Monday, May 11, 2015

In Defense of Domestic Discipline part two: Dominance and Submission Can Foster Healthy Leadership

In continuation of my discussion with OSL, (see post number one here), I'd like to discuss her disagreeing to a post I wrote for the ADDS website a few years back ("Why Do I Want to Be Punished?"). She says “One of the major reasons I and many women want Domestic Discipline in our relationships is that we have a strong need to feel our husband’s authority. We want boundaries and security. “ 

And further, “Even the most independent, feminist woman out there recognizes that passivity in a man is profoundly unattractive.The longing for your husband to take authority over you, lead you, guide you and protect you is actually a beautiful and positive thing.”

Of course, I agree with everything she says here. 

It's only as she explores my post with her own opinions that I take issue, and ask that we explore these ideas a bit more. She maintains that you cannot foster healthy leadership and submission in a DD dynamic, for a variety of reasons, and specifically says, “if you try to take control of the relationship by convincing your husband to be involved in a discipline relationship with you, you will lead the two of you right off a cliff.” 

There is a crucial phrase here, folks. If you try to take control of the relationship. 

With this, I agree. 

If you desire to submit to your husband and grant him authority over you, then trying to commandeer that ship will run you right off a cliff. It is a strong temptation. Many of us know what we want and push hard for it. We get impatient. I know I struggled initially with being patient, trusting Jason to lead, and letting things develop the way they needed to. Many call it “topping from the bottom.” I've tried, in many ways, in post after post, to urge true submission. 

True submission isn't based on a faulty premise, meaning “I will submit to you when I agree with you.” No. True submission trusts, even when the answer isn't one we want. 

But it's foolish to say that we cannot communicate our needs and desires to our husbands. OSL personally is coming from the angle that practicing DD is sinful and disordered, so I get where she's going with this. Clearly, I disagree with her premise. But if you desire a DD dynamic, and your husband doesn't initially understand, then there's nothing wrong with trying to explain how you feel. Communicating effectively with one another is foundational to any solid relationship. If you desire a strong relationships with open and honest communication, then refusing to discuss your own needs is a mistake.

But please, don't push. This is where OSL and I agree. Trying to force your desires on your dominant partner is contrary to your ultimate purpose. I've written about this at length in posts such as "How do I tell my partner I want DD?""How Do I Encourage His Dominance?""How do I tell him what I need?"; and "Topping from the bottom. Who's in control?".

OSL concludes her thoughts with the following opinion: “The proper expression of a man’s authority over his wife is not disciplinary. Boundaries enforced by discipline is a parental expression of authority.” Clearly, I disagree (see post one linked above).

From OSL: “Of course the second example is more attractive. The first example is of a passive man who abandons his wife, is disconnected, isn’t in control of his emotions, and doesn’t communicate. The second example is of a man who is in full control of himself, stays even when it’s hard, holds his wife accountable, and gives her attention and affection. The little bit of poison...is the spanking. This wife needs boundaries and leadership, not discipline.”

Essentially, she says my example illustrates that male passivity in a relationship is harmful. I agree. We desire attention, leadership, love, yes, all of that, an active participation that says, “I love you, and you're important to me.” However, she says “the little bit of poison is the spanking.” I am not going to completely reject this opinion, that “spanking” can be “poison.” Certainly, for those who find that disciplinary spanking has a negative effect (such as OSL), it is wise to discontinue. Factors such as one's personal life experience, relationships, personality, and perception, are all going to affect how one views and reacts to DD. As I've said before, and I'll say again, one person's experience does not mean the same holds true for another. 

For this particular woman, clearly, Domestic Discipline is harmful. She has said in additional posts that she was humiliated when she was disciplined. This is not healthy. It can be very beneficial to be humbled, yes, and certainly, even those outside of a DD dynamic should be embarrassed when they engage in immature or childish behavior. (I may have used the terms humbled and humiliated interchangeably in my posts, but there is a qualitative difference between the two, and going forward I'll be more careful with my word choices.)

It's my personal opinion that engaging in a consensual DD dynamic should, in all facets, contribute to peace, harmony, and above all, respect the dignity of each person in the relationship. It takes great strength, humility, and love, to allow oneself to be disciplined. It takes great strength, humility, and love, to be a leader. So, before we continue, on this note I'd like to offer a word of caution. 

I urge you, if you are indeed engaged in a DD dynamic, ask yourself if it is growth and wholeness you are fostering. In the several years I've spent immersed in the DD community, I can say that the vast majority of those I've encountered have experienced what Jason and I have – increased intimacy, growth personally and as a couple, and peace. But not everyone does. Some, like OSL, find that DD is not a healthy choice. 

From a logical perspective, I propose the following litmus test. If something were poisonous, it would yield harmful fruit, if not initially, at least over time. If your DS relationship is yielding harmful fruit, then I urge you to stop. Take a breather. Ask yourself what is causing the harm. Some find, like OSL, that past experiences make it so that spanking in a disciplinary form make it unhealthy. I've also known of instances in which the husband understood his wife's desire but found that his own past experiences (such as a history of abuse) made it impossible for him to be able to mete out discipline. Some find that allowing for consensual discipline pushes them away from each other, not closer. The wife is humiliated. The husband feels too much pressure. It doesn't bring about intimacy and enhanced communication. It doesn't bring about growth. If this is your situation, I urge you to find out why.

But in the years I've spent in the D/S community, I've found these situations are not the norm. Couple after couple after couple – like me and Jason – have found that the dynamic is beneficial, not poisonous. Again, speaking from a purely logical perspective, if the fruit you're yielding is good, and healthy, then I maintain it is not poisonous. 

So again, the premise here that DD does not foster true leadership is simply not fact, but personal opinion. It's like someone saying, “If you do Tae Bo you will damage your hip.” That was the case for me (true story lol). For me, Tae Bo was not a healthy exercise option. My own body type and past experiences made it unhealthy for me, and I had to choose another option. But that isn't the case for everyone. Many have found  Tae Bo to be beneficial. Although exercise is radically different from DD, (keeping in mind that all analogy falls short), I'd like to offer this analogy because most people agree with the benefit of a healthy exercise regimen. Here, both OSL and I agree that a husband's leading his wife can be a very healthy and fruitful marital dynamic. OSL says the poison is spanking. I say past experience and personality types are where we find our poison. 

She says a wife needs boundaries and leadership. I agree. She says she doesn't need discipline. I say that she doesn't need discipline, but that I benefit tremendously from it. 

'What the wife actually needs is for her husband to give her boundaries as his equal, and correct her calmly and lovingly for being nasty and acting like a toddler. Maybe she needs to be encouraged to go to her room for a while until she can communicate with love and calmness. Maybe she needs to sit down with her journal and pour out to God about the awful day she had to get her head straight.”

And these are the forms that she is comfortable with. She draws the line at a spanking. I don't. And well...clearly, neither does Jason. ;)

Finally, she asserts: “If the assurance of his loving authority is a spanking, she will likely never grow out of the disrespectful behavior. She will need to return to acting out again and again so that she can be reassured with a spanking or some other form of discipline...This is foundational to understand why Domestic Discipline is a false solution. It locks you in to damaging behavior instead of freeing you from it so you can move on to other things. The point of discipline is supposedly to correct and guide towards healthy behavior, but if you are experiencing love and your husband’s authority through discipline and spankings, why would you ever move away from bad behavior towards maturity?”

This a heavy assertion, and one that I do not completely reject. I think it's worth exploring this a bit more, in the context of DD and leadership in marriage.

First of all, she says “if the assurance of his loving authority is a spanking, she will never grow out of her disrespectful behavior.” 

This absolutely can and does happen. We often feel a need to be reassured, and reminded of our places. I'll take this a step further. Not only does being disciplined make us feel loved, most of us readily acknowledge the fact that dominance is hot. It's deeply erotic being turned over the knee of the man you love. 

If we feel loved when we are disciplined, and we find ourselves sexually attracted to his dominance, then why would we choose not to misbehave? The simple answer is because the submissive longs to please her dominant. And further, if she has a mature, healthy approach to this dynamic, then she embraces the opportunity to grow. 

We're not just in it for the kink. We're not just in it for a cheap thrill. There's far more to it than meets the eye. We want to grow closer and become more intimate – and although it's tempting to push those boundaries, to draw out dominance, and to even perhaps attempt to earn a spanking, the mature approach chooses another route. 

In my personal opinion, this is why it's important to check in with one another. This is why many couples find maintenance and role affirmation vitally important. 

If you are an Hoh or Dominant reading this, I respectfully ask that you consider this point. It's a very important facet of what makes or breaks a D/S couple, and one topic I've been asked to address time and time again. Your submissive feels loved when you correct her. She is very attracted to your dominance. If those needs are neglected -- the need for her to feel your strength, to know you're in charge and that you are in charge because you love her, and to keep that erotic pulse in your relationship -- it will become challenging for her to behave. She may be tempted to push back. Most begin with some benign teasing, but if her needs are neglected for a long time, she may even feel the need to blatantly misbehave. 

For a couple that embraces dominance and submission, it's important to foster those roles and encourage one another in those roles. Most find that simply relying on spanking and outwardly acts of dominance during times of discipline is simply unsatisfactory. Consider a maintenance spanking. I need regular reminders of my place, and Jason gives me that. It's one reason I rarely misbehave and am never tempted to "brat out." If you'd like to explore this a bit more from our perspective, please see “The Power of Role Affirmation” and “The Spank Tank."

It's the next assertion that OSL makes that I reject. She says “Part of the draw of Domestic Discipline for the women who want it is that the husband does all the work. He makes the rules, he enforces them like the parent of a wayward teen, and he comes up with and administers punishments. It requires very little of the submissive partner.” 

 I will say this. If a submissive partner has no desire to grow or change, and depends entirely on her Dominant to “do all the work,” then she's right. This will not work. There will be no change. There will be no growth. If she continually pushes, refuses to change her own behavior, and depends on him to change her behavior, then yes, the dynamic is simply not sustainable. However, that immature approach is exceptionally rare, and certainly not the norm in the DD dynamics I'm familiar with. 

It doesn't have to be a self-perpetuating cycle. When the submissive partner is as engaged in the dynamic as her dominant, beautiful changes take place. If she desires to be submissive, she doesn't simply rely on him to draw that out in her. She cultivates submission in her own mind and heart. And as things progress – as he lovingly leads, and disciplines and she lovingly trusts and accepts his discipline – the erotic attraction amps up. Each desires deeper intimacy. She embraces not only his dominance and leadership, but her own submission. Her desire to please him dramatically increases. No longer is the relationship stagnant, but a living, breathing manifestation of passion and love. A couple often finds they make love more, they touch more, and they long to be with one another. 

The thought of displeasing him saddens her. The submissive grows by accepting his loving guidance in her life. The dominant grows as well, by learning to be in tune to the needs of his submissive. And so it goes, that when both partners are equally engaged, when both are in tune to and fostering mutual self-giving, when the ultimate goal is change from the inside out, the relationship flourishes. 

In conclusion, I would like to summarize my main points here. 

I agree that the initial draw to Domestic Discipline can often be the desire for active leadership, not passivity. We women want to be noticed, cherished, and understood. DD is one way we find those needs met. 

However, in a DD dynamic, the husband's needs are met as well. He wants respect, trust, and harmony. When his mature, capable wife shows him that she trusts and respects him, a beautiful interdependent relationship takes place. He wants to protect her; she wants to be protected. He quiets her mind; she makes him feel ten feet tall. And they both find they are more deeply attracted to one another. 

Honesty, open communication, respect for one another, and both being equally engaged in the purpose and goals of the realtionship, are essential elements found in any working D/S dynamic. 

What do you say, readers? Do you agree, or disagree, with the points I've made here? Do you have anything you'd like to contribute to this discussion?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Part of the Puzzle: Respect.


I felt...grumpy. I couldn't sleep well the night before, so was up way earlier than normal, and we had a long road trip. I felt so tired I felt like I could fall asleep standing up. Jason was upstairs with me, and I expected he'd join me in bed. But he said he was going downstairs. I wanted to stomp my foot. I was hoping for a little time together after this incredibly long day. Yes, I really wanted to stomp my foot. I asked him if he'd stay with me a bit so we could have just a few minutes together. He agreed, but he didn't miss the irritation in my voice. He lowered his voice, gave me the narrow-eyed, stern look, and said, “You have exactly three seconds to pull it together.” 

I took a  deep breath, exhaled, and brought myself to him meek and respectful. 

It doesn't matter if I'm tired. It doesn't matter if I'm hormonal. It doesn't matter if I miss him, or I'm hungry, or I'm sleepy. I'm never allowed to be disrespectful. He expects me to address him appropriately. He expects honesty, but a meek response. He doesn't tolerate me raising my voice or contradicting him. He expects immediate and pleasant obedience. He even expects my body language to be respectful and obedient.

Yes, he's strict with me. He can tell when something he says or does grates on me. Although I mostly love that he's strict, sometimes it's simply hard to take. I'm only human, after all, and sometimes I get defensive, or angry, or hurt, and it's hard to control my reaction when I feel that way. He watches my reaction carefully, and if I don't respond the right way, I may get a raised eyebrow, or a frown and curt shake of the head. At times, he's ever-so-quietly pulled my head to his and whispered in my ear, “Is that the correct response, young lady?” or “Yes, what?” or “One more toe out of line and you'll find yourself over my lap.” And there were a few times there were no warnings, I simply found myself over his lap for being disrespectful.

It wasn't always this way. Oh, no. Before we started this, there were flashes of temper. As I've mentioned before, I vividly remember whipping a dish across the kitchen when we were newlyweds.

Lord help me if I ever did that today. 

Even several months into TTWD, I remember flipping out in ways that today, wouldn't have me sitting pretty for a week. But it takes time, and practice, to learn respect. It takes communication. It takes understanding and compassion from the Dom, and both need to find ways to communicate in a way that builds one another up. And it takes an incredible amount of work on the part of the Submissive. 

This is why I laugh when I hear critics say things like, “The Hoh does all the work.” That couldn't be further from the truth. If a dynamic is built around the Dom “doing all the work” and the Submissive simply being spanked into submission, there is no room for growth or change. Dynamics like that are simply not sustainable, as they only (at best) change outward actions, not the heart. But that's another post for another day. 

For me and Jason, a dynamic based on respect was absolutely crucial. Foundational, even. It took us a while to accept this part of our dynamic. For a time, he refused to discipline me for disrespect. Safety rules he had no qualms about. I used to speed, and text in the car (at red lights...but still!), and he hated that I did. So pulling me over his lap for a sound spanking to make sure I had an added incentive not to touch my phone while driving came fairly easily for Jason. It had very clear and almost instant positive results. I liked that he took the time to discipline me. He saw how I grew to make better choices. Win-win. 

But the respect piece of the puzzle...that's the one that took the longest time to click into place for us. 

It was always an expectation in our dynamic that I obey him. He disliked when I disrespected or disobeyed him. And because I love him, I tried, even before we incorporated discipline into our marriage, to respect and obey him. It was easy when I wasn't tired, or grumpy, or hormonal, or hurt. You get the idea. 

As for Jason's part, he expected me to be obedient and respectful, but he didn't like the idea of spanking me for disrespect. It seemed wrong to him. He felt as an adult, I had the responsibility of taking ownership for my own actions, and it wasn't right for him to spank me for being rude. Essentially, he was okay with punishing me for doing something dangerous, because he felt it was in my best interest to make safe choices. And if paddling me for speeding kept me coming home safe to him, then yeah, he was all over that. 

But he felt spanking me for disrespect was a selfish move on his part. When an Hoh is given permission to discipline, one of the dangers is that an Hoh will abuse his authority. Jason was repulsed by the idea of abusing his authority. He didn't want to become domineering. He hated the idea of stripping me of my own self-worth. And he feared that requiring my respect had the danger of doing all of those things. 

This frustrated me. There was a great deal of trial and error. I made myself apologize for losing my temper even when it wasn't one of our rules. I would say things like, “I'm sorry I said that to you. That wasn't right for me to say that,” or “That was disrespectful of me, and I apologize.” I would come to him and tell him, “This isn't just about me obeying you. I know you don't like me speaking to you that way. But when you expect me to obey you, I feel safer and happier. It feels nice to know you won't let us fight. I love when you help me control my temper. And it's hot when you keep me in line.” 

And then he began to see, that it wasn't selfish of him to require my respect. He didn't do it because he was full of himself, or domineering. He did it because we both value peace in our relationship. And so, the requirement to be respectful was incorporated into our dynamic. As we grew – him in his leadership and understanding of what I need, and me in my submission and self-control, he upped the ante. Little by little. And now, as part of our daily routine, he asks me every day what he expects of me, and I tell him, (as one of several things we go over), “Be respectful and obedient at all times.” 

Every couple has a different dynamic. But for us, the respect piece of the puzzle is a cornerstone of TTWD. It's one of the reasons a d/s dynamic can bring about peace in a relationship. 

But he knows I need regular reminders of who he is and what my place is. So I simply tell him, “I feel a bit off,” or “I feel a bit out of place.” It's often because of outside things that are stressful, or simply because we haven't had the time together we crave. But I'm required to tell him when I feel this way, because my communicating those feelings to him and him keeping me in my place is one way we keep things at an even keel.

How do you feel about respect, readers? Is it something you address in your own dynamic? Please stay tuned, as later this week I'll be posting the second post in the “Defense of Domestic Discipline” series.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Real Neat Blog Award

Thanks for the nomination, Sadie

I was pretty excited about this because just recently I've been allowed to peek in on other blogs again, and I'm very much enjoying getting little glimpses into everyone else's little corner of Blogdom! 

The rules!

1. Put the award logo on your post.
2. Answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
4. Let them know you nominated them.
5. Ask 7 questions of your own.



And here are Sadie's questions!

1.  How would you describe your personality?

I think I would say I have an easygoing, laidback kind of personality...um, unless I'm passionate about something. 


2.  What do you like to do for fun (besides the obvious...lol)?

I love to read, and to write.


3.  What was your most embarrassing moment?

Well...there was this time...when Jason and I went out to eat, and I was very very much enjoying this delicious mixed drink, and he told me I'd had enough, and not to drink any more. I was not happy and didn't think he was serious, questioned him on it, and he told me, in a very normal, plain, everyday voice, that if I didn't behave he'd spank me, just as the waitress came over the to the table and clearly overheard everything. He passed it off as teasing, the waitress was laughing her head off, and I was staring very hard at the table cloth and wishing the floor would swallow me whole. 


4.  When was the last time you laughed so hard your sides ached, and why?

Recently my very youngest son said he didn't understand how you could tell the difference between baby boys and baby girls when they're born because they have no hair. The conversation that ensued when I reminded him was so funny I almost had to pull the car over I was laughing so hard.


5.  What is your favorite food?

Chocolate. Alas, sugar doesn't like me and I'm very rarely allowed to have it. (Jason, are you reading this? I've been very very good, you know I have!)



6.  Do you like to sing karaoke?

Nooooooooo!


7.  What would you like to do that you haven't done yet?

I would love to travel to Australia.



Now, if I'm doing this correctly, I get to nominate someone and ask them a few questions! I'd like to nominate Megan over at Megan's Sweet Secret! 

Here are my questions for you! Mine are a bit slanted with a "certain" theme lol!

1. If there's one thing you could tell someone just starting out with TTWD, what would it be?

2. If you could toss one implement into the Great Implement Bonfire, what would it be?

3. Does it bother you that you need to keep TTWD a secret, or do you like the privacy of it?

4. If you went back in time and told yourself as a newlywed that you would be doing this, how would you have reacted back then? 

5. If you could thank Gabe for one thing since you began all this, what would it be? 

6. What is your favorite way to encourage Gabe in his own walk with TTWD? 

7. Have you had any mentors or friends who have helped along the way?