I've put together some of the questions Jason and I receive on a regular basis. Please note my response is merely an opinion and by no means the expert opinion. I'm not changing the format of the blog, and will not be promoting any type of prescriptive D/s (ever). I'm merely trying to have a resource from one couple's perspective that may help others new to the lifestyle.
My next post will focus on another list of FAQ, but as we are going away on vacation, I won't be blogging again until early September.
So here are some questions I've been asked countless times by people new to the lifestyle:
Am I weird because I want this?
Not at all. The reasons we are drawn to this lifestyle are many and varied. Based on my several years of experience and observation, those who crave the D/s lifestyle in whatever capacity tend to be educated, intelligent, capable people who are drawn to this for a variety of reasons. Many of us find we are healed by consenting to discipline; it fulfills a deep desire to be loved, cared for, and protected. Most are erotically attracted to the consensual exchange of power. But most of all, couples are drawn to the intimacy, peace, and eroticism inherent in a lifestyle choice like this that meets the needs of both partners. For further reading on this topic, consider reading:
If she wants me to spank her, how will that prevent her from misbehaving again?
This is a very logical, understandable question. This question frequently frustrates submissives, because we feel misunderstood. We know we want this, we know it will help us, and we can't really explain why. So, please allow me to share from my own personal experience.
I like being spanked by Jason, but I don't actually enjoy the pain. I'm not a masochist, or at least if I have any masochistic tendencies they're very mild. I enjoy the submission. I enjoy his dominance over me. I do not wish to be punished, and I avoid punishment. I do, however, love that he expects my obedience. Many submissives I've been in touch with completely agree. I don't really want him to punish me but I do like that he holds me accountable.
The fact that he will spank me if I need it makes me view him as a strong, sexy, authoritative leader in our relationship. I feel important to him. I feel protected because he is strong. I admire his sternness, and am attracted to his authority. That said, I don't actually enjoy being spanked.
It hurts when he spanks me. I feel sorry for having earned a spanking. However, the sadness typically occurs because I'm wired to want to obey him and please him. The spanking he gives me cleanses me, helps me let go of my guilt, makes me feel calmer and at peace.
A spanking for naughty behavior can, in my observation, cause submissives in certain circumstances to misbehave. First, when a submissive is a hardcore masochist, she's sexually attracted to the actual pain (as opposed to the dominance). So she may act out to experience more pain. That is pretty rare, though, and more common in BDSM scenes than in a D/s lifestyle. Second, because being disciplined makes us feel centered, important, and loved, if a good deal of time lapses between spankings, submissives are sometimes tempted to misbehave, because we enjoy that feeling of being loved and we crave that erotic, intimate connection. I myself struggle with this from time to time. The way we avoid that is by communicating openly about my needs, and Jason gives me regular role-affirmation or “maintenance” spanking.
To read more about this topic, I'd urge you to read:
My explanation of why D/s isn't necessarily sadism/masochism in this post.
Should I be erotically attracted to punishment spankings?
Why not? For those of us wired this way, it's incredibly sexy. We love submitting to a strong dominant. It turns us on to be overpowered. This is natural. It sets my heart to pounding to hear Jason threaten me with a spanking (even if I feel a bit of fear). It is the norm to be erotically attracted to dominance and submission. Why do so many romance novels show the swaggering, uber alpha male? Women are attracted to this. To be blunt, some of my fantasies involve being very much overpowered by Jason (I'm talking about the kind of spanking I wouldn't really want in real life) simply because it's erotically attractive to me to experience that loss of control with someone I love. From his perspective, though he dislikes punishing me, he can't help but be aroused when I submit to him. Bared to him, over his knee, accepting his discipline, it all turns him on. This is normal, and natural. It's partly why this works so well. The trust necessary to enact this type of dynamic brings a couple closer together; the erotic appeal of it enhances their relationship.
To read more about this topic, consider the following posts:
How should we begin?
Communicate, communicate, communicate, then communicate some more. Submissives, I'd urge you to communicate your own needs in a forthright manner, not drawing on “how everyone else does this.” Tell him why you want this. Dominants, I'd urge you to listen. Try not to make rash judgments, and truly listen. This has likely taken a lot of courage on the part of your wife/girlfriend/submissive to bring this to you. Please listen.
After that, I'd suggest starting small. If you've never engaged in any type of spanking together, consider a bit of erotic spanking play. This can help you both get used to it, how it feels, whether or not to use an implement, if it's awkward, what pain tolerances are, whether or not the dominant is comfortable administering a spanking. Play around with erotic and/or stress relief spankings first, before adding any rules. Take your time. Talk, talk, talk. If you're so inclined, do some research. If you do decide disciplinary spanking is something you are willing to try, start with something that is important to you and start small. It can be discouraging to have a laundry list of rules and frequent punishments. Ease into this. Never stop talking. Communicate before and after every discipline session. Understand that it takes a great deal of time to establish roles, and an even longer time to understand how your personal brand of D/s or DD will work for both of you. Be willing to compromise. Submissives, focus on your own submission, rather than his dominance (or lack thereof). Dominants, please pay attention to your submissive. She trusts you.
For further reading on this subject, I'd urge you to read:
Should we have a contract?
This is neither here nor there. Some couples have a contract and are glad they did. If you're looking to have a legal document showing you consent, it isn't legally binding in some states, so not really worth it. I trust Jason and we found a contract unnecessary. Our dynamic naturally evolved for us. Some people like having them, though, as a sort of “real” step indicating a lifestyle change.
Is bootcamp a worthwhile endeavor?
For some people, yes, for some people, no. Some find that they need to figure out how to do things, and a focus on an intense training time is worthwhile. Jason and I don't really feel that way. We came to this naturally and it was an evolution of sorts. There have been times, though, when he spent a little time focusing harder on certain behaviors than normally – a time of training, so to speak. If you're interested in bootcamp, I'd give two pieces of advice. First, start small (maybe a day). Better to start small and go longer after than bite off more than you can chew, and discourage one another. Second, there are various suggestions out there. No one, no one, is an expert in this. We all simply have our own opinions. Please don't feel you have to follow any one prescriptive method of bootcamp (or anything, for that matter).
He will spank me, but not hard enough. How can I get him to understand I need a real spanking?
This is so very common. Occasionally, a dominant partner comes raring to go right out of the gate, but that's pretty rare (and not always very effective).
Those who desire a lifestyle incorporating consensual discipline really need to feel that this is serious. Otherwise, it's like craving to be kissed by someone you love who just pecks you on the cheek and moves on, or going to the gym for a hard run only to end up doing a leisurely walk around the track. Many of us want to be disciplined, because we are attracted to the love and attention of a partner in authority over us. So if we feel innately we've done something worthy of punishment, and we get a small spanking that isn't really punitive, it leaves us feeling unsettled, confused, even angry.
Dominants – my suggestion would be to spank thoroughly, but not necessarily harshly. When many submissives experience the let-down of a weak spanking when they feel (or even crave) a harder one they really feel, dominants frequently respond by spanking really harder, rapidly. Instead, consider a good spanking that lasts a bit longer. The purpose is to help the submissive partner consider their actions, and make the decision to behave better going forward. So, try taking her over your lap, and instead of spanking harder, spank longer. Give her the time to really let the punitive effect of the spanking sink in. Lecturing during this is typically effective. Jason will say things like, “Have I made my point, young lady?” (Swoon! Seriously!)
This is why communicating is so very effective.
Submissives – if you're in this position, please remember to focus on obeying. That's why you're in this, right? If he only gives you a few swats when you feel you deserve the spanking of your life, take what he gives you. Submit to that, and try to do better. Consider that he is being merciful. You will not always get the spanking you want. That's not what this is about. This is about submitting, learning to obey, and improving your relationship.
For further reading on this subject:
Isn't it wrong to hurt a woman?
First, there is a radical difference between consensual, loving discipline and abuse or assault. Still, it's difficult to reconcile DD with societal norms.
My husband explained this at length in this post. Here is an excerpt:
Like many guys my age, I was steeped in a home suffused with the mores of the sexual revolution and the women's liberation movement of the 70's, and early 80's. Every message I heard about women told me that they were just as good as men, could do anything men could do and even better, and you MUST NEVER HIT A WOMAN, EVER! You also must NEVER TELL A WOMAN WHAT TO DO, OR CONTROL HER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, or you are an ABUSER!!!
Cultures are pretty much defined by what they consider taboo, and the culture we grow up in largely forms the way we see the world and treat others. But cultural messages can also be out of whack with who we are as human beings. I think to a large extent, men in the west have been emasculated by western culture, all in the name of doing something just, namely, giving women the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings. Nevertheless, as humans are wont to do, we've gone a bit too far in our drive to free women, and have somewhat imprisoned men, and made true masculinity taboo.
Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that something is awry between women and men nowadays. Women read all kinds of trashy romance literature and fantasize about being swept away by a man who dominates her completely – someone who not only is a great lay, but also protects her, provides for her, and leads her through life's hardships and joys; but these same women go out to work, or with friends and completely trash all of the men in their lives. Why is that? I'll tell you why: Genetics.
I don't think women would behave this way if the men in their lives gave them what hundreds of thousands of years of evolution has programmed them to want – an alpha male. From where I sit, most men (myself included until just recently), act like juvenile members of a pack; they hang out around the edges of life, get laid when and where they can and then move on. Our culture tells us that's what we (men) are, and how we should behave, so that's what we do. We don't step up, we don't take control of the pack, so to speak, and look out for our mates and our offspring; alpha males do this by nature. Men and women are animals, too; thus, it stands to reason that being an alpha male isn't just about 'getting some', (it is that), but it's that AND providing for and protecting those they lead. As long as men refuse to provide, protect AND lead, they will never satisfy that deepest of longings that mother nature has programmed right into the DNA of every woman on this planet.
So my friend, how do you stop feeling like a jerk, like you are controlling her, how do you get over it? Get over your weak-ass self, that's how. Stop acting like a juvenile, stop believing that what our culture tells you about yourself is true (it's not and deep down you know it) and act like a man, an alpha man. Love your women, protect her, provide for her in the ways you can; but most of all, lead her. It takes courage, it takes strength, it takes a man. It won't happen overnight, it won't be easy but as long as you keep trying it will happen.
What is the difference between D/s, DD, BDSM, and things like that?
Ask ten people, get ten different answers. I'll give you my personal opinion.
D/s, or dominance and submission, is a lifestyle choice in which the Dominant partner is given consensual authority in the relationship. This is very often roles-based (focusing on dominance and submission) rather than rules-based (focusing on enforcing rules).
DD is also a lifestyle choice in which one partner is given consensual authority in the relationship, but focused more heavily on rules-based rather than roles-based.
BDSM is a lifestyle choice often focused on the erotic exchange of power, rather than the consensual imbalance of authority. Role playing is not uncommon. BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism.
Though none of the terms are synonymous, there are no hard and fast lines that separate any lifestyle choice. Some couples are DD with a mild D/s influence, some D/s with BDSM tendencies, some BDSM couples favor a touch of DD. To each his or her own.
How hard should I spank?
There is no rule, but there are some very general standards. When beginning to spank, I'd pass on this rather fairly widely accepted rule of thumb:
Erotic spankings are often effective just below tolerance.
Maintenance or stress relief spankings are often effective just at tolerance.
Punishment spankings are often effective just above tolerance.
(Wow, this is my 200th post! Thank you all for reading, and for encouraging me to keep on blogging.)