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Part 1 - How Does It Work?

This material was borrowed - with permission - from the Vanilla Spanking Forum on Delphi.

A man posted a question to the board essentially admitting his confusion about what it means to be dominant in the marriage. He stated (in part):

I have learned what it's NOT (at least for us).

1) It's not assigning more duties or doing less myself.
2) It's not making all the decisions.
3) It's not being less loving to my wife.
4) It doesn't have anything to do with who is smarter.

But I still don't know what it IS.

His wife chimed in with an additional comment:

Part of the problem is that I don't know what I want - I jokingly say I want him to be dominant without me being submissive - but it's really not entirely a joke. I actually don't enjoy being told what to do ONE little bit. Maybe this just isn't for us? But I REALLY like the spanking and the disciplinary feel....

He concluded with the question:

If my partner and I were to just TRY as an experiment for a limited time only to live with me dominant and her submissive (or at least trying) what would we do? How would I act? I can't even think of much I want to change about her or the way our house is run.


Brenna, a participant on the forum, crafted the following extraordinarily eloquent response. Her discussion is divided into three parts.

First, what it means to be "dominant" and "why" he should be the boss;
Second, specific things he can do to maintain the authority his wife has asked him to assume, and
Third, how to make it "real."

Before Brenna's section begins, though, I (Bethany) have a brief comment. I've said what I'm going to say here elsewhere on my site, and sometimes I think people must get sick of hearing me repeat myself. But I will say it again. Just because two things look the same, does NOT mean they are the same. It can be confusing for people who don't know what they want – like the couple above – when many different manifestations of "spanking" which outwardly look the same, are actually not the same thing at all.

There are people who do not want to have or to see any fundamental change in their relationship. Just because one or both members of a couple likes the spanking does not mean that they want or need a domestic discipline relationship. Conversely, there might be couples who want a D/D relationship very much who NEVER spank erotically and only rarely (or possibly even never) use corporal punishment as part of D/D.

Call it what you will, domestic discipline, power exchange, dom/sub, all of these things in one way or another call for a fundamental shift in the roles in a relationship. For many of us who read and participate on this site and others like it, spanking is the outward manifestation or "result" of how these roles are defined. Making it infinitely more complicated as well is the fact that many couples – like my partner and I – who do practice Domestic Discipline also use spanking erotically. We have a fairly good grasp on what we are dong and how it works for us. I know – believe me I know – when I am being spanked "for real" and when it is "for fun," though it would be impossible to explain to an outsider.

There are people, though, who love spanking but want to keep it firmly in the erotic realm. However, for some of them, as soon as you try to relegate spanking to a sexual game, they rebel. It's no game, they assert. It's very real. We want it very badly. There are others who cannot feel comfortable leaving it as a sexual game because they feel that in this arena, it must always be playful, light, and fun. So, in order to justify the harder spanking that they both seek, they begin exploring some of these other paths which may not be right for them. As the wife says, above: "Maybe this isn't right for us? But I REALLY like the spanking and disciplinary feel" A couple can have spanking and a "disciplinary feel" without choosing to live in a Domestic Discipline relationship. It is essential that people realize this.

For those that want to explore this, Brenna's discussion of how a relationship in which a wife submits to her husband's authority might work is truly inspired. She gets to the crux of what it means to be in such a relationship and offers an amazing number of very specific ideas and guidelines.


Part 1. What It Means to be Dominant and Why He Should be the Boss.

I don't really like the term "dominance" for some reason, so I'm going to talk about "authority" instead. I have the impression that sometimes a husband would wonder what would give him the right to exercise authority over his wife. After all, she is an intelligent, educated, competent adult. Why on Earth should she defer to him? Why would a loving modern man ever turn his wonderful, capable adult wife over his knee and discipline her?

In a nutshell, because she wants you to. Because women like us are overwhelmingly attracted to the Alpha male. Because strong, capable, adult women want to feel that there is someone stronger than they are who loves them, who will protect them, who will set limits. The image of the strong, dominant man makes our knees weak and sets our hearts fluttering.

Some of us, including your wife, have mentioned that in this equation we do not particularly desire to be submissive. We don't want his strength to derive from our weakness. We just want our guy to be strong and stern and capable of laying down the law. There are many women who believe that a wife's submissiveness is part of the natural order, and even ordained by God. Others, myself included, don't think like that. We don't give a hoot about natural order. We don't feel that men are naturally created to be the boss. We just know what we like in our personal lives, and what it is about our husbands that sets our knees knocking and turns our insides to jelly.

(Note from Bethany: I would personally qualify Brenna's statement here a bit. I do believe that human females are "hardwired" from millennia of evolution to seek more powerful, capable, dominant men. Just as I think that instinctively women are better caretakers of infants, so I think that households in which the male takes a leadership role often work better, and for good reason. Females and their offspring survive better with dominant males; offspring survive better with nurturing females. We "just know what we like" because we are biologically programmed to look for these things. In my dictionary, that's the "natural order."

However, there is a difference between saying that something probably makes more sense from an evolutionary standpoint and saying that it MUST be this way, and that anyone that doesn't choose this is "wrong," or worse, "sinning." This is America, and people are free to find a lifestyle that works for them and to believe what they wish.)

Speaking for myself now, this doesn't mean I want him to order me around. I don't want him to treat me like I'm stupid, or as if I have no say in the running of the house. I expect to be an equal voice in all major decisions. I expect to be treated with respect, unless I have done something to justify treating me otherwise. I don't want to be his slave. I don't really want our relationship to change at all in most respects. What I want from him is a sense of his authority, a sense of loving boundaries. The kind of authority I want him to assume over me is very similar to parental authority.

Imagine if you will that a child who has lived apart from you for several years has now come to be a part of your household. Think of the relationship you would cultivate with that child. You do not immediately say, "Gee, if I'm supposed to be the parent now, I'd better come up with a list of rules and punishments." You establish yourself as the authority figure because that is what the child needs you to be, but your authority grows gradually, and the rules and expectations follow naturally. You do not perceive the child as your slave. You do not treat the child as though he is stupid, or incapable. You love the child, and set firm boundaries and limits that keep the child safe and secure, and let the child grow to be his very best.

I don't want to give the impression that I want a "daddy" figure, or that I want my husband to treat me like a child. I am just using the closest analogy I can think of for natural, loving authority. This authority does not come about because you are better, brighter, or more deserving, but simply because of who you are. As a parent, you have certain responsibilities, and authority. A military officer has certain responsibilities and authority. He does not have to show that he is smarter or more deserving of his authority. He just has it by virtue of who he is in relation to subordinates. As a husband your wife wants you to take similar responsibilities and authority. Not because you deserve it. Not because she's not capable. She wants this because you're her husband, you're the man, and she craves the strong, dominant, alpha male who can sweep her off her feet, and over his knee if the occasion warrants.

So, how, you ask, how does all of this work? In the next part we'll discuss how to make this all real for both of you.

Part 2 Making It Real