Update and Some Good Questions

Thank you so much to all of you who wrote saying, "Hey, where the heck are you? Are you okay?" and other sorts of things.

The answer is that, yes, I'm still here, and I'm very much okay. However, I'm in the homestretch of wrapping up a big contract (I work in politics and sometimes things get very hectic). As a result, there hasn't been as much time as I'd like for things like updating the blog. I'm working hard to clear my schedule and get back to my mountain retreat for at least awhile, and should be able to do so by the end of December -- at which time, I will probably start to have a great deal to write about as my partner and I have decided to try living together as a DD couple. This will be our first opportunity to really dig in and explore the relationship dynamics of DD on a day to day basis and I'm looking forward to sharing that experience with all of you, if you all can hang in there long enough!

In the meantime, I received a very thoughtful email from a new reader that I thought perhaps would be of interest to some of you. I'm sharing it with her consent, in the hopes that some of you might have responses to her questions. I myself have many responses, as many of her questions go right to the heart of the reason I started The Disciplined Feminist in the first place. However, I'd rather not let her email languish in my inbox until I have an opportunity respond, so perhaps some of you can begin the dialogue?



I started reading your blog about DD and it really is fascinating. I am 34 and contemplating the whole DD thing but haven't told hubby yet until I am sure it is a path I really want to take.

The adult/child idea is very interesting. I do not think I am an emotional adult and have spent years pretending to be one, which is why DD appeals to some part of my inner-child. I think perhaps you really do have something there - it makes a lot of sense from a psychological viewpoint. It is often women who are strong, feminist and intelligent with a moral conscience and well developed sense of 'justice' who want to seek "punishment" or consequences for their misbehaviour. Most probably due to the strong feelings of guilt associated with doing what they know to be "the wrong thing" and the hope that in being punished their guilt will be washed away. However, I suspect it is also the "strong moral conscience and well developed sense of justice" that stands in the way of really embracing the principles of the DD lifestyle.

DD seems to have just enough of 'whatever it is that is missing from the modern relationship' to get the average, sensible, reasonably intelligent, emotionally-starved modern woman interested, and yet also has just enough inconsistencies, double standards and patriarchal overtones to give that same woman an uncomfortable gut feeling that there is something 'not-quite-right' about it too. At least that is how I am feeling about it, and the reason I am struggling and asking complete strangers questions!

One question I have is, do you think that maybe what makes the whole DD power struggle and double standards an issue is that it goes against fairness, equality and all the feminist teachings that most Generation X women have grown up with?

Also - I came across an interesting fact, did you know that the most common form of medication prescribed in the traditional marriage/Early baby boomer generation was VALIUM? Perhaps that makes being submissive easier?????

I find there are two main aspects of DD that I find difficult to process, the first is FAIRNESS, and what to do when I am angry with something HE has done - I could see myself in your comments about "When I am Angry".
The second is that I have children, mostly girls, and I look at what DD "teaches" and whether it is what I would want my girls to learn - do I want my girls to grow up to be submissive women who hand over the reigns of their life, their happiness, their emotional well being to a man ? The truth is, if they find a man who is worthy, respectable, strong, honest and displays all the positive masculine values and holds his own behaviour to a very high moral standard, then perhaps that would be ok, if it made her happy. BUT how likely is that to happen these days??? The finding a man with those traits I mean? (Even "Dr Phil" had several affairs in his first marriage! and I wouldn't want to be Robyn would you?) So honestly, I think my girls, with that teaching, would get eaten alive in a modern world.

Still, I am a 34 year old woman with a Masters Degree in Education, seven children and a husband who is a far cry from an "Alpha-male". I grew up with a weak father and a matriarch for a mother, so I could just be trying to go to the other extreme!

Goodness human beings are complicated! Really what we all want is to be HAPPY!


  1. Anonymous02:11

    How much I agree with your sentiments.

    The issue of fairness lies at the heart of DD, and as you say it would be OK if the man involved was "...worthy, respectable, strong, honest and displays all the positive masculine values and holds his own behaviour to a very high moral standard...", but the world is filled with single mothers whose menfolk seemed to be the best thing since sliced bread initially, but have proved themselves to be imperfect. Men slip up, change, get bored and are just plain selfish often.
    To put such chaps in charge of a DD relationship where they have the unquestioned right to interpret your actions is asking for trouble.

    Something which occurred to me is that if you are considering DD then perhaps you should identify the particular issues of self control with which you experience difficulty and also consider those of your husband. This might show the balance point as it were in that who has the more to learn. It would identify who has the moral right to hold the paddle at present.

    Another thing is to attempt to divorce the discipline aspects from the sexual/sensual ones. As a mind experiment you could consider the operation of a DD relationship without spanking.

    Punishments such as laborious and pointless chores, writing, grounding, no treats etc. would lack the sexual frission of spanking. Incidentally, these are all punishments which are used routinely in the training of children where spanking is not an option.

    If you consider that they wouldn't work to improve your behaviour then perhaps it isn't the discipline itself you yearn but the spanking. I realise that this concept runs counter to traditional DD, but as a mind experiment it could help shed light on your desires.


  2. Okay, I'm going to try to untangle my comment into something relatively readable. However, I very rarely get a chance to talk about DD in a nonjudgemental environment, so please forgive any stream of consciousness. Also, this is not a practically informed comment. I've never been in a DD relationship. I've got my reasons, and I will go into them. However, I am basing all of this on "academic research."

    I definitely agree with the original emailer that part of my need for DD is due to a strongly developed moral compass. My best friend (not at all into DD) teases me that she's Catholic, but I got all of her guilt. For whatever reason, I have trouble letting go of 'being bad.' I always have, from the time I was very young. I still carry guilt over stuff from grade school. Possibly because my parents' response to negative behavior was to talk it over. Which works with some kids. For me, it meant that I never felt like that my guilt over bad behavior was purged. Add that to my perfectionistic tendencies and obsessive behavior, and I've had to develop ways of getting that stuff out. In college, I cut myself. It was my release for perceived failure. And that is something that I struggle with every single day. I have to convince myself that a bad day does not merit scarring myself externally. Most days, I suceed. But everytime it comes up, I wish that I had someone else that could help me to get rid of the guilt in a fashion that I view as healthier. I guess that the self-scarring as opposed to DD is the difference for me between punishment and discipline. When I hurt myself, I am doing it to hurt myself. Whereas in a perfect DD relationship, it is more than a balancing of the scales. It would be helping me learn.

    For me, I have never struggled with the feminist ramifications of DD. I have with some of my more sexualized sexual desires, but never DD. This is due, at least in my head, to two things.

    First, my bisexuality means that gender dynamic is often less of an issue in my relationships. I have rationalized my lack of feminist guilt on that front with the knowledge that I would allow a woman to spank me. Ergo, it is sexist to not allow male partners to spank as well. Ever since I've come out of the closet, I have explained my sexual orientation as falling in love with who the person is, not what they are. Anything that I do with a female partner, I would be open to with a male partner. Just like I refuse to allow a heterosexist culture disallow me to kiss my girlfriend on the corner, I won't allow a feminist culture make me feel guilty for personally seeking something in a heterosexual relationship.

    The second thing that makes me less concerned about the feminist ramifications of my behavior is my age. I'm only 22. I've been raised in an entirely different culture than a lot of people who are currently exploring DD. As a result of the age gap, the feminism I grew up with is different. The feminism that I embrace is one where I live in a world with options. Feminism opened a lot of doors, but I don't want to be constrained by a feminist ideal anymore than I want to be constrained by a more archaic feminine. I choose to live my life the way I want to live it. Which for me, includes DD. It isn't for everyone, and I don't think that it is the cure-all for relationships. For me, and for my relationships, this is what happens to work.

    Onto the issue of fairness. For me, DD is about me. Not him so much. Part of that egocentrism is probably age. I like DD because it helps me. In my perfect DD relationship, rules would be determined by both parties after a long conversation. I would have to agree to any rules and consequences. In my case, this is the only way that could work. If I was not able to engage in that initial planning/foundation building part, I wouldn't be able to cope in the relationship. I would end up resenting the other person for arbitrarily deciding what things were necessary. I happen to be a relatively self-aware person, and I recognize what habits I have that need to be changed. I don't need someone else to tell me what they are, I just need more of an incentive to actually change them. I guess that is probably what makes my DD so different than a parent/child relationship. I get much more of a voice in determining what behavior is unacceptable.

    Finally, children. I've definitely considered what kind of monkey wrench they would introduce, as I've always wanted kids.

    For me, I like the idea of DD because it works for me. I do think that sexual desire is pretty hardwired into us, and it is likely that at least some of your children will have no interest in pursuing a relationship like your own. I sincerely doubt that anyone else in my immediate family has experimented. I base this on a variety of converstaions that I have had with my sister and my mother. I would assume that you are choosing DD because it happens to work for you. Not because you believe that all women "need" it. So it is very likely a non-issue for many of your children. I would think that you would be better off teaching your children how to have healthy adult relationships and letting them navigate the DD aspects on their own. I know that I wouldn't want to discuss it with my mother!

    You can teach your children the same things my parents taught me. That loving relationships are about mutual respect. I would never date a person who didn't respect me. Whatever my needs are, I am entitled to being treated like an important partner in any relationship. Since I won't date someone who doesn't respect me, I also will not be getting spanked by someone who doesn't treat me well. There's a reason that DD is purely theoretical at this point. I would rather not get spanked than be in a relationship where I am not being treated with the respect and love that I deserve. As long as your husband treats you with respect, your children will likely model that.

    Hopefully, most of that was comprehensible. I tried to stick to some sort of logic. However, the heart wants what it wants. Desire does not always follow logic. Good luck! I hope that someone is getting spanked soon. It gives me hope for my future.

  3. Kate07:07

    I asked my husband just a few days ago to spank me for the first time. Viv, your writings have been invaluable in helping me understand where the need comes from. So far, I have made all my own rules and consequences. I wrote the agreement. We have talked for hours about its content, but the concepts are all mine. At this very early stage in our journey with DD, we are using spanking as a way to help me change and improve MY behavior. And it is working very well.

    I do not feel any less of an adult by asking my wonderful, loving husband to spank me. Rather, I respect myself more for taking a stand against my bad habits, admitting my weakness in the aspect that I need some help in making changes that will result in ME being a better person.

    As I grow older, I understand what my grandmother meant when she said (at age 86), "On the inside, I still feel like I am 16". I tell my students that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I am 46 years old. I have a Master's degree. I make darn close to a six-figure salary. And I love the humility, security and consistency I find over my husband's knee.

    Thanks, Viv, for your writings. They have been a blessing to me!

  4. Thank you for reading and commenting, Kate.

    I'm so glad you've found the articles useful!