Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cultivating Submission post three: Build him up, the power of the spoken word

Hello, readers! For those of you following this series, thanks for being patient with me as I took a little while to get this post up. We had a lovely vacation last week, and are just settling back home now! I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. This month, I'm posting a four-week challenge for those who are interested in taking things to a deeper level with submission. 

Today's topic is, in my opinion, is one of the most important in building one's dynamic, and also one of the easiest. 

The first topic, embracing humility, is a simple concept, but quite difficult in the implementation as it entails being humble, accepting criticism, and letting go of control. Many of us find being in control empowering and safe, and even though we may theoretically wish not to be in control – we may fantasize about relinquishing control and obeying another in authority – the actual practice of letting go of control is very difficult. The second topic, bedroom submission, also pushes comfort zones and can be difficult because it puts us in a place of vulnerability. We fear rejection, and again, what's comfortable to us feels safe. 

If you take on this week's challenge, however, you truly have nothing to lose. It is, I think, one of the simplest ways to enhance your dynamic, and one that can be easily overlooked or discounted. 

Last year, I posted a guest post on why DD makes a man feel ten feet tall. This post was very well received, re-posted many times, and the feedback I got was incredible. It resonated. Yes, we said, that's one of the most beautiful things about this dynamic! One fear we submissives often have is that the pleasure is one-sided. I know I struggled with that. I did fear for a while that I was the only one who really wanted this. Was I the only one attracted to this lifestyle choice? It was only after we embraced the application of DD in our relationship that we both began to see how mutually beneficial the arrangement was. And yes, one of the benefits for him is how much he felt trusted, appreciated, and respected, as a result of my obedience to him. 

One of the reasons so many of us desire this dynamic is because it makes us feel special. We feel we are of paramount importance. We love the attention. Certainly, there are other benefits, such as the accountability, intimacy, and erotic attraction, but feeling cherished and desired is at the heart of a committed DD or DS dynamic. 

What do our men feel, though? 

In the past years, as I've communicated with others regarding relationships, I've learned a few things. I'm not just talking about DD or DS dynamics, either, but with friends and family and people I know who are married or dating. And there's one thing that's become clear to me time and time again. Women and men are different creatures. We relate differently, think differently, and behave differently. There are no hard and fast rules, of course, but there's an incredible amount of wisdom in the old “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus,” truth that needs to be taken into account as we pursue depth in our relationships. 

We women so often make the mistake of assuming that men will, or at least should, behave the way we do. Men also often assume that women will behave the way men do. 

Simply put, we don't. 

In our efforts to avoid labeling, categorizing, and judging one another, we've done away with a recognition that men and women are different creatures. I think that's a mistake. If two people speak different languages, it only follows that occasionally communication will become difficult. If we learn to speak one another's languages, we can truly understand one another at a deeper level. 

What does this all have to do with my topic today? 

Building him up has to do with speaking his language, the language of the male species. ;) 

Inasmuch as we women want to be cherished, men want to be trusted. Where we want to be valued, they want to be appreciated. This is nothing I've invented. It's not a ground-breaking discovery. It's simply something I've come to see as truth through a variety of sources I've read, and the many many interactions I've been blessed to have with other couples. 

If men want to be trusted and appreciated, it therefore follows that it is in our best interest to do what we can to make them feel trusted and appreciated. 

So let's get down to the nitty gritty, then, shall we? 

How does one go about making our significant other feel trusted and appreciated? This is where we build him up, and where I will pose this week's challenge. 

The challenge is to build him up in what you say. 

Thank him. 

Do you thank him for working hard? When he comes home after working all day, or comes in for a cold drink after mowing the lawn, or when he takes the children to the park so you can get caught up on housework? It's so easy to get so busy with what we're doing that we forget the simplest of courtesies. A simple “thank you.” 

If we are seeking to let go of control, it's vitally important we don't offer one of the “backhanded compliment thank you's.” What are those? “Thank you for putting the baby to bed, but can you please do it earlier next time?” “Thank you for sweeping the floor, but you missed the right corner.” And let's be frank on the DD level. “Thank you for holding me accountable, but I didn't like how you lectured me.” 

Ouch. You're better off not thanking him at all, if it's going to be stated in a passive-aggressive way. I've been there. I've done that. I still fight it, sometimes, the desire to somehow snatch back control in subtle ways. 

Try to give thanks with no strings attached. 

If you are in the process of building your dynamic, it's very important to remember to thank him when he does step up to the plate, as you want him to. It's challenging uttering those embarrassing words, “Thank you for disciplining me,” but I promise, it's worth the effort. Become transparent. Embrace the vulnerability. Say the words. 

Praise him. 

Of the five love languages, the one I'm really not very good at is the “words of affirmation.” It's not very high in my own list of love languages (in fact, last I checked, it was at the bottom), so it's one I need to make a conscious effort with, not just with Jason, but with my children and friends as well. I grew up in a home where praise was sparing, and sadly it makes me uncomfortable to praise others. I also was taught that we should avoid being proud, and it's important not to get a big head. Although that's true, it doesn't mean there's never a time and place for praise. 

We often forget how important it is to praise our husbands. If you're someone who's forgotten this, I challenge you to do it. It sometimes feels foreign to us. Still, you may find it's very much worth the effort.

The other day Jason went to work dressed to the nines – crisp white shirt, black slacks – he looked amazing. I made sure to tell him. He looked hot! Made my heart go pitter-patter. Why not tell him? 

Do you love the new beard your husband is sporting? The tan he's gotten over the summer? The way he looks lying in bed in his white t-shirt when you join him in bed at night? I've told Jason that one of my very very favorite smells is the smell of his clean white t-shirt he's wearing when I'm curled up on his chest. It's so true. Swoon! Tell him. He needs to hear these things. 

Physical praise isn't the only way to praise him, though. Do you love how he makes your baby belly laugh when he pretends her spoon is an airplane? Does it make you proud how he sits down after a long day of work and does homework with your children? Does he take time from what little free time he has to help his mother buy groceries, or get her car fixed? 

We are so busy, it's easy to fall into the temptation of focusing on our own needs and tasks at hand. Try to see beyond those. Try to see what he's doing, too. And when you do, praise him for it. Don't just limit your praise to face-to-face, either. Send a text or email. Leave him a note. Have fun with it.

Speak highly of him to others. 

Many have asked me how it is that Jason and I have arrived where we are. It's taken time, and we're still learning, but one thing I've shared that has helped me is this little blog of mine. 

How has blogging helped? Jason is truly an amazing Dominant. He meets my needs in spades, time and time and time again, and I make no bones about it on this blog. He reads this blog. He knows how much I love him. In reading my blog, he knows how much I appreciate the fact that he doms me so well. This way of communicating with one another has truly enhanced our dynamic, because speaking highly of Jason builds him up. Building him up is crucial as he grows into his role as Dominant. 

Many of us avoid building our husbands up, because we don't want to sound like we're bragging. Try to get past that, because the effort you make in speaking highly of him goes a long way. And the more you speak highly of him, the less tempted you are to speak negatively (which has the exact opposite effect at building him up and therefore a negative effect on your dynamic). It's okay to speak frankly with friends, but do try to be careful with how you choose. 

So now, for this week's challenge. 

Thank him. At least once a day, thank him for something he's done. 

Praise him. At least once a day, praise him for something he's done. Remember, even the simplest praise goes a long way. 

Speak highly of him to others. When the opportunity arises, speak highly of him. When you talk with your mom, your pastor, or your best friend, is there a chance you can share with them how hard he's worked, an accomplishment he's achieved, or how proud you are of him? 

Again, these are very simple ways you can build him up. Focus on the power of the spoken word. The more you build him up, the easier it becomes for him to lead. 

Join me next week as I post the fourth and final installment in this series. And thank you for all the positive feedback!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cultivating Submission, Post Two: In The Bedroom

Hello! For the month of July, I'm posting a series of posts aimed at helping us challenge ourselves to cultivate submission. The topics of the posts I have planned are HERE, and the first post in the series can be found HERE

And now, time to take off the gloves and get down to business. 

In the interest of being honest and straight-forward, I'm going to be blunt, but I'll try to do it in good taste. That said, I know some of my readers are on the more conservative side, so please be aware that I'll be talking about sex here. In some detail. 

Submission in the bedroom. Pretty easy, right? Accept sex whenever he wants, and do whatever he asks. Right? Well, that was a quick post. Looks like my job here is done!

Yes, I'm teasing! It's not that simple. And where's the challenge in that? If it were that simple, there wouldn't be so much frustration in this area. Before I get to this week's challenge, there are a few points I'd like to make. 

First. Many women readily admit that that they desire to be dominated. Many in this community want to be spanked. They crave it. They're frustrated when they aren't dominated the way they'd like. But we often overlook a very important fact: sexual acts of submission can be every bit as vital in establishing a D/S dynamic as spanking. 

Second. Most women who desire a D/S dynamic are very much erotically attracted to it. Most have a bit of a kinky side. Many read books about it, fantasize about it, and it's a pretty big deal. The other thing is...women who are in touch with their sex drives and fantasies tend to have pretty active sex drives. Kinky women tend to like sex, and lots of it. However, it doesn't always necessarily follow that their husbands are as into it – and by that I mean spanking, sex, or kinky sex lol – as they are. I can't tell you how many women, over and over and over again, have written to me frustrated because their husband isn't interested in sex the way they wish. 

Jason and I do have a very active, very fulfilling, sex life. An active, fulfilling sex life very much fuels a working D/S dynamic. But this wasn't always the case with us. So I'm going to share a bit about how things changed for us in this area, what I've learned along the way, and I'll offer some tips on how we can challenge ourselves in this area. 

For years, I was so reserved in bed. We had boring sex, because I wouldn't let him try anything that was out of my comfort zone. Boring sex isn't all that fun, so we really wouldn't go at it very often. I knew I wanted him to spank me, but I was far too shy to ask for it, and I also thought this was a strange idea. Why did I want to be spanked? I didn't know anyone else found this sexy, so I squelched this fantasy for a very long time. I've shared my story before with how I finally got up the nerve to ask him to spank me – I did it with a “swap fantasy” pillow talk idea – and after I asked him to spank me, he was game, put me over his lap, and gave me a thorough spanking with his hand. That was the I wanted the spanking to hurt, but I didn't know anything about belts or paddles. I wanted to feel safe and not scared, so he used his hand and put me over his lap. That night, we made love, I climaxed harder than I ever had before, and I cried my eyes out after we made love. I didn't understand why I cried. Somehow, his spanking me had unearthed a deep desire of mine I hadn't really even known was hidden. 

And things took off. Women are emotional creatures and men largely physical (though of course we all relate both physically and emotionally). So it's not uncommon for us women to already know in our minds what we'd like to try, because the emotional idea of fulfilling a spanking fantasy appeals to our emotions (being dominated, his being in charge, etc). But men are physical, and many are turned off by the idea of spanking. Why? They relate it to being childish, or in a kinky area that's way out of their comfort zones. So how do we come to an understanding? We need to find ways that we're both comfortable exploring. I was comfortable with an over-the-knee spanking, and so was he. At the time, he had no interest in tying me up, or using his belt, or anything like that. We had to be patient, and explore things slowly. What areas were arousing and what were weird? What made us comfortable and what didn't? We both had to be willing to be patient with the other. 

But submission doesn't stop or start with a spanking. There's far more to it than that. 

So while we were exploring the whole spanking thing, I had to ask myself, what other ways could I be submissive in bed? 

Well, for starters (I warned you I'd be blunt), I could learn how to give the man oral sex. How many men don't like oral sex? Honestly...there aren't that many. I was so reserved about doing this, though, and my reservations showed. I was hesitant, and hesitant in bed isn't sexy. So, I learned. I read The Bad Girl's Bible. I asked him what he liked. I read any website I could find on how to improve (and cleared my history religiously). I even asked friends who were comfortable with this. And, I, um...practiced. A real lot. Like, every day. 

He was okay with this lol. 

And the more I practiced the better I got. The more I got on my knees and pleased my man, the better our sex life got. He was more than willing to put me over his lap if I got on my knees. It became routine: spanking and blow job, spanking and blow job. There were things we did to make it easier for me. Sometimes he would whip off his t-shirt and blindfold me (very haaawwwt). Sometimes he would take the tail end of his belt and spank me as I was already on my knees (again, haaawwt). 

I've often given the advice to offer a bit of a barter: blow job for a spanking. I wouldn't do this in a controlling way, of course, but a teasing/playful/sexy way is welcome. It's another version of “you show me, I'll show you.” Many many men are averse (at least initially) to spanking. Few are averse to receiving oral sex. Giving oral sex is a submissive act. Try to see that the two are linked; if he won't spank you, at the very least offer to submit to him sexually by not going over his lap but getting on your knees. 

So sex began to ramp up for us. For me, I was entering into my sexual prime (early thirties) and my appetite was insatiable. Jason is older than I am, and a busy father and manager, so he would often come home from work exhausted. By the time I was raring to go to have sex, he wasn't up for it. This frustrated me. He's a normal guy with a healthy sexual appetite, but reality sets in. Kids get up at night. Jobs demand hours. Sometimes I would want sex and he wouldn't. 

There's a bit of an interesting juxtaposition in the D/S community. In mainstream society, it's not uncommon for women to not want sex, when their husbands do. It's so common, there are jokes about it, memes even. But in the D/S world, since we women are pretty much in touch with our sexual desires, we often have a higher appetite than our men do. And when we are denied, we feel rejected, and even angry. We think, “how many men want sex and can't have it? It's here, yours for the taking, and you don't want it? Don't you know how lucky you are?” 

Ladies, if there's anything that throws cold water on a sex drive, it's a haughty snotty attitude. Please, don't hold your sexual desires over your man. If he's tired, let the man sleep. If he's not interested in tying you up and strapping you, respect his comfort zones. 

If you want him to lead, then it follows you must respect his own desires. If you want him to dominate you, you must submit. And submission isn't about obeying what we think we should obey! It's about allowing him to lead. Denying your own desire to please him. I don't mean that what you want isn't important; it absolutely is. But ask yourself this: whose needs are you putting first, yours or his? So please keep that in mind. 

However, often what's holding us back is our own reservations. 

Are there areas you are holding back? I've already explained about my reticence in giving oral sex. That can be overcome, I assure you. I now adore pleasing him in this area, have become quite good at it, and it's not a turn off at all (quite the opposite). 

But there are so many other areas that were holding me back. I was self-conscious about my post-baby-body. Jason was not! He adores my body, and made so many efforts to make me see that I was beautiful to him. What I didn't know was that my own lack of confidence in this area was unattractive. When I began accepting what he said – submitting to his praise of my body – I became more confident. And when I became more confident, I became even more attractive to him. 

Confidence is attractive. 

I don't care if you're overweight, have stretch marks, or have saggy breasts from breastfeeding. You're his. He wouldn't have married you if he didn't find you beautiful. Embrace your beauty. We weren't meant to be twenty-something and svelte for life; our bodies aren't designed that way. 

It's not the beauty of youth that fuels us for decades in the bedroom. It's the vulnerability and self-giving. 

That said, it's also important that you do take the best care of your physical appearance you can. For many, it's routine, but for others, we've learned to put our self-care at the end of our priority list. If this is the case for you, it's time to make your own self-care important again. Are there areas in your own appearance that you may be overlooking, because you've denied your own self-care? It's not necessary to spend oodles of time and money on your own self-care. Simply take a long, hard look at how well you take care of yourself, and ask if there are areas you can improve. Do your clothes fit well? Are your hair and nails kept up, and attractive? Does he like when you wear a little make-up or jewelry? Do you get enough rest? Can you improve your diet? Do you need to lose, or gain, weight? 

You are worth it. Embrace your beauty, and work it. Ditch the granny undies. Buy something sexy. Live a little! Surprise him in bed wearing nothing but your birthday suit. Take a long shower, and use a nice scented lotion. Use your imagination. 

Another thing I didn't realize for a very long time was that men need to be desired, too. It's vital to make your husband feel like you want him physically. We often are under the mistaken belief that in order to be submissive, we must accept what he gives or takes, and that precludes any initiation on our part. Not true. Jason loves when I put down my book to kiss him, or make out, and one thing leads to another. He loves when I run my hands over his chest or biceps or my finger around the strong edge of his jaw and tell him how hot he is. Loves it. When I lie up on his chest and curl my leg around him and tell him what a strong, sexy man he is, things heat up. 

Kiss him. Whisper naughty things in his ear. Straddle him. Work him up to a sexy blow job. Take his belt off with your teeth. Ahem. You get the idea. Show him you want him. Show him you need him. If he's stressed, offer to let him lie back while you please him, with no thought to your own pleasure. No strings attached. He doesn't have to spank you. He doesn't have to have sex whenever it's convenient for you. Be receptive to his initiating, and show him he attracts you by initiating yourself. 

Not all men welcome initiation, but almost all do want to feel wanted. Follow his lead and obey him.

If you do initiate, and he's not interested, accept his answer. It's not necessarily a rejection of you. If he is to be your leader and you submissive to him, it follows that you must obey him in all areas. 

This doesn't mean you only do what he wants and never share your own desires. Do be honest; do tell him what you fantasize about. But be prepared that he may not be into what you are, and that's okay. Again, it's not necessarily a rejection of you. 

I've covered a lot here, so now I'm going to sum it up and post this week's challenge. 

Overcome your fear in the bedroom. 

Are there things holding you back? Do you find you're reticent to give him oral sex, or to try other positions, or to do other things outside your comfort zone? Identify what those are, and try to let go of some of your reservations. Learn how to do new things. Make love with the lights on. Take a trip to the naughty shop and buy a little somethin'. Go to bed naked. Get on all fours. Be willing to accept lovemaking with no reciprocation. Be giving of yourself, and willing to take risks. 

Show an interest in him.

Make an intentional effort to show him he's attractive to you. Make out. Admire his biceps. Massage his feet, or back, while he's watching tv. When he's waking up in the morning, sneak under the covers and kiss his inner thighs. Lay in bed next to him and surprise him with your hand under the covers while you watch tv. Trace your fingers all over his chest. Hop into the shower with him. Strip off your clothes and crawl into bed while he's on his tablet. Yes, yes, I know, some of the things I'm saying here are making you squirm. Push past the squirm factor! 

Find what's holding you back

Are there things in your life that are holding you back in this area? Is it your own perception of how your sex life “should” be? Do you immerse yourself in erotic romance novels that leave you feeling unsatisfied with your own love life? Do you read blogs about other women with active sex lives and feed envious thoughts? Are you completely focused on spanking, and frustrated with his own reticence? Are you embarrassed about your weight, or feel unattractive? This week, identify at least two areas that are holding you back from the beauty of what you already have in front of you, then do something about it. 

Be willing to receive what's given

Does he like to wake you up in the middle of the night for sex? Does he like a quickie in the afternoon when he comes home for lunch? Has he always fantasized about a blow job in the car? 

Submit to him, push past your fears, and trust him. 

Be thankful for what you have. Guard your thoughts. Be giving and generous with yourself. And overall, be willing to follow his lead. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cultivating Submission, post one: embracing humility

Hello! Quick checking in here. I'm back from a pretty busy trip involving a three hour time difference that knocked the wind out of my sails! Sunday I'll post about how things played out while I was away (and how Jason whipped me into shape when I got home.) To those of you who have written to me,please be patient as I'm playing catch up this week. In the meantime,  I'm bringing up my Cultivating Submission series I posted a year ago, one of the most popular set of posts I've written. Why not have a little refresher?  :)


As I explained in this post, the theme for July is Cultivating Submission. Please look for upcoming weekly posts with challenges you're encouraged to take.

(Before you read this series, please take a moment to read this post: To Whom Should You Submit?)

This week, I will focus on little ways we can grow in humility, let go of control, and submit ourselves more fully. 

It can sometimes be frustrating to not be where you want to be, and often, many of us find in our pursuits of lofty goals, that we are forced to take two steps forward and one step back. What's difficult about this is those two steps forward are so motivating, encouraging, and make us think, at times, that we will continue to have that forward progress. And then a step back hits, and it's disheartening. I've had this happen in so many areas of my life, and our D/S dynamic is no exception. 

When Jason and I first began, we really took off. Since we already had the basic dynamic of his being the Dominant partner and my being the Submissive, as it's always been our dynamic from the beginning, we didn't have actual roles to shift. Really, it was just a matter of figuring out how we would incorporate a more serious approach to our roles. For a time, it was so frustrating to me, because I knew in my head what I wanted (I should say, I thought I knew in my head what I wanted, as the actual application was quite different), and we would seem to get into the two-step-forward, one-step-back rut. I was frustrated because I was convinced that truly, our marriage would be so much better if we were to make this lifestyle choice. 

It certainly was better, eventually. But I had some learning to do first. So did he.

There were learning curves. We had to work quite a bit out, and I needed to be patient as we did. In the meantime, some good friends advised me to take the focus off of myself, and put it on him. 

Well, that was a different way of looking at things. And so I tried. 

Before we even incorporated discipline into our dynamic (which is a serious game changer), I had decided that I was going to do what I could to submit to Jason. If he never spanked me, we never had rules, and I never had my desire for his discipline fulfilled, I could still do my part. I could still submit to Jason in whatever way I could. 

And so I've discovered in all aspects of my life in which I set high goals, setting small, reasonable, reachable goals is the way to achieving something monumental. I cannot sit down and write the next best American novel in a day. But I can sit and write 1,000 words. I cannot achieve the ability to reach my goal weight, or run a 5k today. I can choose to eat well and get to the gym today. You get the idea. 

It seemed a Dominant and Submissive lifestyle really was no different. I could not wake up one day and be the perfect, obedient submissive; nor could I expect Jason to know everything I needed and be the Dom of my Dreams overnight. 

What, then, is today's challenge? What small, attainable goals can we set to achieve the goal of cultivating submission? 

Humble yourself in submission 

How does this work? What does it look like? 

Take a moment to think of the words meek and humble, and people you may know who display this quality. What is it about them that gives them a meek or humble spirit? And how can we cultivate this virtue ourselves? In the context of growing in submission, there are many ways we can grow more humble, submitting ourselves to the one who is in authority.

Show respect. Try using the phrase “May I” when it seems appropriate. When he speaks, don't interrupt. Listen attentively and actively. If he calls for you, go quickly, making his request of paramount importance. Avoid saying “just a minute,” or “when I'm done,” but instead, make obeying the simplest of instructions top priority. 

Embrace criticism

If there are times that he corrects you, try not to view the correction as critical or a personal attack, but rather humble yourself enough that you can accept the correction as loving guidance. I find this one so difficult but with practice, it becomes almost intuitive. There was a time when the simplest criticism would hurt, or make me angry. But responding by getting defensive to honest criticism is childish and immature. Instead, swallow that pride, embracing the truth that we will never grow or mature if we aren't willing to accept criticism. 

When we accept honest criticism as helpful (even when it's painful), we can grow. We show our husbands that we trust them. If we constantly get our backs up over anything viewed as criticism, over time, they have few choices: they can continue to make home miserable by offering criticism that will result in flared tempers or hurt feelings, or they can keep their opinions to themselves. 

Do you want his leadership? Do you desire him to be in authority? Then start in the smallest way possible. Allow him to lead in the small ways. 

What are other ways we can foster a humble, submissive spirit? 

Let Go of Control 

When I began intentionally opening my eyes to ways I could grow in submission, I was astounded by the many opportunities that came my way. Now, Jason is a naturally dominant kind of guy. It's who he is. He is comfortable in his role as leader, and doesn't shirk responsibility, so following his lead wasn't always difficult to do, because he did, indeed, give me a lead to follow. However, when I made the deliberate choice to follow his lead in whatever small ways I could, I couldn't believe how many opportunities there were. 

Dozens, hundreds, thousands of opportunities presented themselves. I remember one particular time we were out picking up a few groceries. He pointed to a vacant spot and said, “Why don't you park over there?” In the past, my response would've been to think, “I'm driving. Do you not think me capable of choosing a parking space?” or “I'd rather park closer to the shopping carts,” or some other such thing. But I'd made the decision to allow him to lead in small ways. I parked where he asked me. When we went into the store, and I wanted to look at something on sale, he said, “We need to get going.” Instead of asking for just one more minute, or ignoring him and finishing what I was doing, I immediately turned away from what I was looking at and followed him. 

Over, and over, and over again, when he asserted an opinion or asked me to do something, I would me it a priority to do what he said, and quickly. 

Eventually, I pushed myself even further. Were there things Jason had expressed an opinion on, but he didn't really push? Yes. I knew that he liked dinner ready when he got home, but he wouldn't require it. I knew he preferred when I dressed in certain outfits, and liked my nails painted a certain color. He had an opinion on so very many things. He liked me to get enough sleep, and disliked when I fell asleep on the couch instead. If I was tired, he wanted me in bed. These weren't “rules.” This wasn't the choice between obeying and disobeying. These were little ways I actively chose to follow his lead. 

By following his lead, you show him that you trust him. It's when you show trust that your submission is viewed in a positive light. A humble, meek spirit that seeks to please is not burdensome, it is welcome. And when your submission is welcome, he grows in his ability to lead. 

So how, then, can we challenge ourselves this week to grow in humility? Not all of these suggestions will seem natural or workable to you. Take what you'd like from these suggestions, and push yourself to try something new. 

First, challenge yourself to be humble in speech. Use the phrase, “May I?” when possible. Listen attentively when he speaks, and don't interrupt. Put down your phone, shut off the computer, and give him your undivided attention. 

Second, embrace criticism as room for growth and not a personal attack. If he offers an opinion, listen humbly, and actively choose to accept it rather responding by becoming defensive or hurt.

Finally, look for little ways to submit to his leadership, and challenge yourself not to disagree. If he wants to take the baby out for a walk, and he doesn't want to put a hat on her but you think she needs one, trust that he's an adult that is fully capable of making decisions, just like you. Fathers don't do things the way we mothers do; that's why there's a yin and yang in the parental dynamic. He's every bit as capable of making adult decisions as you. 

His decisions won't be identical to yours. It doesn't mean his decisions aren't as good. Trust his choices. If he thinks it's too much of a commitment for you to chair the local library book sale the same weekend as your mother is coming into town, don't try to convince him you can handle it. Trust him. If you've had a long day, and you planned a fancy dinner, and he suggests ordering pizza instead, don't argue. Accept the decision and be grateful he cares about your well-being. 

I'm not advocating you foist all decision-making on him. There are some areas that are my domain; I wouldn't go up to Jason and ask him to make my grocery list. I am fully capable of making my own decisions, and it's not fair for me to expect him to do all the thinking for me. What I'm advocating is a very simple, very attainable method of letting go of control in the little areas.

Embrace a humble spirit. This week, look for ways you can honor his lead in what you do and what you say and you may be pleasantly surprised with the opportunities that present themselves. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

July Challenge: Cultivating Submission

Good morning! It's a lovely day here and I'm excited to bring to you some ideas I have for the month of July. I've been thinking about this for a while now (don't I always say that? ha!) and I've decided for the month of July, I'd like to take a two-step approach to blogging. 

First, I would like to offer a series of posts on Cultivating Submission. Frequently, when others ask me how it is they can achieve the level of D/S that Jason and I have, I find myself offering the same advice. Although I enjoy the personal interaction (do continue to write! I'm happy to correspond!), I thought, doesn't it make sense to compile some ideas of what has worked for us, some tried-and-true methods, and share it here, for those who may wish to read something like this? Secondly, I'd like to post a challenge after each post for those who may be interested. 

I'm aware that many of my readers are Taken in Hand folks, who may or may not consider themselves submissive. Many like to embrace a DD dynamic but do not desire submission. However, I tend to garner readers who may find that DD has awakened in them a desire to be submissive. My goal here is to simply encourage those of you who do desire submission to kick it up a notch. I'm going to challenge myself, too, as there is always room to grow. 

The posts I have planned are as follows: 

Post one: Cultivating a Submissive Spirit. Here, I will focus on little ways we can grow in humility, let go of control, and submit ourselves more fully. 

Post two: Bedroom Submission. Here we will get to the nitty gritty and discuss the good stuff: sex, and how it can enhance your dynamic. 

Post three: Build him up. Here I will focus on different ways you can build up your guy, encourage his leadership, and essentially help him grow into his role. You have in your power the ability to make him feel ten feet tall, and when you do, you'll be glad you did. 

Post four: Trust: the heart of the power exchange. Here I will discuss ways you can enhance the bedrock of trust in your relationship. 

Note that not a single post here focuses on spanking, what he needs to do, or anything of the sort. This is all about what we can do, regardless of where we are in our dynamics, regardless of the level we have achieved, regardless of whatever frustration we are facing. We are the only ones we have control over. We cannot make our husbands dom us, nor should we really want to. It is so very tempting to push our desires. We are so convinced that this is good, and will make things so perfect, if only they will see what we need! But true submission lets go of control. True submission doesn't seek to commandeer the ship. 

Let's let go of that desire, then. Let's stop focusing on what we can't control, and focus on what we can. 

Are you ready to kick it up a notch? Post one will go live tomorrow morning.

Friday, July 3, 2015

In Defense of Domestic Discipline Part three: Should Christians Practice Domestic Discipline?

Dear Readers,

Today I'm going to post my third and final installment in the “Defense of Domestic Discipline” series I began a few months ago. I decided it would be best to write on the following topics:
A counterargument as to why Christians should be free to practice DD; how a DD dynamic can enhance, rather than inhibit, one's faith, and how DD has the potential to foster true sacrificial love. Here I also wish to explore the concepts of masochism, sadism, and a healthy respect for one another.

If you're interested in reading the first in the series, please find post one HERE and post two HERE.

My thanks to OSL, who has taken the time to thoughtfully respond to my posts respectfully. I do wish you the best as you continue in your own journey. My prayer is that you find the healing and peace you so desire. I hope everything I've written in this series has been viewed in the amicable light I intended.

Should DD be practiced by Christians?

Before I begin my exploration of why I believe Christians should be free to practice DD, I must clarify a few things. First of all, Jason and I are not a CDD couple. In general, Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) teaches that husbands have the Biblical authority to discipline their wives. Some would even say it is a duty, as the Bible claims a wife's duty is to obey her husband, it therefore follows he has a Biblical basis for disciplining her. 

Jason and I are a Christian couple. We embrace mutual self-giving, and the areas in which I am disciplined and he leads are heavily influenced by our Christian beliefs. However, we do not believe the Bible promotes Domestic Discipline. We do not believe it is necessarily a wife's duty to obey her husband. (Yes, I'm aware of the often-quoted scriptures used to defend the belief that a wife should submit to her husband, and will not quote them here. It is my personal belief that Biblical submission is somewhat complex, because although wives are instructed to obey their husbands, husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ loved the church. A Biblical analysis of submission is not my purpose here; there are many well-written discussions on this topic elsewhere). 

We do believe that if a couple agrees to give the husband authority, and if Domestic Discipline works for them, they are free as Christians to practice Domestic Discipline. We also believe that many (but not all) couples benefit from a traditional, male-led dynamic. We certainly do not believe (as OSL does), that the Bible in any way prohibits Domestic Discipline. 

There is not a single aspect of our practice of DD that contradicts anything taught in scripture. 

It is our firm conviction that a consensual, loving dynamic based on a husband having authority and exercising the ability to discipline his wife if necessary, is in no way contrary to our human dignity, God's purpose for our lives, or sinful. If we believed it was, we wouldn't practice it. 

So first, let's take a look at why we choose to be married. What is the purpose of our commitment to one another? The obvious answer is that we love each other. Yes, of course this is true, but I also love my children, my family, and my friends. What is it about the marital commitment that is unique? Entire books have been written on this subject, and I only have a very small space here, so I'm going to give a very brief summary on my personal views. 

Marriage was, from a Biblical perspective, the first relationship established here on earth. It is clear from an even cursory glance into Scripture that God intended for man and woman to be together for a two-fold reason: first, so they could be fruitful and inhabit the earth; second, so they would have one another's companionship. Ideally, a married couple should be a model of Christ's love for the church, by centering themselves on mutual self-giving and sacrificial love. What does sacrificial love look like? “Greater love has no one that this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. 

Companionship. Mutual self-giving. Sacrificial love. 

Yes, all of that is paramount in my relationship to Jason. As we've embraced our Dominant and Submissive natures, as we've walked this road together, our relationship has flourished. Discord is a thing of the past. Of course we do still disagree, but we do not fight. There are rarely raised voices. He's granted the authority in our relationship, and respect is foundational, so I'm not allowed to raise my voice, speak rudely, or anything of the sort. I'm not allowed to go running to my friends about something he did that angered me, or criticize him to others. I am allowed to disagree. I am allowed to be disappointed, or even angry. I am always allowed an opinion. But when disagreement comes up – which is rare, but of course it still happens – we talk to one another. I yield to him, because I trust him as my leader and authority. And he never lets my frustration, hurt, or anger be buried. He always makes sure he listens and respects my opinion, and he puts my needs above his own. Our decision to grant him the authority in the relationship, and my pledge to obey him, is based on mutual respect and love. One reason we've chosen this dynamic is that it is a very effective method of conflict resolution that brings us peace, while encouraging open communication.

We also revel in one another. There is passion, and intimacy, on a regular basis. We kiss, hold hands, sit by one another, make love. We talk, laugh, and spend as much time with one another as we can. We are still raising our family, and the needs of our family are of high priority, of course, but we also believe a happily married mom and dad make for happy children, so we make our needs as a couple a high priority as well. For us, our decision to embrace D/S has only enhanced our companionship. 

We regularly put each other's needs above our own. I serve him daily – cook him his meals, bring him his coffee, wash his clothes. In many ways I'm a fairly traditional house wife. I love to serve him. It pleases me to take care of his needs. I see this as my job as his submissive, to be sure he's well taken care of, happy to come home to us, to remove whatever stress from his life that's within my power. In meeting his needs, I fulfill my own desire to submit to him. In turn, he meets mine. He listens to me. He pays attention to me. He pays our bills, makes all primary decisions, works hard to keep a roof over our heads. He leads me, in every possible way. 

When a couple's very premise is based on the principle “how can I meet the needs of another?” it only stands to reason that they will find themselves embracing mutual self-giving and sacrificial love. 

Companionship. Mutual self-giving. Sacrificial Love. 

How is it, then, that one can make the argument that our dynamic in any way runs contrary to scripture? One can argue that the focus becomes on one another, and not God. Certainly, that can happen – we humans are prone to making idols of other humans or objects, and how one balances devotion to one another and one's faith is a highly personal decision. Although it is clear from what I write here on this blog that I am utterly devoted to Jason, he is not my God, and I am not under the delusion that the sun rises and sets on Jason (sorry, babe ;) ). Jason's primary focus is to live a virtuous life, in which he lives out gospel values day in and day out, to take care of his family, and to ensure that he leads a virtuous example, in both action, word and deed. It is for this reason that I obey him. I love him; our values mirror one another. He leads me in virtue. 

As one friend put it, if his primary focus is on living a holy life, and his primary focus is to help me to do the same, then it follows that our dynamic is iconic (leading one to God) instead of idolatrous (leading one away from God). 

Jason's rules for me don't simply involve my safety or obedience to him, but how I treat others as well. He expects me to live as virtuously as I can. Although he is the one in authority over me and the one I'm expected to obey, he also expects me to treat others kindly. He absolutely would punish me for treating someone rudely, being dishonest, snapping at someone else, or something similar. His ultimate goal is not just to make me safe and happy, but for me to grow in virtue as well.  

The second argument used to criticize the D/S lifestyle from a Christian perspective is the argument that D/S encourages sadism and masochism, or sexually perverted desires. 

Although there certainly is a good deal of overlap within BDSM circles, Dominance and Submission, and even Taken in Hand dynamics, it does not necessarily follow that everyone who enjoys being spanked is a masochist, or everyone who enjoys spanking is a sadist. In fact, most of the submissives I know do not consider themselves masochists. 

A masochist, simply put, is someone who derives sexual pleasure from physical pain, humiliation, or abuse. 

Many sources agree that if someone were a true masochist – enjoying pain being inflicted on them, enjoying the act of being humiliated, welcoming the reception of physical pain – then punishment would not have the deleterious effect intended. 

So, do I enjoy to be spanked? On some levels, absolutely.  However, just because I derive pleasure from a situation in which pain is involved in some measure does not make me a masochist. There is a difference between enjoying how I feel after a hard, even painful, workout, and enjoying the fact that I'm inflicting pain on myself. I love the feeling of accomplishment, being challenged, the knowledge I'm growing stronger, and the physical high I get from a hard workout. I do not enjoy the pain. I am not sexually aroused by the hundredth rep with a barbell. 

There is a difference between enjoying how I feel when I lie over Jason's lap, submitting to the man I trust with my very life, accepting his discipline, but mostly reveling in the act of submission, than taking a knife to myself, allowing myself to be humiliated, or welcoming the reception of pain. 

Many submissives avoid punishment because we truly dislike the pain of a hard spanking. To me, that's the difference between a punishment spanking and a stress relief or sexy spanking. A punishment spanking comes with the knowledge that I've done something to let him down, and a punishment spanking hurts like hell. I do not enjoy them. If I did enjoy them, I wouldn't work so hard on behaving myself.

And the same is true for dominance and sadism. The reverse side of the coin, a sadist is someone who derives sexual pleasure from inflicting pain, humiliation, or abuse on another human being. 

Jason does not enjoy the act of causing me pain. He does enjoy spanking me. He revels in my submission, and the very act of my submitting does indeed arouse him because my submission and his dominance are irrevocably and erotically tied to one another. My knees hit the floor in the act of submission, or he fists his hand at the nape of my neck, and the atmosphere is immediately electrically charged. I'm in my role and he is in his. 

He derives pleasure from my pleasure. He thrives on being the one in charge. It's a natural fit for him. Whereas I glean pleasure in the act of submitting, he derives pleasure from the act of dominating. But always, always, he is respectful of my human dignity, my comfort zones, and the trust I've given him. He does not abuse that trust by gratifying himself on whatever sadistic pleasures he may be tempted to indulge in. He tempers that, always, because it's not the infliction of pain he enjoys; it's the reception of my submission.

That said, I am not going to argue that there is no correlation whatsoever between Submissives and masochism, or Dominants and sadism. There is. Some submissives do consider themselves masochists. Some struggle with that. Some even have a past history of abuse or humiliation and learned to self-soothe sexually to deal with the pain of abuse (OSL writes freely about this being the case with her). Many Dominants readily admit they are tempted by sadism, but they recognize that as a Dominant who must cherish his Submissive's trust, he must temper himself by respecting the boundaries, trust, and needs of his Submissive. 

But as in all things, it isn't always wise to look at one simple facet of a lifestyle and therefore condemn the lifestyle altogether. A black-and-white view says “sadism and masochism are perverted; submissives and dominants enjoy spanking; therefore, the D/S lifestyle is perverted and sinful.” A more logical approach is to recognize that the world isn't black and white, that our past history and experiences often influence how we perceive reality, and that just because there are some similarities in certain areas does not mean we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is far, far more to a Taken in Hand or D/S relationship that the mere infliction and reception of pain; and many factors need to be taken into account to determine what is healthy in one's own personal relationship. 

There were many issues addressed in this blog post. In conclusion, I'd like to assert my opinion that Christians should be free to practice DD because a DD dynamic can enhance, rather than inhibit, one's faith, by aiming to live more virtuously and by encouraging true sacrificial love, and that an honest, respectful approach to Dominance and Submission is not disordered or sinful, but rather loving and intimate.

In conclusion of this series, I'm going to invite any readers to post their own reflections, arguments, or thoughts here, but so many issues were discussed here, I'm not going to post specific questions. I welcome dissenting opinion, but as always, ask that dissenting opinions be respectful and kind. 

Edited to add: 

OSL has taken the time to respond to my post on her own blog. You can read her response here

There is one important point (the one she focuses on most heavily in her response) that I wanted to address, as it's the one argument she relies on most heavily to emphasize her point that Christians should refrain from a D/S or DD lifestyle. Essentially, her argument states that the very fact that we hide our lifestyle choices shows that it is wrong, because Christians should be able to share with other Christians what they do because we are called to be members of a community of believers. 

Not surprisingly, I disagree with her main point. 

First, I do not hide my lifestyle choice. Everyone who knows me and Jason knows that he is my leader, that I obey him, and that we embrace a traditional, male-led relationship. They know I ask his permission before I commit to anything. They know he has my consent to (at the very least) correct me. He does this respectfully and subtly, but he does not hide the fact that he is in authority over me, and I don't hide it either. These are not select people. These are everyone we know. People in my family, all my friends, and people in my church (OSL recommended I join a church but that's not necessary, as I've been an active member in my church for decades). 

Does this cause scandal? Are people shocked? If they are, I don't know it. In fact – I say this to emphasize my point, not to brag – I've lost count of how many people have asked us for marital advice. Over, and over, and over again, people we know comment on how happy we are together, how much we dote on one another, how well we get along, and I've counseled numerous women who've asked me how to submit to their husbands. I'm not talking about people online. I'm talking about people in the community we know. 

Now, do they know he spanks me? Not all of them, no, but yes, some do. My two best friends in the entire world know everything – that I am submissive to Jason (and subject to be disciplined by him). These are not people online. One is my sister, and the other, my closest friend who lives nearby. Are they scandalized? Horrified? Not at all. Both are completely, thoroughly supportive of our D/S lifestyle. My friend who knows everything has called my relationship with Jason “enviable,” and “I don't know why anyone could criticize your lifestyle. It works so well.”

Even my mom knows he's in authority over me. She knows he tells me to behave, and that he calls the shots. She thought it was funny that he sent me to my room, because I was a brat! She said, “you've become a different person since you married Jason. You've never been happier.” 

My mother-in-law told me “I know you submit to him, but it's also obvious to anyone who meets you that you two were meant to be with each other, and that this works for you.” She also once told me that I should be thankful Jason is willing to be the dominant partner in our relationship because “many women would give anything to have what you have.” I don't disagree. 

Yes most do not know I'm disciplined. Why not?

It is certainly not because I am ashamed. If I were, I would not have this blog. My lifestyle choice is not sinful. It is not disordered. So why would I be ashamed? I am firmly convinced my lifestyle choice is healthy. 

I do not share the disciplinary aspect of our D/S lifestyle, because not everyone understands. This lifestyle isn't for everyone. And I don't have the time and energy to defend a lifestyle that may seem out of the ordinary to just anyone; nor do I want to. It's about all I can manage just to spend what little time and energy I have writing to those who do understand. This is why I blog. 

Sure, the Christian community at large may think that Jason's disciplining me is wrong. Maybe they don't understand the consent, or my desire, the eroticism, or how well it works. But many do understand. They seek other like-minded people. And guess what? A community is born. Yes, it's online, because these are the times we live in. But we're not a “closed, hidden, secretive” community because what we do is wrong. We are an anonymous community because there aren't very many of us, and it's much easier to find like-minded people this way than in real life. This is how we protect what is important to us. 

It is foolhardy to denounce the very very real D/S community in the online sphere. They are real people, with real relationships. Real struggles are shared. There is community here. 

OSL says that she once had another online DD blogger who likened sharing their DD choice with sharing details of their sex life with others. OSL says this analogy is “ludicrous” because the Christian community would assume one was having sex, whereas they wouldn't assume a husband was disciplining his wife. 

I disagree with her. I think it is a very apt analogy. Keeping in mind that all analogy falls short, please allow me to explain. 

Most would agree that DD is erotic. When spanking is between two adults who are attracted to one another, it's sexual. It takes place behind closed doors, typically in the nude, and the dominant and submissive acts trigger sexual arousal. It's no coincidence that those who embrace this lifestyle find themselves deeply sexually attracted to one another. 

It is also very, very personal. Even the two people I know who know about our lifestyle don't know everything. They do not read my blog. I don't talk to them about every single instance I'm in trouble, and give detailed explanations about spanking, or Jason's expectations. We do talk about things, of course, and both are extremely supportive. It's been tremendously helpful having their encouragement at times. But how things play out are personal. Some things are meant to be kept between me and Jason. 

So why on earth would I share what is both highly sexual and deeply personal with people in my church group? That would be like sharing details about our sex life. I have no more interest in telling my pastor that Jason spanks me than I do in discussing how good I've become at oral sex, or about the sexy little nightie I bought for vacation. 

Again, it is not because I'm ashamed. Spanking is a very small part of our dynamic. Our overall power exchange is what fuels our dynamic, and that part is not hidden. As I've said, everyone we know is completely aware of our D/S lifestyle. It is the spanking part – the sexual, private part of our dynamic – that we do not share. I am a very active member of my church community and the community here where I live. What goes on behind closed doors in no way affects that. Yes, we are called to live in community. I do live in the community. But no, we are not called to share every personal and intimate details of our lives with one another. 

And on that note, I've said my peace, and I'm signing off on this conversation. Again, others are free to respond. Thank you all for your participation in this discussion.