Introduction to DD
Basic history and concepts
Domestic Discipline in Historical Times
What follows is a brief overview of Domestic Discipline (DD). DD is not something new or unique to our times. In fact, it has probably been practised from the time Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden. Very early sources document the use of Domestic Discipline to bring a wife under subjection. For example, in The Kalavala, an ancient Finnish Poem documenting advice given to a bridegroom by his guests, we see a wise old man instructing the young man, in part, as follows:
"ThenI sought for other measures,
Used on her my last resources,
Cut a birch-whip in the forest.
And she spake in tones endearing;
Cut a juniper or willow,
And she called me 'hero-darling';
When the lash my wife I threatened,
Hung she on my neck with kisses."
The Koran gives us an even earlier example of the use of domestic discipline in the home:
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women,
through that in which Allah has given more than the other,
and because they support them from their means.
Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient,
and guard in absence what Allah would have them guard.
As to those women on whose part you fear rebellion,
admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them;
but if they return to obedience then do not seek against them any means."
In The Code of Mainonides, Book Four: The Book of Women, revered Jewish Rabbi and philosopher, Maimonides, outlined a wife's duties in the 12th century, and went on to say how she may be compelled to perform these duties, "even by scourging her with a rod."
The Domostroi, popular in Russia during the time of Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584), made it clear what a husband was to do with a displeasing wife:
"But if your wife does not live according to this teaching and instruction,
does not do all that is recommended here,
if she does not teach her servants,
then the husband should punish his wife.
Beat her when you are alone together;
then forgive her and remonstrate with her.
But when you beat her, do not do it in hatred,
do not lose control.
A husband must never get angry with his wife;
a wife must live with her husband in love and purity of heart.
You should discipline servants and children the same way.
Punish them according to the extent of their guilt and the severity of their deed.
Lay stripes upon them but, when you have punished them, forgive them."
In Plymouth Colony we see evidence in court cases of a woman being "punished at home". Even as late as 1765 in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, William Blackstone confirmed that the old law did permit a husband to give his wife moderate correction, and indeed, modern courts of the time usually upheld a husband's right to similarly restrain a wife for extreme misbehavior.
In the 1800's, domestic discipline began to lose favor within the courts, even though at least two judges still upheld the tradition. In the 1818 case of Calvin Bradley vs the State, it was the opinion of the judge that "perhaps the husband should still be permitted to exercise the right of moderate chastisement, in cases of great emergency, and to use salutary restraints in every case of misbehavior, without subjecting himself to vexatious prosecutions, resulting in the discredit and shame of all parties concerned". In 1867, in the case State vs. A.B. Rhodes, "His Honor was of opinion that the defendant had a right to whip his wife with a switch no larger than his thumb, and that upon the facts found in the special verdict he was not guilty in law."
By the 1960's, with the world-wide rise of militant feminism, one would have thought wife-spanking totally out of style; however, an article in the Saturday Evening Post puts even this to question. The article entitled, You be the Judge, was sparked by a court case of the previous year where a wife was denied a divorce by an Iowa court on the grounds that her husband had twice spanked her. According to the Saturday Evening Post, the judge decided, "No divorce. The court said that while Kurt's ultramanly views on wife punishing are not openly and generally approved, 'two spankings applied to the place where they are ordinarily applied' did not constitute sufficiently cruel and inhuman treatment to merit a divorce." Even more surprising is the response of the public to the article. Though several outraged citizens wrote their displeasure, several more, men and women alike, wrote their approval of court's decision.
Domestic Discipline in Modern Times
Domestic Discipline still lives, despite laws and public opinions. Those who practise Domestic Discipline usually find one another through online ads and forums. A few specific brands of domestic discipline have been established, which include the following:
- Loving Domestic Discipline
- Taken In Hand
- Christian Domestic Discipline
(Though these all feature heterosexual couples with male dominance, domestic discipline is practised with female dominance, and/or between homosexual couples as well.)
Loving Domestic Discipline stems from the LovingDD Blogspot, which "explores using discipline spanking in a loving, consenting, heterosexual relationship, to help the woman overcome negative behaviors that harm herself, her relationship or others. It is about creating loving limits to her behavior and firm consequences".
The Taken In Hand website describes the "Taken In Hand" relationship as "a consciously and consensually male-controlled sexually and socially exclusive monogamous relationship in which the man's power is real and for the purpose of creating a deeply connected, fully engaged relationship with a white-hot sexual connection. How the man expresses his dominance is an individual matter, but it is for the benefit of the relationship rather than being purely self-serving. The Taken In Hand man protects and cherishes the woman he leads. The Taken In Hand woman responds positively to her man's control." This website seems to downplay the importance of spanking in the domestic discipline relationship in favor of other discipline and means of control.
Christian Domestic Discipline is practised only within the bounds of marriage. "A Christian Domestic Discipline marriage is set up according to the guidelines set forth in the Holy Bible, meaning the husband has authority over his wife within the bounds of God's Word and enforces that authority, if need be, through discipline including but not limited to spanking. He uses his authority to keep peace and order in his home, protect his marriage, and help his wife mature in her Christian walk. In a true Christian Domestic Discipline marriage, discipline is tempered with the knowledge that the husband must answer to God for his actions and decisions in his position of authority..."
The Practise of Domestic Discipline
Domestic discipline is highly individual and private in nature. Each couple must analyse their own situation and decide for themselves how they will carry out discipline in their own households. Generally, the process begins with long talks between the couple to establish expectations for their own domestic discipline relationship, responsibility accepted by the dominant partner, and consent given from the submissive one. Rules are generally set down, sometimes written, sometimes spoken, and consequences set.
Not all domestic discipline relationships use spanking as the only consequence or even as a consequence at all. Some couples prefer other punishments; such as, writing lines, corner time, or the temporary forfeiture of some favourite pasttime. Many couples pair these other punishments with spanking.
Most domestic discipline couples practise some form of spanking, which seems to come in three categories: play spanking, maintenance spanking, and punishment spanking.
Though play spanking seems to be just that... play... it is often much more. Couples point out that play spanking reinforces the roles in the relationship, reminds the submissive partner of harsher consequences should they misbehave, and allows the feelings of dominance and submissiveness without the emotional upset of a "real" spanking. Since many people in a domestic discipline relationship have an inner "need" to spank or be spanked, this can fulfill this need without tension between the couple. Play spanking is usually light and without much pain for the submissive partner. It is sometimes referred to as a "good girl spanking".
Maintenance spanking is a bit more serious. It is usually administered at regular intervals in the relationship and its purpose might be to punish small infractions over a period of time, remind the submissive to behave, reinforce roles in the relationship, remind the submissive of harsher consequences should they misbehave, and allow the feelings of dominance and submissiveness in the relationship. It is a real spanking, though not usually as harsh as a punishment spanking. It may or may not leave the submissive partner in tears, and it may or may not cause a great deal of pain. It usually begins with a "warm-up", meaning the partner giving the spanking will begin slowly and build up intensity, which decreases the pain involved. It is also referred to by some as a "good girl spanking."
Punishment spankings (or discipline spankings) are the most dreaded of the three. Given for an infraction or misbehavior by the submissive, they are usually severe and cause a substantial amount of pain. A specific type of punishment spanking that is considered the most severe of all is often called the AAAC, or "Avoid At All Costs" spanking. This is a spanking that is severe in nature, causes great distress and most usually tears for the recipient, and is crafted to be memorable and cause deep regret in the heart of the submissive. Even submissives who claim to "like" to be spanked usually say they do not like punishment spankings, which are sometimes called "bad girl spankings".
Opposing Thoughts on Domestic Discipline
Those who oppose domestic discipline feel it is no different than domestic violence, and/or may increase the chances of abuse in the relationship as well as tear down the self esteem of the woman. They feel women who express a need for this kind of control in their lives should seek psychological counselling. Christians who oppose domestic discipline argue that nowhere in the Bible does it state that a man should physically punish his wife. If they are proponents of the Complementarian Viewpoint in marriage (the husband has authority over his wife), they feel the submission a wife gives to her husband should be voluntary. If they are proponents of the Egalitarian Viewpoint in marriage (the husband and wife should submit to one another), they do not believe either has authority over the other and thus, do not have the authority to physically punish one another.
Proponents of domestic discipline feel domestic discipline can improve, or has improved their marriage relationship. They report tensions in the marriage have decreased dramatically and they have experienced a greater level of intimacy and closeness in their relationship. They note that their sexual relationship has dramatically improved as well. Christians who espouse domestic discipline point out that although the Bible does not specifically command it, neither does it condemn it. Discipline itself, is in fact, supported in many scriptures. There are numerous Scriptures which point to the husband's authority in marriage, to the significance of obedience to authority figures, and to the God-given right of those in authority to discipline those under that authority. They also point out that most of the Scriptures which point to the use of discipline either indicate or at least do not rule out the discipline of adults. It is not a big stretch then, to consider at least the possibility, of discipline of a wife, by her husband.
Some of the following may be read elsewhere on this site in more detail. The links may or may not be operable at the current time. We are not responsible for the content posted on those sites. Reader accepts all risks in visiting outside sites.
- "The Kalavala". Translated by John Crawford. Cincinnati: The Robert Blake Co., 1910.
- Quran. 4:34.
- "The Code of Maimonides, Book Four: The Book of Women." Translated by Isaac Klein. New Haven: Yale, 1972.
- The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible. Translated by Carolyn Johnston Pouncy. Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 1994.
- Jordan, Jason. "Domestic Violence in Plymouth Colony." The Plymouth Colony Archive Project. 1 April, 1998. http://etext.virginia.edu/users/deetz/Plymouth/domestic.html>.
- Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England. "Of Husband and Wife." Lonang Institute. 2003, 2005. http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/bla-115.htm>.
- "Unknown County MS Archives Court...Bradley, Calvin 1834." Court Cases: VS Gen Web Archives Project. 11 Feb 2006. <http://www.rootsweb.com/publusgenweb/ms/unknown/court/bradley61gwl.txt>.
- "State v. A. B. Rhodes." <http:sobek.colorado.edu/~mciverj/2481-61NC453.html>.
- Palmer, Florence K. "You be the Judge." Saturday Evening Post. 22 Oct, 1960: 130.
- Loving Domestic Discipline. <http://lovingdd.blogspot.com>.
- Taken In Hand. <http://takeninhand.com/>.
- Christian Domestic Discipline. <http://christiandomesticdiscipline.com/>.
- Bethany's Woodshed. Burke, Bethany. <http://www.herwoodshed.com/library/library.html>.
- "Domestic Discipline-Loving Correction or Domestic Violence?" About: Marriage. Stritof, Sheri & Bob. <http://marriage.about.com/cs/domesticviolence/a/domesticdisc.htm>.