Monday, October 22, 2007


I've gone unspanked, not including the occasional swat in passing, for a couple of months now. There have been plenty of reasons and opportunities for my husband to spank me. There have certainly been at least a few occasions when I deserved one. But I've remained unspanked.

There are a few reasons for this. The main reason is that my husband has been ill for about 10 months now. Nothing fatal, but it certainly makes life harder for both of us. His energy is drained most of the time, and when he does have energy, he generally has quite a bit of pain too. So his ability to spank has been severely limited.

There are other reasons too. My husband (who is RhodeIslandRed on the few forums he is on - so I'll call him "Red" from now on) and I are still negotiating our roles. When we began our relationship, we only used spanking for erotic purposes, and even then there was some negotiating and learning to be done. But things fell in place fairly easily considering.

Discipline is a whole different animal. For my husband, he questions his "right" to punish me. He, like most men, was taught not only to not hit women, but also to respect them as equals in all things. The "no hitting women" hurdle has probably been the easiest hurdle we've had to leap. Spanking, in our relationship, is consensual, so it is simply not the same thing as abuse.

But what gives him the right to punish me? Neither one of us buys into the Christian idea that women were made to submit to their husbands. I'm an ardent feminist, and I must admit, this "created to be his help meet" stuff makes me sick to my stomach. We came into our marriage as equals, we believe that we are equals, and we treat each other as equals. So why does he get to discipline me even though I do not get to discipline him?

The truth of the matter is that I don't really know. The only reason that he has the "right" is because I gave it to him. Our discipline arrangement is largely for my benefit, although it does benefit him as well. It makes me feel secure, although the reasons for this I haven't quite figured out yet. Perhaps I'll write a separate post about my thoughts on this.

Just because I've explicitly given him the right to discipline me when needed doesn't mean that he's necessarily comfortable with invoking this right when the situation calls for it... partly because we're still negotiating which situations call for it. I've told my husband that I trust him... we do have a few specific rules, but I've also put myself into his hands. He is allowed to punish me however he deems fit (this generally means a spanking, but not always), but he doesn't always know when he is really being reasonable in choosing to punish me. Sure, there are times when I fly off the handle and am disrespectful to him, but what about the extenuating circumstances? His illness has been a major stressor - he can hardly fault me for being tense about it. I've told him that I'm willing to take the risk of receiving an undeserved punishment. I'd rather that than go unpunished when I do deserve it. Still, I see how this is a difficult decision for him to make. He needs to feel comfortable that he's not abusing me. I am hoping that the longer we do this, the easier it will become for him.

As for me, I struggle with integrating my need for discipline with my beliefs and other aspects of my personality. As I've said, I'm an ardent feminist. I don't believe that the two are necessarily in opposition. I believe that feminism is about choice, and so long as I'm in this kind of relationship by choice, then it is not in conflict with my feminism. As an overall ideology, I'm quite comfortable with this.

The day-to-day details are what give me trouble. I'm still not completely sure where to draw the line between when to defer to Red, and when to assert myself. I'm the most comfortable when I submit to my husband, but there are certain issues in which I am simply the better decision maker. I've been the better financial manager. I used to handle all of our finances, but lately we've been making a point of going over our bills and budget together every month. This is not something that either one of us is comfortable with putting it entirely in his hands. On the other hand, he is much better with business issues, dealing with the taxes, creditors, he is the one who handled the writing of our wills, etc. Am I giving up too much control by allowing him to make decisions on credit card accounts on which I am the primary card holder?

One of my biggest insecurities, though, has to do with being an adult. I know it is a common insecurity for women who get spanked to worry that perhaps they are not being adults... I worry about this too. For me, it has a lot to do with my childhood. There was a lot of ugly abuse that went on, and I was held responsible for being an adult while the adults in my life behaved like children. I worry that perhaps I am being a child now because I couldn't be when I actually was a child. I do not want my husband put in the position of "raising" his wife. He married me to be my husband, not my father.

And speaking of fathers... my husband is old enough to be mine. Which just makes the insecurity even worse... I've been the butt of well-intended jokes about looking like his daughter. What if in some ways I really was looking for a father figure? I don't think I was... but how can I really be sure?

I'm sure there are even more reasons why this discipline arrangement is complicated, and I just haven't thought of them yet. Online there seem to be so many couples who have it all together. I can't help but wonder how they do it. I can't help but especially envy those who are comfortable enough to be extroverted about it. I would love to be able to establish closer friendships with other people who have similar relationships... but I just haven't been able to "come out" quite that far.

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