What do you call it?

Domestic Discipline, Corporal Punishment, Discipline and Punishment, Parental Spankings, Masculine Authority, D/s, BDSM, WIIWD, Guardian / child, so many terms and still I can’t find one I like….

My partner Paul and I were talking a few nights ago about we’d call what we do. I told him I’m not fond of the term “domestic discipline” because it carries too much “male authority” baggage with it. I used to talk about him as my “guardian” but that carries the sense of me not being an adult, which I am. On some other sites, I cringe a little at the thought of using the term “Head Of Household,” especially put into caps. I’m not down on it for someone else, but it’s so not us. Not me, not Paul. We’ve definitely always been partners. And that’s the way our relationship should be, maybe even more now that we’re married.

So why then do I get spanked and some other stuff as a punishment when Paul doesn’t, I hear you ask?

Mostly, I don’t think spanking works as a punishment for most people. In fact, I don’t even believe punishment works for most people. While Paul sometimes thinks about being spanked, he’s motivated by something inside himself. I think that’s true of a lot of people. For me, not so much.

Also, while Paul and I are equals and see each other as such, we’re not the same at all. He’s very good at some things I’m terrible at, like attention to detail. Likewise, there are some things that come easily for me that don’t for him, like talking on the phone. Sure, I can get detailed work done if I need to and Paul can talk on the phone when he has to. But we balance where each of us has different talents. And I like being accountable to Paul. He’s my friend and my love, and as such someone who I respect a great deal. I know he notices when I don’t do what I say I’m going to do. When we’ve not done punishment spankings, my perception of his disapproval (mostly not real, but I felt it anyway) sometimes was a barrier between us. Yet I felt like I had to prove I didn’t really need him to discipline me before we could again talk about how much I really do want (and need this in our life).

I got hung up on this issue for a long time because I felt sure that what we were doing placed an unfair burden on Paul. But he’s helped me to see that WIIWD (what it is we do) helps him too. In helping me by providing some external structure, he finds his own life becoming more ordered too. That makes it sound simplier than it is, but that’s the subject of another probably longer musing.

But now I’m pretty much cool with what we do. Honest. It’s just hard to talk and write about when I don’t know what to call it. Too many pronouns get to be confusing.

Any thoughts? Maybe just discipline and punishment spankings?

5 thoughts on “What do you call it?

  1. sparkle

    I’ve, too, been over this again and again in my mind because I think it’s a particularly pertinent point. For me, the word ‘domestic’ reeks of household chores not finished and meals not hot and fresh on time – and the reality is I don’t want to be punished when those things go undone; generally they go undone because I’m being Mommy or a wife or a daughter or I’m actively involved in some other role that also needs attention.
    And in fact, it strikes me as curious (it always has) that someone who is getting spanked for not fulfilling her schoolwork objectives is in a ‘domestic’ discipline relationship.
    Yes, I understand that the word domestic can refer to one’s domestic partner – husband, lover, roommate, sibling, father… never mind.
    I’ve also heard WIITWD referred to as “Taken In Hand”, “surrendering” (as in The Surrendered Wife, which is a completely *separate* topic), D/s (in any of its variations), household discipline, HOH (this one makes me cringe too, for a whole host of reasons), and others I can’t now remember.
    In my introduction, I think I referred to it as methodic discipline… in that it’s discipline with a prescribed method behind it. But that’s sort of my personal description 🙂

  2. Natty

    Yes, my boyfriend and I have sorta had the same type of discussion. I can’t say we’ve come to any real conclusions either. It’s funny because he and I both struggle with a lot of the same things. Both of us tend to need the threat of dire consequences to get stuff done. For me, spanking works that way, while for him it doesn’t.
    I was thinking the other day that part of it has to do with the need to have the approval of others. Spanking serves as a physical sign of approval and love for me. I tend to be far more concerned about what people think than my boyfriend does. Not that he doesn’t value what I think, but he doesn’t need that physical reinforcement of approval that I tend to need.
    And though I’m most definitely an adult, I think there is a part of me that is a kid to some extent. I half joke that I’m about 70% Michelle and 30% Natty. But I’m both at the same time. Only those who understand that are able to make that connection to my inner world. Spanking is often that way of making that connection. Not always. There are some spankers I’ve known who only seem to be able to tap into one part and not the other.
    Hmm…maybe we can make bracelets with WIIWD on them… 😉

  3. Mary Jo

    For me, what to call it is not a problem, since it isn’t something that I talk about. I’ve never felt a need, or even an interest, in labeling it. I don’t call it anything, even inside my head. For me, it’s just the way that I am and I didn’t question it.
    It didn’t even occur to me to question why getting spanked caused me to change my behavior in ways that I wanted so much to change it. What I used to question is how come I ended up so undisciplined in the first place — I looked at my friends, and every one of them had so much more self-discipline than I did. It’s true that I could never imagine any of them getting spanked, just the thought would have been ludicrous, but then I could never imagine any of them doing the stuff that I did, either.
    That’s what I used to question about myself, not why did getting spanked work for me, but why was it necessary; how come it was me who did (or didn’t do) all that stuff that they all seemed to not do (or do) so easily. Getting punished, getting spanked never made me feel “unfeminist.” (But, then, I can’t imagine *anything* that could cause me to doubt being a femininst.)
    Perhaps that’s because I didn’t think that I needed to be spanked because I was female. I thought that I needed to be spanked because in some areas of my life I didn’t act like an adult, and spanking, for me, I think, took root in my psyche, from a certain era in American life, as a consequence for adults with childish behavior (all those “act like a child and I’ll treat you like a child” books and movies). Spanking tapped into a part of my psyche that was hopeful and believed in justice, the part of me that believes that if you work really hard at something — like changing your behavior, no matter how intrenched — you can succeed. Spanking in that context felt natural and right for me. I’m often ashamed of the things I did that resulted in my being spanked and punished, but I wasn’t ashamed that the spanking worked. I was grateful that it worked and happy and hopeful to be doing (or not doing) things that I always wanted to do (or not do). For me, feminism means that I am free to be who I am, including having been a spanked woman. (I do have a shameful secret that makes me fear for my feminist credentials, but it isn’t spanking. It’s my taste for Regency romance novels.)
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your site, and I hope that it continues. It’s a joy to read such articulate women being so direct about what’s in their hearts.

  4. sparkle

    Regency romance novels? You read Regency romance novels???
    Well, if you think *that’s* unfeminist, just think of this — I actually try (can I underline ‘try’?) to write them 😉

  5. Mary Jo

    Reading them seems much worse to me. One can write almost anything, for a variety of motives. Reading is more of a dead giveaway. 🙂 Good luck with your writing. I hope you get one published!


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