Domestic Discipline vs. What We Do

Dyke Grrl's explanation in the comments section of the last post regarding why the term "domestic discipline" doesn't work for her reminds me of a conversation A. and I were having a few months back. It was about my bedtime and there were a number of factors complicating what should be a fairly straightforward issue. "I'm just following your lead," A. said finally. "Let me know what you want me to do and I'll do it."

I remember chuckling to myself at the time and thinking you'd never hear that sort of thing on most domestic discipline sites. But then, I've never really considered our disciplinary arrangement "domestic discipline."

Now some people do, and that's cool. And some people would find A.'s and my partnership approach to discipline unpalatable and that's totally
cool too. For a lot of folks, a traditional patriarchal or matriarchal structure is very meaningful on emotional, spiritual, and sexual levels.

But for me, as "domestic" has a family or parental connotation to it, and since A. and I aren't even married much less have a family of our own, it just doesn't seem to accurately describe what A. and I do. And I'm an adult. I like being an adult. More specifically, most of the time I like being an adult with A. even if there is also a little girl part of me that needs structure and my partner's devotion reinforced. But then, sometimes the adult part of me needs structure (not to mention devotion) reinforced also. I mean, every person on this planet has bad habits (tops included!) and even non-kinky people use a variety of methods to break their bad habits. It just so happens spanking is the method I prefer for me, and I have a partner who is quite happy to oblige me as it has some fringe benefits for him as well.

It's true, there have been previous discussions regarding the term "domestic discipline" on this blog. Mija had a great one early on in our history, and I even talked about my discomfort with the term in my intro back when we first started this blog.  I suppose on some level it's sort of in the background of a lot our posts, and I sometimes wonder if readers feel uneasy using the term "domestic discipline" here. So I thought I'd throw open the discussion again and direct it to you readers: what do you call your disciplinary arrangement with your partner and why?

8 thoughts on “Domestic Discipline vs. What We Do

  1. Rose

    So weird… I just wrote out a whole long thing about almost exactly this (domestic discipline vs. punishment kink) in my blog last night. This is interesting, and the question you raise has been in the back of my mind for a while. For some reason, I have a desire to *name* this thing we do… domestic discipline has been the label that comes the closest.
    I’ve never thought of it the way that you do, as a parent/child thing… I kind of want to crawl out of my own skin at the thought. I’ve always thought of “domestic discipline” as discipline which is kept “domestic,” in the private sphere only. I submit to discipline at home, but I don’t proclaim myself to be “submissive” in the outside world… although I have, in online discussion groups say that I “submit,” I don’t mean quite the same thing by it. How’s that for vague? Anyway, to me the term implies intimacy, which is what our (my husband and I) form of discipline is founded on.
    I’ve joined other online chat groups about domestic discipline though, and so many of them are couples who have a discipline relationship for religious reasons. That doesn’t fit with me AT ALL. So, I haven’t found a label that *truly* fits, but have used domestic discipline as a short hand for whatever the heck it is. I suppose that is what makes “this thing we do” work as a reference term.
    Wow. I have no idea if that was clear at all. Oh well, it was the best I can do.

  2. Rose

    Hmmm… your post stimulated me to write more about domestic discipline, the punishment kink, and this thing we do… It is much too long to post in the comments here, so I’ll just post a link. Please keep in mind that my blog is brand new, and I haven’t really told anyone about it yet. It is pretty primitive at this stage, but I hope you’ll take a quick look. 🙂

  3. sparkle

    I’ve described it before, I think, as ‘methodic discipline’, in that it has a method to it, despite what I occasionally claim is unfair or unjust implementation of the rules.
    As to what we say to each other, it depends on the tone and seriousness of the conversation, whether this is a conversation we’re having about ourselves in the midst of something erotic, whether this is a conversation we’re having about how we fit in …
    Part of what I want to say is not really a comment but more of a thought-out essay on the relationship between and the difficulties of a perfectly equitable marriage by day and a D/s marriage by night. It’s also interwoven with my understanding of my own general submissive, spanking and punishment kinks, my insecurities, my pride and how willing and able Chris is to indulge me.
    In any event, I do use ‘domestic discipline’ occasionally, but it is not a label with which I am completely comfortable. However, it is frequently applicable, as the punishment is for doing something stupid home-making wise (like leaving a hot pan on the stove and a curious little girl in the nearby kitchen while I go off to shower – I wrote about that on my blog).
    Rose, thanks for sharing your URL – I haven’t had to read all the entries from the beginning but it looks great!

  4. Natty

    Heya Rose — Congrats on the new blog!
    “So weird… I just wrote out a whole long thing about almost exactly this”
    One of those “great minds think alike” and all that, eh? 😉
    “I’ve never thought of it the way that you do, as a parent/child thing…”
    By “it” do you mean “domestic” or what A. and I do?
    “I’ve always thought of “domestic discipline” as discipline which is kept “domestic,” in the private sphere only.”
    When considering the dictionary meaning of the word “domestic” that’s the one definition that I’ve thought could actually work. Except then the pedant in me wants to define the word “home” and then it starts to getting really complicated. ::grin::
    Hiya Sparkle —
    “I’ve described it before, I think, as ‘methodic discipline’ in that it has a method to it”
    I remember that from Mija’s post a few years back (but only because I looked it up last night!). I was curious about what you mean by method. My first assumption was as a method to change unwanted behavior, but I wasn’t sure if that’s what you meant.
    Also, I should note that I inserted a clause in the second to last sentence of this post this afternoon as I realized it made it a bit more clear what my intention is regarding this post. So, um, yeah, that really wasn’t there when you all might have read it this morning. 😉

  5. Dyke Grrl

    Well, I’m both a reader and a poster, so I figure I can chime in.
    What do we call it? Depends on who we’re talking to. I think that’s a major thing for me. I use terms depending on how I think people associate those terms. So I refrain from using the word “dyke” when I think people will take the wrong meaning from it; I use the term “domestic discipline” when I figure people will be able to get that it’s not that weird creepy thing some people do (whoops! was that my judgmental voice sneaking out?).
    But what do W and I call it, when we’re at home? Rules, usually, or structure. We both know what it means. It means the things that get written into the white binder. It means the structure that we’ve agreed on. It means this thing we do.
    I could get into a longer post on how naming is both necessary, in order to describe something, and limiting, in that by its nature, a name is going to exclude something that might otherwise be included. I guess that’s why I went for “this thing we do” for the title of the website and the forum. Because it’s the least limiting name I could come up with that already has some of the necessary connotations involved (I would have done “what it is that we do” but that seemed like a lot to type in. Although on second thought, it’s only three letters longer…. but I don’t want to shell out for a new domain registration, so we’ll leave it as is.)
    “Part of what I want to say is not really a comment but more of a thought-out essay on the relationship between and the difficulties of a perfectly equitable marriage by day and a D/s marriage by night.”
    Yeah. I totally get this. In our case, it can even be that our relationship has a tendency to leave me in charge of many of the day-to-day aspects (says the kept woman, who isn’t the one going out to work… but really, isn’t it more submissive to agree to be the breadwinner? ;P ). We joke about the gendered behaviors in our relationship, because with two women, it’s pretty clear that we’re not just automatically dropping into prescribed gender roles.
    This time around, we’ve also been wrestling a lot more with the dynamic that comes from me having parts that, so far as we can tell, really are developmentally different ages. So the relationship is not just between two adults, but between W (who is more or less always an adult) and a bunch of different people who have a pretty wide range of ages. How do we reconcile the adult relationship in the context of the teenaged parts, or the little kids, or whatever? It’s really kind of challenging.
    Okay, this comment is far too long, so I’ll end there.

  6. Liz

    Oh, my goodness. I’ve never posted here before, I don’t think (though I read relatively frequently), but I had to say something about this–that is exactly how I think about it. I’m not in a relationship, but I have a friend with whom I play, and who has punished me for things I want to work on, in the past. We kind of went through a phase where we weren’t doing that, and we might be starting it again. But that’s how I see it… I’m not irresponsible, or not adult, or anything, it just happens that spanking is a way that helps me (from experience, it worked!) work on certain kinds of things. It’s really not fear of being spanked that makes it work, even, it’s being accountable, and the whole thing. And there are lots of things I enjoy about it too (maybe not the actual spanking, but I totally have a punishment kink, the concept is hot to me, so parts can be… interesting), and it strikes me that it is actually not bad, for me, to enjoy parts of it (some people seem to think you shouldn’t enjoy anything about it). But it makes changing something I want to change more interesting, and sometimes exciting (and sometimes unpleasant, but hey, isn’t it always, in some way?). And that seems to work for me. Maybe this is a really weird way to look at it…

  7. Red

    One of the best things about reading blogs is when you come across something someone else says, and you realize it could have been written by you, yourself.
    This is one of my most read blogs, because it speaks closest to my core kink. I read and nod, and know others feel the same things I do. Liz, what you wrote resonated so strongly with me, and it’s not weird at all. It works, and the why stopped mattering some time ago.

  8. Nelle

    “This thing we do” is perfect really as a description, and you ladies have given some very meaningful thought to this subject! I personally love things that don’t fit into boxes- we’re all so mcuh more complicated than that. I have to say that as a masochist I really do get turned on even (especially?) by real punishment, but it still “works” as punishment for me too. I hate to have anyone mad (dissappointed etc) at me, I suppose is one reason. But also I feel I’ve failed in any way I’m so mad at myself that I need physical punishment and in my case pain : ) to get over it. It is so cleansing, I completely agree. I’ve written more on my blog, so I’ll stop there. But thanks PB for another thought provoking post!


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