What's a Little DD Between Friends?

I recently received a question in my inbox from a reader asking if domestic discipline (DD) could work in a platonic relationship.

This reader's partner wasn't interested in DD, and she felt trapped and discouraged at the prospect of having to choose between staying with a partner that she loved and accepting that her deepest desire would go unfulfilled, versus leaving her partner and fulfilling her deep longing for DD. Her particular question was whether it would work if she stayed in her marriage and also engaged in DD with a close friend in a non sexual, platonic way.

I suspect many of us have experienced something similar, finding ourselves in a serious relationship with a partner who isn't interested in DD and fearing that we have to give up our longing for DD if we want to continue the relationship. It's a heartbreaking situation to be in. (It's also a big reason why I agreed to write the books on how to get your partner to spank you. )

As I've discussed in prior articles, I continue to believe that we all have, deep down inside, a primitive urge to act out biological sex roles -- which means that I feel strongly that almost any partner could likely be "triggered" to participate consensually in a DD relationship if the subject is approached appropriately.

For this article, however, I'm going to put that theory aside, and focus instead on the reader's original question and the issues related to it: Is DD outside of marriage an act of infidelity? Is it even possible to have a satisfying DD relationship outside of marriage? Can two close friends engage in DD and get the same powerful, intimate results as a committed sexual couple would?

To clarify, we're not talking for our purposes here about a simple, one-time spanking (the equivalent of a one-night stand). Whether or not visiting a professional dominatrix, disciplinarian, prostitute or even a good friend for an occasional spanking constitutes cheating on your spouse is a separate question (but I believe the short answer to that question is yes). We're talking here about entering into an ongoing, intimate DD relationship in which one person is consensually subject to ongoing discipline by a trusted other.

As those who have read my prior articles know, I believe that much of the deep attraction of DD for many of us is that DD is, first and foremost, a powerful, ritual method of connecting one person's inner feminine to another person's inner masculine (in whatever gender configuration). That primal feminine-masculine connection is, by its very nature, fundamentally sexual.

We are sexual creatures and whatever other civilized things we've been up to over the past several millennia, the fact remains that Mother Nature intended for us to reproduce, and to motivate us to do so, we have powerful, primal urges that are awakened through the sex act -- an act which, for the purposes of conception, virtually forces us into primal archetypal gender roles (the male giving, the female receiving). Whatever position one uses, whatever progressive sex roles one brings to the party, whatever high tech methods are used in the lab, the fact remains that to get pregnant, a man must ejaculate sperm (give) and a woman must take it in (receive it).

The primal masculine-feminine connection means that one of the biggest benefits to a successful DD relationship is that DD literally "hot wires" our circuits by creating a direct connection between two people's primal sexual selves. In receiving a spanking, the spankee experiences the undiluted feminine energy of submission. In giving a spanking, the spanker experiences the undiluted masculine power of domination. The spark is struck, the fuse is lit, and bang... a sexual explosion ensues, whether it's acted on or not.

I suspect that this direct connection between primal masculine and primal feminine is so innate to the power of DD that, if DD is even a little bit rewarding for those involved, that primal sexual connection is going to be forged regardless of whether the participants are romantically or platonically involved. If the two people involved weren't sexually attracted and romantically involved when they started with DD, it seems likely -- I would suggest even inevitable -- that they would become involved once things got underway.

All of which means that it might inherent in the nature of DD that it simply can't be -- or at least can't remain-- platonic. And that entering into a DD relationship with a non-sexual friend outside of a relationship, however well intentioned, is the proverbial disaster waiting to happen. The spark to the powder keg of sexual energy that, once released, burns out of control, destroying the "vanilla" relationship that it was originally designed to protect.

Perhaps there are exceptions -- cases of two people who have managed to create a long term successful DD relationship without sexual entanglement. But I'd be skeptical. It seems that in such a case, perhaps the relationship WOULD be sexual but perhaps not acted upon (which would make it, perhaps, emotional infidelity, if one believes in such a thing?). Or, most likely, the full power of DD isn't being truly explored within the platonic DD relationship.

Looking at that second option more closely, much of the benefit of DD seems to be that it's an incredibly powerful way to create intimacy between two people. If the ground rules going in are that the relationship must stay platonic, then almost by definition, all of our "cylinders" won't fire (to continue our automotive analogy). The platonic pair might get some of the catharsis and physical release of spanking, but they'd lose, I suspect, the mutual journey into and out of the liminal space of guilt, pain, punishment and forgiveness that is likely only possible with total surrender and the complete dissolving of boundaries and inhibitions. And this total surrender is almost certainly going to be precluded if, by definition, both partners are holding something back to avoid sexual involvement or surrender.

All of which is why I believe that the answer is, no, it is likely not possible to have a truly satisfying long term DD relationship outside of a romantic/sexual committed partnership. And that any truly rich and successful DD relationship, regardless of the intentions of those involved, will likely become more intimate and more satisfying (and thus more necessary) than your primary relationship, and so would likely jeopardize the existence of that primary relationship.

So we come full circle, back to what I believe is good news: that the basic masculine/feminine connection (again, in whatever gender configuration) is so primal precisely because it lives in all of us, however deeply buried. I continue to believe that the most reliable way to create DD in our lives is to build a deeply intimate, trusting, long term relationship with a partner. The more intimate and trusting that relationship is, the more likely it is that the reluctant partner will have the courage and love to dig deep inside and find their own primal sexual spark. And at the very least, the more likely they are to want to help us to express our deepest desires.

These are the benefits and long-term rewards of fidelity.


  1. Anonymous21:52

    Hi Vivian,

    I am a 43 years old woman and have been intrigued by the idea of spanking for as long as i can remember. I have stumbled upon your blog and have read most of the posts over the last few weeks.
    I have posted my thoughts here because i saw that you prefer this (but i have emailed you privately too - i hope that was ok)
    I am in a relationship with a very dominant man whom I love dearly. He has never spanked a woman in his life before and a few weeks ago i broached the subject with him - spanking for play. And he has eagerly participated a number of times now for me. But its always been erotic spankings...which are fine with me. More than fine. However, the more i read about the domestic discipline relationship the more i feel its that relationship that i need. I feel he has it in him. WE have talked "around" the issue - or i should say i have talked around the issue. Im very nervous of the subject. I think because for one i dont fully understand my need to be spanked as a punishment and secondly i am scared of what he will think of me.

    But saying that I think we do subconsiously live on the fringe of a dd lifestyle already. He is very much the "boss" in the house. He acknowledges that, i acknowledge that. He "punishes" (not spanking) me for little things like overspending. He certainly has no hesitation about tel me off about something or other i have done wrong. It works. I have broached the subject of punishment spankings for wrongdoing. In fact only a week ago we had an issue over a credit card and he told me off and then the next day spanked me. It felt good to have a "clean slate"

    I want to sit down and talk fully with him about this. I want to ask him and make him fully aware of my need for both play spankings for us both to enjoy and then a serious punishment spanking for a wrongdoing - or any other form of punishment that he may feel appropriate. I am very nervous about doing this. I find it difficult to speak the words punishment and spanking out loud - how on earth am i going to talk to him about it? Do you (or any other readers) have any suggestions on how to broach the subject with him, I have read blog after blog trying to decipher my own feelings and needs in an attempt to articulate them. I think he would be very open to this sort of relationship. He certainly likes to spank me erotically. I for one no matter why i get the spanking will be turned on by it - which also worries me. Is that supposed to happen? Is it advisable to separate between the two types of spanking do you think? For example, last Wednesday i was in real need of a spanking. I asked him to as punishment for being moody and sulky. He did for me - though he wasnt in the mood for it which made me feel a hell of a lot better. But then we had sex afterwads which i think confused the emotions and the next day i felt confused and unsettled and not quite sure about myself. But he often tells me that he is quite happy to spank me whenever I want him to. And yesterday even though he was full of flu - he threatened a spanking because i threatened to sneak the credit card off him. So im thinking generally he would be open to this sort of relationship. But im just not sure how to broach the subject fully with him. ITs a hard one. Any advice would be appreciated.

    I do appreciate you are a very busy woman and so would like to thank you for taking the time to read this.

  2. I found my way here as I am on a journey of exploration of what it means to be submissive. I found at least this first article to be very interesting - thank you for writing it.

  3. Anonymous20:25

    I'm a newcomer to your blog, but I have just read "Maintenance Spankings, a question of conscience," and I agree deeply with your desire for discipline as a cathartic response and atonement for some guilt-provoking activity. I have no interest in "maintenance" spankings. And I do not feel guilty when I know that he is more in the wrong than I am.

    One response to your blog was from an individual who took exception to your attitude, "If only I could get him to apologize to me." The commenter said, "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." It's this that makes me very hesitant about DD -- the implication that I should be punished for thinking that I know whether or not I've done wrong, indeed for thinking at all, unless it's expressed in the form, "IMHO, my most noble master, sir, if you would allow your servant to make a suggestion..." You say that you have no desire to serve or to be in a master/slave relationship. I would go further. I have no desire to "submit" in the sense of being subordinate and abiding by whatever rules he sees fit to enact. The release of discipline, however, does appeal...

  4. At first, I have to say English is not my native language, so please be indulgent.

    Although I agree with some of what you are saying, I have a totally different view and I am surprised by your “binary” perspective of the gender role distribution and contradictory way of saying "the basic masculine/feminine connection (again, in whatever gender configuration) is so primal" and "the purposes of conception, virtually forces us into primal archetypal gender roles (the male giving, the female receiving)"

    To begin with this last "obvious" and "primal" idea of the man being "active" (giving) and the woman "passive" (receiving) is by far untrue and a wrong message to convey again and again. A simple explanation to contradict this is that a woman choose her "mate" as to be the most "talented" and "suitable" genitor for her children, this upon physical and/or mental criteria. That is HER choice. Of course, you can tell me that upon the ages, women had little choice in marriage. but this is a social explanation, not a "primal archetypal role" explanation, a very paternalistic one and a misunderstanding of it.

    We are not any more animals in nature, with the male going to each and every females around to "give" and the females waiting to “receive” or for a male to succeed to get her pregnant, at random. And as nature works, a female will stop to have sex when she is pregnant. That the way the "nature" works. So females are definitively not simple receiver organisms and biology prevents them from being sexually “passive” from time to time.

    to the best of my knowledge, being pregnant in no way prevent women to have sex ! except of course when, in a society, this is taboo.

    in other words, biology is not the easiest explanation to human behavior when we talk about sex.

    BUT, and this is a big "BUT" basic human needs are truly a good explanation to DD. "food, drink, procreation/reproduction" are commonly understood the 3 absolute "instinctive" needs for any life.

    Human needs are much more elaborate, ambiguous and ultimately the result of learning than being instinctive than those 3 basics. Otherwise, we would still be preys and predators.

    Our needs as individual, as a person are shelter, protection, intimacy. self-esteem and recognition. security and respect...

    Therefore, our behavior is not governed by the 3 basic needs (and by gender), but by the environment and the society. (by the way, this is why you can put "whatever gender configuration" in the same paragraph than archetypal gender distribution, therefore determination, and be coherent).

    more than the survival of the human beings (the so-called “common law” of procreation) it is the competition that drives our sexual behavior. and the rules to this competition are by far acquired more than instinctive.

    The “binary” explanation, if any, is another: it is the duality life/death and the way we deal with it as social beings which is fundamental, not procreation. The binary life/death opposition is disturbing and, by the way, is the origin of many myths to help human beings to deal with it.

    Indeed basic human needs put in play both "roles" of acting and receiving, together with a more fundamental role for human beings (and that is true, for some social "animals"): "interacting" as regards dealing with disturbing life/death fundamental opposition.

  5. Debbie11:15


    I stopped by to re-read a couple of your older articles, and was so excited to see a NEW article! I'm not certain I completely agree with you - I can imagine some people finding satisfaction in a non-sexual DD relationship, although it would almost inevitably strain the primary relationship - but your writing is, as always,thought-provoking.

    Is there any possibility we might see a new book soon? As you know, I very much enjoyed the previous ones.


  6. Thanks, Debbie, for your comment and your kind words!

    Yes, every once in awhile I stop by to update the blog, and yes, I'm theoretically working on a third book. The problem I'm having though is that too much of what would go into the blog and a third book at this point starts to overlap with material that I use and plan to use in my real life work and writing, and I have both copyright and confidentiality concerns re: taking the material further in my Vivian life!

    We'll see how it resolves...

  7. S.D.14:38

    I like your blog because you are clearly intelligent, well-read and an empowered woman with a bit of a non-standard feminist take, however I think it is clearly the correct one. My wife is also such a person, a non-standard feminist (not sure that label has any meaning outside mine, but there you go). She has been a psychologist for over 20 years and a therapist for 25. She is a well-known psychologist in the Christian community. She is also a total vanilla. I, however, am a spankophile and she knows this. We did try a couple of times to share in this, but neither of us liked it. I have immense respect for my wife and doing this with her interfered with that, and she didn't like the pain. She was spanked as a child and has no sexualization from it (quite the opposite). I had a lousy homelike that included mental and physical abuse and doing that to my wife just hits (pun intended) too close to home (I have spiritual objections as well). It is also why I (nor my wife) have never spanked our children, though we raised them with consistent and loving discipline (I realize some good families spank their kids and i'm not making any judgments against these folks).

    At any rate, just wanted to say thanks for your blog. I know it takes a lot of hard work to maintain such a thing and you do it with elegance and intelligence. You have done a fantastic job of presenting the lifestyle clearly and cogently and while I may not agree with it, I most certainly do support your view of feminism. I was always repulsed by the idea that for women to be empowered they had to co-op the persona of a man, which is not only ridiculous, but as you point out it is actually anti-feminist. I want (and have fought) for my wife to have equal pay, equal rights and equal esteem in the Christian psychological arena (yes, such an animal exists) but I also supported her decision to stay at home with our children until they were school age, rather than have them raised by a daycare center. It was a real struggle financially, but one that was ultimately worth it. A few women she knew (who were not Christian) thought she was belittling herself by giving up her practice for the years she did until our youngest started the first grade. I never understood this mentality and both of us felt it was anti-feminist. I think this kind of thinking has hurt a lot of people, making many women feel that having children and taking care of them was somehow "beneath" them.

    My wife has a close friend who just turned 52 and has entered perimenopause, who is having a mental crisis over the fact that she chose her career over having children. I never thought she wanted to have kids (she isn't even married) but she revealed to us that had always wanted this, however she felt doing it would let her father down (who she worked with), who felt women who left their jobs to have kids and raise them were "foolish and weak". I feel very sorry for her that she allowed her dad to craft this idea in her mind, but I fear there are many women who fall for these lies. I'm glad that a new "pro-feminine" feminism is gaining power, and I hope that voices like yours hasten this acceptance.

  8. Anonymous11:08

    Thank you so much for your blog and description of what this actually IS. I have daydreamed about being in a DD relationship from the time I was a young girl. It is hard to talk about with a mate especially in today's world. I almost feel I would need a nondisclosure statement because I live a public life. I have remained single for five years after my divorce because I am terrified to admit to men what I want and that it is not just for play. I do not and never have enjoyed games. At least not the dress up as a french maid in the bedroom variety. I want what I want to be real. Dating scares me because why on earth do I want to go down this road for how long and then find out I won't be getting what I need due to the modern view. I am not into S & M and yet that is what so many have assumed. I will be doing more reading here on your site. Thank you so much for helping us to understand this.