Monday, April 30, 2007

Yes, My Lady: Domestic Discipline: a Lady's Choice

This past October 19th, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet some of My column enthusiasts when I taught a BDSM Workshop on Domestic-style Discipline. The Society of Janus (, the Bay Area's pansexual BDSM organization, sponsored this public event open to BDSM folks outside of Janus at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. Elated to learn from Me in the flesh, I honored the workshop participants with the knowledge and experience of My favorite type of SM play.

Domestic Discipline is a mutually consensual scene or living arrangement in which one partner assumes the role of authority and disciplinarian over the other partner. It is the kind of control exerted by a Traditional Authority Figure. Being controlled is what the bottom needs, and controlling is what the Top needs. The discipline involves all things domestic: roles, toys, clothing, terms, language, roleplay, scenario, and location. It is the classic image of home, school, kitchen, office, or bedroom. It's Mommy's wooden hairbrush or wooden spoon. It's Daddy's black belt. The beatings, the birch, the cane, the paddle, the lash, or strap. The key to Domestic Discipline is that the bottom is afraid to admit that they want the Top in control. A bottom seeking discipline would normally expect their behavior to be carefully controlled; that there will be regular opportunities for some form of physical punishment, even if mild, for infractions.

The tenants of discipline, punishment, responsibility, and consequence that we first learn from our parents comprise the core of Domestic Discipline. It is the first lessons that will form our desire as adults to experience the same emotions, spirit, and play. When I was an adolescent, My brother and I used to run around the plant room against My mother's wishes. The story is always the same, and eventually, one of us would knock a plant over, spilling black, rich soil onto My mother's white, fluffy carpet. Mother would hear the falling of the plant, of course, and slowly approach upon the scene. She would chant, "Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman." My brother and I would look at each other in great fear and anguish. We knew what was coming next. Mother would demand that we lower our panties, and then, she would make us hold that position for a minute, or two. She would then wail on our bottoms with a homemade wooden paddle, last name engraved, and all. Today, I crave for the exhilaration that My brother chasing Me brought. Nothing quite like it except for maybe a lover chasing us around the house. I yearn to be mischievous…to make a mistake, and to be held accountable. I desire to scare My bottom: to make Her feel the fear of the consequence is greater than the consequence itself. I need order, stability, and object constancy in My life. Domestic Discipline provides such direction.

I categorize Domestic Discipline into two types of play: Lifestyle and Scene. Both are unique and demanding of their own set of rules. In a Scene, there is a beginning, middle, and end. Players negotiate the limits of the scene, and respect safewords. There are agreed upon roles, and from there the Top usually controls and/or makes up the scenario. The bottom's only way to end the scene is with the safeword. However, the bottom has just as much power as the Top. When bottom consents, do trust it. Overall, the Top must trust her/himself, and have confidence. The Top must also trust that the bottom will use the safeword, if needed. The bottom must trust that the Top is in control, and will not lose it. To make the scene safe and sane, pay attention to your partner's reactions, cues, respect limits, earn trust by acting trustworthy, stop at the use of the safeword, and push one another when you can take it.

As for Lifestyle Domestic Discipline, it is a long-term commitment to a certain agreed-upon relationship that follows certain domestic-discipline tenants. The Top establishes rules, which both parties negotiate, and the bottom agrees to obey the rules. The key is that the bottom may verbally agree to obey the rules, but s/he may defy them. The bottom must break the rules in order to require punishment. Disobeying rules carries consequence, such as corporal punishment or loss of privileges. As the authority, the Top sets example by living an orderly life and following the rules. This lifestyle demands good behavior from both parties. Overall, the bottom desires order, discipline, and control, and seeks the Top to contain them and guide them through this process. The bottom feels worthy and loved by the attention, boundaries, and knowledge of what is expected. The Top feels loved and respected by the bottom who takes punishment well and begins to perform better due to the discipline. Both parties are pleased when they have accomplished something: something that seems to produce a new way of relating. The objective of this lifestyle -- and the appeal -- for many couples is a smoother running household where power roles are defined, boundaries clear, and harmony prevails.

Domestic Discipline tends to be more accessible than other types of BDSM play. Most players can simply use their imagination, theatrical skills, past knowledge, and emotions. With Domestic Discipline, one doesn't have to buy new and expensive fetish wear, toys, and equipment. One can simply use what is in the home. It is an equalizer: both players may feel equal when they come to the drawing board, especially when it comes to class privilege. Both players have only to offer themselves, a true test of self-worth, confidence, and trust.

Domestic Discipline can take you and your partner on a sadistic, mind-probing, emotional interrogation that you will not soon forget. It pushes that edge between SM and real life, releases endorphins, and can bring great atonement. Using the best techniques to push both Top and bottom, Domestic Discipline fosters tuning into your partner's energy and role-playing cues. Domestic Discipline is special because it expands the boundaries of both Top and bottom and integrates fantasy and reality in a safe, contained manner.

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