm attempting to communicate in my recent post is actually the opposite of your summation.

    The discipline I crave HAS to be tied to a transgression or it is meaningless to me (not the other way around). Spankings "just because" or for erotic play are, for me, meaningless -- just theater, play acting and empty role playing.

    The theory I was attempting to put forward is that "just because" or maintenance discipline removes the thing that makes DD so powerful -- the opportunity to experience the guilt/atonement/forgiveness cycle, which I believe is something many of us crave precisely because that cycle is lacking in our culture.

    DD without a transgression to motivate it isn't DD -- it may be rewarding, powerful, sexual, fun, spiritual, etc. in various forms to those who practice it, but it's not Domestic Discipline -- and can't be because it lacks the element of atonement that lies at the heart of DD (and, I believe, at the heart of why I and so many others crave DD in the first place).

    Hope that clarifies!

    -Viv

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  11. Well, I feel like a fool. *chuckle* My attempt at saying exactly what I was thinking failed in my first comment, my apologies. I've read and reread your post and I can't decide if you are struggling with not fitting the defintion of DD or if you are struggling with the missing of the cycle, which makes you question what you are doing. Or perhaps both.

    For my girl and I, the struggle with '24/7' is how real life intrudes and takes us away from the interactions that enrich that '24/7'. It ends up being that we can feel hollow or unfulfilled by the simple ways she serves me, or by the small interactions we have. We struggle with what our roles mean and how we can explore them, even when the dynamics of the exploration may not be in sync with what Real Life is bringing us.

    There's no easy answer, but what sustains us is to realize that the definition of '24/7' isn't what rules us, it's something we have as part of who we are. For us, we can say that we 'are' '24/7', but that many times we're not 'doing' '24/7'. And that's OK (aside from the aspect that we will end up *missing* the more intense stuff.)

    My girl craves the need to serve and the need for some of the other aspects of '24/7' that we've explored. Yet even though we may not 'do' these things, we still are. We still have. And my girl and I treasure the opportunities when we can and do get back into the full swing of things.

    The question for us lies with is it enough that we are '24/7' and that we always 'are, or is the M/s interaction that important? If it's the interaction, then what exactly about that is what makes it so important?

    My girl and I are starting to break down our '24/7' to exactly the underlying needs/desires/fulfillment and the answers so far are enlightening - because they give me/us clues to how we can explore and we can be enriched. It might not fit the definition of '24/7' but it's good enough for us. We make '24/7' work for us.

    My hope is that you can transpose 'DD' where I put '24/7' and that my thoughts might be useful.

    Kindest regards,
    EO

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  12. Hi EO,

    Thanks so much for clarifying your thoughts as well!

    I'm off to a meeting and only have a minute, which is less than your response deserves but I thought I'd comment on one quick item that jumped out at me...

    I have zero desire to serve or be i a master/slave relationship, which is perhaps another thing that distinguishes DD from lifestyles like D/s and BD? No doubt some people have a mix of both and some are one or the other, but maybe that's one of the ways to distinguish the various needs/wants/lifestyles?

    Just a thought.

    -Viv

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  13. Thank you.

    I've taken some time to get to know you from your posts *s* and I indeed did know that - however, the choice to explore something so powerful in emotion, spirituality and inner mappings (whether sexual or not) has consistent underlying pinnings, no matter what the interest, kink or predilection.

    The need to have something, whether it is a need to serve, or a need for a punishment/redemption cycle, still is a need - still is something that doesn't always easily dovetail into 'real life' but yet for it to truly work, I think for us - at least - it's required a bit of flexibility on what we had defined as our 'thing' and some growth and discovery about what really lies underneath that desire.

    Kindest regards,
    EO

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  14. Hi there....I ran across you this evening and really enjoy your writing. I wanted to let you know what a great job you are doing. As my blog is quite a bit raw-er than yours, I wanted to ask first if you minded me adding your link. I understand if not, but I would love to continue visiting. My best to you and yours.

    ~martha

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  15. Hi Martha,

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    Of course you can add my link -- I appreciate it very much!

    Viv

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  16. Julian04:52

    Thank you for your enjoyable, provocative and uniquely perceptive blog. A comment about the Big Problem, which you so clearly outlined in When I'm Angry, but which crops up in almost every post, including this one.
    The difficulty seems to be centred on the concept of fairness. For you, DD only exerts its redemptive power when it is a response to acknowledged wrongdoing and consequent appropriate guilt on your part. But as you say in our imperfect world often responsibility for wrongdoing, is shared, or difficult to determine, or both.
    Suppose you and your partner share the use of a car, and have an understanding, a rule, that whenever the petrol (gas) gauge falls below a quarter full, the driver will fill the tank at the next opportunity. One day your partner drives off, notices that the tank is almost empty, but before he can reach a fuel station the car runs out of petrol. His day is seriously disrupted. You had used the car most recently, and are living in a traditional relationship, so that evening he gives you the paddling you deserve.
    But both of you know that your last use of the car was an unexpected and urgent trip to collect one of your children who had fallen sick at school, and that your partner had taken the car to work most days recently, so it is more likely than not that the gauge had fallen below a quarter full while he was driving. Was the paddling fair? Probably not.
    Suppose it was you that was driving when the car ran out of fuel. Would a paddling be fair? Probably not.
    Suppose he had forgotten to use a cash machine (ATM), leading to later embarrassment for you both when he could not pay the bill at a cash only restaurant. Would a paddling be fair? For you, definitely not. For him, fair but by your lights, unacceptable.
    'Is it fair?' Is that the right question? Maybe not. A general rule might be that you, the submissive partner, pay the penalty for any wrongdoing in a situation where responsibility is shared, or uncertain, or both. The question of fairness does not arise. So in the first example you get a sore backside even though the mistake was probably his. In the second example, the call is his: even though the mistake was probably his, and you have already suffered as a consequence, by the rule if he so chooses he can punish you. In the third case, he should not punish you of course, but neither does he suffer a penalty. This is not fair, but the rule this couple live by does not invoke fairness. (The Christian doctrine of vicarious atonement, which is the main reason why I am not a Christian, hovers here in the distance.)
    For me, and I fancy a good many others, this general rule carries its application a powerful erotic charge, partly because it is not fair. Very likely you will respond that whatever it is this is not DD, since for you fairness, justice seen and felt to be done, is an essential part of DD. I wonder though whether sacrificing fairness and suffering for another's fault carries any resonance for you?

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  17. Hi Julian,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful response to my post and the larger issue of the Big Problem.

    Your inquiry re: my thoughts on paying the price for others' sins was particularly interesting.

    The short answer is no, the idea of paying for the mistakes of others carries no appeal for me in this or any other context.

    In the backstory of my life is a history in which I was made to suffer greatly for the misdeeds of others and I did not find it a noble or spiritual exercise, but a twisted,grossly abusive situation that left deep scars on my psyche that will likely never heal.

    The power of DD to me is a chance to reclaim the concept of fairness and justice, and a sense that I am responsible for my own mistakes, but clearly NOT those of others. This is the healing power of DD, at least for me -- a ritualized, straightforward experience of justice and fairness lacking in much of our culture.

    Also, it's probably worth clarifying as we all sort through this stuff for ourselves that the problem I have with my partners is not that he's not punished when he does something wrong, but that in general, he refuses even to apologize or admit his mistake.

    Were he to take responsibility more often and offer apologies to me when he's done something to hurt me, I wouldn't have a Big Problem with DD. Were he to take more responsibility and apologize more frequently, I'd gladly pay disproportionately on my end (!) when I've done something wrong, in exchange for the enormous benefits of DD.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Big deadline at work, will post more soon!

    -Viv

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  18. Julian10:46

    Excellent sense, thank you.
    Your last major paragraph raises the (not new) question whether the Big Problem is with DD, or with your relationship, or both.
    Suppose you and your partner fell out over the navigation during a car journey, and both in the heat of the moment said hurtful and disrespectful things to each other. No way is one of you more guilty than the other - you both are. That evening your partner says to you, "I am very sorry I spoke to you as I did during our trip this morning. I said things I did not really mean, and I apologise for the hurt I caused you. I shall do my best not to behave like that in future. Now, fetch the paddle, and I expect to hear your apology before I use it."
    Half an hour later he is putting the paddle back on its hook, whhile you stand in the corner displaying a burning throbbing bottom.
    You have paid a rightful penalty - fair; he has not, but has apologised - unfair? Is this scenario acceptable?
    The only way I can justify (interesting that word pops up here)this inequality is by the differing natures of masculine (M) and feminine(F)energies. M tends to do, to be active, F to be, to be receptive: agency and communion, in Ken Wilber's terms. But beyond that, in my experience, F has the greater spiritual range, all the way from earth to heaven (overhear the patients' conversation on a gyne ward for the earthy bit), while M has a smaller range, and is more grounded, more earthbound. M needs F for relationship, for enthusiasm (lit being filled with rhe god), and (here's the point at last), F needs M for providing boundaries, limits, a safe and stable framework, above all for the discipline within which F can flourish and reach her full potentia[. And discipline necessarily entails the possibility of punishment....
    Could say more, will not, may have said too much already. My M is setting a limit.

    warmest
    Julian

    PS I have no internet access till Saturday, so silence till then does not mean indifference.

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  19. Hi Julian,

    Your comment on the difference between feminine and masculine energies is at the heart of why I believe DD is an empowering lifestyle and why I don't believe it's wise for women to impose DD on men.

    This is also the heart of this blog but because it's such a big issue that article I've been meaning to write keeps not quite getting written!

    -Viv

    PS -- If I could get my partner to do exactly what you describe re: apologizing for his side of it and then disciplining, our relationship would have few to no problems! It's getting him to apologize at all that's the problem, not so much the disparity of consequences.

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  20. Please note that the comment below was posted by Julian. Julian's original post used the term "beating" where I've subsituted "impressed" and "discipline." I hope these preserve the original intent of the comment.

    I've made this edit after consideration, in the interest in not perpetuating the myth that DD is domestic abuse by allowing a search engine to find a match with "beating" and "DD" and draw erroneous conclusions about our collective attitudes towards Domestic Discipline. Julian, I hope you'll forgive the edit.

    PS -- New job, lots of deadlines. Bear with me, new article coming soon!

    Julian's comment:
    It seems that the Big Problem does nothing to invalidate this form of DD, provided that both partners are able to acknowledge and take proper responsability for their actions. If he is at fault, the man, with his preponderence of M (masculine energy), should apologise with dignity and sincerity, and without shame, just regret. When the woman (with her preponderence of F (feminine energy) is at fault she should apologise and invite her man to punish her. If he does so both are empowered: the woman as you have so well described through the release and redemption of guilt beaten out and the lesson impressed on her flesh; and the man through the loving affirmation of M in its harsh, erotic and caring aspects that disciplining his woman represents. F completes and empowers M as M does F.

    Thank you so much for your courage in revealing so much of yourself and thereby enabling this provocarive and clarifying discussion.

    warmest
    Julian

    end comment

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  21. Julian04:13

    Your edit expresses my thought just fine -- I like the word impressed -- and I appreciate the reason for it. Thanks.

    Julian

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  22. The following is an edited comment from Always a Day Late. Thanks for posting, AADL! I edited out your political PS as this isn't a political blog and thus it's a bit off topic!

    -Viv

    comment:

    Always a day late has left a new comment on your post ""Maintenance" vs Discipline: A Question of Conscie...":

    I love your blog. I'm a recent lurker and don't post very often; never before on your blog and rarely anywhere else. Your blog is more interesting than many of the others.

    Your "long-distance" problem is similar to the problem that my wife and I face all the time.

    We have teenage kids. During the summer (and the other seasons as well, to a lesser extent) they are rarely all gone from the house while we are both still in it. There is no way that I can administer effective discipline when kids are in the house so I don't even try.

    This means postponing things, often for a week or two. This is problematic because it means that anytime the kids are gone she is likely to be spanked. There will have been weeks of small infractions and annoyances that have accumulated. Even the most perfect wife can generate sufficient reasons for a spanking, given enough time. This also means that there is an incentive, theoretically, for the wife to avoid time alone with hubby unless she really likes getting spanked. She claims that spanking per se is not a turn-on but agrees that it improves the relationship in some undefinable way (makes it "hotter").

    Summary: long distance = house with kids so you are not alone or as unusual as you might think.

    Always a Day Late

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  23. I'm just catching up on posting some emailed comments. Here's at least one (thanks for commenting!):

    comment:
    Like many of your readers I have some thoughts on your deeper needs. Maybe you want these shared. If so, attribute them to anonymous and feel free to post them. Anyway here they are:

    As you so perceptively note, you do not want most of the dimensions of the submissive experience. OK, makes sense to me. I don't see them as very healthy; they seem reminiscent of evil societies, etc. What is satisfying is, of course, the feeling of being cleansed and of having paid a just penalty. I can fully relate to this and could share some childhood experiences where I was spanked and fully deserved it and even noted that fact at the time. Sometimes your partner is able to meet this need for you. Good.

    (edited by request) I think it is a hazard of playing the top or dominant or spanker role to fear being open about personal weaknesses and failings. In the film U-571 there is a discussion of whether the Captain of a submarine can admit to not being omniscient. The answer: NO. However, the captain is not all-knowing and it is a dumb tradition that the navy established to think otherwise. Maybe it works for seamen. The idea that a Dominant or Top is infallible or beyond criticism is unacceptable. I sense in what you write that your partner has tendencies in this infallibility direction.

    All this leads me to the following observation. People engaged in DD or some variation on the DD theme (my suggestion is a form of switching roles) need understanding and experienced counselors. Counselors who are good at counselling AND who understand the scene, understand the hot button words, implements, rituals, etc. AND (this is the hard part) understand that there is a thin line in many of us that separates the hot, satisfying scenes from reenactments of childhood abuse. Upshot: if there were such a counselor, I think you and your partner could benefit immensely from just ten sessions. Barring this possibility, have you considered allowing your partner to read your posts and the responses from all of us readers?
    Possibly some of the above will ring true and be helpful.

    end comment

    Viv response: Yes, definite tendencies in the infallibility department! :-)

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  24. Anonymous13:33

    Vivian,

    Call me dumb or simple, but the "Big Problem," that you are dealing with has little (or nothing) to do with DD (at least, as I understand it.)

    The big problem is that your partner doesn't want to acknowledge that he makes mistakes. This is unhealthy in any relationship: husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, boss/employee, parent/child.

    I can't think of one situation or relationship where the person in the dominant role (husband, boss, father, commander, etc.) must consider himself infallable. As soon as a person puts himself in this position, he has declared himself incapable of learning and improving. How sad.

    The issue is not DD. The issue is the infallable ego or your "other."

    Sam

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  25. Louise12:03

    I get spanked most days, there is usually something, I tend to get spanked most often for attitude, sulking when told off about something or my husband's favourite 'dumb insolence' (he can always tell what I'm thinking even if I don't say anything) neglecting the housework, or letting the children do something they're not supposed to.

    On the fairly rare occasions when I haven't done anything he feels deserves a punishment spanking, he will generally spank me anyway "to make sure you keep behaving yourself" vor "to remind you who's master" or something. While not having quite the dramatic excitement of a punishment spanking, it has a similar effect on me, makes me feel more submissive towards him and more anxious to please, and more affectionate. It doesn't happen very often though, as there generally is something he wants to spank me for.

    I don't find it necessary to regard him as infallible in order for him to have authority over me, I always think the men in those fictional spanking stories sound terribly boring, so perfect they make you sick, and always sitting in judgement on their fatally flawed wives. For us, it's a way of relating to each other that seems to suit us, and it isn't dependent on him being 'better' than me (though he definitely is better at many things than I am, cleaning up for instance.

    Louise

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  26. I was interested in this post, since I was until recently in a vanillla relationship for 25 years, where I was accused of never being able to apologise. As a result of undertaking some intensive therapy together I discovered I frequently did apologise for stuff that I felt responsible for. His accusation more accurately was; I could not apologise when he expected or demanded it. He always wanted an apology after we had had a bad argument; but it also, through therapy became clear to me that he genuinely believed that it was me and only me who caused and escalated arguments. He was only apologising because he wanted the bad feelings after the argument to stop, he was not apologising for his part of the argument, but he wanted me to apologise for starting the argument in the first place. No wonder apologising in that context stuck in my throat! If such deep, difficult emotional dynamics are at play, I am wondering if it is reasonable or even safe to expect DD to resolve it?

    More recently I have been working voluntarily as a community mediator and my experience in that has led me to understand that it is possible to have your needs, which are triggered by a hurtful argument met, without the need or expectation of an apology from the other party.

    This involves some work on your part, but uses skills that women generally excel at: introspection, reflection and emotional literacy. It also involves an inward journey, so I think you might like this challenge!

    First of all, you could review the argument and consider if there is anything you want to apologise for, that is not contingent on him apologising. I am sure you have experiences in less complex emotional relationships, say with a work colleague where you have apologised for your part in a disagreement, and if even they did not apologise, you still felt better because you did.

    Now let's take Julian's example of a hurtful argument resulting from the fact that you forgot to put petrol (gas) in the car when it was running low. He used the car the next day and ran out of petrol (gas) before he got to work. His schedule for the day was completely messed up. An argument results when he gets home in the evening and you are left with your hurt feelings unacknowledged and needs triggered by the argument, unmet.

    Here are some things you could try, to get your needs met:
    a) When you review the argument again you realise that recently you have been doing too much. You have been doing a lot of giving without receiving much nurturing. You have been putting extra hours in at work to help your boss set up a new project. Your partner is also very busy at work, so you have been supportive of him when he comes home late in the evening and you have taken over doing some his domestic chores to help him out. Your best friend voluntarily runs an eco-action group and she is having a fundraising event and you are helping her out designing posters and fliers for the event. You begin to realise that not putting petrol (gas) in the car was the symbolic straw on the camel's back. You need to receive some nurturing yourself, to recharge your batteries. You need to explore how you yourself can put some limits on all the stuff you are doing but perhaps you can also go to your partner and say "I realise that I did not put petrol (gas) in the car because I feel stressed and overloaded at the moment. It would be really nice if we could find some time to do something nice/fun together (a long walk in the woods, going rollerskating(!) This would really help me to recharge my batteries and make me feel loved and nurtured again." You need to find a way of clearly asking for what you need, but not muddling it up with judgemental or blaming remarks about his behaviour.
    b) When you review the argument again, you also realise that when he uses a particular tone of voice or a particular expression, it acts a trigger, pushes on a button in you where you start feeling very angry or out of control. He's used it in all your other arguments where you have had unresolved hurt feelings and all these unresolved issues come flooding back. You may, when you are calmer be able to explain to him how this particular tone of voice affects you and that it would be really helpful to you and may stop future arguments escalating if he were able to avoid using it in future disagreements. You may well find out that there are certain things you do or say that act as triggers for out of control behaviour for him too.
    c)Reflect on the anger and hurt the argument has caused you, but now try to go beneath the anger and explore the deeper feelings that lie beneath. We generally use making judgemental or blaming remarks about some one else in order to block exploring our own deeper unmet needs; feeling unworthy or unloveable or not entitled to respect, for example. This is where the real hard work is; to understand what your unmet needs really are and what you need to ask for that you can feel loved, worthy, respected again. To ask for what you need, but with out muddling it up with blaming and accusing him. To ask for what you need with the knowledge that actually no-one is obliged to give what you ask for. However, generally speaking we all get huge pleasure out of giving as long as we can do it freely without a sense of obligation and there is no accusatory sting in the tail of the request which puts our back up.

    We use a similar process in neighbourhood mediation. Quite often when we explain to the neighbour who has made the complaint that we have listened to them and we understand they are angry but now we are asking to put their anger to one side and look at what needs they have that are not being met and what they might reasonably ask of their neighbour that is not judgemental or accusing. We also explain that their neighbour also has needs and they are most likely ask for some stuff too. At this point they often get annoyed and angry. As far as they are concerned they have done lots of hard work putting up with their neighbour's bad behaviour, they have even had the police involved on a number of occasions. Now we are asking them to do some to do some hard work and they think that is not fair; it is their neighbour who needs to do the work. Secretly they were hoping we would say "yes, you are right, you have suffered and your neighbour is wrong." Reluctantly they begin to see that if we as mediators, are judgemental we cannot work co-operatively with both parties, and anyway we have no power to enforce a decision which would put blame on one either one of them. The police and the courts can do that, but the neighbour often begins to see that they did get the police out and actually it did not make the problem any better, sometimes it makes situation a lot worse! If we can, we eventually try to get the neighbours together to meet face to face. We give each party space to express their feelings and anger and for the other party to listen. We then together discuss all their needs and how they can all agree on what they can do (or not do) to minimise fallouts with each other in the future. Invariably a resolution agreeable to everyone is reached and everyone goes home feeling a lot better. We don't have any expectation that any one should apologise.

    A lot of this formalised in a very useful book by Marshall Rosenberg on 'Non-violent Communication'. I don't have the exact reference to hand, sorry. I hope you find this useful and good luck.

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  27. Anonymous19:50

    Hi Vivian. Brilliant writing. I would suggest this:Even the most responsible of us at times wants to do irresponsible things. So let yourself go. Lower your self control. Scew up. It will feel good, and when he catches you the result will be the deserved punishment you so need. Jeff

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  28. Thanks, Jeff! Your comment made my day.

    Warmest,
    Viv

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  29. I am not really in a relationship where im disciplined....i would like to be sort-of...but i find myself very torn because on one hand i long for the security and feeling of consequence to my bratty unruly behavior especially to the male species....BUT, on the other hand.....i do not want to give up my free will and natural dominant personality and need to feel in control..It is so weird but I feel like I battle myself..my head says dont give up your power especially to some man. you are college educated lead a professional successful career, on the other hand...i am so scattered and need guidance and structure and discipline to keep me grounded.

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  30. Anonymous04:54

    Fascinating blog! I have never in my life been spanked by a man, except for the occasional smack in the bottom from my husband usually during sex or because I make him feel jealous. I know he loves my rear end because it is big, round and firm, and it draws uncalled for attention from strangers. I fantasize about DD and I know I have been a brat throughout most of our marriage. Sometimes I wonder how he puts up with me, and I feel very grateful that he still loves me and we are so attracted to each other after 10 years of marriage.

    The chances to get a spanking are sparse because we have children, but I did ask once when we were alone and he started but I immediately covered my bottom and told him to stop. He did not restrain me, and he would need to tie my hands in order to carry on. Now, after living apart for 4 months, because of our jobs, we will be meeting alone at a hotel and I am dying for him to spank me for all the hurtful things I've told him while he was with me for threatening him with divorce, for always acting like he is less important to me than he really is. I really want to return home with a sore bottom, to reminisce until we meet again for Christmas.
    But I'm afraid of what he will think... How can I tell him I want a punishment spanking, I want him to dominate since he has shown me time and again that he is my better half. I also want him to enjoy it. We have a precious week alone... I want to give him all that I can give but I need to feel submitted in order to not let my rebellious, always on the defensive, nature interfere. Sometimes I resent the fact that he is so disciplined in contrast with me. Is this contradictory?

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  31. Hi Anonymous,

    Nothing -- and everything -- in DD is contradictory, because it's about reconciling contradictory parts of ourselves. That's part of fun -- all I can say is embrace it.

    As to your other question about how to get your partner to spank you, I try not to shill for my books on the blog, but in this case, "How to Get the Spanking You Want" is written to provide a step by step answer to that question. It's got the best available advice that I can give in it -- because your question is The Big Question and doesn't have a short, easy answer that fits on a blog comment.

    I hope you'll let me know how things go!

    Warmest,
    Viv

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  32. Anonymous12:54

    I am a 40 year-old woman. Every now and then I require a red face and a very red hiney. I am nervous, embarrassed, and scared to death beforehand and completely out of control during. Afterword, I am sore and have trouble sitting comfortably. My spankers are, like me, married women.

    Betty

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  33. Vivian,
    Do you consider only ACTIONS to be things that require the guilt/punishment cycle? What about ATTITUDES?
    It seems to me that you are not really submitting to your HOH when you write things like, "If only I could get him to apologize to me." Who is in control in that statement? Who is being the leader and the one deciding what is right for both of you and what should or shouldn't happen? There's dominance coming through those words, hon...the idea that it's up to you to make him be a certain way and until he is, you will be unhappy with him. I could understand more if the statement read something more like, "I often feel he is not apologizing to me enough, but I have shared my concerns with him and I trust that as HOH he has his reasons for doing what he is doing. " Something like that. You can tweak it.
    The point is, DD should not really be on your terms, you know? Your terms end at about, "here's the paddle love, I trust you to use it on me in the right way, at the right time, whether or not I want it more or less is not the issue, the issue is that you are my leader and I give you control in this."
    And anything that deviates from that is a bit of an "attitude" issue...
    All this stuff about "fairness.." Your man is the HOH right? Is it not his place to decide what is fair for YOU?

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  34. Anonymous05:31

    I have realized that adult daughters used to DD by fair and caring parents, thru maintenance (seldom as daughters) and non-maintenance spankings, have by large the best chances to continue such lifestyle in their marriage for their and their family's lasting happiness.
    giorgio.imzadi@gmail.com

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